Thursday, June 28, 2018

Voltron: Legendary Defender (Re)Watch 5.5, "Bloodlines"

Read the previous entry here!
Read the next entry here!

Family emerges as a significant concern again as the fifth season of Voltron: Legendary Defender approaches its end.

5.5, "Bloodlines"

Written by Mark Bemesderfer
Directed by Eugene Lee


The Castle of Lions travels through space, preparing to see off Pidge and Matt's father. He reminds the Paladins of his mission amid the exchange of goodbyes, and he agrees to carry messages back to Earth. Lance is shaken by thoughts of returning to Earth and his extended family, uncharacteristically, and Pidge and Matt's father departs.

Elsewhere, the Blade of Marmora discuss acquired intelligence. Keith is sent to extract its source--Krolia--and act on the intelligence in the wake of the debacle at the Kral Zera, withdrawing the Blade's asset amid Galra infighting. The stakes are high and are noted to Keith, who is cautioned not to let his emotions get in his way of his mission.

The charge is made.
Image taken from the episode, used for reporting.
The Castle approaches the Galra flagship, the Paladins noting the oddity of their doing so as they arrive at what is now Lotor's stronghold--and at which they are welcomed by the new Galra leader, with flowery words. Difficulties with the intended transition are noted, and Lotor's plans for ending Galra belligerence are noted. Lotor offers assistance and open access to his facilities as he and Allura go off to attend to their own plans. Lance, Pidge, and Hunk begin what promise to be silly machinations.

Meanwhile, the intra-Galra conflict continues, fleets waging war as commanders try to establish themselves as the supreme Galra power.

The silliness proceeds, with a Galra sentry suborned to the Paladins' whims. Juvenile fun and games ensue until petty officials seek to intervene.

Keith infiltrates the battle, making for Krolia. His superior piloting skills serve him well until he is struck by battle debris and makes hard planetfall. When he wakes, he is some distance away from his intended target; he proceeds thence, entering a Galra facility on alert and quickly identifying Krolia. They surprise one another, and Keith makes to extract her in haste.

Lotor and Allura confer in Haggar's former workshop. He seeks to have her work with Haggar's apparatus to replicate their fathers' distillation of quintessence. She expresses misgivings amid the horrors of the workshop, but she still agrees to proceed, soon finding an Altean log. It was Honerva's, and Lotor's Altean ancestry receives some comment. Haggar's access to the material is questioned, and both work on matters.

Silliness continues. The petty officials continue to pursue Pidge, Lance, and Hunk, to no avail, and matters are amended--all was in fun.

Something seems familiar...
Image taken from the episode, used for reporting.
Keith and Krolia confer about her extraction and its motives. Keith reports the surrounding circumstances; Krolia reports on the nature of the weapon on which she had been working. The facility's defenses are failing, however, and they move to evacuate amid the worsening situation.

Lotor, meanwhile, reviews Honerva's old logs, noting their oddities. Allura voices the idea of Honerva's connection to Lotor--which he rejects out of hand. He proceeds to look for other information, and Allura's own mystical abilities are put to use. They uncover a hidden piece of material taken from an Altean outpost, one which Lotor explicates as a possible map to the source of Altean alchemical power, the legendary Oriande. Lotor avers its reality and purposes to seek it.

Keith and Krolia contiunue to exfiltrate, coming under attack. They defend themselves ably for a time, but are taken. Krolia speaks of having left Keith before and offers to trade the weapon for themselves.

Allura and Lotor work with the material, a compass stone. Allura expresses doubts of her abilities, but Lotor exhorts her to the task--and the stone activates. Their path forward is revealed.

The silliness continues, with Pidge, Hunk, and Lance launching their suborned robot into space in a glorious shower of sparks.

It truly is beautiful, worthy of honor.
Image taken from the episode, used for reporting.

Keith berates Krolia for her seeming betrayal. She relates an activation code to her erstwhile captors, and she and Keith flee. The code opens the weapon, and the captor makes to kill the escapees; Keith makes to evade at speed, dodging the incoming fire and ongoing battle, and the weapon wreaks ruin on the captors; it is a raving beast that slays them. And in the wake of the action, Krolia reveals that she is Keith's mother.


Among the many, many investigation-worthy items in play in the current episode is the revelation of Oriande, a hidden source of mystic power. There is an unfortunate acoustic connection to earlier stereotypical ideas; "Oriande" sounds not unlike "Orient," the latter of which has often been cited as an exotic, foreign place full of mystical wonder--among the European medieval as in other places and times. (Said has more to say on the subject, of course.) But, leaving that aside, the notion of an ancestral, removed place from which magic flows evokes no few Arthurian and associated tropes, the more so given the already-established Arthurian and chivalric overtones of the series. The lands of the Fisher King in von Eschenbach come to mind, as does Avalon. Other possible antecedents emerge in the general otherworldliness of fairy-lands (by whatever spelling), with a perhaps more explicit medievalist touchstone being the legends of Prester John and his kingdom--at various places far to the east. And the Edenic overtones of such a place cannot be ignored, either--although that particular image suggests itself as ripe for subversion, given prevailing attitudes towards religion on display in mainstream fantasy and science fiction (about which the Society is trying to organize work; please consider contributing).

Knowing that the fifth season is drawing to a close--there is one more episode, and, as of this writing, there are no further seasons available--there is limited time to explore how what is implied in the current episode will be developed. But that development is eagerly anticipated, even so.

No comments:

Post a Comment