I just finished watching Earthlings and I can hardly BREATHE from how perfect it was. All this time I’ve been waiting for the episode that would confirm Amethyst once and for all as not just the short, chubby, scruffy comic relief, and I got it. She was the first Gem Steven fused with. And this is so perfectly in keeping with the message of the show, which is all about love.
While Pearl and Garnet are like mothers to Steven, Amethyst has always been more like a big sister. They share the same love of jokes and silliness, TV and food. And I was waiting and waiting for the show to honour that relationship. When Amethyst first realised her similarity to Steven, she saw it as a bad thing (’Now I’m the worst Crystal Gem’ - being like Steven means being bad like Steven), but now her peer relationship with Steven is shown to be something beautiful, powerful and precious - it results in Steven’s first Gem fusion, full of joy at the place where their personalities join, just like Opal is full of calm. She named herself. My heart.
And the conclusion of Jasper’s arc. Somebody on Tumblr pointed out that Peridot had to be driven to the end of her rope before she joined up with the Crystal Gems; her limb enhancers gone, her plans exhausted, the threat of death hanging over her. Before she could reach out to the Gems, she had to lose everything else. I knew that they’d have to break Jasper the same way, and that it would take more doing because she had more status and, being older, more identity beforehand. But I did NOT foresee that they would do it like this. By her own standards, she could not have debased herself more completely: allying herself with corrupted Gems, then losing to a fusion of two Gems she considered defective; trying to fuse with one of the monsters she’d been taunting seconds before, crying when it left her and finally turning into the same thing herself.
She actually says herself what I’ve said above - the Crystal Gems collect broken Gems. But rather than seeing it as a second chance like the audience does, she sees it as a trap. Her point of view at the end of the episode was so twisted and yet so breathtakingly understandable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character humanised so much so fast.
‘Everything I try to fuse with leaves me.’
I’m still holding out for a Jasper redemption arc, but from a storytelling point of view it makes sense to leave things where they are. We’ve seen Lapis turn from being frightened and defensive to friendly; we’ve seen Peridot go from trying to kill the Gems to trying to protect Steven. I think we needed to see what happens to the character who rejects the hand that’s offered them, who can’t let in love and trust because they won’t let go of their fear. We’ve seen Jasper humanised and in pain, but refusing to let go, and we’ve seen how that leads her to destroy herself.
And Amethyst’s compassion at the end. ‘Here you go, sister.’ I love you, Amethyst. I love you so much.