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Halo - Reckoning and Solace - Double Review

The truth about Master Chief and the Spartan program is thrown into sharp relief in episodes five and six, with the main thing left to uncover now being John and Makee's mysterious connection to the keystones. 

They have both had vastly different experiences with their abilities in their lives so far with Makee being more confident in comparison to the unsteady and desperate actions that John has taken so far to try and uncover the truth about himself. 

But with his personal revelations out of the way now he knows about Halsey kidnapping him and the other Spartans and replacing them with flash clones designed to die, his exploration of his connection with the keystone can now focus on the wider lore of the show and the discovery of Halo. 

In a way, he's almost passed the torch to Kai, sharing with her the new knowledge of their past and leaving her with the dilemma of whether to tell Riz and Vannak. As neither of them have removed their emotional suppressors, it's hard to tell whether the truth would spur them to chase the same freedom Kai and John have or if they simply wouldn't care. 

They might decide that the perils of human emotion are not worth the joy and wonder it would also bring. I don't know how much they've witnessed but John and Kai have both struggled with the weight of emotion dropped on them after so many years of being single-minded soldiers. 

John has been slowly unravelling to this point, disobeying orders to save Kai and coming dangerously close to outright murdering Halsey just to test the limitations of Cortana. Kai meanwhile, after experiencing euphoria and free will for the first time, hair dye included, soon struggles with the horrors of war, freezing as she watches people die around her and almost losing her own life as a result. 

If there's one thing that impresses me within the show, it's the themes of humanity and free will. Halsey is the epitome of these ideals, taking the free will of others and destroying her own humanity for the greater good of science to the point of destroying her relationship with her daughter. The poignancy of their most emotional and heartfelt scene in the show is overshadowed by the fact that Halsey instigated the conversation just to get access to the UNSC's research so she can continue to monitor John and his connection to the artifacts. 

I don't know where Halsey's emotional arc is going yet but I feel like every time she seems to have passed the point of no return, she does one small thing that earns a little bit of hope that perhaps all is not lost for her just yet. I'm not optimistic about her chances though.

We do have a brief touch in with Kwan and Soren in the fifth episode as well which ends sourly for them when she knocks him out to go back and try to save Madrigal. This storyline seems to be falling by the wayside a fair bit and as of right now, I fail to see its importance in the grand scheme of the overall story.

I didn't miss either of them in the sixth episode but they will likely take up screentime again in the next episode. The idea of saving Madrigal is a strong one but the scope of it is so grand that it might have been better off having at least a more dedicated storyline with more key players or even saved for a different season or show. I suspect it's not going to get the screentime it needs to give the storyline justice and will end up being swamped by the larger arc of discovering Halo. 

What did you think of episodes five and six? Do you think the Madrigal storyline is feeling more and more undercooked? Sound off in the comments below!

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