Thursday, March 29, 2018

Voltron: Legendary Defender Rewatch 3.5, "The Journey"

Read the previous entry in the series here!
Read the next entry in the series here!

Shiro features once again in a story of return as Voltron: Legendary Defender presses on.

3.5, "The Journey"

Written by Joshua Hamilton
Directed by Steve In Chang Anh


Shiro wakes uneasily in Galra captivity, some time having passed for him since his last appearance in the series; he is weak as he attempts to leave his cell. He sees himself subjected to more Galra experimentation and comes under attack, which he is able to successfully repel, escaping the Galra ship that holds him--but he does so under fire and is forced down on an ice world as part of what appears a Galra plan.

On the planet, Shiro wanders in peril. He narrowly escapes it, but matters bode ill for him--as they bode ill for the Galra themselves, where Haggar charges General Rott to oversee the affairs of Prince Lotor.

Matters do not improve for Shiro as he continues to search across the ice planet, finding an oasis and the predators in it. Rebel watchers save him--but take him prisoner, and he wakes from a nightmare of the Galra's attentions to find himself again restrained. His captors interrogate him but disbelieve his answers. Lotor, meanwhile, traps his own tracker.

As Shiro's captors attend to their assigned surveillance duties, Shiro enacts another escape. He is pursued and forced to fight again, but his clear dominance of the fight and non-lethal tactics convince the captors that he is who he claims to be--and they help him escape not only the planet but the Galra, by way of infiltrating the Galra ship and hijacking a fighter to escape it as it is diverted to confront Voltron. Shiro himself cannot catch up to the Legendary Defender, and soon finds himself adrift in space, logging events and dreaming of his comrades until he is found by a still-searching Keith in the Black Lion.

Meanwhile, Lotor confronts Haggar about her surveillance of him, revealing filial tensions in the Galra royal house, and Shiro's ice-bound erstwhile captors endure.


Capture and return from it seems to be a prevailing theme for Shiro; his character is introduced as having been a prisoner, one who escapes from captivity, and his initial flight from the Galra factors into the Blade of Marmora component of the overall narrative. Too, his occasional bouts of PTSD resulting from his captivity mark him as deeply affected by the carceral experience. And that serves to link Shiro clearly to a long narrative tradition, of which medieval literature makes much, for many of the knights in Arthurian legend find themselves as prisoners and free prisoners, and Malory composed and compiled Le Morte d'Arthur as a "knyght presoner," so that the whole work is itself necessarily associated with captivity. Shiro, already long identified as a knightly figure, thus corresponds even more closely with his forebears in being so often a captive.

Notable also is Shiro's escape, with aid, through a descent into ice. The plot evokes Dante, although it does not follow the Italian poet closely. Still, the association offers another link, if tenuous, to the medieval in the series, marking it once again as a piece of medievalist fiction.

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