With the departure of one character and discovery of another, emotions run high in the first two episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender season four.
The episodes are strong starts to the season, and they give Keith and Pidge, in particular, time to shine. However, Keith’s spotlight fades after only the first episode, much to my dismay.
S04E01- “Code of Honor”
The episode opens with three Blade of Marmora agents infiltrating a Galra ship to gather intel. The mission quickly goes sour, however, when their cover is blown. Two agents make it back to the ship, and one goes back to rescue the third. This hero is revealed to be none other than Keith. I was excited to see Keith actually serving with the Blade on covert operations, as I wasn’t sure what Marmora training would entail after Shiro mentioned it in a clip released before the season aired.
It was interesting to see Keith not only in a new outfit but in a new environment, as the Blades are pretty much the opposite of team Voltron – the Blades value a mission over a life, and the Paladins have continually risked their lives for each other. Keith struggles with this ethical shift at first, as he goes back for that third agent, Regris, when he wasn’t supposed to and attempts to save him again later in the episode. Keith may be a lone wolf at times, but he truly is very compassionate.
Though I loved seeing Keith with the Blades, team Voltron did not share my enthusiasm. Throughout the episode, the Paladins grow increasingly irritated at their new leader for his constant absence from aid operations in favor of Marmora missions. Keith simply does not want to lead Voltron, and he reveals at the end of the episode that this is one of the reasons why he has been with the Blades more and more.
At one point in the episode, Keith’s absence puts the team in danger, as they need Voltron to defeat a Galra fleet and cannot form the robot without the Black Lion. It is during this moment of peril that Shiro reestablishes his connection with the head lion and flies into battle. I wasn’t sure how to feel about Shiro’s return to the Black Lion. I didn’t know why the Black Lion suddenly let Shiro pilot it when, in season three, it wouldn’t respond to him. Also, all the tension and conflict that had mounted over Keith having to fly the Black Lion in season three deflates and is so easily resolved by Shiro’s return.
The conflict surrounding Keith and his role as leader deflates further when he walks away from the team at the end of the episode. Any time a character simply runs away from their problems, tension dissipates and character development is lost. Don’t get me wrong, I love Keith, but it was just too easy for him. It was too easy for him to bail on his team and not have to finally accept his leadership position. Also, since Keith is my favorite character, I was disappointed that he wasn’t going to be around much for the rest of the season.
There is one good thing that came from Keith’s exit, however: that group hug.
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for– Pidge finally locates her brother, Matt.
This was such a beautiful, intense episode for Pidge. The youngest Paladin strikes out on her own for the first time, illustrating how much she’s grown and how capable she is.
One particular moment that is a testament to Pidge’s character comes when she travels to a new planet in search of Tiash (the correct spelling is unknown at this time), who knows the whereabouts of her brother. She not only aids the planet’s freedom fighters in fending off Galra ships, but she chooses to rescue all the stranded rebels even after they told her to leave them as Tiash is fleeing. Tiash, her one hope and direct link to Matt, is getting away, but she still takes the time to help the rebels.
Throughout the episode, there are flashbacks to when Pidge went by Katie and had her long hair. These memories are of heartwarming moments between Matt and Pidge, and it is revealed that Pidge was actually Matt’s nickname for the Paladin. I loved seeing this past Pidge, who was still very nerdy but not yet hardened by heartbreak over her brother and father’s disappearance.
These flashbacks all compile in a very emotional moment when Pidge runs through a space cemetery, believing her brother is dead. She eventually reaches a grave with Matt’s name on it and weeps. Even though I knew Matt was returning this season because of a leaked teaser, her anguish still tugged on my heart strings, and Pidge’s voice actress, Bex Taylor-Klaus, did an excellent job with the scene.
When Pidge and Matt reunite, it’s the classic case of I’m-fighting-for-you-but-I-don’t-know-it’s-you, coming to a head when Pidge knocks Matt’s mask off, prepares to deliver a punch, and freezes when she sees his face. The two share a tearful embrace, and Matt is amazed that his sister is a Paladin of the legendary Voltron. The two then receive the team up fans hoped for when they take down a bounty hunter. I love how close the siblings are and the geeky banter they share after defeating the villain. They pick up as though they’ve never been apart.
Though I was upset by Keith’s swift exit, these episodes are pretty wonderful. The second episode in particular really helps round out Pidge’s character and returns to her a piece of her heart in the form of Matt. I only wonder now when Keith will return. As much as I loved seeing him with the Blades, and as much as I hope his working with them will lead to deeper exploration of his Galra roots, team Voltron is his family. I hope he’ll become a Paladin once again in season five, but with Shiro back in the Black Lion and Lance’s fear of not being needed, I’m not sure how it would be possible. Hopefully, to quote Keith in season three, “things will work themselves out.”
What did you think of episodes one and two of DreamWorks’ Voltron: Legendary Defender?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes