The world can be a wonderful, wild, and scary place to live. Fortunately, a show like Voltron knows that. You can’t help but admire the energy and action that the show’s creators poured into every frame, from the vicious Galra to the desperate deeds of Princess Allura and her Paladins. Much like the theme of self-sacrifice that permeated Rogue One, the second season of Voltron: Legendary Defender promises to push events forward as the universe grows darker.
After their last battle with Zarkon and the forces of the Galra Empire, the Paladins are split up when their escape wormhole launches their Lions into different galaxies. While they fight to reunite, recover, and prepare for another assault, new developments occur. Keith and Shiro learn about the Blade of Marmora and its fight against Zarkon, and the team scatters again to collect all the pieces they need to arrange a final showdown with the Galra leader.
The opening of this season was a good chance for the audience to reconnect with each of the characters as they deal with being split up. We get to see how Pidge deals with her isolation, how Keith and Shiro work together, how Lance and Hunk manage with a mermaid civilization, and how Coran and Allura work their way out of a recurring time loop. But then, once we’ve figured these elements out, the show goes in new directions. We learn about Galra resistance fighters. We learn something unexpected about Keith’s past. We get more insight into Zarkon and what history he had with the Alteans, as teased at the end of Season 1. Everything we’ve come to expect from the show before gets twisted in new but consistent directions this season.
Of course, it took me until the halfway point of the show to realize that, when you get down to it, there’s very little difference between the first and second seasons. They’re basically the same plot: Gather the Heroes, Lose Vital Crystals for the Castle Ship, Gather New Crystals, Confront Team Secrets, and Prep for the Final Battle with Zarkon.
Still, it’s not a bad way to tell the story. Remember that this is the same team who brought us The Legend of Korra, and that was a show where Avatar Korra was always fighting a spiritual crisis and taking on an enemy who would usually threaten Republic City in the season finale. Just like their previous work, Joaquim Dos Santos and his team can still meet the same basic plot points and keep things fresh with new character arcs.
One recurring gag that I did notice more was the writers’ love of creating all those nonsensical words for the Altean vocabulary. Honestly, half of Coran’s dialogue is just him shouting random terms and analogies that (to his culture) make perfect sense, but leave the Earth-born heroes and audience totally lost. I still like the idea because it shows how alien the Alteans truly are, but there were times when I’m just sitting there going, “Really? Why does that need its own bizarre word?”
And as you can probably tell from my choice of an image, Pidge is still my absolute favorite character in the entire show. This season only made me enjoy her storyline more. Every technical issue made her shine (she even name-drops Alan Turing in Episode 4), and much like Keith, she had her own past demons to figure out in this current run of the series. Of course, no gets a more dramatic turn than either Keith or Shiro this season, but Pidge had a nice arc to balance them out.
Once again, Voltron makes a good comeback thanks to Netflix. The animation is still great, the writing is impressive, and the producers never miss a chance to add a little humor to an otherwise epic space opera tale.
The second season of Voltron: Legendary Defender is available to watch on Netflix.
Bibliography: Voltron: Legendary Defender (Season 2). Based on Beast King GoLion by Toei Animation and Voltron: Defender of the Universe by World Events Productions. Produced by Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery, Yoo Jae Myung, Ted Koplar, Bob Koplar, Choi Goun, Kim Young Hyun, Kim Seul Ki, and Lee Soo Kyung. DreamWorks Animation; World Events Productions; Studio Mir. Netflix (distributor). Original release date: June 10, 2016 – present.