Season 1 Episode 1
In the year 2552, humans on the planet Madrigal fight for independence from Earth, but a fatal encounter with the Alien Covenant complicates things; Master Chief John-117 and his fellow super-soldier “Spartans” join the fight.
As a fan of the Halo series of games, I have been eagerly anticipating this series and was excited for the first episode. Knowing that the series would be set in its own world and not following the storyline of the games also made me intrigued before I sat down to watch the first episode.
While the story is original, there are elements of the lore throughout the episode from the political strife to the alien threat. The first few minutes takes a lot of time addressing the world of the series and the circumstances that have brought a group of independents to a remote world. Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) is our eyes as she deals with her feelings about the UNSC, their Spartan program and the arrival of the alien Covenant forces on her world who kill without mercy.
After scenes of wholesale slaughter, the UNSC arrives with a squad of Spartans led by Master Chief (Pablo Schrieber). The battle scenes look straight out of the video game from the weapons, the sound effects, even the shield recharging effect. It’s what you expect from a live action Halo including the visual gore. The CGI for the Covenant works well visually, but it does showcase the weakness of the Covenant as scary antagonists. They look cool, but not intimidating.
After ending the threat, Kwan is the only survivor and is forced to follow Master Chief and he and the rest of the Spartans discover a Covenant dig site and an artifact that changes everything for both Master Chief and the UNSC. The story really begins at this point, and it gets a little bumpy as it deals with political intrigue, corruption and other themes that are hit or miss thematically. The acting is good, but not great and there are a lot of moments that felt forced.
Without giving too much away, the first episode has the look, feel and themes of the first season of The Mandalorian. While the episode is good and the story interesting, I’m hoping that Halo finds its voice within the first season so it can be its own entity.