When it comes to shows that have been adapted from books/video games, there’s nothing I like more than to be proved wrong and have a series that is perhaps even better than its source material.
Well, color me disappointed because I did love Halo’s visuals and the potential it had, considering all the new characters and arcs they created, and the way they integrated it with Halo lore. But my initial enthusiasm for Halo suffered when it lost momentum in the second half of the season, ultimately resulting in an underwhelming finale.
Here’s in brief what goes down:
In the Halo S1 finale, John tracks down the Covenant’s home planet and retrieves the Halo artifacts. But in the process, he sacrifices his consciousness and loses Makee. Back on Reach, Halsey evades the UNSC’s death sentence and escapes to an unknown planet.
Allow me to explain in detail what exactly happens in the finale and why it was all underwhelming for me. Read through to see if you missed spotting any important details:
1. The Silver Team Is Reunited
First on John’s agenda is telling his Silver Team the truth about Halsey. He struggles to convince them initially, but when Captain Keyes corroborates his story, they have no choice but to accept it.
Here, I would’ve liked Vannak and Riz to have a few moments where they could deal with the gravity of this revelation, just like John and Kai did. But we don’t get those scenes yet.
Now that he’s got his team back on his side, John needs to find where exactly the Covenant is located and retrieve the Halo artifacts. With Cortana’s help, he deduces that their planet has to be somewhere in the Aspero system.
But getting there is far from easy. Although none of the technical terms make sense to a layperson, the visuals of the Silver Team’s spacecraft suffering from shattering damage show how difficult this journey is. Still, the good news is that they endure it all and make it to the Covenant’s home planet.
When they land, it looks too deserted to be true. It’s only when they foray deeper and make their presence known to the Covenant’s Hierarchs that they get attacked by a giant Covenant army.
We’ve been waiting for another Covenant showdown since Ep 5, but sadly, this one isn’t as rewarding. While some shots are magnificent, the fight itself isn’t nearly as exciting as one would expect for the finale.
2. The Halo Array’s Location Revealed
The Silver Team does their best to take on the Covenant sentinels, but the mighty Spartans seem puny as they’re swatted down one by one like flies. When Makee sees that John is on the ground, head about to be crushed, she helps him the only way she knows she can—by activating the Halo artifacts.
This sends a huge blast of energy that for some reason only seems to blow away the Covenant army but leaves the Silver Team intact.
But besides that plothole, what is marvelous to see is that when the artifacts are activated together, it projects the locations of all the Halo rings.
3. Makee Dies
No one was surprised when the Covenant’s Hierarchs revealed their nasty plan of getting rid of Makee once she was done revealing the Halo Rings’ positions.
But it was unexpected when the show decided that Makee’s journey has come to an end. When Makee activates both the Halo artifacts, she and John are once again transported to the Halo Ring. During this time, their physical bodies are in some kind of stasis.
Since Kai couldn’t wake John up, she resorts to breaking Makee’s connection with the Halo. She does this by shooting and killing her.
When John wakes up and realizes what’s happened, he looks quite aghast. But like a true Spartan, he pushes those feelings aside and gets back to the mission.
4. Cortana Takes Over Master Chief
This episode finally cements Cortana and John’s friendship. It starts out with John confiding that he needs her in order to find the Covenant.
Then, during the journey, Cortana confides in him that Halsey’s original plan was to wipe John’s consciousness and have Cortana take over. John would cease to exist but the next “level” of human would be achieved.
So, what changed? Well, Cortana’s programming commands her to make the best decisions she can from all the things she constantly learns. So, while she was initially inclined to follow Halsey’s orders, spending time with John made her realize how futile that plan is.
Both the bonding and information come in handy when right at the end of the fight with the Covenant, John realizes that the only way to save both his team and the artifacts is by letting Cortana take over his consciousness.
The season ends with a masked Master Chief whose blank stares don’t answer any of our pressing questions: Is John dead? Is his consciousness lost forever? Has Cortana taken over his body for good?
5. Dr. Halsey Escapes Reach
Through the course of the series, Halsey has made herself a formidable antagonist. She isn’t the end-all enemy, but you better keep an eye out for her!
When John discerns that she is trying to capture him and run away with the Halo artifacts, he beseeches his fellow Spartans to see sense and help him. Then we get an action-packed sequence of Kai sabotaging Halsey’s escape attempt, which ends with her arrest and death sentence.
Only… that’s not the case. Miranda realizes that at some point, Halsey has already escaped and the “person” they have in custody is in fact a flash clone of her. Cut to Halsey sweetly basking in freedom on an unknown planet, talking about how the Halo Array will help humans achieve transcendence.
You’re sounding a bit like the Covenant there, Halsey.
6. No Signs of Kwan Ha and Madrigal
Kwan Ha and Madrigal’s story always seemed like it was part of a different show and its absence from the finale only makes this sentiment scream out louder. I was expecting this arc to have some payoff or at least get addressed in the season finale, but it just felt like the show itself has forgotten about it.
While I’m sure we will get to see more of it in Halo S2, I can’t help but feel like this added to the overall underwhelming rendition of the Halo S1 finale.
7. About Halo
Halo is an upcoming American live-action sci-fi television series based on the Halo video game franchise. The series has a budget of an estimated $200 million. It is scheduled to premiere on Paramount+ in early 2022.
The series stars Pablo Schreiber, Natascha McElhone, Charlie Murphy, Jen Taylor, Shabana Azmi, Bokeem Woodbine, Kate Kennedy, Natasha Culzac, Yerin Ha and Bentley Kalu.
Halo will focus on the 26th-century war between the United Nations Space Command and the alien Covenant. The series will “weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.”