Oh boy, the lore marches on, doesn’t it? Sadie’s Song may have been a break from thinking about lore stuff, but Catch and Release makes up for it. There’s so much to speculate about, but let’s find out what we learned, shall we?
DESTROY US ALL!
Well, we predicted it after Friend Ship aired, then we called it after Nightmare Hospital aired. Now the show has finally confirmed it: the homeworld fusion experiment is going to cause massive havoc on Earth. From what Peridot said (using singular pronouns each time), it will take the form we first anticipated: a single, powerful enemy.
We fear what this means for Stevonnie, but it certainly raises the odds of seeing the temple fusion form in battle; on the balance, we’re calling that a win. It also leaves an opening for a friendly Malachite, which would be an interesting (if unexpected) route for the show to take with her.
It remains to be seen just what the homeworld’s plan for the Cluster is. If they assumed Gems to have been wiped out on the planet then there would be no enemies for it to fight, so unless it was merely a proof-of-concept for them to use to develop better uses for gem shards (remember what happened with the drone soldiers) they’d have to go through some special effort to actually use it against an enemy if it’s as destructive as Peridot makes it sound.
Peridot’s behavior towards Steven and the Crystal Gems has always been interesting: though Steven is never far from the Crystal Gems, and even used his gem powers to defend them, Peridot has never either viewed him as a threat or tried to seriously hurt him, despite constantly fleeing from the Crystal Gems and attempting to ensnare them in deadly traps.
Now in Catch and Release she continues to act strangely towards him, initially battering him with weak attacks but later cowering in fear while making no effort to defend herself when confronted with a “weapon”. Without her limb enhancers Peridot feels defenseless, and is trying to arm herself with anything she can find.
One thing she hasn’t tried, however, is summoning her own weapon. Up to this point in the series it’s certainly seemed as though every Gem has an innate weapon they can summon, but from Steven’s experience it takes a lot of training and practice to summon it. Perhaps Peridots are later models, created without the ability to summon weapons so they would be the simple drones that the earlier Gems weren’t (remember, even a mere Pearl has an innate weapon, though she seems to have customized an innate wand into a spear).
It’s also possible that with the ability to manufacture more powerful weapons than they can summon modern homeworld Gems don’t train non-combat Gems how to use their innate weapons. Since the homeworld seems to be rather dystopian, it should also be noted that this would have the same effect as custom-designing subordinate Gem classes to not have weapons while providing Peridot even more room to grow now that she’s free of the homeworld’s influence.