Spoilers forward in the event you aren’t caught up with the ultimate season of Voltron Legendary Defender.
With seven seasons of intense, high-flying, space-based motion already on the books, DreamWorks Animation’s Netflix collection Voltron Legendary Defender had a troublesome process forward of it going into the eighth and ultimate season. Granted, showrunners Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery have confirmed themselves as much as the problem all through their careers and over the collection’ run, however iconic antagonists just like the Galra’s generals, Emperors Zarkon and Lotor, and the witch Haggar and her Robeasts would presumably be arduous to prime. Plus, this final batch of 13 episodes needed to wrap up the story of the space-faring Paladins from Earth and their alien allies as they try to determine peace within the recognized universe (and a few unknown ones).
Someway, the ultimate season of Voltron Legendary Defender managed to ship the collection’ largest dangerous thus far whereas tying up the general story in a satisfying trend with jaw-dropping surprises and surprising moments alongside the best way, all whereas leaving just some breadcrumbs for a possible future for the collection. That’s an unimaginable feat. So how did all of it come collectively?
First, some background, simply by means of catching up. Over the course of seven seasons, the Paladins of Voltron and their Altean allies managed to defeat Emperor Zarkon and Emperor Lotor on a number of events, break up the dominion of the Galra Empire, and type a Galactic Coalition composed of all types of alien races and numerous planets. The solely factor left to disrupt the peace throughout the universe was the late seventh-season arrival of a mysterious Altean lady who piloted a strong mech that rivaled the skills of Voltron and necessitated the transformation of the mighty Atlas ship as a way to defeat it.
The mysterious Altean by the identify of Luca was an acolyte of Honerva, also called the spouse of Emperor Zarkon, mom of Emperor Lotor, and the alias of the witch, Haggar. It’s on Honerva that this remaining season’s villainy leans on, and it does so closely. However Honerva is comprised of extremely stern stuff and Cree Summer time is a pressure of nature on this last outing. This season, fairly strong by itself, featured the sort of highly effective storytelling that sheds a brand new mild on the collection general. I’m very a lot wanting ahead to revisiting all the 76-episode run with the perception of Honerva’s true backstory, her final want, and the lengths to which she goes to realize them, as a result of these revelations colour her earlier appearances all through the collection.
In a tear-jerking collection of flashbacks that have been as painful as they have been prophetic for what would grow to be of the Galran Zarkon and the Altean Honerva, viewers study that it was the invention of quintessence and the highly effective talents that got here with it that finally corrupted the primary villains of Voltron Legendary Defender. We’ve seen this theme play out earlier than, however by no means informed in fairly so private a means. Like an addictive drug, Zarkon and Honerva develop into slaves to the quintessence itself, dropping monitor of actuality, drifting off in a haze of quintessence-induced stupor and confusion. (Honerva’s personal pseudonym Haggar is even pulled from an attending physician whom she killed whereas present process remedy, which is fairly tousled for a youngsters present…) And like an habit, the one factor that appears to work within the second of withdrawal is extra of that drug.
So it’s out of a misguided sense of affection and affection, and to a lesser extent a want to reconnect with and maintain his spouse, that Zarkon engages in a universe-wide quest for extra quintessence by any means attainable. However the drug additionally addled his personal thoughts. When Lotor, his personal son born of a drug-addicted mom, sourced the quintessence from an inhabited planet in a peaceable means that was something however the Galran present of pressure, Zarkon destroyed the planet and Lotor was banished, partially for disobeying orders, partially for reminding Zarkon of the individuals he and Honerva was, untouched by the highly effective substance.
Lotor didn’t stay untouched for lengthy, nevertheless, and his inherited obsession with quintessence finally proved his undoing. However that is the place Honerva and her motherly instincts kicked in. We study that her coronary heart’s want in her purest of days was to reside a life full of affection and freed from ache with Zarkon and Lotor. Their habit to quintessence ruined that, nevertheless it turned far simpler responsible Voltron, the Alteans, the Galactic Coalition, and actuality itself for the lack of her husband, her son, and her dream. In Season eight, we see Honerva go off the deep finish to grow to be not solely probably the most highly effective character in the whole collection, turning into a goddess after defeating the White Lion Guardian and draining the entity of its quintessence, however to finish up almost destroying all the things in existence. That’s farther than even most comedian ebook villains will go. Having efficiently pressured her method into an alternate actuality the place her husband and son lived peacefully, solely to be rejected by them on account of her alien presence, Honverva, understandably, loses all look after life and actuality after that.
Nevertheless it wouldn’t be Voltron Legendary Defender with no probability for redemption, even for the genocidal Honerva. Make no mistake, she’s so highly effective that she lays waste to her allies and antagonists alike all season lengthy, by no means struggling even probably the most trivial of defeats. In the long run, nevertheless, her salvation lies in a fellow Altean: Allura. The Paladin Princess, who has an inborn capacity to change quintessence which she discovered about from Lotor himself, sacrifices herself together with Honerva to be able to reset actuality (together with some little touches alongside the best way like restoring the planets Altea and Daibazaal … unsure if Olkarion was as fortunate). It’s fascinating that these two Altean ladies, each fierce fighters in their very own proper, sacrificed each their lifetimes and their very lives to guard their associates, household, and family members; they only went about it in drastically alternative ways. Watching the entire collection starting to finish with that concept in thoughts goes to be a captivating experiment.
Now simply because the last word battle all through Voltron Legendary Defender was resolved by the sacrifice of two highly effective ladies as an alternative of an enormous ol’ battle between robots and spaceships doesn’t imply that Season eight was slacking within the motion division. Removed from it. This season options a number of the most insane, unimaginable, jaw-dropping moments and surprising storytelling selections in the entire collection. There’s the reveal that Honerva has laid waste to the prevailing Galran generals and their troopers with however a fraction of her energy, solely to show to the Altean refugee colonies and recruit them in a battle towards Voltron for the glory of their fallen hero and savior, Lotor. Then, there’s the reveal that Honerva has not simply the one however six Acolytes at her command. After which there’s the utterly bonkers episode eight.6 “Genesis” that sees Honerva revive Lotor via a totally insane plan (which works properly inside Voltron‘s established lore) and sees the fallen half-breed arise as a Robeast. And on the heroic side of things, I don’t know if it will get higher than seeing the reworked Atlas slide between Voltron and an Acolyte like a protecting huge brother, besides in fact when a convuldrum (“a convergence of Balmeras”) grants sufficient power to rework Voltron into Atlas-armored Voltron with Shiro aboard as a sixth pilot! (I really like this present.)
However Voltron has lengthy been a narrative that takes time to give attention to the small, quiet, sluggish moments of characters’ relationships, like Hunk making region-specific delicacies to placate hostile visitors, or Lance and the opposite Paladins buying at an area mall in preparation for his long-awaited dinner date with Allura, or Kinkade and the Galaxy Garrison staff showing in a type of documentary story of life behind the scenes of their army service. This season could also be extra tilted in the direction of the motion aspect of issues, however there’s loads of stability all through.
The remaining season of Voltron Legendary Defender not often stumbles; the identical may be stated of the collection’ story general. Truthfully the one shortcoming within the storytelling has to do with the best way the narrative has dealt with romantic relationships; that development continues right here. General, Season eight manages to do the seemingly unattainable by ramping up the stakes to the utmost, delivering probably the most highly effective emotional resonance between our heroes and villains but, and wrapping every part up in a tearful, bittersweet, and absolutely satisfying means. It’s not good, nevertheless it’s as near perfection as we’re going to get on this actuality.
Season Score: ★★★★★ Wonderful
Collection Score: ★★★★★ Wonderful
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