|Bridge Over the River Chozzerai|
|Air date||October 4th, 1984|
|Based on Golion episode||The Legendary Bridge of Love|
The repeated bombardments of the late Commander Yurak, occasional demonic assault of the witch Haggar, unwanted attentions of Prince Lotor, and various other horrors of the Blue Lion Voltron DVD collection are at last behind our heroes. Thus the members of the victorious Voltron Force are enjoying a much-needed period of relaxation. A new bridge between Princess Allura's kingdom of Altair and the neighbouring realm of Heleena has been built, and for its dedication Allura is going to be taking part in a reenactment of a love story associated with its location: that of Kiere of Altair and Aldar of Heleena. She is to play Kiere, and she must choose someone to play the part of the leading man.
Lance, Hunk, and Pidge all want the part of Aldar; Lance (who apparently thinks he could take Hunk one-on-one) even suggests that they fight for it! Fortunately Pidge offers the alternative of card-drawing to determine the winner of the role, which turns out to be Hunk despite Pidge's attempt to bribe one of the Space Mice.
The day of the bridge's dedication, Allura and Hunk (with Nanny, who insisted on accompanying them for their own protection) launch in their respective lions and fly toward (the never-actually-named-in-episode) Chozzerai. Spying through her own blue cat, however, is the witch Haggar, who hopes to use the weakness of their separation from the rest of the Voltron Force to Doom's advantage.
Haggar reports this information to Prince Lotor and King Zarkon, who are watching the latest gladiatorial contest for the coveted title of Robeast of the Week, which is won by a vaguely elephant-like monster. Lotor eagerly leaves for Arus, fantasizing about the capture and submission of the Princess, while Zarkon prepares to send the victorious monster after him for support...once the beast has been appropriately altered....
Meanwhile, Allura has arrived at the Love Bridge and proceeds to diplomatically relate its fable in a way which may promote unity among Arusians in this troubled time. She and Hunk then commence the reenactment by running toward each other across the bridge...only to be rudely interrupted by Prince Lotor's Zapper ship emerging from the river!
He is nevertheless polite about it, stating "I hate to interrupt such a tender and touching scene, Princess, but you should be rushing to my arms!" (The Prince deems this line so clever that he uses it twice over the course of the episode.)
Eight seconds of concentrated zappage from Lotor and the Love Bridge which likely took years to build is destroyed (it is little wonder why Arusian morale is usually so low). As further evidence of his flair for the dramatic, "the Crown Prince of Hell" leaps from his craft to meet Princess Allura atop the wreckage, to which the latter apparently either climbed or was conveniently thrown.
Allura is not nearly so receptive to the idea of marrying and serving the Prince as she was in her emotionally-distressed state last episode, and thus she slowly backs away as he approaches. Keith and Coran, who have been watching the proceedings from the control room of the Castle of Lions, decide that the situation is now sufficiently dire to warrant their taking action, and Keith, Lance, and Pidge lauch their respective lions. However, they are stopped by a more immediate threat: the freshly-upgraded Trunktank Robeast, who is launching an attack on the Castle!
Lotor's advances are instead interrupted by a flying kick from Hunk, which is easily deflected by the Prince's own martial arts ability. Nevertheless, Hunk manages to dodge the subsequent swing of Lotor's sword, yet in so doing he is left hanging from the guard rail. Allura attempts to stop Lotor from pressing his attack, but the latter backhands her into the Chozzerai. Hunk and Lotor each retreat to their respective spacecraft and leave Princess Allura to swim for her life.
From the cockpit of his "Zarkon Zapper" (as Panosh Place calls the barely-recognizable toy version), Lotor hovers above front-crawling mostly-submerged Allura. With Nanny joining him in the cockpit, Hunk attempts an attack from the rear, but this proves to be overconfidence as Prince Lotor proves himself a superior pilot (or at least in the more manoeuverable craft); in less time than it took to destroy the bridge, the Yellow Lion is shot down to land in the Chozzerai and be buried in rocks.
Princess Allura was narrowly missed by the falling lion and lost the bottom-most of her costume's skirts while swimming, yet at last she reaches the shore, where she is greeted by a group of Arusian guards/soldiers/militia (identified by their identical green jumpsuits/vests), one of whom hands her a laser pistol. Allura accepts this safety precaution as she attempts to return to her own lion.
Unfortunately, the Princess finds that Prince Lotor has reached it first, and elected to sit upon its shoulder in a gentlemanly fashion whilst he awaited her. What follows is a very adrenaline-filled proposal of marriage from him, which is met with an equally adrenaline-fueled threat of suicide from her, despite the Prince's promise to help her "make Planet Arus strong again!"
Fortunately, Prince Lotor is so focused upon his prey that as he approaches he trips over a stone. Princess Allura takes this opportunity to fire at his feet, forcing him to stagger backward far enough to allow her to hop into her Blue Lion (apparently the gravity of Planet Arus is less than that of Earth). While Allura changes into her flight suit, Lotor returns to his Zapper command craft and takes to the air.
Meanwhile Keith, Lance, and Pidge have been engaging Trunktank and having a difficult time of it. The vaguely elephantoid robeast incapacitates the Black and Green Lions with its detachable Soaring Foe-Seeking Claws, and as Lance attempts to flank it in his Red Lion it detaches its scalp and ears to form the Bat-Out-of-Hell Heat-Seeking Ear Glider, which keeps with the lion throughout its fancy spiral flight before finally bringing it down. It is all up to the delicate Princess now....
Allura may have been deemed incompetent at the end of the Blue Lion collection, but she still has the wherewithal to save the day, and the Yellow Lion along with it! Like a professional lifeguard, she plunges her Blue Lion into the water to rescue its fellow leg of Voltron, pulling it to the surface to find that its controls are not responding to Hunk's input! The two are able to perch the Yellow Lion atop the Blue piggyback-style, however, and just in time to confront Lotor's renewed aerial assault! The Princess fires a multitude of missiles at his command craft and manages to tag it with one of them, forcing the Prince into retreat.
Blue Lion is able to fly while carrying Yellow Lion, and carries it back to the other three lions fighting Trunktank. At the suggestion and encouragement of her recovered teammates, Princess Allura uses her lion to hurl Hunk's into freefall, so that from that position the team will be ready to FORM VOLTRON!
Trunktank opens by letting loose a pair of fiery blasts from its Dual Telescoping Trunk Cannons which engulf Voltron as both titans commence a battle for supremacy in the sky. However, the armour of Voltron's torso plate is such that he is undamaged from the assault! The packing pachyderm follows up by firing off its B.O.o.H Heat-Seeking Ear Glider, which is cleaved in twain by Voltron's Electro-Saber, and an immense volley of missiles from its Palm- and Toe-Thruster Guns. Fortunately for Voltron, the latter attack reveals Trunktank to be so breathtakingly bad at aiming its missiles that it makes Princess Allura look like Top Gun's Maverick (or maybe Merlin...or Goose....)
The Soaring Foe-Seeking Claws are then launched to far greater success. One grabs Voltron's Blue Lion leg whilst the other grabs his Yellow Lion leg, and the two bring him down, shocking his legs with such force that they keep switching colours! With Voltron flat on his back, Trunktank lands atop him, poised to try a shot from its flamethrower Dual Telescoping Trunk Cannons directly in the Defender of the Universe's face!
After ensuring that Voltron's defenses are properly in effect, Keith gives the order to hit Trunktank again with the Lion Torch. Voltron's fire hits before that of the Robeast, and the latter recoils high into the air. The opportunity is taken to form the Blazing Sword and Trunktank is slain with one deadly stroke. As one might expect from a 4,200-ton robot packed with explosives, the day's robeast goes up like the 4th of July, setting the death throe record by taking nearly 20 seconds to finish exploding.
Beneath the sandy statue concealing/revealing the location of Yellow Lion, Coran points out to the team that said malfunctioning mecha should be fully repaired soon, but that it is the first component of Voltron to ever need the use of the "sick bay". Lance points out that this is also the first time Allura has had to rescue her bodyguard, and Hunk muses aloud that perhaps if the Princess had accepted the Prince's advances - as Kiere did those of Aldar in the legend - there would at last be peace. Visibly upset at this open suggestion that she is shirking that most unpleasant of royal duties, the angry Princess politely rebuts that the legend was one of love, and that nobody could love Lotor (even his father wouldn't like him very much now).
Hunk and (to a lesser extent) Allura are both correct, as the final scene reveals. King Zarkon is indeed angry with his son, not only for failing to capture the Princess and destroy Voltron, but also for losing his "favourite robeast". However, Lotor calms him somewhat by vowing to think up a plan to triumph against Voltron (and to claim Princess Allura for himself) once and for all.
"I want to thank you four for all you've done for my planet. Since you arrived and we now have Voltron again, Planet Arus is gradually being restored to the wonderful world it once was. *Background music changes to "Sad Princess" as she touches a control panel in the room* Just look: this fine new bridge has just been completed. It connects our Kingdom of Altair with the Kingdom of Heleena. It's a vital link to bring all the people of this planet together, but it has a deeper meaning to all the people of Planet Arus. One of our most famous legends is the beautiful story of the Love Bridge, which is said to have existed right in that very same place!'
'It is told that many, many years ago, there was a young girl from the Kingdom of Altair who was very much in love. The object of her devotion was a young man who lived in the Kingdom of Heleena far across a broad inlet. ... But, because the kingdoms of Altair and Heleena were continually at war, the two could never be together; all the bridges between their lands had been destroyed, but they didn't give up hope! Their love was much stronger than the petty problems between their kingdoms, and so to be together they began to build their own bridge, stone by stone. [They] threw stones into the sea to build a bridge between them. No matter how many stones they threw, the task seemed impossible. Then one day something very special happened: the 'goddess of love' decided to help them! So, to bring them together, she created a magical bridge from the water!"
- Princess Allura introduces the episode and confuses the audience with additional information regarding the political structure of Arus (raising such questions as "How can she be 'sovereign of the entire planet' if hers is only one of multiple kingdoms?")
Lance: "Uh, who's gonna get to play the part of the young guy?"
Allura: "Why, of course, one of you!"
Lance: "Well, I know you want somebody who comes on real macho, so I guess it's gotta be me!"
Hunk: "You need a big, strong fella with bulging muscles who's all heart!"
Pidge: "How about somebody loaded with personality?"
Keith: "No thanks. I'll stay here in case an emergency comes up."
Coran: "Now Hunk, remember: you must protect the Princess."
Hunk: "Yeah! Wow; it's like a dream, just me and the Princess."
Nanny (coughing): "And don't forget me!"
Hunk: "Hey! You goin' too?"
Nanny: "Of course! I'm going to protect you!"
"There's nothing so satisfying as a good fight between two evenly-matched robots!"
- King Zarkon reveals why the Voltron series goes on for so long
"Father will be pleased with the plan I have in mind. I intend to make Princess Allura my wife, and I will be ruler of Planet Arus without ever fighting a battle. It's an amusing thought."
- Prince Lotor fantasizes about Princess Allura being his willing wife and slave
Princess Allura gasps and Prince Lotor laughs as the former sees the latter sitting atop the left leg of Blue Lion.
Allura (gasping again as Lotor rises to his feet): "Our two planets can never be united!"
Lotor: "I insist!"
Allura (aiming her laser pistol): "Stop!"
Lotor (continuing to approach): "Now be a good girl and give me that weapon. Would you shoot someone who only admires you very much, and wishes to make you his wife? I demand that you give me that weapon!" He lunges at Allura and grunts after she pulls away, leaving him clutching a scrap from her costume.
Allura (inwardly realizing the answer to Lotor's question is no and thus putting the pistol to her head): "You will never take me alive!"
Allura: "Your father destroyed our planet once, that's enough!"
Lotor: "But I'll help you make planet Arus strong again!"
Allura: "I don't believe you! You'll make my people slaves!"
Hunk: "I've been thinking: maybe if Princess had kissed Lotor on the bridge, that legend would have repeated itself, and our two planets would be at peace!"
Allura: "Never! That legend is about two people who loved each other, and nobody could love Lotor! I bet now even his own father doesn't like him very much!"
Notes and Goofs
- This episode's title is a reference to World War II film Bridge On the River Kwai starring Sir Alec Guinness. The episode itself has virtually nothing in common with the film, save in the overarching sense that both involve a Japanese project taken over by English-speaking Westerners.
- Despite the episode's title, Princess Allura indicates that Chozzerai is in fact a coastal inlet. However, it is reasonable to assume that it is in fact the arm of a river connecting the ocean to a salt-water sea.
- The Castle of Lions' Kingdom of Altair (alternate spelling Altear) may be a reference to Altea, the name of Planet Arus in Beast King GoLion.
- When Princess Allura is describing the legend of the Love Bridge, she omits the word "they" when telling of how Kiere and Aldar threw stones into the sea to build a bridge between them.
- Aldar's voice is the same as that used for 'Prince'(?) Bokar in "The Stolen Lion".
- When determining the role of Aldar, Pidge instructs the Princess (who appears to be somewhat familiar with Earth's playing cards (which are based on the Minor Arcana of the Tarot) by this point) to draw any two cards in addition to the winning card, the Joker. Allura selects first the Ace of Hearts (which corresponds to the Ace of Cups, the highest card affiliated with water) and then the Ace of Clubs (which corresponds to the Ace of Wands, the highest card affiliated with fire). This reflects the elements of the two lions she is to pilot next: first her mainstay Blue Lion, then (temporarily) the Red Lion. This association is reinforced by Lance drawing the Ace of Clubs/Wands/Fire!
- If Keith's cutting down of Allura's obvious desire to have him at least compete for the part of Aldar seems somewhat out-of-character, one may blame the original anime; only here in Voltron is the romantic potential between the mecha's captain and the planet's princess fostered.
- The Castle of Lions, which normally is surrounded by both Blue Lion Lake and dense forests, is now perched precariously on the edge of a cliff, far closer to its nearby chasm than it was in the previous episode!
- We are given here our first look at Haggar's throne room/command center: a spire atop a spiral staircase surrounded by giant eyeballs (reminding one vaguely of the crucifer held by King Zarkon). It has a very organic aesthetic, reminding the audience that Planet Doom draws its power both from high technology and from fell magic.
- Prince Lotor appears to smash at least the center of the titular bridge with his personal spacecraft when it first appears, yet in the following shot the bridge appears to still be intact as he fires upon it.
- Keith makes it clear in this episode that he is able to control the lion-limbs of Voltron from Black Lion once Voltron has been formed. His constant vocal issuing of commands, however, suggests that the other lion pilots may still have some control over Voltron's weaponry.
- Trunktank is the first to undergo amputations as part of its upgrade to robeast; its legs are removed and replaced with tank treads (hence its name).
- As a result, Trunktank is also the shortest robeast encountered thusfar, though it still stands at a respectable 160 feet in height.
- Trunktank is also the only robeast to receive an accurate representation in figure or sculpture form (with the possible exception of Lotron): it is depicted opposite Voltron as the other half of the Voltron: Defender of the Universe Collector's Bookend Set.
- Why would a robeast with such a mediocre-to-lackluster performance against Voltron receive such a singular favour? Perhaps because he is Zarkon's favourite!