Halo Episode 1, 2022 – ★★★

Directed by Otto Bathurst

Written by Steven Kane

The series opens with an introduction to the outer colony of Madrigal currently fighting against Earth and the UNSC for independence. With a chance encounter, Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) comes face to face with the Alien Covenant and the UNSC Spartans. Left with little choice or options, Master Chief takes her and a mysterious artifact back to Reach for examination. 

The first episodes did a good job of establishing the lore and content for the series. Blending in why the Spartan Program was created by Dr. Halsey (Natascha McElhone)  and how a new threat of the Covenant keeps justifying her reasons to expand the program. Throughout the first episode, these and other dilemmas allow more conflict to grow, especially with how similar the video games it mirrors. 

With any beloved property, many fans were not happy with the decision to have Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) remove his helmet. At first, this was jarring, but it became second nature to see him without it overtime. This allows the viewers to see him as a person instead of a robot or video game character. 

As the episode progresses, we see many familiar characters from the video game make an appearance. Some familiar faces include Miranda Keyes, Jacob Keyes, and the Covenant High Prophet Mercy. One of the new ones introduced is Makee, a human living with the Covenant High Council. Her purpose is still unknown and how she became involved with the Covenant.

As a fan of the series, it felt more like an original story than based on the Halo games many times during the episode. The Spartans taking off their helmets and only seeing Elites with no Grunts or Jackals added to the unease of watching it for the first time. With many of these characters being CG, a battle between Grunts and Spartans isn’t as impactful and awe-inspiring as seeing four Spartans take out 20 Elites. 

It is important to note that in the novelization of Halo: Combat Evolve, Master Chief had a lot of dialogue, and many times it was of a war obsessed killing machine yelling “get some!” repeatedly while firing a machine gun into a group of Grunts, which is different from the video game it was based on. 

Overall, the series isn’t perfect but is enjoyable. Moving the Master Chief from a video game set to a live-action one was always going to be controversial. As vast and rich the source material is, they are trying to balance the new with the old and so far have been able to navigate it well to craft their version that is worth exploring in future episodes. 

Score: 6.5

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