Go back? Let it be known that I, Peridot, refuse to move forward or back until I am victorious.
The Crystal Gems look around the Beta Kindergarten in search for imprisoned Corrupted Gems. Steven points one out, and Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl poof the one on their side. Pearl expresses how disturbing it is that Jasper was keeping the Corrupted Gems in cages, but Amethyst points out the similarity to what they are doing with the Corrupted Gems back at the Crystal Temple. Garnet explains Rose Quartz's method: a Gem is cared for in the stasis of a bubble, so they can not hurt the Crystal Gems or themselves. Steven and Peridot observe another caged Corrupted Gem which acts in a humorously stupid way to Peridot, who exclaims that she can not believe the Corrupted Gem used to be a normal Gem.
Garnet calls forward Pearl and Amethyst and tells them to get ready, for this particular Corrupted Gem is "flighty." Steven asks Peridot if there are any Corrupted Gems like this on Homeworld, to which she responds that there is nothing of the sort. Garnet lets the Corrupted Gem out and gets charged by said Gem as a result. Amethyst tries to reel her back with the whip but gets dragged off. Pearl shoots at the Corrupted Gem to no success as she runs back to throw Amethyst at her. The Corrupted Gem scales the wall up to higher ground and successfully retreats. Peridot laughs at the terrible performance of the trio and how they were outsmarted by a thing with bestial instincts. Pearl states that it is harder than it looks and begins to describe what happened. Garnet immediately interrupts her, stating that they do not need the "play by play" and that mistakes can happen, even when she can see the future.
Amethyst challenges Peridot to see if she can do better. Peridot agrees to help, referring to how she saved them from the wrath of Jasper, and believing the opportunity will be a great chance to show off her ferrokinesis. Steven wants to go with Peridot on her hunt to capture the Corrupted Gem. After Steven catches up, Peridot asks if he came to bring her back. Steven tells her that he did not, but warns Peridot that it usually takes all of the Crystal Gems to capture a Corrupted Gem. Peridot states the problem: the Crystal Gems try to out-brute the Gem monster. Because of this, Peridot's plan is to outsmart her. She considers utilizing Steven's experience with Corrupted Gems, believing that the Gem monster will not stand a chance if they team up.
The Corrupted Gem returns and runs over Steven and Peridot, who give chase afterward. Some time later, Steven and Peridot stealthily approach the Corrupted Gem whom they observe standing under an injector. Peridot attempts to use her ferrokinesis to make the injector fall onto the monster by removing its legs. Even after removing all of them, the drill stays in place, and the monster wanders away. Peridot is angry at this and kicks the wall under the drill. As this happens, the wall begins to crumble. Steven tells Peridot to move out of the way, and Peridot thanks Steven for telling her. She kicks the wall again, and several boulders fall onto her. The Corrupted Gem returns and attacks Steven, who fends her off with his shield. As Peridot rushes to Steven's aid, the injector falls onto her. Steven runs over to Peridot, sacrificing the chance to capture the Corrupted Gem.
Peridot presents her second "Peri-plan": Peridot has cannibalized an injector to make a rudimentary cannon. The weapon will be used to take out the Corrupted Gem from a distance. She demonstrates it to Steven, firing a boulder into the sky. The Corrupted Gem comes on the scene, and Peridot prepares to open fire. However, the cannon fails to activate, prompting Peridot to bang the cannon in frustration. It eventually fires, and its recoil sends it backward into Peridot, crashing her into the wall behind her and burying her in boulders. The Corrupted Gem walks up to Steven and then begins to attack him.
Afterward, Peridot prepares her third Peri-plan, attempting to use simple physics to capture the Corrupted Gem because "relying on the injectors introduced too many complicating variables." This plan involves a giant boulder which will be dropped on top of the Gem monster when she is below them. An additional positive of the plan is that nothing can fall on the duo at their present location. The Corrupted Gem approaches behind Steven and Peridot and scares them off the edge before tapping the boulder to let it fall on them. It crushes Peridot and rolls away, taking her with it. Steven gives chase, and the boulder goes through a loop-de-loop erosion to run over Steven. He shields himself with a bubble but makes himself do a loop-de-loop and hit Peridot's boulder that does another loop-de-loop until it stops halfway and falls on Peridot once more.
At night, Steven is cooking a marshmallow near a fire. Peridot in the distance celebrates the completion of another of her contraptions, which is a construction of an injector with one side supported by a stack of its legs. Due to it lacking proper support, it falls apart to Peridot's displeasure. Peridot questions why she can not master this, but Steven lets her know that even if her Peri-plans did not work, they were really funny, and the others Crystal Gems will think so too when they go back. Peridot states that she refuses to go back until she is victorious. She claims to be smarter than the average Peridot, and questions how she can fail against a Corrupted Gem who relies on bestial instincts, or in her words, a "barely functional, stupid, cloddy dumb-dumb." Steven tells Peridot that they are not dumb but just think differently. Peridot, checking her Earth vocabulary, then considers herself a monster to prove a point, stating that she slams her face into hard objects and throws her tongue in the air for fun, and asks how that is not dumb. She concludes the Corrupted Gem was not falling for her plans because of luck, rather than what Steven interprets to be intelligence.
Steven starts to throw marshmallows at Peridot, which infuriates her. When she asks him why he is throwing marshmallows at her, Steven answers by asking her to consider what it is like to be a monster, telling her to pretend that a human is screaming at her in fear, that an Earth animal is chasing her away from her first hiding spot, that an angry green Gem is trying to poof her, and that this form of endless suffering is the monster's life now. This sends Peridot into a fury, and she steals the bag of marshmallows to chew on it in a fit of anger, which proves Steven's point. Steven relates Peridot's past experiences of being hunted to their situation, helping her to realize that the Gem monster's actions make sense and are based on frustration from her predicament.
The next day, Peridot and Steven hide behind a rock and watch the Corrupted Gem shoot her tongues into the air. With some encouragement from Steven, Peridot walks up to the Corrupted Gem and starts to "think like a monster," emulating her by jumping and shooting her tongue into the air. After some time, Peridot kicks the Corrupted Gem which triggers her to attack. Steven runs over and tries to convince the Corrupted Gem to be bubbled, but is inadvertently knocked away. Peridot continues to wrestle the Corrupted Gem until they meet the edge of a cliff and fall off. The Gem monster poofs from the fall, and Peridot climbs out of the hole they made with her gemstone.
Garnet shows up to Steven's surprise and reveals that she, Amethyst, and Pearl never left, having known that Peridot's attempts to capture the Gem monster would be funny with Garnet's future vision. Peridot states that she told them she could do it, but admits the task being harder than expected and considers the Corrupted Gem an adversary worthy of her skill. She unintentionally bubbles the gem and wonders what she should do with it. Garnet tells her to send it off, Steven adding to tap the top, sending it "home". The bubble appears inside the Barn. Lapis Lazuli briefly glances at the bubble before returning to her book.
- Rose Quartz (mentioned)
- Tongue Monster (debut)
- Jasper (mentioned)
- Lapis Lazuli (non-speaking, cameo)
- Peridot bubbles a gem for the first time in this episode.
- Peridot's bubbles are shown to be lime green.
- It's also shown that Gem Bubbles are sent to wherever the Gem that made it considers to be home. For the Crystal Gems, that's the Crystal Temple. For Peridot, it's the Barn.
- Peridot reveals that her Gem type is extremely resilient to physical trauma and hard to poof (however, she was poofed with ease by Garnet in "Catch and Release", causing a possible continuity error but it can also be that Garnet's stronger).
- Her hardness is likely because Peridots are in 6.5 - 7 in Mohs scale of hardness.
- Garnet could have easily poofed Peridot due to Garnet's being a 6.5 - 7.5 in Mohs scale.
- However, this could imply that Garnet is stronger than what has been shown.
- Strictly speaking, since Garnet is a nearly-perpetual fusion, it was a simple case of "two against one".
- This is the second episode to use the Beta Kindergarten as the title card, the first being "Earthlings".
- This is the third episode where Steven is absent in the ending scene, the first being "Monster Buddies" and the second being "An Indirect Kiss".
- This episode is most likely referencing the Looney Tunes cartoons starring "Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner". There are many similarities, including:
- The desert environment.
- Peridot and Steven trying to outsmart the Corrupted Gem, but always fail to as the Corrupted Gem runs away.
- Peridot falling off of cliffs and getting crushed by boulders.
- The design of the Corrupted Gem and her behaviors also seem to be a reference to the Road Runner, with blue fur, long avian legs, the ability to run fast, and a habit of making guttural noises using her tongues (synonymous with the Road Runner's "Meep Meep" catchphrase).
- Peridot constructs an elaborate device to catch the Gem, only to have it backfire at the moment of truth.
- In one scene, Peridot wrestles the Corrupted Gem and, in the end, falls off a cliff with the Corrupted Gem in a similar way the Coyote does.
- When they hit the ground, a donut-shaped cloud appears.
- The spot where they fell forms a hole shaped like her and the Corrupted Gem's bodies.
- The animators employed a fade-to-black transition between scenes imitating the Looney Tunes style.
- When Peridot is pinned under the boulder with only her legs visible, this could be a reference to the Wicked Witch of the East's iconic scene from The Wizard of Oz when the witch gets crushed by Dorothy's house, leaving only her legs seen.
- The "roar" sound effect used for the Corrupted Gem bubbled by Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl at the beginning of the episode is taken from the Varactyl, a reptilian creature from the Star Wars universe.
- When Peridot says, "I'm smarter than your average Peridot," this could be a reference to, "I'm smarter than the average bear," commonly referenced from Yogi Bear.
- The book Lapis Lazuli was reading, Pretty Hairstylist, is most likely a reference to the Pretty Cure anime and manga series.
- Steven mentioning about endless suffering is based from Siddharta Gautama or Buddha's "Four Noble Truths of Buddhism", more specifically, the first noble truth stated by Buddha given that "man's suffering is indeed endless and inevitable" or "Dukkha".
- When Peridot sends her bubble off to the barn, Steven says "Happy Trails". This is a possible reference to the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", in which Spongebob and Patrick send Squidward off in a bubble out of the ocean. When Squidward is about to leave the ocean, Patrick says "Happy Trails".
- This episode follows up on the plot of Jasper's Corrupted Gem army that she imprisoned in the Beta Kindergarten, which was left abandoned after Jasper's corruption and poofing.
- The book Lapis was reading, Pretty Hairstylist Volume 3, was seen being read by Amethyst in the episodes "Keeping It Together" and "Crack the Whip".
- Note: Time is displayed in [mm:ss]; [00:00] refers to the point after the title card is displayed and before the episode's start.
- [05:31] When Peridot and Steven fall off the edge, the diamond symbol on Peridot's clothing is on the back of her collar.
- [08:42] When Peridot is about to squat down, her right shoulder strap and yellow diamond are her skin color for one frame.
- [09:00] When the Corrupted Gem pounces on Peridot after she kicked her, Peridot's gem is missing for a single frame.
- [09:59] When Garnet says "Future vision," her middle eye is the wrong color.
- [05:34] When Peridot is trapped under the rolling boulder, her mouth is closed while she screams.
View the episode's transcript here.