‘Hit the Diamond‘ is the fifth episode of the third season of Steven Universe. Fans luckily didn’t have as long to wait for this episode after the cliffhanger at the end of ‘Barn Mates’. The episode also premiered on Cartoon Network France on the 21st of May 2016, a fortnight before its scheduled release on the 2nd of June in the US.
This episode continues from when the Homeworld ship crashed outside the barn at the end of ‘Barn Mates.’ The Ruby that emerged at the end is shown hopping out of the ship, followed shortly by four more Rubies of varying personalities. The gems all hide in the barn and Garnet decides to unfuse, allowing Ruby to pose as one of the Homeworld Rubies. Ruby pretends to check the barn and brings Steven out, claiming there are only humans in there. When the other Rubies want to check for themselves, Steven challenges them to a game of baseball. If the Rubies win, they can check the barn, but otherwise they must leave forever. Peridot hides while the other gems pose as humans to play the game, which takes off without a hitch.
However the game takes a turn for the south when Ruby and Sapphire begin flirting with each other and become distracted. By the end of the match they still need a home run and Steven pleads with the two of them to focus on the game. However Sapphire finds it difficult to focus on the ball and not on Ruby. They compromise when Ruby tells Sapphire that she can look at her when she’s running for home base. This works until Sapphire gets the home run and promptly accidentally fuses with Ruby. The Homeworld Rubies realise that the “humans” are in fact gems and fuse. They’re ready to attack until Peridot runs out of her hiding place but they were never looking for her. They were in fact looking for Jasper instead. Steven tricks them into thinking Jasper is on Neptune and the Rubies happily leave to go find her.
A lot of new names arose in this episode. The human names for the gems were a source of hilarity as Pearl became Earl, Amethyst became Amy and Sapphire became Sophie but Lapis just called herself Bob. This is presumably a call back to ‘Ocean Gem’ when Steven says “No prob, Bob,” and Lapis responds, in confusion, “It’s Lapis.” The Rubies all have individual names too, although they are only shown in the episode’s ending credits. There is Eyeball, the Ruby with her gem over her left eye; Doc, the Ruby with the gem on her chest; Army, the Ruby with the gem on her left shoulder; Navy, the Ruby with the gem on her navel; and Leggy, the Ruby with the gem on her left leg. The concept art, created by Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar, for the episode states that Steven was the one who came up with the names. It also states that Leggy was only created the day before the episode!
Ruby ruby ruby!
The Rubies are shown to be quite ridiculous in this episode. This is possibly a plot device to allow them to be so easily fooled. Doc forgets to count herself when she’s counting the Rubies, allowing Ruby to fit right in. None of them question the concept of having to play baseball in order to look in the barn. They don’t even question why the “humans” have gem abilities or even gems as Sapphire’s isn’t covered. None of them question the likelihood of Jasper being on Neptune either, even though it’s ridiculously far away and she would have no reason to be there nor means of getting there from Earth. It’s most likely not something kin to all Rubies as Ruby herself, while not always being sensible, is not shown to be as gullible.
The episode was the first episode made since Ian Jones-Quarterly stepped down as supervising director of Steven Universe. The episode was instead directed by Joe Johnston, who is a writer and storyboard artist for the show. He’s been supervising director on various episodes since mid-way through season two.
The episode is the last to be aired in the US for the foreseeable future. However, the next episode “Steven Floats” aired early on Cartoon Network France on the 22nd of May. All fans can do is wait until the return of the Rubies, and perhaps even Jasper herself.