Halo Season 2 Is a Huge Improvement Over The Last – Review

This review contains spoilers!

Halo’s first season was a controversial mess, from bad writing, dodgy VFX, inconsistent set design, pointless plot points, that scene and the problematic finale. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the vast majority of Halo fans disliked Season 1 as did I. It had its strong points like the action scenes but, that was about it.

Halo’s second season immediately opens with undoing the problematic finale of season 1. Within the first 10 seconds, Cortana is removed from John/Chiefs brain. This was a welcomed change as this was one of my biggest issues with season 1 on the whole. Cortana being in his head – literally – was not the way to go, but the finale of season 1 took that a step further by having her take control of Master Chiefs body – yes I know what you’re thinking – this was a terrible decision and well, that got jettisoned in the first 10 seconds of season 2.

Another great choice made by the season 2 team was just removing Madrigal from the timeline completely, in the first episode of season 2 it is revealed that Madrigal was victim to the good old covenant glassing technique – funny part is we all hoped this would happen – so they actually did it, Madrigal and all of its secrets not a single person cares about. Are gone, well done Paramount.

But, Madrigal being removed from the world does not mean Kwan Ha has been removed, although her story is already more interesting than her story in the entirety of season 1, it still does take away from the main plotline on Reach with Silver Team. But if the episode names are anything to go by, episode 5 – Aleria – will either wrap Kwans story up or connect it directly with the main plot. For those unaware, Aleria is a planet ruled by Pirates/Smugglers so it looks like episode 5 will be a Kwan focused episode. If Aleria is where the monster she talks about in episode 1 rests then, that could go a thousand ways.

Better Writing, Dialogue & Pacing

The writing in season 2 is worlds better than season 1 and this of course makes the dialogue and pacing of the season better too. The banter between Silver Team was completely absent from the entire first season and this is very akin to the way Blue Team are in canon, so this change was a very welcome one. Another place where the writing shines is in how the spartans have absolutely dreadful insults, this is obviously intentional and its great to see that because they have been suppressed all their life, so they don’t really know how to communicate, or in this case, throw an insult.

The pacing of the season already is much better too and it looks like we’re going to see the covenant reach – Reach City – by the end of episode 3. As we already know episode 4 is a one-shot episode with “wall-to-wall” action.

That Returning Character

Makee, yes that character that was shot in the heart at the end of season 1 has somehow returned. Getting strong palpatine vibes from this but one thing is for sure, Chief and Makee wont be intimate anymore as confirmed by Pablo Schreiber himself. “It isnt romantic and I prefer that dynamic with the character of Makee”. So fear not Halo fans, we wont be seeing cheeks anytime soon.

Better VFX & Set Design

It’s clear the VFX in season 2 are way beyond what season 1 was. Across the board if that’s CGI or animation. The set design too, feels extremely consistent from scene-to-scene and season 1 lacked this. All of this just makes the world feel more lived in and real, when it comes to the covenant this season, the CGI is truly incredible. They’re scary, their movements are more realistic and all of this makes the action 10x better than it was in season 1.

If the trailers are anything to go by, the VFX are going to be on full display in episode 4 when the covenant invade – Reach City – it is going to be interesting to see how they pull it off considering its a one-shot episode, I can only imagine this makes it much harder to make VFX flow consistently and work together. So whoever worked on the VFX this season did an incredible job and the praise they are going to get with the coming episodes will be 100% deserved.

James Ackerson

For me, James Ackerson is the highlight of the first 2 episodes, the actor that plays him – Joseph Morgan – does an incredibly good job at portraying the character, he gives off that dark, ONI vibe that was missing from season 1, it makes the human politics way more interesting and the tension between Master Chief and James Ackerson is there in every scene. A mixture of great acting and good writing choices really makes this character shine.

James Ackerson will play a much bigger role as the season goes on, as creator of the Spartan III program that looks to be happening in episode 6 titled – Onyx – the question is though, how many spartan III’s will survive come the end of season 2, if any.

The Verdict For Episode 1 & 2

Halo Season 2 still has some issues but overall the season is a huge improvement compared to season 1. The writing feels more consistent as does the VFX and everything else across the board. It looks like Paramount took fan-feedback on board and are rapidly fixing the mistakes of season 1.

Halo’s second season is no masterpiece by any means – atleast not yet – but it’s what the first season wasn’t, a fun, engaging and coherent start to what looks to be a very strong season for the series.

Episode 1 Rating: 8/10
Episode 2 Rating: 7/10

Catch the new season on Paramount+ – free 30-day trial for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members and a free 7-day trial for new Paramount+ Subscribers –

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