REVIEW: ‘Halo’ Episode 6 — “Solace”

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Halo Episode 6 - But Why Tho

Halo, Paramount+’s live-action series based on the tentpole Xbox video game franchise, picked up the pace last episode. Ending with a massive battle that brings out all of the multiplayer goodness we’ve been waiting for since the mini-battle in Episode 1Halo is devoting more time to its main character and it’s paying off. In Halo Episode 6, we get to see the fallout from last episode’s revelations.

Here, survivors from battle return to Reach with more questions than answers after the events. For Kai (Kate Kennedy), she’s recovering from her injuries and having to face the impact of removing the emotion dampener. Makee is a prisoner who promises to have answers about John’s connection to the Artifact, and mirror’s his history. But most importantly, Halo Episode 6 is about John (Pablo Schreiber) confronting, well, everything head-on. For one, John confronts Dr. Halsey (Natascha McElhone) and the lies of his past. He confronts Makee on her time with the Covenant. And finally, he confronts the mystery artifact, which shows him something truly startling.

In the episode’s opening, John pushes Cortana to find out the extent to which she controls him. A killswitch, a failsafe, John wants to know if that means she can control his body, and almost killing Dr. Halsey is the way to find out. This is one of the best moments that Pablo Schrieber has had as John. Most importantly, the intensity and intimidation he brings to the role showcase why Master Chief is both revered and feared. But even in the aggression in this moment, Schrieber has a hint of vulnerability. He’s been pushed to this, and Halsey is the surrogate mother who took him away from his real one. While the epic scale of Episode 5‘s battle may be the most intricate of the series, this moment is the season’s most intense and well-acted both by Schrieber and a terrified McElhone.

Having turned the pacing back down to Episode 3 levels, Halo Episode 6 is what I’ve been wanting from the slower moments of the series. Instead of branching off into all of the possible stories it could tell with the large ensemble it’s amassed, Halo Episode 6 showcases John in a way we haven’t gotten a chance to see before. It’s about him bending and breaking, it’s about John’s fear and push for the truth, and it’s the emotional core the series has been missing. In truth, this episode gives what it needs to by focusing on the man who has brought us all to the series to begin with: Master Chief.

This episode has a lot of exposition. It also has flashbacks that have become extremely tiresome. But the emotional depth, aggression, and tension Halo Episode 5 ramps up here is what makes it work. Even if there are moments of “romance” that I wish weren’t there.

Halo Episode 6 shows that Episode 5 wasn’t a fluke. The series has found its stride and its brushing up against expectations that Halo fans have had with its closing scene in a way that meets them instead of falling flat —for me at least. With a clear direction and a deeper dive into John, Halo Episode 6 works despite scaling back on the pacing. There isn’t action in this one, but there sure is a lot of tension that is propelling us to the season’s finish line.

Halo is streaming now exclusively on Paramount+.


Halo Episode 6 — "Solace"
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Halo Episode 6 shows that Episode 5 wasn’t a fluke. The series has found its stride and its brushing up against expectations that Halo fans have had with its closing scene in a way that meets them instead of falling flat —for me at least. With a clear direction and a deeper dive into John, Halo Episode 6 works despite scaling back on the pacing. There isn’t action in this one, but there sure is a lot of tension that is propelling us to the season’s finish line.