Having watched S7 again, I’d like to speak out in defense of one character who is usually kicked and called a traitor.
I mean Admiral Sanda.
The Holt family created an enormous fan base during the entire series, and the reasons are clear: the characters are very charismatic. But if you look at their conflict with Admiral Sanda from the point of view of common sense, then many questions arise.
Admiral Sanda appears for the first time in Shiro’s flashbacks. This is an elderly woman with a very cold-blooded character, sane and categorically refusing to rely on chance. Such as the admiral should be. As the Blades say – we don’t trust the will of chance. And Sanda didn’t trust it either.
The conflict was simple: Sam Holt knew Shiro well – he was a friend of the family – he knew about his illness and wanted to ensure that his dream came true so that if Shiro died, he would be sure that he left this world at the peak of his fame. But the reality was that Shiro was the only pilot for the Kerberos mission. For unknown reasons – probably because of the limited abilities of human technology – the team flew without a backup pilot. And this means that if something happens to Shiro, the expedition won’t just fail, but everyone will die, including Holt himself – the star of the scientific world.
And what does Sanda decide? Sanda decides that it’s wrong. No matter how wonderful Shiro was, there were enough good pilots in the Garrison, and she had no reason to send the one who could feel bad at any moment.
And here I would like to ask: do you really think that she was wrong? Tell me honestly. If you discard the fact that Shiro is awesome, was Sanda wrong? No, she was completely right – taking into account the fact that she didn’t have any favorites among the pilots, and for her Shiro was, although the best, but still only one of a whole bunch of professionals. Sorry, but people just say «I believe in you!” either in motivating games or out of hopelessness. Sanda had no reason to risk an expedition for Shiro. And she didn’t want to do this.
The question was resolved by direct blackmail: Holt knew about his exclusivity in the scientific community and unscrupulously took advantage of this. I must say, Sanda then endured it and silently accepted an open violation of the charter – not everyone can afford to argue with the admiral. But endured – doesn’t mean forgotten. I think this old woman had a very good memory.
But then the expedition members went missing. And the next meeting of Holt and Admiral Sanda takes place years later.
Sanda meets him – personally (!) – she behaves calmly and reports that Holt was kept unconscious in order to drive through all the checks. Shiro seemed to be waiting for the same if he hadn’t been abducted by the «rescue team».
Samuel demands the opportunity to meet with his wife, and he isn’t denied this. Then he wants to contact the children – the admiral answers that this isn’t possible in the near future for the safety of the planet. Was she wrong? If someone thinks that she was, then let me remind you that Sendak was able to find the planet because of the signal that was sent from Earth.
What is their answer? They answer her – we don’t care, we want to know what happened to our children. Holt’s motto: we don’t care about anything except our family. What does Sanda do? She keeps silent and memorizes this episode. «Yes, I will remember that you don’t care about the safety of the Earth. I have a good memory».
Note: remember that Zarkon ruined everything because of the same reasons. When in desperation he put everything at stake for the sake of his wife and son, and lost. After all, he’s not a brilliant Holt, so the scriptwriter’s muse won’t be on his side.
Sanda also states that there will be no public announcements either. And this is also quite logical: imagine what kind of panic will start if people are told that in space there is an aggressive civilization that has already captured most of the universe. The fact that this panic wasn’t shown doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist. People are ready to panic at any slightest occasion – and the crowd effect is a terrible thing. No normal government will give people information in «everything is bad» style, except in cases where everything is really bad and it’s no longer possible to hide it. Because it’s useless – large amount of materials and human resources are obtained through contracts with other large organizations, not through standing on the porch with outstretched hand.
Colleen demands to let her stay in the Garrison, to which Sanda replies that she has no clearance – she’s a civil without shoulder straps. But this problem was solved. First of all, it’s solved because Sanda didn’t want (!) to conflict with Samuel, since she knew his value for the Garrison and the entire planet. The same was with Shiro, by the way.
But the Holts somehow reacted to this as if it were taken for granted that the admiral was agreeing to their demands. Zero gratitude, although Sanda was absolutely not obligated to do this.
Later Sam Holt tells about Voltron and the war with a powerful race coming. And again he offers to report this to the whole world. What does Sanda do? Sanda says nothing like that. Why? Because there’ll be nothing good of the fact that people will start running around the streets and screaming «We gonna die!» and also try to get to the government with questions.
And Admiral Sanda talks about it in plain text. It’s senseless and dangerous to report an enemy without any comforting words to people.
Holt claims that Voltron will protect them, and asks permission to contact the paladins. Sanda allows him to do it, although she previously claimed that it was dangerous. Why? Because she’s still trying to make contact with Samuel. She doesn’t need a conflict, she needs a balanced solution to the problem.
Holt fails; the legendary Voltron doesn’t get in touch, because it disappeared after the battle with Lotor. Samuel can’t substantiate his proposals with weighty arguments. Sanda offers to establish a constant sending message. She is ready to accept Holt’s idea, but only after the legendary Voltron – the guarantor of protection against the Galra – appears.
But she fully supports the proposal to prepare the army. This sounds logical and justified, so Sanda has no objection. And she doesn’t stop Holt from doing his projects. She lets him do whatever he wants. She even gave him the best graduates of the Garrison – of course, still quite young, but no one planned to use experimental ships right away. This was a reserve for the future when former cadets would become experienced pilots.
A year passes. During this year they only managed to build 4 fighters. And I must say that for an entire planet 4 fighter aircraft is terribly small, because they simply can’t provide protection for all the objects of the planet. They are experimental. It’s assumed that many years will pass before the establishment of mass production.
And then Matt sends a signal. He reports that everything is bad – the promised legendary Voltron went missing, and it’s absolutely impossible to contact him anymore, as the universe is in complete chaos.
And here the Holts again turned on their classic «Everything for the sake of the family, nothing else matters».
Matt told them everything right: keep quiet, get ready for defense, defend the Earth. Communication with the partisans benefited his brains. But alas, Matt was far away. And Holt the senior demands to report to the whole Earth about an extraterrestrial enemy in order to speed up the construction of the Atlas.
But Sanda refuses again, because the legendary Voltron never appeared. Nothing has changed; there was nothing to reassure the masses of people. She perfectly saw where the roots of this activity were coming from, but her children – not even the Garrison, but the whole planet, and everyone’s safety bothered her no less than the safety of the missing children of the Holts. And she absolutely didn’t want to get involved in a galactic war. Earth is a small backward planet that isn’t capable of protecting itself. Her duties as an admiral were to protect the inhabitants of her native planet, not to fly somewhere into space and spend all her time and resources getting into a showdown between much more advanced races than earthlings.
If desired, this conflict could be resolved peacefully: they could turn to the special services of different countries and ask for help – for people and neccessary materials. Arrange it through Sanda. But the problem is that Holt didn’t want to solve the problem peacefully. He didn’t want to get in touch with intelligence agencies, he wanted to divulge information to the whole world. And he absolutely didn’t want to negotiate with anyone. Sanda – the villain – constantly limited him, and the announcement of the information untied his hands. After all, he became the number one star after that, and no one could forbid him anything.
You know, a tribunal is supposed to disclose classified information and the devil knows how many years in prison. Sanda didn’t put him to jail back then simply because she wasn’t thinking about her ambitions/family, but about the good of the planet. And so she found the strength to crush her pride – despite the fact that Holt told her in person that she was a lousy leader, unlike him, so brilliant and exceptional. The one who was going to endanger the whole Earth in order to save his two children.
And yet, despite the squabbles and quarrels, work continues. Holt manages to defend the Garrison. Only the Garrison, because, in his own words, the shield technology is too complex. They still have only 4 fighters in their hands. The Atlas can’t be completed in any way, because earthlings lack knowledge for it.
And here Sendak attacks. With a whole army of ships, he attacks one miserable planet, as if the backward Earth at the edge of the universe had abruptly become its center. Honerva sent him there, but people have no idea about this, since she didn’t call them on the phone and didn’t inform them that she wanted to avenge her son.
Holt, of course, immediately offers to launch new ships, but excuse me… there are 4 of them. These are experimental ships, which are controlled by 4 yesterday’s cadets. The Garrison didn’t plan to use the fighters at all, they planned to develop and modify them, so that later they could be put into mass production. But MFEs weren’t put into production, because they were still imperfect – they couldn’t be removed long distances from the Garrison, which means that they’re simply unsuitable for protecting the planet.
And in this situation, the question was not to use these MFEs, but to try to attack the Galra in the usual ways. It was pointless to do this, but in this matter it was required that Sanda would take Holt’s word. But through his actions Holt showed himself as a man who’s interested in his children and personal ambitions, not the well-being of the planet. And therefore, Sanda simply didn’t believe him and tried to protect the Earth with the only means she had. Which, alas, were too backward to protect the Earth from the aggression of the Galra.
The fighters were sent to battle. However, all they could do was help drive the enemy away from the Garrison. Because «the fighters are only short-range, and the cannon is immobile». Great joy for the inhabitants of the Garrison, zero benefit for the rest of the planet.
Then 3 years of siege begin. Hard years. There are almost no resources, no food. People ask what to do, but our star Holt feeds them with excuses: «Hold on, Voltron will come!». Moreover, he used these words constantly on any questions. As a result, we get such a type of conversation:
«My arm is broken, I need help!»
«Everything will be fine!»
«But I really need help!»
«Everything will be fine!»
«When will your «fine» come?»
«Someday, I’m sure!»
I’m just wondering: what would Holt say if Voltron didn’t arrive? Or if it arrived, but after another year, when the food was completely over?
And all this time, people have been wondering what Sendak needs. He drove a whole fleet, he besieged a planet absolutely useless for the Galra for 3 years instead of destroying it right away.
He said that the Lions is all that he wanted. But Earth doesn’t have them! Samuel says that Sendak obviously has a plan, and he’s almost right; because there is a plan, but someone else’s.
In a moment of despair, people give the last signal to Voltron. Fortunately for earthlings, the paladins finally return, catch the signal and fly to the rescue. At the same time, this event de facto served as evidence that Sendak really spent all this time near the Earth to get the Lions.
As a result, when the paladins show themselves to the Garrison, the first thing Sanda offers is to give the Lions to Sendak. She has a depleted planet in her hands, exhausted desperate people, 4 experimental ships unable to fly far from the Garrison, and not flying Atlas. She simply wanted to avoid even greater sacrifices, because farther there was only death from hunger. If Sendak wanted to destroy the Earth, he could do it before, twenty times. And then Allura and Co. will directly tell that the Galra will destroy planets only in one case – when they refuse to give up.
For obvious reasons, the paladins don’t agree to give the Lions and promise that they will save the Earth. They still wonder what Sendak needs from the backward Earth, although it seems to Sanda that the answer is quite clear. They’re trying to fix the Atlas, but even the genius of Coran isn’t able to lift it into the air without the necessary resources.
Then massive structures and their purpose are discussed. The paladins offer to attack, but Sanda objects – they may contain civilians whose number isn’t known. As a result, they send an expedition that finds out that the structures are nothing but the cannons of Zeigorn. The killers of the planets.
In the end, a wonderful plan is proposed: to call on the Lions by the power of thought (wow, magic!) and use the experimental ships (unfinished ones) – all in order to demolish these buildings. Sanda is again offered to take the word that a miracle will happen, and the paladins will save the planet. And the price of this trust is the life of an entire planet.
Perhaps in a different situation – if Holt tried to find a common language – she would have believed him, she showed herself to be a woman who’s ready to listen to sound advice. But the Atlas promised by Holt, for which they provoked a world scandal and spent the last resources, didn’t take off. And Sanda didn’t want to bet the lives of all earthlings at stake.
And therefore, she decides to save the planet in the only way she sees: to fulfill the conditions of the invaders in order to save people whose lives depended on her decisions. Moreover, she agrees to give the Lions only – they promised not to hurt the paladins.
But besides Sendak, we had Honerva burning with revenge. A variable that no one knew about. And she certainly was not going to leave anyone alive. And in case Sendak could not cope, she had a surprise in store.
As a result, Sanda and the paladins become prisoners. Sanda sincerely repents that she believed Sendak. Because the good of the Earth is more precious to her than her own pride, and she was honest enough with herself to admit her mistakes. And when the paladins decide to call on the Lions, she – being actually an old woman without some kind of paladin exocostume – takes all the fire on herself and holds the defense in order to win them valuable time. Even having lived to advanced years, Sanda kept fighting skill and fortitude. And she remained true to her willingness to defend her homeland.
And now I would like to discuss the ending of S7.
Usually in stories for children, if a conflict arises between two good people who argue about how to solve a common problem, then in the end – when good conquers evil – they’re reconciled. Everyone admits their mistakes. But this doesn’t happen here. Sanda apologizes to the paladins and they forgive her, but in fact she didn’t have a conflict with them. She had one with Holt.
But Holt, who has done many rash acts during the season and put the good of his children above the good of the whole planet, at the end doesn’t even remember about it. They drank blood from each other for several years, and Holt never remembered Sanda after it.
Don’t you think this is wrong? That Holt – far from an ideal person – was exposed as a hero overcoming the bureaucracy, and a woman who simply tried to act reasonably in difficult circumstances was portrayed as a villain. It turns out that it’s bad to think about the good of the planet and act reasonably.
And I want to ask a question: did the screenwriters, who showed Sanda a woman who devoted her whole life to serving the Earth, really want this? They were so jealous of the script, did they really want to finish this storyline – the line of the whole season – this way?
It’s natural to love your family and be ready for everything to protect your loved ones. And it’s also natural to strive to protect people you are responsible for, even if it means entire planet. But heroes always have their flaws. And we should remember that both Sam Holt and Admiral Sanda are good people who made mistakes in striving to do the right thing.