Voltron is back, baby, and with a vengeance. So much happened in such a short season, but most of it helped to advance the plot and flesh out the Voltron universe even more.
Episode 1 is full of tension at every turn. Months have passed since the end of season 3. Since then, Zarkon woke up, and Voltron has been freeing more of the universe from the Galra Empire’s control.
This time has brought more tension in the Paladin’s ranks than before, especially concerning Keith and his positions as new leader of Voltron and a member of the Blade of Marmora.
Keith, spread thin between the two groups, is caught in the middle between his human connections and his Galra heritage. Unfortunately, while this dynamic was not fleshed out more in season 4, I have high hopes for future seasons.
Near the end of season 3, Keith seemed to be coming into his own as leader of Voltron after the Black Lion refused to accept Shiro as its pilot. However, in this season, with Shiro acting more as a military commander than the friend and mentor he was in previous seasons, his behavior seeming more unforgiving and going so far as to pull rank on Keith.
While Keith had not opposed Shiro’s orders, he clearly seems conflicted and unsure of himself. These insecurities likely stem from his loner tendencies and desire to connect with his Galra heritage.
With Keith constantly away on Blade of Marmora missions, the team is leaning more on Shiro, and thereby alienating (lol pun) Keith further.
This season has created an interesting dichotomy between the teams. We have the Galra Empire vs. Team Voltron and Keith vs. Lotor. First, Keith and Lotor.
Both are the second choices for leader, both are part-Galra, both are skilled swordsmen and pilots, and both have something to prove. To further this parallel, Haggar tells Lotor, “An emperor must be seen.”
Similar to Keith constantly avoiding the public eye to go on Blade (Blade of Marmora) missions, Lotor has expressed no interest towards the throne and is furthered by his own goals regarding quintessence and the rift that ultimately destroyed the Galra’s home planet.
Zarkon labelling Lotor a criminal has caused a rift within a rift. Lotor’s trusted generals are now torn between their loyalty to Lotor and survival against the Empire.
This ultimately means the generals betray Lotor after Lotor kills Narti when he suspects her of spying for Haggar.
Despite Acxa betraying Lotor to capture him, her expression and tone of voice make me suspect she is either secretly working together with Lotor to betray the Empire or operating under someone else’s orders. The generals’ fate remains to be seen after Lotor escapes.
Unlike in season 3, season 4 interspersed the gloom and doom battle against the Galra Empire with other stakes on the line.
As Pidge is one of my favorite characters from the show, I appreciated that episode 3 was largely focused around Pidge’s backstory as well as her character. Though made apparent before by Pidge’s desperate attempts to locate her brother, season 3 fleshed out their relationship in more detail and gave fans a reason to care about Matt’s fate.
“Matt Holt a.k.a Angel Dork” as described by Voltron Wiki had a close relationship with Pidge pre-Kerberos mission and was support for Pidge when she was picked on in school. He was also the one who gave Pidge her nickname.
Matt Holt’s integration into the Voltron Coalition was smooth and natural thanks to excellent comedic timing during his interaction with Team Voltron for the first time.
In comparison to the moments of comedy sprinkled throughout the season, episode 4 felt like it cut into the show’s pacing. The whole episode was, admittedly funny, but overall didn’t do a whole lot to add to the show or to flesh out the characters.
The episode can be summarized like this: Coran gets a bug (literally), Coran gets wacky, Voltron puts on performances to increase support, Coran gets crazy, Voltron puts on more shows to increase support, Bii-Boh-Bi is adorable, Princess Lea reference, Bii-Boh-Bi ate the brain bug. And life goes on. Season 3 lacked humorous scenes to cut the tension, and with the inclusion of this episode, season 4 may have had too many humorous scenes.
Luckily, after this episode, Team Voltron finds both the plot and a way to free 1/3 of the Galra-occupied planets.
Keith, after being MIA with the Blades for a couple episodes, makes a reappearance as part of a strike team to attack Senfama, and he seems changed. After an undisclosed amount of time working almost exclusively with the Blade of Marmora since leaving Voltron, Keith has integrated himself more with the Blades to the point where he is willing to adopt the Galran mantra, “Victory or death is the Galra way,” to allow his team victory in the 9th hour.
The season ends with their saving grace not in the form of Coran with the Castle of Lions but Lotor with his meteorite battleship. Unlike before, where Keith was almost obsessed with finding and bringing down Lotor, does not seem overly hostile or perturbed that Lotor was their savior—even when Lotor announces his intentions to work together with Team Voltron against the Galra Empire.
So. Now what? Well, there’s still many unanswered questions.
Why does Lance know how to milk a cow?
Lotor, you yellow-bellied side winder, what are you up to?
He was after the quintessence from the rift at Daibazaal, but it was never explicitly stated for what. Why does he suddenly want to team up with Team Voltron especially after having spent a good portion of season 3 trying to kill them. Lotor has already proven himself to be manipulative to both his underlings and his own father.
He was even going so far as to abandon his generals, even if they betrayed him first, and help Voltron prevent Haggar from destroying Naxzela and the Voltron Coalition. Without a doubt, he is going to be working with Voltron for his own gains. What those gains are remains to be seen.
Keith, so help me.
Keith near gave me a heart attack when he almost died trying to bring down Haggar’s shield. Though in retrospect, his actions were not completely unforeseen.
In previous seasons, Keith has been shown to do whatever it took to complete the mission including breaking into a government facility to save Shiro, threatening the king of a planet Voltron was supposed to be saving, getting his butt handed to him trying to learn more about his Galra roots, chasing Lotor into unstable territory, and the list goes on.
Especially after witnessing a fellow Blade member sacrifice his life to stop a ship from exploding, Keith’s actions were to benefit his team.
With the manipulative Lotor possibly joining Team Voltron, what else could Keith be pushed into doing?
Shiro vs. Kuron
“Kuron” has still not been confirmed as a character. In the previous season, “Shiro” awoke in Galra custody after the battle against Zarkon, and even after Keith and the Black Lion found him, he complained of a headache. Shiro’s personality seems to have drastically changed as well—all the above give more credence to the “Kuron” theory.
Fans have speculated since the beginning of season 3 that Shiro is not who he seems and that “Shiro” is a clone/sleeper agent of sorts named Kuron (a play on Shiro’s name, which means “white” in Japanese and Kuron meaning “black” in Japanese).
In opposition to this theory is the fact that Black accepted Shiro as Paladin again. Black doesn’t seem to be so fickle as to randomly switch Paladins—none of the lions do—which provides a strong opposition to the Kuron theory. If Shiro is actually Kuron who is a double-agent for the Galra Empire, she would obey him.
Unfortunately, from the way season 4 ended, it doesn’t seem fans will be getting an answer to this question anytime soon because you get bet your bottom GAC that Lotor will be running the show next season.
At the moment, there is no word on when season 5 of Voltron: Legendary Defender will be premiering, but hopefully we won’t have to wait long. The seasons here on out will be split into shorter batches of 6-7 episodes to minimize wait time between seasons. Fingers crossed that by March of 2018, we will have a brand-new season of Voltron to lose our minds over.
Until then, remember that #patienceyieldsfocus.
For my thoughts on season 3 of Voltron, click here.