What we learned from On the Run

We made this warning with Warp Tour and now we’re making it with On the Run: you definitely want to see this one for yourself before we pick it apart for all of the lore goodies inside.

Today is the day where we discuss its (significant) lore impact. Tomorrow we’ll speculate about what could be waiting for us next. Remember: answer one question and two more will rise to take its place.

The Kindergarten: Where bad Gems came to grow more bad Gems

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

The Kindergarten in an inoperative state.

Well. No one can say the idea wasn’t on the community’s radar. Gems are inorganic life that don’t reproduce like organic life does, so we kind of figured that they could be made by other Gems. The idea of them coming to Earth to make more Gems even became popular thanks to Peridot’s unfinished mention of the “kindergarten”. Still, it’s all quite ominous for Pearl to reveal that the Crystal Gem rebellion on Earth was about this production of more Gems.

On its face it’s hard to see why: each new Gem seems to take a couple tons of rock to create, but Earth has rock in abundance. A second look is more foreboding. The area around the Kindergarten is unnaturally dead: green grass meets black rock at a very clearly defined transition with no intermixing, and when a stick gets stepped on it turns into dust rather than simply breaking.

So we’ve learned a lot from this: Pearl told us that the Kindergarten would have had bad consequences for Earth, and while the exact nature of it might be something worth speculating about it seems clear that in addition to taking minerals the Kindergarten somehow drains the area’s life force in a way that doesn’t return, even after thousands of years have passed.

With all of this it’s sounding like Ronaldo wasn’t far from the mark. We didn’t expect the true cause to be the Galaxy Warp (though the theory was so fun to write: we felt a bit like Ronaldo for a while there), but we were right to trust Ronaldo’s instincts. Whether or not the Gems would have taken enough mass away from the Earth to be worthy of note, their actions definitely would have caused disaster. Now we just have to wait to find out how important the Earth project was to the Gems: routine growing of soldiers or tools, or last-chance effort to save the species?

Crystal Gems forever!

We also learned another pair of very important facts from Pearl: there were other Crystal Gems who took part in the rebellion that we don’t know about, and Amethyst wasn’t one of them.

These are two fairly important pieces of information. Interestingly enough, both of them involve Alexandrite. Back when we assumed that the Crystal Gems only included the members we know of, we spotted two key advantages they would have to enable them to fight back against hundreds of enemies: fusion, and Rose Quartz.

Rose Quartz should be obvious: she was an incredibly powerful Gem, and just her plant minions would be a big help to even the odds. Fusion, including Alexandrite and the temple form, would allow a highly motivated group who could keep a difficult fusion together to dominate a battlefield consisting of much less-powerful enemies. Fusions seem to be much more powerful than the sum of their parts, so this could be decisive.

The knowledge that there were more Crystal Gems gives us yet another hint about the rebellion. It also means that whatever happened to turn the Gems into monsters affected plenty of friendly Gems as well. That will be very important tomorrow when we start speculating.

The other way it involves Alexandrite? Well, now that we know that Garnet (or Red and Blue) and Pearl met Rose Quartz before they met Amethyst, that means that the star design on Alexandrite’s outfit is unexplained again. At this point we don’t even have a base to start speculating on, so that theory will have to lay dormant for a while.

Steven’s first order

Just two weeks ago we observed that in The Test Steven showed his first sign of developing as a great leader. Watermelon Steven may have had his first order as king of the melons, but On the Run is the first real order he’s given to one of the Crystal Gems.

Just like how he put the needs of his team ahead of his own in The Test, his ability to naturally take leadership of Pearl at the Kindergarten stems from his empathy: he realizes that only Pearl can soothe Amethyst, so he sends her in to talk to her.

At this rate of development Steven might become leader of the Crystal Gems as early as the beginning of season two, after the inevitable showdown at the end of the season drives him to take charge of the situation. The consequences of this? Still more to be speculated about.