Set in the year 2552 in the Paramount Plus series, Halo explores the galactic conflicts where a uniformed body called UNSC is fighting an unending war against its worst nemesis, The Covenant. The humans from Earth traveled into the vastness of space to explore new avenues and eventually came across an alien species that posed a threat to their expansion and newly established settlement. UNSC, however, was created to curb the galactic civil war as early human colonies stood in rebellion to seek independence from the Unified Earth Government (UEG). The decision-makers had an alarming situation knocking on their door, and therefore, to end the rebellion, they commissioned Catherine Halsey’s SPARTAN program, which built a team of four genetically modified super soldiers to give UNSC an upper hand in its battle against rebels and aliens alike. The series began with an attack on one of the outer colonies of UEG called Madrigal, where a group of Kaidon warriors arrived to recover a lost artifact that could give their leaders immense God-like powers, or it was what they believed as the first season of the Halo series refused to shed light on the nature or powers of the artifacts.
The Hunt On Madrigal
As per the series, the Covenant leader, Mercy, and his brother had abducted a human named Makee from a Waste Salvage Colony on Planet Oban, as the aliens believed that Makee was a “Blessed One” who could track down the artifacts for them. As Makee grew up, she helped the Kaidon warriors locate one of the smaller artifacts on planet Madrigal, popularly known for its precious deuterium, most likely a kind of fossil fuel. Everything was going according to the Covenant’s plan when suddenly Kwan Ha, the daughter of Madrigal’s leader, Jin Ha, found the aliens in a cave and quickly raised the alarm. The Kaidon warriors, in a frenzy, started attacking the Madrigal outpost when, finally, the Spartans arrived on the planet to save the day. However, Jin Ha and many other insurgents lost their lives in the fierce battle, and Master Chief John-117 took Kwan Ha under his wings and took the teenage girl to the UNSC stronghold, Reach.
Before leaving the planet, John also came across an artifact hidden in a cave outside where the Kaidon warriors had landed their ship. John tried to recover the artifact, but as soon as he touched it, the triangular stone started to emanate light and energy. John, on the other hand, was reminded of his childhood memories, which were erased by Halsey during the Spartan’s childhood, so as to make him more focused.
John Decided to Help Kwan Ha
My understanding of the Halo series tells me that its world is filled with “earth” politics. Jin Ha had been a headache for the UNSC for a long time, and now that he was finally killed, the leaders of UEG wanted to impose their control over Madrigal. But Kwan Ha was a threat to their grand scheme of things, which was why they ordered the Master Chief to eliminate her as soon as possible. Earlier, John might have executed the orders without question, but something had shifted in him ever since he had a brush with the artifact. He had developed empathy for people around him and started to question everything. The new Master Chief didn’t want to kill an innocent teenager, which was why he went against the orders of his leaders and took her to the bandits’ solace, the Rubble, where his friend and deserter from the Spartan program, Soren, used to live. Meanwhile, on Madrigal, a greedy opportunist named Vinsher Grath made a pact with the UEG and took charge of the planet to deliver deuterium to them at a convenient price. Much later at the end of the series, Kwan Ha, with the help of Soren, killed Vinsher on Madrigal, and ended his evil regime. Kwan Ha would most likely appear in season 2 where she would lead her father’s rebellion against UNSC.
Halsey Develops Cortana
After John’s small act of rebellion, many in the UNSC, including Halsey and Admiral Margaret Parangosky, started doubting the Master Chief’s ability to lead the Silver Team. The crisis gave Halsey an opportunity to push her ambitious but unethical cloning tech. It was apparent throughout the series that Halsey was a narcissistic maniac who was obsessed with the future and maybe had a God complex as well. After John returned to the Reach with the artifact, Halsey conducted an analysis of his vitals and convinced John to undergo brain surgery, through which she could fix an AI called Cortana inside his head, which would enhance his capabilities on the battlefield. Cortana was nothing but Halsey’s own clone, whom she had sacrificed to extract her neural substrate, which she intended to use to overwrite John’s consciousness. But Halsey found that only John could interact with the artifacts, she gave Cortana limited access to John’s body, through which she could only switch him on and off as per her convenience. Halsey’s plan was to control John, along with the other Spartans, in case the UNSC turned against her in the near future.
The Hunt for the Second Artifact
The interaction with the rock brought back John’s memories and made him more human than before. He even removed his hormonal pellet that had suppressed his human emotions. Later, John remembered that he had drawn a similar artifact in his childhood, which urged Halsey to travel to his home planet, Eridanus Two, to find more clues about his visions. On the planet, John not only found the larger artifact but also remembered that Halsey and her husband, Captain Jacob Keyes, had abducted him when he was only six years old and replaced him with a clone who soon died in his parent’s arms after facing a series of seizures. John developed a kind of hatred for her after seeing her true face. He didn’t trust the woman anymore, but before he could do anything about his feelings, a fleet of Kaidon warriors attacked the UNSC camp, trying to extract the second artifact and steal it from the humans.
John Finds Makee
Even though the Covenant had stolen the second artifact, they needed the first one in order to activate the system, which would eventually reveal the location of the sacred ring. It was for this reason that Makee asked her warriors to abandon her on Eridanus Two so that she could go back to the UNSC headquarters and steal the artifact for her masters. However, upon reaching the Reach, Makee started to question her loyalty toward the Covenant and also developed feelings for the Master Chief. She knew that John was the chosen one, just like her. She wanted to build a future together with John, but soon, reality struck, and a fairy tale story came to an end.
Admiral Parangosky was manipulated by Halsey; therefore, she revoked her access to her lab and decided to send her away so that her daughter Miranda Keyes could take charge of the program and continue her research on the artifacts. However, a narcissistic Halsey wasn’t the kind of person who would give up so easily. She hacked into the system and contacted Makee to steal the artifact for her so that she could explore its full potential and eventually become a god. The word triggered Makee, who could see through Halsey’s lies and therefore refused to become an accomplice. But even though Makee refused to help Halsey, she could comprehend the true purpose of the artifacts. She wanted to know what John intended to do with them. John, being a true lonely hero, didn’t have an answer. The obvious answer was that he would destroy it so that the immense power wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, but John didn’t say those words.
Out of options, Halsey used Cortana’s abilities to activate the Spartan Back Channel and invoke the Zed Protocol. She ordered the remaining Spartans to bring the artifact, along with John and Makee, to her ship. However, at this juncture, even Cortana started to question Halsey’s intention and, therefore, informed John about the surprise attack. Meanwhile, Miranda found out that it was Makee who had slaughtered the entire fleet of the UNSC ship Gladius. As Makee’s crime came to light, Keyes and Parangosky took action against her, thereby triggering her childhood traumas. The attack turned Makee against the humans, and she stole the artifacts to deliver them to the Covenant. Halsey, on the other hand, used the distraction to escape the Reach in a pod. Later, the close that she’d left behind to trick the Marines was arrested in Manassas. The clone died in the interrogation room while Halsey was still on the run, most likely to return in the second season to continue her sinister plan.
The Final Battle
After Makee’s grand escape from the Reach, John finally enlisted Cortana’s help to find the Covenant HQ, which was supposed to be somewhere in Aspero. However, neither the navigators nor Cortana could find any trace of it. With no other options left at his disposal, the Master Chief finally decided to take the Silver Hunt to locate the Holy Place and bring back the artifacts to the UNSC as soon as possible. The final battle took place on the Covenant planet, where the brothers discussed their evil plan to kill Makee after they had completed their great journey and become like gods.
John and his team arrived on the planet only to face retaliation from the enemy forces, who attacked them in hordes. It was apparent that John and the three Spartans were no match against hundreds of Kaidon warriors, yet they gave it their all. However, when Makee saw John being smashed by an alien, she quickly touched the artifact to activate a field that stopped the horde for a brief amount of time. The touch transferred the consciousness of the two chosen ones to the Ring planet, where they could interact with each other without any interference. However, even though John loved Makee, he asked her to let him go because his team needed him more than anyone else. He had promised to bring them back to safety, and he would do anything to protect the only family he was left with. But Makee refused. In the real world, Kai understood the fact that John would be in a state of hibernation unless Makee removed her hand from the stone. She didn’t shy away from shooting down Makee so as to bring Master Chief back to his senses.
Makee died from the gunshot, and Master Chief was not in a good state. He was on the verge of losing the battle, which was why he asked Cortana to finally serve her true purpose and take charge of his body. However, such a transfer meant that Cortana would overwrite John’s consciousness, and it was most likely that she wouldn’t be able to bring him back. But John was ready to gamble with his own life for the safety of his team and the artifacts. As soon as Cortana took control of Master Chief, he went into total God mode and wiped out all the alien warriors. The team finally managed to recover the artifacts and took off from the planet as quickly as possible.
On the spaceship, Master Chief started acting differently. While others didn’t notice much, Kai, who had earlier removed her hormonal pellet, could very well see the differences. She asked John the same question that she had on her mind, and to her horror, Master Chief confirmed her fears. The ending sequences also revealed that Halsey was safe and sound on Planet Earth (most likely) from where she was planning her next move. The lives of these surviving individuals will collide once again in the near future when Cortana tries her best to restore John’s consciousness so that he can activate the artifacts and find out the location of the sacred ring, as he is the only chosen one left so far. The second season of Paramount’s Halo is just on our doorstep, and it would be exciting to see in which direction the sci-fi journey goes.