HALO works best when the characters are embroiled in life or death situations, and HALO Season 1 Episode 5 was a marked improvement over the previous two episodes.
The storyline is finally moving in a direction that feels organic, instead of random twists being thrown into the narrative to make us question what will come next.
The Covenant’s arrival on Eradinus II was predictable, mainly because it would be far too easy to give the UNSC this new, more powerful artifact without a big struggle.
As has become the norm with this series, the fight scenes were brutal, putting many lives on the line and changing the way the people of the UNSC perceive the Covenant forever.
John going rogue was not a surprise because we know he’s been thinking about things on an emotional level thanks to the return of his emotions.
This way takes us past the administrative buildings to what we call the Elysium Fields. It’s here where the learning happens. The focus is on a nature-based education, grounding technology to the soil.
Kai is one of his teammates who looks up to him, so of course, he would want to save her. The purpose of “Reckoning” was to show off John’s heroic traits and how fearless he is when people need to be saved.
John is struggling with the return of his memories, and it was crystal clear he was battling with his feelings on recent events when he wasted so much time punching the already dead monster.
The risk of ditching the artifact to save Kai may not have been worth it because Kai is either dead or close to death.
Kai has blossomed into one of the better characters on the series, so it would be a bad move to kill her off so soon. Then again, her death would rock many of the other characters.
Miranda, John, Halsey, and the rest of the Spartans would be changed forever by such a death.
John would probably feel remorse for removing her from the battle for copying what he did because it must have hurt her hearing he didn’t have much trust in her.
Kai was coming into her own, questioning the wants of the Covenant and, more importantly, why the Spartans are being used as killing machines.
From a narrative standpoint, it would make more sense for her to survive, but maybe she knew too much about what was happening.
We know the UNSC has been known to ground anything, but we probably shouldn’t tell Halsey that.
Halsey is comical because she’s always finding new ways to manipulate people, and there was visible darkness in her when she blackmailed the Admiral.
Jacob also understands this darkness in his wife, and while there doesn’t seem to be much of a romantic connection remaining between them, they both have a vested interest in keeping their daughter safe.
HALO Season 1 has primarily painted the Keyes family as broken, and maybe that’s because of Halsey’s machinations never really aligning with those of her husband.
Admiral: You’re willing to tell the committee anything they need to hear as long as you get what you want. And now you’ve put all of us at risk. I’m cutting you off.
Halsey: I wonder what Admiral Hood will have to say about that.
Admiral: What does Hood have to do with all this?
Halsey: Nothing yet. But if the whole truth is revealed, he’ll obviously be worried about his own liability. He’ll be looking for a scapegoat.
Admiral: Are you really trying to blackmail us?
Halsey: John’s memories are incomplete, and I intend to keep them that way. He will operate as designed, and he will bring us the weapon that wins this war.
Keyes: I want Miranda taken off the entire project. Her hands are clean. I want to keep them that way.
Halsey: Good. Finally a parenting issue we can agree upon.
We now know that Jacob was on Eradinus before John being kidnapped, but there’s still so much we don’t know about these characters.
John is also sick of Halsey telling him things on a need-to-know basis, and now that he knows he was kidnapped all those years ago, naturally, he’ll ask questions about the virus that supposedly wiped out the planet.
Would Halsey really wipe out a planet, including children, for her gain? These are questions I expect to be answered throughout the final four episodes of the season.
As for John, well, he doesn’t have full autonomy anymore, which will considerably change his relationship with Halsey.
He seemed intent on killing or, at the very least, harming the person he’s looked up to for much of his life.
He knows he’s been used by her as a weapon, and it might push Halsey to make even more changes to Cortana to keep him in line.
Removing his emotions again wouldn’t translate very well on-screen, so hopefully, John finds a way of proving to Halsey that he’s not a liability.
The UNSC will want answers about how the mission went sideways, but they may look the other way with Mackee in custody.
Miranda will be furious at being sidelined, but she’s examined the Covenant language well enough to conclude that Mackee is the person from the audio she analyzed.
My best guess is that Mackee is posing as a human, kidnapped by the Covenant, to make it to Reach to send a signal back to her army.
Mackee will also be interested in getting closer to John because of what happens to him when he touches the artifacts.
The Kwan and Soren of it all was the weakest aspect of the episode, mainly because the writing for them is going in circles.
Keyes: Miranda, you’re being taken off the project. I hear you’re making great advancements with linguistic research. Stick with that. But the artifact stays with Halsey.
Miranda: I don’t understand.
Keyes: It’s best you don’t.
There’s no logic to either of their actions, making it difficult to get invested in the Madrigal storyline.
Kwan turning a gun on Soren was a random development. Yes, he left her handcuffed to the motorcycle, but he wouldn’t harm her.
“Reckoning” was a decent hour that still had some flaws. The series is moving in the right direction, so hopefully, the next few episodes will keep up the momentum.
What are your thoughts on the Covenant vs. UNSC battle?
Do you think Halsey will find a way to get John back on her side?
What are your thoughts on the fractured dynamic that is the Keyes family?
Do you think Kai needs to survive?
Hit the comments below.
Catch new episodes of HALO Thursdays on Paramount+.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.