What stands out to you about Peridot? Her giant ego? Her childlike wonder at the simplest aspects of life on earth? Her giant ego? Her realistic depiction of psychological and physical disabilities? Her giant… hair?
Okay, admit it, it’s her ego. Peridot’s pathological narcissism is probably the most distinguishing, out-of-place and strangely endearing characteristics she’s expressed since we first met her. But do you ever wonder WHY peridot is like that?
She doesn’t seem to be very high-ranking, as Jasper was the leader of the earth mission and by her own claim the idea of a Peridot owning a Pearl seems a bit ridiculous. I doubt she’d be designed that way either, as there would be little value in engineering servants that are convinced they’re the ones who should be in charge.
No, Peridot’s inflated ego isn’t gemetic: It’s her justification for being allowed to exist!
Let’s go back a moment to a recent episode, one that’s given us a lot of insight into Peridot’s character. In Too Short To Ride, Peridot told us that she was grown in what in gem terms amounts to a drought or famine. Homeworld is running desperately low on resources, and in order to conserve resources, Peridots are now grown lacking even some of the most basic gem powers like shapeshifting.
Now, the fact that homeworld keeps making gems despite nutrient shortages sort of implies that gems are being killed in battle faster than they can capture or defend colonies, which means most of the gems dying are almost certainly Rubies and Quartzes. The end result is that even with rationing, very few new Peridots would be produced, or as she put it herself
“I do not have to grow! This height is indicative of my rarity and importance!”
Peridots are not rare gems, but her small stature, a symbol of her birth in a midst of a scarcity is something that few other Peridots have. She’s a cheap imitation, barely a Peridot at all, but she was created and deliberately designed to be the way she is, and to Peridot, who thought of her leaders as flawless and empire as the pinnacle of civilization, that means she has to be important. If she wasn’t, then why was she there? She’s there because she’s useful!
Peridot: Don’t you see? None of that matters! All that matters is that I’m of use to Yellow Diamond!
I can’t imagine this was easy for her. She’s weak, powerless, low ranking, and to many (particularly military types like Jasper) an indulgence of a a being. In those circumstances, her only options were narcissism and despair, so she picked the one that allowed her to survive.
Maybe that’s what gave her the strength in Message Recieved to stand up to Yellow Diamond herself.
Peridot: The organic ecosystem creates resources unique to this world, we can’t sacrifice all that potential just for one geo-weapon! I’d like to tell you some plans I came up with to utilize a planet without disrupting the local -
Yellow Diamond: I’ve heard enough! I don’t care about potential and resources.
After everything she’d been through, Peridot found the purpose she needed to justify her own existence, the reason she was useful. She’d found an ecosystem that could breathe new life into her own species, and proven herself every bit as important as she thought she was.
And Yellow Diamond shut her down.
Ask me: What do I know about what what happens when an unstoppable derision meets an unmovable ego?