Shiro and the Black Lion meta: “You Saved Me.”
I’ve been wanting to write this meta for a while, because after season 2 came out I’ve seen a lot of people characterise the Black Lion as disloyal or fickle, and I don’t think this is the case. I think the Black Lion is extremely loyal to Shiro, and very closely bonded to him; and I think she probably hates Zarkon as much as Shiro does. That might be a strange conclusion to come to after she literally spat Shiro out in the season 1 finale, so let’s break this down a little bit:
If you leave aside the incident in 1x11, the rest of the show portrays the Black Lion and Shiro as very closely bonded. In 1x02 Shiro is the only Paladin who’s able to do the nosedive exercise. At this point he’s been piloting the Lion for like… a couple of days MAX, but he’s able to bond with her to the point that he can see through her eyes. So far, we haven’t seen any of the other Paladins pull this off. The Lion/Paladin bond is a two-way thing - we see that clearly with Red and Keith - so we have to assume that this bonding moment is not just down to Shiro’s calm focus. It’s also coming from Black.
You can also see Black’s willingness to bond with Shiro in 2x07. Shiro goes down to the hangar, sits in the Lion, and goes: “Work with me. What do I have to do to strengthen our bond?” And the Lion is like: “YES BONDING! ALRIGHT! LET’S GO!!” She immediately powers up and whisks Shiro off on a spiritual journey. She invites Shiro to see through her eyes, and shows him her history and how she was made. Shiro asks ‘what do I have to do to strengthen our bond?’ and the Lion’s answer is 'you need to understand my history and where I come from’. And again - we’ve not seen any of the other Lions do this. Shiro is the only Paladin whose Lion has opened up about their past or told their Paladin this kind of visual story.
None of this is consistent with the characterisation of the Black Lion as disloyal. It certainly doesn’t seem like she mistrusts or dislikes Shiro, right? If anything, she seems positively eager to open up to him.
Which brings me to my theory about the Black Lion: I don’t think she’s fickle, or contrary, or lowkey still into her ex. I don’t think she likes Zarkon at all, or misses him, or wants him back as her Paladin.
I think she’s traumatised.
More under the cut, because sweet quiznak did this get long: