Ronaldo is a side character no more: as of Keep Beach City Weird! he’s bucking for a job as a prophet. Only time will tell if he’s qualified, but we’ve already taken a look at his predictions. Now it’s time to buckle down and wonder what the fact that Ronaldo made his predictions might mean for the history and future of the show.
The ramblings of a madman
It’s clear from how the Keep Beach City Weird blog is carrying on that anything Ronaldo got right when he made his statement about what was really behind all of the goings on in Beach City is going to be drowned out by “facts” he’s made up himself. He may not be the most reliable prophet, but he is our most recent data point in our never-ending quest for the truth (or, failing that, for a spin-off graphic novel about a noteworthy time in Gem history).
It might have been played for laughs, but Ronaldo getting the idea that intelligent shapeshifting rocks were behind all of the weirdness in Beach City was pretty close to the mark. Maybe deep down he remembered that Steven told him it was the Crystal Gems who had been responsible for it all. Maybe the writers thought it would be funny. Who didn’t listen to Ronaldo breathlessly exclaim “I know what the diamond means!” and wish they could have had such a revelation?
Perhaps like one of the unfortunate protagonists of a Cthulhu story, Ronaldo has glimpsed a truth he simply cannot comprehend. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time something in Steven Universe resembled something out of Call of Cthulhu.
The Diamond Authority
If there’s anything of Ronaldo’s rant at the end of the episode we’re fully confident is foreshadowing, it’s his fixation on the diamond on the dollar bill. The diamond is the side view a large round cut gem, a classic depiction of a diamond, though it is “upside down” and resting on what would normally be its top (the most stable way to set the diamond down without a stand to hold it up).
The fact that the diamond is upside down is puzzling. If it was a Gem symbol of some sort it would make sense that the humans would depict it as the Gems do rather than they would in our world. It’s also not crazy to jump to the conclusion that if you see a gem somewhere in the world represented in a different way from how we show it, Gems must be involved somehow.
Diamonds are probably the most well-known gems, and people have been wondering for a long time whether there is a diamond, or group of diamonds, at the top of whatever Gem hierarchy there might be. It would certainly make sense if Diamond was the leader of the Gems who came to Earth and had enough impact on humans to have her gem be used as a national symbol even thousands of years after her authority ceased, being passed on from society to society until they no longer remember the meaning behind the symbol.
What we can be reasonably sure of is that it isn’t a depiction of any of the Crystal Gems’ gems. The facets on the Crystal Gems’ gems directly adjacent to their “tops” (the parts that protrude from their bodies) are all trapezoids, while the gem on the bill has them cut into three triangles each.
It’s also possible that like the five-point star, and possibly the triangle and rhombus, this diamond is the symbol of a Gem group. It is quite a complex shape, though, and seems to faithfully depict a gem. It could very well be both a symbol of allegiance and the gem of the Gem who ruled Earth (to whatever extent the Gems did), which would indicate a fair degree of narcissism; Rose may have chose something with five points, matching the pentagon on the top of her gem, to represent her group, but she didn’t choose to represent the Crystal Gems with an image of her gem.
We’ve already said that Gems seem to be indifferent to the effects their actions have on others in a way that matches with one of the powerful beings of the Cthulhu mythos. After Ronaldo’s declaring that the Diamond Authority wants to hollow out the Earth, we’re more sure than ever that before Rose Quartz stepped in the Gems wanted to do something terrible to Earth to suit their own ends. What we aren’t sure about is what they wanted to do—though as we’ve said before, hollowing out the planet would certainly be terrible for life on Earth.
One possibility might involve the Galaxy Warp. We’ll learn more about the warp the Crystal Gems travel through in a later episode, but it’s obvious that the warp isn’t the only way Gemkind gets around. Pearl was able to design and build an interstellar craft all by herself with only the tiniest fraction of an industrial base that has only mastered planet-to-orbit flight at her disposal in a single day. It’s true that it experienced severe problems on takeoff and broke apart as soon as it was allowed to shear back into the atmosphere when Pearl abandoned it, but she still displayed a phenomenal familiarity with such technology despite having no occasion to practice it and it likely being just one of many things she knows how to do.
Pearl might just be the classic renaissance woman, skilled in many things (she’s awesome like that). Consider this, though: It’s true that we see the ubiquitous warp pads on Earth in the show and are led to believe that this is simply how Gems get around. What if Earth was special, though? What if spacecraft are crucial to Gem interplanetary travel under most circumstances, not just when first arriving on a planet. It’s true that building a spacecraft never occurred to Pearl, but it may be because she’s never built one before and not because they’re rare thanks to warp travel.
The Gems may have found that Earth had a unique connection to the warp and used it to build the Galaxy Warp to begin to link the empire together. Eventually they may have wanted to take drastic steps to allow them to link more planets, get a longer range, or allow more traffic to pass through. When magic is involved there are few rules about the consequences this might have had. Perhaps they wanted to cover the world in Galaxy Warps, or perhaps they needed to alter some fundamental property of Earth that would have ruined the place.
Of course it’s really hard to know whether the Galaxy Warp is a singular location unique to Earth (and any planets it is linked to) or if they were a common feature of Gem-controlled worlds. Pearl does mention that “the Galaxy Warps” have been inactive for thousands of years, but even if that makes this theory unlikely it doesn’t rule out the possibility that Earth was the sole hub of the network, with every other planet only being able to connect to it directly.
It’s just an idea, though. It’s more comfortable to think that whatever caused the Gems to come to blows over Earth was something pivotal to their species that they could only get from Earth (it would also make Lapis’s disgust for the Crystal Gems more palatable), but humans go to war over relatively trivial things all of the time.
Perhaps Earth was supposed to be a routine Gem construction project for some unknown end that they had carried out on countless planets before, until some of the Gems there to carry out the project decided that the usual side effects would spoil the unusual beauty of the planet. Perhaps when they said “no” the other Gems could have elected to use another planet but chose not to because it wouldn’t be as easy, would waste the work they had already done, or maybe they just didn’t like being stood up to.