‘Halo’ Season 2 Ending Explained & Finale Recap: What Is The Flood?


The first half of Halo Season 2 was largely about preparing for the Covenant invasion of Reach, which was something that Parangosky and Ackerson authorized because that was what was shown by Cortana. Master Chief lost Vannak in the fight, and he and Riz got gravely injured. When all hope seemed lost, Soren (who was on the run from his own people as well as the UNSC), Kwan Ha, and Laera came to his rescue and took them to Aleria. Riz retired as a Spartan, while the rest went to Onyx in search of the artifact and Kessler (Soren and Laera’s son). Makee and the Arbiter reached the Halo planet with the help of Cortana, but since they betrayed the Covenant, they unleashed their whole fleet on the ship Makee was in. Parangosky and Ackerson had made a new set of Spartans, and she sent them on a suicide mission that’d destroy everything in existence—including the Halo planet—if even one of the Spartans succeeded. Master Chief reached the Halo planet and tried to get there before Makee did. Meanwhile, Kwan Ha, Halsey, and Miranda unlocked something ancient that was hidden in the caves of Onyx. The finale is a bit of a doozy. So, let’s dive right in.

Spoiler Alert

Makee Tries to Destroy Cortana

Episode 8 of Halo Season 2 opens with Master Chief talking to a disembodied voice about death and darkness, and then the episode cuts to Miranda examining something she has extracted from the device she, her mother, and Kwan Ha stole from the caves. She is incessantly bothered by an overenthusiastic biologist named Janine. She goes on and on about Halsey and the spores that Miranda is looking into until Miranda has no other option but to tell her to get the hell out of there. That said, before ordering her to leave, Miranda asks Janine if she has touched the object, and Janine doesn’t give a straight answer. This leads to a scary but well-done montage of Janine’s deteriorating condition because she has, in fact, touched the object, and the fungus that’s in there is causing her to transform into something evil. The scene ends with Janine killing another scientist and the infection spreading to everyone and everything that she has touched.

Kai leads her team to the battlefield, and as she starts giving a speech about how they are going to win, their ship unceremoniously explodes (which seems like a homage to the ship explosion scenes in Edge of Tomorrow). Perez, Kai, and a few others manage to survive the ordeal and reach a Covenant ship. They start to piece together a plan to breach its outer layer, and that’s when their hopes are dashed by a massive Star Destroyer-esque vessel that’s armed with a mini-superlaser. The use of sound design in this whole sequence is fantastic, and the visuals are top-notch. Master Chief has a heated conversation with Margaret because Margaret wants Master Chief to reach the halo before Makee does, and Master Chief doesn’t want to listen to her, and he is waiting to see the outcome of Kai’s mission. Kwan Ha tells Soren that they should leave because she knows what “the darkness” is capable of (which is a reference to the virus that’s spreading), but Soren can’t do that because his wife and kid are down there. So, they decide to rescue them and then get out of there.

Ackerson is imprisoned for his little act of defiance in a cell that’s right next to the one Kessler and Laera are in. And Kessler and Laera are in the cell that’s right next to the one Janine is in, who is seen puking out a translucent parasite out of her mouth, thereby ramping up the sense of urgency of this not-so-insignificant subplot. Perez, Kai, and the rest of their team engage with the Sangheili Elites on the ship. The Master Chief tells Margaret to help them, but she tells him again to get to the Halo planet. So, Master Chief decides to put his helmet on and go rescue Kai, Perez, and the rest of the survivors of her team. Cortana warns Makee that she isn’t going to make it. Makee tells Cortana that her job is done, and she destroys the device from which Cortana operates.

A Zombie Outbreak Occurs On Onyx

Perez is grievously injured, and she is dragged into the control room of the ship by Kai. Since it is up to Kai to complete the mission, she takes out the spike that’ll potentially destroy everything in its vicinity, but she hesitates because that’s not a fruitful solution. Thankfully, Master Chief gets there, and he makes a proper Indian movie-esque hero entry by walking in slow motion through smoke and fire. Monarch and Halo are the two shows that are apparently taking notes from masala Indian films, and I think that’s a good thing. Anyway, Kai gets the Spartan survivors to the UNSC ships while Master Chief goes on his mission. Soren and Kwan Ha enter the corridors of the Onyx prison facility, and they are greeted by one of the most eerie sights of the series: all the scientists and soldiers frozen in their place. The light cracking in their bones means that the parasite that Janine has let loose is burrowing its way into their bodies.

By the way, the aforementioned moment is followed by one of the most grotesque moments in the show as well as in sci-fi TV history, as Janine’s body transforms into a Resident Evil-esque zombie monster with boils, tentacles, and parasites coming out of her face and neck. You can say that you have seen things that are more frightening than that, but you have to consider the fact that nothing like this has happened in the series before this very moment. It has been a standard, action-packed sci-fi show with some Starship Troopers-esque satire. But parasites that turn humans into zombie monsters are so new and so sudden that it is shocking. Ackerson grabs a guard’s gun and empties the magazine on Janine, thereby saving Laera and Kessler. However, as the guard begins to turn into a monster, Ackerson realizes that he is in a bit of a pickle because he has nothing to defend himself with. Soren and Kwan Ha notice all this from the CCTV cameras and rush towards the cells.

Margaret brings in Halsey to convince the Master Chief to follow her orders. When Halsey realizes that Master Chief is chasing the Covenant ship that Makee was in to save Cortana, she tells him how to enter it instead of relaying Margaret’s orders. We get a brief scene where Master Chief is talking to that same disembodied voice from earlier, who is apparently interrogating the Spartan regarding his decision to save Cortana. Master Chief says he did what he did because Cortana is more than just an AI, and she means a lot to him. That’s when the voice says that it should talk to Cortana because she’s clearly more knowledgeable than Master Chief. The episode cuts back to Master Chief entering the Covenant ship and seemingly integrating Cortana (who transferred herself into the Covenant’s system before Makee destroyed the device she was operating from) into his suit while the ship crashes into The Ring.

What Is the Flood?

Soren and Kwan Ha kill the zombie guard and get Kessler, Laera, and even Ackerson out of the prisons. Master Chief wakes up on the Halo planet and sees how life is growing around the spots of wreckage, and that confirms what Makee was talking about earlier in the show: The ring holds the seed of life. Cortana defines it as a living network. Master Chief decides to find Makee, and Cortana points at the large structure sticking out of the woods, saying that that’s probably where Makee is. She is right because Makee and the Arbiter are heading towards the giant building too. Cortana asks the big question: who has built the large building and the Halo planet? She also theorizes if it has been waiting for Master Chief and Makee. Given how vague the whole thing is, Master Chief pushes the theories to the side and prepares for his battle with the Arbiter.

Perez wakes up to find out that she and the survivors have been transferred to an UNSC ship, but Kai is using a Covenant ship to ram into the large Covenant ship. Kai says that, “It’s going to hurt” and destroys the ship equipped with a super laser, thereby turning the tide of the war in favor of humans. As the UNSC celebrates, a full-on zombie outbreak occurs on Onyx. Margaret is seemingly eaten up or infected by the zombies. Halsey barely manages to reach Miranda, and she starts smiling like an idiot (like she always does) and says that this spore, the parasites, and this whole catastrophe are actually good. Why? Because now they can learn who built the caves on Onyx or the Halo planets and how these parasites probably destroyed them. Why would anyone in their right mind stay in the middle of a zombie outbreak to do scientific research instead of opting for self-preservation? I don’t know. Thankfully, Halsey’s nonsense comes to an end as she is frozen by the fungal-parasite infection.

Ackerson, Kwan Ha, Soren, Kessler, and Laera get into a gun fight with the zombies. While everyone manages to get to safety, Kwan Ha is cornered by the zombies. The elderly spirit stops them from attacking Kwan Ha, and she gives a somewhat succinct explanation of what’s going on. She tells Kwan Ha that her ancestors and this “monster” (which is known as The Flood) have been in an eternal battle. Now that The Flood is out in the open again, it not only wants to consume Kwan Ha, it wants her to submit to it, thereby confirming that The Flood is a hivemind entity that intends to bring everything under its control and bring the galaxy to a state of equilibrium. Onyx is just one place that they are taking over. All those red dots that we saw in the holograph in the cave are probably all the places where The Flood has been activated because of Halsey and Miranda’s tinkering. The elderly lady is probably the spirit of the Forerunners, the factions that built the Halos (yes, there is more than one circular planet) to tackle the Flood.

Laera is infected by the parasite, and she apparently dies. While leaving Onyx, in a pretty gut-wrenching scene, Soren (who is usually very snarky and chirpy) tells his son the truth about his mother’s demise. Miranda puts Halsey into a cryogenic pod to hinder the spread of the fungus-parasite thing while a zombie looks at her through the glass, which means that Miranda has nowhere to go and she has to find a solution from that lab. Kai’s lifeless body is seen floating in the debris of the crash. Master Chief gets into a brutal battle with the Arbiter. It takes place in three rounds. Master Chief wins the first round by slicing through the Arbiter’s chest. The Arbiter wins the second round by putting Master Chief on his back. And in the final round, Master Chief goes into beast mode and kills the Arbiter. That said, he makes sure that the Arbiter knows he isn’t killing him to give him a warrior’s death; he is killing him to avenge Vannak’s death and all the lives that the Arbiter has taken.

At the end of Halo Season 2, episode 8, Makee blurts out her endgame. She wants to use the Halo to end the Covenant, the humans, and everyone who is causing any kind of war. So, essentially, she wants to be Thanos and establish intergalactic peace by committing genocide. Instead of stopping her, Master Chief is distracted by the Fleet or the UNSC ships entering the Ring’s atmosphere as well as the structures emerging out of the Ring’s mountains. I don’t know what they are, but it doesn’t look good. Master Chief goes after Makee, who has already entered the structure, and the episode cuts to another part of the conversation between Master Chief and the disembodied voice. It’s apparent that a lot has happened between the time Master Chief entered the structure and the moment he sat down to have this conversation with this floating, one-eyed machine (which is probably the 343 Guilty Spark from the games). Apparently, the machine has also talked to Makee, and both of them have told the machine not to trust the other “chosen one.” The machine seemingly hints at the Forerunners and says that it has been waiting to meet Master Chief, who, by the way, claims that he isn’t a part of the UNSC because they were using him for propaganda. So, maybe Master Chief and/or Makee are the key to stopping the Flood or allowing it to kill everything in existence. We’ll know all about it when and if Season 3 comes out.

Final Thoughts

With the exception of the penultimate episode of Halo Season 2 and Makee’s wig, I think the show is pretty solid. The buildup to the destruction of the Reach, the midpoint cooldown period, and then the jump into solid horror territory impressed me very much. I am not well-versed in the lore of the world of Halo and the games, and that’s definitely a big reason why I have been taken by surprise. In addition to that, the show just has good storytelling. The character arcs are so distinct and full of emotions that you can identify with them on some level. The twists are subtle and aren’t played out for shock value. The performances from the entire cast are fantastic. The action choreographies have so much variety, and the overall craft on display is exquisite. I love how the showrunners center the conflict of this season around which of the two species will dominate the playing field (UNSC or Covenant) and then bring a COVID-like equalizer to throw everyone off-balance. That is the good stuff. I know that Halo has earned a bit of a bad rap for not exactly remaking the games and making the Spartans take off their helmets a lot. But if you can look beyond that and treat it as an adaptation of the games, I think you’ll enjoy it. And if you haven’t played the games and you are looking for a good sci-fi TV show, this is it. Based on the unresolved plot threads of Season 2, I am sure this show is going to get a third season, unless Paramount+ pulls off a Netflix-level stunt and cancels it unceremoniously. I don’t know if Halo Season 2 got a lot of views, and if there are a lot of people excited for Season 3, but I am here to give it full marks and express my anticipation for a potential third season of Halo.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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