Warning: This article contains full spoilers for Halo: Season 1! If you haven’t already, be sure to check it out IGN’s recap of the Halo: Season 1 finale.
Halo has wrapped up its nine-episode first season on Paramount+, but this story is just beginning. The streamer already confirmed Halo: Season 2 before the series even premiered. And based on the events of the finale, we definitely have an idea of where the series is going.
Read on for a full breakdown of Season 1’s dramatic ending and how the show builds from the games. IGN also spoke to Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill, who serves as Head of Transmedia at Halo developer 343 Industries, to learn more about why the show is making some significant changes to traditional Halo mythology.
Is Master Chief really dead?
The season 1 finale features Master Chief’s most dangerous mission yet as he leads the Silver Team into the heart of Covenant territory to steal the two Forerunner artifacts that contain a map to the elusive Halo Station. Surprisingly, all members of the Silver Team survive what appears to be a suicide mission, although the Master Chief’s fate certainly remains ambiguous at the end of the episode.
In fact, it might be fair to say John-117 is dead, for all intents and purposes. After being overwhelmed by the much larger Covenant army, the Master Chief chooses to let himself be driven to the brink of death in battle against the hammer-wielding Brute. This allows Cortana to take control of his body and become the true union of the Spartan body and the artificial intelligence that Dr. introduced Halsey.
This charged Master Chief manages to recover the artifacts and escape with the Silver Team. But the question now is whether Cortana can undo the act of overwriting John’s brain. Can his sanity be restored, or is Master Chief doomed to be a mindless puppet controlled by his AI partner? Expect this to be a major focus of the series when it returns in Season 2.
“I don’t want to spoil Season 2 so early in the process, but I think we’re able to end Season 1 with this very final storyline and decision that in a way reflects who John has kind of learned to be,” says Wolfkill told IGN, “I think we’re going to kind of explore that further in season 2. I think it’s safe to say the story isn’t over for John.”
The Halo games don’t necessarily have spoilers on this front, as Cortana’s takeover of Master Chief’s body is one of many plot points unique to the live-action series. However, it reflects certain developments in the games. Master Chief is left to an ambiguous fate at the end of 2007’s Halo 3 when he enters cryosleep aboard a drifting starship before finally returning in 2012’s Halo 4. Halo 4, meanwhile, ends with Cortana sacrificing herself only to return as the antagonist in 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians. So the two characters have a habit of flirting with death and coming back later.
Basically, it’s probably only a matter of time before John’s spirit is restored in season 2. As Wolfkill explains, the true meaning of his sacrifice in the finale is that it is a conscious choice by a soldier who has been denied the luxury of choice for most of his life.
“I think what’s worth seeing is seeing the Master Chief make a decision that isn’t an order,” says Wolfkill. “This idea that you really feel like there’s both the Master Chief as you know him and John as you came to know him through the show, making a decision not just for himself but for meets his fireteam, and humanity again, who knows what’s at stake.”
This choice also signals John’s trust in Cortana, finally cementing the bond that has existed in games since the original Halo. Given the betrayals inflicted on him by mentors like Halsey and Captain Keyes, Cortana may be the only being in the galaxy outside of Silver Team that John trusts with his life.
Wolfkill says, “It’s a level of trust that we’re seeing in the games because that’s kind of the nature of gameplay, but I think as the season progresses we’ll see that trust develop and then we’ll see from there the manifestation of him taking all of these inputs that he had about the episodes and what he learned about himself and what it means to be human and spartan and the end result of that is that he’s making that decision for the sake of humanity to give her the best possible chance she can have. ”
The Halo Timeline: Will Reach’s Demise Still Happen?
Fans of the Halo games and various related media know that the story is heavily influenced by a conflict known as the Fall of Reach. First chronicled in the 2001 novel Halo: The Fall of Reach and then adapted into video game form in 2010’s Halo: Reach, this battle is humanity’s greatest defeat in its long war with the Alliance. Despite the valiant efforts of the Spartans and many other UNSC soldiers, the Alliance annihilates the Reach Colony and all but cripples the UNSC as a military power.
Naturally, fans have assumed it’s only a matter of time before we see the Fall of Reach in the live-action series. The show is essentially a prequel to the first Halo game (although it doesn’t take place in the same continuity), and that game takes place shortly after Reach’s destruction. Before the Master Chief can actually enter the Halo, Reach must be destroyed.
Halo: The Series Gallery
Episode 8 even seemed to start this fight when Makee turned on her captors and activated the artifact, presumably signaling Reach’s position to the Alliance military. However, despite the looming battle in the finale, Reach has not yet been attacked. Wolfkill hints that we’ll likely see the Fall of Reach at some point in the series. But if we do, it’s a story that probably needs more than one episode to tell.
“I think the fall of Reach is such an important historical moment in Halo and such a pivotal moment,” says Wolfkill. “Of course, I think that just hitting it at the very end of a season doesn’t do justice to how impressive a moment is for Halo. I can definitely say that.”
Wolfkill adds, “As you can see with Season 1, there are things the fans were expecting and things the fans weren’t expecting. I think we always want to try to take our fans on a journey and give them something that feels familiar but is also different and feels new to them. This is a tricky needle to thread and I don’t expect it to get any easier. Still, there’s so much to say with the Halo universe and so much to say with Chief and John and these characters that we just introduced and fleshed out in Season 1 and certainly something that we want to continue in Season 2.”
To learn more about Halo: The TV Series, find out why fans are upset about Master Chief losing his virginity and learn more about Halo’s hard-fought battle against television.
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https://www.ign.com/articles/halo-tv-season-1-ending-explained-master-chief Halo: Season 1 Ending Explained – What is Master Chief’s fate in Season 2?