Halo Season 2 Finale Recap and Review

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Season 2, Episode 8 of Paramount Plus’ Halo ends on a high note after finally bringing in an integral part of the game.  

This is a recap and review of episode 8, with a small review of the season as a whole after. Spoilers to follow!

Credit: Paramount Plus

Starting off the episode, Miranda, while studying spores from the artifact under a microscope, is accosted by a strange scientist (Janine). When Miranda accuses her of touching it, Janine won’t admit it. Janine then leaves, smiles at another scientist, and touches her hand. We follow Janine a bit as she grows steadily more pale and sweaty. As her veins grow black, Janine whirls into a frenzy, attacking another scientist while others restrain her.

I will admit, I thought they were going to cut this part of the game out for some reason. I should have clued in last episode when they entered the lab. As a writer for this website, I clearly like zombies, so this turn was quite fun. 

Out in space, Perez prays in Spanish as they approach the battle. An explosion rocks their ship and she is flung out of the ship. She struggles to right herself before she passes out. She manages to do it, evades other bodies and Spartan-IIIs, and makes it to the Covenant ship. 

Panagosky tells John that he needs to reach the Halo first. John accuses her of deciding who lives and who dies, and he hangs up on her.

In the ship, Kai’s team attempts to meet their objective. They are shortly under attack, and during the battle, the fleet shows up. As one of the ships turns to provide evac, it’s blasted to pieces. John accuses Parangosky of abandoning them, but she says they’re buying him time. John thinks about his coin flipping again, then decides he’s going to try and save his buddies. 

And, finally, he puts his damn helmet back on! 

On the Arbiter’s ship, Makee, realizing Cortana is loyal to John above all else, smashes her node. 

We finally get a tiny bit of in-battle banter as Kai and Perez push forward, picking up plasma rifles as they go. In a real nod to the game, Perez wields two needlers despite a massive wound. Heavily wounded, she asks Kai what to do. Kai takes out the spike, debating whether to use it, and Perez tells her to make their fight worth something. As Kai moves to stab it into the drive, John shows up, taking out all the Sangheili in his path. Of course, he picks up an energy sword too.  

After a brief conversation, John leads Kai, Mullins, and Perez out. Kai stays behind briefly. 

Paragonsky has Halsey brought to the room and orders her to tell John to do as she says (as, instead of heading toward the Halo, he’s going after Cortana, who is in a ship that is breaking apart). Halsey, instead, tells him of an entry point. 

When John arrives on the ship, he finds Cortana has jumped into the ship’s systems. Before they can blow up, John punches the mainframe, which somehow allows Cortana to enter his armor.

John wakes up, having crashed on the ring world. Cortana claims it’s the perfect fusion of artificial and organic life. She says this with a smirk, as if to suggest she and Master Chief are also of a similar perfect symbiosis. They head towards a structure.

Makee and my boy, the Arbiter, are also heading towards it.

Perez wakes up to find Mullins, who explains that Kai stayed behind on the Covenant ship. We find her, in typical Kai fashion, as she approaches the console. She takes the controls and, in a Kamikaze move, flies towards the flagship. The explosion is so immense even Master Chief sees it on the planet. He seems to sense he’s lost his best friend and increases his pace.  

As the battle takes place, the spore sub-plot continues on Onyx. Kwan approaches Soren and says that something has been watching her and following her. Soren doesn’t believe her story about a monster and says he’s going after his wife and kid.

Ackerson has been placed in the same jail as Laera and Kessler. After chatting with him, the kid moves on to try and talk to Janine, in another cell. She’s facing away from them, and a gross bug climbs out of her mouth.  

Soren and Kwan enter the facility to find everyone frozen in place, reminiscent of that scene with those nurses from Silent Hill.

Janie goes full zombie, squeezing through the cell bars, a tendril bursting out of her in her attempts to get them. Ackerson grabs the guard’s gun through his cell bar and takes her out, but the guard also is infected.

Kwan finds them on the monitors, and they rush to rescue them. They do, letting them out. They let Ackerson out, too, because Laera says he saved them.  

Halsey and Miranda talk about the spores just as the infection breaks out in the command centre. Halsey just escapes being taken, watching from outside the room as Paragosky meets a terrible end.

Ackerson leads the family through the basement, where they run into many infected. They fight their way through, with Kwan being overtaken. The infected stop upon reaching her, having her visions again of the woman. The woman claims she is a past life of Kwan’s, and all her ancestors are here with her. She claims that Kwan submit to the infection, to who or whatever controls it – the cohesion, she calls it, or, as in the game, The Flood. 

Halsey approaches Miranda in her lab, who explains that mere proximity to live tissue causes the flood to wake and self-replicate. Halsey claims it’s beautiful, that the Flood is a connection to the aliens of the past. Miranda sees someone outside the room acting strangely, and then Halsey begins to do so herself. She places Halsey inside a cryopod to stop the spread. 

As her family escapes the facility, Laera locks herself inside. She shows Soren that she’s been infected and walks back into the darkness. Back on Soren’s ship, after they escape, Soren talks to Kessler about his mother. 


Meanwhile, at the Halo, the Arbiter and Makee reach the structure. John arrives too, and the boys have a sword fight. Equally matched, they pummel it out for awhile, the Arbiter getting the upper hand for a bit, then John. After the Master Chief manages to beat the crap out of the Sangheili and break one of his mandibles, the Arbiter asks that John kill him to end his shame. Makee claims that this isn’t the death he’s supposed to have, but the Arbiter asks what a soldier is supposed to be when he can’t fight. John stabs him.

This made me pretty sad because I was hoping this season would lead to the Arbiter and John becoming the frenemies they developed into in the games. In that universe, the two of them had a pretty fun dynamic that started as being forced to work together to what could be called friendship over the course of multiple games. It’s quite unfortunate we’re being denied this, but perhaps another Sangheili will step in (as “Arbiter” is a title, after all). 

Makee, in response to John’s actions, activates the structure. She claims that everywhere he goes, war will follow, but that the ring will bring the ultimate peace. As he watches, more structures emerge from the mountains. Makee enters the building, claiming she’s a demon too.

The entire episode was framed by John answering the questions of a disembodied voice. In the final scene, the voice claims that something is waiting to meet him down in the dark. The voice, it turns out, is a floating orb (whom players of the game will recognize!) and clearly of ancient alien design.   

Season Review

I enjoyed this season far more than the first. I was one of many viewers who found the romance angle of Makee and John to be silly in season 1, so the focus in this season on other topics was much appreciated. John’s story arc, of learning to be his own person, moved at a good pace and broadened his character. The battle scenes, while relatively short and rather few for a show based on a first-person shooter, were engaging and fun. Paramount Plus is not Amazon or Netflix, so I can imagine it really pushed their budget to make the scenes they did.

While not the main focus, I thought Riz and Perez’s storylines were interesting in how they tackled different responses to trauma. I also liked how we were given two different types of strength in Kai and Laera. Initially rather scared and weak, Laera found her strength in her need to defend her son, and Kai, always strong, had to figure out that her strength came from her loyalty to her siblings-in-arms and not from doing what she was told. 

Kwan’s ghost stuff was a bit too ethereal for me; I could have done without it. Ackerson’s story, as I explained in a previous episode’s review, was a bit all over the place. I do hope he sticks around, though, only because he and Soren bickering might give the show some much-needed humour. I thought Makee’s storyline this time was fine – she’ll never be my favorite character, and neither will Halsey (though Miranda I’m ok with). I do wish we’d had more time with the Arbiter, as it seemed the only time we got aliens in this season was when they were running around with their swords out. 

Lastly, there were moments of the season I thought could have been improved. The first few episodes were too drawn out and felt a bit contrived at times, and the “forerunner” technology angle  was far too rushed. The best Halo lore involves the Forerunners, so to have most of it be ruins and a brief scene in the lab/at the end was disappointing.  

But, if we get a season 3 and it manages to keep up the trajectory of the last half of season 2, I’ll keep my Paramount Plus subscription active and check it out. In the meantime, maybe I’ll get the old games on Stream. Or read the books again! 

    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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