Catching up because I don’t care. (spoilers)
The biggest thing I have taken from the Halo TV series so far is that Kyle Killen and Steven Kane are clearly both ass-men. How do I know this? Well the Halo series isn’t exactly known for its nudity. Technically Cortana is naked in the games but I don’t think that counts since she’s a hologram lady and she has no bits. We are now four episodes in to the Halo TV series first season, and there have been at least four scenes of full on naked butt cheeks. I say four because more might have happened that I forgot. We’ve seen Pablo Schreiber’s soldier butt cheeks, Charlie Murphy’s much nicer butt cheeks (plus she gets her boobs out for the audience’s pleasure), Kate Kennedy’s butt cheeks, and Burn Gorman’s flat ass. And I’m not against butt cheeks or the occasional side boob. Does it belong in Halo? I’d argue probably not.
The Halo TV series has a lot of problems and I’m going to go through them like a fine comb digging up lice on the skull of Paramount Plus. Foremost the crew seems to have known that Master Chief taking his helmet off would be a point of contention among fans of the games, but in the first four episodes they’ve gone from having the end-of-episode face reveal be this big emotional moment to what feels like taunting the audience. Schreiber has spent almost all of the last three episodes with his helmet off and much of it without even his power armor, and goes as far as putting it on in a rather embarrassing scene to take a fifteen second drive and then immediately take it off again. You occasionally hear Star Wars fans say that George Lucas kept Jar Jar Binks as a middle finger to the people who hated him in the first movie, but this does feel like the creators knew Halo fans would hate the show and just wanted to insult them further. Because dramatic attention from YouTubers is better than no attention at all.
With four episodes behind us, it’s safe to say that the problem with the Halo series isn’t that it doesn’t follow the video game canon. It’s just that the whole thing doesn’t feel like Halo. It’s like the wish.com version of Halo, where things are just crossing the line of technical copyright infringement. Only impressive had it been a fan film. Pablo Schreiber by himself isn’t a bad actor, but he is a bad Master Chief when Master Chief has been written so badly that he might as well be anyone else. He feels like if you manifested everyone’s fears of Pedro Pascal and The Mandalorian and made them all reality. Halo feels like it’s doing everything wrong that The Mandalorian did right, and the show creators really should have looked at it for inspiration on how to deal with a character that canonically never takes off his helmet.
Now let’s talk about Kwan Ha, aka “Who Cares.” If we were in Disney’s house I’d assume Kwan Ha’s plotline was gearing up to be spun off into its own series. And who knows, that might still happen. Those dumb bastards greenlit a second season before the first even premiered. As a companion character to Chief, Kwan made more sense. Now that she is back on Madrigal and trying to gin up a resistance against Vinsher Grath, aka Hitler Von Bin Laden McVlad Seacrest, I have little to no interest in her character. It all seems to be splitting the audience’s attention five ways so we hopefully don’t notice that nothing is happening of interest in any specific story. We’ve been given no real reason to be invested in the plight of Madrigal specifically, especially since the universe as a whole seems to be equally a shit hole. And the show doesn’t seem enthusiastic about getting us motivated, as Kwan finally gets home to find her father only to be told by a friend on the street “oh he dead.” And then we meet her aunt and thirty seconds later oh she dead.
Kwan is so bad of a character that she is actively dragging down Soren-066.
How is the audience supposed to get invested when the creators clearly don’t seem to care?
Meanwhile Dr. Halsey and Master Chief continue their weird bonding trip with Chief slowly rediscovering memories of his past. I think it’s obvious to predict that the big twist is Halsey killed Chief’s parents and abducted him herself. The other Spartans are slowly rebelling against their creators, although you’d imagine the UNSC would have them under tighter surveillance to ensure they aren’t surgically removing implants, and the part where Kate Kennedy expresses her rebellion by putting red streaks in her hair feels like the script writer just woke up from a 30 year coma and still thinks this is how shows portray that.
To further the horrible writing in this story, the show seems to be gearing up for the big reveal that the UNSC isn’t very moral. But we already know the UNSC are not the morally good guys, given we’ve seen Dr. Halsey clone herself and then kill the clone, Master Chief nearly killed his training buddy because he defected, and we already know the whole Spartan program is all about children being torn from their families and undergoing rigorous mental and physical trauma, not to mention the addition of all sorts of implants and drugging to turn them into obedient weapons of war. Also we’re already aware that the Spartans are meant to crush any dissenting colonies. The only twist we could learn is that they don’t flush after using public toilets.
The only person who seems to understand Halo is Bentley Kalu as Vannak-134, a member of Silver Team. In the fourth episode Miranda Keyes starts testing the other Spartans by having them touch the key to see if it reacts. When it doesn’t she asks what makes John so special, to which Vannak very matter of factly says “he’s the Master Chief.” The other Spartans look so much cooler than John does given they’re the only ones who act like bad-asses despite not really having any action scenes. They do wear their armor and helmets. As time goes on, Miranda Keyes is no doubt going to come to see the Spartans as more than simply killing machines.
Halo’s big problem is that the pacing is terrible and it separates between too many stories at once with most of them being awful. The show is incapable of keeping its attention on one plot at any time, as it will alternate between storylines every couple of minutes at some of the most inopportune cutaways. Kwan is definitely not the compelling subplot they thought it would be, there’s been almost nothing in terms of action scenes in four episodes so far, and there is nothing meaningful going on. It’s clear that the show creators have no clue what they’re doing with the IP and don’t seem to particularly care about those details, and I’m not sure who this show is supposed to be for.