Oh, very exciting times. Very exciting times. Catch and Release was a big episode. What could be waiting for us later in the series, after this?
An uncontrollable soldier
The homeworld created the Cluster for reasons unknown. When the homeworld left Earth they believed that the Crystal Gems had all been destroyed, so it couldn’t have been a plan for vengeance. It can’t be a simple replacement for homeworld losses either, because if Peridot believes that it will destroy her along with the Crystal Gems and everything else on Earth then it can’t be in enough control of itself to really be able to distinguish friend from foe.
Having created such a dangerous weapon, the homeworld would obviously expect to use it somehow. If they are as militaristic as they appear to be, then whether or not they are currently engaged in a war with someone they can expect to find a new enemy to fight eventually; they were willing to wait more than five thousand years for the Cluster to mature, so they are obviously capable of operating on long time scales.
The question then becomes how to use the Cluster if it can’t (or won’t) choose not to attack “allies”, endangering Peridot just as much as a Crystal Gem rebel. We know that the Gems have developed a warp whistle that is able to activate a warp pad remotely, so perhaps the homeworld intends to lure the Cluster onto a galaxy warp pad and send it directly to an enemy planet through the warp.
Since the Gems don’t seem to be able to warp somewhere without first constructing warp pads (they initially flew to Earth before constructing the Galaxy Warp), that would mean that either there are other civilizations building galaxy warps, or the Cluster is intended to be used on worlds formerly held by Gemkind (which would be more evidence in favor of the homeworld being on the losing side of a long war).
There are definitely plans for the use of the Cluster later; if there weren’t, there would have been no reason to send Peridot to check on it. At some point, someone is going to try to direct it, either to another planet or to a specific goal on Earth.
You’re going to harvest me?
Upon seeing all of the gems that the Crystal Gems had bubbled and sent to the basement, Peridot immediately believed that they intended to “harvest” her. Exactly what “harvesting” a gem means is hard to discern: seeing the sheer amount of gems there, collected by just three Gems, Peridot probably wouldn’t have believed that “harvesting” a gem would make it go away. There seem to be too many gems there for them to have got there any other way but being collected over time.
We know that the washer and dryer work off of “magic”. Could the gems the Crystal Gems collect be being used to power the temple? Gems produce a lot of energy, which could feasibly be sent up to the Crystal Heart then throughout the temple.
We might just learn more about harvesting gems later in the season… We’ll have to wait and see.
The road to redemption
It was so great to see Catch and Release. We really wanted to see a friendly Peridot even at the start of the season, and after Joy Ride aired we got excited that her redemption was more likely. While Keeping it Together made us worry that Peridot might be too stained in Garnet’s eyes by the evil of the forced fusion experiments, Catch and Release made sure to have Peridot state that she was merely checking on the cluster (meaning her touch stumps are clean!). We may add a new color to the team yet!
It won’t be easy; she’ll really have to work at it. Still, the Crystal Gems no longer seem to view Peridot as a threat, and with the added benefit of some commercials for When it Rains we appear to see Peridot showing concern for Steven’s safety already. Believe in Green Mom!