Halo TV series Season 2, Episode 5 review — Healing and hope

The fifth episode of Halo The Series' second season sees the surviving cast trying to reckon with hope in the face of disaster.

Halo TV Series Season 2 Episode 5
(Image: © Paramount+)

Windows Central Verdict

A slower episode in the wake of Reach's destruction gives the cast time to decompress and reflect. Some good emotional moments bely a lack of actual events, as we're mostly stuck setting up for what is to come.


  • +

    Interesting setup for the final quarter

  • +

    Quiet emotional moments

  • +

    Good soundtrack


  • -

    Lack of big events

  • -

    Questions continue piling up

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In the wake of devastation, there are a lot of questions around what it means to be a Spartan. 

That's the crux of the matter in Aleria, the fifth episode of Halo The Series Season 2. Following the fall of Reach and the untold told that's been unleashed by the Covenant, the surviving members of the cast flee to a remote world to regroup, heal, and track down Soren-066's (Bokeem Woodbine) missing son Kessler (Tylan Bailey). 

We're back to a lack of action in this extra-long (60-minute runtime!) episode, but that allows for some necessary decompression after recent events, and the setup we see for the rest of the season makes it clear the war is entering its most brutal, dire phase yet. Here's my review. 

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

Halo Season 2, Episode 5: Aleria

Fiona O'Shaughnessy as Laera in Halo Season 2. (Image credit: Paramount+)

If you haven't yet, you can also check out my review of Halo The Series Season 2, Episode 4, Reach

No one is doing particularly well in the wake of losing Vannak-134 (Bentley Kalu), but John-117 (Pablo Schreiber) is hit particularly hard. Schreiber grapples with missing a comrade, but also his own mortality, and the truth of how Spartans are vulnerable, especially without their armor, is a cold weight hanging over all. 

The extended runtime gives us plenty of time with most of the Reach survivors, and for the first time this season, we get to see John and Halsey (Natascha McElhone) bouncing questions off of each other. The dynamic of these two was something I mostly enjoyed in the first season, and while it's taken a long time to come back, it's nice to see. 

We also get a welcome peek into the minds of Makee (Charlie Murphy) and Sangheili Arbiter Var 'Gatanai (Viktor Åkerblom). While they were introduced back in the second episode of the season, it's only now that we really see what their motivations are. It's an odd duo, but one that serves to give an extremely different perspective and give a meaningful "face" to the Covenant side of events.

That said, I'd be remiss not to note that Makee's continued recovery is unexplained. It's more than a little weird for it to have gone unaddressed this long, but I do hope we get some answers soon. 

Elsewhere, we get some intrigue around Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) and the role she's going to play in the future. A lot of her scenes in the past few episodes have been framed in a distracting manner, but the sense of dread attached to her this time felt palpable. For the first time since the show began, I'm actually curious about where she's headed in the future. I've got some theories about the "monster" she's referenced all season, but we might be waiting past Season 2 to find out just what is happening. 

The lack of action is certainly noticeable given how long this episode runs, but there's clearly more to come, with a foreboding shot at scale that wouldn't be out of place in a Star Wars film making it abundantly clear that the Human-Covenant war is about to enter its most brutal phase yet. Some name-drops here are going to be especially exciting for Halo book readers, and there's no question where we're headed next as some machinations are revealed. 

Halo Season 2, Episode 5: Verdict

John (Pablo Schreiber) has taken some hard hits this season. (Image credit: Paramount+)

While the slower pace of this episode is certainly less exciting than its predecessor, I appreciate that we're getting time to understand the psychology of the remaining cast. The war isn't over, and I'm fully expecting the largest confrontation yet in the coming weeks.

With three episodes left in the magazine, we've tipped past the halfway point, and it's entirely possible this is the last time this season that we get to take a breath before plunging into icy waters. 

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, 4, and 5 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.

  • Ron-F
    I welcomed the slower pace of this episode. It was essential to give proper character development, especially to Laera, Riz, and John. I believe the next will start building up the tension to deliver a cathartic season finale.