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Voltron: The Legendary Defender, and Why Allura’s Final Fate in the Series Simply Doesn’t Work For Me

This is my final post in my 3 part series about Voltron:  The Legendary Defender.  If you’d like to see my thoughts on season 8, and my thoughts on Voltron as a whole, head on over to those posts.  This post is going to specifically be talking about a specific plot point in the ending concerning Allura.  If you haven’t seen the show and care about spoilers, do not read this post because it’s going to 100% be huge huge huge spoilers.  If you don’t care, or have watched all of season 8, then read on!

 

I want to break down this post in 3 sections, because I have a decent theory on what the writers were going for with Allura’s poorly executed death.  Now, I have narrative theories, and I have out of narrative theories for why it happened, but I’m going to be sticking with my purely narrative theories on why thematically, they feel like killing her off at the very very end of the show was the right choice.
I won’t even sugar coat it:  I hated this.  I hated this so much.  Character death in a story can be interesting if done right, if there’s a lead up to it, but there was absolutely none.  The entire series was leading up to another ending for her which was quite obvious, so killing her at the very end honestly threw me for a loop.  I was angry, but not for the right reasons:  I was angry that they did this, not because I was grieving  the character.  Just really not cool to have her be the only one who dies, after they spent all of this energy destroying a very interesting plot that could have happened early on, with Shiro dying.
But I’m going off on a tangent here, sorry.  Any time I think about it, it just makes me semi-rage.  OK, so I want to break this post up into 3 sections:
What I think they were narratively going for with this choice, why I don’t think it worked, and how I’d have written it differently.  I’m adding on this last part for the express purpose of making myself feel better, because I’ve been coming up with alternative endings ever since watching the ending that I think could have worked for the story they were trying to tell since the beginning of the series.

 

But with that long intro out of the way, let’s begin!

 

WHAT THE NARRATIVE WAS GOING FOR

 

I definitely think that in season 8 at least, they were trying to draw parallels between Honerva and Allura.  Two Alteans, on the exact opposite of the spectrum:  One who had lost everything due to a war, but otherwise had a loving family and upbringing.  Tarnished by the actions of the other:  an Altean who’s quest for knowledge ultimately warped and destroyed her, and her family.  Even when Allura had power on par with Honerva, she chose to use it in a far different way:  to protect the people she loved, and pave a future for them.  Allura’s motivations are purely from a selfless point of view, where as Honerva’s are from a selfish point of view:  She wants to use all of this power to get back what she lost, where as Allura wants to salvage and protect what she has gained.

Both are war orphans in a sense, but Allura found a family in the Voltron Paladin’s.  Honerva pushed everyone away to the point where she thought her only option was to do everything to regain what she’s lost, instead of trying to live in the present, and look towards the future.  Both return to their families in the end, the families that they’ve lost, and in the end join together to right the wrongs forged by the war caused by Galra, and Altean alike.

Even with The Entity plot line, we see these parallels drawn.  Honerva took The Entity into herself and started a 10000 year Universe-wide war.  Allura took The Entity into herself to stop Honerva, and to protect what she loves.  To “Finish this, once and for all” as Allura stated.  The Entity started corrupting Allura’s personality, and intent while it was still around, but in the end, she overcame it, and used the power to save not only her reality, but all other realities.  Honerva, on the other hand, had The Entity in her for 10000 years, and used it to do nothing but conquer, and spread hate, and tyranny.  So it’s obvious they were trying to pull the light vs dark thing here with both of them with this plot.

 

Honerva’s character work solely in  season 8 is superb.  All of this, I got simply from seeing her in season 8, and I have to tip my hat to the writers for fleshing her out in such a short amount of time.  As I’ve said in another post, the character work is always well done in Voltron, and it’s the biggest strength in the show.

 

But, Allura’s character work completely throws what they were going for with her sacrifice out the window…

 

 

WHAT WENT WRONG, AND WHY THIS DOESN’T WORK

 

For these parallels to have worked, and be driven home to the extent that I feel they wanted them to, Allura needed to exhibit some sort of tiredness, and form of loss.  Throughout the series, she does state not having a family to go back to, and she tends to look down when family is mentioned, but I don’t think this is enough to warrant her sacrifice at the end.  All signs throughout the series point to her being so happy she found Team Voltron, that they all were her family now, and although that doesn’t replace her previous family, I don’t think you can take the logic leap of “She’s been sad about Alfor not being around sometimes” to “She’s so sad that she would rather sacrifice herself for her Voltron family to live their lives, and for her to be with her original family in the afterlife, then to stay and live happily on Earth with them”.

 

Especially with the Lance love subplot, we see Allura as being so so so happy with him.  She has the support she needs both romantically, and platonically through him and the team, and to me it just doesn’t make sense for her to sacrifice herself when she had this to go back to.
That being said, the whole Altean magic plotting hinders this as well.  Like, Honerva absorbed enough quintessence to sacrifice herself, and herself alone, so why couldn’t she?  I’m fine with magic not fully being explained in a story, but Altean alchemy  was one of those things that just wasn’t explained enough for Allura to have to sacrifice herself to restore realities to make sense, when Honerva has more experience, and far more power at this point to do so herself.  I just think it was a thinly vailed attempt to draw these parallels of both were broken by this war, all be it in different ways, but now they both return to their families in death.
But if you’re going to show Allura as being so happy with her newly found family, then why go with the story beat of ending her life at the end?  When it was very obvious  throughout the show that her entire plot and character arc was she found a new family to live with, and be happy with at the end of all of this.
I’ve seen some people say her plot came full circle with her dying, because her losing her entire life as she knew it happened at the start of the series, and now it’s restored with her dying to be with them in the end.  This would have been a fine arc if it was shown like, at all in the series, and wouldn’t have felt like as much of a blow to us fans if it was more better displayed throughout the series, with a few quiet moments of her missing Alfor, and old Altea…but there literally was nothing leading up to she misses her old life so much, she wouldn’t’ mind dying for others to return to her old family.

 

This death wasn’t led up to in season 8, either.  She absorbed The Entity sure, but there was never any explanation as to what The Entity was, and by the last 3 episodes of the series, it just…wasn’t there?  So saying the only way she could get rid of it would be a death doesn’t make any sense to me either.  If they wanted to keep the rest of the season entirely the same, they could have easily written in that taking in The Entity was irreversible, so she might as well use the power to save realities, and that also would show giving in to the side of evil to stop evil, has consequences and isn’t’ the answer.  As it stands, her death just feels like a cheap shock value stunt at the end of the day, instead of having the impact it could have if, once again, the plotting and theming was executed better.

 

It really bothers me that at the end of the day she saves everyone all by herself too, like why not have all of Team Voltron sacrifice themselves if that was the route they wanted to go?  That would still be sad, but make more sense than just her doing it, and drill home our teamwork overcomes all obstacle’s theming we had for all the series.
But I’m starting to get into my last part, so let’s just move on to the last section.

 

MY DIFFERENT ENDING BRAINSTORMS

 

OK so, I’ve thought of a few different ways to end the show.  The first one that came to mind was, everything plays out the way it did in the end, we get Honerva’s change of heart.  Allura offers to help her fix what she’s done, but Honerva goes “No, I’ve caused you enough Greif.  I’ll do this by myself.  Live happily Allura, don’t make the same mistakes I did!”.  She uses all of the quintessence she absorbed from the entire galaxy, and restores it back to the galaxy, giving back all realities she destroyed.  Voltron appears, with Allura in the blue lion, we have our 1 year flash forward, but in Lance’s plot, we see him and Allura together, spreading peace across the galaxy, and retiring to the farm to rest and be in love.

 

If you want to go the character death route, what I started saying earlier is what I would have done.  If you want a sacrifice, either make it be all of the Paladins, so the theme of teamwork runs throughout the entire series, or you have them make an even bigger sacrifice:  they need to use Allura’s alchemic power, but she simply doesn’t have enough power to do so.  But what do they have that does?  Why, Voltron and the lions, of course, they are made of pure quintessence after all.  So Allura uses her magic, with Voltron as a battery, and they sacrifice the lions to restore realities.  You could even bring back the lion bond plot that kinda got dropped throughout the series, and have them connect with their lions for the last time to say their goodbyes.  Something akin to the ending of season 6, making them sacrifice something so important to them, but in doing so having them save the day.  This way, we can still get our time jump, still get the epilogues, but the Paladin’s all have something to grieve  over together.
I think with this ending it would bring them together even more as a family, and they’d bond even stronger – once again, drilling home the overall theme of six broken people bonding together to become even closer than family.  Have them take that  selfie, but instead of an Allura statue, it’s a Voltron statue, or five statues of the Lions, and in the back is a statue of Voltron.  Show the epilogue, then the end credits scene can be the Lions flying out of a galaxy, the six paladins sensing the bond between their lions reform, and smiling because they know they’re alive out there somewhere.

 

Even if you wanted to keep the ending entirely the same, you totally could, but instead at the end have the Lions sitting there, and then they spark to life.  All five paladins feel it, run to them, and see Allura slowly stirring in the cock pit of the Blue Lion.  Lance grabs her, she slowly rouses, grabbing her turns into him hugging her tightly, only for the rest of the team to join in on a group hug.  Pan out to a group shot of the six of them, and the Lions behind them – perhaps their eyes glow, as if they’re smiling, happy that their chosen are reunited again, and can live their lives together.

 

Since earlier in the series, we saw Shiro was in the consciousness of the Black Lion, this totally could happen – just have Allura in the consciousness of the Blue Lion, but her Altean magic took time to reform her body, and that’s why it took a year for her to reappear.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

The fact that I can come up with three endings like this I feel is a good indicator of how wonky that ending was.  It just felt unplanned and unnecessary, and like I said earlier only there for shock value.  My headcannon is that Lance gets Allura back, and they live happily ever after.  I’ve seen some fan theories that Allura becomes the new Lion Goddess, or Goddess of the Universe because of her sacrifice which is a nice ending…if that were their intent, but all we have to go off of is some ending credits scenes, and major theorizing.  It isn’t open ended, it’s just messy, and like I’ve said so many times, it leaves a horrible end note prevalent on an otherwise fantastic series.

 

And that is the end of my 3 part Voltron series folks!  Not gonna lie, I was majorly frustrated with how the show ended, and writing these have majorly helped me vent out my frustrations with the directions the show ultimately took in the end.  I sincerely hope that we get a 1 hour OVA where they fix what went wrong in the final episode, because leaving it as it is with Allura dead, after she already had to sacrifice so much is just not cool with me, considering the major themes of the show.

 

 

I hope you all enjoyed these posts, as rambly as they got at certain points.

 

So do you have any thoughts on how Voltron ended?  Let’s talk about it in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Voltron: The Legendary Defender, and Why Allura’s Final Fate in the Series Simply Doesn’t Work For Me

  1. I enjoyed reading your posts on the Voltron ending and agree with the gist of what you wrote! Allura ended up being one of the most (if not the most) battered characters I can think of from a children’s show. She just loses and loses until she loses her life, and then the series adds salt by bringing back her home planet after her death. I think it’s made worse by how unnecessary her death is; like so many have said, including you, is there any logical reason as to why Honerva alone couldn’t sacrifice herself to save the universe? There’s the trope called “Redemption Equals Death” that is so common in media, and it feels unfair for Allura to suffer through it since she didn’t need to redeem herself (and her one “failing” with the Entity was ridiculous).

    What also doesn’t help, which relates to your comments on the show’s themes, is that the series never really hints at an ultimate sacrifice being necessary for the heroes to win. Prior to the season finale, Allura and the others regularly put their lives at risk (Allura with the Balmera, Keith with his suicide run against the Galra, Lance in front of his sister), but they always escape unscathed (with Shiro even coming back from death). The Paladins’ willingness to die further removes the weight of Allura’s sacrifice, since it doesn’t represent any growth for her as a character. There’s no change for her as a person; she just happens to finally die the third or fourth time she sacrificed herself. What makes a sacrifice like Darth Vader’s meaningful in Return of the Jedi (to use an older example that shouldn’t be a spoiler to most people) is that it marks a new side of the character that goes against his earlier appearances as a villain. All Allura’s sacrifice does is confirm what we already know: she’s a good person willing to give up everything to help others. I think that’s why a happy ending for her would have pleased people a lot more; she could have finally been rewarded for her goodness (yeah, she gets to hook up with Lance for a time, but that just means she’s giving up even more with her last sacrifice, sheesh).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked the posts! And I couldn’t have said it better myself, you make so many good points! That is definitely my biggest problem with her death, is that they paint it like there was a lead up to it throughout the series, or even the season but there is absolutely none. If like you said there was actual danger thrown into the group almost dying most of the time, or maybe introducing the Entity about 2 seasons ago and having Allura being slowly corrupted by it so this made more sense, it could have worked. But as it stands nope. It’s just rushed and shoe horned in, and like you said it just makes Allura’s life seem like a miserable ordeal when she could have ended with a happy ending because they obviously didn’t plan her death out at all.

      Love your Darth Vader point. It just shows how Honerva’s change could have gone far better if they planned it better, once again if we saw her doing more than recovering her memory over the show. To me, just feels like they needed to end it and forgot they needed to so threw the ending on at the very end.

      Once again, thanks for reading and commenting! Loved hearing what you had to say 🙂

      Like

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