What we learned from Shirt Club

It’s another one of those “character episodes” we’ve been having so many of lately, since #StevenBomb forced an adjustment to the schedule that clustered a bunch of character episodes together. We’re crafty though, and we’ve sniffed out at least something lore-related to consider in Shirt Club.

There may not have been a magical twist (in fact, there was no magic at all on display), but what we did get was a discussion of magic: when Steven went to ask the Crystal Gems to get rid of Buck’s shirts, Amethyst and Pearl came up with a few scenarios they thought might warrant Steven’s fuss:

  • The shirts have “come to life and possessed the bodies of their wearers”
  • People are “catching on fire when they put on the magic shirts”
  • The shirts are “destroying the wearer’s will to continue on in this mortal coil thereby shutting down Beach City”

Obviously none of this was actually true: Buck was simply using Steven’s art in a way that Steven didn’t agree with. That’s not the important part, though. What actually matters is that Amethyst and Pearl thought that these scenarios were possible.

We’ve actually seen a very limited range of Gem magic. We’ve seen basic Gem abilities such as shape changing and holographic projection, as well as the storage of items and the actual creation of weapons that are somehow intrinsic to the gem. We’ve seen two Gems manipulate the motion of matter, and the fusion of Gems. Then, of course, there is the magic of the Gem’s body itself: very strong and durable.

As impressive as the basics are, Gem technology is still where all of the action is. Artifacts have had the ability to create new time streams, or duplicate matter; then there’s the sheer destructive power of the light cannon, and the immense versatility of the temple. We haven’t seen much technology though, so our understanding of its capabilities is quite limited.

It should be noted that both of the scenarios Pearl envisioned involved some form of mind control. It’s not much, but it’s a small thing in favor of the corruption of Gems into monsters being some kind of Gem weapon (a long-gone weapon we’re hoping, thanks to the episode summary for Reformed, which is coming up after Love Letters).

Those scenarios dreamed up by Amethyst and Pearl are wonderful reminders that with Gem magic, anything can happen. It’s enough to make one wonder what the drawing from Together Breakfast was capable of before Garnet started to burn it…