Halo has finally released and is available for streaming on Paramount+. A lot of stuff happened in Halo Episode 1, and some of it is hidden away in subtitles and freeze frames. If you’re looking for an in-depth recap with lots of pictures – this is it. We scoured every image and moment to give you a detailed play-by-play — including quite a few things you might have missed — from the first episode.
We’ll be covering all your most burning Halo questions, so make sure you subscribe to our email list for all the latest news, and join our Halo Fanatics Facebook group as well. Episode one is now available for streaming on Paramount Plus.
The Conflict on Madrigal
We start on Planet Madrigal.
Tier 4 Heavy Water Extraction Planet
UEG Outer Colonies
The scene opens on a busy control room at an outpost where we meet a character named “The Professor” who claims to have killed a lot of UNSC marines. There appears to be a lot of gambling going on. Djanka is dealing cards.
A TV screen plays in the background. A man named Vinsher Grath is giving a speech on the news station Intersystem News.
“…but rather than pay a fair price for our precious dueterium, the UNSC leadership on Reach seek to enslave us…they’ve repeatedly sent legions of marines, and their super weapons the Spartans, to crush us. But war need not be the answer. And that is why Jin Ha has sent me and trusts me to negotiate an end to this endless war. As the Bard once wrote, Wise…”
The Professor says Vinsher is a fool, and dangerous because he is giving people false hope. The Professor thinks peace is impossible with the UNSC.
The colonists then discuss how OP Spartans are.
Jin Ha enters the room, and he is referred to as General.
*If Jin Ha sent Vinsher Grath to negotiate a peace, then Jin must be important. Does he lead all of Madrigal?
We’re in a forest on Madrigal.
Here’s where we meet Jin Ha’s daughter Kwan. Kwan leads her friends Cara, Esso, Faaz and Neru into the woods to try some drugs that are enhanced somehow by Madrigal’s abundance of heavy hydrogen.
Aliens attack the children. Kwan sends up a flare and the outpost prepares for battle. Kwan races home.
We’re back at the outpost.
Upon reaching her father, Kwan and Jin have an exchange in Korean:
Jin Ha “Kwan, hurry!”
Kwan “They killed Cara and Esso, and..”
Jin “How many UNSC?”
Kwan “It’s not UNSC, Dad.”
Jin “Get in the vault with the others. Stay safe.”
Kwan “Dad, no wait! Listen to me, they’re not marines.”
Jin then tells her in English to do her duty and Kwan leaves.
Kwan grabs Malchin and leads him to safety.
Those on the walls open fire first, and are taken out in one great explosion. The door implodes and in walk the Elites.
Jin says “What in God’s name?” in Korean.
The Elites are all carrying Energy Rifles and Plasma Pistols. Later in the battle, we see some of them wielding energy swords.
One energy sword guy has red on his armor while the others are gray. Is he a leader?
One human is blind firing from behind cover. Relatable.
An energy sword goes through a steel door like butter. Woah.
Elites are probably 8-9 feet tall.
The Professor admits that he heard about the Covenant, but he never believed it and thought it was all UNSC propaganda.
Master Chief lands. Spartan 117. John. His HUD identifies Jin as an Insurrectionist and the Elite as… an Elite.
Master Chief kills the Elite, has a head nod moment with Jin, and gets back to work.
Another Spartan lands. Kai 125. Kai is carrying a Sniper Rifle. The other Spartans appear to be using Assault Rifles.
Two more Spartans land, their names are Vannak and Riz.
Master Chief says “Silver Team, engage”.
One Spartan says they’re taking over watch. Kai?
An elite sees Master Chief and says “demon!”
Now we need a Spartan combat montage.
Body shot plus fragmentation grenade kill.
Double headshot kill.
Melee, chest shot, melee, headshot kill.
These Elites are like the ones in the game. You need to wear down their shields first.
Vannak grabs a metal pole to clear North quadrant. His Spartan armor looks more beefy.
He whips the pole around and kills two Elites. One by bludgeoning and another by stabbing.
Jin Ha finally racks up a single kill for the colonists. Or does he? On replay, it looks like the Spartan may have actually killed it while Jin merely distracted.
Startan Riz says, “Elite cluster, West quadrant” and dual wields some pistols. Riz seems to have antenna or two on her armor.
Riz does some kicks on the Elites, then finishes them off with a human pistol to one’s head and a plasma pistol to the other’s.
An Elite stupidly chases Kwan rather than fighting the Spartans. He is killed by Kai with a sniper headshot.
Kai gets in trouble and calls in Chief to help. Master Chief soaks up a few shots and then takes cover while his armor regenerates.
Master Chief grabs a heavy machine gun, rips it off a vehicle (Warthog?), and pwns three elites with it.
Jin Ha dies trying to save his daughter from the final Elite. Once Jin is dead, the Elite continues his pursuit but is taken down by Master Chief before he can kill the girl.
Master Chief tells Link Command that Covenant forces have been neutralized.
“20 Elite warriors killed, 150 civilians” – and one lone survivor.
The title sequence is short. It’s like the Spartan armor pieces are coming together while the human body is shedding skin but gaining mass? It’s hard to explain. It finishes with Master Chief standing there inside some circles (rings?).
Elsewhere on Madrigal, the Spartans find the Covenant Phantom ship and a cave nearby.
Master Chief and Kai search the cave while Vannak and Riz secure the ship.
Master Chief and Vannak switch weapons. Why tho.
Covenant ship is found on local grid 12-Tango-Zone-Echo.
An Elite hides in the cave. Master Chief tries to retrieve the object.
When he touches it, it lights up what looks like electronics throughout the cave, activates a hologram, and gives Master Chief a vision or a memory of a little boy with a white fluffy dog.
Riz pulls Master Chief away from the object and he recovers.
The Elite runs away and uses active camouflage to escape in what appears to be a Covenant Banshee. It wears off in about ten seconds, which is similar to active camo in the games.
There’s a stamp on the Spartan armor with a wolf, a moon, and roman numeral 2.
The Journey to Reach
Next we’re at Planet Reach.
Fleetcom – UNSC Headquarters
Dr. Catherine Halsey works are a wall sized computer terminal standing desk.
She’s watching Master Chief ‘s mission logs – ie his Spartan GoPro.
Halsey appears to be under surveillance by two soldiers while she does her work.
Admiral Parangosky barges in, complains about the civilian casualties and reminds her that the Security Committee is looking for an excuse to cut her funding.
Parangoski “We’ve been fighting these creatures for years and we still have no idea what they want, where to find them, or how to beat them.”
Halsey tells her about the alien object John found, and she is pacified. Parangosky also says the UNSC wants a friendly face talking to the survivor; Miranda Keyes.
Halsey if fine with that, but wants the alien object to come directly to her. Alien tech is Miranda’s division says the Admiral, but she seems amenable.
The Admiral hears something and goes to investigate. It is as she suspected, she is mad. She says that she told Halsey it was a nonstarter. Halsey says she paused active development but the Admiral says you’ve paused nothing.
The Admiral says to destroy that one and all others, and insinuates that what Halsey is doing is illegal. We are not told what it is.
Halsey goes to a pod and the camera pans to show a bald sleeping Halsey clone inside.
Appears to be an alien space station. It looks kind of like a mushroom with a spine or a jellyfish.
A Prophet named Mercy floats through the halls on his floaty chair, and finds the Blessed One, a human woman.
A Prophet, in this case, is an alien species, not a vocation.
The Blessed One had predicted where the object would be on Madrigal. It is a relic.
Mercy says it was taken from a Kaidon warrior by the Demon, who was able to activate it just like the Blessed One can.
The Blessed One is carrying a book of “human stories”. We can see the title is The Dawn of Angels.
Mercy wants the stories read to him, but the Blessed One brushes him off.
Back on the ship, Miranda Keys reaches out to Kwan, and wants her to help fight the aliens by telling the other colonies about the danger of the Covenant and how the UNSC is fighting them. She wants the colonies to be united with the UNSC against the alien threat.
Kwan rejects the offer and threatens to lie, saying the UNSC attacked the colony, unless the UNSC grants independence for Madrigal.
We’re back on Reach and Halsey is watching a hologram of Master Chief’s biometrics when he touched the stone.
“Body temp us up, lymphatics ignited, heightened activity in Pineal gland and Hypothalamus, stimulating his connective tissue.”
Halsey calls John (Master Chief) on speed dial “Sierra 117”.
Master Chief “Returning from 23 Librae, Planet Madrigal.”
He reports what he saw when he touched the object. “Woods, a white dog, a family. That’s what it felt like”
Master Chief is ordered to keep his distance from the object.
Master Chief does a self scan and gets a status report.
We’re now in the lab with Miranda Keyes and her father Jacob Keyes. He appears to be a high rank.
Miranda thinks Halsey is against her and throwing roadblocks in her way. Her father disagrees and thinks Halsey is just hyper focused on the mission.
We find out Halsey is Miranda’s mom. Now dad breaks the news the UNSC is going to kill Kwan and lie about it.
Aka an Article 72. It wasn’t his order. It “came from up top.”
Back on the ship. Chief engages in some small talk with Kwan.
Kwan reveals that Master Chief killed her mother.
Kwan’s mother was at a meeting of outer world colonists discussing how the UNSC was stripping them of their natural resources.
Four Spartans showed up responding to an “insurrectionist bomb threat”. Kwan and Master Chief both think it makes no sense for insurrectionists to bomb themselves.
Master Chief reveals they were actually ordered to eliminate the organizer and the orders changed because the assembled were deemed an imminent threat.
Master Chief was just following orders. Kwan thinks he should be more skeptical.
Master Chief gets the order to eliminate Kwan.
Master Chief disables the security cameras.
Admiral Parangosky, Dr. Halsey, and Captain Keyes all discuss what is happening.
Parangosky is worried that Master Chief has gone rogue.
Halsey chocks it up to a malfunction due to the relic. Possibly connected to the fact that he is getting his memories back of his parents, which they thought that Halsey had “sealed”.
Halsey says the Cortana system could help with this situation. Parangosky refuses saying “no cloning, no Cortana”.
UNSC drops the ship’s oxygen levels to kill Kwan.
They drop the oxygen in Master Chief’s suit as well to render him unconscious.
“Do not drop the 02 below 40” aka 40%.
Master Chief rips away a panel and manually restores the oxygen.
The ship is controlled by the UNSC AI, Keye scrambles Pelicans.
The Admiral puts out a general alarm to summon everyone to the landing bay. “Full squadron protocol.”
The UNSC base springs into action.
Halsey contacts Silver Team and tells them she is superseding the Admiral’s orders to neutralize Master Chief. Her orders are to secure and protect MC from anyone who threatens his life, no matter the circumstances.
Kwan wakes up confused. Confronts Master Chief. He tells her what’s up and asks her to trust him.
Master Chief face reveal! He makes himself vulnerable to Kwan to win her trust.
Kwan asks why he decided to help her. Master Chief doesn’t know why.
UNSC has got surveillance everywhere. They’re watching as Master Chief gives Kwan a rifle.
Master Chief has to disconnect cables at the same time as Kwan to deactivate the AI before they land. Otherwise the ship will lose control.
Kwan shoots the panel, and they go into manual mode.
The UNSC fires on the ship, knocking it down. It is swarmed by soldiers and the Spartans get ready for a fight.
Admiral Parangosky gives the kill order for Kwan and also Master Chief if he “makes a move.”
Master Chief grabs the relic and sees some more memories. As a kid he drew the relic and showed his mom!
An EMP pulse takes out the electronics on Reach and powers Master Chief’s ship.
He and Kwan use the opportunity to fly away. Roll credits.