Bad Birthday Party is the twelfth episode of the lion series of Voltron: Defender of the Universe.
On the planet Nemon, King Zarkon is set to celebrate his birthday as hosted by his nephew, Tabor. A desert world with a cultural appearance much like a cross between those of Egypt and India, Nemon is rich in the rare mineral known as Nemonium, which is very important to Planet Doom's war machine. Slavery (or worse-than-/nigh-slavery) is flourishing there, as workers are forced under brutal conditions both to mine Nemonium and to build a gigantic statue of Zarkon to celebrate the Emperor's birthday. The slaves are fed grotesque, and disgusting meat.
The situation would be hopeless were it not for the distant hope which Voltron has brought to the universe. Tal, one of the slave boys, thinks that gaining the help of such a legend is but a dream, but his friend Jai tells him of his daring plan to steal a slave ship and escape to Arus in an effort to bring back Voltron.
Jai's plan is successful, albeit just barely so. During one of the Doom guards' debaucherous parties he does manage to sneak into a ship and escape Nemon, but a trio of Doom Blaster fighters are sent in hot pursuit. Jai reaches Arus but is shot down by them while just outside of the planet's orbit. Fortunately, he crashes in the perfect spot.
The Voltron Force retrieve Jai and take him into the Castle of Lions. Meanwhile the royalty of both Nemon and Doom worry about the fate of the escaped slave, and it is proposed that one hundred slaves be tortured as punishment.
Though wounded and heavily-bandaged, Jai regains consciousness, yet when offered food he prefers to fast while so many of his people are suffering and starving. He insists to Nanny and Princess Allura that they are the ones who need the immediate attention of the Voltron Force.
Keith and the other members of said force enter the infirmary and reveal that Jai's rather-impressive little ship belonged to Zarkon. Coran discovers the location of Nemon, and a desperate Jai convinces Princess Allura and (with her support) the other team members to render assistance, despite the fact that it would leave Arus vulnerable.
On Nemon, King Zarkon is welcomed by Prince Tabor and notices the statue built to him in tribute, as well as the unconscious horde of slaves. Much blasphemy is exchanged as Zarkon is referred to as the 'King of Kings' and he anticipates the day when his statue will be worshipped throughout the whole universe.
The members of the Voltron Force enter their boarding chutes, and after a short discussion they each take the path to their respective Lion. Once each Lion has launched, they all leave Arus' atmosphere and form Voltron. It is then revealed that the team decided to take Jai with Pidge in the Green Lion, presumably as a guide and so that they might more easily return him to his home, but perhaps also because the Voltron Force has learned its lesson from A Pretty Spy three episodes prior and doesn't want him blowing up the Castle in their absence.
To reach Nemon, Voltron must pass through magnetic storms and meteor showers, and the latter are especially challenging for him. When struck head on by a massive meteor, Princess Allura worries that they are out of control, yet Keith tells her to "hang in there" and activates the Yellow Lion's Thermo blasters to melt the meteors in their path.
On Nemon, a group of slaves - including Tal - have been buried up to their necks before Prince Tabor, King Zarkon, and his entourage in preparation for their execution as punishment of the escape of Jai. A quartet of Doom Soldiers raise their wicked scimitars to begin the beheadings, when suddenly....
Tearing through the atmosphere comes Voltron: Defender of the Universe, who makes his presence known by the dismemberment and destruction of the celebratory idol of Zarkon! The real King Zarkon and those with him are terrified and flee to a ship, though Yurak takes the time to blame Prince Tabor for this comeuppance and (presumably) slay him.
Voltron pursues the ship, and had he not pulled an Alien and flew right into its afterburner this might have been the end of a 12-episode Voltron Miniseries. However, Voltron is instead set on fire, and the Witch Haggar takes this opportunity to enlarge a pair of minor devils (minor, that is, when compared to the one fought in the last episode) which she had on hand (never leave Doom without them) to heights of approximately 230 ft.. Their names are Beyel and Zebub, and Keith refers to them as "a late birthday present from Haggar." It's on, Voltron!
The Twin Devil Robeasts look and fight like twins, so Voltron must dance like he wants to win! They are significantly weaker than the Bokar Snake Robeast or the Demon Goatbeast, as evidenced by Voltron's being able to block both of their Quarter-Moon Scimitar Swords with his own Blazing Sword using only one hand, yet they are able to block his return stroke with their Spaceship Shell Shields. Voltron thus resorts to biting each one of them with each of his legs, sending them falling out of the sky!
The battle continues on the ground, as Beyel and Zebub flank Voltron and attack him from the front and rear simultaneously! Their Shields double as explosive projectiles that even Lance cannot entirely thwart, and Voltron takes a blow to his right shoulder from one of their Swords which leaves a noticeably-large, smoking dent.
Voltron leaps into the air, climbing rapidly to escape the devils. Once at a sufficient altitude above them, he plunges and, using the height to his advantage, dispatches them both in immediate succession using the Blazing Sword.
The people of Nemon then gather around Voltron, cheering him and celebrating their new-found freedom.
"Look at the garbage they're bringing us to eat!"
- Tal, who apparently doesn't think very highly of his people (they're being fed the remains of fellow slaves!)
"Friends! I believe in my heart he tells the truth!"
Hunk: "Those meteors look like giant boulders!"
Keith: "Try to look at it this way, Hunk: it's just another rock concert!" (Perhaps rock music will make a comeback in the future, or perhaps we should just accept the Beast King GoLion setting of 1999....)
Haggar: "Aren't people buried up to their necks in sand a delightful sight?"
Yurak: "You never disappoint me, Haggar; spoken like a true witch!"
Notes and Goofs
- When the Doom Commander proposes his plan to Prince Tabor, he sits on the table before him. This must be rather awkward, as he is clearly sitting on top of his sheathed sword (which doesn't move in any way to acknowledge that it is now upon a table)!
- The Planet Nemon is known as Planet Jarre in Beast King GoLion. Its position, desert climate, and coloration as seen from space all suggest that it plays a sort of Martian role relative to that of Arus' Earth-like one.
- It is revealed that Nemon and Arus are in the same galaxy, and the Space Monitor of the Castle of Lions shows their relative locations, however various members of the Voltron Force worry that the two planets are far away from one another. However, if this is such a difficult journey for Voltron, what chance does he have of crossing many millions of light years like Haggar does?
- As Jai is recovering in the Castle of Lions' infirmary, it is made clear that neither Nanny nor the Princess know who he is. However, Allura calls him by name before she has had any opportunity to learn it!
- In some of the shots in which Voltron pursues the escaping ship of Zarkon, the Blue Lion and Yellow Lion are transposed; Voltron's right leg is thus yellow and his left blue.
- This is Voltron's first time traveling off-world since the series began.
- In Beast King Golion, it is explained when slaves die, their remains are fed to their living fellows. In a few shots of the Voltron version, a few shots of a humanoid skull remains.
- This is a rare episode where more then one Robeast is sent to battle Voltron. In this case two Robeasts were sent.