Secret of the White Lion is the tenth episode of the lion series of Voltron: Defender of the Universe.
On Planet Doom, King Zarkon disparages his entourage and retinue, probably due to the resiliency of Arus' resistance thanks to the Voltron Force. (Un)fortunately, Haggar the Witch presents her latest solution to that problem: a normal-sized white lion. This does not impress the intergalactic tyrant until she explains her tactics: she will use her demonic power to torment Princess Allura with a nightmare which will also deceive her into following the lion right into her trap.
Asleep in the Castle of Lions, Allura feels the effects of Haggar's nightmare spell. She finds herself engaging in a firefight in the halls with minions of Doom, and when every shot she fires misses the Princess turns and flees but is hit in the shoulder in the process (her voice actress B. J. Ward narrates this section of the dream as Allura in voice-over form). Weeping from the pain of her wound, Allura falls to her knees, and at that moment she sees a vision of her late mother amidst a swirling starscape.
Overjoyed to see her long-lost mother, Princess Allura beseeches the vision for some form of guidance, even if it is only delivered via the eyes. (Un)fortunately, Allura can understand glances from visions as well as she can the speech and gestures of Space Mice (who are with her in the bedroom even now in the waking world), and thus she determines that her mother wants her to heed her father's guidance in the form of a white lion. She then awakens and hears his voice, which leads her out of her bedchamber and to the entrance of the castle, where she sees the white lion manifest before her.
As she has just seen a vision which told her of a white lion, Princess Allura is compelled to follow it. On her way out of the Castle, she is stopped by two (robot?) sentries posted on the graveyard shift. Allura orders them to allow her to go to her father, and while this would be an excellent time to disobey the Princess' royal command and tie her to a chair, the guards (well aware that her father is dead) instead comply and release her to run off barefoot into the mists of dawn.
She follows the creature to a waterfall, believing it is her father reincarnated in the form of a lion, but fails to notice Haggar waiting for her with her blue devil cat (which reminds the viewer that this is in fact the second time she utilized a feline to draw a Blue Lion pilot into a trap....)
Fortunately, Nanny is up and about searching the halls for the Princess. She calls a guard, who at last reports having let Allura run off undressed (save for her nightgown) after a phantom lion. The rest of the Voltron Force awakens and gathers in the command center and - with the possible exception of Commander Keith - seems rather unmotivated to retrieve her until Coran orders them into their lions with a tap of his cane.
The male members of the team take off and perform a bit of aerial surveillance. Lance is the first to spot the Princess, just after she has started to kiss and hug the white lion whilst asking for advice. He lands his Lion and disembarks, planning to dispatch the normal-sized white lion with his hand blaster. Allura rushes to the lion's defence, and Lance offers some advice of his own (see Quotes, below). Then he leaps/bounces down a 90-foot-cliff to face the lion at point-blank range, but before he lands the beast ensnares him with his breath weapon, causing Lance to collapse helpless. The Space Explorer warns the Princess to flee, but she simply stands still in shock.
Keith, Hunk, and Pidge arrive and disembark from their Lions as well, and Keith states that he is going down. He slides down the cliff and Pidge follows in an effort to flank the white lion. However, the lion easily sidesteps their laser blasts and entraps Pidge. Hunk joins them, yet while Keith warns him that the white lion shoots out "net rays", Hunk is nevertheless ensnared as well. Keith then decides that discretion is the better part of valour and bravely runs away.
The white lion advances on her threateningly and Princess Allura responds by fainting, as this approach met with such success in episode 8. Witch Haggar takes this opportunity to secure her captives more permanently while simultaneously flexing her creativity regarding religious imagery; binding the males to stakes yet crucifying the Princess!
Haggar mocks Keith for hiding (he is presumably too worried about accidentally harming his friends to board the Black Lion and squash her) as the white lion morphs into his true form: the Loathsome Lion; a sword-wielding bipedal battle beast! He lifts his sword to slay the helpless Lance, but it is blasted away by the amazing sharpshooter Keith!
Nevertheless, the situation seems somewhat desperate until Nanny and Coran arrive, flying the Blue Lion; then it becomes very desperate. Piloting is not the strategist/diplomat Coran's line of work, nor is it that of Nanny, and an errant grazing of a lever activates the Lion's Blaster Mouth, a breath weapon which floods the area with a tremendous amount of water! Hunk, Pidge, and Lance are firmly staked and thus remain upright, but Princess Allura's cross is felled and she is deposited helplessly into the drink!
Fortunately, Haggar and her blue cat are swept away by the current and the Loathsome Lion abandons his duel with Keith to dive in after them, leaving the leader of the Voltron Force to try to rescue the Princess. Placing a knife between his teeth, Keith plunges into the water and swims to the submerged Allura, then uses his knife to cut her rope bonds and free her. Meanwhile the Blue Lion has landed, and an hysterically-relieved Nanny emerges to receive the bedraggled Princess. Allura is somewhat exhausted, but still conscious enough to stand and be embraced by her.
The team's trouble is still far from over. Yurak's command ship swoops overhead, escorted by over a dozen Doom Blaster fighters, and pulls the Loathsome Lion, who carries Haggar in his arms, into it via a tractor beam. Haggar and Yurak share a caustic exchange, then the Loathsome Lion dashes out of the ship to receive the "infra-energizer beam", which causes it to grow to a height of precisely 205 ft. and put on weight to the tune of 4,200 short tons.
Princess Allura insists upon piloting the Blue Lion despite her fatigue and ordeal, and after arguing the obvious need of a pilot with at least her low level of experience to form Voltron, Coran and Nanny permit her to do so. She hops into the cockpit in her nightgown, swiftly changes into her pink-and-white flight uniform, and joins the rest of the Lions in the air.
Keith brings the team into attack formation and leads the assault himself, firing off a barrage of missiles and managing to hit with one of them, albeit for little damage due to the robeast's Titan Body Armour. The other men's Lions offer similar harassment, yet then Princess Allura requests that - as she was the one who started this mess - she be the one to deal with the robeast. Nearly a mile up in the sky by this point, the Princess sets her controls to dive and plummets toward the Loathsome Lion...yet is shocked to find the face of her mother superimposed over its feline features!
Princess Allura pulls up at the last second and the Loathsome Lion's Razor Fiber Mane reaches up and ensnares her. Keith notices that she is caught and orders a rescue attempt; his and the other Lions form their mouth-daggers and prepare to dive.
The Princess remains whimpering in the grip of both the Lion's Mane and the vision, yet when Keith asks her to get it into her head that they are neither her father nor her mother but rather Haggar's witchcraft, she seems to come out of the spell a bit. Still, she comments that it seems so very real.
The other Lions free Allura from the hair-raising robeast and Keith orders her to finish it off with her (Lion's) shoulder-mounted blasters. The Princess does so and the Loathsome Lion collapses, the illusion shattered.
The team takes this opportunity to form Voltron, and the Blazing Sword is also formed before the Loathsome Lion even manages to stand after having taken Blue Lion's missiles to the face. One stroke from said Sword finishes the battle.
Allura, now in her proper Princess-Aurora-with-wider-sleeves-dress, stands in the sunset before her mother's grave, Coran, Nanny, and the rest of the Voltron Force behind her. Keith reminds her that this is where her mother is, just as King Alfor is in the tomb beneath the Castle. Princess Allura replies that she understands now, but that she so wanted to see her parents again and receive guidance that she was completely fooled by Haggar's spell. She also states that she wishes the lion had been real, for it would have made her stronger, and Keith replies that the battle made her stronger. Nanny insists that that will be her last battle - for being a Lion pilot is inappropriate for a Princess - and that from now on she and Coran will fly the Blue Lion. Pidge laughs and states that their flying is more frightening than Zarkon, and Princess Allura solemnly states that she will continue to pilot the Blue Lion; she feels that she has reached a special epoch this day. Keith reassures her with an encouraging pep-talk as stock footage plays to fill in the time lost by the removal of the more gruesome parts of this episode.
"Where are my bumbling minions and stupid robots?"
- King Zarkon requests the presence of his finest in the first line of the episode
Princess Allura: "No Lance; don't shoot! This lion is the spirit of my father! He spoke to me!"
Lance: "Wake up! You're having a real bad nightmare!"
Princess Allura: "No! It's true; father speaks to me often when I visit his tomb, but now he's come back to really lead me, and he'll advise me wisely!" (Her emphasis suggests that this was not the case previously.)
Lance (unimpressed): "Ha! The first thing he should do is advise you against going out into the woods, in the middle of the night, in your nightgown, with a big wild lion!"
"Set up attack formation. He's as big as a mountain, so we'll just have to do a little mountain climbing!"
- Keith being a warrior-poet. The smallest registered mountain is only 142 feet off the ground, so he is technically correct.
"I will continue to fly the Blue Lion. I think I've grown into my position as Princess of Arus today. I must make my own decisions. I must no longer wish for the help of those who are gone!"
- Princess Allura, paving the way for a great deal of highly-questionable decisions in the future
Differences From Original Beast King GoLion Source Material
- King Zarkon/Daibazaal came off as more timid (he dropped his goblet out of surprise/fear at the sound of the offscreen white lion) and less concerned with strategic or tactical details (rather than tell him her plan, Haggar originally simply promised Daibazaal that he would drink the blood of his foes from his goblet) in the opening scene.
- In Princess Allura/Fala's nightmare, after being hit by one of the Doom soldiers, she sees all of her friends' comatose corpses together on the floor. The blood spilled beneath each suggests that they were all standing together when they died.
- Showing a difference in writer sensibilities and priorities, in the Japanese original Princess Fala asked her mother in the vision how she might become a better warrior. In the English translation, Princess Allura asks her how to become a great leader so that she can protect her people.
- Here we have a goof which was corrected by the North American translators: originally the White Lion impersonated the Princess' mother, despite being quite obviously a male lion!
- If the fight between the fully-formed Voltron and the Loathsome Lion seemed over a bit swiftly after the former formed Blazing Sword, that is because GoLion originally used said sword to behead his foe in a rather dramatic and bloody fashion.
- Only in the English translation does Nanny suggest that piloting the Blue Lion is "undignified" and beneath the station of the Princess.
==Notes and Goofs==
- This is the fourth consecutive episode in which Princess Allura has been restrained by either ropes or chains and has required someone else to free her; she is establishing herself as the show's proper damsel-in-distress. However, as she is also gaining a fair bit of combat experience, she is becoming a proper action-girl as well, so her's could be said to be the best of both worlds!