Season 2 was meant to be a stepping stone.
Look, I’m not gonna act like there weren’t problems. There was too much going on in the small timespace they had to really flesh out everything they wanted to, and the season really suffered for that. At face value, this season was weak and, for most people, failed to meet the expectations left over from the amazing production of Season 1.
But it wasn’t meant to meet those expectations in the first place.
As some people have pointed out, Season 1 was meant to take place over the course of a longer time period than Season 2. Season 1 was introductory, it was meant to set up the characters, the premise, and the villains. And it delivered. The story took place over the course of 1-2 months, and the worldbuilding was kept to a minimum in order to place a focus on the characters.
Season 2? This was meant to expand the universe. It was meant to explore different species and planets, as well as give us insight to rebel groups formed from Galra and connect them to those key aspects of our main characters. They also tried to carry this out over what can amount to no more than 2 weeks within the universe.
How are you supposed to meet those expectations when premise of these seasons aren’t meant to be similar in any remote aspect? What relationships between characters are supposed to develop within two weeks? Season 2 wasn’t supposed to flesh out every character and work through their relationships with the rest of the team. They didn’t have the time.
Instead, Season 2 took a different route.
It laid the building blocks for the seasons to follow, and made sure to connect them properly. It’s primary focus was to introduce new worlds and emphasize Shiro’s connection to the black lion, and it made sure to focus on that because he would be gone by the end of the season. It set up Keith to take Shiro’s place if anything were to happen to him, but it made sure to emphasize Keith’s connection with the Red Lion as well, in order to make the audience wonder whether or not a switch would actually take place.
The Keith & Allura development was weak here because it was only meant to serve as the starting point for what is meant to be an important arc between the two of them (Shiro was the closest with both of them, after all). The season left hints to Lance’s insecurities because they’re meant to be explored more in correlation to Shiro having wanted Keith to lead Voltron, and Keith potentially wanting to pass that torch to Allura instead. And, although it was very subtle, there was some implications that if they had actually been successful in their battle with Zarkon, Hunk may not know whether or not he wanted to remain on Earth after he returned.
I have my problems with this season, too. There was much that could have been taken out or rearranged in a way that would have been much more satisfying, and frankly, may have served as better foundation for the next season. But that isn’t my point. My point is that despite the flaws and misdirection at times, this season laid the foundation for what’s to come, and plans to connect everything.
We just have to be willing to give it the time this season lacked.