Voltron Season 7 Thoughts

When you’ve hit such an emotional peak with a aseason like Season 6 of Voltron, where do you go from here?

Well, it’s simple. you keep the action going and never make too easy or too straightforward for the heroes, and that’s exactly what the showrunners did.

In many ways this season can be split up into two parts, the first half being “The Road Trip Home” and the latter half “The Battle For Earth”.

Going into the first half we pick up where we left off with Team-Voltron and they’re trying to contact Earth as well as find a way to re-energize the Lions given that they took a real beating during the fight with Lotor.

Not only that but we get a series of flashbacks that show us exactly how Keith and Shiro met, and what exactly happened to the former’s father.

Plus we also get a “Honey, I shrunk the kids” feel given what happens to some of our heroes as they’re trying to get something that only creatures called Yelmores can find.

But even after they get said materials Team-Voltron find themselves encountering Lotor’s former Generals and things aren’t as swimmingly as they originally thought.  With Lotor gone the power vacuum in the empire is worse than before, and now it’s a free-for-all.  Fortunately with a little help from the Altean Mice – and Coran and Acxa – the team was able to escape and be on their way.

But then they find a distress signal that only Blades of Marmora use and find ruins with the “help” of a stranger who explains that many Blades were lured to this planet and were systematically wiped out.  Of course, the whole thing was also a trap for Team Voltron as well but once again our heroes manage to get free and dispose of the Druid.

While Krolia had been accompanying the team to Earth, she decides to stay behind with an injured yet alive Kolivan and help find any surviving Blades of Marmora.  It is bittersweet for Keith and his mom but they all had to do what needed to be done.

(I still wonder how the Battle for Earth would have gone had Krolia and Kolivan went along for the ride though.)

And after a crazy adventure on an alien game show – no joke – our heroes find themselves in a pickle in “The Journey Within” for the Lions then completely shut down and no one is able to find a way to reactivate them.  So they try to tether the Lions together but that doesn’t work and the crew find themselves without their Lions and with only each other to rely on.  At first things go okay, but then they find themselves encountering various illusions and sometimes only one Paladin can see the illusion.

Then things get heated and Hunk out of everyone on the team tries – and actually manages to pull everyone together, living up to the Yellow Paladin’s tagline of being able to “lift the team up and hold them together”.  During all this, everyone – Keith in particular – comes around and realize that everything that they have gone through – good and bad – is no coincidence.  And credit to Steven Yeun’s performance because when he has Keith say, “This brought us together as friends” you believe it.  It could have almost sounded corny, but the way Yeun delivered the line and everything else that followed – it worked.  And right when that happens the Lions wake up fully energized and the Paladins find themselves facing off against some creature and they immediately draw their bayard weapons.  Things get heated up once the creature tries to finish them off but the five Lions come to the rescue and save our heroes.  And once they’re back in the Lions they form Voltron and with the help of some bayards the team manages to unlock another upgrade – this time giant rocket boosters – and are able to make their way across several galaxies until they find themselves on the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy, and their home planet, and here is where “The Battle for Earth” begins.

As they get to Earth Team Voltron discovers that Earth has been invaded by the Galra Empire but Sam did manage to get there before that point.  After explaining the story to the rest of the Garrison Sam implores that they prepare for an eventual invasion and while everyone agrees Admiral Sanda doesn’t seem so inclined, preferring to do things by the book, even though this is nothing like what she had been trained for, and this is an attitude that pervades the latter half of the season, which ultimately will come to backfire on Sanda later on.

So we meet some new characters – Colleen Holt, as well as Veronica, Griffin, Kinkade, Rizavi and Leifsdotter – and Sam along with Commander Iverson begin to prepare Earth in earnest, eventually creating Altean-Earth hybrid fighters and a battleship called the Atlas.  Unfortunately because Sanda decreed that no information about an alien invasion should be divulged resources begin to get scarce and ultimately Colleen decides to bring the truth out, causing the rest of the planet to rise to the occasion and offer assistance.

But no sooner does the first particle barrier get built for the Garrison does Sendak invade, and things go south real quickly.  While the particle barrier holds up, a counter-attack using regular fighters goes horribly wrong and even then Sanda refuses to budge.  Iverson and Sam ultimately give the order to send out the MFE fighter jets and things work, but Sendak is nothing if not patient.

And when our Paladins finally arrive, they realize it’s going to take everyone to stop Sendak but once again Sanda proves her inability to listen by suggesting that Team Voltron hand the Lions over to which the whole team – including Sam and Iverson – pretty much go, “Quiznak, no!”

As they meet up with resistance groups and look at what Sendak has set up – Team Voltron comes up with a plan to take out the cannons Sendak has been building but the whole thing turns out to be a trap and Sendak knew what our heroes were planning, and just who was the one to rat them out?  You guessed it – Admiral Sanda.

But even with that she manages to eventually redeem herself – at the cost of her life – and requests with her dying breath to save Earth.

Meanwhile Shiro the rest of the Garrison make their way to the Atlas and at first they have trouble getting it up and running but Coran using his quick thinking manages to get the crystal that the original Castle ship had been crushed into and uses it to power the Atlas, which works.

After a long and lengthy battle with Sendak’s forces – and a cool fight between Shiro and our new Galra villain – our heroes find themselves with a new enemy – some kind of mech robot.  But even with Voltron and the Atlas providing support things still aren’t in our heroes’ favor, until Shiro gets a feeling from his new prosthetic arm, and suddenly the Atlas transforms from a battlecruiser to a giant robot.

Once this happens our heroes are able to finally dispatch the robot and begin rebuilding, and this time the surviving members of the Coalition and the Blade of Mormora – including some familiar faces – finally get to Earth and assist with rebuilding.

Then several months later as the Garrison manages to salvage the wreckage of the robot that fought Voltron Allura and Sam discover that there was someone in the robot, and it was none other than an Altean!

In all, this season was nothing short of fantastic, with the two main halves blending in very well.  In the road trip section we finally got some last pieces to the Shiro-Keith puzzle, what happened to some key allies of Team-Voltron, and a cool episode that showcases how trials aren’t really there to defeat you, but to help make you stronger, and can even help you get to where you need to go and in a much quicker way than you think.

With the Battle for Earth it’s about our Paladins – namely Shiro, Pidge, Hunk and Lance – getting acclimated back to their home planet as well as combining forces to save their home.  And naturally there’s going to be some foils in regards to people like Sanda – people who want to protect Earth but they prefer to do it by the book even though to stop someone like Sendak you had to throw the old rulebook away, and Sanda wasn’t willing until she was fatally wounded.

And most importantly we get a teaser at the end of this season which you know is going to lead into the eighth and final conclusion of this incredible series.

So how about all of you out there?  Are you ready for the final chapter of this show?  I am a little of both – excited yet anxious – as of this post but I am looking forward to it.  It’s going to be bittersweet once we get to the credits of the final episode but it is going to be one exciting ride!

Ultrasonic’s thoughts: Voltron Season 6

Aside

In TV shows, there’s always seasons that are well more liked than others, and that’s just the nature of the beast.  But in the midst of all that there’s always that one season that manages to elevate the show beyond what it is and into something that no mere word can describe.  And in the case of “Voltron: Legendary Defender”, Season 6 is that season.

To start off, we meet up with our heroes after the events of the previous season and are introduced to Lotor’s mentor, whom Lance jokes was the new Emperor’s nanny way back when.  In addition Hunk finds himself learning more about Galra culture, but not in the way he would expect.

With Lotor attempting to unite the entire Galra Empire, Sendak on the other hand has decided to create a schism of his own within the Empire (The Blade of Marmora being the first), naming it “The Fire of Purification” which is a group of Galra headed by Sendak himself and is opening up to any Galra who do not believe in Lotor’s new leadership.  Although he is only seen in one episode this season, you’re left with the sense that he will come back, and in a more threatening way.

But even despite Sendak’s little interference, the team still manages to pull together and Hunk manages to not only put some of the training he had learned from Lotor’s nanny into play, but he’s able to use his mechanical know-how to take charge and guide the rest of Team-Voltron into solving the problem.

Meanwhile, we return to Keith in the next episode where he realizes the Blade of Mormora operative he just encountered is his own birthmother who goes by the name of Krolia.  Like Keith she too had been sent on the same mission to investigate the new quintessence that the Galra Empire were experimenting with.  Whether or not Blade of Marmora leader Kolivan knew of Krolia’s connection to Keith is a bit iffy, but given how the Blade of Marmora is known for intelligence-gathering, I wouldn’t doubt it.

And then we get treated to not just an amazing scene, but a string of amazing ones because during this episode Keith and Krolia find themselves near something that is called a “Quantum Abyss” which is part of a galaxy that is known for its warped space-time because of the clusters of stars and celestial objects around it.  Along with having to deal with certain hostile creatures lurking there, the mother-son duo find themselves encountering solar flares coming from the center of the Abyss triggering visions of the past and in the duo’s case, their past, beginning with Krolia’s and how she even ended up on Earth in the first place, and this is where the episode shines because the audience is able to get exposition from the visuals, as opposed to hearing it from the characters.  Plus the visions come across in a more objective way so you never get a sense of bias.

Eventually they find themselves encountering a creature that looks like an Earth whale and are able to get on the animal once they figure out that the “space-whale” may know its way around the Abyss better than they do.  During all this they find that the creature is able to generate its own atmosphere for them to breathe, plus they discover a wolf-like animal that had crashed into the space-whale and almost ended up being eaten by other parasitic creatures had it not been for Krolia and Keith’s interference.

From there on in two years go by and while not much is seen, you still get a sense that Keith is able to talk to his mom, as well as train and bond with both her and their new canine friend, who is able to teleport over short distances.

Eventually Keith and Krolia are able to finally disembark from the space whale and they find themselves on a desolate planet which leads them to another world that is eerily similar to the one Allura had in the holo-deck on the Castle Ship.  And then, as they make their way to a forest with a river they run into someone who turns out to be none other than…an Altean!

Then we return to the rest of Team-Voltron and instead of being on a usual mission we find that they are actually taking a break and playing a game that Coran calls “Monsters and Mana”, which is in many ways an ultimate love letter to Dungeons and Dragons and every single RPG/Action-Adventure game in both tabletop and video game form.

Essentially everyone has to pick a character as their avatar for the game. Pidge chooses a Viking, Hunk chooses a healer, Lance a thief, and Allura an elf-ranger, and Shiro as a Paladin, with Coran as essentially the DM to coin a tabletop game phrase.

The quest begins with our heroes meeting up with each other, each with their different quests.  But once they find that their goals seem to intertwine they each decide to team up and help each other out.  And from that point on just about every single RPG/adventure reference/trope you can think of is present, but it’s done in a way that isn’t tacked on, and interestingly enough they help move things forward.

But even as great as the episode is, it is essentially the last “fun” episode for the season because after this everything gets very…I don’t want to say “dark”, but they do get very tense, and even that is an understatement.

With “The Colony” Lotor and Allura finally head into the Quintessence field via the Sincline ship – which Allura had been upgrading via her newfound Alchemic skills from Oriande (Season 5) and while Lance voices his concerns about the Quintessence field – namely from what they know regarding Zarkon’s backstory – Shiro points out that Zarkon fell victim to his own ambitions/instincts and that the Quintessence field didn’t create those feelings, only revealed them.

During this time, a ship is spotted heading in their direction and it turns out to be an Altean pod with Keith piloting it. Once he gets on the Castle of Lions Keith along with Krolia, Romelle and the cosmic wolf get aquatinted (reacquainted in Keith’s case) with the rest of the team and Romelle explains her story, revealing Lotor’s true nature and what he had been really planning this whole time. It turned out that a significant number of Alteans were off-planet when their home world was destroyed and stayed in hiding until Lotor found them. Once he did he offered the refugees a safe planet for them to colonize until a permanent solution could be found, and for a while things were fine, but then when Romelle and her younger brother Bandor were born things began to change, namely when they reached their teens. By this point the colonists worshipped Lotor as a savior but Romelle wasn’t so inclined. When Bandor is selected to go to another colony Romelle protests but Bandor assures her it is Lotor’s will.

Some time later Bandor ends up contacting Romelle via a communicator he gave her before leaving and when Romelle catches up to where he is all he can tell her is that Lotor and the other colony were a lie before he dies in her arms.

Now knowing that her suspicions were beyond justified but also knowing that without any kind of proof she couldn’t say anything Romelle was in a bit of a pickle. But then she encountered Keith, Krolia and the cosmic wolf and once they all got to talking it didn’t take long for them to suspect a connection between the missing colonists and the pure quintessence the Blade of Marmora had been tracking. As they backtracked Bandor’s return to the first colony the group found the second colony which turned out to be a place that was harvesting the quintessence out of other Alteans, including people Romelle knew.

Shocked by this revelation the rest of Team-Voltron then confront Lotor once he and Allura come back onto the ship and Romelle spills the beans on Lotor’s deceit. Naturally Lotor tries to spin it in a way that it was a necessary evil but Allura, feeling betrayed in ways beyond anyone’s understanding simply throws him to the floor. Of course, this is when Haggar takes control of Shiro and everything goes straight down the tubes real quick as Shiro systematically takes out everyone on the bridge and escapes with Lotor. Fortunately Keith quickly takes command and heads to Black Lion in his Paladin Armor and helps the team take the fight to Lotor’s generals, who had snuck onboard the Castle Ship and took the other Sincline ships.

What follows for the rest of the season is an all-out, rock-em-sock-em fight and Keith showcasing his growth and true leadership skills, but even with that it’s still tough going, especially when Zethrid, Ezor and Acxa try to escape via a wormhole. Keith gets through but after some encounters with some Galra cruisers he manages to find himself at a facility that is housing clones of…Shiro!

And once Keith hears Shiro’s voice What then follows is a fight that had fans had been wondering/anticipating since the beginning. And it is a fight that does not disappoint.

But just when it seems like all hope is lost, Keith find himself in the astral plane and comes face-to-face with none other than the real Shiro who confirms what many had suspected about him.

While all of this is going on, Lotor and his generals are headed back to Voltron’s position in an attempt to try and access the quintessence field once more so Allura and the other Paladins destroy the entrance but then Lotor shows up and once again tries to justify his actions but Allura ain’t having it and attacks, even going so far as to liken Lotor to his father more than before, which snaps Lotor and he and his generals attack, and it’s here where Lotor goes from his usual stoic, charming self to a scenery-chewing madman.

And that madness only shows itself more once Lotor jettisons his generals and creates his own Voltron. Even when Coran steps in to help things still don’t go well.

In the midst of this Keith is trying to get to the battle as fast as he can but with one of Black Lion’s thrusters damaged he is going even slower and he cries out to Shiro for help. Fortunately his older brother figure is there to provide him with the same advice he’s given him countless times before.

“Patience yields focus.”

So Keith does exactly that and manages to get to his team faster than even he anticipated. Once he does he manages to catch Lotor off-guard and the whole team forms Voltron for one more fight.

And now we have yet another incredible battle but things are still at a stalemate, and then once the team realizes Lotor is using the Quintessence Field to teleport in and out they decide to enter the field as well, knowing it’s the only way to match his power level.

Once they’re in the field the team is able to match Lotor attack for attack but slowly they begin to get more aggressive and Allura says they need to get out quickly or they’ll end up like Zarkon and Honerva. Since Voltron has extra Quintessence Allura has the team give Lotor that extra energy via their attacks which seems to knock the Sincline robot out of commission but Voltron is beginning to overload and they need to leave. Allura still wants to save Lotor despite her own feelings but it isn’t until Keith says that Lotor made his choice and they had to go.

Once they get out of the field Team Voltron still can’t relax yet for all the teleporting Lotor has been doing had opened up space-time rifts that, unless they were closed would destroy all of reality. Coran then suggests using the Castle ship’s teleduv, believing that would do the trick in closing the rifts, although…the process would also mean sacrificing the ship itself.

With no other option the team – along with Krolia and Romelle helping out – gets all the supplies they could salvage from the ship and have it go into the rift, which does the trick.

Despite that problem solved there was still the matter of Shiro, which Keith explains to the others. Fortunately Allura is able to step in and despite having little Alchemic training is able to extract the essence of the real Shiro from Black Lion and put it in the clone body which works.

So now with Shiro finally back the team is left with the question of what to do, to which Pidge supplies the answer.

“There’s only one place that has the plans necessary for a replacement of the Castle of Lions. Coran gave them to my dad.” – Pidge

“We’re going home.” – Keith

So in all, this is a season that delivers in such a way that you feel emotionally drained in the best way possible. While this season isn’t the final one, it is the season that connects a lot of the dots and answers questions that audiences have been wondering since Season 1. The highlights being that we finally learn Lotor’s true colors and after several seasons of being the “loner” and having been away from the team for two seasons, Keith finally returns to the team a new man. And boy was it worth the wait. And I love the fact that by leaving the team to track down the new Quintessence it all came full circle for Keith because he not only was reunited with his birth mother but he also got answers he had been looking for since the beginning, plus he gets a pet of his own in the cosmic wolf and meets a new ally/friend who is also a character from the original series in Romelle, but he was able to discover the source of the new Quintessence which turned out to be Altean colonists who had been hidden away by Lotor all this time. And once things hit the fan – and boy, do they – Keith steps up with no hesitation and from that point on you can see that he is not the impulsive loner that he was in the early seasons anymore. Now that he’s gotten the answers he had been seeking – and having had time to process and come to terms with everything for two years – now he’s ready to step up and become the Black Lion’s Paladin, and this time, it is earned.

But now that things have been resolved, in no way is the story over, because now our heroes have to head to earth. But now the question is, can they get there before the Galra decide to invade it? Guess we’ll see next season.

But as I said before, this season delivers in every way and it sets the stage for the last two seasons to follow.

Voltron Season 8 Trailer

Aside

In 2016 an animated series came out on Netflix that was a reboot of a beloved animated classic from the 1980s.  However, as audiences watched the episodes it became clear very quickly that this series was more than just a reboot.  And the fact that the producers had worked on “Avatar: The Last Airbender” as well as “Legend of Korra” only meant that the storytelling was going to be high-quality.  Plus putting the series on Netflix only makes it more accessible given the nature of binge-watching these days.

And now as we reach the end of the year the trailer for the eighth and final season has arrived. While Seasons 6 and 7 were very emotional, I have a feeling we haven’t seen anything yet!

 

Stan Lee Tribute

Aside

To say that Stanley Martin Lieber – a.k.a. Stan “The Man” Lee was a legend would be an understatement.  The man’s impact on the world of not just comic books, or pop culture, but the world itself is not something one can begin to measure.  And the impact the man’s work had on my own life – namely his co-creation Spider-Man – there’s just no words.


And of course, my personal favorite scene from my top favorite animated series.

RIP Stan Lee, and thank you for not just allowing us to escape, but for reinventing what a superhero is and should be, and for teaching us all real life lessons through your co-creations, from responsibility to self-acceptance and self-forgiveness and never give up on doing the right thing.

EXCELSIOR!