Alright so the majority of anti-klancers that I’ve seen claim that they don’t like kl/ance because their relationship is “abusive.” I’m here to tell you all that this claim is complete and utter petty bullshit, and the relationship between Keith and Lance is completely healthy. I’m going to capitalize on their symbolic roles as fire and water, because it’s important to understanding their relationship and also I find it interesting as hell.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Right off the bat we can tell that these two don’t like each other. Or more like, Lance doesn’t like Keith and Keith literally does not care. He doesn’t even remember who Lance is at first.
See. Keith literally doesn’t care. He’s just there to rescue Shiro and doesn’t have any strong feelings towards the other three. For now.
As the episode progresses, however, we get to see more of Lance and Keith butting heads.
Keywords: Lance and Keith. A lot of anti-klancers like to say that Lance is the abuser in this situation, but fail to recognize that it’s mutual arguing. (so, y’know, casual colorism). And more importantly, nothing abusive is ever said between the two. They never rip on anything personal or get physical with each other. How you guys manage to pull “abuse” out from childish banter between rivals is the epitome of grasping at straws.
On to episode two.
Throughout this episode we get to see the dynamic between the two, and it’s literally like fire and water. They’re complete opposites and can’t help but rub each other in all the wrong ways.
Competing against the other to prove themselves.
Taking jabs at each other.
They make a really bad team don’t they?
But listen, that’s the point. Keep in mind how this dynamic fits into the theme of the episode. Five people are put together, seemingly at random, to become defenders of the universe. It’s not just Keith and Lance who are struggling. This episode is about all of them learning how to come together as a team. Lance and Keith are especially resistant to each other but that’s what makes their dynamic so gratifying. Fire and water naturally have a turbulent relationship, but by the end of this episode—and the series— we get to see them make real progress towards becoming a team!
Wow, two people who hate each others’ guts are smiling and laughing together, having a good time? Maybe that’s because they don’t actually hate each other. Their personalities (again, remember fire and water symbolism) don’t match, so they argue and resist each other. But if they really hated each other, this could never happen, and not to mention, they wouldn’t even be able to form Voltron if they truly hated each other.
From this point on, we know Lance and Keith do not actually hate each other. Now we really get to see their relationship develop.
Look at that they’re having a normal conversation. Almost as if they could stand each other. Keith’s face tooootally screams “I hate you Lance.”
And look at this: the two sitting next to each other and eating, even though they could literally sit in any chair they wanted to.
Aaaaaaany chair they wanted to. Any chair.
And when they’re celebrating with the Arusians:
This entire exchange is that between friends. No animosity whatsoever. Compare to episode one when they couldn’t even look at each other without scowling. More Progress!! They’ve come pretty far in learning to get along.
Speaking of getting along: And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for!! The Bonding Moment!
Keith goes to check on Lance (because, what?? he cares about Lance’s well-being? Yeah he does) and to help him up.
Except nope he just fucking kneels beside him and holds his hand.
And here you have it!! Lance fully and shamelessly admits that he cares about their relationship. He’s genuinely happy that they could work together and succeed, and he says this all while holding Keith’s hand.
Here have more of it!!! Keith as we already know is a man of few words. But he feels the same way as Lance. He’s also happy that they could work together as a team. Do these two guys, smiling and supporting each other, look like the faces of hatred and abuse? The exact opposite, actually.
Next episode and we’re confirmed way past the apathy of their first encounter.
Remember when Keith only cared about rescuing Shiro and didn’t want anything to do with Lance? Well look at him now. Look how impatient he is to see Lance get better. Allura has to scold him because he’s getting annoying about Lance.
And then we get this scene. We’re reminded that even though they do care for each other, they still have that competitive dynamic. They’re fire and water, so it’s only natural. Ah, rivalry.
At this point they’re competing to see who did the most for each other. It’s still a competition, but a strange, warm kind of rivalry. And they don’t even notice.
And then Lance got played by Nyma and the team has to go rescue his gullible ass. Let’s take a look at Keith.
Does this look like the face of hate??
Does it look like these two hate each other in any way shape or form??
They’re bantering—of course they are—but it’s playful banter. Look at how much fun they have teasing each other. Where do you see abuse in this?
And then in the Balmera these two actually work together. Without arguing.
Keith is even smiling at this development!
Look how far they’ve come!! Remember when I said their fire and water dynamic was important? Here’s why:
Fire and water are opposites. Lance and Keith are opposites. Their relationship is rocky and they don’t always get along—as we see at the very beginning—but we get to witness their monumental development from being the opposites who couldn’t stand being in the same room together to the opposites who compliment each other and when they work together, make a really good team.
That’s the beauty of symbolism and rivalry, people. They might bicker and get on each others’ nerves sometimes, but it’s undeniable that they’ve formed a strong bond and do care about each other.
You don’t find the rivalry dynamic interesting? Fine. You don’t interpret any of this as romantic? That’s cool, too. But to say Lance and Keith hate each other, that their relationship is abusive, is obscenely far from the truth and trivializes the trauma that real abuse survivors have suffered through. Real abuse is disturbing and damaging. Competition between companions is not. You can have your reasons for not shipping klance but stop with the abuse bullshit, because it’s insensitive and completely unfounded.