So the famed implication that I’ve seen about quintessence is that it turns you evil and it’s all cool if you really believe this theory but I’d like to propose an alternative.
If you pay close attention to Zarkon and Haggar, you’d notice their actions never quite changed.
Honerva was always aggresive with Science that sometimes you’d feel like morally questioning her.
Zarkon was always thirsty for power and never stopped her work. Add up how he’s always looked down on people in lesser possession of power or “lack of galra” thereof. I mean, even earning Alfor’s “to an altean alchemist no less” like he was really impressed with Zarkon and that somewhat may have implied his prejudice has always been there.
So like instead of having the quinn turn them evil, what if it heightens negative feelings instead? I mean it makes sense.
Haggar’s experiments have turned for the worse. She keeps using such inhumane methods and does terrible things. I mean look at the mess shiro is in because of all her science projects and the bomb planet, the robobeasts. In essence, it’s the same aggressiveness Honerva has except her actions are more brutal than before.
And Zarkon, oh boy Zarkon, his search for power practically made him delirous at night. And his prejudice, the one he was working with for his wife and his son, just turned for the worse.
That’s why he’s never told Haggar that she was Honerva because yeah he still loves her and trusts her but he is ashamed of her, of them, of himself and his show of weakness. That’s why he’s also refused to be a father to their son.
They were everything he stood against because with them, he shows some degree of mercy and compassion. He always forgave Haggar’s failures and it was worse with Lotor because he can never hide his identity as he did with Haggar and he thought, if he sends Lotor far away, he wouldn’t have to deal with him either. No one would view him as weak for his altean wife and his half-altean son.
The thing is Zarkon is afraid of being weak and to him this means “mercy and compassion” and “not being galra” and these are the people who make him feel these things to some degree and he hides it and doesn’t want to acknowledge it so he doesn’t let his wife remember who she is and he banished their son to wherever.
But following his recent defeat with Voltron, he felt weaker than ever, even more so when he learned Lotor was ruling and plotting. He doesn’t show it but he is and Zarkon’s fucking instinct is to crush or discard whatever he deemed is making him weak, even his own fucking son.
It really fucking hurts because Zarkon who valued his wife above all else is valuing his pride more and wrecking their relationship all the more. We aren’t even adding that with how he’s blinded by his pursuit of power and desire to elimanate pre-supposed hurdles to his reign like Lotor.