Voltron Ends Its Run with a Disappointing Finale

Voltron is not just the defender of the universe, it is the defender of all universes. In Voltron season 8, the coalition takes the fight to Honerva for the fate of reality itself. This is a season that has me baffled and conflicted and ultimately disappointed.

Were any of you fans of How I Met Your Mother? A pretty amazing show which capped off an epic final season with quite possibly the worst finale of all time? Voltron season 8 is my HIMYM season 9. I was accidentally spoiled by someone on my Twitter timeline retweeting untagged spoilers (I’d muted all VLD-related hashtags but hadn’t muted individual accounts – that was my mistake), and I knew what was coming (and that those leaks were actually real). I was worried it would affect my enjoyment of the final season of a show I love. I was able to enjoy the season, up until, like, the last ten minutes of the finale. So I’ll start by actually talking about the season itself. Then I’ll talk about that poorly stupid ridiculous crapshoot of an abomination they call an ending.

Voltron season 8Voltron season 8 was a fairly decent season with some ticks in the “awesome” column. A lot of minor characters returned for cameos, and a few overarching plot lines got some much-needed resolution. VLD has been pretty good about callbacks – the beast that Keith and Krolia freed, Slav’s jailer, things like that. There were some bright spots of humor (Colleen Holt is a rock star, and Iverson was surprisingly funny as well), some good character development (look at Keith being such a good leader!), and some great scenes showcasing relationships that may not have gotten much time before (Holt family dynamics).

It wasn’t all great. As much as I enjoyed most of this season, at times it felt like a different show. Some of the core relationships that I was so in love with fell by the wayside (Keith and Krolia almost never interacted, and Keith and Shiro came off as total strangers), and there are a few things we will probably never get closure for (what happened to the Olkari? whatever happened with Keith’s Galra features?) Plus, a lot of the decisions don’t make any narrative sense; why did everyone sit back and let things happen? They allowed the White Lion to be destroyed right in front of them. The crew of the Atlas just gawped at the Alteans as they attempted to destroy the crystal that powers the ship.

The major development was, of course, the fight against Honerva. In “Shadows”, we discover what she’d been up to while Voltron was missing, and essentially she went full on megalomaniac. Something VLD has managed to do on occasion is humanize the villains; “Shadows” continued in that tradition. We saw the toll Honerva’s life had taken on her, and likewise we saw what a messed up childhood poor Lotor had because of it. It’s sort of understandable why they both went kind of off the rails.

The driving force behind Honerva’s madness was a burning desire to get back the life that was stolen to her by quintessence, ironically using quintessence to do this. She wanted to find a reality where she could have her husband and her son and just be with her family, which is…something. It would be an admirable goal, except she accomplished it by brainwashing the surviving Alteans into worshipping her as a goddess and, you know, destroying the very fabric of reality. Actually, she nearly ended existence, but it’s all out of love! Except even in her “perfect” reality, she couldn’t have what she wanted, and in the end, she nearly destroyed everything. If she couldn’t be happy, no one could.

In “Launch Date”, the relationship between Lance and Allura finally came to a head. I was iffy on Lance as a character Voltron season 8for the first couple of seasons, but he really grew on me as he grew up. I’m usually not a fan of the kind of relationships Lance/Allura represented at the beginning – an obviously uninterested woman being relentlessly pursued by a man who won’t take no for an answer. But Lance/Allura was extremely well-written and developed naturally over the course of seven seasons. They became close and came to appreciate each others’ positive qualities and eventually developed real romantic feelings. This was one of the more well-done heterosexual relationships I’ve seen in a while, because the build-up was believable. Their little moments through the season (hand-holding, hugging, just being together) were great, but sadly Lance’s entire purpose became “being worried about Allura”. He had some of the best character development on the show, so it was disappointing that he became such a flat character in Voltron season 8.

Voltron season 8 was a fabulous season for Allura. Not only did we get to see her explore her Altean magic (since when can she camouflage herself? and she, like, healed an entire park!), but we also got to see her go a little dark side, which was pretty great. She realized that she had found a new family – such as when the other girls took her shopping for her and Lance’s date, or when she ate dinner with Lance’s family – and she was willing to put herself in harm’s way to save existence.

So, naturally, they killed her. (Oh, yeah. We’re getting to the ranty part now. I’ll try to keep the cursing to a minimum.) I watch a lot of fantasy, and they are always talking about balance, so I understand what VLD was going for with what happened. And I suppose since Alfor sacrificed himself, they wanted to bring the story full circle. But I Voltron season 8want to know who thought it was a good idea to take a beloved, heroic, WOC lead and kill her off in the final ten minutes of the final season. Why must Allura sacrifice everything she gained, everything she fought for, finally find a family and a place that she belonged and was needed? Why was she the only Paladin that needed to die? Why even bother getting her together with Lance if they were just going to kill her off? Why were we – and the Paladins – not given the chance to properly mourn her? These are questions that I need answers to, but honestly, no answer is going to satisfy me. Yes, this was an active decision Allura made in order to fix what Honerva had done, but having her be the only loss suffered just seems wrong. No one even tried to think of another solution (they could have sacrificed the lions). She didn’t even get to say goodbye to Coran.

The other travesty of the ending is Shiro’s story. Perhaps Dreamworks or whoever wants to win Representation Bingo by having the first male/male kiss in a Western cartoon, but the fact that they sacrificed Shiro’s entire character to do it means that you don’t get those points. We don’t want half-assed representation tacked on in an epilogue (never have an epilogue, did we learn nothing from Harry Potter?). We want solid, well-written, properly developed representation.

I defended season 7 from naysayers because I saw the importance of what they were doing – that strong, resilient Shiro got to be queer without having that be the focal point of his story. He was just a dude, doing what he loved, and oh yeah, he likes men. But for Voltron season 8 to end with Shiro marrying some side character who I don’t even think has a name, a character with whom he did not even converse, who was mostly in the background of bridge scenes, and who had maybe four lines total the entire season? For Shiro to have “found his happiness” and retired, when he was so, so happy to be a Paladin, to be the captain of the Atlas, to be out in space, exploring? This is a man who had a (presumably) happy relationship and gave it up to follow his dream. You cannot seriously expect me to believe that he would just quit and get married. He is the only character whose epilogue had nothing to do with his character or his dream. Just married. Not to mention, nothing angers me more in storytelling than relationships without development, and the idea that he wasn’t happy until he got married is ridiculous.

I was so happy that Shiro was the LGBTQ+ representation on the show. I’m ace, and for almost my entire life, I felt broken because I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t even realize I was ace until maybe three years ago. For Shiro – suffering from a debilatating illness, an amputee, likely dealing with PTSD – to keep fighting and surviving and being queer and single really resonated with me. It made me feel less broken, less empty because I didn’t have a relationship. But the Shiro in Voltron season 8 feels like a totally different Shiro. Some of his drive is gone, and he almost never gets to interact with any of Voltron season 8his friends. And honestly – the fact that Keith and Shiro almost never share the screen after everything they’ve gone through? Season 7 was bookended by Keith saving Shiro and they don’t even hang out together on their last night on Earth. I was honestly not expecting them to end up together I mean it’s not like there’s an entire episode comparing Keith and Shiro’s ex-boyfriend oh wait yes there is because I never thought they would go there, but they lost of all of their closeness basically once it was revealed that Shiro was gay, which is a travesty. “The Black Paladins” and “A Little Adventure” both showed how important they were to each other, and that was suddenly just gone.

I don’t want this review to be entirely negative, because as I said earlier, I did enjoy this season until the finale, so here is a little list of things I liked:

  • Colleen Holt
  • “Was the dog all right?”
  • Pidge connecting to the forest
  • Awkward dinner conversations with Acxa
  • Keith and Hunk stuck on the alien version of “It’s a Small World” and Keith going predictably nuts from the song
  • The Atlas crew gossipping about Shiro’s well-deserved arm wrestling win
  • This show is honestly really pretty
  • Baby Lotor

On the whole, though, this is a lackluster ending for what had up until now been a well-written show with strong, well-developed characters. Voltron season 8 felt very rushed and out of character, with a poorly thought out and clearly tacked on ending. This show deserved better. The characters deserved better. The fans deserved better.

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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25 thoughts on “Voltron Ends Its Run with a Disappointing Finale

  1. Season 8 was a disaster of epic proportion. Dreamworld should hang their head in shame. Haggar winning would have been a better ending.

  2. A-freaking-men.

    Seriously, the ending of this season was a horrible smack in the face to this show and every single fan. It was disappointing, badly written, and lacked the emotion and spirit that Voltron had for 6 seasons before that. S7 was a bit iffy, but even that was better than the travesty we were handed. It was disgustingly disappointing, and I don’t think there is anything that can fix this.

  3. I left a comment earlier, but I think it may have been eaten.

    I can’t agree with you more. This entire season was a mess and I don’t think there is anything that anyone can do to fix it. It’s sad to see that 7 seasons went down the drain with this final flop of a season.

    So, agreed. I wish I hadn’t watched it.

  4. Was I one of the few that was seriously upset by the entirety of Season 8? It wasn’t even the ending that killed it for me- because the ending happened at the end (I stayed away from spoilers), and I had to sit through the 13 episodes before then. And they were- abominably boring. We’d been concerned about how VLD would be able to tie up all the loose threads in just 13 episodes, and instead of fleshing out the remaining plot, there were more filler episodes (for lack of a better word) than ever. So much time wasted! The Voltron transformation sequences were the longest they’ve ever used, and by now we all know the show-runners admit that they use the long transformations when they need to kill time. Was there seriously so little plot for them to explore that they had to resort to such tactics multiple times in the last season? Why were the old paladins brought back??? What was the POINT? (Besides to show that Honerva became so powerful she needed ten Paladins to defeat her, but that’s just lazy). Why were there so many flashbacks to characters and events we had no emotional connections to? Why were the characters we DO have emotional connections to suddenly flat and mechanical and sidelined? The showrunners said they wanted to reduce the scale of the show and focus it more on individuals- they failed spectacularly on both counts. All they succeeded in doing was making the most boring season EVER- my friends and I started playing games on our phones halfway through the season because we would have been unable to sit through its entirety otherwise. There was that lingering hope that maybe the bulk of the middle episodes were boring, but hey maybe they’ll salvage the show in the final episodes. But haha nope. The ending and epilogue were the final nails in VLD’s coffin, and it honestly hurts to think that this is the legacy they’re leaving behind, when the previous seven seasons were spectacular.

  5. I just had to stop watching the season 8 finale episode. It took me a few minutes to build up the corage to finish it. I was really disappointed with the ending. I mean all of that character growth and building, to do what? Throw it out like it never happened? smh man, smh.

  6. I just stopped watching the season 8 finale after realizing what was going to happen. Eventually I built the up the courage to finish the episode, but man, it was so depressing. Dreamworks created all of that character growth and building to do what? Throw it away like it never happened. Honestly, there were at least two other ways that team Voltron could’ve fixed the chaos that Honerva created. Smh man, smh

  7. I see most of what your saying- except for Allura and Lances relationship. she doesn’t blink an eye at him from seasons 1-6, in 7 she smiles at him once, then suddenly they’re in a relationship? especially when all signs point to that relationship not happening? needless to say i’m extremely disappointed in this season and i’m going to pretend it never happened.

  8. Finally, people who realized who much Dreamworks ruined the final season. I loved the show, it got me hooked from the very first season and I was glad we finally got a good animated show after so long with interesting characters, story and score. But like all great things, it was undone in the last season. Aside from all the points people have mentioned about lack of character development or rather plots that no one asked for. They really treated the main characters like crap especially Lance. My god, the creators really hate the character for some reason, not only did they take away Allura, the one person who deserved to survive all of this war and suffering but he kinda stopped living after her death. Everyone else went on to become someone important like training new paladins or starting an empire but what did Lance get?….a boring life at the farm never really knowing what love is. Thank god someone spoiled it for me so I didnt have to sit through this sorry excuse of a season. Voltron was one of my favorite shows and its sad to see it fall to falling standards of Netflix and that god awful studio. If you love the show and everything it stood for, please do not watch season 8. This is like Mad Max all over again, people praising what I found to be one of the most boring hype movies of all time.

  9. I wanted more Orkari Pidge moments, but no Allura took over again. I was so mad at her by the end I didn’t even care they killed her off.


  11. Amen! Literally couldn’t have agreed more! I liked Lance and Allura’s buildup. I liked how every character connected in some way, and honestly? As this shows creators also wrote Legend of Korra, I was actually expecting an ending where like, Keith and Shiro got an subtle ending. (Maybe this is unfair on my part as I love sheith) or something, but they didn’t even really have screen time together? What the hell? Why are they so DISTANT NOW??? And Shiro married Curtis- like, okay, if at LEAST during the FINAL SEASON they had interaction, then I’d gladly accept it. But there was no buildup. Voltron lied to us “no relationship without buildup” uh huh. Sure. Thanks.
    I pretend Voltron ended at season 7. Season 8 didn’t happen.
    And if I did, I wrote my own alternate ending on archiveofourown. (Username is Lexiloo if you wanna find it)

  12. I disagree. Strongly. Loved Allura’s sacrifice. Loved it so much that I was AFRAID she’d magically revive at the end. That would’ve undercut her sacrifice’s poignancy a ton for me. It was a little weird that she was the only death, but I thought her death was excellent (weirder to me was Shiro suddenly having a spot on Voltron again).

    That said, I thought this season was noticeably weaker than the last two. My main issues were that they didn’t give Veronica, the MFE pilots, and ESPECIALLY Acxa enough to do in later episodes. Loved how the early episodes started to flesh them out, but then they wre just gone. I needed more.

    I also strongly agree that Keith and Shiro needed more focus. I get that they got the most focus in previous seasons so they dialed them back now, but it was way too much. They needed to do more in general and with each other in particular (and what was with Keith just randomly announcing that he was letting Alura take the lead at some point in the final fight? That felt very awkward to me). “Shiro’s happy ending” was also kinda dumb and untrue to his character. Didn’t hate it as much as you, but didn’t love it.

    A spin off focused on Vehicle Voltron with Acxa and Veronica in big supporting roles would fix all that. Especially if we got a little more of our crew along the way.

    1. OK thats good for you and I dont want to sound rude but there are plenty of articles who somehow love the so called last season of Voltron so what are you doing here?

      Also Allura dying made no sense at all, it was completely out of the blue with no warning. You might be fan of low quality twists but this was a slap to the face. Voltron was a victim of the final season disease so many other good shows before it, simple as that. The creators lose focus somewhere midway of planning for season 8 and to be honest I was shocked given how good Korra was. A sad end to two years of amazing animation and story telling, its like doing your semester really well but then failing the final exam.

  13. Ill be honest, I enjoyed the season till the end of the last episode. I hated that Allura was the only casualty. Every paladin got a happy ending exept for two.

    Lance is my favorite character, I enjoyed seeing his and Allura’s relationship bloom and the cute shit they were doing. Then to have to give that up, when she finally found a new family, and someone to love her, she dies. Talk about a giant kick in the dick to those twos happyness.

    He literally has to suffer through life, they showed it in his face when he talked to the kids. He is waiting to die, because as they showed, they have a afterlife.

  14. Allura and Lance’s relationship was the only good thing about the season, everything else was a mess in terms of pacing and development. The ending was also very rushed and leaves you with a hollow feeling. I suspect the writers were forced into a corner by executive meddling and its horrible fanbase (just look up Toxic Klance fans or Volron anti’s its a giant YIKES)

  15. That final season was abysmal. I have noticed throughout the series, Lance often got the bitter end of the stick. He could do nothing right and for someone who was promoted as the right hand of the team, he was kind of push aside when it came to critical decision making. One example was when he mentioned that using that dark quintesence was a bad idea, yet no one bothered to listen because of reasons. I also thought that they ruined a great relationship with Lance and Allura. Why sacrifce Allura at the end when they could have called the lions to do the job? If Honvera, was the most powerful mage, why couldn’t she alone fix the issue? How did the balmera come out of the blue to save the day. I personally thought it was a good series with a lackluster ending. EVERY OTHER CHARACTER got a happy ending but Lance got Altean marks and a farm? They owe the fans a complete redo of the final season or patch up loose ends to give Allura something better in return. Not some crappy nebula when she clearly wanted a family.

  16. The only part of this season I enjoyed is watching all the Lotor haters frantically backpedalling now that it’s been confirmed that he was abused and betrayed – by the people he should have been able to trust – for his entire life, only to end it the same way at the hands of the Paladins. (Yeah, I read your Season 6 review. You went from “way beyond evil” to “poor Lotor” pretty fast, huh?)

  17. Ok seriously could not disagree more with this but I respect your opinion in this except for the fact that you say Shiro’s story was sacrificed… it was in no way worsened or changed. They simply gave him a happy ending to what has been a long painful story! First he’s tortured for years then he dies and gets trapped in a spirit world! Then he comes back and learns the guy he liked is dead. Then he fights and fights. AND HE LOST HIS ARM! TWICE!

  18. Hey Rich, as a fellow gay man, I disagree that Shiro/Keith would promote incest and grooming.
    You are allowed to have issues based on how you percieve fiction, but that does not make your opinion universal or even ”the truth”.

  19. I didn’t like Shiro’s ending, but after the Adam fiasco it’s what I expected. They were never interested in representation, they were interested in the accolades and kudos they’d get for doing the bare minimum. So much of the fandom ate up the trash they were served gleefully because they thought it was leading to their otp and I can’t help feeling that so much of the negativity surrounding the season is coming from shippers not getting what they wanted. I agree that we should have seen more between Keith and Shiro but uh, I liked the familial relationship the show gave us, not the romance some fans wanted. I did like the bonding moment between Lance and Keith, I always wished the show did more with that friendship. Hated Allura/Lance. Hilariously, the only relationship I ever enjoyed was Allura/Lotor before, y’know, what happened. It’s sad that they reduced Lance to his relationship with Allura. He was always the character I felt like the never knew what to do with, so it’s not surprising that he wasn’t really given anything of his own.

  20. I think the literal ONLY thing I liked about the finale was Pidge’s new hairstyle, glasses and outfit in the ending group photo.

  21. I agree fully. There was something wrong with s8 and the fact that most are not happy shows it. Whether you are a shipper or not you can tell that the bond between Shiro and the paladins changed especially his bond with Keith. And this all started the moment Shiro was outed gay. He slowly became a background character I barely even recognized him anymore this season. Something changed here because even though the animation was still perfect and the mecha fight was stunning, the story itself fell flat and the ending felt empty. I’m a Shiro fan and to see that all this started when he was revealed gay made me sad. As if they were afraid to show him bond with the main cast even though he was a main character himself just because he was outed gay now. He was not even allowed to bond with Keith and every scene with them was awkward that you feel they weren’t even allowed to be near each other. Shiro was smart, a tactician, a champion, someone who would be there always to protect and support his found family but they had to butcher his character so much he could not even tell he was speaking to a fake Keith, his best friend and who he shares the closest bond to, but instead it was the girls, possibly Keith’s love interest who noticed that something was wrong. And then after showing us that he loved traveling and exploring space to the point he even left his ex-bf Adam who was supposed to be his fiance, and how he loved to be a paladin and how happy he was piloting Atlas,suddenly his happiness is being married to someone we didn’t even know. It was forced. If they wanted gay marriage then why not show him with Keith? Straight couples can look at each other lovingly in one scene and they get together. Keith and Shiro had the I will never give up on you and will die with you than live without you but still it was not enough. It showed they are still afraid of telling our story. I keep trying to be happy but to see my fave used as tool for rep points I just couldn’t. It makes me feel like they want me to act like a fool and accept it just because lgbt rep and I should be happy with what they give me. I feel bad, I keep thinking I should be happy but I just couldn’t.

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