Voltron Season 5 Review: Now THAT’S What I’m Talking About
Team Voltron has made a deal with the devil. After last season’s climactic battle, Lotor has switched sides in order to help the Paladins bring down Zarkon. But can Lotor be trusted? In Voltron season 5, we’ll get some long-awaited answers as well as diving deeper into the mythology and history of the universe.
As much as I enjoyed seasons 3 and 4, I found them a little bit lacking. A lot of that, I feel, was because they didn’t seem cohesive. This is probably due to the late decision to make the seasons shorter. Season 3 and 4 probably work better when taken as one season. Voltron season 5, presumably the first season after the decision, feels like a full season. The pacing was much better this time around, and though there are still some unresolved mysteries, these six episodes had a much more complete and satisfying arc. Honestly, there was so much going on this season that it’s going to take a while to unpack. I wish I’d had time to binge the first four seasons before watching season 5 so I could make connections more easily.
The big question of Voltron season 5 is can Lotor be trusted? This was the subject of the marketing campaign, and it’s obviously a question many of us undoubtedly had after the season 4 finale. The answer is yes…at least for the time being. In the premiere, “The Prisoner”, Lotor proves his trustworthiness by providing Team Voltron with valuable insider information that allows the coalition to take back a significant part of the Galra Empire. In “Blood Duel”, he ends up killing Zarkon to save Voltron. In “Kral Zera”, he takes his place as leader of the Empire — the idea is that, with Voltron’s help, they will learn how to harness the quintessence from the in-between so that the Galra don’t have to resort to violence and destroying planets. He and Allura follow ancient clues to find Oriande, the secret planet of Altean alchemists, so that they can learn what King Alfor knew.
So it seems that, for the moment, Lotor and Team Voltron are allies. I’m still not sure he can be trusted, though he seems to have proved his worth. Mostly, I get the sense that his plan is too naive. He believes that as long as the Galra have access to a source of quintessence, they’ll stop their crusade to conquer the galaxy, but I don’t think it’s that simple. The Galra have been this way for 10,000 years, and I highly doubt they’ll just stop. Especially when you factor in the experiments they’ve been doing, and the new weapons –the creatures — they’ve produced. Therefore, I doubt his sincerity with this plan.
Plus, in “White Lion”, when Allura is successful at finding the planet but Lotor fails, it seems like he was a little bitter about that. That could turn into resentment later, if it isn’t already. The way he talked about becoming an explorer, and the amount of time he put into researching Oriande, and he’s marked as a chosen one, but he doesn’t make it through… I can see that weighing in the back of his mind. The way he talks about her and her ability indicates that he is really only interested in her for that, which seems to hint that he has an ulterior motive.
Next, a lingering question I’ve had for multiple seasons is what’s going on with Shiro? After season 5, it’s even more obvious that something is up. Aside from his erratic behavior, his memory loss, and the reminder of his headaches, somehow Haggar is able to see through Shiro’s eyes. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that, by the way. Is she controlling him, or simply using him to spy on Team Voltron? When he gets angry and lashes out, is that Haggar taking control? Is she manipulating him to protect Lotor? Is Shiro even Shiro? Is that what they meant when they activated Project Kuron?
Also, what happened when the team used their bayards to tap into their life forces? I think that whatever happened to Shiro at the end of season 2 somehow trapped him between worlds, or got him stuck in the Lions’ consciousness. Shiro is the only one whose head and face we don’t see clearly in this scene, very possibly because you would see his old haircut and realize that the current Shiro is a fake.
We get to see some very familiar faces back in season 5. I was happy to see the Olkari again, and it’s nice to see Nyma and Rollo backing up the team when necessary. Lotor’s generals are still kicking around, though now Acxa, Zethrid, and Ezor are working for Haggar. The biggest returns, though, are Sendak — who I’m sure we all thought was dead, considering he was floating in the vacuum of space in a chryopod — and Sam Holt, Pidge and Matt’s dad.
The Holt family reunion was touching, a bright spot in an otherwise kind of gloomy season. Sam is the same lovable dork as his children, and his awe at the alien technology was refreshing. Rather than staying with his children, he resolves to return to Earth and warn them of the impending Galra invasion. I’m sure that will really go over well. The Holt family reunion also brought up the rarely-discussed fact that everyone on the team (except Keith) left someone behind on Earth. When Hunk gives Sam the messages to their families, Lance breaks down. I’ve honestly been expecting something like this for a while, especially from Lance, who seemed so close with his family.
Speaking of family…we met Keith’s mom, you guys. We met Keith’s mom. I knew that with an episode title like “Bloodlines”, we had to be getting some good scoop. (My notes from this episode are mostly incomprehensible scribbles and exclamation points.) Keith — sadly underrepresented yet again this season — is sent on a mission from the Blade to rescue one of their spies and destroy the weapon the base was working on. That spy is Krolia — Keith’s mom. There’s no way Kolivan sent Keith on that mission by accident. When I first saw Krolia in the photo at the beginning of the episode, I recognized that she had to be related to Keith. It makes me wonder if Kolivan specifically sent Keith to his mother so that he would understand that no matter your feelings for someone, they can’t get in the way of the mission. Krolia left behind her own son; surely Keith can put aside any feelings he may have.
Of course, “Bloodlines” ends on a cliffhanger. Keith doesn’t even get to finish the sentence before the credits roll, and we see neither of them in the season finale. I’m over the moon that Keith met his mother, but it kind of makes me even sadder for him. For whatever reason, I thought he had vague memories of his mom, but apparently I was mistaken. Maybe soon, we can learn what happened to Keith’s dad.
From one mother-son relationship to another, I’m still a bit confused by how much Lotor and Haggar know. Haggar, it seems, had forgotten that Lotor was her son, while Lotor appears to be convinced that she is not his mother. I don’t know if he believes that Honerva died, or if he is just in denial about what happened to her.
- Hunk is in dire need of some development. He hasn’t really had a story arc of his own since Shay, and that was in season 1.
- I miss Keith. He had some big moments this season, what with meeting his mom and nearly ruining a BoM mission to save Shiro, but his absence on the team is like a hole. Hopefully they can find a way for him to return to the team (that doesn’t involve Shiro dying, because I fear that’s where they’re headed and I am not okay with that).
- On that note, I was so convinced, when I saw “White Lion” as the title for the finale, that we were going to learn that there was a sixth Lion, sort of how all of a sudden we had the Green Ranger in Power Rangers. I still think there is a way for Keith and Shiro to co-lead the team, either by finding a Lion out of nowhere or by Black popping up a co-pilot seat.
- Acxa saved Keith’s life in “Kral Zera”. I’ve not yet given up on the idea that they could possibly be related (although, really, now that we’ve met his mother, that doesn’t seem as likely), but I think this may have been because she feels like she owes him a debt, since he saved her before?
- I really appreciated Hunk, Pidge, and Lance’s story in “Bloodlines”, because it was them being kids. I haven’t really seen them act their age since “Space Mall” and it was awesome.
- Oriande reminded me of Pandora. Only pink.
- I like seeing more female Galra. Until we met Lotor’s generals, all of the Galra we met were male. It was starting to look like Galra just like, burst out of someone’s head fully formed because how else would they reproduce?
All in all, I really thought that Voltron season 5 was the best season we’ve had in a while. It had a tight, cohesive storyline, and while it introduced some new questions, it tied up some old loose ends. I wasn’t sure how to feel after seasons 3 and 4 — especially with the treatment of Shiro — but after season 5, I have a little more faith in the team. I still worry about Shiro and how they’ll tie up his storyline, but I feel like I can trust them with the rest of the characters.
What did you guys think of Voltron season 5? Do you have any lingering questions? Any theories? Let us know!
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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