There’s always a fear when it comes to a new season. That fear being that it will either not live up to your expectations, or, in the case of a really good previous season, it won’t be able to top what that season did. These are legitimate concerns, and sometimes we overreact when it comes to how we feel about certain seasons (I mean, look at comic book shows, it’s all over the map). But, as I sit here and write this Voltron Legendary Defender Season 7 Review, after waiting over 24 hours to view it…I can say my thoughts aren’t an overreaction.
If you recall, my review for Season 6 of Voltron Legendary Defender was booming. Despite it only being 7 episodes, I considered it the best season of the show. Which is why I’m all the more heartbroken that I truly feel that Season 7 is the WORST of the series. That’s right, I’m saying that Season 7 is the worst of the series, and I have a lot of reasoning behind this.
So, let’s recap a little. At the end of Season 6, Voltron defeated Lotor and escaped the Quintessence field, but at the cost of the Castle of Lions. The only option they had left was to head for Earth, which was awesome! We finally got to go back to Earth! Except, that Season 7 spends over half the season just to get to Earth, and then what happens there is both thrilling and moronic.
Let’s start off with the first episode. “A Little Adventure” honestly has to be the worst opening of a season ever. Half of the episode is about Shiro “dying” (which you knew wasn’t going to happen) and flashing back to how he met Keith and brought him into the Galactic Garrison. The other half was most of the team trying to find an energy source for the Lions…and getting shrunk…and then trying to get unshrunk…really?
Again, I’m fine with comedy, but the first episode is meant to drive home the point of the season. This could’ve been episode 2 and might have come off better, but instead? We got 50% comedy and 50% flashbacks and little progression.
Episode 2, “The Road Home” could’ve been so much better, but they spent almost half the episode focusing on how everyone would behave when confined to the Lions. And it was so annoying. Which is sad because once things picked up, it was kind of good. Episode 3 was slightly better, aside from Coran attempting a rescue mission and a scene I’ll get to in a second. We found out a major twist, Voltron has been gone for THREE YEARS, so the universe is literally entirely different. That’s huge. I don’t like that they did this, as they basically (as confirmed in dialogue later on) reset the entire board.
But what really had me rolling my eyes was the return of Acxa. Apparently, she’s back on the good side, and she wants to save the Paladins. Ok, that’s fine. But then, Ezor and Zethrid decide to spend a minute talking about how Acxa likes Keith…IN FRONT OF KEITH!!! It just drones on, so much so that even Keith was like, “Can we just fight?” He literally said that! Why was this even a scene???
Even that though can’t compare to the WORST EPISODE OF VOLTRON LEGENDARY DEFENDER EVER!!!! Episode 4, “The Feud.” Why is this the worst episode ever? Well, is it because the team is on a game show fighting for their lives? No. Is it because they apparently were captured by a magical being who’s basically omnipotent? No. It’s because at the end of the episode, Coran notes, AND I QUOTE, “The legends say that if you meet Bob and live to tell the tale, you’re destined for great things indeed…”
I don’t know if you know this, but Keith, Hunk, Lance, Pidge/Katie and Allura ARE THE PALADINS OF FREAKING VOLTRON!!! WE KNOW THEY’RE DESTINED FOR GREAT THINGS!!!!! I mean, we’ve had six seasons of them doing great things! Saving the universe, saving entire species, killing bad guys, including Zarkon and Lotor (allegedly…) and yet we have to have a convenient interdimensional being tell us they’re destined for greatness? Really? REALLY?!??!!?
The only thing I’ll give this episode is that they pull a 4th wall break and do a really cool group cameo that honestly had me laughing. Everything else? No. Just no.
Episode 5, “The Ruins” tried to get back on track by revealing some of what had happened in the 3 years they were gone, and I was grateful. Except that they stated that Haggar (who was very prominent in Season 6) “vanished” after the battle with Lotor. Really? You expect us to believe that she’s just “gone”? Yeah…no. And though it did set things up for later with the return of the Blade of Momora, it still didn’t make the 3 year jump feel justified.
Which perfectly brings us to Episode 7 & 8 (yes, I’m skipping 6, you’ll see why in a bit) “The Last Stand.” This two-parter focuses on Sam Holt (Pidge/Katie’s father) as he returned to Earth and briefed everyone on just how large the universe really is. In theory? This should’ve been a great two-parter. Instead? We literally got a recap of the entire series so far, a stereotypical general who was literally there to hold Earth back in the long-term, and the fall of Earth itself. While that last part wasn’t technically too bad, the beginning of this two-parter had a distress signal stating that Earth had fallen, there was only one stronghold left, and they needed Voltron. The two-parter focused on how Earth fell and just how much they needed Voltron. Did we need to episodes for that? I really don’t think we did.
There’s a classic storytelling trope called “show don’t tell.” However, there are times when you show too much and it doesn’t add much to the story. Granted, there were elements that were important, including several new sub-characters who I honestly found enjoyable. But I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t have introduced them in a more concise way via the Paladins arrival and to have two episodes that didn’t feel like pointless buildup. Did we need to know how Sam tricked the Galra into creating a new communications system for him? Not really.
Thankfully, more or less, “Know Your Enemy”, “Heart of A Lion”, “Trial By Fire”, and the two part finale, “Lion’s Pride” delivered the action and suspense that this season deserved. There were some great fights, great character moments, and more. But even then, it came at a cost.
For example, remember that general who held Earth back? She literally sold out Voltron in the hopes of getting the Galra to leave. And when she confessed to the Paladins what she did, her defense was, “Sendak lied to me.” REALLY??!?! A bad guy lied to a person…what are the odds???
At this point, you’re probably saying, “Man, this guys’ Voltron Legendary Defender Season 7 Review is pretty harsh. Can’t he cut them a break?” But that’s the thing, I shouldn’t have to. Again, I LOVED Season 6, and for its flaws, and shorter seasons, 3-5 were good as well. Even the first two seasons, where you’d expect them to fall short a little…didn’t. To me, it’s not even close the quality of 1-6 compared to 7, they’re leagues above.
And it still gets worse, after a few seasons of more refined storytelling, Season 7 had not one, not two, but five different cases of “Deus Ex Voltron”. If you don’t know that reference, that means that “all is lost” until Voltron or someone else emits a power they didn’t know they had. This happened a lot in Seasons 1 & 2, and that was ok because the Paladins were still young and didn’t know all of their Lions capabilities. But in Season 7? While I would happily allow one or two of these instances, they didn’t even try to hide the insanity of some of this.
At one point, the Paladins are trapped in a stasis field, and Allura somehow absorbs it so they can be free. The bad guy asks, “How?” And…we got no answer. Or my personal favorite, the Atlas. This was a ship made by humans with a mix of their technology and Altean. That’s believable given the context shown in “The Last Stand”. It was even powered by the crystal formed when the Castle of Lions got destroyed by the black hole. Again, totally believable given what Caran noted about it. But then, in the final battle of the season, the Atlas is nearly destroyed, Shiro “sees” something…and then…I kid you not…the ship transforms into a MASSIVE robot.
How? Why? Even Shiro said he doesn’t know. And while I would allow the crystal to enhance their capabilities, there is no way that this ship could transform into the robot that was made, it wasn’t designed for that in any way shape or form. And if it could do it, why not the Castle of Red Lions with their vastly more abundant crystals? Exactly.
My other big problem with this season was flow. As noted, it didn’t start off strong, and the journey to Earth took 8 episode when you include “The Last Stand”. And Episode 6? Its whole point was to try and drive the Paladins insane, all for the purpose of a “Deus Ex Voltron” to emerge and they “somehow” have crossed the cosmos and are now back in the Milky Way galaxy. I mean…why?
Personally, I would have LOVED to see them get to Earth in say…four episodes, I’ll be fair. So that would’ve given then 9 episodes to try and free Earth instead of 5, which at times felt very rushed. Including the death of Sendak and his fleet…only for a “mysterious robot” to appear and challenge them! All for a cliffhanger that you probably saw coming in one form or another.
And the rushed Earth plotline sidelined some great stories. We got to see Hunk at his most vulnerable when he realized his family was still out there in Galra controlled territory. I would’ve loved to see more of that Hunk. Or how about Lance and Pidge/Katie interacting with their families more now that they were reunited? To be honest, there wasn’t a lot of character progression for anyone this season. And some characters like Romelle were completely pointless save for maybe one or two scenes in the entire season.
Not to mention there were some plotholes. Mainly, Axca. After Episode 3, where she is with the team and clearly has no ship of her own, she’s gone, and isn’t seen again until the season finale. How did she get there? Where did she go? It makes no sense.
If you’ve been waiting for the Shiro/Adam talk, I’m not the best person to talk about it, especially since I’m almost to 2000 words on this review. However, my fellow writer Sara wrote a piece on it that I really think you should read. That being said, we do agree on it in this aspect. It should never have been promoted, becuase it doesn’t live up to the hype and promotion it was given. And they aren’t the only gay couple who got the shaft in Season 7, and that’s really sad. Oh, but Lance and Allura are getting closer to being a couple, so at least we have that! …no seriously, I want them to be a couple.
As I try and wrap my head around this season, I can’t help but think of the theme of the season. No, “Let’s get back to Earth!”, but rather, “What happened while we were gone?” And I don’t mean the show per se, I mean the writers. What convinced them to go from the spectacle of Season 06 to this story? Why the board reset? Why the weird season finale? Why the rushed cliffhanger…again? WHY EPISODE 4?!?!!?
I don’t know, and that breaks my heart. I LOVE this show, I really do! I’ve given positive scores of 4 and up for every single season (I’ve only reviewed one on Outerhaven, I used to review it for another site). Every single one! But now? I can’t do that, because though I can’t wait for Voltron Season 8, it’s so that I can forget all the stalling and weird story decisions of Season 7.
Now, if you liked it? Great! I’m really glad you did. But for me? It just wasn’t worth it.
Voltron Legendary Defender Season 7 Review
It’s hard to think that after six seasons that Voltron Legendary Defender would lay an egg, but that’s basically what they did for Season 7.