Voltron: Legendary Defender is back for its fourth season, and if the first two episodes are any indicator, some serious shakeups are coming our way.
Unlike previous Comic Cons, Voltron did not air an episode for fans in attendance. When Dreamworks and Netflix kindly provided the first two episodes of the season to review, it became abundantly clear why that was the case.
Warning: Some spoilers ahead for the first two episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender season 4.
Picking up a couple of months after the end of season 3, some changes have begun to creep into Team Voltron. They’re still trying to build up their fledgling Coalition, to continue to oppose the Galra, but all isn’t quite as harmonious as previously reported.
Shiro, taking a leadership position on the Castleship, is attempting to hold the team together, but the cracks are showing. As we saw in a sneak-peek clip released prior to the show returning, Keith has been training with the Blade of Marmora. But it is so much more than just that — he is also heading out on missions with them, leaving the team vulnerable and unable to form Voltron.
The effects of that are immediate and apparent. Though Shiro still has faith in Keith’s ability to lead, Keith’s faith in himself is fragile. He’s still uncertain about his position as the leader of Voltron, and despite some attempted pep talks from both Shiro and Allura, it’s clear that Keith’s sense of self is shaken. Training with the Blade, though he extols that it’ll aid in his becoming a better leader, is equally about Keith finding his place.
Throughout the first episode, leadership still sits heavily on Keith’s shoulders, one that he doesn’t want to carry. But, as much as he doubts himself, his forays out with the Blade showcase just how capable a leader he can be. Though Keith may not see it in himself, it is obvious that he has that ability within himself — it just needs the fire to be stoked a little more.
The question remains, however, on where Keith might best be able to do that.
With Keith disappearing across the universe with the Blade, searching out clues of Lotor’s whereabouts — who has disappeared since the close of the third season — and a new kind of Quintessence, the team left behind are in disarray. They make an admirable attempt at keeping things together, showcasing Voltron, and escorting refugees to safe havens, but without the Black Lion at the front, and resentment at Keith’s continued absence seeping in across the board on the team (yes, even Shiro), how long they’ll be able to keep it up quickly becomes a pressing, and dangerous issue.
Because, even without the immediate presence of Lotor, the Galra remain a formidable threat to the universe. One that the team are at a disadvantage at countering without the Black Paladin.
That issue is resolved by the time the first episode wraps. But the resolution may not be one that fans were expecting — and, though I’d contemplated the possibility, very briefly, myself, it wasn’t one I saw coming definitively. The shakeup will mean interesting things for the team, once again, though it remains to be seen what challenges might arise from it.
However, despite the divisions arising on Team Voltron in the first episode, the second is all about reunions. Or, potential reunions.
Again, as we say in a clip released at New York Comic-Con, Pidge has tracked down the only supplier of the bombs used to free her brother — and it gives her her strongest lead yet as to his whereabouts.
Without spoiling any particulars, the episode is full of emotional highs and lows, and you’re never quite sure how it’s going to resolve itself — even if you’ve had your finger on the pulse of every possible bit of news about the season.
Suffice to say, the emotional payoff that has been building for three seasons is absolutely worth it. The episode utilizes flashbacks to Pidge’s time pre-Voltron, and pre-Garrison, that make the episode especially devastating, though one of my favorites across the show so far. Yeah, you’re in for that kind of world-shaking episode.
Hot on the heels of the previous episode, however, Pidge’s solo mission echoes some major issues of the first, in terms of the team and team dynamic. Notably, when the Paladins head off on missions alone, leaving the team vulnerable to attack and unable to form Voltron, how do they reconcile that with how the situation with Keith is resolved?
Is it possible that the Voltron Coalition might result in a wider pool of Paladins, in order to facilitate these offshoot missions, without being a detriment to the team? We know that multiple Paladins can have a connection to a Lion at any one time — something reinforced in the first episode — but could the show be moving in that direction?
That remains to be seen. But both episodes have altered the trajectory of the show considerably, leaving questions as to how the dynamic of the team will chance moving forward. Especially as one notable addition may bring with them the truth about a character that we have so desperately been seeking.
Things just got a whole lot more complicated, and we can’t wait to get our hands on more.