Thursday, August 16, 2018

Voltron: Legendary Defender (Re)Watch 6.6, "All Good Things"

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As the sixth season of the series nears its end, matters appear to worsen for the Paladins, although some things begin to become clear.

6.6, "All Good Things"

Written by Joshua Hamilton
Directed by Steve In Chang Ahn


In an astral experience, Keith hears Shiro. Keith calls out in confusion, and Shiro appears. He reports that matters are well with the other Paladins and that he, himself, has been in another realm--not alive as had been thought. The Black Lion retains his essence, Shiro explains, and he has tried to warn others against the impostor, but he has not the strength, and he cannot maintain his current projection, fading away.
Better to burn out?
Image taken from the episode, used for reporting.

Keith wakes on the damaged Black Lion, his impostor opponent unconscious nearby. And the Paladins and Coran slowly work to restore power to the Castle of Lions. Allura is downcast as she begins to restart the Castle, and Lance looks on with some concern. Krolia and Romelle move to assist Coran, and Lance voices his concerns to Allura. She rebukes herself for not stopping Lotor and Shiro. He works to ease her conscience--and Keith returns with news. Lotor's ships are on their way back.

Allura briefs the other Paladins as they make for their Lions and seek to destroy the access to the quintessence field. And as Lotor and his lieutenants approach, he briefs them on his plans. Efforts to hinder Lotor ensue despite problems--including those Coran faces with the Castle.

Lotor and his lieutenants attack after Lotor makes a plea for understanding. The Paladins resist. It does not go well. And Coran fares little better, though his plan succeeds.
Setting off bombs in castles is usually not a good thing.
Image taken from the episode, used for reporting.

The Castle enters the fight to some effect, but the repairs made to it prove insufficient to turn the fight. And Lotor rages as he continues to fight Allura directly. Madness is in him, and his lieutenants abandon him. Lotor moves against them, taking control of their craft and ejecting them into open space. The ships combine into what amounts to an anti-Voltron, and prospects are poor, indeed.
The tail is almost as good as a goatee for indicating evil.
Image taken from the episode, used for reporting.

Melee continues, with the Paladins faring badly, and Lotor's lieutenants flee. Coran tries to help, but his intervention has little effect. Lotor's retaliatory stroke is telling. Keith continues to rush to aid, hearing the travail of his comrades and pleading for aid; his extravagance puts him back into communion with Shiro amid the astral. The older Paladin coaches the younger into more effective use of the Black Lion, and his progress is accelerated greatly. He arrives to aid his colleagues, who are left adrift by Lotor in advance of the final blow.

Voltron is formed, and battle re-joined.


There seems little overtly medievalist about the episode, as has been the case more than once throughout the series. But there may be something of note in looking at the numerology at work; the Paladins, being five working as one in an avowedly defensive position, call to mind the blazon of Gawain's shield in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (as the University of Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse has it, with some layout changed for ease of reading):
THEN þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goulez
Wyth þe pentangel depaynt of pure golde hwez.
He braydez hit by þe bauderyk, aboute þe hals kestes,
Þat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayre.
And quy þe pentangel apendez to þat prynce noble
I am in tent yow to telle, þof tary hyt me schulde:
Hit is a syngne þat Salamon set sumquyle
In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbez,
For hit is a figure þat haldez fyue poyntez,
And vche lyne vmbelappez and loukez in oþer,
And ayquere hit is endelez; and Englych hit callen
Oueral, as I here, þe endeles knot.
Forþy hit acordez to þis knyȝt and to his cler armez,
For ay faythful in fyue and sere fyue syþez
Gawan watz for gode knawen, and as golde pured,
Voyded of vche vylany, wyth vertuez ennourned
in mote;
Forþy þe pentangel nwe
He ber in schelde and cote,
As tulk of tale most trwe
And gentylest knyȝt of lote.

Fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttez,
And efte fayled neuer þe freke in his fyue fyngres,
And alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in þe fyue woundez
Þat Cryst kaȝt on þe croys, as þe crede tellez;
And quere-so-euer þys mon in melly watz stad,
His þro þoȝt watz in þat, þurȝ alle oþer þyngez,
Þat alle his forsnes he feng at þe fyue joyez
Þat þe hende heuen-quene had of hir chylde;
At þis cause þe knyȝt comlyche hade
In þe inore half of his schelde hir ymage depaynted,
Þat quen he blusched þerto his belde neuer payred.
Þe fyft fyue þat I finde þat þe frek vsed
Watz fraunchyse and felaȝschyp forbe al þyng,
His clannes and his cortaysye croked were neuer,
And pité, þat passez alle poyntez, þyse pure fyue
Were harder happed on þat haþel þen on any oþer.
Now alle þese fyue syþez, for soþe, were fetled on þis knyȝt,
And vchone halched in oþer, þat non ende hade,
And fyched vpon fyue poyntez, þat fayld neuer,
Ne samned neuer in no syde, ne sundred nouþer,
Withouten ende at any noke I oquere fynde,
Whereeuer þe gomen bygan, or glod to an ende.
Þerfore on his schene schelde schapen watz þe knot
Ryally wyth red golde vpon rede gowlez,
Þat is þe pure pentaungel wyth þe peple called
with lore.
Now grayþed is Gawan gay,
And laȝt his launce ryȝt þore,
And gef hem alle goud day,
He wende for euermore.
It is possible, given the already-noted elemental resonances of the Lions and the long associations of the classical elements with temperaments, to read them as being in much the same mode as the multiple resonances identified with the multi-colored five-fold emblem on Gawain's shield. And, against the long-established Arthurian overtones of the series, it might well be useful to read them in such a way, tying each of the Paladins to one or another of the classical elements, Galenic humors, or traditional attitudes.

How they would interact, then, with the interestingly trinitarian anti-Voltron that Lotor pilots becomes a point of interest. Formed from three ships that Lotor can commandeer rather than from five that are independently but collaboratively piloted, and partaking of extra-natural energies, it does seem to have something trinitarian about it--but inverted, with the craft taking on an appearance that reads as demonic (in opposition to the pseudo-angelic Voltron). As such, the craft reinforces the notion of bastardization that it actually is--as a product of having perpetrated fraud on Allura--and presents trinitarian ideas as devolved darkenings of prior, fuller patterns of behavior. The religious overtones invite attention--hopefully from those more thoroughly versed in matters of faith.

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