Four long episodes and we finally arrive at something resembling Halo: Combat Evolved. It takes Cortana incapacitating the Chief in episode five for the series to finally slaughter its (hopefully) last sacred taboo and get on with being an ambitious vision of what a Halo prequel can offer the screen.
Unfortunately, the best is saved for last and things kick off with another flashback. For whatever reason, these showrunners seem intent on having John expose his beard, bum, suppressed boyhood trauma, and ultimately his soul before the alien-slaying carnage can kick off. Paramount should get the green light from CBS to call this series Young Spartan.
Kwan and Soren are still meandering through their pointless Madrigal side quest. The goalpost for this arc changes every week with logistical setbacks on a quest to reignite a civil rebellion, which continues to have no discernible connection to the human versus Covenant conflict at the series’ heart. Madrigal remains no more interesting a location as the weeks pass.
Reckoning’s final 15 minutes are the best live-action Halo fans have yet seen
Kai, the second emotionally liberated member of Silver Squad follows up last week with earned time in the spotlight. After a promising, if familiar sequence of levity and warmth between Kai and Dr. Miranda Keyes in episode four, Reckoning has Kai bring a much-needed sense of curiosity and enjoyment to the otherwise dry proceedings. The series is still building up Dr. Keyes’ character into something interesting, but Reckoning is another episode juggling too many different perspectives in a significantly shorter episode and leaves viewers with another week of staggered character development.
Captain Keyes, Chief’s famous comrade from the games, finally makes a considerable appearance alongside Chief and Dr. Halsey at the Eridanus artefact site. In fact, having these characters all finally share the screen at once makes for Halo’s first convincing blockbuster sequence. As though the series has been building towards this since the premiere, the franchise team-up moment still delivers on an impressively paced and explosive conflict reminiscent of the game’s best fights. Even in isolation, Reckoning’s final 15 minutes are the best live-action Halo fans have yet seen.
Whereas earlier episodes’ action often felt like a box-ticking display to retain franchise devotes bored by the other 90% of the episode’s dialogue-heavy exposition, Reckoning finally feels like the big-budget Halo we dared imagine. The sound design, visuals, and actors all bring their A-game to some great action sci-fi sequences in the back end of the episode. All the characters we expect to feature in a proto-Halo adaptation are here to pronounced effect, although the Keyes characters are still mostly relegated to the background.
After weeks of flashbacks and juggling of too many meandering character threads, Halo unites its key players for one of the best sci-fi sequences on television. While the pacing is a bit lopsided in favour of providing overdue fan service to close out the week, we get some ludicrous Halo moments. Reckoning is the best that this mixed series has offered, with a sequence that makes a renewed argument for the attention of those who enjoy the games and books.
Review screener supplied by distributor
|PRODUCTION COMPANIES||Showtime Networks, 343 Industries, Amblin Television|
|RELEASE||April 21, 2022|