Peridot was kind of a big deal when she first showed up. Do you remember? Among all sorts of speculation over who she was and what she was doing, there was a lot of wondering about her outfit: was it part of her, a projection just like the Crystal Gems’ outfits, or was it something apart from her? We got our answer in Friend Ship as she jettisoned a foot so she could make her escape: unlike any other Gem we’ve seen, Peridot augments her physical form with technology.
It’s time to look closely at what we know about Peridot’s suit.
It’s certainly not hard to see why Peridot would want to augment her basic physical form with the suit she’s wearing. A computer interface is built-in, formed by the fingers, as is a powerful blaster. She can use it to lift heavy objects, defend herself from attack with it, and even transmit energy from it. Judging from the clanking sound it makes as she walks, it’s also very durable. Being able to run up walls isn’t a bad ability either (and it’s one she probably won’t be able to use anymore now that she’s lost a foot).
This is to say nothing of the ability she’s made the best use of so far: the power of her suit’s fingers to fly Peridot out of danger with a helicopter motion. While Amethyst can shapeshift into dogcopter and use the form to fly, and all of the Crystal Gems have the ability to make great leaps and to hover in the air, they haven’t been able to catch Peridot yet while she was in flight.
Early on we said that Peridot appeared to be a maintenance worker of some sort. Her later appearances essentially confirmed that, and her familiarity with her suit’s capabilities matches what one would expect of a maintenance worker: quite familiar with the more peaceful abilities, but not too good with the more combative powers her suit gives her.
For instance, she is quite good with the stasis ray. She was surprised to see it work when she defended herself from Pearl with it, but she had been using it to gather up the rocks that used to make up the galaxy warp and presumably used it to repair the communications hub.
Her blaster, however, she is terrible with. She obviously knows it’s there, as she is definitely the type of Gem to read the manual, but she has poor aim with it and can’t handle the recoil. Its very presence is another implication of a militaristic homeworld, but Peridot’s ineptitude with it shows that not all Gems expect to ever see frontline combat (don’t forget that Peridot fled Earth as soon as she believed that a non-Gem may have at some point visited and marked the Galaxy Warp). Still, the fact that her suit was equipped with it means that regardless of how cautious she is, the possibility that she’d be forced into a fight was considered worth the expenditure of resources. A torch of some sort would likely be much more effective at making holes in the course of an engineer’s work.
The ability to run up walls is interesting. It seems to be perfect for operating on the hulls of starships. We know that Peridot is capable of piloting them, and that she fixes things, so it would make sense for her to be prepared to repair a starship.
Peridot didn’t eject a boot, she ejected a foot: there was no hole for her projected foot to enter, it was simply a foot attached to her body’s leg. Since we know that a Gem projects exactly the body she wants to, this means Peridot tailored her body specifically to accept the suit she is currently wearing.
Still, that makes Peridot the closest a Gem can get to a cyborg. The massive-light projection of a Gem’s body may be strong and durable, but by augmenting herself Peridot has gained a suite of abilities that have served her well so far on her mission to Earth.
Interesting ideas – Peridot has a lot of tech that probably is useful in her job but as you noted she is not a dedicated fighter and the tech she has probably was designed to help her in her role repairing and fixing the infrastructure of the Homeworld “empire” or whatever they call their realm. Her blaster may be originally a wielding tool that she turned up full power and not a purpose built weapon unlike those on the ship – and Peridot seemed to be aware of those.
I have seen theories that speculate that her projection maybe quite limited and most of what we see as Peridot is in fact technological bits and pieces which her projection manipulate.
If we accept this then it raises the question as to why. Why use the tech when we’ve see Amethyst manifest herself as Dogcopter and various other shapes and forms? Could it be that in the centuries since the CG were in contact with the Homeworld, the gems there have LOST some of the ability/sophistication/skill to project complex forms and now have to rely on technology? Is this analogous to a trope sometimes seen in other fantasy/sci fi stories pitting magic versus tech? The CG clearly still can create and manipulate complex projections but maybe the developing tech either sidetracked the homeworld gems or somehow altered them (either deliberately or accidentally) and they no longer can do that?
We saw Jasper fuse so that still exists but some have suggested maybe Peridots are restricted in some way and so have to use tech. Maybe that is the implication of the foot being shed and the smoking/smoldering lower leg.
Since nothing in SU is ever irrelevant and usually gets a call back later on, this may be the first insight into what Lapis meant about how the Homeworld has changed so much.