"That's right, I am a Pearl! What you're saying may be true, but it doesn't matter. I'm still gonna kick your butt!"
"Back to the Barn" is the 20th episode of season 2, and the 72nd episode overall.
The episode begins with Peridot explaining what the Cluster is to the Crystal Gems back at the Beach House. She uses Steven as a dummy in a box to illustrate the Cluster's formation. Pearl tries to explain the parameters of the machine, but Peridot interrupts her and explains everything the machine must do in order to get to the center of the Earth and stop the Cluster from taking form. Peridot begins to search around the house for parts they can use to help them build such a machine, and in doing so destroys some devices. Steven suggests that they should instead head to the family barn where Steven and Pearl built a rocket to find parts and build the drill.
At the barn, Pearl explains to Peridot that they should first organize all the parts they have in the barn and then draft a blueprint for the drill before they get anything started. Peridot agrees, and tries to send Pearl off. She refuses to leave, and Steven supports her decision. Peridot explains to him that Pearls can't build anything like this, as they are made to be servants back on the Gem Homeworld. Pearl demands that if they are to build the drill, that she must work alongside Peridot, which prompts her to laugh, elaborating that Pearls are only made to take orders while saying that she is no different from the hundreds of other Pearls on Homeworld. Steven is surprised to learn that there are many more Pearls, and Pearl confirms that fact as Peridot comments that she looks like she's a fancy one. She asks Pearl who she belongs to, and angrily replies with "Nobody!". Peridot declares that Pearl belongs to her now, and Pearl angrily reacts by saying that she has done too much to win Earth's independence during the rebellion to take orders from Peridot. Steven tries to settle the dispute but they both refuse to listen to each other. He then suggests that they should host a competition between each other over who builds the better robot.
Pearl builds a tall, agile robot while Peridot builds a bulky, powerful mech. Steven introduce the Robolympics, which he explains is a competition which tests all the functionalities of the robots and their efficiency. The winner will be in charge of the gem drill project. After a lengthy montage of the robots competing with each other, with the Robolympics ending in a tie. Steven declares both Pearl and Peridot as heads of the gem drill project, but Peridot is discontent with the results, and demands a tiebreaker. Pearl tries to convince her that the tie is final, and that they are the same. Peridot refuses to listen to her, stating that Pearl is beneath her. Pearl angrily kicks her mech away, and a fight ensues. Eventually, Peridot destroys Pearl's robot and declares herself the winner and the leader of the gem drill project, and demands praise. Garnet, Amethyst and Steven rush to Pearl's aid, and compliment her. Peridot angrily asks why they are ignoring her and giving attention to a "common pearl". Steven defends Pearl, saying that Pearl is not common at all, and she always tries to be better at everything every day. Peridot asks why she is not leading the project anymore, as per the Robolympics rules, and Garnet calmly responds with, "Welcome to Earth."
The Crystal Gems clean up the aftermath of the Robolympics and Pearl's destroyed robot. Steven notices Peridot confronting Pearl, complimenting on how a Pearl such as herself has trained herself to be a knowledgeable technician. She offers cooperation, and wants to get started on the drill together. Pearl shows her how to hold a drill properly, and Peridot tells her that the wheels she used on her robot can be useful for the drill. Steven is happy and relieved that the two gems are finally working together, and the star iris closes on Steven's head as he begins to play around with a hand sock he pretends to be the Cluster.
- This is the third episode that Peridot isn't an antagonist.
- This is the second time Greg's Storage Shed appears.
- It is revealed that on Homeworld, there are hundreds of Pearls, Gems massed produced as servants and slaves, as revealed by Peridot.
- This was hinted in "Friend Ship" when Pearl says that she "was just a Pearl" and "useless on my own. I need someone to tell me what to do"; which is further reflected through Peridot's bossy and instructive dialect towards her.
- In "The Return" Jasper also called Pearl "Some lost, defective Pearl.", showing Pearl's supposedly 'disobedient' nature.
- Peridot is revealed to be a technician and certified Kindergartener.
- It is revealed that each Gem was produced for a reason or job, with Pearls mass produced for servitudes and as indirectly mentioned by Peridot, Peridots were produced for technician and scientific purposes.
- This is the second time Pearl is in her piloting outfit.
- Pearl and Peridot have ended their conflict by the end of this episode.
- Greg's Storage Shed from "Space Race" reappears.
- Steven's drawing references "UUU (Universe & Universe's Universal) Space Travel HQ" from the same episode.
- Pearl wears the same space suit from "Space Race".
- Amethyst mentioning wrestling, which she previously did in "Tiger Millionaire".
- Pearl is referred to as "a pearl" for the 3rd time.
- The title of this episode is similar to Nickelodeon's animated series, Back at the Barnyard and its original movie Barnyard: The Original Party Animals.
- Pearl's robot's design and concept likely references the two-wheeled automobile robots from the anime, Rideback. This is also supported by the anime's protagonist being a retired ballet dancer that uses the rideback robots to perform ballet-like moves, which matches Pearl's ballet dancer theme and her robot's introductory dance.
- Peridot's robot flailing Pearl around highly resembles the Hulk's and Loki's hilariously brief fight in Marvel's The Avengers.
- In the promo, when Pearl and Peridot are talking and looking into the barn, there appears to be a tool box in front of the chalkboard, but in the next scene it is absent. It's also absent at the beginning of the promo.
- When Peridot looks around, after telling Pearl to leave, an outline appears round her lenses and then disappears.
- Peridot destroys their microwave but when the scene moves to Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl after she destroys their TV, the microwave is back to normal.
- After Peridot yells "But I won!", Garnet's star is on the right side of her top instead of the left.
View the episode's transcript here.