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The Student News Site of Parkway North High School

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Season two of “Halo” brings much needed improvements over season one

Season+two+of+Halo+brings+much+needed+improvements+over+season+one
Paramount Plus

When season one of “Halo” debuted on Paramount+ in March of 2022, it was criticized by fans and critics alike. Fans of the “Halo” game series pointed out numerous alterations from the main Halo timeline and the mischaracterization of Halo series protagonist, Master Chief. Many pointed out how season one felt like a generic sci-fi show with a Halo skin tacked on. Despite this, the show was reported to be a success for Paramount, becoming the most-watched show on the streaming platform.

Fans were questioning the show’s second season when the first trailer released in January 2024, officially announcing a Feb. 8 release date. Skepticism lessened when it was announced that a new team led by director and writer David Wiener would make the second season. Fans will be happy because an immediate improvement over the first season can be seen in the first episode as the overall story and production is better even though there is still room for improvement. 

Season two began with a two-episode premiere. Season two, like season one, stars Silver Team, a group of UNSC Spartan II super soldiers, as its protagonists, consisting of John-117, the Master Chief (also referred to as just “Chief” throughout the show), portrayed by actor Pablo Schreiber, Kai-125 (Kate Kennedy), Vannak-134 (Bently Kalu), and Riz-028 (Natasha Culzac). Silver team is sent to fight the Covenant, an extreme religious army of various aliens hell-bent on exterminating humanity

Episode one, “Sanctuary”, follows Silver Team covering a civilian evacuation on the planet Sanctuary, later returning to Reach for a more story-focused second half of the episode. The dialogue feels far more natural, and the music, now produced by composer Bear McCreary, who is also the composer for God of War 2018, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians, is also very noticeable, and way more faithful to the iconic scores from the Halo games. The fight scenes are also much better in this season, the CGI looks better, the choreography is smoother, and the camera work is more impactful. 

The show’s new character, Colonel James Ackerson is by far the highlight of the first two episodes. Given an excellent portrayal by actor Joseph Morgan, Ackerson is now the leader of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the UNSC’s shady intelligence branch. He is written amazingly in the show. It feels faithful to his appearances in the main Halo timeline across several novels, as we follow him trying to hide the inevitability that the Covenant will attack Reach, Humanity’s military stronghold. Ackerson embodies the shadiness of ONI with his attempts to cover up the unusual events on Sanctuary and hide the truth, and Morgan’s performance sells it. 

Paramount+ has teased more action for the rest of season two, including a reference to an iconic shot from “Halo: Infinite’s reveal trailer.

However, not everything is perfect. Episodes one and two break into multiple plot lines, the main story following Silver Team, The Covenant, and ONI. The other plotline features Soren-066, a former Spartan II, as well as controversial Season 1 character Kwan Ha, on the Rubble, a crime-ridden city built on an asteroid. The plotline on the Rubble is mostly uninteresting, and while it will likely converge with the main story at some point, it just feels unnecessary and unimportant, and the time spent there could be given to developing the main plot. 

Episode two, “Sword”, is more focused on dialogue and story, mixed in with more action scenes of Silver Team training. The end of the episode is a cool action-horror scene, showing a squad of UNSC marines getting massacred in a hallway by Covenant elites at a military base on Reach. The ending brings controversy though, showing that a controversial character from season one, who was killed in the season finale, is still alive.

Overall, season two of “Halo” shines most when Ackerson and the other main plot characters are on screen. It improves on many of the key issues found in season one while offering something new, but all is not perfect. Poorly written characters from season one see little improvement, though there’s still time to change that, and the time spent on the Rubble could be spent on the far more interesting main storyline. Season Two of Paramount+’s “Halo” is an 8/10, with lots of room to improve or decline.

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About the Contributor
I'm Jacob. I'm a freshman student and new to the newspaper. When not at school, I enjoy playing video games, working with technology, playing with my dog, and spending time with family. I joined the newspaper to write about the school and what's happening, as well as being able to share my creativity and opinions.

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