HALO The Series Season 2 Premiere Review

    HALO The Series Season 2 Premiere is here! Finally, after such a long wait, we’re back with The Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber). After the rocky first season, Season 2 of the Paramount+ Sci-Fi drama wastes no time getting back to the basics. The premier suggests that the creatives have hit a soft reset button for the series.

    This is your go-to for those who want to give HALO The Series a second chance. The second season seems to soft reboot what we had in the first season. Not everything has been changed or replaced. However, you can tell the creative team, and writers have gone back to the drawing board with certain aspects. One such item is the relationship between John and Makee (Charlie Murphy). To the thankful cheers of some HALO fans, that is gone from the second season. However, the character is still referenced in visions and flashbacks.

    Sadly, the doubters of The HALO Series likely won’t be won over. Before we even saw the first episode, we knew the series would not be in line with the canon storyline of the video games. This is more prominent once again in the second season. Details have been changed. But with that said, there are still plenty of easter eggs for HALO fans to enjoy and listen out for. If you’re a big lore fan, I get the impression events you remember will pop up in the second season.

    Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in Halo episode 1, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

    Back To The Action

    Episode One of Season 2 is titled “Sanctuary“. The opening shows the follow-up from the Season One finale, “Transcendence“. This is Cortana being “extracted” from The Master Chief after being fused with him. While that scene is cut short, we find ourselves in your typical Sci-Fi setup of civilians refusing to evacuate even though the obvious threat is around the corner. This threat does come, which is the return of The Covenant. Thankfully, we get a fantastic action scene of Chief taking on Elite soldiers wielding energy swords.

    Immediately, these scenes offer a few jumpscares of helpless UNSC Marines being pulled into the fog. However, the decision of the writing to allow The Master Chief to be left alone by the overwhelming Elite forces does bother me a little bit. The Covenant actively feared Chief in the HALO video games. Yet here, The Elites just wander off. It could be possible due to the glassing taking place.

    Speaking of which, the visual effects of this opening sequence are fantastic. The HALO The Series Season 2 Premiere wastes no time in getting down to business with the harsh reality of an interstellar war. However, this isn’t new. Episode One of Season One actually did this as well. For example, viewers may remember the Battle of Madrigal and how The Covenant brutally executed civilians. Speaking of which, Madrigal was seemingly destroyed off-screen.

    Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in Halo episode 1, season 2, streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

    Hero or Villain, Colonel James Ackerson

    Joseph Morgan joins HALO The Series Season 2 as Colonel James Ackerson. He’s easily the standout character in the first two episodes. Upon entering the scene, he gives the impression that he is up to something. Following this, his meeting with The Master Chief also suggests that he has mysterious motives. Ackerson has replaced Spartan commander Doctor Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). He seems to ignore and gaslight John’s recollection of the events in the Sanctuary.

    It’s revealed Ackerson is the reason The Master Chief’s Silver Team is stood down. I’ve got to say John’s confrontation with Ackerson in the ONI Offices was a standout moment between the two characters. The introduction of this character does seem to shake up the status quo. The UNSC were rather straightforward in Season One. Morgan is a breath of fresh air for the series. One that I hope keeps going as we go through the second season’s episodes.

    James Ackerson is a high-ranking Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) officer. Whether they’ll stay close to his actions in The HALO canon remains to be seen. Long-time HALO fans will know Colonel Ackerson as the mastermind behind The Spartan III Project. This was the successor to The Master Chief’s generation of Spartan II’s. Early trailers and hints suggest we may see that play out in the second season. However, part of me wonders how close to detail this will be.

    Joseph Morgan as James Ackerson in Halo , episode 1, season 2, streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

    Fallen Hero

    Speaking of Doctor Catherine Halsey, it appears she is being contained somehow. We learn that she was being transported in a cryotube supposedly. Halsey appears to be taunted by flash clones, the same type of clones she would have used to replace the Spartan II candidates. It appears HALO The Series’s new villain, James Ackerson, is the man taunting the doctor. Ackerson appears to be keeping Halsey contained within the dark depths of Reach. It appears our new villain is also keeping Cortana, Chief’s A.I contained as well.

    L-R Joseph Morgan as James Ackerson and Natascha McElhone as Dr. Halsey in Halo episode 2, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

    Attention To Detail

    Criticism of HALO The Series may be high. However, the attention to detail of the series has to be commended. I find mentions of locations or characters from HALO Lore very appealing. For example, when we find ourselves on The Rubble with Soren-066 (Bokeem Woodbine), there is a mention of the planet Harvest. While attention to

    While there is attention to detail, The HALO Series does deviate from the canon. For example, Shabana Azmi has been demoted as Admiral Margaret Parangosky. Meanwhile, Parangosky still served as the Head of ONI in The HALO Cannon of the video games. It seems that due to Doctor Halsey betraying the UNSC and leaving, the admiral took the fall and was blamed for the actions of the former Spartan commander. I’m interested to see how her dealings with John go down. It seems she is not trusting her own government. The irony of this is hilarious, given her involvement with ONI.

    Another detail deviation is with Jacob Keyes (Danny Sapani). Season One presented the well-known Pillar of Autumn commander with the rank of Captain. However, The HALO The Series Season 2 Premiere informs us that he’s been promoted to Admiral.

    Danny Sapani as Captain Jacob Keyes in Halo episode 1, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

    A Distraction or Good Story?

    Soren-066’s storyline still seems somewhat disjointed from the overall storyline. While The Rubble is an interesting location, as always, I wonder if both Soren and Kwan Ha’s (Yerin Ha) stories are necessary, given the quality increase of other areas of the show.  “Sanctuary” suggests Kwan Ha is sitting around staring at walls. I hope her storyline is not distracting from our overall storyline in the second season. Episode 2, “Sword“, gives us running around “The Rubble” and murdering pirates. You’ve got to ask what does this mean for the overall story.

    Bokeem Woodbine as Soren in Halo episode 1, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

    An Improvement

    Based on the first two episodes of the HALO The Series Season 2 Premiere, the series seems to be stuttering. While a soft reboot has taken place, there still seem to be some teething issues. Whether this will improve as we press on through the second season’s storyline remains to be seen. However, while there is an improvement in storytelling, the general aim of the second season feels off. Yet we do know a big battle is coming. “The Fall of Reach” is a critical event in the HALO storyline. Based on the second season trailers, we can see it is something that will happen soon.

    HALO The Series Season 2 is airing on Paramount+ right now. Episodes for the second season are airing weekly.

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    Jack Trestrail
    Jack Trestrail
    Pop-Culture nerd and uber Sci-Fi fan! Jack is frequently found telling everyone about the latest Star Wars developments or nerding out on the newest Star Trek starships! ?

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