What could Secret Team mean?

As befitting a character-centric episode, Secret Team gave us some stuff to chew on regarding the history the Crystal Gems have together. It makes us wonder: Just what is the deal with Amethest and Pearl? And where did Garnet come from?

All I wanna do…

In Secret Team, Amethyst and Pearl clearly enjoyed showing off for one another. With the way Pearl blushed as she checked for Amethyst’s reaction, you could be forgiven for thinking she was courting her. Likewise, in Giant Woman, Amethyst and Pearl bicker like the stereotypical married couple.

Ms. Sugar has made one thing about Gems clear: they don’t have parents. Rose Quartz having Steven was very much abnormal, and probably the only time it had ever been done. She was more evasive, in the teasing “keep watching” kind of way, when questioned about Gem relationships, however.

If Gems are able to be related to as humans, it makes perfect sense that Gems would have romantic relationships as well. Where humans would have children, Gems most likely fuse together as the ultimate expression of their oneness. Perhaps Garnet is – as is implied – a fusion, and her component Gems are perfectly in sync with one another.

Garnet’s past

Garnet is still a mystery. We don’t know much about her: we suppose that she is a fusion because she seems to fit the pattern, having multiple distinct gems and being much more powerful, but we don’t know. We don’t have a room that we know is hers—the room with the bubbled gems is referred to as “the basement” (and it does seem to be at the “bottom” of the temple) in Secret Team rather than Garnet’s room.

Why are Amethyst and Pearl so scared of her, though? She’s certainly much stronger than them, but we as the audience have never been shown that she might have a desire to use that strength against them. Despite that, the two seem to fear her anger, against themselves in Secret Team and even against Steven in Mirror Gem.

If the Crystal Gems fought in a war in the past, Garnet could have certainly been a terror to behold: she’s powerful, and doesn’t seem like the kind of Gem who would hold a soft spot for her enemies. There are even people who think that she might have once been an enemy of the Crystal Gems, but if any of the three was the last to the group then Garnet’s quip – “we kept Amethyst” – in Steven’s Lion implies that Garnet was at least there before Amethyst.

The mural in Serious Steven is interesting for depicting a lot of copies of what look like Garnet; it’s possible there was an entire army of Garnets once, created specifically for war. That would certainly explain why Amethyst and Pearl fear Garnet: something created to be a soldier isn’t likely to care about past attachments when it comes time to hurt someone, or to let minor transgressions slide for the sake of harmony.

Except Garnet does show a soft spot for Steven, and Secret Team even implies that she knew what they were up to and elected to say nothing. She constantly displays caring traits towards Steven, in her own way, and Amethyst and Pearl would certainly have noticed. Perhaps the mural isn’t depicting many Garnets after all: it also shows many of the drones falling victim to the traps, while Garnet wasn’t threatened by them at all.

More hints are needed about Garnet’s past to get any truly good guesses going, and they probably won’t come until much later in the season at the earliest. Some episodes about, or heavily featuring, Garnet are coming up soonish, but their premises don’t seem to give much reason to go into her backstory. We’ll keep our fingers crossed, though.