Halo Season 1 Episode 2 - 'Ubound' Spoiler Review

After two episodes I think I am enjoying the show, but the lack of action has left many people bored and already giving up on the show. I think there is a lot of promise based on the first two episodes, but I will say the first two episodes do not deliver a lot of excitement. I am a lore/canon junkie, so I find learning about the world in which a show/film is set is always interesting to me. Though I could see why someone watching the show that is not a lore junkie could find the first two episodes too boring to keep watching. I do think the show might be worth the investment in time, I do think it is a good thing that the series is making sure to build out there world patiently. This episode gave us a lot of answers, while also giving us more questions to ask. The world of the show feels starkly different than the world of the games. The series if focusing on the politics of the galaxy with Master Chief being a pawn; but I feel that this approach while interesting is alienating the casual viewer and the hardcore fans. I was expecting an episode with action, and instead we were given a more politically focused episode. 

I have no idea when the show will feel more like the games, but the Covenant's war with the UNSC is just at the beginning. One of my biggest issues in episode one was the way the Spartans were depicted; I think this episode did a better job of explaining the lack of humanity in them. The politics of the UNSC will eventually take a backseat to the brewing war with the Covenant, but until then I think we will see a UNSC that is more politically motivated than helpful. The fact that the leadership of the UNSC seems perfectly okay with the Spartans being weapons rather than people is making me hate them all. Dr. Halsey seems to care more about her research, and her power within the UNSC than anything else. I do not believe that Halsey's attachment to Master Chief is anything, but self interested. I wonder if Master Chief will get to fight someone in episode three, I really hope the show picks up its pace in the next episode. Kwan's journey will also be interesting going forward since we see that her hatred for what Vinsher is doing on Madrigal will lead her to return home to stop him. While we did learn more about Makee in this episode, but we still do not know a lot about the Covenant. I would like to understand why the Covenant are searching for the sacred ring, it is important to them, but I do not know why they want to wipe out life in the galaxy. 


The second episode opens with a flashback to Master Chiefs past, we see him as he was previously known as John-117. John looks to be a teenager, and he is sneaking out of his barracks, he is looking for Soren who looks to be going AWOL (away without leave). Soren seems to be expecting John to join him, but John is there to make sure Soren returns to the barracks. John holds a gun to Soren, but Soren is determined to leave, and he doesn't believe John will shoot him. Soren reminds John that the program Soren his arm, Soren says he will leave, or John will need to shoot him. John says he will give Soren five minutes to leave before he will wake up the camp and inform them of Soren's absence. We jump forward to the present where Master Chief and Kwan are travelling in the shuttle; Kwan asks Master Chief why he didn't follow orders and let the UNSC kill her. Master Chief asks her would she have followed orders that would have led to the death of a kid. After the opening credits we go to Reach where we find Dr. Halsey briefing a UNSC leader about the situation. Halsey says that the relic allowed Master Chief to escape, and she tells him that she is sure she can trust Master Chief. 

Master Chief's team that was left on Reach is being sent to find Master Chief and bring him back. Kwan and John are navigating through an asteroid field that will lead them to their destination. Their destination appears to be a giant asteroid that has been turned into a base/city of some kind. The people on the asteroid are freaked out by the appearance of a Spartan soldier. The boss arrives and turns out to be Soren (played by Bokeem Woodbine) who has been living on the asteroid with his family. The base is called the Rubble, Soren tells them that a bounty has been placed on Kwan's head by Vinsher Grath (played by Burn Gorman). Vinsher was fighting with Kwan's father for control of Madrigal, and now Kwan is all that stands between him and total control. Soren says the Rubble is home to every outlaw and renegade of the galaxy; he brings them to his rock which is connected to the main asteroid by a cable. We move to High Charity where we find an Elite briefing Makee about the relic; Makee's adviser says the relic is one of the keystones. Makee says she will go and bring the keystone back, but her advisers say the mission is too risky. Makee tells Mercy (one of the advisers) that she owes them everything since they took her in; she will bring them the keystone that will lead them to the sacred ring. 

On Reach there is a briefing for the UNSC leadership, Halsey briefs them on a backup plan to solve the issue with Master Chief. The project is called Cortana, and it will replace the Spartans consciousness with an artificial intelligence. Halsey tells the leadership that Cortana is the next stage in human evolution, the Spartans were step one and Cortana is the upgrade. Captain Keyes tells Halsey that they cannot just replace their minds, that the Spartans are humans. Halsey replies that they are Spartans first, and that they are the only weapon against the Covenant. The head of the council authorizes that a limited trial of the system to bring Master Chief back. On Madrigal, Vinsher and his men are executing people as Kwan watches via a drone recording the executions. Soren's wife Laera says she understands how Kwan feels because she lost her family to the Covenant when she was younger than Kwan. Soren is trying to convince John to lose the pellet in the back of his head; Soren says the pellet makes him numb to everything. Aboard the UNSC frigate Stalwart Dawn we see the other Spartans tracking Master Chief's location. Dr. Keyes is attempting to get access to the relic which has been promised to Halsey even though Keyes could use it to further technological breakthroughs. 

Soren and Master Chief are looking at the relic, Kwan tells Soren that when Master Chief touched it the relic repowered the ship. Soren tells Master Chief that a guy named Reth might know something about it, Reth survived time on a Covenant base. Soren has brought them to what appears to be a prison on the Rubble, Reth is a little crazy. Reth is shown the relic, Reth says the Covenant's whole religion is based on things from another time, things left behind. Reth says that they search the galaxy for pieces, looking for clues and when Reth was held by the Covenant they asked him to touch the relics. Reth says that his touch did nothing and that he was not a Blessed One. Master Chief asks Reth what is a Blessed One to which Reth replies human only more so. Reth then throws the relic which Master Chief catches bringing the relic to life. Reth freaks out and says the ring is what the Covenant want, that it is a door to the end of life as we know it. Soren and Master Chief argue over what is right, Master Chief wants to go back to the UNSC. Master Chief tells Soren to keep Kwan safe as he takes the relic and leaves the Rubble and turns on the ships beacon to let the UNSC know where he is. Master Chief is returned to Reach in handcuffs and Halsey taking possession of the relic. The episode ends with Halsey talking to an imprisoned Master Chief about why he saved the girl, Master Chief doesn't have a true answer other than he felt something. 


Episode two was entirely devoid of action, but I did enjoy the world building that is being done to flesh out the universe that Halo exists in. Soren and his family showed Master Chief a glimpse of a life he could have lived had he left with Soren. The pellet that controls Master Chief's emotions has to get removed at some point, seeing Pablo Schreiber not emoting is boring. While I am not sure if Schreiber has the range to deliver a thoughtful and emotional performance, I would like to see more from Master Chief. It was weird seeing how unemotional Master Chief was at seeing Soren and his family, part of his journey will be freeing himself from the control of the UNSC. We know that Master Chief is a hero, but right now he is more of a tool being used by people with no morals. I find myself having a hard time liking any character on the show, all of the UNSC characters seem more self interested, and I just do not find Kwan a very interesting character. The show is very serious and is almost devoid of humor, but Soren did bring some much-needed humor to the show. I am not saying that the show needs to be funny, but right now all of the characters feel too serious, and I want some lightness to the tone of the show. 

I did enjoy how the episode is exploring the rifts in the UNSC command, Dr. Halsey is working to consolidate her control of the Spartan program. Halsey is not some scientist bent on trying to save humanity from the Covenant, she is bent on following her scientific curiosity no matter who she betrays. The UNSC command is willing to let Dr. Halsey have so much control that I can see it will lead them to destruction. Dr. Keyes meanwhile wants to use the relic as a means to improve their technology to have a better chance against the Covenant. I do not trust Dr. Halsey at all right now, she seems to consider everyone else a disposable tool. The Covenant meanwhile have a completely different structure, they revere Makee, but that reverence that they show her is an act that makes her loyal to them. The Covenant needs Makee to access the relic, her touch (same as Master Chief's) causes something to happen. I have a feeling that the Covenant do not have the ability to activate the relics, and that they need humans to help them activate the relics. It would seem that the Covenant would visit planets to search for relics and take a bunch of humans to experiment on. Both the UNSC and the Covenant feel like villains right now, with the residents of the Rubble feeling like the only likeable characters so far. 

While I did not like the end of the first episode, I think the second episode has made me more interested in the story they are trying to tell. I gave episode one a 6/10 because I felt the second half of the episode had no life to it, and it really bothered me. In episode two I think Halo gave me reason to feel hopeful by fleshing out the world the series is set in. Episode two is going to get a 7/10 from me because I think what it might have lacked in action it made up for it with a more compelling story starting to take shape. I am still not sure what will happen in episode three with Master Chief a prisoner of the UNSC, but I am excited to find out which is something I did not feel going into episode two. I still do not care for the character of Kwan, but I like Soren and his family who I hope we see more of in future episodes. I believe that Makee will turn against the Covenant when she learns they killed her family and took her as a child. I really liked how the show has explained the Blessed Ones, in the games humans could use the relics. We have not gotten to the Forerunners (the race who built the rings) yet, but the show is setting them up. I am now very excited for episode three, and because I have not finished this article, I have stopped myself from watching it. Halo got off to a shaky start with episode one, but now it has found its footing and I can comfortably say I will give the entire season a chance. 

Thank you for reading my review of episode two, please share with me your thoughts on Unbound.

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