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No more questions. Don't ever question this. You already are the answer.
The episode begins with Steven sleeping on the back of a pickup truck in the family barn. Garnet appears and wakes Steven up at midnight, celebrating his birthday. With Garnet's plan of telling Steven that she is a fusion ruined by the events of "Jail Break", she instead begins to tell the tale of how Ruby and Sapphire met and became Crystal Gems, which excites Steven.
Garnet introduces the setting as Earth 5,750 years ago. Homeworld was in the process of colonizing the Earth, but a group of rebels was delaying the colonization progress. As a result, a team of diplomats was sent to Earth to investigate the current crisis, including Sapphire and her team of three Ruby bodyguards. Sapphire was summoned by Blue Diamond to give her a report on the outcomes of the Rebellion. The team arrives at the Cloud Arena when they reach Earth. As they make their way to Blue Diamond, the Rubies discuss how they will fight the rebels while playfully roughhousing. One Ruby is shoved into Sapphire and apologizes, but Sapphire excuses her, explaining that she knew it would happen thanks to her future vision. As Ruby attempts to make herself look dutiful, Sapphire approaches Blue Diamond and informs her of the future: the rebels will attack the Cloud Arena, destroying the physical forms of seven Gems in the process, including Sapphire herself and two of her Ruby bodyguards. Despite this, the rebels will be captured, ending the Rebellion and winning the war.
The rebels appear immediately afterward, revealing themselves to be Rose Quartz and Pearl, the original two Crystal Gems. They demand that Blue Diamond abandon Earth and begin attacking the Homeworld Gems. The attack proceeds exactly how Sapphire had foreseen it, with Pearl immediately defeating four Gems. The three Ruby guards fuse into a giant-sized Ruby, but Rose easily defeats them, forcing them to unfuse. Pearl poofs two of the Rubies before approaching Sapphire, who thanks the remaining Ruby for her efforts. Ruby realizes that Sapphire had accepted her fate, having seen this outcome through her visions. However, Ruby refuses to accept this outcome and jumps towards Sapphire, pushing her out of the path of Pearl's blade. In the process, however, the two Gems fuse together into Garnet, but with a much more chaotic and brightly colored appearance than her present-day self. The new Gem is utterly confused as to what happened. Pearl is ready to attack, but Rose stops her. When the court's attention shifts from Garnet back to the attackers, Rose Quartz flees with Pearl.
Garnet immediately unfuses as the crowd surrounds Ruby and Sapphire, murmuring in anger and disgust. Blue Diamond is surprised that Sapphire's visions proved to be incorrect, and Sapphire herself is distraught and confused, but Ruby intervenes to take the blame. For this, and for the crime of fusing with a member of her court, Blue Diamond sentences Ruby to be broken. However, Sapphire grabs Ruby and escapes at high speed, jumping off the arena and down to Earth. As Ruby panics over their current situation, Sapphire is in a state of shock, Ruby's impulsive nature having apparently changed the course of fate completely. Ruby carries Sapphire to a cave where they take shelter from the rain. Ruby expresses her frustration about failing her mission and wonders how she will save Sapphire, who calmly tells Ruby that she already saved her. They discuss their feelings when they were fused as Garnet, along with the strange new properties they inherited from each other. The two Gems begin their new life on Earth, growing closer together over time. They eventually sing together, exchanging thoughts of love and caring for each other, and end with a fusion dance, bringing back Garnet once more.
As Garnet tentatively walks about in her new form, she suddenly trips and stumbles into Pearl and Rose. Afraid to upset them, Garnet offers to unfuse. Rose puts her at ease, however, claiming that how Garnet herself feels as a fusion is more interesting than her own feelings. Garnet admits feeling lost and scared, but also happy. Rose welcomes her to Earth, presumably titling her as a new Crystal Gem. Garnet asks Rose many questions about Ruby, Sapphire, and their fusion, but she stops Garnet and tells her that she already is the answer to her questions. Steven asks Garnet what the answer was, to which she replies, "Love." Steven says he knew it all along, and Garnet agrees.
- Steven Universe
- Ruby (flashback)
- Sapphire (flashback)
- Other Ruby Gems (flashback)
- Blue Diamond (debut; flashback)
- Blue Pearl (debut; flashback; non-speaking cameo)
- Various Other Gems (flashback; cameo)
- Rose Quartz (flashback)
- Pearl (flashback)
- Diamond Palanquins (debut; flashback)
- Blue Diamond's Palanquin (debut; flashback)
- Pearl's Swords (flashback)
- Earth (present & flashback)
- Gem Homeworld (mentioned)
- "Happy Birthday Steven / 5750 Years Ago"
- "Blue Diamond"
- "The Rebels / Garnet's First Fusion"
- "Escaping the Colony / Feelings of Love"
- "The Answer"
- This episode's name was first revealed in an interview with Rebecca Sugar by The Mary Sue.
- This episode aired on Charlyne Yi’s birthday, the voice actor of Ruby.
- She also said this was her favorite episode to voice.
- Although Lamar Abrams frequently storyboards with Aleth Romanillos, and Katie Mitroff frequently storyboards with Hilary Florido, for this episode, Lamar Abrams storyboarded with Katie Mitroff.
- This is also the first episode storyboarded by a new pair.
- The period that Ruby and Sapphire's story is told is in 3750 B.C.E., according to Garnet.
- Garnet states that Ruby and Sapphire met 5,750 years ago, which is also the tested half-life of the radioactive isotope Carbon-14.
- Steven turns 14 in this episode.
- Several silhouettes of Gems in the flashback have appearances similar to other characters in the show.
- For example, a silhouette bearing a striking resemblance to Lapis Lazuli appears as a member of Blue Diamond's entourage. However, it is not confirmed if it is really her.
- The art style change prior to Ruby and Sapphire leaving the Cloud Arena implies that the first half of the story is slightly fantasized.
- This is reinforced in Now We're Only Falling Apart since the Gems that try to capture Rose and Pearl are different Gems than the ones that try to capture them in this episode.
- Garnet's first-generation outfit is similar to original concept sketches for Stevonnie.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in the "Outstanding Short Form Animated Program" category, losing to Robot Chicken's "Robot Chicken Christmas Special: The X-Mas United".
- During NYCC 2016, Charlyne Yi said this is her favorite episode to have personally worked on.
- Both this episode and "Hit the Diamond" were banned in Russia and Bulgaria.
- This is the only StevenBomb 4 episode in which Peridot does not appear.
- Various elements in the episode resemble scenes from Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty:
- The scene where Ruby and Sapphire dance near a river to later form Garnet resembles Aurora's and Prince Philip's "Once Upon a Dream" scene.
- Garnet's appearance in this episode resembles Aurora's dress during the "Pink and Blue" scene.
- The art style of Lotte Reiniger, the foremost pioneer of silhouette animation, is referenced in this episode.
- The way Homeworld Gems view the fusion of two different types of Gems as disgusting is similar to how society used to view people of different races being together instead of separate, as well as people of different castes in Hindu culture intermingling (i.e. intercaste marriage).
- The whole episode shows signs of being a metaphor for queer people coming out, coming to terms with their sexuality/gender identification, and starting their first relationship as someone queer. The way Ruby and Sapphire's fusion is viewed by Blue Diamond and the rest of the Homeworld Gems is also similar to how society views queer relationships today. It has also been confirmed that Ruby and Sapphire are in a same-sex relationship (although Gems are technically sexless).
- The way Blue Diamond asks for Sapphire's council to see the outcome of the battle is very similar to the oracles of ancient Greece. In both real life and mythology, important people (kings, heroes, generals, and gods) sought the council of oracles before going to war to see if fate favored their side. The most important oracle in ancient Greece was the Oracle of Delphi.
- Cloud Arena resembles Cloud City from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.
- Steven discovered that Garnet was a fusion in "Jail Break". In the same episode, Garnet also mentioned that she had planned to save this revelation for Steven's birthday.
- When Sapphire escapes with Ruby, it is similar to the scene in "Jail Break" where she grabbed Steven and sprinted to reunite with Ruby.
- As Ruby and Sapphire start to dance, they hum the tune to "Stronger Than You" from "Jail Break".
- In "Love Letters", Garnet tells Jamie that she does not believe in love at first sight, and that love takes time and effort, implying the nature of the relationship between Ruby and Sapphire.
- When Garnet tells Rose Quartz of her conflicting emotions, Rose tells her, "Welcome to Earth," the same welcome Garnet would give to Peridot in "Back to the Barn".
- Three Gems depicted in Garnet's story are similar in appearance to three Gems seen in Pearl's hologram of the Lunar Sea Spire in "Cheeseburger Backpack".
- The story of how Rose met Garnet was first hinted at in the episode "We Need to Talk".
- "The Answer" also shows how Garnet and Pearl met for the first time.
- In "Now We're Only Falling Apart", flashbacks from this episode are seen from Pearl's point of view in the series's normal art style.
- The audio track with Garnet's lines from when she met Pearl and Rose in this episode is reused in "Now We're Only Falling Apart".
- Note: Time is displayed in [mm:ss]; [00:00] refers to the point after the title card is displayed and before the episode's start.
- [01:35] After Ruby accidentally bumps into Sapphire, all the background Gems are gone.
- [03:06] Once Rose and Pearl land on the arena, Rose is behind Pearl, but in the split shot of Pearl and Rose, Rose cannot be seen behind Pearl.
- [08:41] When Ruby places her hand on Sapphire's hip before they start their fusion dance, her hand appears to be over Sapphire's hair, but when the camera zooms out, and for the rest of the dance, Ruby's hand has been shifted closer to her front.
- [09:19] When Garnet falls after she was formed for the second time, Pearl is pointing her sword at Garnet using her right hand, but it moves to her left hand when she realizes that Garnet was the earlier fusion, and it moves back to her right hand when Rose approaches.
- [00:15] [10:33] In both shots where Garnet is sitting over Steven, the black section on her neckline is missing.
- [4:43] [4:46] [4:52] The light sky blue gem's gemstone changes from a teardrop shape to an oval, and at [4:55] it changes into a diamond shape.
- [4:52] The lavender gem's gemstone changes from an upside-down triangle to an oval.
- [04:54] When Ruby is apologizing to Blue Diamond, her gem is oriented incorrectly.
- [04:56] When Blue Diamond says, "You will be broken for this!" her sleeve is missing.
- [06:44] While Sapphire and Ruby are both sitting by the fire there are small scenes of their time as Garnet. After the shot of Garnet's feet, Sapphire's gem is on the wrong hand for a moment.
- [08:42] Just before she starts dancing with Ruby, Sapphire's left glove briefly turns the same color as her skin.
- [10:11] When Rose delivers the line "Welcome to Earth!", her dress is colored the same shade as her hair between her curl.
- [10:25] When Rose settles down Garnet, Sapphire's gemstone on Garnet is upside down.
- [10:41] When Garnet tells Steven the "answer" is love, the back of her pants is all orchid-colored, missing the blue on the back.
- [03:22] When the three Rubies fuse into a giant Ruby, the right shoulder gemstone goes to the left palm, and the left palm gemstone goes to the right shoulder.
- [03:30] They also unfuse in the same way.
View the episode's transcript here.
- "On its first episode back in a while, Steven Universe got 1,384,000 viewers with The Answer." – The Lunar Sea Spire
- Jusino, Teresa (November 30, 2015). "Some of Comics' Biggest Names Shout-Out Their Favorite Female Creators" – The Mary Sue
- E. Alex Jung (December 18, 2015). Steven Universe Returns With a Whole World of Episodes (Okay, 5) – Vulture
- "Steven Universe – Week of New Episodes in January (Promo)" – via YouTube
- "68th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners >> OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM ANIMATED PROGRAM – 2016" – Television Academy
- MrBlonde267 (October 8, 2016). "NYCC: Steven Universe Will Return in 'Gem Harvest' Special" – Fandom powered by Wikia
- Sapphire#Ruby & Ruby#Sapphire
- "Hidden in this song are chords from several fusion songs (Giant Woman, Strong in the Real Way and Stronger Than You) all of which won't occur until thousands of years after this of course..." – Rebecca Sugar on Tumblr