Spoilers are ahead for Halo season 2, episode 2, “Sword.”
- The Paramount+
show’s season 2 focuses on the iconic Fall of Reach as its main plot.
- The Covenant’s invasion of Reach plays a significant role in
season 2 sets up an even more intense and consequential storyline for the Fall of Reach.
After its first season deviated significantly from the source material, the Paramount+ Halo show sets up the iconic Fall of Reach as its key season 2 plot. In the sci-fi series’ first outing, Pablo Schreiber’s Master Chief (John-117) led the Spartan program’s Silver Team, discovered that he’s one of the Covenant’s so-called “Blessed Ones,” and fell for a Makee (Charlie Murphy), a Covenant-raised human. Not only did John’s “chosen one” fate upset long-time video game fans, but Halo season 1 insisted on nixing Master Chief’s iconic helmet and armor for a majority of its runtime.
The Halo TV series has been upfront about its story being a standalone alternate timeline that’s merely inspired by the core canon. Still, there’s some Halo lore the show needs to depict in order to win over viewers, including the Fall of Reach. In Halo season 1’s ending, the Chief allows A.I. construct Cortana (Jen Taylor) to take over his mind. Between seasons, Cortana is separated from Master Chief, which sets the stage for a more fraught Halo season 2. Not only is John dealing with the Cortana fallout, but his superiors aren’t interested in his Covenant invasion theories.
Halo’s The Fall Of Reach Explained
Sometimes dubbed The Battle of Reach, Halo‘s Fall of Reach marks a major tactical win for the Covenant. As in the TV series, Reach is the core canon’s most significant UNSC stronghold. As Dr. Catherine Halsey puts it, “When Reach falls — and fall it will — there will be nothing left to stand between [the Covenant]… and Earth.” In line with Halsey’s prediction, the roughly month-long conflict saw the Covenant finally pushing into the humans’ innermost colonies. Although the Battle of Reach developed into one of the biggest engagements in the Human-Covenant War, it started quietly.
Data from the Fall of Reach was used to improve the armor John-117 later receives shortly before the Battle of Earth.
In a somewhat-irregular move, the Covenant deployed a pre-invasion force on Reach. Cloaked from the UNSC, the first wave of Covenant forces were able to perform reconnaissance, while an Elite-led strike team recovered a Forerunner artifact from a site near Reach’s Visegrád communications outpost. After a blackout descends on a comms array outpost, the UNSC sends a team to investigate. However, instead of finding human insurrectionists, the soldiers encounter the Covenant, which sparks the first official skirmish in the core canon’s Fall of Reach timeline. Ultimately, the Covenant glass Halo‘s planet of Reach.
How Halo Season 2 Sets Up The Fall Of Reach In Episodes 1 & 2
Off the bat, Halo season 2 introduces Dr. Halsey’s replacement, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). The new head of both the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and the Spartan program, Ackerson questions Master Chief’s mental health and decision-making abilities, which leads Ackerson to ground all of Silver Team. When John warns Ackerson about the Covenant ground forces he saw on Sanctuary — the Chief thinks the Elites were practicing their invasion skills — the head of ONI dismisses Master Chief. At the end of Halo season 2, episode 2, John takes matters into his own hands.
Pillar of Autumn
cruiser and Cortana both play a significant role in the original Fall of Reach.
On Sanctuary, the Chief saved Talia Perez (Cristina Rodlo), a UNSC Marine who specializes in linguistics. While she’s too traumatized to officially corroborate the Chief’s story, the Marine admits that something seems off — both with the Covenant and Ackerson. Master Chief investigates Cobalt Team’s flight plan and discovers that Ackerson never sent them off-world. Instead, Cobalt Team was tasked with investigating issues at the Visegrád comms relay. Since the Covenant ground invasion of Sanctuary drew the attention of Perez’s comms unit, the Chief guesses that the Covenant are already on Reach, hence the disruption at Visegrád.
Reach’s Fall Is A Prelude To Halo: Combat Evolved
In Halo‘s core canon, the conclusion of the Fall of Reach leads directly into the events of the first-ever franchise game, Halo: Combat Evolved. In Bungie’s 2010 prequel Halo: Reach, players have the opportunity to see just how much the epic battle feeds into the original Halo story. Noble Six, Halo: Reach‘s playable Spartan character, doesn’t have a TV counterpart — even though Noble Team plays a key role. Despite the massive losses suffered on Reach, Noble Team allows the Pillar of Autumn ship and Cortana to escape the devastated planet.
No. I think we’re just getting started. — Master Chief, Halo: Combat Evolved
Likely, Pablo Schreiber’s Master Chief will absorb Noble Six’s role to help streamline the narrative for viewers and keep John-117 the focal point. In Combat Evolved‘s opening, the Pillar is forced to crash-land on a Covenant Halo ring. On Installation 04, Master Chief (armed with Cortana) fights both the Covenant and the Flood. While Halo season 1 was criticized for deviating too far from the source material’s approach, the sophomore outing has the potential to course-correct by executing the compelling Fall of Reach plot and setting the stage for a TV version of Halo: Combat Evolved‘s story.
Halo Season 2 Changes The Fall Of Reach Timeline
While Halo season 2’s early episodes set up the imminent Fall of Reach, the show makes significant changes. For starters, it’s revealed that Reach is where Dr. Halsey is in Halo season 2; she’s being held captive in some sort of simulation, which is orchestrated by Ackerson. In another chamber on Reach, Ackerson has quarantined Cortana (Christina Bennington) so that he can pump the A.I. construct for information about Halsey and direct her to run simulations about an upcoming mystery event. Although the show doesn’t reveal what said event is, all signs point to the Fall of Reach.
“Remember Reach” is used as a rallying cry in some of the
When Ackerson tells Cortana that he’ll see her later, the A.I. calls the ONI head on his bluff. If her simulations are to be believed, there’s a 97% probability of a dire outcome being unavoidable. Strangely, Ackerson isn’t alarmed by Cortana’s information. Instead, he spends Halo season 2’s first episodes putting the pieces of a larger scheme together. He’s dismissive of John’s warnings because he already knows about the Covenant invasion. From Cobalt Team’s disappearance and the grounding of Master Chief to holding Halsey and Cortana captive, Halo‘s Ackerson sets up an even more consequential Fall of Reach storyline.
- Release Date:
- Jen Taylor, Bokeem Woodbine, Charlie Murphy, Shabana Azmi, Kate Kennedy, Natascha McElhone, Yerin Ha, Bentley Kalu, Pablo Schreiber, Danny Sapani, Olive Gray, Natasha Culzac
- Adventure, Sci-Fi, Action
- Kyle Killen, Silka Luisa, Richard Robbins, Steven Kane, Justine Juel Gillmer
- Otto Bathurst, Jonathan Liebesman, Roel Reiné, Dennie Gordon, Debs Paterson, Craig Zisk, Jessica Lowrey
- Kyle Killen
- Kyle Killen, Steven Kane
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