SWORD-AND-SHEITH WASSUP! I love seeing you on my dash! And duuude, I’m in the same boat. I’m like, why build up Keith’s confidence only to tear him down like this? Like, I want Shiro to stay in the Black Lion as much as Keith does. But…was that really the end to Keith’s leadership arc? Like…all right. I wish the team had acknowledged him and his accomplishments more. I wish he hadn’t had to step down in the way that he did, with Shiro yelling in his ear and everyone siding against him. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but…what can the writers do? Push Shiro aside, like I mentioned before? AAAAA!
That said, I’ll come clean: I’m one of those folks who want Keith to go back to Red. I know how much Keith learned as Voltron’s leader. I know that role taught him to work as a team player, and to reach out to his friends. But like…why.
We spent a lot of time on Shiro and Black’s bond, but we also spent a lot of time on Keith and Red’s. Red slingshotted herself through space to save Keith. She nearly destroyed the Malmora base on his behalf. And I’m like………why. Why would you emphasize that connection only to discard it like this?
I don’t feel like Keith ever bonded with Black like he did with Red. He piloted Black for Shiro; for the good of the team. And that worked, because the Black Lion favors those who value love, trust, and duty. But I don’t think he melded with Black like Shiro did. He flew Black because he had to, not because they shared a deep bond.
I came out of this season feeling down in the dumps. And I’ll acknowledge that most of that feeling comes down to this season’s lack of Keith—or, more specifically, the lack of scenes between Shiro and Keith. I know their dynamic can’t steal the spotlight all the time, and this season was very short. It hurt my heart, though, from a personal perspective, to watch Keith leave the team.
“Home” is a big theme in this story’s universe (think Allura and Coran’s relationship with Altea; the fact that the war started over the destruction of the Galran home planet; the Balmerans, who were willing to die with their planet; the Paladins’ connection with Earth). Keith doesn’t have a “home” on Earth like the other Paladins, so his friends are his home. They’re his family. As the Red Paladin—and the Black Paladin as well—Keith belonged somewhere.
AND NOW…AFTER ALL THAT WORK…AFTER KEITH HAD FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO STEP OUT OF HIS “LONER” ROLE AND WORK WITH HIS TEAMMATES—
He went off on his own again to work as a member of an undercover group with a “you’re on your own” mentality.
SO YEAHHHH that’s why this season made me super sad. You could tell Keith left the team out of a sense of duty rather than because he wanted to—and I guess that’s demonstrative of his development. He didn’t make that decision selfishly, like earlier on when he would act out on his own, or charge ahead of his teammates. Keith left with the Blade because he believes the team doesn’t want or need him anymore; that Shiro makes a better leader than he does; that Lance deserves his seat in the Red Lion; that Allura’s better off in Blue.
Keith found that sense of belonging—his teammates reached him through that wall he built around himself—and now IT’S ALL GONE. POOF!
Like, LOOK. I KNOW they hugged Keith. I know Shiro said his teammates were there for him, and I know Keith said he believed him. But like, it’s the same thing as it was with Shiro. What can Keith even do on the ship anymore, if not fly the Black Lion? Putter around behind Coran on the main deck? I think you could tell by the look on Keith’s face as he left the Castle; Keith doesn’t feel like he belongs on the team anymore. We traded Shiro’s sense of belonging for Keith’s and…like……..I don’t know what to say. The writers REALLY wrote themselves into a corner on that one. What else could they have done? Until the clone plot comes to fruition, or some giant event shuffles up the Lions again, they’re stuck like this, with either Keith or Shiro on the sidelines. They’ll have to approach this stuff very, very carefully.
This reply has gotten really long—sorry—but I GUESS I prefer this to watching Shiro backseat drive the Castle, or run off with Matt and the rebel fighters. I was totally not expecting the writers to go in this direction. It may feel like a major step backwards for Keith’s development, but he WILL emerge from this arc with a newfound understanding of his place on the team. I have to believe that or else I’ll go crazy.
(Shiro…..sOMEBODY…for god’s sake…tell this boy to come back. Remind him that he’d want Shiro on the team even if he couldn’t pilot a lion. Sometimes you just want people in your friggin’ LIFE, dammit. Jeeeeeesus.)