9:00 am EST, June 11, 2018

‘Voltron: Legendary Defender’ season 6 review: All things must end

By Donya Abramo | Edited by Karen Rought

After a shorter break than usual, Voltron: Legendary Defender is back and, in my opinion, better than ever. Strap yourself in, because season 6 is going to take you on a wild ride.

Warning: While this review is spoiler-free, there will be some hints and teases for what you can expect from Voltron season 6.

Heading into Voltron’s sixth outing, I wasn’t entirely sure what I should expect. The fifth season had laid out some stunning revelations — like Haggar’s ability to spy on the Paladins through Shiro’s eyes, the introduction of Krolia as Keith’s mother, and Sendak’s return — as well as the early-season defeat of Emperor Zarkon. That latter event left the Galra Empire, and the universe, in a state of uncertainty and disarray, despite Lotor’s eventual ascension to the throne.

When season 6 begins, that uncertainty and disarray is still present in every single moment, with the Galra pulling in several different directions, vying for ultimate power. Lotor has a tenuous grasp on leadership at best, and he also has the might of a newly-revived Sendak to contend with. Much as Lotor did in the fifth season, he relies and leans heavily on Allura’s support to keep his Empire together, using the Altean knowledge she gained from Oriande.

Lotor and Allura’s closeness and growing relationship has more than one consequence over the course of the season. It also leads to some revelations for another character, which ultimately feel like a natural step forward on their personal journey, much like executive producers Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim dos Santos discussed with me following the conclusion of season 5.

Within the first episode alone, it was clear that this season was going to deliver on several promises that the show had made — both narratively, and from prior conversations with Montgomery and dos Santos.

That was never more evident than in a beloved member of Team Voltron, who hasn’t had nearly enough time to shine in comparison to other characters, getting the opportunity to take point on a mission — and succeeding in salvaging a situation that otherwise would have been catastrophic and devastating. Additionally, that same character took initiative earlier on in the episode to seek out cultural knowledge that, ultimately, proved crucial in ensuring the mission did not collapse prematurely.

More than any other season, there were moments where most (if not all) characters had the opportunity to shine, or grow, even if they were new to the audience — even as new as this season, specifically. That didn’t always happen in big, flashy ways — the moments were, often, introspective or brief — but that almost felt a more natural way to continue pushing forward, in a show where the cast has grown apace.

That personal growth didn’t always run parallel to relationships between characters, but several of those were also elaborated on. Concerning one surprising familial reveal in season 5, and the characters central to that, some time is spent exploring the implications for them, as well as how that all came to be. There were also smaller details of other relationships revealed through conversations, as well as some wider plot-crucial moments, that will serve to clear up the timeline somewhat — and yes, that does mean there are flashback scenes, concerning different characters.

I’d be slightly remiss if I didn’t mention here that one of the friendships that has, ultimately, been a focus of Voltron since the first season goes through its biggest conflicts and challenges yet. Just know that I was holding my breath through a large part of their interactions, and how the show tied the cause of that conflict back into previous seasons was well done.

Voltron season 6 didn’t dial back the action, nor the huge, universe-altering twists, that perhaps I’d expected considering the previous season was so tumultuous. Certainly, by the end of Voltron’s sixth outing, lingering questions about several characters will be answered in ways that, personally, I found satisfying as a fan. Plans are exposed, identities uncovered, and there is further fallout and consequences from that.

More than one character permanently alters — physically and mentally — over the course of season 6. The reasons for those alterations are different, but for one character, the change is evident in several subtle ways, other than the explicit confirmation that they’re “different.” They’re more mature, approach missions in a different way, though they are — deep down — still the same as they’ve always been when it comes to their interactions with certain people.

The gamut of emotions that I ran from the first episode through to the season finale was nothing short of incredible. I experienced loss and grief — though one aspect of that was a delayed sense of it, and another… well. Let’s just say it was unexpected and far more affecting than I thought it could ever be — as well as joy, fear, and beyond all that, a deep and unwavering love for everything that this show has accomplished thus far.

The finale, which you really need to prepare yourselves for (I suggest keeping a box of tissues nearby), felt like a step toward Voltron’s inevitable conclusion. The story, the journey that these characters have been on, is coming to an end — there’s a finite number of episodes left from its original order — and that doesn’t feel like a bad thing.

(Oh, and one more thing. The Dungeons and Dragons themed episode? It might just be one of my favorite episodes* that they’ve ever put to screen. Shiro fans will, especially, be delighted by it.)

*My actual favorite episode also came in this season and shot straight to the top of the list. No competition. I’m still thinking about it.

‘Voltron’ season 6 debuts in its entirety on Netflix, Friday, June 15

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