So I went to a wedding reception and we were helping clean up, and some guy asked if anyone had scissors. No one did, so the groomsmen started pulling out their car keys and seeing who had the sharpest key but then I just walked over and pulled my leatherman out of my purse and handed it to the guy, and let me tell you, it was the greatest moment of my career seeing the impressed looks on everyone’s faces.
Okay, so I know Matt coming into the team and being super talented is good for the Langst, but what if it was good for the Langst?
Lance has another of his insecure jealousy laden rants at Matt, and Matt, who has interacted with humans as a normal person, not a cryptid hunting knife boy recognizes what is happening. So he just very calmly asks why he thinks the team is looking for a replacement. Not in a smug way, but as a genuine ‘what makes you think that’ way.
And Lance spills his insecurities about not having a thing while they’re all amazing at something, and just being a tag along no really likes or needs.
Which leads to Matt countering that Katie thinks he’s a very welcoming, fun person who helped her buy a silly console to feel better, and stood up for her in the garrison despite her self-inflicted distance.
That Hunk proudly calls Lance his best friend, savior of an oceanic world, his best and most-reliable taste tester, and confidant.
He especially talks of how highly Shiro praised his skills as a shooter, and how selfless, and dedicated Lance could be.
Of the stories, he’d heard of the charismatic blue paladin of Voltron, who helped lighten the atmospheres of newly saved planets.
Matt sheepishly admitting that Keith’s a little hard to talk to, but at the very least he’s never seen someone put so much effort into a friendship they felt they weren’t getting anything from. Because Keith is real bad at socializing, but he sure seems to try with, and for the team. Lance in particular.
He also points out that he’s only known Lance for a short time, but he sees the good points in him that he’s heard of quite clearly, even if Lance can’t. And that no one can replace anyone because we’re all us, and no one else.
Lance is probably crying a little (or a lot) by now, but Matt knows they’re not sad tears, and even through Lance’s denials assures him he’ll believe it someday.
The next day Matt tells Shiro they need to Talk, and Shiro has never so much wished for death than in that moment with Matt Gunderson giving him a stern look, and the knowledge of an oncoming lecture. No one even tries to save him.
The lecture is on the emotional well-being of his team, and how none of them should be breaking down in terrified jealousy because they think they’re nothing.
I just… really like the idea of Zuko’s broadswords.
Better people than I have written essays on how Zuko’s use of dual swords reflects on his own duality of good and evil. But like on a character and canon level, the fact that Zuko uses swords is very important to me.
It’s implied throughout the series that benders are prioritized over non-benders (though I’ll admit the gap is much smaller than in other nations). I think it may have been a fanfic that stated that it was almost shameful for a firebender to use weapons, that it was a sign of weakness in the fact that their bending isn’t strong enough that they needed to rely on something else.
Zuko is a firebender and not just any firebender but a royal firebender from a long line of scary talented benders. From the start, he had a great many expectations put on him which he consistently failed to meet. Azula was the prodigy he was average at best and constantly made aware of his shortcomings. We see in Zuko Alone that he had a fascination with blades as a boy (Iroh’s knife). Wherever that interest came from, it was his. Something apart from his Father’s unrealistic expectations and something he could do on his own.
Because Zuko can see that he’s far behind Azula in terms of firebending and it must be so frustrating to be constantly trying and failing. And so maybe at that point he begins to develop his love of swords. Comics stated he trained with Piandao but I can see Zuko taking it beyond any mandatory royal training and just falling in love with the motion and balance of sword fighting. Because it’s something he finds he’s good at, something Azula can’t do. Shameful or not, he knows he’ll never be as good a bender as she is, but he can wield those swords. It makes me smile to think of pre-teen Zuko, in the years following his mother’s disappearance, practicing his swordplay in secret. Using that time to forget all the ways he’s messed up and focusing on something he’s good at. And considering how good Zuko is by the main series, he put a LOT of time and effort into training.
It gets deeper as we think of Zuko using those skills to free Aang as the Blue Spirit. He used sneaky tactics and skills he shouldn’t have to commit treason against the Fire Nation. A Firebender doesn’t fight with swords, but a Firebender also shouldn’t be freeing the Avatar. I feel like Zuko was disassociating heavily during that break-out in order to get the job done, trying to justify that the person doing these treasonous things wasn’t him… when in fact, the Blue Spirit was probably more in line with Zuko’s true personality: rough but with good, noble intentions, quiet not brash, non-confrontational; would rather sneak around than openly harm.
And when Zuko is turned into a fugitive in Book 2 and was forced to hide within the Earth Kingdom those swords, for the first time in his life, became more than a secret hobby, it became his chance for survival. He couldn’t out himself as a bender so he had to rely on his swords to get through the Earth Kingdom. I think it’s also telling he lost his fancy FN blade at the North Pole and had to resort to stolen Earth Kingdom blade. And imagine how he felt to be respected for his blade skills? Teaching Lee how to fight with swords in the middle of the night was so important for Zuko’s development. Patiently talking the eager boy through the stances and philosophy of dual swords, encouraging him. When Zuko offers Iroh’s blade to him, what may have initially started Zuko’s interest, he’s telling Lee it’s okay to pursue this, this is a good thing. Which… obviously didn’t work out but man that’s something big for Zuko.
Then Zuko openly wearing his swords in Ba Sing Se and using them to defend himself against Jet could be seen as Zuko reconnecting with who he is, instead of hiding it. This metaphor of Zuko’s swords representing his true self continues if you think of how, when he returns to the Fire Nation, we never see his swords. At all. I can’t think of one episode where they appear when he’s living at the palace except, oh, that one time where Zuko faced his father and took back his loyal, his destiny and himself. The final half of season three, Zuko is hardly seen without his swords. They’re always at his back, ready to be used to supplement his firebending or whatever. Zuko has opened up to himself, accepted who he is, and wears his swords and his swordsmanship proudly
TL;DR- The fact that Zuko, a Firebender, trained himself is swords tells us about a childhood of being second best and his blades was something for him to enjoy on his own, one skill he could succeed at. It also becomes a symbol of his true self, of when he hides it and when he allows it to shine.