Okay can I just. Steven curling into his tiny bubble after sending Eyeball Ruby floating off into space was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve seen on a show with a whole lot of tragic backstory and heartbreak. Then, combined with that conversation with the Crystal Gems at the end of the episode about Rose doing what was best for the Earth and Steven’s quiet little “Thank you for telling me”…. That is going to HAUNT me, man.
Because Steven never gives up, never lets anyone go. He wanted to keep searching for Malachite even after Lapis repeatedly told him to stop, he refused to let Peridot stay bubbled when he thought there was a chance she might be willing to help them, he’s desperate to find a cure for corruption for centi and all the gems in the temple, and now Jasper too. To send Eyeball flying off into space like that… I mean, narratively, yeah, there’s good chance she’ll beat the impossible odds and come back later, but realistically, from Steven’s perspective, he might as well have shattered her then and there. Because sooner or later she’s going to hit another rock and crack or shatter or she’ll fall into a star and melt or she’ll get drawn into a black hole and there will be nothing she can do about it, and she’ll be left to die alone in the vastness of empty space.
So that he was forced to do that, forced to choose between letting them both die out there and saving himself at the cost of her life, that would be painful enough for him, and to have that come right on the heels of learning about what Rose did… While in some measure it’s comforting to know he hasn’t failed his mother, because she would have made the same choice, in some ways it’s even more painful because it reinforces the knowledge that there really WASN’T another choice. That there really isn’t always a high road to take, that sometimes difficult, horrible decisions have to be made - and that if anything there are only more of them in his future