ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Jun. 17Th, 2015
SYNOPSIS: The Crystal Gems return to Kindergarten to find Peridot, only to discover something horrifying lurking underneath.
Garnet issues an emergency meeting with the rest of the Crystal Gems so they can discuss the whereabouts of Peridot. She also brought them together so they can help Steven fold his many, many, many star shirts. They fear Peridot will still reactivate Kindergarten, so they have to find her before she succeeds.
The Crystal Gems check out the place afterwards, searching everywhere until Steven fatefully runs into Peridot. The rest of the Crystal Gems catch up, but Peridot’s wiliness (and a good amount of luck) keeps her a good distance away. While Pearl and Amethyst give chase, Garnet takes Steven deeper into Kindergarten. She realizes something isn’t adding up because if Peridot had planned to activate Kindergarten, the machines would have been turned on in the first place. Peridot’s mission must be something else entirely.
The two stumble upon a secret base underneath Kindergarten where they witness one of the creepiest sights this show has slapped onto us. Emerging from the mineral pillars dotting the base are piles of limbs smashed together. They crawl towards Steven and Garnet, earning their disgust. Destroying them reverts them back to their dormant Gem states, but instead of a singular Gem, they look like two or more Gems clumsily glued together. Garnet is so horrified that she can barely move, let along register the nightmare she sees before her eyes.
An amalgamous monstrosity approaches Garnet and manhandles her. Garnet tells Steven that they were fallen Crystal Gems kidnapped by Homeworld and forced to fuse together. This was punishment for the rebellion! Instead of a perfect union born out of two consensual Gems, they instead turned into a mixed mess with barely any sentience to speak of. Garnet is so put off that she nearly lets the Amalgamous Gem split her in two. Steven’s plea gets her on top of things and she punches the creature back to their dormant state. Once Pearl and Amethyst rejoins the group, Garnet orders every fused Gems in the base to be bubbled and kept safe for the time.
The next day, Steven catches Garnet in the laundry room. Garnet regrets showing her worst side in front of him, but fusion is very much a key part of who she is and her reaction was understandable. Seeing Gems forced to fuse against their wishes is everything that she is against. It isn’t fusion when none of them were given a choice. As is standard of Steven Universe, the show uses the Gems’ unique biology to talk about the issue of proper consent and the choice an individual is allowed to make with their own body versus those who were forced to do so. Steven politely asks what it’s like to fuse permanently. Garnet answers that she’s still herself as much as she is Ruby and Sapphire. Even if they separate, Garnet will always exist because she is a reminder of the love they share. This is the choice they made and it’s why Garnet is so great. You don’t want to break up a pair, they belong together.