Some Thoughts: Navy, the Ruby Squad, and what it holds for the Crystal Gems
Anonymous said: If you’ve seem “Room For Ruby”, what are your your thoughts on Navy now?
Now that we know the whole truth, it’s debatable whether Steven was copying Navy’s mannerisms–
or Navy was copying Steven’s.
In fact, now that we know the whole truth, it’s a little difficult not to put context into the things Navy was saying.
“All the other Rubies are mean to me. I just want to be somewhere where I can be myself.”
“It’s almost like, it’s always changing!”
In hindsight, it’s worth noting that these words are exactly what the Crystal Gems would have wanted to hear from her: Earth as a place where things can change, where gems can grow and be who they want to be. I raised an eyebrow when she talked about the other Rubies’ being mean to her because when we analyse their dynamics it seems rather farfetched that Navy would declare she felt this way.
To me, this indicates there’s more than meets the eye in this episode. A lot of moments felt very discordant with how we expected things to play out, not only with Navy, but also with the Crystal Gems and how they were acting.
I think this episode holds some implications for how the Ruby Squad operates as well as what it’ll be like when we see the Rubies next time. Given that, let’s get to it.
1. We don’t give the Rubies enough credit
When last we saw them, the Ruby Squad, they were almost successfully ambling towards each other in Adventures in Light Distortion. That means upon getting tossed into outer space, they individually decided that they had to get back to one another.
In Room for Ruby, we find out that all along, Navy’s goal was to get back the Ruby Ship. Somewhere up in space, either she or the Squad put together a plan with several contingencies. And getting their ship back is a smart move for the Rubies because they’re currently adrift in space with no means of propulsion. Getting the ship back would be the fastest way to reconvene and regroup.
At the heart of it, we can’t forget that Rubies are soldiers. That means they’re trained to survive in the most chaotic circumstances. In those moments, it’s doubtful that another gem will be present and serving as commander, which is why it’s significant that Doc is the clear-cut leader.
Meanwhile, it’s become a bit of an inside joke that nobody trusts Rubies to do anything right in the show, everyone says as much, “Man, Rubies are dumb.” It’s odd then that the exact opposite is being done. Rubies are trusted with their own missions. If they weren’t to be trusted at all, then another gem would be coming along to supervise.
It’s believable that a single Ruby could serve as guard to a gem as rare and important as Sapphire, both in The Answer, and even in the modern Gem Heist. In both cases, there is no other gem making sure the Rubies get the job done.
These instances stand in sharp contrast to Holly Blue’s role in the lives of the Famethyst, gems perceived to be of much higher standing than Rubies. Their being Earth gems plays a factor in this infantilisation, but the Rubies aren’t just innocuous foot soldiers either.
As mentioned, they’re trained to survive, and that requires a certain degree of autonomy and resourcefulness, training and preparing. Homeworld trusts them to go on missions successfully, and it’s no surprise that the Rubies expected to successfully complete their Earth mission.
Rubies aren’t innocuous. Eyeball knew exactly how to approach meeting Rose Quartz; she went for the kill the moment it was confirmed. Navy planned exactly how to deceive the Crystal Gems.
That Garnet saw it as a possibility prior to the end of the episode means hearkens back to how her future vision works. Garnet explores paths that she feels are within the realm of plausibility. That’s why she didn’t see Pearl’s deception in Cry for Help, because she found the idea too implausible to entertain and explore. But Garnet herself said “Not all of them” in response to the idea that “Rubies are dumb.” She would know firsthand that there’s more to a Ruby than the bumbling outer appearance.
While I don’t think “monotone” was the most accurate way to describe Garnet’s reaction when she realised Navy deceived all of them, I do agree that there seemed to be a lack of concern now that a potentially dangerous group of gems now has access to a reality-bending ship.
It appears she is either running through some possibilities or she doesn’t see this as a huge setback or threat for the CGs. These aren’t mutually exclusive, but that they aren’t jumping to action could also be indicative of their knowing that they don’t have the resources to go after said reality-bending ship. Garnet isn’t the type to openly worry, and from her standpoint, there is nothing they can do, unless at one point someone placed a tracking device on the ship. So worrying wouldn’t have done anything and preparations for the future don’t have to be done immediately.
And I feel that fits in perfectly with the theme of the show, which always says not to judge or presume things about other individuals. It was easy to label the Rubies as adorable and ‘smol’ and therefore harmless; just as it was initially easy for many to paint Jasper as filled with bloodlust. It’s consistent that the Rubies, initially portrayed as comic relief in Hit the Diamond, would have a lot more going underneath.
They are a cohesive unit that trusts one another and trains future Rubies. Earth wasn’t their first mission and they’re determined not to make it their last. They have all the skills a resource-deprived civilisation can equip them with so that more resources aren’t wasted. And I’ll be talking about those special set of skills next.
2. Room for Ruby emphasises differentiation among the members of the Ruby Squad