Steven Universe Rewind – Catch and Release

Spoiler Policy: All spoilers up to and including the currently discussed episode will be unmarked. Spoilers for episodes beyond the current point will be enclosed in Future Vision blocks, which will include spoilers for the entire series.

Episode Description: We finally see inside Steven’s bathroom.

Yes, that’s right, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for — getting to see inside of Steven’s bathroom!

I guess it’s also the beginning of my favorite story arc concerning my favorite Gem or whatever. We’ll get to that. But first, we have the promised bathroom footage, as Steven gets ready for bed, brushing his teeth and polishing his gem.

“Good night, Happy Bear. Good night, Sad Bunny. Good night, Playful Kitty. Good night, ominous triangle at the foot of my bed.”

Steven opens his eyes again, and said ominous triangle is gone. I appreciate both this gag and the fact that we’re getting straight to the point of this episode, as seconds later, Peridot kidnaps Steven.

Peridot drags Steven to the Galaxy Warp, which is fairly impressive given she would’ve had to get him down the stairs while off-balance and missing her foot — since she was forced to leave it behind in Friend Ship. She demands that Steven fix the warp so she can make it off world. Steven seems surprised by this, although he really shouldn’t be, given that that’s been her apparent goal from Cry for Help onwards.

“You’re my last chance. I’ve got no flask robonoids. I’ve got no foot! I’ve got no response from Yellow Diamond! I know you fixed Lazuli’s gem. Whatever you did, you’ve got to do it to the Homeworld Warp! Or else!”

Her lack of flask robonoids is really no one’s fault but her own, given she was the one who disabled them all with an EMP blast in Warp Tour. You’d imagine that her ship might have had some of the necessary tools, but she probably couldn’t get close enough before the Crystal Gems cleaned up the debris. Her lack of foot, of course, is because she had to leave it behind when Steven grabbed onto it in her last appearance. We also have confirmation that no one responded to Peridot’s broadcast in Cry for Help.

Future Vision

Given that Yellow Diamond offers to send a ship to pick up Peridot when she finally contacts her in Message Received, it seems likely that the message was simply never heard, not just ignored.

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The fact that Peridot knows that Steven healed Lapis’ gem is interesting, given that Lapis said she didn’t tell anyone about Steven in The Message. The crew later clarified that Lapis had been interrogated about Steven when he was captured but before he woke up in Jail Break.

Incidentally, this was the very first Steven Universe gif I ever saved for later use, because it so perfectly encapsulates A Mood.

Steven licks his hand and applies it to the warp, but nothing happens. His healing powers still aren’t working after he lost his confidence in House Guest.

Future Vision

Steven’s healing powers won’t definitively come back until Monster Reunion, although, given how he uses them subconsciously to heal himself, it’s probable that they never fully went away.

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Despite the fact that Peridot was threatening Steven with her blaster, when he can’t fix the warp, she doesn’t shoot him — instead, she laughs out of panic and crumples up into a miserable little ball, claiming that Steven was her last shot. Indeed, given how she’s been fairly clever at evading the Crystal Gems up until now, you know she must be running out of ideas if she resorts to the highly risky plan actually going to the beach house and kidnapping Steven.

She cries that she’s going to die on Earth. Steven says it’s not so bad here, and Peridot responds: “it doesn’t matter what Earth is like! It’s not going to be like anything soon!” I love the stressed-out way she jams her limb enhancers into her hair and mouth.

It’s also notable how Steven shifts immediately into trying to comfort Peridot even though she just kidnapped him and threatened his life. It’s consistent with the fact that he’s always seemed to see Peridot as a friend waiting to happen instead of a dangerous enemy, such as when he greets her cheerfully in Friend Ship.

Future Vision

Back in Ocean Gem, I wrote a bit about how Steven’s success with befriending Lapis informs his interactions with Homeworld Gems throughout the series, especially here. Just as with Lapis, he has the idea that he can help her out and win her as a friend — and in this case, not only is he right, he’s so right that it was probably the only way the world could have been saved. Future attempts to befriend Homeworld Gems won’t always go so well, however.

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Before Steven can get Peridot to elaborate on her alarming statement, the Crystal Gems show up. It seems likely that Garnet had to use her Future Vision to tell where Steven had gone — although she doesn’t seem to see that Steven will eventually free Peridot again, probably because Steven, as she’ll later confess, is sometimes difficult for her to predict. (Or else, she does see it and she’s playing a long game because it turns out to be the best outcome — she usually can’t seem to see that far ahead, though.)

They fight, but Peridot is out of new tricks, and this time the Crystal Gems know how to counter her old ones. Amethyst grabs her with her whip when she tries to fly off, and when she tries to electrify the whip like she did in Keeping It Together, Garnet counters it and sends the electrical charge back.

As Peridot is cornered and charging up her blaster, she tries to negotiate with the Crystal Gems: “Wait, wait, you need me! I’m the only one who knows about the –” Garnet grabs her and squeezes her before she can finish her sentence, poofing her.

Future Vision

Given how durable Peridot is shown to be in future episodes, Garnet is incredibly strong to be able to do this.

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As Peridot poofs, her metal arms and legs fall to the ground, proving that they were never part of her body. Pearl in particular is shocked, having never seen something like this. Amethyst “accidentally” gathers them up and drops them into the ocean.

Future Vision

We’ll later learn that the Crystal Gems are unfamiliar with limb enhancers because they are an Era 2 invention. They’re a way the Gems are using technology to deal with the fact that they’re running out of the resources needed to make full-size Gems with natural powers. Much later, Amethyst, who is also much shorter than her “proper” height as a Quartz, will be forced to wear limb enhancers as part of attending the Era 3 ball.

Peridot never replaces her limb enhancers, even long after she has full access to Homeworld technology. It’s likely that by the time she was able to replace them, she no longer wanted them, having learned new abilities that help her work and defend herself without the limb enhancers. She potentially also sees them as symbolic of the way Homeworld shortchanged her on resources and considers her shameful and inferior.

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Steven is disturbed, saying that Peridot was trying to tell them something. “Those are just the desperate lies of a Gem who’s been caught,” says Garnet. This is a good example of Garnet being a little too stubborn and ignoring things that she doesn’t really want to hear, as she’s done in the past. In fact, the way they all dismiss Steven here is reminiscent of Warp Tour. In that case, it was largely because they were in denial that a Homeworld Gem could come to Earth; in this case, it’s because they’re far too eager to be done with the Homeworld Gem who invaded Earth. Steven’s come a long way since then, and the Gems are wrong to dismiss him like this — and Steven seems to know it, leading to his actions later.

When first watching this, I was kind of disturbed that their plan is apparently to just bubble Peridot indefinitely. Yes, the Gems have reason to believe she’s a dangerous enemy. From Peridot’s point of view, she’s getting eternal imprisonment for the crime of trying to do her job — no wonder she was so desperate to run away! At the very least it seems like she deserves to get to say her piece before being bubbled. If Steven hadn’t changed their course, this decision would have ended in the entire Earth being destroyed.

Back at the house, Steven is sitting in bed with Peridot’s abandoned foot, looking pretty upset about the entire thing. Amethyst pounces at him: “I’m back to kidnap you! It’s been long enough that we can joke about it, right?”

Steven tries twice to ask Amethyst something, but changes his mind both times. He’s usually a little more open with Amethyst, but it’s apparent that he doesn’t really think she’d understand his problem. “If you need anything, I’ll be in my room eating garbage,” says Amethyst. Same, Amethyst.

Steven lies back on his bed, looking at Peridot’s foot. “Why were you so scared? What were you going to say? Now you’re deep in the Temple in a bubble, and I’ll never know. If I could just talk to you for one more second…”

Rose’s Room opens up in response to his wish. Steven’s empathy here, and his reluctance to just give up and accept the other Gems’ judgement, drives one of the most critical decisions of the entire show.

Steven tells the room that he needs to talk to Peridot, and it produces a cloud Peridot that repeats her last line. Rose’s Room doesn’t seem to be able to produce knowledge its inhabitants don’t already have, though, so fake Peridot can’t tell Steven what he wants to know. Steven asks for a way down to the real basement, and Rose’s Room reveals a pole for him to slide down. This route to the Burning Room was last seen all the way back in Together Breakfast.

After a rough landing, Steven locates Peridot’s gem and pops the bubble. She reforms mid-sentence and mid-action, which would seem to indicate that Gems in bubbles are effectively unconscious. Oh, and also, without her limb enhancers, she is tiny, almost the same size as Steven. She was charging her blaster before being poofed, but now she just wriggles her hand uselessly, panicking at her lack of limb enhancers.

The background music here is a bouncier version of her original theme, “Little Peridot,” which becomes her standard theme music for the rest of the show.

Steven declares Peridot to be cute and “like an angry little slice of pie.” He’s really lucky that she turns out tiny and defenseless without her enhancers, considering he’s down here alone with her and without any of the Gems knowing — but then, Peridot wasn’t going to hurt him before when he failed to fix the warp, so he’s probably banking on the idea that she won’t now that he freed her. Peridot, for her part, is none too happy about this indignity.

Future Vision

Peridot panicking about her lack of limb enhancers is funny, but a bit poignant when you learn her circumstances. She’s likely never been without them, and since she was born smaller than Era 1 Gems and without a natural weapon or special abilities (or so she thinks), she is effectively defenseless here.

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Peridot sees the bubbled Gems and is understandably terrified. “You’re going to harvest me?!” she says.

Future Vision

We never actually learn what harvesting is, although one could infer that it’s a horrible punishment. I always figured that harvesting was when they turn sentient Gems into Gem-powered objects, such as what happens to Lapis in the mirror, and perhaps also to the Gems in walls and statues.

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Peridot slaps Steven, and is surprised when it actually hurts him. She’s likely never been without her limb enhancers before, and she definitely hasn’t encountered a part-organic like Steven before. “Feel my unbridled rage!” she screams as she slaps Steven over and over, in what is one of her most Invader Zim-like moments.

Steven grabs her hands and stops her, seemingly to calm her down, but then plays the “what’s that on your shirt” gag on her. “What’s a shirt?” asks Peridot. Steven flicks her nose anyway. I love how Steven doesn’t really take Peridot’s “threats” at all seriously.

Future Vision

A minor thing, but this confirms that Homeworld Gems have no concept of clothing. Their only “clothes” is their uniform that they have from creation. Unlike the other Crystal Gems, Peridot makes no modifications to her outfit when she’s poofed, indicating that this is a thing Homeworld Gems do not normally do, and it is likely even forbidden. Later on, in Log Date 7 15 2, Peridot discovers clothes and is immediately fascinated by “appearance modifiers.” Steven’s gift to her in the final episode will be one of his old shirts, taking this somewhat full circle.

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Peridot lists her grievances: “You smashed me into a limbless clod! You trapped me in your bubble dungeon! And you called me cute!” She curls up into a tiny ball as Steven explains that he didn’t poof her, he freed her, because he wants to know what she knows.

Peridot says that she knows “everything there is to know about the Cluster, you pebble.” We first heard the Cluster mentioned in Jail Break.

Future Vision

Pebble seems like a random, rock-related insult, like clod, but it actually turns out to be a lower class of sentient servants in Homeworld.

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Peridot explains: “I was to check progress on the Cluster! Just in and out, before it hatches. I wasn’t supposed to get stuck here! But now it’s going to emerge and nothing can stop it and we’ll all be shattered!” This basically verifies something that’s been apparent for a while, that Peridot is basically just a cog in the wheel, attempting to complete a job assignment — and ending up stranded on a planet doomed to destruction with a group of rebellious Gems hunting her down. No wonder she’s so desperate.

Future Vision

In a couple of episodes, we’ll learn that the Cluster is an enormous fusion of Gem shards buried below the Earth, that will destroy the planet when it eventually manifests a physical form. Steven and Peridot will stop the Cluster together in Gem Drill, and the Cluster will actually become a friend of sorts, helping defend the Earth from the Diamonds in Reunited.

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Steven sits across from her in an attempt to have a calm conversation. Instead of explaining further about the Cluster, however, she attempts her own version of Steven’s trick: “What’s your shirt?” Steven inexplicably falls for it, and she flicks his nose and runs away. It’s another example of Peridot mimicking Steven’s behavior, much like she copied his taunt in Friend Ship.

Future Vision

Later, we’ll see that Peridot’s habit of mimicking those around her extends to her also being a very quick learner, particularly when social skills are not involved, picking up singing moments after hearing her first music, for example.

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Peridot doesn’t even notice that she runs straight over the warp pad as she attempts to run away.

“Freedom is mine!” she shouts. Unluckily for her, the Crystal Gems are right there. Amethyst shoves the entire pizza box into her mouth — it’s from Fish Stew Pizza.

“Look! Over there! Another planet to betray!” says Peridot, in an effort to distract them. Back in Marble Madness she had no idea who the Crystal Gems were, but it seems like she does now — Jasper quite possibly filled her in.

The Gems block off the exits. Peridot skitters around the house on all fours like a cat — she’s probably not very used to running without limb enhancers on. She also falls straight on her face, which you’d imagine can’t be good for her gemstone.

Peridot locks herself in the bathroom. She has no idea what its purpose is, calling it an “archaic think chamber” and commenting on its “fresh hint of Earth citrus.” When did she find Earth citrus, and do other planets have other kinds of citrus to compare it to? It’s been previously established that Gems don’t commonly eat — Amethyst, likely because of her Earth upbringing, is an exception — and so they have no need of bathrooms.

Future Vision

In Log Date 7 15 2, there was a deleted scene where Amethyst would teach Peridot how to eat. For Gems (apart from Steven), eating apparently requires shapeshifting a digestive system of sorts. Later, we learn that Peridot can’t shapeshift at all, and she is never actually seen eating, implying that she likely can’t do it.

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I’m trying not to put too many animated gifs in this article but there’s no way I could miss this one.

Peridot’s next action is to attempt to flush herself down the toilet in an attempt to escape, which goes as well as you’d imagine. “If you’re trying to flush yourself down the toilet, it won’t work. Believe me, I’ve tried,” says Amethyst.

The Crystal Gems don’t understand how she escaped, Garnet proclaiming that her bubbles are fine. Steven nervously confesses to releasing her. Steven nervously confesses that he did it because she knows something that’s made her scared.

“Duh, homegirl knows we’re gonna beat her into a green pancake,” says Amethyst. I know the focus is on Peridot here, but Amethyst gets some of her best lines in this episode.

Steven says she knows something about “the Cluster,” which neither Garnet nor Pearl has heard of. To their credit, they believe Steven now, and are interested in getting the information out of Peridot.

Garnet agrees to talk as Peridot looks at herself in the mirror. It seems as though she’s never actually seen herself — considering a Gem like her wouldn’t need to concern herself with her physical appearance once, she perhaps rarely or never sees it. Alternatively, she’s just surprised to see herself without limb enhancers.

Peridot calls Garnet a “filthy war machine,” prompting Garnet to threaten to kick her butt. In Jail Break, we saw that Jasper considers fusion only as a tactic for fighting, and Peridot seems to believe the same.

Future Vision

Peridot’s dim view of fusion — and her unease around Garnet — will appear again in Too Far, resulting in Garnet tying her to a post with a leash. In Log Date 7 15 2, Peridot will confront Garnet on why she remains fused all the time, and will learn a little bit about Garnet as a result.

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Peridot, hanging off of the shower rod, screams that if they destroy her they won’t be able to talk to her. Pearl reluctantly agrees, because they need the information. Meanwhile, Peridot accidentally scalds herself on hot water. “You have to turn the knob the other way for cold,” Steven says, helpfully.

In a cute visual gag, Steven is drinking out of a mug that says “World’s Best Stephen” [sic]. He laments the fact that they’re just going to leave Peridot in the bathroom. Pearl says they have no choice unless they want to put her outside on a leash — an idea that she briefly considers.

Future Vision

They actually do keep Peridot outside on a leash in Too Far.

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Steven protests that he needs to use the bathroom. Amethyst says, “Just go in the ocean, bro. Pssssh. Like a feeeeeesh.”

“What’s with you guys and making me pee outside?” says Steven, a callback to Keystone Motel, where he had to go pee in the grass because Sapphire had frozen the bathroom.

“Well, I have fun doing it,” says Amethyst, confirming that Gems do pee. Amethyst previously stated that she enjoys the mush passing through her body when she eats, something Pearl finds horrifying.

The next morning, the Crystal Gems are discussing how even if they get Peridot out of the bathroom, she’ll never talk to them. Garnet correctly believes that the Cluster is connected to the Kindergarten experiments, and therefore important.

Meanwhile, Steven knocks on the bathroom door, and offers Peridot her foot if she’ll let him into the bathroom to get ready for the day. She hesitantly accepts this offer. It’s telling that the Crystal Gems, at this point, don’t seem to have considered getting Steven to talk to her as an option, even though he’s been by far the most successful.

Future Vision

More on this next week, but I think Garnet realizes that Steven is their best bet and deliberately leaves him alone with Peridot in When It Rains.

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Peridot is clinging to her foot by the bathtub. “What a great souvenir of that other time you assaulted me,” she says, referring to Steven catching her in Friend Ship. She asks if Steven has the rest of her limb enhancers, and he tells her they threw them away.

Future Vision

Peridot seems to come to associate Steven’s bathroom with being at her lowest point, because when she hits another major problem in her life — Lapis leaving with the barn — she ends up living in the bathtub for some time, listening to sad country music and refusing to leave.

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Peridot begins asking about things in the bathroom, wondering if Steven’s comb and toothbrush are weapons. When she asks if a towel is a weapon, Steven rolls it up to show how it could be one, and she flinches in fright. Steven reassures her that he’s not going to hurt her. He offers to help with the Cluster. “I doubt you can help me, but… I appreciate the offer,” says Peridot.

The way that Peridot assumes everything is a weapon and flinches away shows that she hasn’t had a very happy life so far. On the other hand, she’s also starting to show off her natural curiosity about the world, something that will become a key character trait for her.

Steven is pleased as punch that he’s starting to get through to Peridot, and thus, my favorite friendship on the series is born.

Future Vision

The other Gems’ ideas for getting Peridot to talk are pretty much just threats and coercion. Meanwhile, Steven befriends Peridot pretty quickly and effortlessly, winning her trust mostly just by being nice to hear and treating her as a friend. He’s fortunate that Peridot responds really well to just being treated decently — this definitely won’t be the case with many of the other Homeworld Gems he encounters.

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Deciding which episode of the series is my favorite is a very tough call, but this is probably my top pick, and likely the one I rewatch the most. It packs some of the series’ funniest jokes in with great character development for Steven and Peridot and a massive shake-up of the status quo. Peridot’s intense stress is far too relatable, and the other Gems, particularly Amethyst, get some great moments too. The best Steven Universe episodes pack a big punch in just eleven minutes, and this is one of the best examples.

We’re heading into my very favorite story arc and one of the reasons why I wanted to write this article series to begin with, and I’m very much looking forward to sharing my thoughts on these episodes with you! Thanks for reading my interminable rambling about Peridot.

Next week on Steven Universe Rewind! The friendship between Steven and Peridot continues to grow in When It Rains.