Everything Leading Up to the Pink Diamond Reveal in “A Single Pale Rose”
‘A Single Pale Rose’ featured a major twist about Pink Diamond which completely re-contextualizes the entirety of Steven Universe so far. Like all great reveals, however, it’s one of those you could have predicted… or at the very least, can go back and find all the foreshadowing for.
We’ve compiled that foreshadowing for all to revel in, but it needs to be said: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t caught up on Steven Universe, turn back now!
Signs that Rose Quartz was Pink Diamond
- One of the earliest concrete signs of Pink Diamond’s existence were the four diamond insignia which first appeared in the Sky Arena in ‘Sworn to the Sword,’ with the pink symbol being broken apart. With it already proven that Yellow Diamond existed, fans speculated that the other colors corresponded to White, Blue, and Pink Diamond, a theory which would eventually be proven correct.
- After the war, modern ships switched to a symbol composed of only white, yellow and blue, as seen on the hand ship in ‘Jail Break.’ This suggested something had happened to Pink Diamond to prompt her removal.
- A mural from ‘Serious Steven’ depicted the figure of Rose Quartz, either wielding or deflecting a diamond-shaped object, fighting an unknown gem. With current knowledge, with the pointy hair and chest-gem, the figure resembles Yellow Diamond. However, the coloration means it may be a stylistic representation of White Diamond.
- An early version of the mural shows a very different figure in Rose’s place. She was slimmer, lankier, and also had a diamond-shaped gem on her chest.
- The placements on the insignia matched the placements of the Diamonds’ gems. White’s on her head, Yellow and Blue’s on their chests, which would mean, logically, Pink Diamond’s should be somewhere lower, like the stomach. Just like Rose Quartz.
- The ‘rose quartz’ gem appeared too dark to match the most common shade of real life rose quartzes. The color better matched the shade of… you guessed it, pink diamonds. Although both real-world rose quartzes and pink diamonds can vary greatly in their shades, generally speaking, “vivid” pink diamonds are considered more valuable than their lighter counterparts.
- The visible facets of Steven/Rose’s gem resembled the top of ‘brilliant cut’ diamond, a recently popular trend in diamond cutting. More specifically, Steven’s facets somewhat resembles a ‘rose diamond’ cut.
- The murals depicted all of the diamonds having a simple ‘point cut,’ but when they were seen in person, Yellow and Blue Diamonds’ gems were ever so slightly different. When Pink Diamond’s true appearance was finally revealed, she had a brilliant cut after all.
- In real life, producing a brilliant cut diamond will lose approximately half the diamond’s mass. In Steven Universe, Pink Diamond was approximately half the size of her older counterparts. Considering that one of the most popular arguments against Rose being a Diamond was that she was too short, this should have started ringing alarm bells.
- In the original pilot, all the gems had a colored ring around their gem. These rings seemed to correspond to rank. Pearl, being low ranking, was a brownish-bronze. Amethyst, a higher ranking quartz, was silver. Despite Rose also supposedly being a quartz, Steven’s ring was gold.
- This reddit post by EdibleBrains analyzes how there are motifs in Rose’s musical score that resemble Blue Diamond’s.
- Pink Diamond’s hair from ‘Your Mother and Mine’ resembles the shield emblem on the Rebellion’s flag.
- Her actual design resembles Steven’s.
- Steven has an absolutely huge number of powers– super strength, shields, bubbling, astral projection, possession, plant control, floating, shape-shifting, healing, and resurrection. If all Rose Quartzes had this, they would seem enormously overpowered.
- Rose’s powers never seemed to much resemble other quartzes like Jasper and Amethyst, being almost entirely defensive compared to their offensive. Her physique and hair style was also softer and rounder than theirs.
- When asked about this, former executive producer Ian Jones-Quartey tweeted this:
- Bismuth said that Rose Quartz was created on Earth, a story Garnet later repeated in ‘Your Mother and Mine.’ However, in the conversation Pearl and Rose had in the Strawberry Battlefields, Rose said “we can never go home.” Millennia later, Greg asked Rose if she ever missed her home planet, and she answered: “No. Never.”
- ‘The Tale of Rose Quartz’ that Garnet tells is depicted in a shadow-puppet style borrowed from the anime ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena.‘ The shadow puppets were used to show lies or incorrect memories, suggesting the entire tale was inaccurate. The only part of the flashback shown in the show’s usual style was Rose saving her friends from the corruption, which was the only part Garnet was actually present for.
- In that same flashback, ‘Rose Quartz’ drew her sword with her right hand, while other flashbacks showed Rose being left handed. Pearl can dual-wield, but favors her right hand.
- Also in ‘Your Mother and Mine,’ the Off Colors each give their version of the myth of Rose Quartz. Such a discrepancy of stories was a hint in and of itself, and then there’s Fluorite…
- Steven himself is often associated with royalty motifs. Greg jokingly calls him “Your Watermelajesty” in Watermelon Steven, and in the same episode, Garnet calls him a king. His birthday tradition is wearing a cape and crown.
- Steven’s steed is a pink lion, a beast often associated with royalty… and indeed, his initial design was a heraldic lion.
- When Lars is resurrected and Steven needs to use the warp hole in his hair, Lars bows before Steven like a knight to his king.
- The watermelon people were a race created in Steven’s image, programmed to fight on his behalf. He chose to send them away, so that they could form a life independent of his rule. It’s possible this will be akin to how Steven ends up handling his heritage.
- In the video game ‘Save the Light,’ it’s remarked that only an extremely powerful gem could activate the Prism. Guess who manages it?
- In ‘It Could’ve Been Great,’ Peridot excitedly espouses that “we’re literally walking in the footsteps of the Diamonds.”… while following directly behind Steven.
- Steven was able to activate the Diamond Authority pad on the throne made only for “elite Gems” (and being Steven, immediately invited Peridot to join him). Seasons later, Stevonnie was also able to access the jungle moon base’s computer.
- The rocks sprouting from Pink Diamond’s feet in her moon base mural resemble naturally occurring rose quartz deposits.
- Blue Zircon’s files had extremely high quality, close-up pictures of Rose Quartz. Presumably Rose took them herself in a Peter Parker-esque stunt.
- Garnet’s very brief flashback in ‘Gemcation‘ shows a number of Crystal Gem facing off against Pink Diamond… but no Rose Quartz. Of course, Rose was Pink.
Signs that Pearl Knew
- The symbolism between Pearl and Rose often corresponded to that of a knight to her queen. Pearl knelt to Rose in the holographic flashback in ‘Rose’s Scabbard,’ and flat-out referred to Steven as Connie’s “liege” when first training her.
- Pearl wore a pink diamond symbol on her space suit from Space Race. Her original holo-pearl projects also bore this symbol, though colorless. Sardonyx had small pink diamonds on her outfit, and the belly cut-out on Rainbow Quartz partially resembled a diamond.
- Peridot called Pearl “a fancy one,” suggesting she was made for or owned by someone very high ranking, such as a Diamond.
- Pearl called Rose “one of a kind” in The Guide to the Crystal Gems, which didn’t quite match with her apparently being one of hundreds of other Rose Quartzes.
- In ‘Back to the Moon,’ Pearl wanders away from the others to gaze up at Pink Diamond’s mural.
- That episode shows the first instance of Pearl covering her mouth when the topic of Pink Diamond’s shattering is brought up. She repeats it in ‘Steven’s Dream,’ when he demands to know about the Palanquin in Buddy Budwick’s journal. In the next episode, she begins, “When I served…,” struggles to name Pink Diamond, and eventually just says “Homeworld.”
- Later, Steven turns himself in to Aquamarine with the declaration of “I am Rose Quartz.” Pearl is left floating in the ocean, hand clasped to her mouth, tears streaming down her face. The sheer frustration of not being able to save her child must have been unbearable. That same frustration is evident in ‘Gemcation,’ where she attempts to explain the truth but fails due to the gag order.
- When we first see Yellow Pearl in ‘Message Received,’ Steven asks if Pearl knows her. She responds with “Not all Pearls know each other!” While undoubtedly a fun poke at real world racism, it also seems like a deflection, since she’d struggle to explain knowing a Diamond’s personal Pearl.
- In ‘The Trial,‘ when Blue Zircon exclaims “And where was her Pearl!” both Yellow and Blue Pearl looked shocked and nervous. While it’s unclear if they knew the exact truth of Pink Diamond’s ‘shattering,’ it implies they knew something. At the very least, they probably knew she had a strangely close relationship with her Diamond, and noticed her disappearance when Pink was supposedly killed.
- The whole trial served as a foreshadowing buffet, showing the flaws in the official story of Pink Diamond’s assassination.
- Pink Diamond must have deliberately sent her guard a distance away, explaining why none of them were close enough to react. Her Pearl wasn’t present, since she was shapeshifted into Rose Quartz. Pink Diamond faking her own death would be too unexpected for a Sapphire to See. Rose Quartz’s sword never actually shattered anyone, just poofed them.
- When shapeshifting is first introduced alllll the way back in ‘Cat Fingers,’ Pearl haughtily declares that of course she can do it. However, aside from a brief outfit change in ‘Beach Party,’ she never once does, even when asked to or in extreme danger. Turns out that she was too traumatized from the fallout of what happened the last time she did.
“Rose Quartz is Pink Diamond” is a long-standing theory. Just like all of the best Steven Universe reveals, it’s the gasp worthy twist-on-top-of-the-twist that has left us flailing in its wake. Rose was Pink, Pearl knew, no one else did. Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond existed simultaneously as separate entities – that’s amazing. Love it, hate it, be angry at Rose forever for the gag order, for not using her position as a Diamond to try and enact social change – but wow. That’s some darn good writing.
Where are we going to go from here? Pearl and Rose/Pink’s backstory is still largely a mystery. We have spent five seasons tearing down the ideal of Rose Quartz, and now we’re at the lowest point of the depth of her secrets. From here, we can rebuild who she really was, flaws and all. Steven can decide the legacy he wants to be a part of, Pink Diamond’s, Rose’s, the Crystal Gems’, a combination, or, most likely: something entirely Steven’s own.
Author: KK Bracken & Laura B
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