Ok, just so I can get this out of the way, I STILL hate how Netflix is handling Voltron in terms of episode count. While the first few seasons were full-on 13-episode seasons, the recent “seasons” have been either 6 or 7. It’s honestly very frustrating, and this trend continues with Voltron Legendary Defender Season 05, which is a mere 6 episodes long. This means, if you binge it, you’ll be done in two hours. It’s really annoying, and I’d rather have the full season than two halves of one. But…if you look past that though, you’ll find this is probably the best “season” of the bunch.
WARNING: Spoilers for Voltron Legendary Defender Season 05 ahead!
For while previous half seasons have been clearly chopped without rhyme or reason, this one feels like it had more intent in its design. For the first time, there are no filler episodes. In fact, the best you could say is that there’s a “filler b-plot”, and even then, it’s WAY better than previous filler episodes. Every episode has meaning, has impact, and advances the story in very interesting ways. Now, it does highlight the fact that the season only six episodes long, but at least you feel better after watching them all.
Now, the big cliffhanger from last season was that Lotor was betrayed by his father, Zarkon, and his generals, he was left with no choice than to join up with Voltron. As we start Voltron Legendary Defender Season 05, we see that the Paladins are taking a very cautious approach to their new “ally”, and with good reason. Yet, Lotor appears to truly be on their side. Whether that’s the case or not still remains to be seen.
In fact, Lotor is very much the star of this season. He’s fighting to prove “who he is” to the Paladins, he’s trying to take the Galra Empire into a new direction, and it’s not a stretch to say that he has some of the most important scenes in the entire season. He stands out, and that’s good, because the other villains still don’t…save for Haggar of course.
Now, don’t think that the other Paladins don’t get growth, four out of the six of them do (remember, Keith is still technically one of them). What’s more, it’s actually surprising how certain characters grow. Of all of them, I would say Lance has some of the biggest growth. While he’s still Lance, he shows more of the strength and confidence that the team need him to have, and for those hoping for a Lance/Allura relationship…we’ve taken another step towards that.
The “reveal” of who Shiro is was kind of glossed over here, however, its impact was felt in many ways. I’m kind of concerned that the other Paladins didn’t take a bigger hint that something was wrong when he did a 180 on them, but they did explain it well enough. Better than that though, Lance is growing wise, and Shiro himself is thinking that something is wrong, I hope this doesn’t drag out too much, we need a focal point for where this is going.
Pidge and Keith arguably had some of the more emotional arcs in this season, as they were “reunited” with some very special people. In fact, I think that’s one of the things I loved the most about Voltron Legendary Defender Season 05, story progression! Previous seasons sometimes struggled to move both the overall plot and the subplots forward. But in six episodes, they advanced it by leaps and bounds to the point where I wonder where everything’s going next.
There were major deaths, there were reunions, new alliances, the works. I personally loved the scene where Allura reveals that they have taken over 1/3 of the Galra Empire, that shows they’ve made quite a lot of leeway, and I dig it, and that was just episode 1, by episode 6, several major paradigm changes are in play. Oh, and if you’re hoping for more teases and cliffhangers as to what comes next, there are plenty of those in there.
Now, a previous complaint I’ve had in earlier Voltron seasons is the overwhelming comedy. I mean, you have Hunk AND Caran both doing comedy duty. Thankfully, this was toned down greatly for Season 05, and while Hunk still doesn’t get any major character progression, Caran at least comes off as both competent, and patriarchal in regards to Allura and her safety.
Speaking of Allura, is was good to see her progression in regards to trust and how to view the new status quos. Season 01 and 02 Allura likely wouldn’t have done the things she did here in Season 05, and now that a certain shift in who she is is now in play, it could lead to even more growth in her character.
Moving onto the more intangibles, not only is Voltron Legendary Defender Season 05 the best story season so far, I would venture to say it’s the most beautiful visually. And that’s saying something, as previous seasons have had jaw-dropping visuals, but here, I feel they’re taken to the next level. There are epic battles feature Lotor, Lance going full anime, a very special new world that you have to see to believe, a returning planet which provides some special visuals itself, it’s all prestine. The blend of 2D and 3D visuals is very well done.
The music should also be appreciated, after all, it helps set many a scene, and brings forth many emotions.
I’ve sprinkled out my problems with the season above, but again, the biggest one is the six episodes. As you’ll find out at the end, “Season 06” arrives on June 15. While that’s great that it’s close, I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to just wait until then and get all 13 episodes. Yes, I guess it’s great to have part for now and part for later, but given what happened in these episodes, I hate having to wait for 3 more months just to get it.
In the end though, Voltron Legendary Defender Season 05 might just be the best “season” of the series. Its story is tight, the characters are great, the action is epic, and the visuals are stunning. If you somehow HAVEN’T watched this show yet, go to Netflix and do so!