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Voltron Season 7 Review: A Shift in Focus For A Thrilling Homecoming

Warning! SPOILERS for Voltron: Legendary Defender season 7 ahead!

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Voltron: Legendary Defender season 7 drops today on Netflix, delivering a full 13 episodes filled with action and humor. It's been a long journey for the Paladins, but finally, they're going home - only to learn that the Galra have invaded Earth in their absence!

Last season answered quite a few of the show's biggest questions, revealing Lotor's true nature and what actually happened to Shiro after his battle with Zarkon. Allura also managed to fully tap into her Altean power, Keith took his place as the Black Lion's Paladin, and Lance, Hunk, and Pidge deepened their bonds with each other and their Lions. All of this made season 6 feel very much like a culmination of all that had come before, but it was really just the beginning of the end.

Related: Voltron Showrunners Talk Season 7: Game Shows & Crazy Space Magic 

Voltron season 7 is a battle in every sense of the word, pitting the Paladins against all sorts of obstacles. First, their journey home is not an easy trip and it forces them to rely on one another more than ever before. Once they arrive on Earth, they must work alongside the newly bolstered Galaxy Garrison and fight off the Galra invasion. The battle that follows is without a doubt the most thrilling sequence the series has produced, full of daring feats and shocking surprises.

Team-Building In Space

Fending off Lotor and escaping the Quintessence field was a big moment for the Paladins. Together they accomplished so much, and though they were left without the Castle of Lions and were essentially stranded, Team Voltron was in a good place. But that didn't meant they couldn't be better.

From start to finish, Voltron season 7 puts the Paladins through the ringer. To begin with, they're attacked by Lotor's former generals, Zetrid and Ezor; ambushed by one of Haggar's druids; captured and forced to be contestants on "Garfle Warfle Snick"; and learn that their time in the Quintessence field resulted in a three-year time jump! In the interim, the Galra Empire fractured but factions have spread throughout the universe, and in Voltron's absence, reconquered many free systems (including Earth!). Learning that despite all their efforts the Galra continue to subjugate the universe is a huge setback, and one from which it's difficult for Team Voltron to rally.

Related: Voltron Is The Must-Have LEGO Set of 2018

Then the Paladins get lost in space, hurtling through the void without their Lions. It's a terrible situation with a slim chance of survival, but it becomes the best team-building exercise anyone could ask for. Forced to rely on each other, the Paladins not only survive deep space but learn to trust each other implicitly. They also learn it's possible to reach out and summon their Lions over great distances, a skill which proves to be difference maker in their fight to free Earth from the Galra. But most of all, the first few episode of Voltron season 7 cement the bonds between the Paladins (and their allies), transforming them into the formidable force they were always capable of becoming.

Defenders of Earth

Surprisingly, though season 7 is an important season that sees the Paladins become an even stronger team, there's a stretch of episodes where the Paladins hardly factor in at all. A result of the three-year time jump the series takes, Voltron season 7 brings us up to speed with the action on Earth, beginning with Sam's (Pidge's father) return all the way to Sendak's invasion and later occupation of Earth. That these episodes don't drag or feel like filler is a testament to the story being told and the new characters introduced, creating an arc that stands well on its own, separate from the Paladin's journey home.

When we spoke with Voltron executive producers, Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, they explained how this portion of the season was heavily influenced by the anime series, Macross. These influences can be found in everything, from the Galaxy Garrison's newly trained MFE pilots to the giant battleship, the Atlas, and they add another exciting element to Voltron season 7. It's also hard to watch these Earth-centric episodes and not see the beginnings of another show, one that focus on the pilots who defend Earth from all sorts of intergalactic threats. Not that there's much chance of a series like that being developed, but it's fun to see these new ideas being incorporated.

Additionally, strengthening the home front allow characters like Sam and the recently introduced, Veronica (Lance's sister) to play larger roles. They along with the MFE pilots grow the cast in interesting ways, adding more heroes to root for and giving Team Voltron even more support once they eventually arrive on Earth.

The Final Battle

Once the Paladins do come home, there's a bit of an adjustment period. The Galaxy Garrison must adjust to having a bunch of former cadets return with more knowledge and experience than anyone could have imagined, while the Paladins must adjust to having a chain of command as well as finding their home under occupation. Not to mention, though there are heartwarming family reunions for Lance and Pidge, the same cannot be said for Hunk (whose family is imprisoned by the Galra) or Shiro (whose partner, Adam, died in the invasion).

Related: Voltron Showrunners Knew Shiro Was Gay For 'A Very Long Time'

Emotions run high at first, with Lance and Hunk getting substantive arcs exploring how they feel now that they're back home. This results in Hunk recognizing his own bravery and Lance his worthiness as a Paladin, making them all the more ready for the battle ahead. Which is good, because the fight to free Earth from Sendak's control is an intense and brutal battle that has Team Voltron using every skill, tactic, and weapon available.

The Paladins in their Lions, the MFE pilots in their fighters, an armed underground resistance of rebels, and Shiro in command of the Atlas form Earth's last stand, and the ensuing battle is easily the most thrilling Voltron has produced. It's a fight on a massive scale with several fronts and requires an incredible amount of teamwork and self-reliance. New abilities are unlocked - like the Paladins remotely piloting their Lions while captured - and sacrifices are made. The fight against Sendak becomes even more intense when Shiro fights him, robotic arm versus robotic arm. In the end, Sendak is slain when Keith arrives to back up Shiro and the remaining Galra forces begin to retreat, knowing defeat is at hand.

But then something strange happens - another giant robot arrives and attacks! Voltron engages with this rogue enemy, but it soon becomes clear this new foe is the stronger opponent. Then something even stranger happens. Desperate to help, Shiro triggers the Atlas to transform into its own incredibly giant robot (something that's possible because of his Altean-infused arm and the Atlas being powered by the Caste of Lion's crystal), and it makes quick work of this new enemy.

When the dust settles and Team Voltron can inspect this latest enemy, it's revealed the robot is being piloted by an Altean! It's a mystery which will surely become the main focus of season 8, ending this season on intriguing cliffhanger.

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Season 7 of Voltron: Legendary Defender in unlike previous seasons in both its setting and purpose. No longer are the Paladins struggling to find their way in the universe or how to work best as a team, but instead, they've taken all they learned and returned home. This shift proves to be a good one, shaking up the show in ways that are refreshing yet also compatible with what's been previously established. The stage being set for Voltron's final season is an exciting one, with Earth now at the center of a battle for the whole universe and armed with seasoned defenders ready to lead that fight.

Next: Voltron Showrunners Tease Season 7: 'The Stakes Are As High As Ever'

Voltron: Legendary Defender season 7 is now available to stream on Netflix.

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