I’m of two minds about Voltron Legendary Defender, especially this fourth season. On one hand, the writers clearly know when to bring the intensity, the game-changing episodes, the great moments, the beautiful music and more. But…then there’s times where I have no idea what they’re doing, and part of that is the reason why Voltron Legendary Defender Season 04 is so confusing.
Now, to be clear, this is a good season. In fact, I’d rate it higher than Season 03, and rightfully so, but it had to overcome some serious flaws to get to that point. Not the least of which is the fact that this season…is six episodes. So to be fair…it’s not even a full season. The reasoning behind this baffled me. Yes, we got “season 03” in August and that was cool, but is waiting two months or so to get the full 13-episode season really that hard to do? Especially given how the last “season’ ended? I’m not so sure.
And this was only compounded by the first episode of the season, “Code of Honor”, where we find out that Keith believes that helping the Blade of Marmora is more important than being the leader of Voltron. Because…he’s afraid of being leader? Yeah, we saw a bit of this in Season 03, but that seemed to be resolved. And it was clear that there was a time jump of sorts between the end of season 03 and now, so somehow that “you’re the leader now lesson” got swallowed up. You’d think there would be a consequence to this which would result in Keith returning to Voltron…but now, instead, Shiro got the ability to pilot the Black Lion again…which essentially made all of Season 3’s arc with him irrelevant.
I’m not above status quo changes, I love them (as you’ll see later on), but hitting us with this at the start of the season? I really don’t get it, and there was no payoff for Keith joining the Blade of Marmora save for a suicide mission…that didn’t take.
And now…let’s get to the OTHER big problem with Season 04…”The Voltron Show!” Dear…gosh…in heaven!!!!!!! Look, I don’t mind comedy, and there was some great comedy in Season 04, but with a six episode season you CANNOT HAVE A FILLER EPISODE!!!!! And yes, I’ll admit, there was a small modicum of importance to the story, BUT, are you seriously telling me that this amazing team can’t come up with a more compelling story to build support for Team Voltron than THAT?!?!!
…let’s move on to the good stuff, ok?
All the bad parts aside, Voltron Legendary Defender Season 04 did have some great episodes. Two I want to highlight are “Reunion” and “Begin The Blitz”, as both were culminations of arcs that have started since basically the beginning. The first got to see Pidge finally find her brother Matt. Not only alive, but as a rebel. What made this episode so great wasn’t just the animations, and the amazing voice performances, but the flashbacks that helped solidify why Pidge was so desperate to find her brother, and the connection they share. The music was also really on point, and helped sell many of the big moments.
Then, when Matt became an integral member of Team Voltron (and got a crush on Alua…much to the chagrin of Lance), it felt totally right. He’s a really cool character, and I’m glad Pidge finally got him back.
As for “Begin The Blitz”, I truly believe that episode will go down as one of the best episodes of Voltron Legendary Defender. It had so many moving parts, it was great! Not to mention it showed the full scope of the Voltron Aliance, something I was really happy to see come to life in numerous ways. The battles for the various teams was great, and only a few times did it seem like they had the upperhand. This was important, for the Galra aren’t weak, if it was too easy, then this could’ve happened long ago. Instead, we got to see how even with proper planning, they only just managed to win at certain stages, just like a war should be.
I now am going to draw attention to Prince Lotor. Who is continuing to be one of the best characters on the show despite limited screen time. Season 03 showed him to be a cunning schemer, and now, we got to see his schemes unravel, his plans fail, and even his generals betray him. It was a very fun mini-arc, and with him being…well I’ll save that for later.
I also dug how the return of Zarkon heralded Lotor’s fall, and Haggar had a big hand in that too. Even going so far as to label him a traitor to the Galra Empire. Which is a great transition to the amazing twists this season had. Keith’s departure, the return of Matt, Lotor’s fall from prominence, him killing one of his generals, and then said generals trying to make up for supporing him, and then…the final episode…where the planet was a BOMB!!!!!
Seriously, that was cool. Not as cool though…as LOTOR SAVING THEM ALL!!!!! And he did it with an evil grin. Let it be known, that THIS was the perfect cliffhanger, and the best season ending that Voltron has ever had.
Now, I rag on the comedy of Voltron Legendary Defender a lot, and a lot of it is deserved, but that’s not to say that there wasn’t some solid funny moments. Like when Pidge and Matt are spewing out science stuff and Hunk looks at them lazily and goes, “yeah, you two are related.” And though I’m not sure how it happened (truly, I don’t understand), Team Voltron got a cow…and Alura and Caran wanted milkshakes…and Lance showed them how to get it via the cow…and they were horrified.
Look, in the end, Voltron Legendary Defender did some really dumb things. But, because of the finale and episodes like “Reunion” and “Begin The Blitz” it stood tall all things considered. And for the first time, there’s an honest to goodness great anticipation within me for the next season, because the cliffhanger was worthy and it sets up very interesting story elements.