DreamWorks' hit Netflix series 'Voltron: Legendary Defender' has done some amazing work in four seasons by bringing a fresh approach to both the title militarized machine and the team of Paladins who pilot it. There’s some incredibly interesting mythology at play on both a character level and in a broader sense. Season 5 delivers a trademark blend of stylish action, complex storylines and goofy humor, proving once again that Voltron is a strong contender for being Netflix's best original animated series.
They’re calling it “Season 5", but it’s really Season 3, and the first half of it at that. They did the same thing for “Season 3" and “Season 4", two halves of the same season. “Season 3" and “Season 4" work as one continuous arc because they were split up. “Season 5" and “Season 6" will be the same way. I don’t get why Netflix is doing this. Is it a production schedule thing? I don’t understand why they don’t just release all 13 episodes at once, but more Voltron is better than no Voltron.
Better the devil you know: Lotor is very clearly manipulating the team to build his own robot. Either as a reference to Vehicle Voltron, or Lotron from the “Fleet of Doom” US special. In the last season, those ships that Lotor’s team flew around looked like they could be pieces for a mech. Maybe the missing piece for Lotor is the Altean alchemy needed to power his own giant combining unstoppable robot.
Which witch: If Haggar and Lotor are working together or not, she’s been in Shiro’s head for a while. Shiro was so insistent about putting Lotor on the throne right away, even though the entire team thought they should take it slow, it seemed clear to me that Haggar was manipulating Shiro into that, to get Lotor on the throne, which made perfect sense as she was gathering up his former subordinates.
Not our Shiro: Sendak did the heavy lifting of eliminating Lotor’s opposition while Lotor could play the good guy working with Shiro. It’s pretty much Voltron tradition to have him be a manipulator. But yeah, Shiro wanting to help Lotor seize the throne was such a GD giveaway that something big is going down... And Lotor denying his lineage when we already know the truth is a hell of a thing.
Shiro is actually a clone. I think clone Shiro doesn’t know that he’s a clone, but is aware that something isn’t quite right with himself. In another episode this season, you hear Haggar mention activating another stage of “Project Kurone” which I think triggered Shiro to be so helpful with assisting Lotor with his objectives. The clues are there especially if you go back and watch Season 3's 'The Journey', he sees a room on the base with a bunch of copies of himself in stasis. Also, the Japanese word for clone is Kurōn. Maybe, the real Shiro was absorbed by the Black Lion and that was who was actually yelling at Lance when the team was in that dreamlike state. Not sure of that BUT It is all part of a plan.
A few minor nitpicks on Season 5:
-One of the neatest things about Season 4 was showing the coalition build and grow - Voltron was important, but it was just a small part of the larger rebel movement. Season 5 gave up on that (did Keith really just feature in the one episode?) in favor of focusing almost exclusively on Voltron + Lotor.
-Internal Galra politics has never been that interesting, especially because the show has basically portrayed them all as various totally interchangeable factions in a barbarian horde. That’s why the Blade of Marmora was interesting - it was a different take on what the Galra could be. Also, if the Kral Zera grounds were borderline religious for the Galra, would the Blade of Marmora really try to blow it up?
-It’s good to see Sendak return, but is he really a good enough replacement for Zarkon and Lotor as the primary antagonist?
Lotor is planning something big, and if he’s doing a good job making people think he’s good, that’s the sign of a great villain.
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