Thursday, August 30, 2018

Voltron: Legendary Defender (Re)Watch 7.1, "A Little Adventure"

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

The seventh season of Voltron: Legendary Defender opens with useful background explication and a diverting secondary narrative that helps its new arc start afresh.

7.1, "A Little Adventure"

Written by May Chan and Mitch Iverson
Directed by Eugene Lee


In an evident flashback, a young Shiro gives a guest talk at the school Keith attends. Keith is unimpressed and inattentive at first, attracting Shiro's attention. Shiro runs a recruitment drive involving a flight simulator, at which Keith excels once he is persuaded to try. Keith continues to impress through his exercise of delinquency, and Shiro takes an obvious liking to the young man, offering him a chance to sign on with the Earth's space force.

Clearly, if Shiro is willing to bail Keith out of kiddie jail.
Image taken from the episode, used for reporting and critique.

In the narrative present, with the Lions on a strangely lit world, the Paladins, Coran, Krolia, and Romelle confer about what to do with the rescued clone of Shiro. They are incommunicado and short on resources after the fight against Lotor, and matters are grim though not hopeless. Coran outlines a plan, and Keith and Allura make to resume aiding Shiro as best they can--and they are interrupted by Romelle recapitulating the events of the previous few episodes of the series. They proceed as best they can.

Some challenges are more easily surmounted than others.
Image taken from the episode, used for reporting and critique.
The flashback resumes with Keith following up on Shiro's offer to him. The two confer about Keith's future. Meanwhile, Coran and the others search out the materials they need to get off of the strange world where they find themselves. It is a place of beauty, to be sure, and it offers them what they need--though not without challenges. As they face them, Keith resumes remembering his instruction by Shiro as a pilot--alongside Lance and Hunk, among others. His exultation in his proficiency lands him in trouble, however--as does his rancor over his parentage. And Shiro once again steps in to assist him, counseling him as he can--while Coran and his group continue to face their own difficulties, and Hunk and Romelle find points of wholehearted agreement. Lance ends up saving the group from their immediate peril--but they still have troubles to face.

Keith continues to recall earlier times with Shiro and their shared camaraderie. Some of Keith's history is noted--including his previously-understood orphanage. And the others work against their predicament as more of Shiro's background and experience emerges--as do his romantic life and his medical difficulties. At length, the extravagance of Keith's emotions reaches Shiro, who returns to them as the others rejoin--and matters look much improved.


When I wrote the previous entry, I had not known that the series was set for another season. I am not saddened to see that it got one--or, indeed, that it got a fuller run than any season since the first. And when I sat down to watch the present episode, I did so with some hope; I was not disappointed.

Experience reading the Arthurian literature from which Legendary Defender has borrowed and teaching it to students has shown the heavily homoerotic overtones of the work--and the present episode presents those overtones strongly, both in Shiro's recalled relationship and in the close bond between him and Keith. So, while there will doubtless be reactions to the episode complaining of the "forcing" of "social justice" issues, the episode but expands upon tendencies already present in its antecedents--and, indeed, foregrounded in Pidge's trans presentation. (The potential arguments that Shiro's illness and his close relationship with Keith have problematic implications have some merit, however.) Nor yet does it stray far from its antecedents in the secondary plot, which rings of fairy tales in its particulars and has something of the smart-alecky Maledisant about it in Romelle's comments. So the series returns to its medievalism as its seventh season begins; how much it continues to do so will be good to examine.

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