The final episode of Voltron: Legendary Defender season three takes us back to where it all began– to the days of the original Paladins of Voltron. To the days when Zarkon and King Alfor were dear friends, not enemies. To the days before the universe fell to the tyranny of the Galra Empire. And holy quiznack, it made me sympathize for Zarkon.
S03E07- “The Legend Begins”
The episode opens with Haggar attempting to wake Zarkon, and she glimpses some of his memories. We see a young Zarkon with an Altean woman, and I hypothesized that this was Haggar in her original state.
We are then taken to the castle, and Coran tells the team the origin story of Voltron. King Alfor is revealed to be an alchemist, which I find interesting. We also see Allura’s mother for the first time in this episode. I actually thought she was Allura in a pink dress because they look so much alike.
The Altean woman from Zarkon’s memories is introduced as Honerva, who, like Alfor, is an alchemist. It’s clear from their first interaction that Zarkon is crushing on Honerva, and it’s adorable to see the future big bad in such a state. Eventually, Honerva and Zarkon marry.
Since this is the origin story of Voltron, we see the comet that built it– the one from episode four– crash onto Zarkon’s home planet. The hole it creates upon impact is filled with Quintessence, and Honerva runs many tests on the material while Alfor begins to construct the lions from the comet’s alloy. The lions choose their Paladins, who are people Alfor and Zarkon have been fighting with for a long time. I noticed that the Paladins’ helmets have a gold diamond on the forehead reminiscent of the original show’s helmet design. During the team’s first flight, Zarkon comments on the power of the lion, and this hints at how corrupt he will become.
Honerva, too, is becoming corrupt. She spends hours upon hours studying Quintessence. When Zarkon and a now-bearded Alfor pay her a visit, she looks ragged and has long, white hair and the facial markings of Haggar. My initial suspicion was correct: Honerva is, in fact, Haggar. Honerva has discovered that Quintessence is life itself and even used it to heal her old cat, Cova. Cova is actually an homage to the original show, where Haggar owned a cat of the same name.
Honerva and Zarkon are both too deeply engrossed in Quintessence, and Alfor sees this. He urges them to stop their experiments, but Zarkon thinks the material is a gateway to immortality. Alfor literally turns his back on them, and after he leaves, Honerva collapses. In her bed, she is shaking and clearly loosing her mind, rambling about Quintessence and how it is life.
Zarkon tricks his team into entering the Quintessence portal left by the comet so he can heal Honerva. However, there are dark creatures inside that poison the Quintessence and, therefore, Honerva and Zarkon as he holds her. This is how Zarkon and Haggar became the glowing-eyed villains we see in present time. I loved how it was the tainted Quintessence that fully turned Zarkon and Haggar, and Zarkon’s fall reminds me a lot of Anakin’s transition to the dark side in Star Wars– both ultimately embraced evil out of the desire to save their wives. Also, I wonder if Zarkon and Haggar could have remained “good” or could have been saved from their Quintessence obsession had the dark Quintessence not infected them. Perhaps Alfor could have talked some sense into them if he’d had more time.
After being exposed to the poisoned Quintessence, Zarkon and Haggar are presumed dead, and Alfor destroys Zarkon’s home planet in order to close the comet’s Quintessence portal. However, Zarkon and Haggar come back to life due to the power of the Quintessence. Zarkon is filled with hatred and vengeance over the destruction of his home planet, so he kills Alfor and annihilates Altea.
Now that Coran’s story is over, the team realizes that Lotor wants to cross over into alternate realities to receive the purest Quintessence, just like Zarkon and Haggar did. We see both in this episode and in episode four that Quintessence serves as a portal to other realities. The episode ends with Haggar remembering that Zarkon is her husband, and Zarkon awakens upon her request. This came as a huge shock to me– I never would’ve guessed that Zarkon would be back so quickly, and I don’t know how team Voltron is going to defeat both Lotor and Zarkon.
I still have some questions about Haggar and Zarkon that I hope will be answered in season four. For one thing, if Haggar forgot she was Zarkon’s wife, did Zarkon forget he was Haggar’s husband? He obviously had some shred of remembrance– the memories Haggar accessed are proof of that. But were the memories regular, easily accessed ones? Or were they suppressed and deep in Zarkon’s subconscious? If they were buried, that would explain why Zarkon wouldn’t remember. But if they are conscious memories and he does remember, then that poses the question of why Zarkon would allow Haggar to go on not knowing she’s his wife. Such a question could have a sinister answer. Could the Zarkon that came out of the poisoned Quintessence no longer love Haggar?
Also, if Haggar is Zarkon’s wife, does that make her Lotor’s mother? It seems like a silly question, but if Haggar didn’t remember she was Zarkon’s wife, then why would she want to have a child with him? If Haggar is Lotor’s mother, she clearly forgot that, too. Lotor’s appearance would be explained if Haggar was his mother, as his pointed ears and human-like features are more Altean than Galra. It would also explain why Lotor is more accepting of other species and hybrids because he would be half-Altean and half-Galra.
This was an amazing episode. I loved seeing the origin story of Voltron, Zarkon, and Haggar. Zarkon and Haggar’s fall was a tragic one, and it seems as though it could’ve been prevented and that it wasn’t completely their faults. This only made me pity the villains more, and I wasn’t expecting that.
Season three as a whole was wonderful but, obviously, short. I wanted so much more. Luckily I will receive just that in October, which is when season four will be released. This season really dove into the lore of Voltron even more with the introduction of the comet and alternate realities, as well as the expanded concept of the previously established Quintessence. Lance, Allura, and Keith were faced with many challenges this season that advanced their character development beautifully. These three are definitely my favorites.
We saw hardly any Pidge this season, but she had many episodes in season one and season two that were either completely focused on her or featured her heavily, so I wasn’t too upset. I’m a little more upset, however, over the continued lack of Hunk. We haven’t seen a Hunk-centered episode since the season one Balmera episodes. Those episodes cast a different light on Hunk, one that illustrated his kind heart and courage and will to fight, and I’d like to see that side of him again.
While the lion switches made me a little sad at first, I came to appreciate and enjoy the modification. The change took the show in a new, interesting direction, as it challenged team Voltron and forced them to start over. It also led the Paladins to grow closer because they had no choice but to move on without Shiro and step up in different ways. I loved seeing Keith lead the team in the Black Lion, but I’m a little biased– as I said, Keith is one of my favorites.
Lotor is, as I’ve mentioned before, a great and intriguing villain. He’s calculating and deceitful and on a different schedule from the rest of the Galra Empire. His generals are fantastic additions to the show, as well, and I look forward to seeing more from them. Season four simply can’t come soon enough!