The situation with Rose Quartz—it’s complicated, right? She’s a flawed person from a messed-up background who did a lot of awful things, then tried to do better things. Some of her actions were kinda good, but for messed-up reasons. Some were really messed-up, but with the best of intentions. And in the end I think she knew how much she’d fucked things up, how much suffering she’d caused, and she wasn’t entirely sure if it was worth it.
She’d made room to live as she wanted, for her and a handful of other Gems who survived, but at what cost? How many thousands had been shattered? How many more had been warped into self-fearing monsters? I don’t think she ever really forgave herself for that.
The one objectively good thing that came out of Pink’s interventions, Rose’s rebellion, was that she’d saved the Earth and its native life. Even that, though, she had trouble seeing as more than a menagerie—until she met Greg. Through him, learning to appreciate the humans she’d saved as actual people every bit as worthwhile as a Gem, connected to this world through their wants and needs and mortality in a way she never truly could be, I think Rose in the end came as close as she could to achieving what she wanted in life.
Rose was a sad person, who came from the greatest possible privilege and piece by piece realized how fucked-up everything about the life she was given truly was, first in regard to her own wants and needs, then in terms of the effect she had on the world around her, then just structurally in terms of the society. And she tried to change things, partially for selfish reasons; partially not. And she had no idea what she was doing, and made some really bad decisions along the way.
Again, it’s complicated. The show isn’t big on judging people, right? You judge the things that people do, the decisions they make. And Rose mostly did the best she could with what she was given, with who she was as a person. Possibly the best thing she ever did was the thing that made her the happiest: letting go, and allowing Steven to live a mortal life, the kind she never could.
Steven is in a sense the final stage of her metamorphosis, or transition if we want to hang onto the trans metaphor that the show uses—but as an independent person, who functions as a bridge between human and Gem life, he’s more than that. Though he never asked for it, he’s kind of the key not only to make up for Rose’s actions but to fulfill her ambitions by making peace across two worlds.
Rose stumbled onto the right path, and did what she could, but she was still a Diamond. There were always going to be some hard limits to her character, no mater her enthusiasm for a cause.