They were forced together... They were forced to fuse...! This is wrong...!
The episode begins with the Crystal Gems helping Steven fold his laundry. They are discussing Peridot's presence on Earth, and the possibility of Peridot reactivating the Kindergarten despite crash landing on Earth. During this discussion, the Gems mention the reasoning behind gathering to fold Steven's laundry. When the failed chore wheel (failed because each name has been replaced by Pearl's) is brought up, Pearl admits she is to blame as she enjoys doing housework. Steven hints that Garnet should unfuse so Ruby and Sapphire could help fold his shirts faster. Garnet explains that Ruby and Sapphire would love to see him, but she refuses to unfuse for laundry. The Gems continue discussing the Peridot problem. Garnet believes that Peridot isn't interested in the Crystal Gems, but rather the Kindergarten to reactivate the injectors. Steven asks what the injectors are, and Pearl explains that the injectors are machines that plant Gems in the crust of the Earth for them to incubate and suck the life out of the ground. For a moment after the explanation, Amethyst appears distinctly uncomfortable. The Gems then decide to just go and investigate for themselves, as Steven continues to work on his laundry. However, he brightens considerably when the Gems tell Steven he's coming too.
Steven and the Crystal Gems warp to the Kindergarten to investigate anything out of the ordinary, as well as search for Peridot. Nothing seems to be activated—or even moved—in the Kindergarten at the moment. Peridot is not to be seen, so the Gems split up and patrol the perimeter to find her. Steven goes about his way and accidentally stumbles into her on the elevator up from the Prime Kindergarten Control Room. Apparently not noticing his presence, Peridot is recording a log about her experiments, mentioning that some have developed early. Peridot is frightened after finally noticing Steven staring at her. After a moment of hesitance, she asks whether or not the Crystal Gems are with Steven, and he hesitantly nods yes. The Gems find Peridot with Steven subsequently, and they all chase her. Peridot is almost able to escape by running up a wall, but Pearl throws her spear over Peridot and strikes an overhead injector, which falls and hits her. Peridot survives the fall and runs away again, but Amethyst wraps her up with her whip. She is forced to release Peridot after her whip is electrocuted. Peridot then uses her fingers as helicopter blades and flies away with Amethyst and Pearl chasing her.
Steven stays with Garnet. Garnet notes that if Peridot came to Kindergarten to reactivate it, then the injectors would have started working by now, but they haven't. Steven and Garnet begin to investigate to find out what Peridot's job actually was. They find the elevator shaft to the control room and slide into it. While they are descending, Garnet explains more about Gem fusion to Steven. When they reach the control room, Steven shudders and mentions that the room somehow seems creepier than before and that the power is still cut off, and Garnet senses that something is wrong there. She says that something is strange after seeing that Peridot apparently pulled some pillars out of the walls. Garnet touches one of the pillars, and they begin to move. Strange creatures resembling the combination of hands and feet begin falling from the ceiling. Garnet punches one of them and it poofs into a gem. It is apparently two different Gems stuck together, which disgusts Garnet, leaving Steven confused and worried. A much larger and grotesque version of these fusions rises from one of the pillars as though it is still fusing with difficulty. The four shards attempt to form their own bodies but are pulled back together into the gem. With screams of agony and terror, they form a cluster that resembles a giant hand.
As the Hand Cluster approaches Garnet, she becomes terrified and stands still. Ruby, as Garnet, begins to cry out of her right eye, and understands what these fusions really are: they were previous Crystal Gems that were shattered, buried, and forced to fuse together. Garnet begins to unfuse slowly while Steven defends her. After Steven says that this isn't like Garnet, she regains composure and knocks out the hand cluster, poofing the Gem, which is a combination of multiple different Gems. Garnet bubbles the Gem, realizing that this is what Gem Homeworld thinks of Gem fusion. As Garnet was talking, it goes back and forth between Ruby and Sapphire. Ruby on the right with temperament and anger with the red-eye, and Sapphire, the left side of Garnet showing tenderness and compassion with the blue eye. The conversation between them was about the Crystal Gem Shards, and they both come to one conclusion: that these Gem Shards were the Gems that the Crystal Gems couldn't find after the war, and that they were forced to become a fusion. The forced fusions were the Crystal Gems' punishment for rebelling against Homeworld. Amethyst and Pearl return to Garnet and Steven and notice the smaller Gems' fusion mutants. Garnet orders the Gems to put them down and bubble them all.
Back at the Crystal Temple's hand, Steven warps to do his laundry and finds Garnet. They discuss what they saw in Kindergarten, and Garnet expresses disgust over the forced fusions. Garnet states that fusion is a choice between Gems, and that fusion is a right, and the forced fusions they saw in Kindergarten were not true fusions. Steven asks Garnet what it feels like to be a fusion all the time, like Garnet herself. She explains that the Gems forget that they were ever alone in the first place. When Gems fuse, they do not feel like two people, but rather one, and the Gems' old names might as well be names for the left arm and the right arm. When Steven asks if Garnet disappears when Ruby and Sapphire unfuse, she says that Garnet is the embodiment of Ruby and Sapphire's love. Even if they split apart, Garnet will always exist in them. The strength of the two Gems' love keeps the fusion alive for a very long time, explaining Garnet's long existence. After one of Steven's socks flies away with the wind, Garnet catches it and gives it to him, saying, "You don't want to break up a pair.". Steven agrees, saying they belong together as he hands Garnet a red sock with the same pattern. She makes up the socks and drops them in the basket with Steven's other clothes.
- Steven Universe
- Ruby (mentioned; talking as Garnet)
- Sapphire (mentioned; talking as Garnet)
- Cluster Gems (debut)
- Rose Quartz (mentioned)
- Stevonnie (indirectly mentioned)
- This episode was hinted at in the promotional artwork with Garnet's head.
- In the Prime Kindergarten Control Room, Ruby and Sapphire seem to be talking to each other through Garnet. This is made clear by the contrasting point of view angles for each character.
- The shards used in Homeworld's forced fusion experiments are similar to those in the episode "Secret Team" which appear as limbs as well.
- This could mean that in "Secret Team" when Pearl had taken the Gem Shards from the bubble that she was reminiscing of the Gems lost in the Gem War.
- And when Garnet/Ruby stated "This is where they've been! All the ones we couldn't find, they've been here the whole time!" meaning that the Gems in the bubble were the shards they could find were and these were the ones they couldn't.
- The two socks seen at the very end were red and blue, which is a reference to Ruby and Sapphire.
- At times during the scene with the hand cluster, the music resembles a corrupted version of "Stronger Than You".
- Peridot states that the log date is 652. Since the log date in "Warp Tour" is 312. This may mean she has made 340 logs since Warp Tour.
- The eyes of the large fusion monster resemble Sahaquiel from |Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Antibody Coralians from Eureka Seven.
- There is a bottle of Lon Lon Milk (a reference to The Legend of Zelda) on the shelf behind Pearl when everyone is folding clothes.
- The artistic style of Garnet's horrified reaction shot resembles the style of dramatic reaction shots from 1970s and 1980s anime.
- The positions of the trapped Crystal Gems resemble the style of superhero team poses from the super sentai and magical girl genres.
- When Garnet says the phrase "When two Gems combine, it creates something greater than the sum of their parts (...)" shows principles based on the "Holistic" philosophy.
- The scene where Garnet is talking to herself (or Ruby and Sapphire are talking) resembles Smeagol/Gollum's conversations with himself in The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers.
- There is a note to buy engine oil which Amethyst likes to put on her food in "Reformed".
- The cylindrical incubators that held the hand cluster were shown in "Marble Madness" right before Peridot noticed Steven.
- This episode reveals what Peridot was trying to do from this room since the events of "Marble Madness": recover cylinders containing forced-fused Gem Shards.
- This is the second time Prime Kindergarten Control Room seen and the third time the Kindergarten is visited.
- Garnet used the term "poofed" when she told the Crystal Gems to bubble all of the Gems, which was first used in "Reformed" by Steven.
- While going off on his own to look for Peridot, Steven mimicked the sound that the Plug Robonoid from "Marble Madness" created when walking.
- When Pearl was explaining how the injectors worked, Amethyst was seated beside Garnet. After Garnet says "janked", she is seen seated beside Steven.
- When going to use the Warp Pad to find Peridot, Amethyst was holding her whip in her right hand, in the next scene, it was in her left.
- When Peridot asks Steven if the other Crystal Gems are with him, her right sleeve is the same color as her skin.
- When the injector was going to fall in the ground, Steven is standing on the ground, but then in the next scene, Garnet is holding Steven.
- When fleeing from the Crystal Gems, Peridot uses fingers on her left hand as a helicopter to fly away. However, in the next scene, she flies using the fingers on her right hand.
- Also, as Peridot was on the ground and just starting to fly she had five fingers spinning in a copter formation, in the next scene where she was flying higher, she is using six fingers instead of five.
- However, this might be a way to show the effect that appears when helicopter rotor blades are spinning fast enough, where it appears that there are more blades than there really are. This is a common animation technique, referred to as "smear animation" or "smearing", with the individual drawings referred to as "smear frames".
- When Steven is trying to run after Peridot, Garnet's hands aren't visible on his torso. But when it zooms out, her hands become visible.
- When Garnet was holding Steven trying to run after Peridot, one frame has his thumb uncolored.
- Garnet is shown summoning her other gauntlet after entering the Prime Kindergarten Control Room and lowering Steven, however, she already had both of them summoned right before that scene.
- In the scene where the hand cluster broke out of the pillar, the two shards that form two connected arms seem to be colored blue and green, when they were originally blue and magenta.
- When Steven poofs one of the smaller Clusters, it doesn't leave a Gem behind.
- When Steven is fighting the other clusters, while the Hand Cluster is pulling Garnet, the Hand Cluster's Gem is missing although you can see it's palm clearly; and its palm is colored just indigo, without the other colors.
- While the Shattered Gem Fusion seems to be pulling Garnet apart, in one scene, Steven seems to be smiling instead of a confused face.
- When Ruby and Sapphire were talking to each other through Garnet, when Ruby's part of Garnet is talking, if you look a little lower to Garnet's shoulder pad, you could see her arm is the same color as her shoulder pad.
- In one scene, Garnet's triangular facet on her right hand seems to be bigger than usual, touching the edges.
- When Garnet refused, her third eye seems to be a magenta color instead of a purple color.
- Garnet's bubble looked like Steven's and when she warped it, the Centipeetle Mother's gem can be seen. This is confirmed to be an error.
- Garnet snatched the blue sock in the middle, but when she gave it to Steven, she held it at the end.
- When Steven tried grabbing the blue sock, his hand overlapped the hands he had before the frame.
- After Garnet bubbles the Cluster's gem away, the navy blue part of her clothing on her chest disappears.
- Garnet attaches the blue sock on top facing to the right, but when she puts the pair of socks in the basket, the blue sock is on top, but facing to the left.
View the episode's transcript here.