Voltron: Legendary Defender was a triumph for the Voltron franchise. Exploding onto the scene in 2016, the series captured a whole new audience while still paying tribute to the original classic series. The eight seasons of Voltron were filled with incredible episodes, so we decided to rank our favorites.
Every episode on this list is great for a variety of different reasons. Some are gripping and dramatic. Some are just flat out funny. Others give us insight into the characters or glimpses into the wider universe of the series. While of course we’re ranking them, that doesn’t mean the ones near the bottom are bad. These are all the best of the best; every episode on this list deserves love.
13. The Belly of the Weblum (Season 2 Episode 9)
“It needs to fart me out of its butt.”
That line alone merits this episode’s inclusion. Also, it’s a great focus on Keith and Hunk. Something somewhat lost in the later seasons of Voltron (with so much plot happening) was breather episodes like this that really explored the different relationships between the characters. The Keith and Hunk dual focus is unexpected but turned out to be a delight. Keith got to demonstrate his growing capabilities as a leader and Hunk got to show off his unique way of solving problems.
The Weblum creature itself also makes for a weird and unique set piece. It’s not just the team fighting big alien monsters or robots. They have to go INSIDE a space creature and fight off its internal defenses. That’s wild.
12. The Voltron Show! (Season 4 Episode 4)
Voltron really knew how to do comedy and this is the first of several comedic outing on this list. What makes ‘The Voltron Show!’ special though is the escalation of its comedy. It’s not just zany situation after zany situation, it’s Coran’s drugged out brain wanting to make the titular show bigger and bigger to the point of absolute absurdity.
Throw in some loving references to Tokusatsu/Power Rangers and wrapping some stealth world building (signing up all those planets for the Voltron Coalition) amongst all the comedy, you’ve got an episode that’s pure popcorn entertainment.
11. Hole in the Sky (Season 3 Episode 4)
Voltron’s take on the classic Mirror Universe episode not only firmly sets up alternate realities that heavily played into the final season, but also gave us the greatest Voltron character in the entire franchise. That’s right, the man who traveled to the Space Hospital. SVEN. Yeah he’s a fun in-joke for longtime Voltron fans but Josh Keaton plays him with such sincerity you kind of wish he stuck around longer.
The episode also posits a “what if?” in the form of Alteans ruling the galaxy instead of the Galra. It sends a clear message to our team, don’t let your ultimate goal of peace get corrupted and twisted. Considering what we learned about Haggar/Honerva in the final season, it makes this episode all the more chilling in retrospect. In a way she suffered a somewhat similar fate to the Alteans here.
10. The Blade of Marmora (Season 2 Episode 8)
While Keith had some solid moments up to this point, ‘The Blade of Marmora’ is where he truly came into his own as a character. Watching him go through the trials is gripping, but it’s when he sees his father that really gets us.
This valuable insight into Keith’s backstory made us fall in love with the character even more. It also spoke volumes that he left the vision before he could learn more about his mother to save the team. Keith may have been a loner before, but after this he was committed to the whole team.
9. Launch Date (Season 8 Episode 1)
While this episode makes a nice breather after the intensity of Season 7, and the Allura/Lance date is super cute, most of our love is for the 80’s Voltron references. After throwing in little nods throughout the series, Voltron: Legendary Defender finally gave the people what they never knew they wanted. Muppet voice Pidge. It was glorious.
Hunk commenting on the original Keith and Allura relationship, Allura briefly wearing her original 80’s outfit, and the best of all…. Pidge wearing her original outfit and doing the voice at the same time. It’s a funny yet loving tribute to the original series that never feels mean spirited.
8. A Little Adventure (Season 7 Episode 1)
Like the previous entry, half of this episode is a nice breather after a block of intense episodes. The Lotor battle really did a number on the team so it’s relieving most of them get to go on a fun comedic adventure. Romelle gets a real introduction to the team and her banter with Hunk is adorable.
The other half is an emotional roller coaster, with a flashback giving us insight into how Shiro and Keith first met. We learn why Keith was so angry as a kid and that Shiro wasn’t always selfless. He didn’t always put others before himself. The fact that was also revealed through his love for another man? That’s ground breaking for a boys action series. Read our full review here!
7. Crystal Venom (Season 1 Episode 11)
“Curse my short arms!”“Oh, I hate those little things.”
Many of the episodes on this list have strong comedic moments but ‘Crystal Venom’ is able to balance these with emotional plotlines for Allura and Shiro. It’s a master class in balancing these two elements to tell a story that feels like a breather episode in some places but also being vital to the characters development in others.
Nearly every moment in the episode is a classic. Pidge and Hunk floating. Lance getting frozen. Shiro ejecting Sendak into space after being tormented by his voice. Allura saying goodbye to her father by destroying his memories. This episode will make you laugh your ass off then cry buckets for DAYS.
6. Kral Zera (Season 5 Episode 4)
The Voltron Paladins are an incredible team but if they didn’t have engaging villains the series would fall apart. ‘Kral Zera’ is the best showcase for the Galra in the entire series, giving them a rich history and culture. It also demonstrates that not all Galra are like Lotor or Zarkon. The various generals in the episode may not have a lot of lines but every second with them tells you so much. One guy even uses bureaucracy to his advantage!
‘Kral Zera’ effortlessly builds to an explosive climax that’s about more than just action, although that action is stupendous. It raises the stakes on the entire universe, upending the status quo. The team isn’t just fighting one united Galra force, now it’s fighting a fractured empire, with Lotor the king on an uneasy throne. Read our full review here!
5. Razor’s Edge (Season 6 Episode 2)
Feelings. There’s a LOT in this episode, but they’re all centered on love. The love Keith’s mom had for his father. The love Keith has for Shiro as a surrogate father figure. The love Lance has for Allura. The love between Allura and Lotor.
It mostly focused on Keith and Lance though, and the differing ways they’re afraid of expressing their emotions. Keith just wants to shove them all down. Lance puts on a front. It’s a brilliant character study that gives us a lot of insight and fills in much needed details. We know why Keith was so set on saving Shiro in the series premiere, its because he couldn’t let another “dad” in his life die. Lance’s “Lover Boy” persona is revealed to be an act; he’s just scared to talk about his true feelings.
It’s that kind of character depth that earns this episode it’s high place on this list. Read our full review here!
4. The Journey Within (Season 7 Episode 6)
After facing numerous universe-threatening enemies, the Voltron team has to face their biggest enemy yet. Their own thoughts.
It’s a stunning episode that does so much with so little. The team is left floating in space, so it’s all on the characters talking (or yelling) at each other to make this work. Other series don’t have the developed characters you need to make a plot like this work, but Voltron had done so much legwork that it’s the culmination of seven years of build up.
Speaking of legwork, Hunk is the real star here. While everyone is freaking out, Hunk is just fine. He’s used to being scared. What was once seen as a weakness is now his strength. He reminds the team that it doesn’t matter how they came together, because all that matters is they’re friends. They have a bond, a bond that the show was really all about. Read our full review here!
3. Space Mall (Season 2 Episode 7)
“You bought a cow?!”“It was free with purchase!”
There’s a reason this episode is universally beloved by everyone associated with Voltron. The producers, the writers, the staff, the cast, the fans, everyone loves ‘Space Mall’ because it’s just fun. They even spoke to us about its creation! A big warm hug of fun that wraps you in delightful low stakes zaniness. Sure other episodes are funny but they can’t quite match how much joy this episode gets out of such a simple premise. The Paladins go to a mall and have fun.
Well, except for Shiro. But come on, you know that fight with Zarkon was a blast to watch. It’s so intense! Shiro’s bond with the Black Lion is so deep that he will have a SPIRIT WORLD BATTLE FOR IT. You know, writing that out makes it even more incredible than it already is.
Also come on, the climax of the episode is the team riding a cow while being chased by Alien Paul Blart on a Segway. That’s beautiful.
2. Reunion (Season 4 Episode 2)
Voltron is filled with emotional, stirring, and downright heartbreaking moments but none can top the one at the midpoint of ‘Reunion.” When, after four seasons, Pidge thinks her brother is dead and breaks down at his grave? It’s a tour de force from Bex-Taylor Klaus and only enhanced by the score and harrowing visuals, making you feel every bit of Pidge’s anguish.
The rest of the episode is of course exemplary, with Pidge ready to do whatever it takes to save Matt, but it’s that one scene that really sums up just how awe inspiring the whole outing is. It’s easily the best payoff of a running plotline in the entire series. After so long Pidge thought it was all for nothing, even if she was quickly proven wrong. Still, with all that build up it makes the eventual rescue of Matt all the more cathartic.
Throw in some heart-warming flashbacks and you’ve got the best single character focus episode in the entire series.
1. The Rise of Voltron (Season 1 Episode 1)
“I’m a leg!”
Yeah yeah, it was technically produced as three episodes but on Netflix they count it as one so THERE.
This is one of the greatest series premieres of all time. Not just animation, not just kids TV, ‘The Rise of Voltron’ stands up with the greatest premieres in television history. That may sound like a bold claim, but what it’s able to do in the span of about 70 minutes is nothing short of brilliant considering just how much it has to do.
It has to set up seven main characters, the universe, the giant robots, the bad guys, and the space mice. How does it do this so well in such a short span of time? Humor. It’s not over done or even zany like some of the other episodes on this list, it’s simply using low-key situational jokes that are organic to the story. They make Lance’s fart joke work in context and it reveals something about him, which takes skill.
There’s so much happening in the premiere but it never feels rushed. It makes doing a massive amount of world building feel effortless, as if visiting three alien planets in the premiere isn’t incredible difficult to do.
This is the episode that won over a legion of fans and it well deserves the top spot here. Unlike other series you didn’t need to “wait for it to get good”, it was already stupendous right out of the gate. Read our full review here!
Over Voltron’s entire run there were so many great episodes but there’s no way we could list them all here. What are some of your favorites? Let us know below!