Steven Universe: 5 Times We Felt Bad For Pearl (& 5 Times We Hated Her)

Internalizing The Homeworld Caste System & A Toxic Relationship Resulted In Many Struggles For Pearl

Pearl is without a doubt one of the most dynamic characters in Steven Universe, and she can be polarizing to fans in terms of her likability.She has endured a lot of struggles throughout her life, and she’s made some serious mistakes. Her character went through some amazing growth throughout the show, but before that, some of her choices were questionable and she had to unlearn some bad habits leftover from Homeworld.

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Arguably, Pearl also endures more heartache and emotional pain than any other character in the series. Here are ten instances where viewers felt both sympathetic and put out towards Pearl.

10. Felt Bad: She Was Under A Terrible Spell

In the most epic plot twist in the series, it was revealed that Pink Diamond lived a double life as Rose Quartz, and faked her own shattering, which cost the lives of many Crystal Gems when the Diamonds retaliated.

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Pearl was forced by Pink Diamond’s spell to hide these details from Steven and the other Gems and keep silent about what really happened for thousands of years. On top of that, Pink Diamond convinced her to be actively involved in her scheme, instructing her to shape-shift into Rose Quartz while she was in her default form and pretend to kill her. As a result, the Diamonds shattered and corrupted almost every Gem on Earth, including many of Pearl’s comrades and close friends. Pearl had to live with the guilt of her involvement in Pink Diamond’s plan and the burden of the truth for millennia.

9. Hated Her: She’s Too Controlling

Being an anxious Gem, Pearl often feels the need to try to control others. She’s overprotective of Steven and sometimes holds him back from learning new skills, or shields him from whatever she deems too dangerous or too adult. At one point she recruits Connie and trains her almost like a soldier to protect Steven.

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Pearl takes a long time to recover from the mindset she had as Rose Quartz’s partner (and Pink Diamond’s Pearl), which is the root of her issues. Many of these personal problems result in a lot of grief for herself and others.

8. Felt Bad: She Struggles With Self-Worth

On Homeworld, Pearls were designed to be subservient. More than that, they were considered property. Pearl has still not left this world behind and often needs the approval of others to feel strong. She has very little faith in herself and doesn’t believe she contributes anything to the group alone. It’s a long time before Steven and the others get through to her and show her that she’s a valued member of the Crystal Gems all on her own.

7. Hated Her: Mentally, She’s Still On Homeworld

This goes hand-in-hand with Peal’s lack of self-worth. Despite being on Earth between four and six thousand years, the Homeworld caste system and way of life still seem fresh in Pearl’s mind. Her inferiority complex makes her clingy to Gems she perceives as powerful, like Garnet, while sometimes treating Amythyst, who would have been a common foot soldier on Homeworld, with disdain.

6. Felt Bad: She’s Poorly Adjusted To Living On Earth

Unlike Rose Quartz and some of the other gems, Pearl never really had an interest in Earth and what it had to offer. The duty she felt towards protecting Earth and humanity was more to honor the cause and Rose’s wishes. Otherwise, she was relatively uninterested in the planet and its inhabitants, and there were times when she made that clear. At one point she even builds a rocket out of mechanical scraps and attempts to fly to space, despite the risk of harm to herself and Steven.

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Amethyst and Garnet were both born on Earth, but Pearl doesn’t share this kinship. A true alien invader, sometimes the randomness of nature makes Pearl uncomfortable — she prefers things to be symmetrical and sensible, getting easily overwhelmed and panicked when they aren’t. All these things make it hard for Pearl to truly fit in with the others and feel comfortable

5. Hated Her: She Has A Pessimistic View Of Humanity

Tying into the idea of her poor adjustment to Earth, Pearl never bothered to learn about human society and culture. She was never interested in the lives of humans — even after half-human, half-Gem Steven came into her life. While she’s pleasant with the humans around Steven and eventually warms up to other humans, for most of her time on Earth Pearl treated humans as foolish, nosy pests.

4. Felt Bad: She Lost Her Love

Pearl and Pink Diamond’s relationship was toxic; it had an uneven power dynamic with Pearl coming from a position of servitude to Pink Diamond, who was misguided at best — manipulative and incredibly selfish at worst. Despite this, no one can deny that Pearl’s love for Rose ran deep. Losing her, at first romantically to Greg, and then having to accept that she was gone from existence completely when Steven came to be, was incredibly devastating for her.

3. Hated Her: She Can Be Selfish

Pearl can be short-sighted and sometimes she has difficulty putting herself in other’s shoes. She puts up a front of being a stern parental figure to Amythest and Steven to hide her insecurity, which leads to frequent bickering between her and Amethyst. In her constant need for control, Pearl will sometimes push her ideas, wants, and needs on others without considering their thoughts and feelings or how this might affect them.

2. Felt Bad: She’s One Of The Most Tragic Characters

From the beginning, Pearl’s life was difficult and filled with struggle. From leading a life of servitude without any sense of individuality to losing her friends in a terrible war and ultimately losing the Gem she loved the most, she had to battle feelings of loss, self-hatred, and aimlessness. For every mistake Pearl has made, she’s paid for it tenfold.

With everything she’s gone through, it would ultimately take the power of love from Steven and the other Gems to help Pearl start the healing process, find her inner power and take her rightful place as one of the Crystal Gems.

1. Hated Her: She Betrayed Garnet’s Trust

While there are a few times Pearl has acted out, most fans of Steven Universe would agree that this was by far the worst thing Pearl ever did. She crossed a line with Garnet when she kept rebuilding the Communication Hub Peridot was using to attempt to make contact with the Diamonds. She did this behind everyone’s back in order to keep fusing with Garnet to make Sardonyx and destroy the tower over and over again under the guise that Peridot was the one rebuilding it every time. When Garnet discovers that it was in fact Pearl who was repairing the tower, it causes such inner turmoil for her that she un-fuses into Ruby and Sapphire. Eventually, Ruby and Sapphire fuse again and Garnet forgives Pearl, helping her to see her worth as an individual.

Originally published at on November 21, 2020.

Maria is an independent filmmaker, animator, writer, and intersectional feminist from Syracuse NY ✰✰

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