This Voltron Legendary Defender review contains spoilers.
Voltron Season 5 Episode 1
After the cliffhanger of season four you’d think this episode would pick right up with that “discussion” Lotor was going to have with the team. Instead it starts with an extended fight sequence with Voltron and while it demonstrates Lotor is giving the team legit information it goes on for a bit too long.
The real meat of this episode is the interactions between Lotor and Allura and I wish it had gotten to them sooner. It says a lot about the series that while the fight scenes are good, characters just talking to each other is what really lights up the screen. Much of that is thanks to Kimberly Brooks and AJ LoCascio’s interplay.
These are two actors at the top of their game and you feel every line dripping with resentment, suspicion, and calculated machinations. While Lotor is playing the good guy I can’t trust him. Sure, he has a reason for everything he’s done but it all seems too clean. Too easy.
Lotor may start to win some of the characters over to his way of thinking I’m not so easily fooled. This is a guy who’s playing a long term chess match and he knows the right move now is to play nice, but I heavily suspect he’ll turn on the team at the most opportune moment.
Still though, his point about fulfilling the needs of the Galra empire is a great one and it makes you pause. Our team has been so focused on defeating their enemies they haven’t stopped to think about what’s next. What happens if they do win? Do they just… keep them all locked up? Discounting the conquered worlds, the Galra Empire is vast and can’t just be swept under the rug. They will all have to live together.
This is the kind of world building I’ve been wanting from the series, a peak into the repercussions of the team’s actions outside of their main battles. This not a cut and dry conflict, it has nuance and gray areas. This makes Allura’s action throughout the episode have much more weight. She may not trust Lotor but she knows he has a point, which eats her up inside.
Less successful is the Pidge and Matt plot. While I’m glad we aren’t forgetting about the search for their dad it again feels a little dragged out. Rescuing all the other prisoners wasn’t all that engaging, except to fuel Matt with some extra desperation.
I will say, his little, “let’s go” was chillingly delivered and told you everything you needed to know about what happened. While Pidge openly displayed her emotions about losing her family Matt is desperately trying to keep it all inside.
On the one hand I enjoyed seeing Rolo, Nyma, and Beezer again. It’s nice we don’t have to focus on the Voltron Paladins all the time but this is also time we could have had the other Paladins helping Pidge out. Hunk still has criminally little screen time so maybe this would have been a nice little focus for him. It’s a tough balancing act, having not only your main cast but a ton of side characters as well so I know the series is trying its best but it needs to remember its main cast should still be getting the main focus.
I’m sure many fans will cry foul at the generals returning to the Galra Empire after what happened with Lotor but it makes perfect sense. Where else do they have to go? The refuse to join up with Voltron and the Empire is all they have. Especially with the bargaining chip of Pidge and Matt’s father they knew they could make it back in.
I do wonder how they knew the location of him but I don’t think we really need to address that. There are only so many human prisoners in the Galra Empire so it can’t have been hard to suss out one of them was related to the Voltron paladins.
While this episode contains some much needed looks into the universe of Voltron it overall felt kind of slow. It needed to stay on Lotor’s interactions with the team instead of giving so much time over to their missions based on his information. Let’s hope the series isn’t cutting short the potential of the Paladins interacting with Lotor.
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. He can’t get over how fabulous Lotor’s hair was this whole episode. Follow him on Twitter!