It’s not often that I say I was wrong about a show. In particular, the show I’m referring to is Halo. “Solace” is one of those episodes that really tells you that this show is ultimately a character study. This show is more interested in figuring out who John is and what his identity means to him. This is evident throughout the episode in his demeanor, especially towards doctor Halsey. He clearly despises her after learning that she kidnapped him to be put into the soldier program as a child. In the previous episode, he acted upon his anger by trying to punch doctor Halsey in the face, Superman-style. In this episode, his rage continues to build and simmer as he continues to get flashbacks of his past while being weakened by the artifact itself.
In his quest to prove that doctor Halsey has manipulated him into dominance, John throws her into a room that could leak deadly nuclear gas. He gives her the ultimatum that all she has to do is order him to shut the gas down to stop the leak, and she continually protests that she cannot. John pushes things right to the last second, fully realizing that he may not be as programmed as he thinks. Elsewhere in the story, Makee is adjusting to her new surroundings, and it’s been determined, at least by John, that she is a spy of some sort, even though he can’t prove it. Kia continues to discover new emotions now that she is uninhibited.
I deeply love this episode because it gives Pablo Schreiber a chance to really flex his acting muscles. You can really read every emotion on his face, whether subtle or prominent. His actions throughout the entire episode are entirely understandable, as well as his frustration as a result of being kidnapped.
Charlie Murphy continues to give the performance of her life in the role of Makee, and I love how she continually tries to keep everyone in the USNC on the backfoot. I don’t think she’s as good at manipulation as she thinks she is, which makes her character so irresistible. The audience is literally waiting for her to fail. They just don’t know how yet. I love that the rest of the organization is spying on doctor Halsey and trying to implicate her in negative behaviors from her past and using John to provide the evidence.
Overall this is a compelling episode highlighting the dangers of sending children into war. The biggest shock was knowing that these stolen children were replaced with genetic failures that would eventually die. I’m going to love following the journey of doctor Halsey’s daughter as she takes a more leadership role with Master Chief and the Halo project. Here’s hoping John becomes less broken by the end of the season. One last thing of note. I have been incredibly hard on this show over the past few episodes. This is because I want all the characters to grow and change naturally, where nothing in terms of the plot or how characters evolve feels forced. This was an example of the show being on the right track. Let’s hope it continues.