After “The Answer” aired, I saw a lot of people talking about Garnet, Ruby, Sapphire and what it all meant for the Gems. And maybe I just haven’t been following the right people and so have missed it, but I haven’t really seen much discussion on something that, while not center-stage like Garnet’s story, was, in way, just as impactful.
Or rather, our first glimpse of a Pearl other than the Crystal Gem Pearl.
We’ve known for a while, thanks to Peridot, that on Homeworld Pearls are considered nothing more than decoration and a sign of status/wealth.
And the Pearl Blue Diamond has with her seems to support that idea.
During “The Answer” this Pearl doesn’t really do anything. She seems to really just be there for decoration, and doesn’t even react when the fighting begins.
She stands there the entire time, a vast contrast to how CG Pearl behaves. And it seems that everything about her is designed to de-personify her.
She never speaks, and only moves once during the entire episode, when Sapphire tells Blue Diamond the rebels will be captured and the rebellion will end.
And any thought that maybe CG Pearl is fundamentally different from other Pearls, and that maybe Homeworld Pearls don’t mind the way they’re treated, is immediately squashed when, despite her little screentime, this Pearl shows she has feelings.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look emotionless to me. It looks like someone who is unhappy.
I mean, no wonder. She’s a thinking, feeling being that’s treated like a pretty vase or a particularly nice wall hanging.
But she also shows this display of feeling when Sapphire declares the rebels will lose the next battle. This Pearl seems upset at that, and you can’t mistake it, because the camera focuses on her and her reaction during this scene.
I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the Crystal Gem Pearl might be secretly admired by the Homeworld Pearls. At the very least, this Pearl seems upset on the behalf of the Crystal Gems.
But I also feel that there’s something else important that this Pearl shows us, alongside providing an example for what Peridot said about Pearls on Homeworld.
Take a look at her again:
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, and this Pearl’s eyes are covered. Perhaps all Pearls on Homeworld wear their hair like this, but either way it makes it easier to forget that she’s a person when you don’t have to look at her face.
And it’s probably easier for Homeworld Gems to forget that Pearls are Gems too when Pearls cover their gems.
That’s right. This Pearl obscures her face and her gem. You see how she’s holding her hands? To anyone approaching Blue Diamond, those hands would be in front her gem, keeping it from view. Like so:
I mean, I could be wrong. But either way it serves as a sharp contrast to the Crystal Gem Pearl when she shows up moments later.
Look at the difference.
CG Pearl is undeniably a person. Everything about her screams she is a person.
Her feelings are clear on her face, and in her brief fight she goes through a wide range of expressions. Her hair is swept back away from her face, her gem on prominent display. She’s not quiet either, announcing herself with Rose Quartz and making sounds as she fights. She doesn’t stay still, either. She jumps across the screen as she takes Gems down one by one.
And her eyes are big.
As a Crystal Gem, Pearl is forcing Homeworld to recognize her personhood. To recognize her as a Gem, and not some pretty decoration.
She’s strong, and a brilliant fighter, and if she’s got that potential, maybe other Pearls do too.
She’s denying everything Homeworld considers Pearls to be.
Connie, for a school project:So--how did you join the Crystal Gems?
Pearl:Well, the Crystal Gems technically didn't exist when I "joined!" You see, Rose Quartz took me aside to tell me that she was going to fight for this planet. I told her that I wanted to stay by her side...and so we founded the Crystal Gems. Together, we protected Earth's living creatures by foiling Blue Diamond's attempts to complete the Gem Colony! Oh, it was all very romanti--erm, I mean...inspiring! Yes! Right, Garnet? Garnet?
Garnet:I fell down a hill. When I stopped falling, Pearl and Rose Quartz were there. I expected them to be upset, but they were interested in how I felt. They affirmed my existence as me. So I stayed with them, and fought for this planet.
Amethyst:IDK...Rose found me on my rock and took me home to the temple, I guess...!
Steven:I've been one since I was born!
Peridot:........I called Yellow Diamond a clod....