“One door closes and other opens” seems to be the idea behind Voltron Legendary Defender season 5.
Season 5 felt like a conclusion to the first half of Voltron Legendary Defender as a series. It was also more like season 1 in that it both felt like a love letter to the original Voltron and helped set up a whole new set of events for the main cast to contend with by concluding plots that had outstayed their welcome.
Unfortunately, with this season being cut in half the way seasons 3 and 4 were, scenes like Sam Holt’s recovery from the Galra, Keith’s meeting with his mom, Allura gaining the knowledge from the center of the white hole, and even Zarkon’s death felt like they weren’t given their due screen time.
The death of Emperor Zarkon sent waves of activity throughout the Galra Empire leading to expected responses to the power vacuum and less expected responses. The Galra have always been presented as a more warmongering race, so the scramble for power was pretty much a given.
Haggar’s reaction was not. She… just didn’t seem to care. I see this as less of a plot hole and more of a hint of what is to come in future seasons. Lotor and Allura’s dialogue in episode 6 gave us reason to believe when Zarkon and Honerva were corrupted in the flashback episode of season 4, they may have also, in essence, been brainwashed.
Considering Honerva and Zarkon were married to the point and had a son together, I was expecting an outlash of grief from Haggar. The fact that were was little to no reaction besides, “Guess I gotta find a new leader for the empire now. Oh well,” makes me think all the talk of “puppets” in season 5 was not for nothing.
These scenes of season 5 were handled incredibly well and set up potential events for future seasons.
I have mixed feelings on a number of other scenes. At this point, the “Shiro” that is currently with Team Voltron has pretty much been confirmed as not the reason Shiro. This part, I do think the writing staff set up well. Ever since Keith and the Black Lion found Shiro back in season 3, Shiro hasn’t acted like the kind, steady, diplomatic Space Dad we all knew from seasons 1 and 2.
Several scenes had Haggar spying on Team Voltron (though mainly Lotor) from a certain perspective–that perspective belonging to Shiro. The transition from Team Voltron discussing to Haggar watching Team Voltron discussing was not exactly subtle.
There is still no word on what Project Kuron phase 4 involves as there was no obvious change in Shiro. This raises questions like how many phases are there? What does the final phase involve? Does this mean “Shiro” will betray Team Voltron?
Project Kuron has also given fans a pretty definitive answer as to whether or not Shiro, or “Kuro,” as he’s referred to by much of the fandom, knows whether or not he is the real Shiro.
Kuro believes he is Shiro. He retains Shiro’s memories up until he vanished after the fight with Zarkon in season 2 and is able to still use the Black Lion and black bayard.
Aaaaaand this is where my praises for the season start to peter off a bit.
Lotor, throughout all of season 4 after he was introduced, has been cunning and cutthroat. These character traits are what distinguished him from the cast and is part of what made some fans love him.
All of a sudden, in season 5, he’s nice. Almost too nice. I don’t doubt Lotor has the Galra empire’s best interests at heart and isn’t actually interested in conquering other worlds, but I am skeptical of how nice he’s being to the paladins despite blatant distrust and hatred towards him.
How is Lotor able to use the Black Bayard? While it’s never been explicitly stated, I had always assumed one needed to be the Paladin of one of the lions to use their respective bayard. The fact that Lotor used the black bayard in his fight against Zarkon and in subsequent fights contradicts this. Lotor is no doubt a born leader, but does that automatically qualify him to pilot the Black Lion since he can use the black bayard?
Speaking of Lotor, let’s talk about Keith.
In season 3, Keith seemed hell bent on killing Lotor. Now he doesn’t seem to have issues working with Lotor to the point where he saves Lotor’s life at the Kral Zera. He specifically talks about being concerned for Shiro’s safety yet makes no attempt to talk to Shiro before, during, or after the Kral Zera.
The writers may be trying to put some distance between Keith and Shiro as characters, possibly to set up Keith teaming up with Lance to take down Kuro if Kuro ends up betraying the team.
Krolia, Keith’s mom, finally makes an appearance. Hallelujah. While I understand not wanting to dwell too long on Keith and Krolia so it can be explored more in season 6, I so wanted more screentime between their characters.
Overall, I enjoyed season 5 far more than I did seasons 3 or 4. The writers seem to have put their writing pants on and are honoring Voltron’s source material while at the same time forging a new path.
Season 6 has been confirmed for June 15.
Maybe in season 6 we can find out more about Keith’s past, Lotor’s true motives, and if Shiro is possibly stuck in the astral plane as was suggested in episode 4.
Until then, let’s sit our butts down, hold tight for season 6, and hopefully #saveShiro2k18.