Why Voltron Season 4 Is NOT Terrible
Okay, so I’ve been seeing a lot of hate for Season 4, and I’m afraid I just can’t quite understand it.
“There’s no character development!” fans say. “They made Lance into an idiot and Hunk into a fat joke again!” And there’s a the whole deal with people being upset that it undid all of season 3, or how we don’t see BoM Keith, or how Lotor’s gang rose and fell in one swoop. (We won’t touch on the shipping issues. I won’t; I refuse.)
I beg to differ.
First, the issue of the seasons. While yes, seasons 3 and 4 do form together to make the standard 13-episode season, and the producers did say as much, I bring up one crucial thing: the time skip. There is a significant time skip—thus resulting in the change of tone—between the seasons. Keith had been working Blade of Marmora missions for a while now. That was neither his first or his second mission. We get from the first episode that Keith had been doing missions with them on an increasing frequency, and it was starting to grate on the team’s nerves. Their leader was going AWOL on them. And this honestly deserves a separate post entirely, as to why Keith did this; point is, though, this has been a build up. And I understand that all the Keith-sans would have loved to see this build up, but pacing-wise, it doesn’t make sense. There’s not enough to accompany Keith’s rise to BoM status, and if that was solely given attention to, VLD truly would be Keith-centric. In short, it would have ruined the mood and the pacing.
Because that’s just it: season 4 was a transitional season. As a writer, I recognize it for what it is. Please note, my lovelies, that out of the 78 ordered episodes of Voltron, we’re only half-way through—that endgame has yet to truly begin yet. There are more plots and problems the writers obviously want to get to, but if they jump straight to them, it would be too fast. They needed this season to ease us into whatever they are planning. Now, they obviously did rush some things—Zarkon was just kinda there—but these little bits are important: we just don’t know how yet.
But let’s surmise here. What might they be planning? Well, let’s look at the transition. Seasons 1-3 were very much about the paladins. Their training, their budding friendships and team dynamics, their character growth. Season 3, of course, being the beginning of the end, where everything they thought they knew—their place as paladins of their respective lions—was jeopardized in the great lion switch. Season 3, we truly got to see them broken, panicked, upset—it was solely about the paladins, and we as viewers got to see their insecurities.
And then Season 4 happens, and you know what season 4 is about? That’s right: the Voltron coalition. Or, in other terms, their relationship with the universe. And here’s the kicker—Coran literally said as much, too: the people of the universe don’t want to see their struggles, their pain. They don’t want squishy, volatile humans; they want a legend. A flat, easy to understand, set of heroes that exists solely to help them. And this is exactly what they give them. They suck up their insecurities, and put on a show. The only episode where we don’t really see this is the second one, and you know why? Because Pidge was alone. She didn’t need to pretend.
So no, we don’t see a lot of overt character development, but that’s the point. The point is, they’re trying to suck it up and be the heroes they think the universe needs them to be. You want character development? Look closer. Animation is beautiful for a reason, because everything is purposeful, controlled. They look miserable and tired and uncertain, but they quickly put on a smile—but their eyes don’t sparkle: they don’t mean it. Even Lance, when trying to lighten the mood for the sake others, isn’t entirely convincing. In that one moment when the team couldn’t even pretend to buy Coran’s idea, and Lance reacts in an overdramatic way—you know the one, it was in the trailer—he’s flushing. It’s not natural.
Oh, and on an added note, all those people upset about ‘Lotor’s redemption arc starting in the same season he was introduced?’ One: the time skip—the seasons are still kinda separated. Two: that’s ain’t no redemption arc! Can no see the look in his eyes, that devious smirk? This twit is getting exactly what he wants. He’s not sincere, he’s playing them for fools! Because that ain’t how you draw someone who is honestly trying to get better. We all know that Lotor is conniving. This is simple a piece of Lotor’s endgame, and the worst part of it is, we don’t quite know what it’s going to be.
So no, season 4 wasn’t action-packed or emotionally squishy, but we better enjoy it for what it is. Because it’s the calm, and the storm is coming, folks. And knowing Lauren and Joaquim, things are going to spiral into hell sooner or later, and they thought they might as well give us a few more laughs before crushing our souls.
And there’s Matt. Matt makes everything better.