Halo: Season Two

Spoilers: If you haven’t finished Halo season one or two, come back when you have.

There are spoilers ahead.

You’ve been warned.

Kate Kennedy as Kai-125

After the disastrous start to Halo Season One and a very uneven rest of the season, Halo Season One ended on a high note. There were some really great parts about that season and some very terrible parts. To recap, the high of the season was Kai, the low was Kwan.

I came into this second season with low expectations, but I was rewarded with a pretty great season. Yes, as the creators and showrunners have said, this is not the same storyline as the one from the games. But, this show takes the characters, events and places from the games and rearrange them to make a brand new story – while introducing some characters and events of its own to make things fresh.

In this season, which felt like a slight soft reboot of the series, the showrunners have really nailed the drama, action and visual style of the show. Gone are the cheap looking action set pieces from Season One and they are replaced with well choreographed and visually arresting action set pieces. There is an obvious increase in budget for special effects and it shows in all aspects of Season Two – from the much better looking Covenant to the different worlds that the season takes place on.

Iconic Halo: Infinite Helmet Shot

The show seems to be taking from all different aspects of the games from all different places in the chronology to make its own version of the Halo story. It makes some serious changes to the events of the games to make things more dramatic for the show. And it takes the mythos and iconic visuals from the games and pays homage to them – as part of fan service for those who have played the games and to burn into the minds of those who have not.

That includes the helmet show above that comes from the most recent Halo: Infinite game.

Overall, I really enjoyed this season and loved that it cherry picked different parts of the Halo mythos and rearranged the parts into its own cohesive and engaging story. Unlike the finale of Season One where I was tentative about coming back for the next season, this season’s finale left me wanting to see what happens in Season Three. I hope it’s not another two year wait to get the next season.

Spartan 3s

Some random thoughts about Season Two:

  • Lets get this one out of the way first: I apologize to Kwan Ha. I spent all last season complaining about the character and wishing the character did not exist. I don’t know if the writers rebooted her character or course corrected the character’s story arc, but Kwan Ha is now a character that is worthy of the show. The problem with last season was they spun their wheels with the character and the character did not gain much traction. This season though, the character was given deeper lore, the character was made more kick ass and the revelation that Kwan is somehow connected with the Forerunners.
  • Is Kai dead? I hope not. She sure looked like it, but the Mjolnir suits are pretty tough…maybe she survived?
  • The Flood arrives, but on Onyx, was a nice twist.
  • Parangosky getting eaten by The Flood after being such a horrible human being was a satisfying end to that character.
  • The introduction of the Forerunners so early in the show is a gamble. In the games, if I recall correctly, we don’t really learn about the Forerunners until Halo 4. There’s a lot more mythos about the Forerunners in the Greg Bear series of Halo books. Having said that, seeing the Forerunner light bridge and the Forerunner structures on Halo was rather awesome.
  • The show takes liberally from everywhere and the most evident one was the grapple hook that Master Chef employs in the final fight with The Arbiter in the season finale.
  • The Arbiter dying so early means we will not get his storyline from the games in the show – especially him fighting along side Master Chief. Though, Arbiter is just a rank (like “Master Chief” is), so maybe there will be another Arbiter in the future that will fight along side Master Chief.
  • The character Perez was a character that I liked from the get-go because the character is well-written, given screentime for us to bond with her and because of the charisma of Christina Rodlo.
  • I am glad that Fiona O’Shaughnessy’s character Laera was giving so much more time to develop throughout the season along with Bokeem Woodbine’s Soren. The season did a good job exploring their relationship through their pain and concern of their missing son. This made it so much more sad when Laera succumbed to The Flood.
  • Joseph Morgan was brilliant as James Ackerson – in the first half making us hate him. But then slowly turning us around – starting with the scenes with his father and the Fall of Reach. His vulnerability as he comes to terms with his actions and how he was just a pawn of Parangosky added to the characters turn around. And by the time he was in a jail cell with a Flood zombie outside, I was hoping he’d survive.
  • It took forever to get Master Chief and Cortana back together. I was so happy when it happened. They are better together.
  • Guilty Spark. Yes, Guilty Spark. I’m hoping the show’s Guilty Spark holds true to the one from the games.

My favorite episode of this season was the fifth episode titled “Aleria” which slowed down and allowed the characters to develop. The episode dealt with death and loss, it was well-written, well-acted and added some depth to the show.

Master Chief: This is a body. My friend isn’t here.

Kwan: Chief, this isn’t death, this is loss. There’s a difference.

Riz: It’s just pain. All you can do is carry it. But it’s heavy. And the more you deny it, the more you run from it, the heavier it gets. If you don’t make peace with it, it will crush you. I won’t let it crush me.