An Indirect Kiss gives us an interesting look at what happens when a gem is damaged, takes us to another new location, makes us wonder about Steven’s purpose, gives us something that might have crucial lore implications, and adds another power to Steven’s slowly growing list. As far as impact goes, this episode is long on speculation fuel and short on hard answers, but that’s alright: that’s how we like it around here.
Amethyst’s gem is cracked by a simple fall onto a rock. While she fell very far and so would have hit the rock with a lot of force, her body has withstood far more force in the past without any trouble at all. Much more delicate than the illusion of a body it was projecting, the gem started to malfunction as its damage progressed.
First only Amethyst’s appearance was changed, then her speech came out garbled, then her entire form became nonsensical (accompanied by some computer-glitch visual effects during the shift), and finally she seemed to be dying as a human might. All in all, this makes computer metaphors easier to use to describe Gems, but it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to fully appreciate the meaning of this all yet.
Rose’s Healing Spring
Rose’s Healing Spring, described by Pearl as “Rose’s most precious sanctuary”, is the second big location we’ve been shown that is associated with Rose Quartz. Unlike the Quartz Cave from Lion 2: The Movie, the other Gems know about the spring. Like most Gem locations, and also unlike the Quartz Cave, the spring is a place of great beauty once restored, and overflowing with magic.
Most interestingly, while immersed in his mother’s tears, Steven seems to see the statue bending down to offer a hand to him, though the episode doesn’t go anywhere with it and Steven doesn’t comment on it. Again, a subtle indicator that when characters say that Rose “gave up her physical form”, it doesn’t mean the same thing as death.
Rose’s role as leader
Pearl, having something of a meltdown due to the fountain’s rundown state, mentions that the brambles infesting it are “a mess without [Rose’s] guidance—directionless, pathetic clinging things” while clinging to Garnet. We’re clearly meant to understand that she’s projecting her own insecurities onto the brambles.
Are the monsters not the only corrupted things out there?
The brambles didn’t just provoke Pearl, though. They were able to come to life, intelligent enough not cause trouble in the presence of Garnet and Pearl, and were restored to being beautiful and peaceful once the fountain of healing tears began to flow and the tears ran over them. We’ve already seen heavy implications that the monsters used to be humanoid Gems just like Amethyst, Garnet, Rose, and Pearl, but we’ve been short on non-gemmed enemies.
Steven’s newest power
Finally, Steven’s saliva can heal now, as it did Connie’s eyesight. It’s the first time we’ve seen Steven definitely inherit a power from Rose that wasn’t typical of all Gems (his ability to summon a weapon, and his ability to shapeshift), though it’s possible that Rose could also heal in a different way without her tears, as Garnet instructed Steven to try in Monster Buddies.