Halo TV series Season 2, Episode 7 review: Dark deeds and darker mysteries

Season 2 continues with an episode featuring unnerving portents for the future.

Halo TV Series Season 2 Episode Chief Kai 7
(Image: © Paramount+)

Windows Central Verdict

Thermopylae delivers a harrowing warning of what's coming for both the finale of Halo The Series Season 2, while eerie warnings of something even more dangerous heighten an otherwise character-focused episode.


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    Big narrative reveals

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    Dark, fitting foreshadowing


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    Side plots fizzle out underwhelmingly

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If you can't control something, neither should your enemy.

At least, that belief being held by some is the crux of the conflict in Halo The Series Season 2's penultimate entry, "Thermopylae," which sets the stage for a devastating fight that will forever shape the balance of power in the Human-Covenant War. We also get some harrowing foreshadowing that seems unlikely to pay off in the finale but could raise the stakes even further as the show continues. 

With allegiances and motivations tested, this episode serves as a solid entry heading into the endgame of Season 2, with only a few small distractions taking away from the experience. Here's my review.

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

Halo The Series Season 2, Episode 7: Thermopylae

Perez and John-117 reunite before the finale. (Image credit: Paramount+)

If you haven't yet, you can also check out my review of Halo The Series Season 2, Episode 6, Onyx.

Thermopylae picks up immediately after the events of Onyx, with John-117 (Pablo Schreiber) and Kai-125 (Kate Kennedy) dealing with the unfolding ramifications of the former's march across the base in search of his armor. I've always really liked Kai, and getting to see her play off of John again is sorely needed, even if it's under more dire circumstances that don't allow her once-bubbly personality to really shine through.

Makee (Charlie Murphy) also gets to have a few solid moments in this episode, showcasing her tenacity, drive, and, above all else, her fear of being wrong. Where past episodes, and especially the entire first season, could have her delivering mixed results, Murphy's performance is compelling, and the continued lack of explanation surrounding her recovery aside — at this point, I'm throwing in the towel on that topic — I truly am curious to see her story through when reaching the Halo. 

Elsewhere, the ever-enigmatic Ackerson (Joseph Morgan) is finally in the limelight again, and with his back against the wall, we finally see who he truly is. Ackerson's motivations early on often seemed contradictory, but even if there are still questions around his aims for the Spartan-IIIs, it's in this episode that so much of what he really believes is finally revealed. 

The unexpected highlight of this episode comes from Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone) and Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray). The mother-daughter duo reunited in the last episode after an entire season away from each other, and they immediately make up for lost time, with Miranda picking up and continuing Halsey's work investigating ancient ruins. The discoveries they make alongside Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) might be subtle for show watchers, but for longtime Halo fans, there's an alarm blaring as the path to one of the biggest possible events in the timeline just became a lot clearer.

Halo The Series Season 2, Episode 7: Verdict

Kai-125 is conflicted. (Image credit: Paramount+)

While I'm disappointed the action is going to kick off again in the next episode, Thermopylae really helps represent how far the show has come. Characters I was interested in have had consistent arcs, and while it's annoying that it took this long, some of the setup here for the future of the Silver Timeline is extremely exciting to speculate about.

With only the conclusion to this season remaining, I'm interested in seeing just how the show tries to stick the landing. I truly hope (and believe) that we'll finally arrive on the Halo in the next episode. It's time to lock in predictions. There have been ups and downs, but overall, the series found its footing in Season 2, so fingers crossed that everything is lined up properly for Season 3. 

A reminder: 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, 5, 6, and 7 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.