Thursday, August 2, 2018

Voltron: Legendary Defender (Re)Watch 6.4, "The Colony"

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A revelation returns the Paladins and the Galra to their former tension--and more is added on--as the sixth season of Voltron: Legendary Defender continues.

6.4, "The Colony"

Written by Mark Bemesderfer
Directed by Chris Palmer


Not an auspicious opening...
Image taken from the episode, used for commentary

The Castle of Lions approaches the ruined Daibazaal, carrying with it the ships made from the interdimensional comet Lotor had purloined. Lotor and Allura confer about current circumstances and purpose to harness immense energies from the interdimensional rift that had ruined the planet. The two pilot a craft to begin efforts to that end, the other Paladins and Coran looking on with skepticism and voicing concerns.

There's no doubt when that door opens.
Image taken from the episode, used for commentary
The pilots breach the gate between Daibazaal and an energy realm, vanishing from sight of the Castle and emerging into a seemingly endless sea of light. Subtle structures reveal themselves--and an alert sounds on the Castle as a craft approaches--an Altean shuttlepod carrying Keith. Keith asks after Lotor and expresses angst that the latter is amid the energy field.

Allura and Lotor confer about their findings, Allura voicing concern as Lotor collects samples. Keith returns to the Castle of Lions and is challenged--briefly. Keith claims Lotor has been lying--with Krolia and the Altean woman they found--Romelle--confirming his claim. Shiro stalls for time as Allura and Lotor continue in the field, taking in power--and Haggar watches from afar, through Shiro. News is exchanged, with Coran noting his own doubts as Romelle explicates the history of her people; they are something of a pet project of Lotor's, collected by him and hidden on a colony in the quantum abyss.

It seems too good to be true.
Image taken from the episode, used for commentary
A second colony was spun off from the first, one selecting Alteans with particular characteristics and isolated utterly from it. Doubts of Lotor soon emerged, and Romelle learned that the second colony was, in fact, meant only to harvest quinetessence from the taken Alteans. The arrival of Keith and Krolia allowed her to prove her allegations and to escape from the colony. And the revelation stuns the Paladins, who cannot act against him until Allura is secured.

Lotor is changed as he and Allura return to the Castle and kiss. The Paladins confront him, and his perfidy is revealed. He tries to explain himself, but Allura rejects him. His erstwhile lieutenants take the chance to attack, and Haggar psychically assails Shiro, turning him against the other Paladins. A melee ensues, with Shiro absconding with Lotor and damage being inflicted on the Castle. In its wake, Keith resumes both command and the Black Lion, and the Paladins move with dire purpose against their suborned comrade.

Battle resumes, and Keith tries to restore Shiro--to no avail--as the latter seeks to escape with Lotor to Haggar. Voltron is formed, and the battle rages on.


That Lotor is revealed to be perfidious is not a surprise, nor yet is it a surprise that Haggar's machinations conduce to him. Given the long-established Arthurian resonances of the story, it is easy to read the two--Lotor and Haggar--as Mordred and the Morgan/Morgause amalgamation that pervades late 20th and later Arthurian presentations, but that is also not a surprise. That the revelations in the episode and the readings they suggest are not surprises does not mean they are not interesting, however, or that the Arthurian reading does not reinforce the prevailing medievalism of the series.

And there is some interest in the specific form of Lotor's perfidy. He is described as exhibiting a messianic figure to the scattered Alteans, offering a great many who would otherwise be adrift in a diaspora a chance at a new home and offering a select few an even more reified one. That he is so described--and that the promises made are as patently false as they are--evokes ideas of heretical religious movements springing up, something with which orthodox institutions were necessarily concerned. Since, in Voltron: Legendary Defender, the Paladins are as close to an orthodox institution as seems to exist, that they would swiftly align themselves against the perpetrators of such heretical acts makes sense. Whether they will act to free those led badly remains to be seen--but it would be very much in line with their knightly forebears for them to do so.

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