Welcome to Together Breakfast, the feature where Elle Collins and Katie Schenkel come together to dig in and relish every last drop of Cartoon Network’sSteven Universe.

In this week’s episode, a whole squadron of semi-familiar faces arrive, everybody takes part in the American Pastime, and Ruby and Sapphire just can’t resist. "Hit the Diamond" was written by Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu, and directed by Joe Johnston and Jasmin Lai.

 

 

Elle: So many Rubies! I should have known, from “The Answer,” that this is how Rubies work, but last week when we say the gem-eyed Ruby exiting the ship, I thought it was just her. But instead we got five Homeworld Rubies! Each with an at least somewhat distinct personality and matching vocal performance by Charlyne Yi, who really got to act up a storm in this episode.

Katie: This was Yi’s Orphan Black episode, as it were, and she really knocked it out of the park. Which makes me wonder if we’re ever going to see any of the other Homeworld Gem’s matching Sisters. Imagine getting a bunch of Pearls in one place. Imagine a gaggle of Peridots! This episode certainly opened the door to lots of fun possibilities for the voice cast to play new characters.

Elle: That’s a really good point. I suspect that would only apply to those two. It’s been discussed before that Amethyst isn’t a normal gem (although we’ve got a lot more to learn about that), and of course Garnet is something entirely new. Sapphire has been described as a rare aristocratic gem, and I have a feeling Lapis is something similar (although I’m not sure whether it’s related to being blue).

 

 

Anyway, I loved the scene in the barn when the Crystal Gems reassured Peridot that they’d protect her. When Garnet said, “That includes clods like you,” and you could tell Peridot was genuinely moved as she responded, “That’s my word!” that was the sweetest thing.

Katie: That was super sweet. Another thing I noticed in that scene (and this is such a weird, small detail), but the box of baseball stuff that sets up the plot point later has the name “Baseball Joe” on it. Who is Baseball Joe?? Was he the guy who owned the barn? Maybe it’s just because we still don’t know who are in the hung photos in the barn, but I’m so curious about that specific label on the box! If this becomes an important clue later, I’m going to be so smug about noticing it now.

 

 

Anyway, Garnet comforts Peridot and then says she has a plan, or rather, they have a plan, because she unfuses before their very eyes. This excited me because I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve ever seen Garnet choose to separate of her own volition --- every other time it was either the connection becoming unstable or she’s been forcibly unfused by violence.

Elle: I was thinking that too, and that’s why it makes sense that Ruby and Sapphire are holding hands when they appear. Also did you notice how confident Ruby is when she’s in Sapphire’s presence, and how that completely evaporates when she leaves the barn, so she’s incredibly awkward and nervous around the other Rubies.

Fortunately the Homeworld Rubies are not the most observant creatures, which makes it seem a little odd that they’d be sent on missions to look for missing Gems. But this isn’t the first clue we’ve gotten that the hierarchies of Homeworld are pretty flawed.

 

 

Katie: I wonder if it’s like in the Harry Potter books where certain rules and customs just don’t make sense or are completely impractical. The other answer is probably simply because having a bunch of Rubies in one place is really fun to write, I suspect. But it could also be that the Rubies were sent off well before Peridot betrayed Yellow Diamond, so at the time they departed Homeworld, this was considered an easy mission of bringing back Jasper.

Speaking of the Rubies, another fun detail was how the leader Ruby was wearing the same kind of visor Jasper had in Jailbreak (and that Peridot wears regularly), probably denoting rank. But as you said, the Rubies don’t seem to be very smart aside from our Ruby, so the leader Ruby gets tricked into counting wrong, which was a fun bit.

Elle: Yeah, I love the moment when one of the Rubies points out that there are supposed to be five of them, and multiple Rubies stare at the fingers as they count. But another thing that’s worth remembering from “The Answer” is that Rubies are considered disposable, because there are so many of them. So I guess you can just send as many Rubies out to do whatever you need done, and you don’t even have to worry too much about whether they make it home.

 

 

But the gullibility of the Rubies, combined with Amethyst’s natural instinct to hit things with a baseball bat (or encourage Steven to) leads to an impromptu baseball game. And you know, as much as I’ve never been interested in real-world baseball, seeing a bunch of colorful super-powered characters playing the game is just a pleasant reminder of old Chris Claremont X-Men comics, so I’m always up for that.

Katie: My thought was just the most ridiculous fan fic ever, but Claremont’s tendency for weirdly domestic shenanigans works, too. I laughed harder than I expected at Sapphire admitting that she saw “Steven challenges the Rubies to a game of baseball” as one of the outcomes. But of course that leads to Steven introducing the Rubies to their opponents, with the Gems taking on human names. I desperately want to know if Steven picked them out or if the Gems picked their own. Based on Lapis’ name, I’m thinking they picked their own, which is adorable.

 

 

Elle: Oh man, the title cards for all the players on both teams had me in stitches. Going directly from the names the Gems chose for themselves (Earl being my favorite) to all the Rubies listing their names too, even though they all have the same name was a great gag. It provided a nice moment to kind of sort out which Ruby is which.

I’m going to list them, mostly because I’m curious if we got the same impressions of the group: There’s Captain Ruby with the visor and suspenders, grizzled war veteran gem-eyed Ruby, aggressive martial arts-fighting Ruby, girly Ruby with the belly gem, and then the nervous squeaky voiced Ruby. And then of course there’s Sapphire’s Ruby, who’s even more nervous and sweating through most of this episode (and I didn’t even know Gems could sweat).

Katie: Yeah, I can get behind those descriptions. This is jumping ahead a bit, but when they get back in the ship at the end the leader says, “Let’s go, newbie!” to either the squeaky voiced nervous one or to the gem-for-an-eye one, and I’d like to think we find out later that the grizzled one is the newbie on the squad, maybe the lone survivor from another batch of Rubies. Anyway, that’s my headcanon until I’m told otherwise.

 

 

I also like the idea that our Ruby is sweating because she’s nervous about being found out, but also because she’s really into “Sophie,” and “Sophie” is being adorable and pretty and wearing a cute baseball dress. Of course, the whole next part of the episode is about how Ruby and Sapphire are all twitterpated. I am so tickled by how much this episode gets away with showing the two of them being openly romantic with each other. Lapis even flat out says that they’re flirting!

Elle: I know! I feel like every time we see these two, it’s more overt how gay they are. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been overt since their first appearance in “Jailbreak,” but I remember at the time seeing obstinate straight people trying to claim their bond was something other than romantic. At this point that claim wouldn’t just be ridiculous. It’s basically impossible.

But leaving that aspect aside, I just love how cute they are in this episode. We’ve never really seen much of them when they’re happy and not being Garnet, and it’s great how irresistible they find each other. Also, I’m surprised it took me so long to realize that Sapphire’s name can be read as a pun on Sapphic. As in, she burns with Sapphic fire for Ruby. That may be an accident, but it’s definitely there.

 

 

Katie: Yes, yes, yes to all of it. One of my notes for this episode was, “This show is so queer!” and that was only during that first scene in the barn when Sapphire kisses Ruby on the cheek. But it only got gayer as the episode went on!

Again, there were some major fanficcy moments between the two of them, particularly the classic “teaching your girl how to swing a baseball bat by putting your arms around her” moment. Smooth, Ruby. Real smooth. I also loved how Steven accused Ruby of being the one acting cute, instead of the more feminine Sapphire being the object of cuteness.

 

 

My other favorite bit in that montage was Steven’s exchange with Peridot: “You're lying to me!" "To make you feel better!" "... Thank you!" It was one of my other big laughs of the episode, especially because the animation on Peridot was ridiculously funny.

Elle: Oh, that was great. Another moment I loved was Lapis in the outfield, when the ball flies over her head and she just apathetically half-extends her hand as if she thinks she might catch it, but doesn’t really care. I’m not sure if it was a deliberate reference, but it certainly reminded me of the opening to Daria, which seems appropriate since Lapis has ascended to Daria-esque levels of cynicism.

 

 

Of course Sapphire manages to get a home run in the end, but she and Ruby get so excited that they fuse into Garnet in front of all the other Rubies.

I thought that was going to be worse than it was. It made them realize the other team had a bunch of Gems on it, but they didn’t have the strong negative reaction to that fusion that we’ve seen from other Homeworld Gems in the past. I guess we can attribute that to these Rubies not being the deepest thinkers, and therefore not very ideological?

Katie: Part of me wonders if they simply are focused on their job and since their job was only to find Jasper, they don’t worry about other details.

And yes, as we learn, they are indeed not looking for Peridot --- or rather, they’re only looking for Peridot to get information about Jasper’s whereabouts. But before we find that out, we have one more amazing scene with Peridot, this time rushing out to give herself up in the name of her friends’ safety. Easily my biggest smile of the night was from Steven proclaiming, “Aw, Peri loves us!" She does, Steven! She really, really does!

 

 

Elle: This whole run of episodes has really driven home Peridot’s face turn, which I’m entirely in favor of. And Steven’s sudden inspiration to say Jasper’s on Neptune is a nice touch. Those Rubies may be back, but it’ll probably be a while. And there’s a good chance that by then the Crystal Gems will know where Jasper is, whether they want to or not. But for now the most immediate threats seem to be taken care of, and maybe everybody can relax for a while.

Katie: By the way, my last favorite moment with the Rubies was how the leader Ruby says, “Heh, five” when she gets the counting right.

 

 

But it’s interesting because like you said, the immediate threat seems to be taken care of, and even this obstacle with the Rubies seems to be a way smaller problem than the intensity of taking down Malachite and then stopping the cluster. This Steven Bomb was very, very intense in the first two episodes and then surprisingly lighter in the last three. Of course, neither you nor I knew the last three episodes were going to be less intense, so I don’t know about you but I kept bracing myself for something heart wrenching!

Elle: Oh for sure. And honestly, I still kind of am. Even though this was advertised as a four-week run, I know there’s at least one more completed episode that I’ve heard is supposed to air sometime in June. So it might be sneaking up on us. But for now, I’m glad things seem relatively happy. Except maybe for Lapis, but she’s at least safe, even if she’s not surrounded by her favorite people/Gems.

Katie: She’s not in a watery tomb, so that’s gotta be an improvement, right? In any case, I’m already sad that this Steven Bomb is over, but I hope you’re right about there being a new episode coming this month, even if it does end up being an emotionally devastating one. Because even if it rips out of hearts, at least we can recap the pain and suffering together, right?

Elle: Absolutely! I hope there are many Together Breakfasts ahead of us!

 

The Best Steven Universe Fan Art Ever