Note: The following article contains original research and writing by a Guest Contributor.
This short meta focuses on a very important element of the VLD series, completely overlooked as a result of the changes in S8. It never received any explanation, although it appeared in S3 for the first time.
Namely – the Dark Entity (hereinafter – DE). I thought about its importance when I analyzed the scenes with Allura in Clear Day episode (S8Ep8) and came to interesting conclusions. But… let’s start in order.
The first time DE appears in flashbacks, in the story of Coran (S3Ep7). When Alfor comes to visit his friend Honerva, she tells him that only one creature has responded to the signal she sent to the Rift. The creature was a small floating ball that Honerva placed in a flask. Alfor already then felt that it wouldn’t end well, but the cycle of events, alas, was launched, and the alchemist king turned into a passive observer of the impending tragedy.
At that time, we learned only one thing: that in the Rift between realities, where there’s an endless stream of the purest quintessence, such dark creatures live. That is, for them the quintessence is a natural habitat and a natural source of nutrition, since there’s simply nothing else there. And this is very Important. Because you need to remember that in the ordinary world, the quintessence is only inside living beings: planets, flora and fauna. Moreover, the concentration of the quintessence inside living bodies is several times less than in the Rift.
Just compare. We got to know what the raw quintessence looks like in the episode where paladins get to an imperial staging post (S1Ep12), and Keith tries to steal a vessel with purple quintessence. The Red paladin is wounded in the arm and crashes into a flask of yellow – raw – quintessence. And having already escaped from the kind, sweet druid, he looks in amazement as, thanks to this yellow liquid, the wound on his hand heals right before his eyes (however, at that moment he was more alarmed by the purple tint of his own blood than by the very fact of healing).
Quintessence is the energy of life. The yellow quintessence is the energy that is present in an ordinary living organism in normal natural concentration (someone has more of it, someone has less of it, I don’t know what the process of its extraction is). It’s weak, but completely harmless. It healed Keith without harming him.
One large flask of yellow quintessence produces a small flask of purified purple quintessence. And I think that even less is the more powerful blue. And in the Rift, the quintessence was in an absolutely pure – white – form, completely intolerable for normal living beings. Yes, the quintessence is the energy of life itself and can’t kill (that is, according to the logic of the series, Lotor just couldn’t die in the Rift), but this doesn’t mean that its overdose will lead to good consequences. The purple quintessence made the warden at Beta Traz (S2Ep10) swell like a balloon; with the help of the blue quintessence they created a real monster (S5Ep5); the pure stream burned Honerva and Zarkon’s brains in just a couple of minutes, and melted Lotor’s body.
This means that the DE from the Rift, where its natural habitat is a stream of the purest quintessence, got into a world where the quintessence, if there is, contains inside living beings and in very weak concentration.
How quickly do you think it got hungry?
In some way it was lucky, because next to it was a delicious Altean alchemist. As we know, even an ordinary Altean produces quintessence more than other races, and a powerful alchemist turns into a walking battery. In addition, Zarkon visited his wife periodically and became an excellent addition to the main course.
As a result, when Alfor came to check on his friend, he was surprised to notice that she had lost interest in him and was overly enthusiastic about research. And even Zarkon, who was initially wary of research, now also supported it.
This is because the quintessence diet wasn’t the only feature of the entity. Remember how it got to Honerva in the first place: the entity responded to the signal sent to the Rift, sent to search for intelligent races, which means that DE is in a sense a kind of intelligent creatures (which “predates time itself”, S8Ep8). And due to the lack of material organs, most likely, the entities communicated with each other through telepathy. The entity possessed mental abilities and, seeing a stable source of power in Honerva, tried to keep her close to itself, and also influenced Zarkon so that he fully supported his wife’s aspirations.
Alfor, belatedly realizing that it’s not very smart to investigate an incomprehensible thing, tries to urge his friends to be careful. And it seems that at that particular moment he could have succeeded, because the DE’s reaction to this statement was comparable to the reaction of an indignant cat – it immediately released the needles and hissed. And then, almost immediately, a whole wave of the entities poured out of the Rift.
I think, it didn’t like the new living space in the flask, and feeling a threat to life, the entity used its mental abilities and called for help.
Yes, if you think about it, then a fairly clear logical chain is built: Alfor showed aggression towards the entity – the entity was frightened – a whole wave of its relatives poured out of the Rift.
They didn’t just attack Daibazaal – they responded to the call for help. The entities clearly had a mutual mental connection, and maybe something like a collective intelligence. They even knew how to merge into a single organism that works no less harmoniously than Voltron.
As a result, literally a stone’s throw from the capital, the planet was invaded by an army of dark creatures. Yes, Alfor and Honerva managed to stop the main stream, but who said they were able to trap all entities?
Zarkon later stated that if urgent measures weren’t taken, his people would be exterminated, which means that the entities had a chance to demonstrate their abilities. Perhaps only the security of the complex suffered, or maybe some of the creatures escaped from its borders, because there was a large lively city nearby. Having lost their natural source of food, the DE infiltrated the first victims, and the Galra died from exhaustion, since they didn’t have a high level of quintessence like the Alteans. They literally turned into mummies in front of the doctors. The only thing that saved from the general pandemic was that it seemed that the entity couldn’t leave the host itself and died with them, otherwise the DE would have jumped between the victims until they completely exterminated the Galra people (I’ll explain a little later what led me to this idea).
But not only the Galra were among the victims. Honerva said that Kova suffered from the influence of DE, and she had to treat him with quintessence. It was thanks to this that she discovered that the quintessence is the energy of life, capable of even giving immortality, and after such processing, Kova himself was able to survive even in outer space (S8Ep2). At that moment, Honerva believed that the entity simply hurt/badly affected her pet. No one could have imagined that DE isn’t just an intelligent species, but capable of inhabiting living beings and even influencing their minds.
And that was very bad, because Honerva herself became a victim of the parasite. She was an Altean and also an alchemist, and therefore at the beginning didn’t even notice the “tenant”. It ate hearty, almost without harming its feeder, even helped in some way – for example, it suggested to Honerva that the quintessence could save Kova from “illness”, otherwise why would she even think of treating her beloved cat with a source of energy for ships and equipment?
But. Just because an entity found a stable host doesn’t mean that it was content with its position. The entity wanted to go home back to the Rift and began to influence its host to help in this. And therefore, after the death of the monster, despite all the troubles that it had caused, Honerva suddenly announced that she wanted to continue research. And Zarkon’s behavior looks absurd at all: first, he demanded from Alfor to urgently use Voltron to save his people, and then almost immediately didn’t care of Daibazaal’s well-being and supported Honerva in her desire to continue working on the Rift.
And all because the entity tried to take control of him too. It no longer just sat in a flask, as happened with its predecessor. It had a feeder in the form of a powerful alchemist, and it was able to draw energy from her in sufficient quantities to spread its influence. And although the influence on Zarkon was weaker than on Honerva, it was still present enough for the Galra emperor to blindly agree with his wife.
Unfortunately, Alfor never understood what was happening. He thought that the prospect of owning the quintessence had simply overshadowed Zarkon’s eyes, he didn’t notice how dramatically his friend had changed. And even after whole years, the alchemist king realized that something bad was happening only after visiting Daibazaal years later. Apparently, away from his wife, Zarkon behaved quite adequately, because he got rid of the influence of the essence. But next to her he became blind and deaf, repeating the words of his wife.
As a result, the paladins continued their heroism, and the entity continued to eat Honerva and influence Zarkon. And at first no one noticed the changes. After all, the Alteans in S8 also didn’t notice that the entities were harming them. When Honerva informed Zarkon that she was expecting a baby, she looked gray-haired but still as young as when she first appeared on screen. The body of the great alchemist more or less coped with one parasite. But when the fetus grew and began to draw all the juices from the mother, Honerva’s health deteriorated. And the mind too, because the entity, sensing the critical state of the host, began to worry and increased its pressure.
Remember what Lotor said about his mother’s logs. According to him, at the very end, the recordings were made… as if by another person. Feverish, insane and disorderly. Fear and paranoia appeared in them.
But what could Honerva be afraid of? Where did she get paranoia? She was expecting a child and was happy with the thought that she would give the empire her son, knowledge and a bright future. And all because it wasn’t her emotions. The entity sensed that its host was dying and panicked. DE was afraid for its life and was afraid that it would be revealed when the host became very bad. It panicked and at times even subdued the body, trying to write something itself.
Therefore, when Alfor received disturbing news about Daibazal’s condition and decided to visit a friend, he saw Honerva aged and… not quite in an adequate condition. Not realizing that Zarkon and his wife were under the influence of the DE, the alchemist king quarreled with them and left, slamming the door, although he was probably the only one who could help them in this situation.
After the conversation, Honerva faints as her condition reaches a critical point.
Remember what Honerva said when Zarkon desperately asked how to help her? She said she needed quintessence. Because the entity sensed that the host wasn’t doing well and broadcast signals for help. Honerva asked to open the Rift not because of a clouding of her mind, but because DE really wanted to return home and save its life.
If we collect all the scraps of her phrases together, then we get this:
We must… we must have it…we must have it… get back, get back, get back… quin… quintessence… quintessence is life… into the R… into the Rift. We must… we must have Voltron. Voltron! Voltron! This is the only way.
And it can be understood approximately like this:
We must return to quintessence in the Rift. The quintessence is life. We need Voltron, only this can help.
And… who are “we”? Zarkon, of course, thought to himself, but who said that Honerva was talking about him?
If Alfor knew what was happening, if he tried to help Honerva, he might have saved both the mother and the child, as Allura saved Tavo (S8Ep8). In our situation, events developed in a sad direction: Zarkon deceived his friends in a desperate attempt to save his wife. And look: when Zarkon climbed out of the Lion with Honerva in his arms, they were immediately surrounded by entities. Because they were waiting to take one of their kind home. They didn’t attack the paladins first, they were just going to take Honerva.
But one way or another, the DE’s plan failed. It remained inside Honerva, while Zarkon returned from the Rift with a burnt-out brain and a parasite inside.
Actually, then even Lotor got the DE. The doctor noted that the child had the same strange energy background as the parents, and expressed concern that it wouldn’t be possible to save the empress. Now there were already two entities and a child sitting inside – no wonder Honerva was getting worse and worse. And the poor nurse Haggar died simply because even the charge received from the Rift wasn’t enough to survive Honerva. No alchemical gift was enough to cope with such a burden.
From this it’s possible to draw conclusions about how the “illness” proceeded in other people, and it’s weighty to assume that the entity couldn’t leave the host of its own accord, dying with them. Otherwise, the DE would have left Honerva as soon as she began to fade.
Honerva only survived because Zarkon took care of a constant supply of the quintessence for his wife. Now he himself turned into a feeder and needed nourishment from the outside, since he was neither an Altean, nor an alchemist. The entity inside him, like all its relatives who fell into this world, wanted to return home, and therefore gradually a manic desire developed in Zarkon not only to get more quintessence, but also to return Voltron, as the only weapon capable of opening the Rift again. That’s why he considered the creation of Alfor so special and necessary, despite the fact that the empire itself perfectly coped with the spread of its influence in the universe.
Moreover, in this situation, it’s worthwhile to clearly distinguish between the change in character of Zarkon and his mania. Since the change in character was due to irradiation with pure concentrated quintessence, and mania appeared due to the presence of a parasite.
How the entity influenced Lotor remains questionable. The statement that it’s DE who made him extract energy from the Alteans can be dismissed at once: first, as a prince of the Galra, he could receive the quintessence in the official way in any quantity and even take a bath of quintessence every day; secondly, even before birth he was irradiated with pure energy, which not only endowed him with immortality, but also awakened the sleeping gift of the alchemist. That is, Lotor didn’t need personal consumption of the quintessence. On the other hand, his quest to end his mother’s research may seem a little intrusive… but only slightly when compared to Honerva’s obsessive research. Lotor was cold-blooded and non-fanatic about development, believing that research could solve the empire’s energy issue. Therefore, the most stable theory is that, having settled in an unborn child, the entity simply fell asleep and slept peacefully for ten thousand years, signing with the energy of its immortal host.
But let’s get back to Honerva, as her postpartum changes affected the future of the entire universe. Having given birth to a son, Honerva got rid of two parasites at once and, thanks to the influx of quintessence, gradually returned to normal. She didn’t remember her past, but at some point she managed to realize that “a guest worker” was sitting in her body. Perhaps this knowledge came to her during a crisis, when the entity tried to contact everyone and asked for help. Being a great alchemist, Honerva no longer just put up with the intruder and obey it, but, on the contrary, set her own rules. From a parasite, the entity turned into a subordinate symbiont and shared its abilities with Honerva. It was from DE that Haggar received the gift of influencing other people’s minds and drawing energy from living beings, which led to the creation of the Komar. Before her, none of the alchemists possessed such talents, and only Allura showed similar skills after a Clear Day episode. Haggar ceased to be just a feeder, she began to purposefully use the entity, and it had only to obey. As you can see, Haggar supported Zarkon in everything, but at the same time she was inclined to destroy Voltron rather than use it, and this is a consequence of the fact that the DE lost its control over her, turning into a humble servant.
One of the questions I asked myself while watching the show was who the druids of Haggar were and why they worship her so much. The druids had similar abilities, and I couldn’t help thinking that Haggar was conducting experiments on the Alteans and turning them into her minions. But in the light of these considerations, everything turns out to be much simpler: Haggar gave dark entities to her subordinates/laboratory assistants and taught them to use them. For them, it became a revelation and a special gift, and therefore they treated their high priestess with such respect, and the needs of the entity were easily satisfied with the quintessence available to them.
And by the way, the real Lotor couldn’t know about all this, since he was born much later than the events on Daibazaal. Lotor was aware that Haggar was able to read other people’s minds and therefore became a real paranoid, but had no idea about the nature of this ability.
What does Lotor’s degree of falsity have to do with it? Here we need to move on to the events of Clear Day episode and the scenes with Allura, which made me think about the importance of the DE for the plot. And yes, in Clear Day we meet a different prince than the one who accompanied us throughout most of the series. Remember the moment Tavo was saved: Sam put the entity in a flask, and the first thing the entity tried to do was to take control of Allura. But the fact that Sam interrupted the process doesn’t mean that DE stopped there. It’s hungry, it lost the host – well, how can you resist a walking battery right in front of you?
And all of Allura’s dreams, all visions didn’t just appear out of thin air. DE really wanted a new host for itself, it aimed at Allura and wasn’t going to stop. And note an interesting point: the longer Allura was near the entity, the closer she was to it, the larger the DE became. How small it was after being removed from the Tavo, and how huge it became by the end of the episode.
First, the DE dug at the very top of her consciousness, and saw her longing for home and mother, because Allura just turned off the hologram with her parents before going to bed. Then it dug a little more and saw Lance. And then it dug in the very depths, saw Lotor and realized that yes – it would work.
They (who edited S8) tried to show us that the terrible ghost of Lotor inclines Allura to something bad, but in reality Lotor didn’t send anyone or anything. Lotor doesn’t know alchemy and doesn’t know how to control entities. How does he even know what kind of creatures they are? Also, he’s a very proud man and will never beg anyone for himself. And remember that from his point of view, Allura betrayed him and left him to die.
The entity just wanted to eat and get a new host. And this whole performance with visions had one specific goal – to get Allura to free the parasite. And in order to achieve what it wanted, the DE showed Allura what she wanted to see. With these scenes, we were actually shown to whom at a given moment Allura had the greatest trust and affection, whom she wanted to see, and therefore they tried to either cut out or alter the scenes, because they clearly showed that memories of her mother became the main hook for Allura, and most importantly – Lotor.
…however, they didn’t succeed. The scenes still look like Allura chased Lance away and indulged in
erotic dreams of Lotor…
And laughing Lotor at the very end of the episode is the joy of the very DE that it achieved its goal. And it said to Allura “Follow me!” because in some way it decided to fulfill the desire of the new host. Want to chat with Lotor? I’ll deal with it – in the end, my relative is sitting in him, and we have a mental connection with each other.
And it was the understanding that such a connection between entities exists that allowed Allura to then penetrate into Honerva’s mind. But first, Allura had to figure out that yes – there was a connection. And she could only figure out, only realizing that it was thanks to the presence of the DE inside that she was able to connect with Lotor.
Does it look logical? It is logical.
And I can easily imagine the beginning of their conversation, when Lotor is surprised at the appearance of Allura in his mind/dream, and she exclaims in amazement that he himself called her. A situation will arise that requires a retelling of the events that have taken place, which will make Lotor understand that now Allura is ready to listen to him and is capable of a reasonable dialogue.
On the other hand, Alfor’s worries becomes more justified. He was frightened not just by the self-will of his daughter, who decided to play with an unknown force. Before his eyes the example of his own best friend, who suffered from a parasite, arose, and after all, Honerva was an experienced and powerful alchemist. He was afraid that Allura would also become a victim of the entity, and therefore began to persuade his daughter to abandon the dangerous idea. Yes, Alfor was prone to hyper-custody, but he wasn’t as bad a father as they tried to show us in S8.
And after all that has been described, only one question remains: how did the history of the DE come to an end – but alas, it’s no longer possible to find out, since the end of this storyline was simply cut off. Perhaps the entities managed to somehow come to an agreement with Allura, and she helped them return home, because in the end this is exactly what they wanted most.
Personally, I’m simply glad that, despite the flair of alchemy aka magic, Voltron turned out to be much closer to science fiction than to a space opera, and the events have a more weighty explanation than just a magical plot twist that arose at the behest of the screenwriter. A parasite from another reality, a higher mind as the last stage in the evolution of an intelligent being – these are quite classic elements of this genre, very elegantly blended into the outline of the series.