HALO Season 1 Episode 9 Review: Transcendence

Wrapping up a season in a satisfying fashion is difficult, but HALO Season 1 Episode 9 was a decent attempt at laying the groundwork for the future.

We’ll start with the Makee of it all.

Makee has been a tricky character to read throughout HALO Season 1, largely due to her association with the Covenant.

She had clearly been questioning who was best to be loyal to after years of being told the ways of the world and of course, her own experience all those years ago.

Could she have carved out a life on Reach, or perhaps a more significant life in this mystical realm?

The writers did an excellent job of making me care for someone who could have been a ruthless villain.

Making Changes - HALO Season 1 Episode 9

There were hints that Makee could work with humans for the greater good.

Her connection to John was clearly still strong, despite everything that happened between them.

It pained her to see John attacked, and if we’re to take her actions at face value, she wanted to take John away from the pain he was enduring.

Makee spent much of her time on the series as an enigma, leaving viewers with more questions than answers.

Do the Ends Justify the Means? - HALO Season 1 Episode 9

Kai killing Makee was a shocking move, but it highlighted the former’s need to save John, the Spartans, and return to Reach with the artifact.

Shock value deaths can go in two very different directions, but Kai will be unable to move on from this for a long time.

Kai’s arc has been one of the more satisfying because she takes the initiative and questions the people giving her orders.

Everyone on Reach would like the Spartans to follow orders, but Kai being more autonomous makes things more exciting.

Questioning Everything - HALO Season 1 Episode 9

Honestly, if one character had to die, I expected it to be Kai because her death would impact everyone more significantly.

Kai has been heroic throughout every single beat of her journey, and her battle with faux Halsey was also handled very well.

John telling the other Spartans the truth about Halsey abducting them was a long time coming.

How do you process a revelation like that?

A Big Plan - HALO Season 1 Episode 9

These Spartans blindly followed Halsey for years, so learning that the person who was a mother-like figure to them was using them for a higher calling was enough to break even the strongest person.

The Spartans uniting to take on the Covenant was a surprise, primarily because I expected it to be dragged into HALO Season 2.

The battles throughout HALO Season 1 have been hit and miss, but the stakes were higher.

I’ve been complimentary of the CGI for the most part, but this battle could have used a little bit more pizazz to showcase the ability of the series.

Learning His Fate - HALO Season 1 Episode 9

Yes, it was grueling, but there should have been more. I recognize that we can’t have a full episode devoted to battling, but another 5 or 10 minutes wouldn’t have hurt.

John will struggle to comprehend the wave of betrayals he’s faced, and the death of Makee might be too much for him.

Relinquishing control to Cortana highlights his trust in the Artificial Intelligence he didn’t want initially, but their bond truly highlights what they can accomplish together.

John was adamant about securing the artifact, saving his crew, and escaping the planet.

One Last Battle - HALO Season 1 Episode 9

It was a tall task to consider the number of soldiers working alongside the Covenant.

This war is far from over, but at least the first heat allowed John to reach his full potential.

He and Cortana are better together, and he knew the risks when he gave complete control to the A.I.

Will he return? Will he be changed?

Father and Daughter - HALO Season 1 Episode 9

There are many possibilities here, but I can’t shake the feeling that Halsey will have a fail-safe in which she can control John through Cortana. 

Halsey knew the jig was up the moment she lost her job, so utilizing a clone as a smokescreen was the level of bat$hit crazy I’ve wanted from her all season long.

I didn’t think for one minute that she made a clone to escape, but it made Miranda’s breakdown after thinking she caught a big fish even more satisfying.

Halsey has beliefs that don’t align with everyone else on Reach. Sure, she’s helped some people with her science, but deep down, the theory of transcendence has always stuck with her.

John Vs. Halsey - HALO Season 1 Episode 6

She believes there is a higher calling, and if these artifacts working together have told us anything, there is.

The bigger question is whether Halsey will be needed to help everyone navigate what happens next.

Ominously missing from the finale was Soren and Kwan. I expected them both to show up on a ship to help save the day and round off their storylines.

Those two characters work best when their storylines are tied to John. The three have a rapport that translates well on-screen.

John Needs Answers - HALO Season 1 Episode 6

In hindsight, both arcs feel somewhat redundant without tying them to the finale.

The writing for both Soren and Kwan wasn’t there, so one of my hopes is that the second season gives them a bigger purpose.

A lot is up in the air, but HALO is moving in the right direction as we head into the second season.

What did you think of all those deaths?

Hit the comments below.

Stream the entire first season on Paramount+.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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