Halo TV series Season 2, Episode 4 review — The storm of war falls on Reach

The halfway point for Halo The Series Season 2 brings all-out war with hope in the face of overwhelming odds.

Halo The Series Season 2 Episode 4 Riz
(Image: © Paramount+)

Windows Central Verdict

War breaks out across Reach in the fourth episode of Halo The Series' second season. As the loss of life piles up, we get a harrowing look at what the survivors will do to make it out alive.


  • +

    Intense action scene

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    Strong character moments

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    Great soundtrack


  • -

    Unanswered questions pile up

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The shadow that's long grown over Reach now threatens to swallow it entirely. 

Reach, the appropriately-titled fourth episode of Halo The Series' second season, dives headfirst into the conflict that's bubbled in the prior episodes, with humanity's war with the Covenant exploding into something no one can hide away from anymore. Despite changes to the timeline, some things are constant, and the Fall of Reach is here.

With the list of dead growing rapidly, we get much-needed action sequences that ramp up the pace but don't shy away from showing the horrific toll that'll be required of this war. Here's my review:

As a reminder, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can grab a month of Paramount+ for free right now!

Halo TV Series Season 2, Episode 4: Reach

John-117 and Perez in Reach.  (Image credit: Paramount+)

If you haven't yet, you can also check out my review of Halo The Series Season 2, Episode 3, Reach.

Even with a heavy focus on battle sequences for this episode, we still get to see members of the cast shine. In particular, John-117 (Pablo Schreiber) falls into his expected role with reserved precision while still taking time to reassure others like Perez (Cristina Rodlo) with what they need to hear in order to keep them moving. Fellow Silver Team Spartan Vannak-134 (Bentley Kalu) is likewise present in a stoic fashion but still makes time to continue revealing his hidden depths.

We also get some fantastic moments from Admiral Jacob Keyes (Danny Sapani) as he attempts to rally the human forces on Reach in an attempt to stave off the unrelenting waves of doom washing over all. Keyes and Silver Team grapple here with the repercussions of decisions in prior episodes. There's nothing to be done about the outcome of John's actions or choosing not to believe his assessments of Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). The latter is absent from this episode, but his touch is still felt all over.

We also get to check in with Doctor Halsey (Natascha McElhone) and Soren-066 (Bokeem Woodbine). This odd pairing pulled away from much of the action in the episode, provides a few sparing moments of needed levity while still giving a bit of insight into the precise, detailed, surgical-esque relationship Halsey had with every member of her Spartan program.

Ultimately, however, the battles are the main draw here, and they deliver in spades. As energy swords slash and heavy tanks (Scorpion fans, you'll be happy) thunder into action, this is Halo at its best. The action of the games is accurately translated as multiple characters get to shine, even at the cost of their own lives. It's also worth mentioning that fans of the games and prior extended media will notice a fair few callbacks and fun references scattered across the episode.

Across books, comics, games, and now TV, Reach has always stood for tragedy. No matter the medium, this is the impregnable fortress of humanity falling and shifting the situation to its most desperate form. This episode does that meaning justice, and while it does mean saying goodbye to great characters that have been fascinating to follow this season, it raises the stakes without pushing into apathy.

Halo TV Series Season 2, Episode 4: Verdict

John-117 and an unknown marine. (Image credit: Paramount+)

With this episode, the show hasn't just found its stride but is hammering down emotional blows at just the right pace. While I naturally expect things will wax and wane a bit as the plot continues forward, this is the energy that takes Halo from a good series to a great one. If the series can hit this emotional, action-packed benchmark in the future, it'll continue to be a series worth watching.

At the same time, I do have to note that there are some major (spoiler-filled) question marks that continue to go unaddressed. I don't think it's a huge negative right now, but I am cognizant of just how many questions are now piling up without any answers.

Even so, this season is now four for four for me. Hopefully, the second half can keep that track record, as I'm eagerly awaiting checking in on some missing members of the cast and continuing the Fall in Episode 5.

A reminder:
I interviewed the showrunner and some of the cast for Halo The Series Season 2, so you can read that right now to learn more about what went into crafting these characters, plots, and themes in order to adapt one of the Halo universe's biggest events.

Episodes 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Halo The Series Season 2 are now available exclusively on Paramount+, with new episodes dropping every Thursday. Right now, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can try one month of Paramount+ for free.

Interested in more Halo? Halo Infinite and Halo: The Master Chief Collection are currently available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC. Both are included in Xbox Game Pass. With continued support, both are some of the best Xbox games available. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.