‘Halo’ Season 2 Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: Why Did Ackerson Abandon Reach?


The first two episodes of Halo Season 2 showed us that the Covenant was conquering planets more aggressively. During the Spartans’ evacuation mission at Sanctuary, Master Chief came across around 50 Covenant soldiers and apparently saw Makee (even though she was supposed to be dead). But his suspicions turned out to be true when Makee, accompanied by a Sangheili soldier, infiltrated Reach and got her hands on a piece of the artifact. Ackerson, Halsey’s replacement, was against Master Chief’s theories. Hence, he decided to bench Master Chief’s Silver Team. In addition to that, he was running experiments on Cortana and Halsey in an unspecified region of Reach. That didn’t stop Master Chief from orchestrating an unsanctioned mission to check if the Cobalt Team had run into the Covenant. Trouble was brewing on The Rubble too as Soren’s team members were under the impression that he had gotten his hands on a large bounty from Madrigal, but he didn’t share it with everyone. So, they decided to give him up to the UNSC, and somehow, Kwan Ha, who was living in The Rubble’s caves, learned about this and became concerned. Let’s see what’s next for Ackerson, Soren, Kwan Ha, Master Chief, and the Silver Team.

Spoiler Alert

Master Chief And His Team Are Suspended

Episode 3 of Halo Season 2 opens with Master Chief leading Kai, Riz, and Vannack towards Visegrad because that is where he thinks that the Cobalt Team has faced off with the Covenant. The sound of static interference, which Perez seems to be listening to and is similar to what was heard on Sanctuary, pretty much confirms the Covenant’s presence. But when the Spartans finally get to the facility, they notice that it’s weirdly empty. On top of that, soldiers from the UNSC Fleet Command, led by Briggs, descend upon the Spartans and tell them to drop everything and return to the headquarters because Master Chief has breached several protocols on a whim. Master Chief tries to prove that he is right, but, unfortunately, there’s not enough evidence to show that the Covenant has visited Visegrad. Keyes gives Master Chief an earful and shows him that Cobalt was sent to a place called Atkis IV, not Visegrad. Master Chief smells a conspiracy, but Keyes isn’t interested in listening to his explanation, and he strips the Silver Team of all its privileges. Riz, Kai, and Vannak are also hurt by the fact that Master Chief didn’t tell them the truth, and they cold-shoulder him.

The scene shifts to Ackerson and his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Quite a few things are revealed during this conversation. Ackerson’s father and his uncle were the architects of Reach. Julia, the girl who shows up in Halsey’s simulation, is actually Ackerson’s deceased sister. Ackerson is going away somewhere, and he doesn’t intend to take his own father with him. The only request that Ackerson’s father has for his son is that, before he goes away, he wants to be put out of his misery. Ackerson seemingly doesn’t object because he knows that a peaceful death will be better than the confused life that the old man is living. On The Rubble, Kwan Ha corners Laera and advises her to get the hell out of the planet (or collection of meteors) along with Kessler. She alleges that Ruby Ann (probably a pirate) has purchased Antares and Carina’s allegiance, and they are planning to twist her arm in Soren’s absence until she blurts out the location of the bounty from Madrigal. When Laera comes face-to-face with Antares and Carina, and they obviously lie about going on a mission to rescue Soren so that they can imprison Laera in their ship, Laera tells them to go ahead and start boarding and that she’ll join them in a bit. Antares and Carina have no option but to oblige, which gives Laera enough time to run away with Kessler and Kwan Ha.

Laera, Kwan Ha, And Kessler Try To Escape From The Rubble

Ackerson apparently sends two puny little guys to escort Master Chief to his office, and that plays out in a hilarious and predictable fashion, with Master Chief knocking out the guys with a single blow each. I think it subverts the action genre trope where the protagonist gets into a gritty and exhausting fight in an elevator (Mission: Impossible 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Drive) by making Master Chief do the same in a very effortless fashion because he is a bloody Spartan. While all this is going on, Riz goes to Louis, and it’s revealed that Louis and Danilo (the Spartan therapist) are in a relationship, and Riz has “ruined” date night for them. However, since they both sense that Riz is under a great deal of stress, they decide to give her a seat and serve dinner to her so that she doesn’t feel awkward. By the way, in this scene, it can seem that Natasha Culzac is under-acting, but her pitch is perfect. She is playing a character who is opening up properly for the first time in her life. She isn’t used to caring and loving. So, she can’t wrap her head around something as simple as having dinner with her new friends.

Kai has a conversation with Ackerson in which she asks him to cancel their suspension because Spartans aren’t meant to be benchwarmers. She seemingly requests that he at least revoke her suspension and let her do her job because she can’t bear to look at the Master Chief in this state. But Ackerson doesn’t listen to any of it, and he even implies that Master Chief is suffering from some form of dementia. Ackerson is clearly speaking from experience, but I think his feelings are clouding his judgment of Master Chief. On The Rubble, Kwan Ha subtly reveals that four ships were used to evacuate the people of Madrigal (due to a Covenant attack), but only one managed to complete its journey. And once any refugee gets to The Rubble, they are treated like slaves. Kwan Ha is clearly sad about failing to save her planet, especially after making a bold claim to be Madrigal’s protector, but she wants to wash off that feeling of depression by saving Laera and Kessler. That’s the least she can do for Soren. Sadly, their efforts to escape from The Rubble are botched by Antares and Carina. Laera orders Kwan Ha to get Kessler on the ship that’s going out of there and goes to confront the turncoats.

Why Did Ackerson Abandon Reach?

The Cobalt Team is dead. The thing that Master Chief was warning everyone about has happened. The question is, why is it being brushed under the rug by Ackerson? Well, apparently, he was using Cortana to run simulations on Reach’s survival if it’s attacked by the Covenant. Actually, Ackerson is aware of the fact that the Covenant is already on Reach. So, he knows that Master Chief is on the right. He doesn’t want to spread the word because he thinks it’ll cause “panic.” He doesn’t want to put up a fight because the A.I. says that they don’t have a chance of winning. He wants to get out of Reach because that’s the only option. He doesn’t even want a mass evacuation because that’s not a viable option, according to Cortana. He is like a mixture of the mayor from Jaws and every Elon Musk-esque character that has been portrayed on-screen. Thankfully, instead of bowing down to his “masterful gambit,” Keyes tells him to shove his plans where the Sun doesn’t shine and walks out on him.

Master Chief has a meeting with Margaret Parangosky, and he confides in her that the Covenant is on the Reach and has taken down the Cobalt Team. He thinks she is going to listen to him, but when Margaret advises him to follow “protocol,” he loses faith in him. He accuses her of working for the ONI and leaves. It seems like Margaret wanted Master Chief to stay in the UNSC as her insider. But, given the urgency of the situation, Master Chief just isn’t in the mood to take things slow. Ackerson tries to break Catherine Halsey’s resolve by informing her that he is leaving Reach with her work on the Spartans and he expresses some fake sadness because Halsey won’t be alive to see what he does with her work. Halsey does the same to Ackerson by reminding him that his sister, Julia, died because he tried to put her through the Spartan program, and she was there to comfort her during her dying moments. As a parting gift, Ackerson brings in Soren, thereby forcing Halsey to confront her sins.

Kwan Ha saves Laera from Antares, Carina, and the rest of the crew in quite a dramatic and cold fashion. The way she lures everyone away from Laera and then stabs them off-screen (Carina dies on-screen and Antares kind of dies on-screen) is awesome. She tells Laera that Kessler is on a ship going out of The Rubble, which means that Laera and Kwan Ha are going to rescue him in the subsequent episodes before he gets into some kind of trouble. Ackerson gives his father a death pill and leaves him with a clone of Julia so that he doesn’t feel completely alone while slipping away. As much as I hate Ackerson, I’ll admit that this is a really heartbreaking scene. At the end of Halo Season 2, episode 3, Master Chief meets Perez, and the latter translates the Sangheili speech that she has been listening to all this while. The words are spine-chilling as the narrator (Var’ Gatanai) talks about invading the Reach and massacring everyone to achieve the Covenant’s goal (something regarding the Sacred Ring). The montage of Kwan Ha and Laera plotting their next move, Riz sitting with Louis, Ackerson leaving Reach, and all of it ending with a massive explosion is straight-up masterful. I am definitely hyped and scared out of my mind. I can’t wait to watch what happens on Reach and how every character tackles the threat of the Covenant in their own way.

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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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