TV Review: Halo, 1×3, “Emergence”

User Rating: 8

I don’t know how to articulate how I feel about “Emergence” accurately. This particular episode of Halo truly lets the audience into Master Chief’s way of thinking and his emotional state. Most of this was helped by the new edition of Cortana. My knowledge of the character within the Halo universe is minimal other than the fact that I know she usually assists Master Chief on missions. The use of the character here was interesting as she was both an educational tool and a spy for Dr. Halsey. Adding Cortana so early to the Halo story seems like it was an intelligent choice because she brings an energy to the series that wasn’t there previously. She has her own mind and watching Cortana’s interaction with Master Chief and the doctor makes the show far more entertaining. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever get to a point where I would call a Halo TV series fun.

As much enjoyment as I got from Halo this week, the military command made some massive mistakes. Namely, the biggest mistake made involved the character Makee. She is a cold, calculated character who was broken by human beings and forced to be a leader of the covenant under the guise that the covenant would watch over her. In reality, the audience knows that she’s basically upon in their much larger game, but that doesn’t stop her from assimilating herself into human culture and then, much like the borg in Star Trek taking over at the earliest possible convenience to get the information she needs. This was brutal to watch, especially when you think about the interrogation that occurred on the spaceship. The whole scene reminded me of a police procedural with a bit of John carpenter’s The Thing thrown in.

Where this episode shines the most is the character work done with John and how he engages with Cortana and his squadmates. They are all trying to get used to Master Chief being their leader once again. The only thing that I didn’t like about this episode was Kwan taking advantage of John’s friend Soren to allow her to fight with her people to try and stop the propaganda war that was happening off-world. Her tactics are such a brutal manipulation of the support she was getting from Soren that it’s an insult to all the hard work he’s put into housing and feeding her. She comes across now as one of those reckless children who want to do what she thinks is best and is ridiculously headstrong.

Let’s not forget that the first time she was involved in the battle, the first thing she did was run, causing everyone in her colony to be obliterated by the covenant. When a character makes such reckless decisions, it’s tough to root for them to succeed. Specifically, I think the series may falter with me when it comes to the younger characters. This show continues to be a strong science fiction performer that will rival the mini Star Trek series and Star Wars. I look forward to seeing how they evolve the story and Implement the franchise lore.

Halo is now streaming on Paramount+.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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