The Ups and Downs of “Voltron: Legendary Defender” : Season 4

Voltron: Legendary Defender premiered its fourth season on October 16th, returning to TV screens and computer monitors everywhere with tear-jerking scenes. The season was unique because the episodes were originally intended to be the second half of season three. The reason for splitting season three into two separate seasons has not been officially announced, but the decision was interesting nonetheless. The real question is: did it work well enough to produce two cohesive seasons? In my opinion, it was alright! Let’s look at the 7 best moments from season four to see what worked well, and what could have been better.

7) Kaltenecker

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Never in my life did I think I would see Lance milking a cow while on an alien ship. Just the fact that the team has somehow managed to maintain and care for a cow in the middle of outer space is amazing and hilarious, but having this little filler scene made life so much brighter. Lance got a humorous moment, and Coran and Allura saw what humans really eat. Honestly, this one was of the funniest moments of the show and it renewed my love for Lance (for like the 1,0000th time).

6) New characters

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

This season was packed with new characters! The assortment of aliens that came together in the Voltron coalition showed us how capable the artists are of creating diverse and unique designs for each character. We should definitely look forward to seeing more of this next season!

5) Haggar/Honerva

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Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Oh boy. This moment was fleeting, but important. We finally saw Haggar without her cloak and saw her real eyes. This image is the most humanizing (Alteanizing?) moment for her so far and it makes us think that perhaps she’s cognizant of what her actions will ultimately do. But, she’s too far deep, she can’t go back now. However, when we put this scene into context with Lotor’s return at the end of the season, it does seem as though something is being set up. Perhaps we’ll see more Honerva and less Haggar next season?

4) Shiro piloting the Black Lion again

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

The moment we had all been waiting for! Shiro had been grounded since his return to the team because the Black Lion refused to let him pilot. His determination to help the team and save the lives of people being attacked by the Galra finally got the Black Lion to take him back. It was a much-needed reunion I’m glad we got to see!

3) Coran’s great call-out and “The Voltron Show”

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

This fandom is collectively aware of its obsession with Shiro and repetitive use of traits for each character. And it seems that the writers are keenly aware of it as well. This entire episode was a call-out for this, and the names assigned to each character are evident of this. The episode was meant to say something about each character: Hunk is not just the gassy guy. Pidge is more than math and science babble. Lance is not just a flirt. And Allura is not a placeholder for Keith. But, of course, there was an emphasis on Shiro being more than just muscle.

Though it was definitely the goofy filler episode, it was important for fans. It as a nice break from all the war effort plot, and the humor balanced out the season. The only disappointing thing? Not seeing Shiro in that super tight shirt.

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

2) “Reunion”

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

The feels struck hard in this episode! I thought I was prepared for whatever would be thrown at me with the Holt sibling reunion, but I was so wrong. Seeing Matt’s grave at a memorial site was heart wrenching. But the actual reunion of Pidge and Matt made up for it. Two sandy haired dorks kicking butt and spazzing out together? The best.

Also: if I ever hear Bex Taylor-Klaus scream like she did in the memorial scene again I will legitimately die.

1) Matt Holt being the complete and utter dork we all knew he would be.

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

We all knew he’d be a dweeb, but this exceeded expectations. He adores his sister, is a total goofball, is incredibly intelligent, and he can fight. Swoon!

 

But we can’t have the amazing moments without the downright “meh”. Here are some points that left us just short of satisfied:

  • Break pedal on character development

Lack of Kuron information:

The one thing I was sure would be addressed this season is the Kuron Project. Why did the Black Lion reject Shiro for so long? Is he the original Shiro, or a clone? Or maybe he’s the original Shiro and his mind has been warped and invaded by Haggar’s magic? Whatever is going on with him, he’s still acting strange and it’s difficult to trust him.

I get why we didn’t see any development on this. These 7 episodes were supposed to be a cohesive unit with the third season, so in that context it makes sense to leave this issue open to be resolved in the next season. So, I can’t say I’m actually complaining about this one. It was just disappointing to feel like the writers were glossing over an important issue and hoping we’d forget about it.

Keith’s absence:

This one seems to be a hard hitter throughout the fandom. After being hyped up for so long about Keith being the center of attention for seasons three and four, seeing very little of Keith this season was kind of a letdown. Again, it makes sense to see Keith (sadly) leave the team to continue his Blade of Marmora training, but it also seemed strange to abandon all the leadership development he had made during his time as the Black Lion’s pilot.

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

My prediction for this one is that we’re going to see Keith intermittently throughout the fifth season as he develops his own style of leadership with the Blade. And as much as I hate to admit it, Keith’s skills and personality fit in much better with the Blade than they do with Voltron. He demonstrated that right off the bat when he went against orders and saved another Blade member during a mission. But he revealed that he hadn’t done it to save his teammate, but to save the information the guy was carrying. The more time Keith spends with the Blade, the more we’re going to see things like this pop up. He’s always been a no-nonsense kind of guy, but I’m looking forward to seeing how his Blade training brings out his personality even more.

So, long story short, it sucked not seeing Keith much this season. But it’s highly probable we’ll see a whole new side of him next season, for better or worse.

Small moments for Lance, Hunk, and Allura:

Fans have been begging to see development for anyone aside from Shiro and Keith. Pidge and Matt’s reunion was inevitable, but we’re waiting to be surprised with the other paladins. We all hoped this season would bring something, but we really only got small bits of development here and there.

Hunk, thank goodness, has shown that he’s a tough guy when he wants to be. The brute force he used to knock out a Galra soldier was impressive, and his discovery of heximite on Nacxela saved the day. But my personal favorite was just one line: “No more fart jokes, please”. Amen, Hunk! Hopefully next season we’ll see more of this big Samoan hero doing his thing and getting the background story reveal he deserves.

Allura unlocked another Altean power, and it was ah-mazing. This girl is so powerful, and she has no idea. Once again, she was consumed with self-doubt, but she overcame that and pushed herself to a new limit. It was a small development, but it could mean a lot in the future. Perhaps a show-down between her and Haggar, the only other Altean woman alive?

Lance is the one I want to see a background story for the most. He has incredible leadership skills that have yet to be unlocked, and that came through when he convinced Allura that she had the power to save Voltron. He has a goofball personality, but he’s all heart and wants to see everyone shine as bright as they can. There wasn’t a lot of time to elaborate on his skills this season, but with the absence of Keith and the possibility of trouble with Shiro, I think next season we may see some more focus on Lance!

And just a side note. Allura and Lance is building up as the ultimate brotp and I LOVE IT.

  • A lot of death.

    Voltron
    Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

They’re in the middle of an intergalactic war, so of course every member of team Voltron and the coalition are going to get some blood on their hands. But the brutality of this season made us realize that this could seriously mess not only with everyone’s heads, but also with their team dynamic. The character development we’re begging for is going to come with some changes to each character’s personality, and it’s going to be interesting to see how all of the death around them affects this.

And on a smaller note, this is definitely not a kids show anymore. Lotor’s brutal and heartless murder of Narti, though expected, was a shock. That was the moment it became clear that Voltron: Legendary Defender is going to become darker and more mature from here on out.

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation
  • The Lotor twist.

Oh, Lotor. We all got attached to him pretty quickly and it seems that the fandom has collectively held onto a hope that he’ll genuinely turn good guy and help Voltron defeat Zarkon. Lotor turned out to be just as much of a jerk as he was in the original series, up until his decision to save the day in episode 7. No one expected that. It seemed pretty clear that Keith was going  to be permanently lost, but Lotor threw us a curveball.

This twist added a new mess to everything that was already piling up. With Keith’s absence, the uncertainty about Shiro, and the possibility of losing the ability to form Voltron again, the plot of the show already has a lot going on. But now we’re seeing the possibility of Zarkon’s son joining the Voltron coalition. If it happens, it could mean that Voltron has a new ally and huge advantage that will help them in their mission to defeat the Galra Empire. However, it could also mean that the team ends up fighting Lotor on a new front, distracting from the larger mission.

Personally, I have a feeling that Lotor’s “talk” with team Voltron will be positive. It feels like something might go down with Haggar, and having Lotor, her son, on team Voltron would give them an advantage over her. I just hope the plot hasn’t bitten off more than it can chew with all of these issues intertwining the way they are.

Voltron
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation

 

Overall, season four gets a solid A-. The more you look into the details of the episodes, the more everything makes sense. The episodes ran together smoothly and coherently, despite the breaks for humor. In fact, the balance of humor and dark themes was on point. But the disjointed feeling in the beginning and the few disappointments throughout the season lost it a few brownie points.

However, this is just coming from a spectator perspective. Like I said, the more you think about it, the more things start to make sense. The writers definitely know what they’re doing, they’re just torturing us in the process. Now more than ever we need to trust in the Voltron crew and wait to see how all of the plot and character development unfolds. Remember, nerds: Patience Yields Focus!

So, what are your thoughts on season four? Will Keith make a triumphant return to the team? Is Shiro really Shiro? And how is Lotor going to affect the team’s dynamic? Let me know in the comments below!

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