Mindful Education has made us mostly wonder about previous episodes of the show: we’ve seen what it looks like from the inside when Stevonnie is under stress and hallucinating, but we’ve seen other fusions de-fuse as well. Have any of them been hallucinating at the time of their de-fusion?
Garnet may not have actually de-fused during Keeping it Together, but if we’ve ever seen another fusion hallucinating we’re certain it was Garnet during that episode. It has all the signs: a traumatic stressor, the fusion talking to herself, and it being severe enough to (nearly) break her apart.
Coincidentally, it also seemed to feature the same sort of stress Connie and Steven were dealing with in Mindful Education: guilt. Those were friends Garnet was seeing forced into a horrible fate: friends who she felt she had failed. The internal dialogue between Ruby and Sapphire was very much about that guilt and trying to reject it.
We’ve seen Sardonyx de-fuse under stress, at the end of Know Your Fusion. Again we see her talking to herself, and interestingly enough she’s dealing with guilt again (we’ve seen Stevonnie deal with feelings other than guilt, but guilt seems to be a very potent emotion that can cause an imbalance between fusion partners).
However, the accidental demoralization of Smoky Quartz isn’t nearly so traumatic as what we saw Garnet go through, or what Stevonnie went through in Mindful Education. Still, we’ve seen Stevonnie hallucinate over much less, so it’s very much possible. Given what we’ve seen Stevonnie go through Sardonyx was probably seeing some sort of representation of her own guilt, but we’ll never be sure.
We’ve seen Alexandrite under severe stress twice: the stress of combat, and the stress of a parent-to-parent dinner. It doesn’t strike us as likely that she would have been hallucinating at the dinner: that seems to be just a result of the extreme disagreement between Amethyst and Pearl over whether or not to eat.
The battle would be a more interesting place for her to be seeing illusions, but it’s hard to imagine what lack of balance there would have been to cause it. She also didn’t talk to herself at all except for a single line, “keep it together”. It just seems like another candidate for a more normal difficulty keeping the fusion together, not a severe imbalance causing problems with her senses.
Both times we’ve seen Opal break apart it happened very quickly. The first time, Amethyst and Pearl quickly began arguing over whose fault it was that they didn’t bring back the Heaven Beetle, and the second time they again quickly showed their difference of opinion about Steven coming back for them. There was no real ceremony to either breakup, and not even enough time for her to start talking to herself. If she was seeing anything that wasn’t really there, she wouldn’t have been looking at it for very long.
It’s almost certain that we haven’t seen Sugilite hallucinating. She was broken apart by a sudden blow to the head, not by stress or disagreement. We also can’t even say she might have been hallucinating before, while she was still active, because she was perfectly aware that it was Pearl she was attacking. What happened was that Pearl annoyed her, and since she was Garnet’s power coupled with Amethyst’s freewheeling use of it, she did what she felt like doing.
Smoky Quartz may not even belong on this list, since because Steven is a part of her presumably we’d know if she was hallucinating—when she was forcibly de-fused on-screen, it appeared to be relatively gentle and simply because of a disagreement about what to do with Jasper. We included her for one interesting fact though: when faced with a crushing awareness of her own weakness, while she was obviously very down on herself about it she didn’t start hallucinating. She didn’t even have trouble keeping herself together.
Given the heart to heart Steven and Amethyst shared in Steven vs Amethyst this isn’t too surprising; after all, both of them were competing for Worst Gem status in that episode, and ended with an agreement that they were both pretty bad at being what they wanted to be. Since there’s no disagreement or imbalance about an apparent lack of powers (just an unhealthy self-image that they’re both in agreement with), there’s nothing to cause a hallucination.