TV Review: Halo, 1×5 “Reckoning”

“Reckoning” is a straight-up upsetting episode of Halo. John continues to try and push away any of his other squadmates. The entire army is trying to figure out what the object does and get it back to base. John and Kai are disrespectful to each other because of the loss of their emotion chip. Quan continues to upset Soren-066. Makee continues her mission to find the artifacts while continuing to be questioned by her covenant.

This episode was pretty weak by comparison. John didn’t really have much to do but emote and be angry that the doctor had basically handpicked him to be their lead soldier when he was a child. Pablo Schreiber is excellent at facial expressions and being emotive without saying much. Having said that, that form of acting and expression can get old very fast, and that’s what I found to be true with this episode. In previous episodes, they gave him so much more to do and explore now; it seems like the audience is only around for him to have an inner monologue with Cortana watching.

The only real joy I got from the episode was the shock reveal that the doctor stole John away from his home planet to make him part of the USNC. Other than that one plotline, nothing was interesting this week. The show itself isn’t fun like it’s supposed to be. Halo comes off as self-serious realism, which would be great if we talked about something that is supposed to replicate the values of all the armed forces and the enemies they fight. This does not work for a $1,000,000 science fiction show. This program is supposed to make you feel a part of the video game world, and if I was a gamer and had never played this title before after this episode, I wouldn’t want to. No amount of action they provide gives the audience anything to invest in, and that’s a huge problem.

My biggest gripe of the week seems to be the same one I have every episode. Kwan is annoying. She tends to believe only the missions she has to take care of are essential and screw the values, health, and safety of anyone else who might be collateral damage to what she needs to do. I don’t know what lesson at this point she needs to learn, but she has no respect for other people. This is a fundamental problem with how the character views the world and interacts with it. If I was in the character’s shoes, I would be grateful my life had been saved multiple times by people who are not supposed to care about me in any way, shape or form. This angsty teenager personality trait has gotten very old, not just with this show but with many others. I’m dismayed that writers cannot give teenage characters a level of growth that sees them mature in the right way.

The only thing I really enjoyed this week was that Makee joined the USNC. I know she’s a traitor, but like in Game of Thrones with Daenerys Targaryen, she’s one of those characters with the level of complexity this show needs to succeed. Charlie Murphy is great as this character, and I love that this show allows that character to be a snake in the grass. We’ve seen from her origin story that she has a reason to hate human beings. It will be great to see how she decides to enact revenge and extract information where she needs to. Overall, this episode was mediocre, but the ending leaves more story to tell.

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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