We got our flashback, and we’re going to work it for all it’s worth. The fandom is abuzz with musings about a particular Gem in those flashbacks, but we won’t be wondering about her until tomorrow. There’s plenty in the flashback to unpack though, so we have plenty to cover today, if you’d like to read on.
It’s a small thing, but Lapis’s little story (and accompanying visuals) confirmed that there was large-scale fighting during the rebellion. We hadn’t seen any of that until Same Old World, and the closest we had got before was in The Answer when we could only see Rose and Pearl making a nuisance raid against Blue Diamond’s court. Seeing even just a little bit of the war in action was fun, and showed that during those thousand years the Crystal Gems and the homeworld Gems were heavily contesting the planet.
The galaxy warp
When the homeworld Gems evacuated the planet (after the Cluster project was completed), we can see them escaping both in ships and via the galaxy warp. The fact that they used the galaxy warp is interesting, because previously we had expected that it would have been the very first target of the rebellion—so long as the galaxy warp was active, the homeworld could move as many reinforcements as they wanted to the planet.
If it was active the whole time, then this makes us put more weight on the hypothesis that there was a lot going on for the homeworld during the rebellion (don’t forget, the Crystal Gems used wailing stones to coordinate with other worlds); we know that in the initial stages they were giving it their all, only resolving to demolish the planet in order to make a superweapon after they realized they couldn’t defeat the rebels.
We’d have to wonder where the Crystal Gems got their reinforcements from, though. Certainly they wouldn’t use the kindergartens to grow more soldiers themselves, but how they’d resist an enemy that can move new soldiers in whenever they need to without some source of reinforcements themselves would be quite the mystery.
Of course not all of the homeworld evacuation from Earth proved surprising. After the last homeworld Gem leaves Earth in the flashback, there is a large explosion in the sky. This is almost certainly what Greg was talking about in The Return when he mentioned that Rose could only use her shield to save her closest friends.
It could still have been a conventional bombardment, leaving the corruption a mystery, but since we’ve never heard of any threat of a Gem being corrupted even after so many episodes we think it’s most likely that that blast was the source of the monsters on Earth.
Either way, that bombardment is in fact why the homeworld didn’t think there were any Gems left on the planet: they had taken care of that little problem before they left, leaving the Cluster to incubate without any enemies around who might discover their plan.