So, last Friday my little sister and I watched the new season of Voltron: Legendary Defender, and it’s safe to say I’m actually pretty pleased for the first time in about…three seasons?
Dang, it’s been a while since I’ve been happy with the way this show has been going, so obviously it’s time to talk about it.
Spoilers ahead for those of you who plan to watch it but haven’t yet! And off we go!
I really do mean it when I say this season really improved. I spent S3-S5 really disappointed by how many questions they were introducing and how few resolutions they were offering. Through those three seasons, everything was growing more complicated without actually wrapping anything up, and I was getting frustrated. The plot needed to move forward, not continue evolving laterally, to hold my interest, and I almost considered giving up on it. The toxic nature of the fandom didn’t help, either (mm let’s not talk about fandom, that’s a nasty can of worms to open and I’d much rather step as far away as I can), since it’s become very much a binary system of you either worship the show or hate it completely, and I don’t have the time or energy for that.
Is the show perfect? Oh, absolutely not. Do I want to spend all my days ripping it apart for its failures and overanalyzing its successes?
I’m running a book blog. Of course I don’t want to use all my time doing that
when I could totally read too far into every action in a book instead and be less disappointed oops.
So anyway, like I said, S6 really picked it up. To make a short list, we learned more about Keith’s past and exactly what happened to make his mother leave his life. We learned what was bothering Shiro so much, what made him such a changed man (I’m proud of myself for predicting this one almost 100% from the foreshadowing). We saw Haggar prepare to rise to the foreground as the prime villain even as we watched Lotor finally fall (thank goodness, since I can’t stand him lol).
And we got a D&D episode that, I kid you not, had me laughing so hard I was in tears. Easily one of the season highlights.
It took some time to get to the good bits. I felt like the first couple episodes were a little slow, and even though they offered some backstory and insight, they didn’t quick up the ante much. I wasn’t fond of the fact that Hunk’s only episode to showcase his brilliance was also the first episode of the season, when the paladins are still helping Lotor’s version of the Galra empire. You could make an argument that hey! They protect the universe and EVERYONE in it, but the Galra have spent 10,000 years colonizing and oppressing most of the universe, so they really don’t have my sympathy, not one bit. So yeah, Hunk is a GENIUS, but we really didn’t get any kind of character arc for him, which made me sad. His ability to detect bullshit coming from other characters is also gone, and I miss it a lot, because that was a satisfying character trait way back in S1.
The second episode also let me down because the flashbacks were slow and I didn’t like the fact that they tried to use it to fast-forward Keith’s character development to make him into a mature character via montage (and a two year time pocket/skip) when they’ve had opportunities for that without taking the easy way out. On the other hand, Keith got a space dog in the process, so it’s not all bad. But back with the other paladins, once again, the only character development Lance is getting is centered on pining after Allura (ENOUGH ALREADY, let the boy grow as a human being beyond just being your local lover boy trope), and Lotor and Allura kissed.
You read that right. They kissed, I suffered, it was gross. Like, he’s literally 10,000 years old (he’s been alive and active all that time!), and she’s all of maybe 17 because the 10,000 years in cryogenic stasis don’t count as life experience and WOW that was incredibly uncomfortable to watch unfold.
It also made it twenty thousand times more satisfying when Lotor is revealed to be a colonizing and creepy and greasy mass murderer not worthy of trust and Allura very literally throws him across the room and knocks him out. Her super strength gives me heart, and he deserved every second of that ass kicking. Also, my sister and I cheered when it happened. Hell yeah.
Then we have the D&D episode, the last bit of proper levity for the season, but easily the best filler episode I have ever seen in my entire life. It felt just like the D&D nonsense I’m used to with my group, and the foreshadowing to the rest of the season AND the nods to the original show were amazing. Pidge makes a delightful dwarf fighter, Hunk being a priest was A+, Allura makes an incredible ranger, Lance clearly had a good time being the party rogue, and MY GOD, Shiro INSISTED ON BEING A PALADIN.
Given that his character (which he named after himself repeatedly lmfao) kept dying, he should have been the party bard (sorry to any bards out there, it’s just that you guys tend to be the first characters to die), but he was a paladin again and again and again. I was also cackling over the fact that his entrance totally mimicked Aragorn’s first appearance in LotR. He had the hood and the corner table and the dramatic look and everything, and I was in stitches.
Oh, and when his character dies in the final boss fight and he says he creates a new character, also a paladin, Shiro’s twin brother Jiro? That’s the nod to the original, when they did kill Shiro (or Sven, as he was known in localizations), and then later explained away his reappearance by saying “oh hey this is his twin brother,” so I got a huge kick out of that. They really do milk these jokes about the original Shiro dying for all they’re worth, which is great.
Not to mention that they completely foreshadowed the plot with Shiro.
I think that was what made me the most pleased this season. They finally addressed the fact that the Shiro who has been with the group since his unusual rescue after his disappearance was not the real Shiro, but a clone. The real Shiro died at the end of S2, and his essence was protected, stored within the Black Lion. The clone plot came to a head as clone Shiro (let’s call him Kuron after the operation name for him), acting on Haggar’s orders, was activated as a sleeper cell and sabotaged the Castle of Lions, fleeing to Haggar’s side. This led to the most gorgeous fight scene I have ever seen in which Keith tried to fight Kuron, to bring the real Shiro, the brother who raised him and never gave up on him, back to his senses. It was absolutely stunning, especially in the flashbacks, and possibly a little Star Wars reminiscent (losing hands and dangling from space structures in grave danger is very, very Star Wars). It was then that we learned Shiro died, and because Keith refused to kill Kuron, it meant that at the end of the season, Allura could rescue Shiro’s essence from the Black Lion and transfer it into Kuron’s body, bringing the real Space Dad back to us.
Shiro’s possibly my favorite character, so I may have gotten a little teary-eyed. I missed the real deal, and knew something was wrong the whole time we had Kuron instead.
Of course, I do wish Lance was more involved in realizing who Kuron really was. Previous seasons showed him clearly grasping new hints, but he ultimately had no role in unveiling Shiro’s fate and future, which was disappointing. I really did want more involvement for him because he has so much potential to be a well-rounded character, to be more than the high energy lover boy.
But we did wrap up the season on a stellar note, finishing in a brilliant showdown between Lotor and Team Voltron that also required sacrificing the Castle of Lions (and my heart). It gave so much resolution to previous plot points, and I’m ready to tackle the new ones, especially the arrival of Romelle, the princess from the original series. There is an Altean colony somewhere out there that Lotor manipulated for his own gain, and I hope to see the team go there in the future, free them and begin to rebuild Altea. Plus, with the castle ship gone, the team has determined there’s only one place to go: Earth. It’s there that Sam Holt has plans and knowledge that will be enough to create a new home base for the team (did the writers forget about Slav the super genius on Olkari, or Matt Holt still somewhere in space, I wonder?), and it’s there that the paladins’ families probably think they’re all dead. The show is notorious for skipping all the emotional beats in favor of action, but I’m hoping with my whole being that they’ll deliver on some heart-wrenching reunions in S7.
So on the whole, I had a good time! Again, it was far from perfect, but it wasn’t as sloppy as previous seasons have been, and I’ve also learned to let go of most of my high standards so I can just enjoy my cartoons. Sometimes that’s tough to do, but hey, it’s worth it now that I’ve done it. I had a good time watching S6, and I’m going to be waiting very (im)patiently to hear when S7 is coming!