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Halo Season 1, Episode 4 review: Spartans, humanity, and one major namedrop

Halo itself looms large as we learn more about what makes the Spartans tick.

Halo Tv Show Episode 4 Chief Forest
(Image: © Microsoft / Paramount+)

Halo Tv Show Episode 4 Warthog

Source: Microsoft / Paramount+ (Image credit: Source: Microsoft / Paramount+)

The fourth episode of the Halo TV series returns to the slower, character-driven drama of the second episode, though things fare better this time around. We get updates on multiple plotlines, with Master Chief continuing to struggle with his identity, while another member of Silver Team gets some time in the who-am-I spotlight. We also get a few nifty hints towards where the plot is going, as the titular ring itself is finally name dropped.

Unfortunately, an update on what Makee and the rest of the Covenant are up to is nowhere to be found in this humanity-centric episode. It's not a huge loss, but considering the slower pace of most of this episode, even a quick check-in would've helped to elevate what is otherwise a perfectly fine entry in the season.

Note: This review contains spoilers for Halo Season 1, Episode 4, "Homecoming."

If you haven't checked it out yet, be sure to read our review of Halo Season 1, Episode 3.

After a quick flashback to the early days of Spartan training, where Silver Team is participating in group drills and Halsey speaks to a younger John-117, we see a series of discussions in the present day. Master Chief discusses his uncertainties as the group approaches Eridanus-2, while Soren tries to reason with Kwan, the latter of which insists that her father's troops will rise up across the planet against Vinsher. Either way, the pair finally make it to Madrigal.

Meanwhile, Kai-125 is seen nude — we're getting a lot of rear Spartan shots in this series — playing off questions from Riz-028 and washing blood off of a knife. As her fellow Spartan leaves, we see that Kai has also removed her inhibition pellet.

As Kwan and Soren make their way into the city, Vinsher dispatches his troops, having clearly assumed control of the remaining resistance forces. While we witness advertisements for the bounty on Kwan, she learns of a memorial for her deceased father that's being held later in the day.

The UNSC team arrives on Eridanus-2. Master Chief is able to find his childhood home. Experiencing more flashbacks, the team starts digging. While I understand the need for secrecy and trying to keep things as low-key as possible, I have to admit that the sight of Master Chief and two scientists traipsing through the woods and digging up his old buried drawing is unintentionally hilarious.

Halo Tv Show Episode 4 Soren

Source: Microsoft / Paramount+ (Image credit: Source: Microsoft / Paramount+)

Back on Reach, we start getting some insight into the personality of a Spartan that isn't Master Chief, with Kai-125 clearly enjoying having her suppression pellet removed. While cleaning a sniper rifle, she takes in the color of a red grease and uses it to add streaks into her hair. It's honestly a great scene, one that has a near childlike-innocence, like she's trying to find herself in quiet rebellion that's always been pushed back.

Miranda pulls in Silver Team to examine the relic recovered on Madrigal, attempting to understand why it reacts to Master Chief. Despite some tension from the unrepressed Kai-125, none of the Spartans are able to trigger the relic.

On Eridanus-2, after digging up John-117's old drawings, Cortana is able to help Master Chief relive memories, as the AI digitally pieces together what the home used to look like, much to Halsey's unease. We see Master Chief experiencing joy and sorrow, clearly missing a life he can barely remember. Upon having a flashback of himself talking with Halsey as a young child, he becomes extremely withdrawn and upset.

Halo Tv Show Episode 4 Needler

Source: Microsoft / Paramount+ (Image credit: Source: Microsoft / Paramount+)

Meanwhile, we see Silver Team talking with Miranda in her lab, with the stoic Riz-028 and Vannak-134 amusingly contrasted with the now extremely animated Kai-125. The Spartans share war stories as Kai excitedly perusing the lab, settling on a Needler. Miranda reacts confused and irritably at this newfound energy until the Spartans reveal they know a handful of words used by the Covenant, especially from the Sangheili, or Elites.

While part of me feels it's a bit strange nobody would have raised the concept of asking the Spartans for casual field observations beforehand, it does help to highlight the differences in branches of the UNSC and just how fragmented things are, especially when it comes to Halsey having direct control of the Spartans.

Kwan and Soren attend the religious wake for Kwan's father. Upon meeting a former general in the Insurrection, Kwan's outburst at being told Vinsher killed her father's supports cuts an otherwise-tender scene short in a way that feels odd. That her emotions are running high and she's acting out impulsively is completely understandable, but there's a lack of self-preservation on display that just doesn't seem right.

Halo Tv Show Episode 4 Miranda

Source: Microsoft / Paramount+ (Image credit: Source: Microsoft / Paramount+)

Given a shot of Vinsher bathing — again with the butts — the new leader of Madrigal dispatches an assassin (Angie Cepeda) to directly hunt down Kwan.

This assassin catches up with Kwan and Soren when they try to meet with her aunt, easily dispatching her and her guards, though she is clipped in the shoulder by Soren. As the rest of Vinsher's soldiers arrive, the unlikely duo escape into the desert, following a clue and attempting to find the mystics that supposedly guided Kwan's father.

As Miranda and Kai continue to talk while going over some of the new data, Miranda and Kai-125 talk awkwardly but earnestly about their respective struggles. Miranda is then able to piece together fragments of a previously-intercepted message, including one particular word that translated into Sacred Ring — Halo. This revelation is underscored by a snippet of the iconic choir from the soundtrack of the games, and it's a really nice moment. Even if you aren't familiar with the source material, there's a quiet reverance to this scene.

Intercut with this discovery of the ring, Master Chief follows his memories to the relic he once discovered as a child. As the episode closes, we see both Master Chief and Halsey staring with wonder at the relic, even as Miranda notes her emotionally-distant mother is wont to eliminate any variables that can't be controlled.

Looking ahead, I hope we get to see more of the Covenant in the next episode. It seems like the search for the titular Halo will soon be in full effect, and it'll be interesting to see just how things unfold.

Halo Season 1, Episode 4 is available now, exclusively on Paramount+. For a better experience, watch it on one of the best 4K TVs available.

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.

4 Comments
  • We’re four episodes in and… I’m not a fan. The team doing the visuals are doing an AMAZING job, but the people who are the writers read the Wikipedia entry and started playing with the visual teams toys. I’m one of those people who played the Halo games for the story - and I didn’t expect they would follow the game story exactly, but… it’s just not good. They made changes in all the wrong places. It started with Chief removing his helmet, and it’s gone down hill from there. They had a really AMAZING sequence in the first episode with Chief dropping into the battle, but outside of that it’s just been… ugh.
  • Consider it "multiverse madness" , not that I've played the game but i guess by that point my perspective will be different than yours, though I'd like to see a show(any show) refer to the original content that has "sold" so far, than something no fan would expect of, though for those who have played the game, if they recreated the whole story as it is, wouldn't that be boring? since Halo fans would already know where the show is headed with its story?.
  • Didnt see any of this ,but no Covenant ? Then what the heck are we watching ? This is not Halo . And that dude as Master Chief ? Lol . He would (might) look ok as a NATO footsoldier in Afghanistan,but thats all.
  • Set design, CGI, props, costumes are all incredibly well done but the dialogue and plot are C grade at best. There are moments when it works like most of episode 3 and the beginning of episode 1 but then we get back to the dross and I feel like all that technical wizardry is going to waste. I hope they can pull it together as it goes on because at the moment I'm only watching for the Spartans, Covenant, visuals and action scenes.