This Voltron Legendary Defender review contains spoilers.
Voltron Season 6 Episode 5
I am dead. I am writing this beyond the grave, y’all. That episode sucker punched me in the feels and stole my lunch money.
While the last few episodes have been set up, emotions, fun, and even ramping up? This one was the payoff. Not in a plot sense. We don’t actually learn that much about what’s going on with Haggar, Lotor, or even the team.
But it’s the series finally unleashing so much of what it’s been building up to. We knew Shiro would turn against the team but now we see it in full force… and it’s all on Keith.
Keith, who looked up to Shiro. Keith, who took Shiro’s place. Keith, who would do anything for Shiro.
It’s not the whole team against their Space Dad. We do get to see their reactions but it’s Keith who has to face him head on… in the best fight scene the show has done thus far.
I don’t know who the animation team had to sell their soul to or if the next episode will just be a bunch of stick figures cause GOD. DAMN. Every single second of that fight took my breath away. Every punch, every dodge, every slash. It was unleashing everything that had been built up to until now.
I do wonder what this would have been like if Shiro hadn’t returned earlier than planned. What if this had been his return? Keith is finally comfortable as leader and then BAM. Shiro is back with all these words to make him doubt it all. I don’t know but the creative team made this work.
The sheer pain in Keith’s eyes. The glee in Shiro’s as he tears Keith down, both physically and mentally. I should really send a notice to hospitals across the world for all the broken hearts there will be after this episode.
Voltron Season 6 has broken us all…. But we love it. We love to be on this rollercoaster of emotions. To see Keith struggle to survive. To see him finally not give up on himself.
It may hurt us but it means we’re as close to these characters as Keith is to Shiro.
I know I had discussed Keith looking up to Shiro as a father but now I see it as a more a big brother scenario. We didn’t need an extended flashback to communicate this, the few little shots and ending scene said it all. Shiro helped Keith and became his family. That means the world and it’s worth risking it all to save him.
Where do we go from here? Keith is still ready to fight to survive so I’d guess he’ll get out of it somehow but what does he do with Shiro? What about all the other Shiro clones?
The payoff of Kuron Shiro is done but that doesn’t mean the story’s over. Not by a long shot.
I’d also like to focus on the “I love you” line that I’m sure fans have already lost their minds over. Many will choose to ignore the “you’re my brother” that proceeds it (or be angry at its inclusion) but don’t you dare. Don’t you dare take away this male bonding that’s so rare in media. Keith, a boy who has repressed so many of his emotions, finally drops his guard to truly let his feelings shine through.
We need this kind of male bonding. We need to show it’s okay to drop your guard and be emotionally vulnerable with those you love. I know everyone wants to turn this into “who’s kissing who” but I implore you, don’t. Not with this one. We need this to just be about Keith being able to open up for the first time.
We need this in our world, especially with the deadly amounts of toxic masculinity in it. Let this boy just express an emotion without declaring, “he wants to bone Shiro!” Not every expression of emotion means you want to date or screw someone. Ships are fun but don’t lose sight of the intent here. This is about Keith opening up after a lifetime of being closed off.
EDIT: On reflection I realized in this review I unintentionally made it seem like people can’t ship certain characters in Voltron. That wasn’t cool and I apologize for it. Have fun with media however you like! My own rigidity when it comes to reading the author’s intent with a text v. fanon and shipping is one I’m still working on.
I do think there’s a bigger issue to be raised about how we prioritize romantic relationships over platonic ones, but I was harsher here than I really needed to be. It’s a topic worth exploring in the future, for sure! If I angered anyone? That’s my bad and I’m sorry.
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter!