HALO, TV Shows

Halo Season 2 Episode 1 and 2 Recap and Review

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Paramount Plus’ Halo, Season 2, carries forth with the same somber tone and few-and-far-between action scenes as Season 1. This is a recap and review of the first two episodes of season 2.

Before I get into Season 2, I’ll briefly explain my thoughts on Season 1. 

Back in the days of the first Xbox and 360, I played games 1-3, and I continued to enjoy the lore by reading all the novelizations (Hunters in the Dark was my favorite). So, for me, the first season of Halo was an odd mix of game story, a major plotline of the early novels, and some screenwriter hot takes. While I found the show’s action scenes quite exciting and fun, the storyline dragged a lot in the middle of the season, and the romance angle was pretty cringe-worthy.  Overall, I would say I found the first season enjoyable but didn’t add anything to the series. 

But, because I love the Covenant, and I’m very interested in how they’re going to do a certain major battle that will undoubtedly happen this season, I renewed my Paramount Plus subscription. 

What follows is a recap and review of the first two episodes of Halo, Season 2. I’m going to assume basic knowledge of the characters. Spoilers to follow! 


We start Episode 1 on Sanctuary, during Operation Shepherd, where John and team are assisting the UNSC with a temporary evacuation in order to save them from the Convenant. John takes off to inspect something in the fog, which turns out to be a lost marine squad. They explain they got separated from the rest of their group. They are attacked by a mysterious entity in the fog: a squad of Elites.

In true Master Chief fashion, John takes them all out with one gun and his shoulder knife. That fight was pretty badass. Of course, when he goes to check on a fallen soldier, a dozen more show up, energy swords blazing. Surprisingly, the elites turn and leave. Before John can ponder why he wasn’t pulverized, the Covenant begins glassing the planet.

The heat from their weapons is so intense that the entire ground is turned to molten slag, much like we saw of Mandalore in the Mandalorian Season 3, Chapter 18. 

At the evac site, John shows up, carrying Perez (Cristina Rodlo), and a shaman tells him she’s foreseen his death. Really, though, he’s a soldier who fights giant aliens every day – not sure it’s that much of a stretch that he might die soon. 

Later, on Reach, Admiral Keyes hosts a sitrep, explaining which planet they think the Covenant will glass next. John tries to explain that the Sangheili were on the planet before the glassing, but he is interrupted by Joseph Morgan’s Ackerson (from the books!), the new director of the Spartan program (who replaced Dr. Halsey). This guy is shady beyond measure. In truth, I found his character a bit too obviously the bad guy. For a show that seems to be forsaking action for plot, this aspect could have used a bit more nuance.  

Credit: Paramount Plus

Later, John meets with him and tries to explain his belief that the Covenant was on a training mission on Sanctuary. Ackerson suggests that John was imagining things, based on having had the AI Cortana in his head previously. Shortly after, John approaches Ackerson again, concerned about Cobalt Team being sent to what he believes is a dangerous location, but  Ackerson gaslights the crap out of him and refuses to do as John asks. 

John, wearing a ridiculous jacket, meets with former General Parangosky, who belives his theories. She wants him to do some side missions for her to prove them. Maybe it’ll help him level up for the main boss fight? 

During all this, we move to The Rubble, to where a group of people are up for auction. One young man is Felix from Harvest, who appears quite out of his depth … until he offers up Halsey’s whereabouts. Soren, the former Spartan we met in season 1, is interested. Back at their house, his wife, Laera, claims their status has changed in the community, and she wants to escape. She’s clearly is nervous about the glassing and the changing politics in the asteroid community. Soren refuses and goes to find Felix. 

Felix explains that he saw Halsey in a cryo-tube, and takes Soren and crew to a derelict, breaking-up ship. Soren and Felix board it. I found this scene fantastic, as I love abandoned spaceships, and the way they had the parts and containers floating in vacuum was quite cool. 

And … it’s a trap! Felix is UNSC.

Episode 2: 

We start with Halsey, who is in some sort of facility. I assumed from the start that she was in a simulation, and one of the last scenes in the episode confirms it. What I didn’t expect was that Ackerson had control of it and access to Cortana. 

We have a few scenes throughout the episode focused on Kwan, back on The Rubble. She is indentured to the “Spliff” gang and tagged via a chip in her ear. She beats the crap out of some dudes chasing her and escapes into the garbage. 

I must say, I love how the refuse collection of the colony seems to involve compressing the trash in WALL-E fashion and then jettisoning it into space. 

I realize the conveyor was there so Kwan could space the one guy, but I was wondering about the logistics. Does the trash just float around? Does it crash into spaceships?   

As I was distracted thinking about space trash, Kwan kills her attackers. Later, Kessler, Soren’s son, brings Kwan food while his mother confronts Soren’s traitorous team. 


Most of the episode, though, focuses on the Spartans. 

Kai notices that Riz seems sore, and tries to convince her to put her pellet back in, but Riz says she’d rather die. Kai also confronts John about his moods, but they are interrupted by a man changing Cobalt Team’s status on the mission board to “standby.” Why they have a man physically changing the board, as opposed to a computer screen showing the information, is beyond me. 

John asks Ackerson, who, predictably, won’t provide info.   

Riz, who does look very ill, is offered a referral to a mysterious doctor by Louis, a former Spartan recruit. Before she can take him up on it, she gets hurt during a training session. Despite her obvious physical distress, John tells her to continue with the exercise. John is clearly worried about the Spartans’ place in the navy and his own fears about what the Covenant is up to, and it’s reflected in his treatment of his team. Unfortunately, Ackerson manipulates Kai into admitting such to him.  

John goes to Perez’ house to talk to her and is invited to dinner. Of course, her brothers flip out when they realize John is a Spartan, and there’s a funny reference to KDR (“kill/death rate”) from the game.

We don’t get enough time with the comedy as we’re right back into the serious stuff again. Perez explains how she was confused when the elite didn’t kill her, which was why she didn’t tell Ackerson. Maybe the elites were taking a cue from Predator and were on a training mission? Maybe they left her alive because she was hurt and unarmed at the time?

John goes into the logs and learns that Cobalt team never left Reach. He takes his team to find them at Visegrad, against orders.  

Meanwhile, at Sword Base, also on Reach, some marines are beset by the Covenant, led by Makee. Some sort of clone, I guess? Either way, she is there to steal a very fancy artifact, and then the episode ends. 


Overall Thoughts

Call me basic, but there’s not enough action in these first two episodes. While I appreciate a military sci-fi with in-depth characters and story, I mainly watch this show to see the Spartans in action, or at least something other than politics between leadership and soldiers.

While the action scenes we got were snappy and exciting, they were too short and too far in between. Likewise, the story is almost entirely lacking in humour. We get the odd bit here and there, but for the most part, the show is off-balanced regarding its sombre tone, and it’s a bit too slow-paced for my liking. Then again, there’s no way we’re not getting a certain major conflict that happens in the game, so perhaps they put all their battle scene budget into that?

As well as waiting for that particular event, I’ll still keep watching it every week because I’m hoping we’ll get more time with the aliens and their “side,”  but given what I expect will happen soon, that will likely be a season 3 thing (if we get one).

The next episode airs on February 15 on Paramount Plus. 

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    T. S. Beier is obsessed with science fiction, the ruins of industry, and Fallout. She is the author of What Branches Grow, a post-apocalyptic novel (which was a Top 5 Finalist in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards and a semi-finalist in the 2021 Self-Published Science Fiction Competition) and the Burnt Ship Trilogy (space opera). She is a book reviewer, editor, and freelance writer. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two feral children, and a Shepherd-Mastiff.

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