This was definitely a lore episode, or at least one that made sure to give us a hefty package of it. It wasn’t overburdened though: like the other good lore episodes, Lion 3: Straight to Video is going to make us work for our understanding of the series, and we probably won’t fully appreciate what it hints at until later in the season.
Of course we still got some facts for immediate redemption. It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise.
Pulling back the curtain on Rose Quartz
Rose Quartz has been a very important character to the series, being introduced as a component of the characters’ backstory in the second episode and mentioned or otherwise featured in several episodes since then. It was a huge deal to finally get to see her—until this point she had never even been depicted with her eyes open.
In the video she left for Steven, Rose showed herself as a warm, caring person. This side of her was frequently alluded to by Greg, but even Garnet described her in such terms. Since she correctly predicted that Steven would have an equally kind personality, saying that it would be her being a part of him that made him the person he was, we can take it as certain that this is genuinely what Rose was like at her core.
We also learn that Rose was pregnant with Steven for a time, and that at least by the time she made the video she was aware of the fact that Steven coming into being would mean the end of her as her own entity.
Lion’s little pocket world
We’ll certainly speculate on what’s going on with the world inside Lion’s mane, but the contents are quite interesting as well: Rose’s sword (as seen in Lion 2: The Movie), a treasure chest, one of Greg’s t-shirts, a bubbled bismuth gem, what appears to be a Crystal Gem battle flag, and of course the video tape she recorded for Steven.
Steven was meant to find all of these eventually; Lion continues to act as a silent mentor, guiding Steven to where he needs to be as he becomes ready for it.