TV Review: Halo, 1×4, “Homecoming”

User Rating: 7

Halo, as a series, has been great so far. However, this is the first episode where I thought the quality dropped slightly. “Homecoming” felt like a Star Trek team mission with us finally getting a chance to see Master Chief on his homeworld. We learn about where the previous drawings of the artifacts that lead to the Halo ring are located. We also learned that Dr. Halsey may have been responsible for choosing John for the soldier program in the first place before his parents disappeared. Cortana does nothing but serve as a directional guide for the entire episode, and of course, Kwan is being hunted down by an assassin because she is still wanted in the galaxy.

I really wanted to like this episode because it was going to give us a deeper glimpse into John’s past. I was hoping to truly learn what caused him to draw all those different photos of the artifacts. As we all know, the artifacts weren’t with him when he was a child; it was just something he could visualize and write down. My main problem with all of that is that you are allowing this soldier to finally be able to feel because he took away his inhibitor chip, but the only thing that truly manifests is anxiety. A man is trying to dig through his past to find out what his future should be.

I find this to be a complete contrast to what the actual story should be, which should involve understanding who you were to be a better person for your soldiers and the people you care about. The show is choosing not to take that direction mostly because they want Master Chief to continually be seen as a hero who slowly gains his humanity rather than acquiring it in a way that showcases what he has learned about himself. It’s more about the risks he chooses to take now that he is not inhibited by his emotions.

Kwan continues to be severely annoying because she’s reckless and poses serious risks. Is it great that she finally got in touch with her aunt and learned where her father had the energy and motivation to fight for peace for her people? Absolutely. Does it mean that she also has to follow the same path to secure her people’s future? Absolutely not. She is forcefully putting herself in harm’s way for the sake of a mission she really knows nothing about. This comes across a lot more like a child trying to honor their ancestors and the culture and religion of their people than making a choice that honors the fallen and, in the end, showcases what the future can be for that culture.

This is why I have such a difficult time with science fiction when characters make what I view to be pointless decisions. Kwan truly needs to grow as a character that values where she came from and also embraces what her future should be.  Dragging someone else into her mission because she doesn’t know what to do next is not the way to lead her people back to the point of success. The writers need to work harder to make every character stand out and make decent decisions rather than rushing them through an episode to get them much closer to a goal than they should be.

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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