Review for Halo Season 2

Halo Season 2
Halo Season 2
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Halo season 2 is a mixed bag that continues to set the Paramount+ show apart from the highly popular games it was inspired by. However, it always stayed short of its high aspirations. Despite all the creative shake-ups that have hit the adaptation itself, the lukewarm critical reception, and an avalanche of fan criticism — one challenge is yet to be met: How does it want us to care? So far, we don’t. And while Halo’s high stakes are expertly communicated through well-staged action sequences, they offer only momentary relief from stilted dialogue and clunky politics that plague its narrative arcs. Unfortunately, none of it works.

The biggest strength of season 2 lies in how scared it makes you feel. It almost feels like everything is going wrong enough to make this instant “This could be it,” feeling every conflict one big thrill ride where anxiety dominates every moment and leaves Spartans’ actions paralyzed with fear at any point in time. Every character except Master Chief appears as though he can easily be written off which means disenchanted fans just tired of recycled back-and-forths between Chief and everyone else may find fulfillment in playing Dead Spartan Bingo.

David Wiener takes advantage of this anxiety early on as a new showrunner. Six months after they attacked Raas Kkhotskha, there is a savage (and honestly captivating) Covenant ambush indicating a wider invasion. This news raises alarm bells for Master Chief (Pablo Schrieber), but his call for vigilance falls on deaf ears within the naval command structure under Admiral Parangosky (Shabana Azmi). As seen above no UNSC higher-ups believe him so finally this allows chaos to bedevil them making the Covenant appear truly formidable unlike what happened earlier on in season 1 when their power was not communicated effectively enough). It would take longer for an interesting subplot featuring two previous Spartans, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) and the brilliant scientist Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone), to develop, but there is still potential for many other things.

But that’s about all it does. Wiener’s streamlined narratives make for faster and more brutal escalations. And almost every action sequence feels well filmed, acted, and choreographed. However, despite Halo Season 2 packing its first half with some amazing moments and a lot of bloodshed in its eight-episode run, it doesn’t hit home because we’re not emotionally invested in any of the people involved. Part two of this season is a messier and less personal one than part one. While the writing can take us in any direction, there is no specific incident that will remain memorable.

It’s not like they didn’t try. However, few — if any — deaths in this show create emotional impact as compared to last time round. No matter how long or short the funeral scene was at the midpoint of season 1, it failed to resonate with viewers because the dead person was never really a character on screen; instead, he was evidence against Master Chief’s case towards UNSC, someone who had been assumed to be important but only existed within plot logic thanks to Chief himself. That wasn’t shown though so it fizzles out here. This just adds another reason why Season 2 isn’t going down among greats.

The Halo cast wasn’t the problem as criticized by some people. Yerin Ha’s Kwan and Kate Kennedy’s Spartan Kai could have been standouts, had they got more to do with their characters. Kwan has no idea about Wiener; it becomes apparent that Madrigal may be better off without this character (on-screen only). On the other hand, Ackerson (Joseph Morgan) is a source of light, though he isn’t as significant as we were made to believe in pre-release marketing campaigns. Morgan’s integration into the larger narrative is impressive; his introduction episode sees him infiltrate the cast just like Ackerson takes over the UNSC defense meeting. He has so much charisma but isn’t given enough opportunity for expression; this fact becomes clearer in the last two episodes.

However, Halsey is easily one of the best-used characters on this show. Wiener wisely keeps her at the center of many key character interactions and there is a direct link between her rigidity and growth among her peers or coworkers. McElhone plays up Halsey’s inherent isolation into genius-level detachment that veers between sympathy and hatred simply based on how she lets us see it.


Halo Season 2 is certainly an improvement over its predecessor, however, its continued inability to juggle its numerous storylines coupled with its ultimate shallowness sabotages it still. The performances are still strong even if most of the main cast doesn’t really get much to do. However, magnificent action sequences and high stakes can make these eight episodes watchable but Halo fails as a result of mismanaging its characters, having no focus when plotting thus failing to bring emotional resonance which makes it an average second season at best.

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