'Halo' Series Episode 5 Recap: "Reckoning"

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Adrienn Szabo / Paramount+

With episode four being a bit on the slower side, this week's installation of Halo brought in some much-needed action on the battlefield while still working on the plot with Chief and the keystone.

On Eridanus II, we're visiting the Reach for Life Installation, which is basically a nature-based school for children. With all of the kids in uniforms, it basically looks like a weird child cult. However, it turns out this is a bit of earlier Eridanus II, as we're following a much younger Dr. Halsey, who seems to be touring the school (slyly scouting for kids).

They're basically in a large, fenced-in area where they can explore gardening, climbing, and other outdoor activities. A young Master Chief is up above on some precariously raised platforms and is being teased by another boy. However, when the boy almost falls off, Chief is able to save him from a deathly fall by lifting him up, which is seen by Dr. Halsey. She's impressed by the school and asks her husband what he thinks; though he outwardly seems interested, it's clear that he's not so sure about Chief. At that moment, we cut to the present, showing this man as one of the captains of the UNSC.

Dr. Miranda Keyes arrives on Eridanus, as well as Kai and the other Spartans, who are setting off to join Chief. It turns out that the man from before is her father, Captain Keyes, and they head off to a temporary UNSC camp to find Halsey and her new discovery: the second keystone. Cortana informs Chief that this keystone has an energy power much greater than the original one found on Madrigal. Upon hearing that, Halsey directs him and the others to stay away from it, as its power could be potentially dangerous.

Halo 105 1133 RT
Adrienn Szabo / Paramount+

At this point, we check back in with Kwan and Soren, who have made it to the Okjungdong Basin on Madrigal after having fled the situation with Vinsher's troops. The motorcycle that they stole broke down, so Soren decides to walk around and find another vehicle, chaining Kwan to the dead motorcycle with one handcuff to keep her from leaving.

Back on Eridanus, Chief spots Kai's new hair color and thinks something might be up with her, so he goes over and asks her to take a walk with him. He immediately asks her when she removed her emotional-suppressing pellet, to which she admits, "After I saw you remove yours." She gets extremely honest with him, admitting to loving the new perspective she has on life, yet all Chief offers up in return is informing her that he'll be unable to clear her for combat as she's distracted. It's a bit of a double standard, though, as Chief has removed his pellet, as well, and is not barring himself from combat.

We focus on Kwan, who's now picking up the motorcycle and walking around (very slowly), though it eventually falls to the ground with her. On the ground, she attempts numerous times to remove herself from the handcuffs, and after tons of tries, she is able to free herself.

After Chief approaches Captain Keyes about the issues he's been having with Dr. Halsey, Keyes and Halsey have a meeting with Admiral Parangosky, who's very concerned about the emotional situation with Chief. Halsey informs her that the situation is under control, though Captain Keyes denies this, telling Parangosky that Chief remembers Halsey being in his house as a child.

"You're willing to tell the committee anything they need to hear as long as you get what you want, and now you've put all of us at risk," Parangosky tells her. "I'm cutting you off."

After that statement, Halsey brings up a mysterious Admiral Hood, to who she basically threatens to tell all of this as a form of blackmail, which Parangosky isn't too pleased about. Ultimately, Parangosky gets Halsey to agree to handle the situation with Chief in the way that she wants. As a result of all this conflict, Captain Keyes wants their daughter taken off the project, which they both agree on.

Halo 105 0455 RT
Adrienn Szabo / Paramount+

Back on Eridanus with the keystone, they're just cutting into it when a high-pitched, sonic boom bursts out of the stone, sending a massive blast through the area and basically destroying everyone's eardrums in the process. The sound is so loud that it messes with the electrical services and computers, and just as that continues, the Covenant is able to pick up a signal, which makes Makee fall to the floor as she's extremely sensitive to the keystone.

Chief runs to the cave just in time to see the crystal around it break, revealing just the keystone. Dr. Keyes is able to pick up some data on it once the computers start working, confirming that the sound was putting out a signal to something else. After revealing that the keystones could be part of something entirely different than just two halves, her father takes her off the project for safety reasons.

Chief asks Cortana to fetch the files about his adoption, though there are none in the database as the plague wiped them all out. In addition, there are no archives about the Spartan program, which Chief also finds odd. Out of anger, he touches the keystone even though it could potentially kill him. He immediately has new memories, including that of him being brought to the Spartan program as a child. He sees Halsey, who injects him with something, but at that moment, his hands leave the keystone and he falls to the ground.

Halsey walks in and he immediately tells her that she kidnapped him as a child, though she wants to table this discussion for the time being, as the main objective is to bring the keystone back to Reach. Extremely angered by having to put off this conversation, Chief jumps up to attack Halsey, though Cortana shuts off his neural bridge just in time to stop him.

On Madrigal, Soren rides back to the spot where Kwan is supposed to be, though he finds nothing but the broken-down motorcycle. As he gets closer to the motorcycle, Kwan comes up behind him and shocks him with some sort of taser device, causing him to fall on top of the motorcycle. She steals his pistol to shoot him, but we cut over to Chief waking up before seeing what happens.

Cortana lets him know what happened, and while they're arguing, she notifies him that a Slipspace rupture was detected, meaning that the Covenant is near. Ah, finally, some much-needed action.

Halo 105 3084 RT
Adrienn Szabo / Paramount+

The Covenant launches an all-out attack on the UNSC as they're looking to retrieve the keystone. They immediately destroy the Pioneer ship that was meant to bring the keystone back—whoops. The new order at hand is to transport the keystone to the smaller ship that Dr. Keyes is on, which is a bit of a lengthy transport to reach via Warthog.

While it was initially just an aerial attack via Banshees and other ships, the aliens of the Covenant are now dropping down, making it much harder to transport the keystone. Also, unfortunately, it looks like there was a major explosion on Dr. Reyes' ship, leaving her injured along with a new change of direction for the keystone, which is now headed to Halsey's ship.

On the battlefield, it turns out that Chief was right about Kai's state of mind, as her heart rate drastically increases, causing her to freeze in the middle of combat while being hit by gunfire. Seeing this unfolding from afar, Chief's emotions get the better of him, which leads him to jump onto a Banshee to bring him to Kai. He's able to crash the banshee into one of the main Covenant ships, sending a shockwave through the area and clearing it of aliens—temporarily.

Many of them stand up and start attacking Chief, who works his way through the crowd to get to Kai. Though he saves her from the Covenant, the keystone has somehow ended upright in the middle of the battlefield (?) and he has to sprint to save it from being taken by them. However, they drop down an absolutely enormous alien who takes it back up to the ship with ease. Before completely leaving, they drop down a pod with Makee, who falls to the floor pretty randomly; I honestly don't know what they're going to do with her.

Final Thoughts

As a whole, this probably dethrones episode three from being the best of the series, as this one had just the right balance of, well, everything. Now, I'm not saying that the Kwan story is boring, but we were focusing a little too much on it in the previous episodes for how little was actually happening with its plot. What was sprinkled in of her story in this episode was the exact, perfect amount, as Chief's story is what we need to be focusing on at the moment.

It was definitely refreshing to see a bit more of Cortana, as her relationship with Chief is gaining more structure with each episode. On top of that, the backstory with Dr. Halsey and Chief is proving to be one of the most interesting, as the series is giving us just enough information to hold us over until the next episode. While I would've preferred even more action, the last 15 minutes were the most exhilarating so far, providing an even more dynamic battle scene than the one we saw in the first episode.

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