It’s not too late to write this, since technically Open Book was produced with the rest of season one. With Joy Ride, the first episode of season two not to premier during #StevenBomb, however, it’s time to make some predictions about what will happen over the course of the season.
There are fifty-one episodes to go, plus two more episodes from season one to air, and we only know what two will be about. It’s time to start speculating.
The easy guesses
Jailbreak gave us two plot hooks we’re pretty sure are going to be nibbled on by episodes before the season is over: Malachite and Peridot.
Between the two, Malachite is more likely to be dealt with first, perhaps even in the mid-season climax. The most obvious danger is that, deep in the ocean, Malachite realizes that both Gems who make her up hate the Crystal Gems. If this happens it only makes sense that she would go to try to hurt them; this would probably be our best chance to see Alexandrite in a fight. The easy way to resolve this conflict would be for Malachite to de-fuse when forced to decide what to do with Steven: Jasper will want to hurt him while Lapis Lazuli won’t want to harm him.
Peridot has a wide world of possibilities open to her, and will probably have at least a few episodes where she’s involved but her plot thread isn’t resolved. If she’s going to stay an enemy, it’s more likely that she won’t see a resolution until the end of the season, and her goal will probably be to try to get a message off to the homeworld. Hopefully she won’t make any moves on the Kindergarten, since she’d have to expect that the Crystal Gems would anticipate this and booby trap the place. If they don’t and she manages to do something at the Kindergarten expect us to cry foul.
Additions to the team
This would be Peridot’s chance to become an ally. She’d do a lot to move the story forward: since she’s a technician she would be able to update the Crystal Gems’ weapons to be able to stand up to the homeworld’s. Since she’s been portrayed as merely doing her job, switching sides could be believably done. Also important to note from a character design perspective: unlike Lapis Lazuli, Peridot would bring a new color to the Crystal Gems.
We’re still hoping that despite that, Lapis Lazuli makes it onto the Crystal Gems. It also makes a lot of sense: despite her dislike of the Crystal Gems, she does like Steven and he is taking more of a leadership role on the team. Also, unlike Peridot or Jasper, Lapis has nowhere else to go: the Crystal Gems are the only relics of ancient Gemkind she knows of, and she seems to have had a tough time trying to integrate into the modern homeworld.
Jasper is almost certainly the least likely Gem we’ve seen to far to join the team, but from a lore perspective is the one that we most want to join. She’s the only new Gem who would have good knowledge of the relevant backstory for Gemkind on Earth, and unlike the Crystal Gems she wouldn’t be shy about sharing it with Steven. If she does join up, then she would have to switch from thinking of Rose Quartz as a worthy foe to Steven as a worthy commander. It’s a long shot, but the benefit for lore hounds is huge.
If there was a thread holding the first half of season one together, it was a monster-of-the-week adventure that saw the Crystal Gems performing the mundane task of protecting humanity from the potential dangers left behind by Gemkind; the second half saw them preparing for the return of the homeworld Gems. What could we see tying season two together?
Of course they have to expect that the homeworld will soon be back (and in greater numbers), so preparing to repel a more properly sized invasion is probably in the cards. Even if Peridot joins the team and does it very early, however, protecting the planet from a roused homeworld with just six Gems would be a tall order. That means that rallying the troops will be important.
Steven’s potential ability to cure monstrous Gems and return them to their humanoid state was introduced more than half a season ago without any more attention paid to it (except for Pearl confirming that the monsters used to be normal Gems three episodes later). The Crystal Gems now have a crucial need for new members, though, so that might bring this ability to the forefront. It probably won’t be immediately successful, but that wouldn’t be satisfying anyway.
Ideally we’ll see them let the centipeetle out of its bubble and join the cast for a while as Steven tries to coax her mind towards lucidity. Then some time near the middle of the season Steven can succeed and add a new Gem to the team, then can go on to try to work on other monsters (the puffer fish from Beach Party probably being on the short list, though we wouldn’t count the monster from Monster Buddies out either).
No matter how exactly it’s implemented, we’re expecting to see something done with Steven’s ability to restore corrupted Gems during season two. We’re not prophets (only Ronaldo can truly claim that), but the smart money says that Monster Buddies was written for a reason, and it’s time for it to shine.