An Analysis of Keith and Lance’s Feelings Towards Each Other.
After season three - and Keith’s Vlog especially - I’ve seen a lot of people complain about how Lance is oblivious to Keith’s true feelings about him (Rather those feeling are platonic or romantic) And yeah, I’m right there with you on wishing he’d recognize his misconceptions about Keith’s feelings towards him, but does that mean that Lance is unjust in the way that he feels? Does that mean Keith’s actions haven’t warranted or perpetuated this false narrative?
As a Lance Stan, of course I’m coming through for my boi. But I also just really like analyzing their interactions. So here we go:
First off, how does Lance actually think Keith views him? This picture shows it best.
Lance thinks that Keith sees himself as above Lance. The framing - which is coming from Lance’s p.o.v - is a great indicator of that. But even without this, Lance himself says:
I’m a big believer in the theory that Lance is projecting he own feelings of self doubt. He undoubtedly has an inferiority complex, but Lance feels inferior to everyone on the team, and it’s only with Keith that he ever shows any type of malice. In fact, I cant remember a time Lance has ever been genuinely angry at someone who isn’t Keith. (I could be wrong here.) So why does he treat Keith so differently than the rest of the team? Maybe because of his internalized gay feelings towards our resident spicy boi?hmmm.
We know for a fact that in episode one Iverson told Lance something like this: ‘You’re only fighter class because Keith, a better pilot, washed out. Now act accordingly’. This doesn’t feel like the first time either, but more of a reminder. So on the surface, it seems clear as to why Lance treats Keith the way he does at first. I mean, I get it. If someone was constantly used to reinforce the notion of how shitty I am, I’d probably have a similar reaction towards them too. (Conditioning is a thing ya’ll) However, from Pidge’s flashback in season one, we know Lance’s animosity isn’t that new.
“Hasta la later, Keith.”
But again, Lance just isn’t such a mean spirited person as to rejoice someone’s failures. Quite the opposite actually. He validates his team even while feeling inferior to them. It just doesn’t feel like Lance. And other than towards Keith, Lance has never been shown to act this way. So I have to believe something occurred to make Lance not like Keith especially. Not saying that’s an excuse, but it is an explanation. Truthfully, what probably happened was that Lance looked up to Keith or tried to befriend him and Keith acted in a way that Lance perceived as rejection. We don’t know though, because the key to this lives within the Garrison years, and we may or may not ever see those.
Sooo, lets move along to something that we do see.
We all know that Lance is antagonistic towards Keith, but Keith isn’t an innocent party in this.
Think back to the first episode when they’re all on the hovercraft. Lance asked “If this thing can move any faster,” which wasn’t a jab at Keith as much as it was a ’holy shit, we’re about to get caught,’ moment. Keith’s reply was something along the lines of: ‘Maybe if we removed some unessential weight.’ (Which, in hindsight, considering how Lance views himself as baggage, a seventh wheel, is some pretty jarring foreshadowing.)
Then he tells Lance he’s the worst pilot ever. (Ouch)
Just to be clear, I love Keith, and I don’t think he meant these comments as maliciously as they may have been taken. They were probably more like offhanded insults, but knowing what we know about Lance, is it so hard to see how these comments could be internalized?
Next we have a scene where Lance jokes about wanting all of the information in his brain to be stored on a spaceship. Keith’s response isn’t teasing, but… mean. It’s meant to hurt Lance by blatantly insinuating that he’s stupid. And in season two, when they’re both going to the pool, it’s Keith who tells Lance to stay far far away from him.
What am I getting at here? IDEK. Lance and Keith don’t hate each other in the slightest. Keith knows he’s bad at people, and he probably notices that Lance treats him differently than literally everyone else on the team. I’m sure that hurts Keith. While with Lance, he looks up to Keith, thinks Keith is better than him, and because of the words of people like Iverson and Keith himself, this idea has been nurtured. We already know that Lance takes the words of his friends to heart. In both season 2 and 3 when Lance expressed doubt, he brought up something Pidge said to him both times.
“I thought I was the team sharpshooter, but I guess nobody else thinks that.”
“Maybe I am just the goofball.”
Neither of them are innocent. It’s a mutual series or misunderstanding, and as sad as it is to see Keith frustrated over his inability to relate to his team, he’s not doing himself any favors when he insults Lance in earnest. Lance isn’t doing himself any favors either, and they’re both just reacting based off of these false narratives they hold about one another.
But that’s apart of what makes their relationship so complex and interesting to watch play out. Season three really paid off. Their development unfolded beautifully and I can’t wait to see how they proceed in the following seasons. I can only hope that any miscommunications they have about each other are addressed and cleared up.
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