Voltron Legendary Defender is now barreling towards its end game. The set up is done. The universe is filled out. It’s now time for everything Voltron has been building towards to play out.
And it is glorious.
Watching the season you can easily separate it into two parts. The first is taking a long deep breath before the marathon. It’s getting focused. Reminding both the characters and the audience what they’ve built over the previous six seasons. Reflecting on how far we’ve come.
We’re reminded why we love and want to protect each and every one of these characters while also learning new things about them. We see character matchups that haven’t been seen since the early days of the show. We return to plotlines that were long thought abandoned. The character development people have been hoping for with certain Paladins finally comes into focus.
Romelle also gets some time to shine as the newest member of the main cast. Her dynamic with everyone is a ton of fun and she steals every scene she’s featured in. By the end of the season you’ll wish she’d been around for much longer.
The show even takes time to address the biggest change forced upon it, the reintroduction of Shiro and how it cruelly cut short Keith’s time as leader. It’s done in ways that aren’t obvious at first but when examined closely cuts deep to all the Paladins.
The second half is a marathon that recalls the best action packed serialized arcs of televised science fiction’s past. It’s like the final arc of Deep Space Nine where it’s just nonstop and the world of the series will never be the same. Everything you thought this season would be? You’re wrong. It not only dramatically shifts what the team is fighting for but the universe they inhabit.
It also has an outstanding two parter that makes a case for Voltron media that doesn’t necessarily revolve around the titular robot. Even with the series ending soon this two parter serves as a proof of concept that stories set in the Voltron world can be extremely engaging even if we don’t see a Lion or once hear the phrase, “Form Voltron!”
The action in the season is extraordinary; particularly the giant robot fights in the second half. They take your breath away. Every punch and laser blast makes you genuinely fearful if the team will make it out alive. Just when you think they’re safe? NOPE. Things only get more intense.
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There is a tradeoff for all of this stellar combat. Two of the episodes are very obviously used as cost saving measures, although thankfully neither are clip shows. The second of these works fairly well but the first is less successful. It’s not bad by any stretch but it doesn’t feel organic to the larger story. It’s trying to be another light comedy episode like “Space Mall” or “Monsters and Mana” but doesn’t hold the same weight. Those at least continued the plotline or served as appropriate breather episodes between arcs. This one feels like a throwaway, which isn’t necessarily bad, but feels misplaced during such an important time of the series.
The season also slightly suffers from a problem discussed by the Voltron showrunners, they have too much story. There are so many interesting plot threads the series could follow but it just doesn’t have the time. One such plot that doesn’t get the time it should have deserved is likely to be at the center of a storm of controversy once it airs.
Despite those problems, this is another triumphant season for Voltron. It’s a joy to watch it fully utilize the world it’s so carefully built and take the stories in directions you couldn’t have predicted. The series is fully confident in itself and where it’s going.
Also, Hunk gets a ton of focus. Bless.
Voltron season seven drops August 10th on Netflix!
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter!