Continuing our binge watch and analysis of Voltron, it’s episode 3. In “Shiro’s Escape”, the whole team is back together… finally. We get some great worldbuilding, and a scene sure to show up in the inevitable Voltron video game.
Voltron Season 2, Episode 3 Recap – “Shiro’s Escape”
We open as everyone has a little reunion onboard the Castle of Lions. Shiro’s recent scuffle with a pack of space pumas, along with his injury from battling Emperor Zarkon in the season 1 finale, has left him in bad shape.
To be clear, Shiro is in a bacta tank. From Star Wars. Maybe Coran picked it up at the space mall. Maybe Voltron is part of the Rickstaverse.
As Allura and the boys worry over Shiro’s chances of recovery, we take a trip inside his head. Shiro is dreaming about his final escape from the Galra flagship, and we finally, finally get the full story.
It begins with Shiro strapped down in an operating room/torture chamber. The Witch has already replaced his hand, and seems genuinely put out that Shiro doesn’t appreciate it. I mean, who wouldn’t want a magic hand?
Well, Shiro doesn’t, and fortunately, a Galra warrior sneaks in to free him. Not all Galra are without honor, he says. Shiro has fought valiantly, and deserves a chance.
It’s serious stuff. Honor! Good and evil! Are Galra the Klingons of anime?
Shiro quickly makes his escape, and it is brutal stuff. Although he tries to make a stealthy exit, he doesn’t hesitate to straight-up kill people when he’s inevitably found out. One Galra soldier is cut in half by a closing bulkhead, although fortunately he seems to be a robot.
If he hadn’t been cut in half, then he wouldn’t have been a robot. TVTropes has a good explanation.
The existence of a sympathetic Galra agent is enough big news for one dream sequence, but we get another even larger revelation. The previous Black Paladin, the previous pilot of the Black Lion, was none other than Emperor Zarkon himself.
Dun dun dun!!! This does explain how Zarkon could create so many crazy energy weapons. He still has the Black Lion’s Bayard, and he’s much better at using it than the current crop of Paladins. This is a prequel-era Jedi fighting a bunch of self-taught Luke Skywalker types.
Back in the present, Shiro is awake and not happy. He’s mad at Allura for hiding the past from them, and he has Pidge trying to read data from his robot hand. Pidge manages to extract a set of coordinates from the hand, and the team decides to go check it out. Against Allura’s wishes, but they’re in no mood to listen to her.
We get some badass John Carpenter style synth music as the Castle heads out. Although it’s more likely the showrunners intended to evoke Mass Effect.
Arriving in the Thaldecon system, the team finds a natural minefield. The area is strewn with chunks of Xanthorium chunks, which are laced with nitrate salts. Even a minor collision would cause a devastating explosion.
Nitrate salts are indeed a very explosive compound, and have been used in multiple tragic events here on Earth.
Meanwhile, the Galra figure a way for the Emperor to track the Castle by leveraging his old psychic link to the Black Lion. They quickly ship out their latest weapon, a beast made from an underperforming Galra from last season.
Onboard the Castle, a mysterious figure is lurking around. After a brief scuffle, Shiro manages to unmask him. It’s Ulaz, the honorable Galra who freed him!
Ulaz’s infiltration suit is very reminiscent of the outfit worn by Tali and other Quarians. Another Mass Effect reference.
The group reconvenes aboard Ulaz’s base, which is tucked away inside a dimensional rift, inside the Xanthorium field. Hunk calls it a space taco.
The idea of the space fold is very Doctor Who. Fun fact from Wikipedia: Xanthoria is a type of orange lichen.
It turns out Ulaz belongs to the Blade of Marmora, a group of Galra rebels. He is a good guy Galra! Princess Allura isn’t impressed, but the Paladins are all quite taken with this idea.
“Cool,” says Keith, of Ulaz’s ceremonial blade. Cool.
The latest Galra monster shows up at this point, and the remainder of the episode is taken up with the battle. Ulaz flees in his little escape pod almost immediately, and the Paladins assume he’s abandoned them.
This is just about the most video game style fight we’ve seen in a show full of game references. You can practically see the monster’s health bar, and its primary attack of sucking up Xanthorium chunks and then blasting them out as a beam may as well be lifted from a bullet hell title.
Ultimately, the Paladins fight the monster to a stalemate. At this point, Ulaz returns, flies inside the monster on a suicide run, and they both blow up. Keith takes that cool blade for his own, and the group decides to seek out the rest of the rebels.
- The term “robeast” hails from the original series, though this is the first time the term is used in the current incarnation. I kind of like “beast” better for its low fantasy sound.
- Speaking of robeasts, my name for this one? Sucky MODOK.
- The Blade of Marmora (Marmoset?) is clearly the overarching plot for the new season, and it’s a great one. To my knowledge, this is the first time the notion of “good Galra” has come up. Our previous understanding of Shiro’s escape was that he had done it on his own, or with the aid of the other prisoners.
- Season 1 took its sweet time developing the overarching story, so I’m happy Season 2 is moving along a bit faster.