‘Halo’ Season 2 Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: Are Jacob Keyes & Vannak Dead?

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Last week’s episode of Halo Season 2 was what the kids call “a banger.” It played out like a true-blue conspiracy thriller as Master Chief was accused of leading a fake mission just because he wanted to raise the alarm about the rising Covenant activity. While he was punished for it and the entire Silver Team was disbanded, Ackerson revealed that he was aware of the fact that the Covenant had invaded Reach. That was why he was conducting simulations to calculate the chances of their survival if they met them head-on. Since Cortana said they’d fail, Ackerson got the details of the Spartan program, killed his own father, left Catherine Halsey with Soren, and then jetted off. Master Chief’s fears turned out to be true as a massive explosion inside Reach indicated that the Covenant was there to initiate a genocide. So, let’s talk about what Master Chief has done in today’s episode to deal with this disaster.

Spoiler Alert


Master Chief And Perez Try To Reach Fleetcom

Episode 4 of Halo Season 2 opens with Vannak’s pigeon feeding session being disrupted by the Covenant attack. Perez and Master Chief rush towards Perez’s home to save her family, but an explosion absolutely decimates the building that they were in. Perez’s mother’s last words to Master Chief was a request to not break her heart and to take care of her, and in a really tragic way, her wish has come true because now, Perez and Master Chief have to stick together. Soren and Catherine Halsey’s reunion is interrupted by an explosion that causes the virtual reality that’s imprisoning them to switch off. That allows Soren and Halsey to leave the place and search for some kind of a shelter from all the explosions. Even though Soren doesn’t want to trust Halsey again, he has no option but to do so because he doesn’t know the way out of the prison facility, and Halsey does. So, he reluctantly follows her. 

Master Chief makes his way to Fleetcom to rejoin the defense forces, but Perez is unable to process the death of her family and the fact that various sections of Reach are still unaware that their planet is being attacked. Reality hits hard when invisible Sangheili soldiers infiltrate the market area. Master Chief takes one of them down, and then he and Perez continue their mission to try to reach Fleetcom. They momentarily hide in an antique shop. Perez tries to convince its old owner to leave with them, but the lady refuses to do so because all her memories are intertwined with that shop. So, if it goes down, she goes down with it. Master Chief seemingly understands her decision, and even though Perez doesn’t want to leave behind a person who can be saved, she has to agree with her stance. This little moment shows why people don’t leave their homes even though death is imminent. Logically, it’s true that surviving is important. But when you’ve lived a long life, and your whole identity has become synonymous with the places you inhabit, then the concept of survival seems fruitless. Alas, inhuman fascists who commit genocide don’t understand stuff like this. That’s why they do the things they do.


Halsey Reveals The Truth About Soren’s Escape

While making their escape, Halsey reveals something startling. She initially tries to show that she is impressed that Soren has made a name for himself and that he has a family too. But when she talks about how she allowed Soren to escape by lowering the security after his Spartan integration program malfunctioned, Soren is shocked because he was under the impression that he had done the impossible as a kid by escaping Halsey’s workshop of horrors on his own. Soren understands that Halsey is trying to put her stamp on an integral aspect of his origins, and she is trying to make it all about herself instead of giving Soren any credit for making it out of her clutches. So, he doubles down on his narrative and lets her know that even though she is responsible for who he is (especially since she kidnapped him as a kid and thrusted her into an inhumane program), she doesn’t get to define his life. They are forced to put this argument on the back burner and deal with the ongoing invasion as they find dead bodies strewn all over the prison facility. Halsey and Soren grab some guns so that they can defend themselves against any Sangheili soldiers. Halsey tries to acquire Cortana, but Makee gets a hold of Cortana first. She unleashes an Elite on the duo, but Soren sets off an explosive to save themselves from the Sangheili soldier. By the way, that’s an impressive wire pull to sell the impact of the explosion. 

While making their way to Fleetcom, Master Chief and Perez come across Riz, who is also trying to do what he is doing. They are joined by a bunch of marines, Louis, and Danilo. Unfortunately, Danilo is killed, and angered by his death, Louis sacrifices himself too. I don’t think I have to say this, but this whole segment is fantastic. The camera work, the stunt work, the CGI, the VFX, the SFX, the sound design, the twists, the tension—it’s all amazing. Could it have been lit a little better? Sure. Does that stop the sequence from being engaging? Absolutely not. After reaching Fleetcom, Master Chief and Riz proceed to join the defense forces while Perez takes care of the wounded and starts getting them into the evacuation ships. Vannak joins Master Chief and Riz and informs them that their gear is gone. Apparently Ackerson has taken it while escaping the planet because he intends to start his version of the Spartan program. Kai is nowhere to be found (throughout the episode), and they just assume that she is out there fighting the Covenant. Keyes kind of apologizes to Master Chief for not trusting him, even though Master Chief was constantly warning him about this very day. However, instead of getting into a war of words about who is right and who is wrong, Keyes begins preparing the defense forces for the inevitable. He knows that they are not going to succeed, but he has to give the evacuation party enough time to get the citizens out of Reach. So, he and his soldiers pledge to focus on that instead of thinking about whether or not they’re going to survive this whole ordeal.


Are Captain Jacob Keyes and Vannak Dead?

Although Keyes wants to join the Spartans and face the Covenant, Master Chief tells him to go help the civilians because if he dies, then someone like Ackerson might replace him and give nonsensical orders. Keyes understands Master Chief’s reasoning, and he wishes the Spartans the best of luck, and they go their separate ways. Halsey and Soren come across Keyes, and he takes them to the hangar so that they can get off Reach. It’s an awkward, albeit hilarious, ride to the top because Soren’s presence isn’t allowing Keyes and Halsey to bicker like a couple. By the way, we get some vague information about Miranda. Her current location is a question mark, but she is not on Reach, that’s for sure. The Spartans and the Marines deal with the Covenant soldiers on the bridge, and things get pretty overwhelming for them. To make things worse, another branch of Covenant soldiers, known as Jackals, hit the hangar, thereby prompting Soren, Keyes, and the rest of the evacuation party to take up arms. When the Spartans learn about this, they leave the bridge and go to the hangar to protect the civilians. Perez informs Keyes that the civilians have boarded the ship, and they are ready to take off. However, Keyes notices that the fuel lines haven’t been disconnected, which pretty much means that he is going to die while trying to get the ship full of civilians airborne. Sadly, that’s exactly what happens. 

At the end of Halo Season 2, episode 4, Keyes goes out in style by lighting up his smoking pipe and taking down a bunch of Jackals. Perez is devastated, but the sight of all the civilians that have been saved because of his sacrifice makes her realize that he didn’t die in vain. For the first time ever, Halsey shows emotion as she is devastated by Keyes’ death and the state of Reach. I think the realization that she could’ve done more to protect Reach and her family has hit her. Master Chief and the Spartans are also sad, but they don’t get the opportunity to mourn as they are attacked by a bunch of Covenant soldiers. This leads to a brilliant and dynamic hallway fight sequence. Master Chief puts up a good fight against Var’ Gatanai (at least that’s who I think it is), but he is thwarted by a random Sangheili soldier who shoots him. Var’ Gatanai tries to use this opportunity to kill Master Chief, but Makee stops him. Does that mean that Makee still has feelings for Master Chief? Probably, yes. Vannak puts up a good fight too, but he is killed off in a merciless fashion. The episode ends on a poetically sad note as Vannak looks at one of his pigeons flying in the sky as the life fades away from his body. Even though I think that the episode delivers the unhinged violence that the last episode promised, I have to point out that two of the most prominent deaths are those of two characters played by black actors. I don’t know what that says about the underlying politics of the show, which has gone from being an extension of Starship Troopers to an unironic praise of what soldiers do during the war, but I just want to say that the artistic choices of the showrunners aren’t going unnoticed. As for what I expect from the next few episodes, it’ll be interesting to see how Perez functions on her own, the evolution of Soren and Halsey’s dynamic, and whether or not Master Chief manages to save some more souls before the Covenant glasses Reach.


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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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