Steven Universe Rewind: Hit the Diamond

Episode Description: Steven and the Gems play an old-fashioned game of baseball.

If you thought Hit the Diamond might refer to the matriarchs of Gem society revealed last season, you’d be sorely disappointed, because the description above is very literally what happens. If you want to watch one of the funniest episodes of Steven Universe, though, you won’t be disappointed.

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.

This episode picks up directly from the end of Barn Mates. After Lapis slams the Roaming Eye into a diamond-shaped indent on the ground, a Ruby with her gem in the place of her eye emerges. This is Eyeball, and she is voiced by Charlene Yi, as is Garnet’s Ruby and all other Rubies in this episode.

Future Vision

As noted in the last episode, Eyeball puts in the most apperances of any of the Ruby Squad. She’ll later try to kill Steven when they’re both stranded in space, show up as a witness in his trial, and then fuse with Aquamarine to try to kill Steven again.

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One funny thing about this is that Eyeball clearly sees all of the Crystal Gems standing around as she emerges, but then seems fully tricked by Ruby and Steven later. It’s possibly a continuity error, but I like to think that she did realize what was going on but didn’t want to make waves or go against the rest of her squad. It’s not like Homeworld prizes their Ruby soldiers being perceptive or forward-thinking.

Army is nicknamed for the Gem on her arm. She seems to love fighting, and comes out of the ship kicking and punching.

The next out of the ship is Navy, whose gem is on her navel. She’s excited and happy about the “lovely planet.”

Future Vision

She stars in Room for Ruby, where it’s revealed that her cheerful demeanor is actually covering up a manipulative Gem who takes pleasure in betraying Steven.

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Leggy — with her gem on her leg, naturally — is constantly unnerved and confused about everything around her. There’s a bit of concept art for her that indicates she was “made yesterday,” and considering what we know about Gems, that might actually be literal.

The final Ruby to emerge is Doc, who seems to be the leader of the group. She has a yellow visor similar to Peridot’s, which may be a common feature among Gems who serve Yellow Diamond, considering Jasper can summon one too. She’s tracking a particular Gem that their scanners locked onto.

The Gems have hidden in the barn. Peridot continues to assume they’re after her, and Lapis is surprised at this apparent proof that Homeworld is after Peridot. “I disobeyed a direct order from Yellow Diamond, and I called her a clod to her face,” Peridot explains.

“Oh, honestly, you call everyone a clod,” Pearl points out.

Peridot hides under a box full of baseball equipment, marked “Baseball Joe.” She says that Yellow Diamond has “command over all the armies in Homeworld.”

Future Vision

When we get further insight into the Diamond Authority, it seems this is indeed the case, with Yellow Diamond in charge of the military. It’s unclear if this has always been her function, or if she took over more of the military duties since Blue Diamond has largely given up her leadership role and White Diamond seems to be detached from Gem society.

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Steven promises they’ll protect Peridot. “Haven’t I caused you enough trouble?” she says miserably. I think that, even though she’s thrown in her lot with the Crystal Gems, she doesn’t necessarily realize yet that that means they’ll help her when she needs it, and not just in exchange for work or information.

Garnet: It’s our sworn duty to protect anything that calls this planet home. And that includes clods like you.

Peridot: That’s my word.

I don’t have much to add to this, this exchange is just extremely cute.

Garnet has a plan. For the first time on the show, she willingly unfuses. Steven runs in for a hug, and I don’t blame him — look at these cuties.

Their plan is to send Ruby out to infiltrate the Ruby Squad. “Just act casual,” says Sapphire.

None more casual.

As Ruby walks up to the Squad, Doc explains that they’re “here to retrieve the leader of the Earth mission.” She also notices that there seem to be more Rubies than usual. She counts them, but forgets to count herself, making the count of five correct. This calls back to The Answer where Ruby seemed momentarily confused by how many Rubies there were.

Ruby helpfully points out that the Gem they’re looking forward to is definitely not in the barn that they haven’t even noticed yet. When Doc says that maybe they should check, Ruby volunteers to look herself.

The Gems panic that the Rubies are going to enter the barn, and Amethyst proposes ambushing them. Sapphire says that no one needs to get hurt, and tells Ruby to tell the Squad that the barn is just a place where humans live. Ruby doesn’t want to go out there alone, so Steven volunteers to accompany her. Amethyst hands him a baseball bat for “backup.”

Future Vision

As cute as Ruby and Sapphire are in this episode, the fact that they’re close to incapable of functioning on their own points to their bigger issues that will come spilling out in Season 5. Their relationship, while loving, is not entirely healthy, and they later learn to balance out fused time with separate activities. This also points to why Steven’s proposal that he and Connie go to college as Stevonnie would be such a terrible idea — permanent fusion at such a formative age would prevent them from developing full personalities of their own.

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Ruby nervously explains that all she found in the barn was a bunch of humans, like Steven. Doc wants to search the barn anyway. “You remember what happened last time,” she says, and everyone but Leggy laughs.

Steven comes up with a hasty excuse: they can’t go into the barn because of a human tradition. They must play baseball, and if they win, they can search the barn, but if they lose, they have to leave.

Somehow, the Rubies are convinced.

“I saw that this was a possibility, though I am surprised this is the path we’re taking.” Makes you wonder how many weird futures Garnet sees that she discounts as being unlikely.

Steven tells them they’re going to have to go pretend to be humans, except for Peridot, who has to stay in the barn and hide.

Steven asks Lapis if she’s in. She laughs and says “this plan sucks,” but she apparently agrees to it anyway. The fact that she’s willing to pretend to be a human and go along with Steven’s crazy plan in order to save Peridot goes to show how much she’s willing to do for Steven (and, I suppose, that she at least doesn’t want to see Peridot dragged off by a Homeworld squad). I love her aloof teen energy in this episode.

In one of my favorite gags on the show, we see the Crystal Gems’ human disguises, starting with not-disguised-at-all Steven.

(fake deep voice) EARL

Amy!

Bob.

Her completely-done-with-everything facial expression is too perfect. “Bob” comes from the end of Ocean Gem, where Steven told her, “no prob, Bob,” and she corrected him on her name.

And Sophie!

Her outfit is too cute. This also proves that Sapphire has legs — we’ve never seen them underneath her geode-like skirt.

Steven explains the rules of the game. We see him pitching to Ruby, who intentionally strikes out.

Army gets angry with Ruby for swinging too slow, and takes a crack at it herself. She hits a home run, setting the ball on fire. Lapis helps by raising her hand to catch the ball long after it flies over her head.

After three Rubies strike out, they switch sides, and Amethyst is up to bat. She hits a home run and spin dashes around the bases, Sonic the Hedgehog style, making Doc suspicious. “Wow, that purple human is really good!” says Leggy.

Amethyst being careless isn’t their biggest problem, though. Sapphire is next up to bat, and she completely ignores the ball being pitched to her in favor of light banter with Ruby, who is playing catcher.

Steven: What’s going on? What are they doing?

Lapis: Flirting.

Pearl: Uh-oh.

Given Homeworld’s dim views of relationships and romance, it’s kind of funny that Lapis is the one who immediately recognizes flirting. Perhaps this kind of behavior was more acceptable among elites. I do appreciate that Pearl, who knows Garnet well, immediately realizes what a major problem this is.

They continue playing. True to her apathetic attitude, Lapis bunts and leisurely walks to first base.

Ruby and Sapphire continue to disrupt the game by not paying attention, to the point where Sapphire doesn’t even notice the baseball hitting her in the head. They’re incredibly cute, but it really goes to show how these two should probably unfuse naturally more, so they can exist near each other without becoming unable to function.

When a Ruby shatters the bat, Steven runs into the barn to get another one. Peridot asks if they’re winning. They look out at the field, where Ruby is giving Sapphire a batting lesson, apparently as an excuse to cuddle her. Eyeball glares at the camera.

Steven: We’re doing just fine! Everything’s going to be a-okay.

Peridot: You’re lying to me!

Steven: To make you feel better!

Peridot: Thank you!

Like any good baseball story, it has to come down to the final at bat. The Rubies have one more point than the “Humans,” Lapis is on second base, and they have two strikes. This means that Sapphire needs to hit a home run. Steven calls a time out and admonishes Ruby to stop being cute and Sapphire to keep her eye on the ball. “Pun intended?” asks Ruby. “What did I just say?” says Steven.

Sapphire says it’s hard to look at the ball when all she wants to look at is Ruby. Ruby says she can look at her when she’s running for home. This gives Sapphire the motivation she needs to hit a home run, turning the bat to ice in the process.

Sapphire runs for home, jumping into Ruby’s arms and immediately fusing into Garnet. “Whoops,” says Garnet, once she realizes what she’s done.

I have to think that Garnet probably used her future vision to see that Peridot was not actually in any real danger, as we’ll see, and that’s part of why she wasn’t taking this seriously at all. Otherwise, it’s a bit uncharacteristic of Garnet to carelessly endanger another Gem. On the other hand, other episodes show that Ruby and Sapphire on their own don’t always have the best judgement.

The Ruby Squad realizes that they’re Gems. Tag yourself.

The Ruby Squad merges into a five-Gem Giant Ruby. This fusion surpasses Alexandrite, which had four Gems, as the biggest fusion we’ve seen in terms of number of Gems. We saw back in The Answer that Rubies work in squads precisely so they can form larger Rubies – fusion among Gems of the same type is the only kind of fusion that the Gempire allows.

Peridot runs from the barn, yelling at the Giant Ruby to not hurt them. I love the running gag of Peridot falling on her face and running on all fours when nervous (as seen in Catch & Release). She runs between Giant Ruby and the Crystal Gems. It’s nice to see Peridot’s selfless side here, reminiscent of when she took responsibility for going to the Kindergarten in When It Rains.

Future Vision

I’ve talked about parallels between Steven and Peridot before, and here is another one: what Peridot does here is effectively the same as what Steven will do in I Am My Mother.

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Giant Ruby asks her if she’s the Peridot assigned to the failed Earth mission. “Not sure if ‘failed’ would be the right word,” Peridot says. She actually did, technically, complete her mission, which was to check on the Cluster – it just so happens that everything that happened afterwards was going against Yellow Diamond’s orders.

It turns out that the Ruby Squad was not hunting down Peridot in order to capture and punish her. They were actually looking for her so they could potentially locate Jasper. It seems that Jasper was the actual leader of the Earth mission – which makes sense, given her higher rank (going by the logic that Peridot considers Amethyst a higher rank than her due to being a Quartz).

Future Vision

In Beta, we discover that Jasper was a perfectly formed Quartz Soldier, which adds to her prestige. The Ruby Squad is incredibly impressed with Amethyst disguising herself as Jasper, showing her higher status in Gem Society.

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Given that Yellow Diamond blew up the communicator, it’s likely that she thinks Peridot is dead, anyway. She had no idea that Peridot could have survived that, and even if she did, she believes everyone on Earth will be dead soon from the Cluster emerging. It makes sense that they wouldn’t bother to retrieve a lowly Peridot, even to punish her. Jasper, however, still has value to the Gempire.

Peridot is offended that they don’t care about her, calling herself the “new leader of the Crystal Gems,” prompting a confused response from Pearl.

Future Vision

In Too Short to Ride, she also has this title on her parody-Twitter account. It’s unclear if she seriously believes this or if it’s just a way she’s coping with her new identity.

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Steven hastily lies that Jasper is on Neptune, and the Ruby Squad apparently buys it, happily going on their way. Eyeball remains behind briefly, looking absolutely furious, before she whispers “thank you” and returns to the ship.

This goes back to my theory that Eyeball is sharper than your average Ruby, and realizes she’s being tricked, but can’t do anything about it without making waves.

“Man, Rubies are dumb,” says Amethyst.

“Not all of them,” says Garnet, as the episode ends. Considering how Ruby acted throughout this episode, though, I’m not sure she made a good case for it here.

I don’t think Ruby is really dumb, however, nor are all the members of the Ruby Squad. What they are is uneducated, very much on purpose. Like many brutal dictatorships, it’s in the best interest of the Diamonds to not give their lowest footsoldiers much education, and to encourage them to never question things. This leads to a lot of Rubies acting “dumb” regardless of their actual intelligence.

This is one of the great episodes of Steven Universe: it’s one of the funniest, but also packs in a good amount of heart, between Ruby and Sapphire’s adorable flirting and Peridot attempting to turn herself in for the greater good. It’s easily one of the most quotable episodes, with hilarious facial expressions to boot. While writing this recap, it was difficult to not just screenshot everything and write out every joke!

Next Time on Steven Universe Rewind! Sadly, the Peridemption / Cluster arc has drawn to a close. We’re going to slow things down a bit with the pleasant but fairly inconsequential Steven Floats.