A stiff party.
Steven decides to host an official ball.
In order to patch things up with White Diamond and make her sympathetic to Earth’s cause, Steven decides to host a ball for Pink Diamond’s court. From what Blue Diamond says, it sounds like not even the Diamonds are the strongest in the caste system. The Diamonds, as we’ve suspected, have a tiered ranking of their own, with White at the top, and Pink at the bottom. Unfortunately, White Diamond doesn’t show up for the ball, only her Pearl does. Even for a special occasion, White Diamond is still above them all. They have to act perfectly for her to even come to meet them, and this seems pretty non-negotiable from White’s stance and how the other Diamonds talk of her. While White has talked to Pink, it was never really with any real intention to communicate. The ball is the perfect pretense to get White to the table, by using her own rules against her.
Steven is determined to make everyone have fun and decides to forego mannerisms to dance with Connie. Mid-dance, they end up fusing, and that spurs all the Crystal Gems to take action and throw off any pretense of adhering to Homeworld regulations. This also inspires the courts to try fusing themselves, which ends up angering the Diamonds. Yellow says that Steven has gone too far, even for Pink’s usual antics.
Unfortunately, the Diamonds aren’t entirely incorrect- negotiations take time. Fighting and being yourself is necessary to stand up for yourself, but Steven isn’t at that point yet. He still has to get White to the negotiation table, to begin with, and that’s either through force or diplomacy. Of course, Steven is still an optimistic kid and doesn’t know the nuances of diplomacy, but rushing things only worked against him. Steven isn’t dumb either, he knows exactly what kind of things that don’t fly on Homeworld in the broad sense, and he breaks those conventions instantly. Normally, I’d cheer for him, but he’s not in battle- he’s in negotiations. He has chosen diplomacy, and diplomacy takes a good amount of time- that is sadly the reality. He ends the episode stripped of any sort of potential negotiating power that he could have had, and thrown into solitary. All his allies, minus Connie, have been turned back into gems. It’s a low point to end on, but there has to be a way to succeed, somehow…