|Changing of the Guard|
|Air date||August 4, 2017|
|Written by||Tim Hedrick|
|Directed by||Steve In Chang Ahn|
As the Paladins work to build a coalition of rebels, Allura makes a suggestion that rattles the team. A new face aims to gain power with the Galra.
The episode opens with Keith searching for Shiro in the Red Lion, when he starts having tangible flashbacks from when Shiro disappeared. "There's nothing out here, Coran." Keith heads back to the castle, devastated, since the recent "Loss" of Shiro, the pilot of the Black Lion. "I'm sorry, Keith." Says Coran briefly over the com.
The screen switches to Allura in her room, sniffing her clothes anxiously as Coran walks in. She explains her nervousness, this is because she and Coran have not had to attend a Professional and/or "Formal" meeting in many years. He rants on about essential topics she must remember in order to have a successful meeting.
The next scene is the Blue and Yellow Lions, as they are on planet Puig, trying to evade Galra sentries. The Blue Lion holds Kolivan, among other Blade of Marmora fighters, who are dropped onto the battlefield before the Lions fly away to provide air-cover. Soon enough the Galra evacuates the planet and the two paladins land their lions to greet the Puigians. They thank them for protecting their land and soon enough, many Puigians are chanting for Voltron, whom they cannot form anymore since the absence of Shiro. Kolivan tells a short story of how the Universe has heard of Voltron's greatness. Hunk replies that they couldn't form Voltron anymore. Kolivan is startled by this and said this could not stand. The Piugians heard of this, but they interrogated Hunk and Lance on Voltron's absence anyway, not meaning any harm.
The two Paladins and The Blade of Marmora are left here as the scene changes to Pidge, in a room briefly showed in the episodes before, repeatedly rewinding a video maybe containing important information on finding her family. Coran enters the room after a few seconds later asking how her mission had gone, and she tells him of how she visited planet Kythra and gained minor knowledge on the subject. The scene ends with her whispering to herself, "Don't worry Matt, I'll find you."
The next scene is The Paladins, and Coran and Allura in their common living room. Hunk and Lance inform the rest of the team of how the Puigians wanted to see Voltron. Keith interrupts abruptly saying, "We don't have Shiro anymore either. Everyone seems to have forgotten that." Allura stands at this and says, "It may be difficult for us all to accept it at this time, but it may time to think about finding a new pilot for the Black Lion." Most of the team is shocked by this, but Keith, is rather shocked and angry. "No! I'm gonna find him. Shiro is the one person who never gave up on me. I won't give up on him." He walks out of the room, leaving everyone looking and feeling solemn.
The screen changes to Zarkon's ship, and then to Zarkon himself, in some sort of healing chamber, with Haggar heavily guarding the door to this room. She states that no one is allowed into his chamber at this time to a different wizard looking creature. He responds with a common "Vrepit Sa" and walks off, as Haggar turns to Commander Throk, who is walking toward her. He wishes to see Zarkon to inform him of another fallen planet that has taken the rebellion side. Haggar replies with the same answer that she told the person before, but a slightly different response, "Zarkon is fully briefed on all imperial matters. He certainly does not need your input." He becomes internally angry at this, and insists urgently to tell Zarkon about this. Haggar quips rather annoyed, "Lotor has arrived at headquarters as Zarkon's request to take command of the Empire. Under Zarkon's guidance, of course." Throk is surprised by this and interrogates her once more. "Lotor? Why is he not at his father's bedside?" Haggar then completely snaps. "Zarkon needs no one by his beside. Least of all, you." She walks away, leaving him with an angry expression. The screen moves over slightly to then show a Half-Galra looking female who hasn't been mentioned in the series before, teleport onto scene a few feet away from where Throk and Haggar had been standing. She grunts, smiles evilly, and teleports away.
The scene changes to The Team, and a few unnamed people from other planets at the long dining table in the castle. Allura gives a speech about how honored she, the Paladins, and Coran are to have them visit the castle. The first two creatures stated how amazing their castle was, and that it was their honor to be welcomed to such a beautiful place. Hunk then serves them all food with a welcome, while Kolivan stands as a mini map of the known galaxy appears in the middle of the table, "The Blade of Marmora has gathered this intelligence. As you can see, the Galra Empire is still the most massive ruling force the universe has ever seen. The sheer size of it is almost incomprehensible. It seems like it could rule another 10,000 years." Hearing this, Lance then leans over to Pidge, who is in the seat next to him and leans in with an annoyed look, and says, "Not the way I would've started this pep-talk, but okay." while Kolivan continues... "However, we are beginning to see signs of increased rebel activity from within the Empire." The map changes as more than half the planets on it blink as a sign of activity. The creatures at the table were suddenly in awe as he spoke. Allura then stands as well. "We have a strategy to bring these forces together. Free more planets, grow our numbers, and accumulate and army that can defeat the Galra in major battles." The mini map disappears. "But without your help, it will be impossible." The fourth creature asks, "The forces will fight behind Voltron, right?" The first creature hears this and asks, "Yes, where is Voltron?" Allura replies with a quick and rather anxious answer. "These people are the Paladins of Voltron. Together, they pilot the mighty lions that form the great warrior.." The screen moves down the line of Paladins sitting at the table, each one waving, or making a face. The first creature hears this and immediately wants to see Voltron. Allura starts to stammer, rather worriedly, before Keith interrupts by abruptly stating that they couldn't form Voltron. "We can't form Voltron, okay? We can fly the lions, but Voltron isn't happening." The creatures gasp. Allura looks back at them smiling. "What he means is that right now, they can't do it but-" Keith interrupts again. "But nothing. Shiro is gone. He was the Black Lion, and until we find him there IS no Voltron." The creatures looked startled. Kolivan, who is still standing, says that the lions are still in fighting condition, that the castle is also a considerable weapon and that the Blade of Marmora can lead them. The fourth creature states that her people have been enslaved for centuries by people that looked just like Kolivan. The first creature hears this and agrees, "Yes! Our people have heard the legend of Voltron, how HE defeated Zarkon. That is what gave them hope. What are we supposed to tell them now?" As he is saying this, the camera zooms in on Keith's intensifying face. He then stands up angrily and slams his hand on the table. "Tell them to stand up and fight for themselves! Voltron is gone!" He then leaves the room leaving everyone stunned. After this, Hunk nervously offers earth foods to the creatures in haste.
The scene then changes to Zarkon's arena, with hundreds of Galra people cheering in the crowd for a person in the middle of the stage, battling a vicious looking monster. Throk is shown with another General not mentioned, sitting in the crowd, talking about how his request of entry to speak with Zarkon earlier that day had been rejected. His friend replies saying that Zarkon's condition may be worse than Haggar is telling him. He is unsure if Zarkon will ever return to the throne. Throk agrees and asks about Lotor taking over. He is angry about Zarkon asking Lotor to take the throne during his absence rather than himself. They continue to watch the fight going on below.
Throk's friend then says he's heard rumors he fights alongside his enlisted men. Throk adds on to his statement. "He says his top generals aren't even pure Galra, and that they are only half-breeds at best. He has no honor." His friend remarks, "Some say he allows the planets he conquers to continue to rule themselves. Can you imagine?" The screen moves to the stage, showing the masked person battling the monster. Throk comments, "Clearly, he's a dangerous lunatic. I've already spoken with the other officers in my sector. They've all agreed to back me if I fight for the throne." His friend looks away with a shocked expression. Throk continues. "Normally, I would never think of such a thing but..." His friend looks at him concerned. He looks away and says, "What choice do we have?" The camera zooms in on Throk's face. He asks if he'll support him. The friend answers with a yes, And Throk smiles evilly. The friend looks up and asks about the masked person battling the monster. Throk confesses, "I don't know, I've never seen him before." The crowd continues to cheer as the camera zooms in on the person. He defeats the monster swiftly and the crowd goes wild. The monster falls over face first. And soon after, the unrevealed person takes off his helmet slowly and turns towards the crowd dramatically, revealing his identity to be Prince Lotor himself. He looks straight at Throk, who looks rather embarrassed and surprised. "Lotor!" Throk is boggled by this. Lotor then lifts his sword out of the ground where it had been thrown, and points it in Throk's direction. "Throk. You wish to challenge me? Then come down and claim your crown." Throk gasps, taken aback as people around them whispered. Lotor reminds him with his sword still pointed. "True Galra do not take the throne by stirring up insurrection in darkened chambers. He lowers his arm. "They rise through honorable rite of combat." The camera zooms in on his face, looking maniacal. "Defeat me here, and the throne is yours." The crowd cheers once more but immediately stops when three, unfamiliar looking females, and the other unnamed girl from before, teleport into the crowd around Throk. One of them growls violently, while the slightly more familiar looking one grunts superiorly. One of them has a cat on it shoulder, which growls as well, While the last female just has an angry look on her face. Throk, who is now looking around worriedly, soon becomes angry with Lotor, stands, and accepts his offer. Lotor looks pleased at this as Throk walks down towards the stage.
"I have fought thousands of battles and left many enemies much more fearsome than you, wasting on the battlefield." Throk says when he makes it down. Lotor then readies his sword in front of him as Throk charges. They battle until Lotor stops to compliment his technique but insult his monotonous attacks. Throk charges at him again. They continue to battle until Lotor slices Throk's sword in half. Throk falls as Lotor holds his sword close to his face. Lotor comments on his attitude. The crowd chants "Lotor" repetitiously as he lowers his blade from Throk's face. Throk is surprised by this as Lotor starts to give a speech about his father and the Empire. He then holds out his hand to Throk to help him up. "The Universe can no longer doubt our strength. Each ally gained makes us stronger. While those who continue to stand against us... will be crushed." Throk takes his hand and Lotor pulls him up. Throk finally accepts Lotor and pledges their race negotiation. The four unfamiliar girls then place their hands over their hearts along with Throk sealing Lotor's maybe-not-so-brief reign over them. Soon the whole crowd was standing with their hands over their hearts, and then continued chanting "Lotor" once more.
The scene changes to outside the arena, where the four unfamiliar girls are gathered. As Lotor approaches them, they bow to him. "That went well." Said the first girl. Lotor replies with, "The masses are easily manipulated. Have Throk transferred out to the Ulippa System immediately. He starts to walk off but then turns back around. "Let him rot with the ice worms." He is then shown walking off.
The screen then changes back to the castle, where Keith is seen looking at the Black Lion. The rest of the team appear behind him. They all look at each other wondering what to do. And eventually, Lance walks up to Keith sort of hopeful. He tells Keith that they all miss Shiro. He tells him how excited he was to meet him the first time. He continues talking as the rest of the Paladins walk forward to Lance and Keith, and all share good memories about Shiro. Lance says to him, "You're not the only one hurting, man. We're all right there with you. But you know that he would be the first one to tell us that we have to move on." Keith turns to Lance as Allura starts to say, "Keith, I know exactly how you feel. But our mission is bigger than any one individual. Even those who are...completely irreplaceable." Keith looks down. "I know you're right." He hesitates and then they all look back at the Black Lion. "It's time to figure out how to reform Voltron." The screen shows the Black lion one more time, and then it cuts to black.
"No, I will find him. Shiro is the only person who didn't give up on me. I won't give up on him."
— Keith refuses to give up hope on finding Shiro
- Beginning with this episode the Paladins for some reason start to wear their helmets in full face mask configuration while piloting the lions, something that they did not do previously.
- This episode premiered exclusively at San Diego Comic Con prior to the release of season Three.