Steven Universe's fifth of five new episodes continues to slow down the pace, following the more introspective episodes of the past two or three weeks. Tonight's final installment — at least, for the time being — isn't quite filler, but it comes close. Thankfully, even the less plot-driven adventures on Steven Universe are worth watching.
The Crystal Gems revolutionize America's pasttime in "Hit the Diamond"
"Hit the Diamond" picks up right where "Barn Mates" left off, revealing that the leering Ruby that crash landed on the Gems' property isn't alone. She's, in fact, one of five identical Rubies, and Peridot's convinced that they were sent to Earth to take her out. She's Homeworld's biggest traitor, after all, by her own estimation.
Well, the Rubies might look exactly the same, but they've each got a distinct personality. Like Snow White's Dwarves, Yellow Diamond's Rubies range from dopey to grumpy to steely; what they do all have in common is their hatred for Peridot.
The wimpy Peridot we've come to really know and love over the past four weeks is in top form tonight, spending much of the episode curled up in the fetal position inside of the barn. In fact, most of the Gems spend their time out of sight this time around, instead letting a certain sleeper agent take the spotlight.
Yep, Ruby and Sapphire stop by for an appropriate re-appearance. Garnet breaks herself down into her separate, extremely flirty halves in order to help Peridot out. Ruby's plan is obvious — sneak into the group of angry, extraterrestrial Gems to thwart their capture of Peridot — but it's amazingly fun to watch her terrible attempt to enact it.
Everything is obvious, but amazingly fun
"Just go out there and tell them that this is a place where humans live," instructs Sapphire, who is the collected ego to Ruby's manic id. Sweaty and shaking, Ruby tries to blend in with her similar-looking kind, and, thankfully, their inability to count helps her keep her cover. Even better are her exasperated measures to keep the other Rubies in the dark about the Gems, leading to the greatest human vs. non-human sports match ever seen.
While a baseball game isn't the most climactic way to end what, at first pass, seemed to be a future showdown of major ramifications, it's a great way to get the band back together again. The past four episodes have mostly focused on Steven, Peridot and Lapis, each of whom are great here. But Pearl and Amethyst have rarely been as funny as they are during the baseball game, where they don the human disguises of "Earl" and "Amy."
The baseball scene serves to highlight each of the character's strengths: Steven is the eternal optimist, Pearl is intensely dedicated, Amethyst is a loose cannon, and Ruby and Sapphire are the hot and cold lovers; Lapis, the newest member of the team, easily fills the role of apathetic teen.
It's all fun and games until the Rubies catch onto the ruse. These are Gems they're playing against, and precisely the Gems they've been looking for — something that's especially clear when Peridot runs out of her hiding spot to help protect her friends.
Thankfully, the Rubies aren't much more than easily manipulated "clods," as Peridot would say. A lie from Steven re-routes them to Neptune in search of the missing Jasper.
In summary: "Man, Rubies are dumb." And thus ends our latest Steven Bomb.
- Lapis' turn on the baseball diamond was the best scene she's been in yet. She's really branching out from damaged former prisoner into an exciting and well-defined character in her own right.
- That whole baseball montage was the tops. The names each Gem took for themselves as "humans" were perfect. Lapis as Bob? Amazing.
- I love Ruby and Sapphire as much as the next girl, but those two are like the most annoying couple you know: so touchy-feeling and unaware of anyone but each other. Their love is super real and super cute, but damn. Take a breather, ladies, and keep your eyes on the ball!
- It's certainly interesting to see how different Gems of the same type can be. I appreciated the diverse personality types on display from the Ruby gang.