season 3 is everything

OK but the thing that gets me the most is that Keith is so conflicted and angry about losing Shiro in the beginning of the season

He doesn’t even smile once, he’s so unhappy and even exploded at everyone once

But then Lance says this, just one simple thing

AND LOOK AT HIM SMILING SO FONDLY AND SWEETLY

THE ONLY PERSON WHO COULD MAKE HIM SMILE OR EVEN BE REMOTELY HAPPY WHEN HE REALLY NEEDED IT WAS LANCE AND I’M LIVING

i love my son

tldr: Lance is perfect for the Red Lion because he fills Red’s role as the right-hand for Keith in a way Keith never did for Shiro.

I always wondered why The Black Lion’s wings were red, but after seeing Lance as the Red Lion and Keith as Black it makes a lot more sense to me now. 

As we know, Red becomes the right arm/hand of Voltron. However, it wasn’t until this season that Red’s placement held much significance (at least to me). Originally, I believed, and it was pretty much implied, that Lions chose their pilots based on their personalities. Here’s Allura describing Red:

“It’s faster and more agile than the others, but also more unstable. Its pilot needs to be someone who relies more on instincts than skill alone.”

Keith epitomizes that description completely, so it initially makes sense that he would pilot the Red Lion based on the information we were given at the time. Keith, however, was only ever Shiro’s right-hand in the physical form of Voltron. In all other circumstances, Shiro never really had a right-hand or second. When Shiro was the lead paladin, the team dynamic was more along the lines of Shiro being the leader and the other four following equally. Yes, his bond with Keith is clearly the strongest, and they depend on each other. But often, Keith would make irrational decisions and Shiro would just let him do what he wanted to do, which isn’t something a leader should do. And there was never any guidance or logical support coming from Keith to Shiro. A right-hand/second has the role of not only supporting the leader but of guiding and questioning the leader to keep him on the right path for the team, which is a role Keith almost never filled.

When Alfor created the Lions, he let Zarkon take Black claiming that he was better as Zarkon’s right hand, basically Zarkon’s second:

Since Alfor designed and built the lions himself, I have a feeling that it was intentional that the Red Lion be a second to Black. This brings me back to the wings. 

Considering the aesthetic of the Lions, the wings should be either black or white. It’s even logical that they could be purple, as that’s the color of Black’s light trail. But they’re red, which only makes sense when you consider the symbolism of the wings themselves. Wings support flight. Therefore, I believe that Alfor made the wings red to symbolize the support that the Red Paladin gives the Black Paladin as Black’s right-hand. And as I mentioned previously, there is a responsibility on the right-hand that Keith doesn’t fill. However, while Keith is Black and Lance is Red, Lance very much fills that role, and technically he has since the beginning of the show.

Lance is a thinker. He’s goofy, yes, but his antics seem more and more to be about concealing doubt as we learn more about him. Often he shows doubt in himself like we see when he goes to Keith’s room to talk after Shiro returns, but he also second guesses pretty much everyone’s motives and decisions at one point or another. This is especially seen with Keith. Since the beginning Lance has challenged Keith, at first it seemed to come from a place of immaturity/insecurity:

But later we see him challenging Keith’s choices. Like in this scene from season 2:

While I am sure some of this is still coming from Lance’s insecurities around Keith, he makes a very valid point about Keith’s rationale. As we see here, and in other instances like this, Lance is putting a lot more thought into the choices that Keith is making and calling him out when he truly believes Keith is making a bad decision. This is a quality that a leader wants and, more importantly, needs in a second. And this quality really shines in season 3 when Keith is the leader. Throughout the season, Lance often challenges Keith’s decisions which influence Keith to do better. There are several instances where everyone on the team disagrees with Keith, but it is only once Lance gives his opinion that Keith changes his decision. Like in this scene from season 3 episode 3:

At this moment, everything in Keith is telling him to move forward, but Lance was able to sway his decision. Which leads to the very common Klance tagline that Lance is Keith’s impulse control. Which is true! Lance really is Keith’s impulse control! Although I am sure Keith does not realize it at all because let’s be honest, he’s probably about as self-aware as Zarkon. But it’s not just Lance questioning Keith’s decisions that makes him perfect as Keith’s second. For every bit of doubt that Lance has, he is also just as supportive.

There are so many instances of Lance supporting Keith throughout this season that it is really hard to choose one. For example, when Black first chooses Keith and Lance says he respects Black’s decision or when they are in Keith’s bedroom and Lance claims he came to Keith because “you’re the leader now, right?” But there is one scene that stands above the rest in terms of showing Lance’s support of Keith. From the same episode as referenced before, season 3 episode 3. When Keith finally realizes his mistake of leading the team to Thayserix, Lance doesn’t say “I told you so,” like maybe we might have expected from him in season 1.

Instead, he acknowledges Keith’s mistake, but he doesn’t take the time to scold him about it. He moves on and motivates Keith to go and fix his mistake, which Keith then does. Without Lance, Keith might have destroyed the team as their leader, if not in Thayserix, then eventually. But with Lance’s support, Keith’s leadership becomes much more competent. Lance fills the role of the Red Lion and of the red wings better than anyone else on the team could, and that’s why he’s the best for the Red Lion.

LANCE IS LITERALLY KEITH’S WINGS OKAY LIKE THEY ARE MADE FOR EACH OTHER JFC THESE BOYS WILL LEAD TO MY DEATH HONESTLY