What could Marble Madness mean?

We’ve gone over what questions Marble Madness answered for us, so now it’s time to see what new questions it’s left for us to ask.

Here’s to hoping that Full Disclosure lives up to its name: we’re so excited that we’re climbing the canyon walls!

 The operation of the Kindergarten

A mist-filled canyon with hundreds of large holes bored into the cliff faces.

The Kindergarten in an inoperative state.

Pearl finally helped us get a more accurate understanding of how long the Gems have been active on Earth, saying that the Kindergarten has been damaging the area for six thousand years. Cheating a little bit, we’ll also bring in our knowledge from the preview for Rose’s Scabbard that says that the Gems were fighting each other on earth about five thousand years before. That long time span, hundreds of years of operation at least, means that the Kindergarten must function very, very slowly.

At the end of Maximum Capacity we can see maybe as many as five hundred holes where Gems would have emerged from, and twenty-two functioning injector machines. Even accounting for there being very large sections of the Kindergarten unseen, when we begin to assume that it was operational for hundreds of years we realize that the time that it must take to incubate each Gem must be quite high.

Assuming ten thousand Gems made in five hundred years by a hundred injectors (which must stay with each Gem as it incubates) you get an incubation time of five years per Gem. Even if our assumptions are way, way off, this still points to it taking a very long time to mine the Earth out and end all life on it. Gems are patient, though, and since they are ageless seem to operate on very long time horizons.

How did the rebellion start?

The slow progress of the Kindergarten makes it easier to understand why the formation of the Crystal Gems and the start of their rebellion took so long after the Kindergarten was activated. Earth would take a long time to use up, so it would be worthwhile for them to establish some infrastructure so their occupation was more comfortable: the lunar sea spire so cultured Gems could mingle, the sky spire so Gems could enjoy the local nature, the arena in the sky to hone their martial skills.

We can’t know why any particular Gem was on Earth, but we do know that they had plenty of time to grow attached to it. It likely wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, at least for Rose Quartz. She may very well have spent a hundred years building up support; given the way she manipulated things so that as Steven got older he would learn what she wanted him to without the other Crystal Gems finding out, she is probably very used to subtlety and with the Kindergarten damaging Earth so slowly there would be no need to hurry and try to force an outcome when she was still weak.

The perfect moment

The Crystal Gems must have struck at a time when the homeworld was weak: there is no way that a planet, no matter how motivated their defenders, could win a war against a universe-scale civilization like the homeworld if the homeworld was invested in seeing victory; even if it had been a hard slog that the homeworld eventually decided wasn’t worth it, the records Peridot was reading would say that Earth was ceded to rebels rather than Gemkind being wiped out (unless it was a deliberate misstatement of the situation to make sure whoever was keeping the records didn’t look bad).

Whatever weakened the homeworld enough to embolden the Crystal Gems to strike, it did a lot of damage. Peridot implied that numerous planets had been wiped clean of Gemkind, and while they had found survivors on some the situation at the time must have been severe. The Cookie Cat theme speaks of a war that Cookie Cat was fleeing, and Lapis Lazuli said that while the Crystal Gems had, she herself had never believed in Earth. Perhaps the Crystal Gems wanted to preserve not just Earth’s beauty, but an independent planet where Gems could be safe? It’s an idea, at least.

If it wasn’t a war that hamstrung the homeworld and kept them from investigating the cause of a loss of a planet, another possibility could be a plague of some sort. Something caused almost all of the Gems on Earth to be corrupted into feral, monstrous beings; if it wasn’t a weapon unleashed during the war, it could have still been a catalyst for it.

By Friday, after Full Disclosure has aired, we’ll probably know more about the nature of the Crystal Gem rebellion. Hopefully.