Silver Debrief: Emergence
Another week, another Silver Debrief—let's get you up to speed on all things episode three!
In this Silver Debrief, we take a look at the latest events in the Halo television series and the week’s Declassified episode, and check out some awesome show-related creations from some of the fine folks in our community!
A reminder that these Silver Debriefs are full of SPOILERS, so if you haven’t watched the episode this is your time to jump ship.
Okay, look... I can do my thing here, but I feel compelled to let you know that our pals over at Rooster Teeth have done their own Red vs Blue-ified recap of the show and it would be criminal to not at least preface this with their profoundly in-depth narrative analysis!
(Okay, and back to me!)
Beginning on the waste salvage colony known as Oban, we see the terrible circumstances in which the young Makee was raised.
Her friend, a young boy, reads the book The Dawn of Angels to her—a story about a whole other world. He tells Makee that there are planets out there with blue skies and green-colored grass, a vision that is quite alien to the life they have known.
After sharing a kiss, they are caught by guards who chase them and in the resulting pursuit the boy is killed. During the scuffle, Phantom dropships arrive, and the Covenant begin deploying to the surface of Oban. Chaos follows, and the guard who sadistically tortures Makee with an electrified rod is killed by the group of newly arrived Sangheili. Carrying a Luminary, a device used to trace the alien technology central to the Covenant religion, they find that what they have been led to is Makee herself.
Seeing the Covenant as her rescuers from the wastes of Oban, she willingly goes with them, though brings the book—The Dawn of Angels—along with her. Returning to the present, Makee still holds this book close to her and packs it with her luggage as she prepares to embark on her mission to retrieve the alien keystone recovered by the Spartans on Madrigal, where she intends to begin her search. The Prophets, however, are concerned about what might happen if she seeks out the Demon who shares her gifts...
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
At the FLEETCOM base on Reach, Miranda Keyes examines the alien artifact with Admiral Margaret Parangosky, confirming that it is over 100,000 years old and that it has something to do with a weapon.
Having been put in a difficult position by Dr. Catherine Halsey maneuvering her to support the Cortana project, Parangosky puts Miranda in charge of leading a team to study the artifact. She informs Miranda that she’s looking to be less reliant on Dr. Halsey in the future. With parallel teams working on the artifact, Miranda takes this opportunity in stride.
Meanwhile, Halsey visits her flash clone who presumes that she has been created to ‘provide’ organs for something. Asking about the children of the SPARTAN-II project, the flash clone deduces that she was created by Halsey to acquire her brain, to which Halsey confirms that the Cortana system is viable. With the instinct of her creator, the flash clone bets that John will be the one to receive the Cortana upgrade.
Speaking to John, Halsey attempts to reassure him that the Cortana system is the key to getting him back on the front lines where he belongs.
Adun, Halsey’s aide, prepares the flash clone for the process of acquiring her neural substrate, telling her that she will soon be part of something bigger and better. Once complete, the flash clone’s body is dissolved in a vat of acid and the chip containing Cortana is drilled and implanted into the back of John’s head.
Summoning Cortana, her AI form appears before Halsey where she speaks her first words: “When the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.” Cortana notes that she is not yet able to take full operational control over John, which Halsey says she has prevented for now, promising to keep her busy.
On the Rubble, Kwan wanders around a marketplace where she sees Vinsher Grath on the news once more. As Soren receives a shipment of chickens, Kwan approaches him and says that she wants to return to Madrigal to join the resistance against Vinsher, but Soren declines and says he doesn’t see any reason to break his promise to John to keep her safe.
Back on Reach, John and Halsey discuss Cortana. Noticing that she looks like Halsey, Cortana confirms that she was designed to look familiar and begins talking about her function, but Halsey dismisses her before she makes any mention of taking over John and reassures him that this will make him an even better soldier and represents a great leap forward for humanity.
John then examines the artifact with Cortana in his head, Halsey and Adun studying his biochemical reactions when he touches it and sees visions of his childhood self somewhere underground and drawing the alien artifact. At Halsey’s order, Cortana puts John into ‘stasis’ to access the artifact but the readings then cut off. Cortana insists on taking full control of John, which Halsey once again denies, and complains that she wasn’t made to be an assistant, to which Halsey reminds her that she was made to follow orders.
In the 23 Librae System, the patrol ship UNSC Gladius finds a seemingly derelict Covenant corvette with its weapons cold. A civilian emergency channel makes contact with their ship and Makee requests help, informing them that the Covenant abandoned the ship in pods when the engines failed. As the captain confirms that they’ll send a lifeboat to rescue her, Makee and a Mgalekgolo—a Hunter—prepare for what comes next.
A Bumblebee pod brings Makee back to the UNSC Gladius where she is searched on the ground and found to be clean. As they welcome her aboard, Lekgolo worms come through the walls and attack the ship’s personnel, allowing Makee to make her way to the bridge. Asking where the Demon took the keystone and where their home base is, the captain refuses to answer, prompting Makee to kill him with an energy dagger implanted in her nail. Attempting to access the ship’s database, she finds that she is unable to.
John meets with Riz-028, Kai-125, and Vannak-134 of Silver Team and informs them that he’s been cleared to return to duty. As he prepares to leave, Cortana introduces herself and says that she will be providing them with logistical and tactical support, much to John’s displeasure.
On the Rubble, Kwan sits with Soren’s son Kessler as he points out the stars and planets outside their window. Speaking with Laera, Kwan says that she can’t stay here and has to return to Madrigal. Laera tells her that the Covenant took everything from her and destroyed her planet, and every day she continues to be alive is how she chooses to exact her revenge, but Kwan resolves to leave.
While searching through the FLEETCOM database, Cortana convinces John that she can help him with his attempts to find the planet from his visions. He describes what he can see when he touches the artifact: a picnic, a forest, and a dog, which he believes was his. Cortana’s search finds 103 planets with the flora and fauna he described. Among the list, John sees Mamore and recalls how the Spartans lost Nora-098 during a battle there, but he doesn’t feel anything when he recalls losing her. Cortana tries to assure him that this reaction is normal, but John says that it’s different when he touches the artifact—he can feel things in a way he hasn’t before.
Cortana suddenly alerts Halsey as John attempts to remove his emotional regulator, the hormonal pellet implanted in his back. Halsey tells Cortana to help John so that he sees her as an accomplice rather than a spy, and with her guidance he successfully removes the pellet—watched from a distance by Kai-125...
AFTER LIVING IN THE DARK
Leaving the base, John heads into the city—assisted by Cortana who provides him with directions. Much like Soren said, removing the pellet is like opening his eyes for the first time after living in the dark as he watches ships fly overhead. Cortana sees that this is a new experience for John and directs him to a train which takes him to Tchakova Park where he sees an outdoor concert taking place and finds himself caught in the reverie of seeing the world as everybody else does.
John is disturbed, however, by the sight of a dog which prompts him to return to the base and attempt to access the Madrigal artifact. Halsey secretly tells Cortana to unlock the door for John, who then touches the artifact and sees more than he has before: his parents, his home, being told to bury something, and a drawing of two pieces of the alien artifact that go together.
Pulling away from the artifact, John tells Cortana that he saw rings of ice around the planet that are visible from the surface, which narrows Cortana’s search down to just three possibilities—centering on Eridanus-II.
Cortana tells John about the ‘Reach for Life’ project on Eridanus-II, a terraformed self-sustaining ecosystem that was terminated when an unauthorized transport ship brought in a plague that killed the resident population. Emergency protocol UPSILON was declared, and the planet was sealed off.
At this moment, Halsey arrives and John reveals everything he’s learned from the memories he’s seen after removing his hormonal pellet. He informs her that he’s going to Eridanus-II, to which Halsey says that she’ll go with him.
Back on the Rubble, Kwan attempts to steal Soren’s ship but gets caught. She offers to pay him, saying that her family was rich with a deuterium mine on Madrigal, he just needs to get her to her father’s generals to get paid. Soren accepts, saying that he’ll be paid either way—if not by her, then by the bounty on her head.
Aboard the UNSC Gladius, Makee continues attempting to rewire the ship to access its database, but it has been wiped per the Cole Protocol. Sending a transmission to the corvette to inform the Covenant she’s on her way back to the corvette, the UNSC at FLEETCOM pick up the signal and Miranda Keyes recognizes the Sangheili language. Jacob Keyes then informs her that Halsey is leaving on a critical mission, advising Miranda to use this fortuitous opening to get ahead on studying the artifact.
Cortana generates a projected image of the full artifact with both its pieces united for Halsey, Adun telling her that the truth about the Master Chief—about the SPARTAN-II project—could bring them all down. Halsey says that that’s exactly what Cortana is for...
As Halsey heads off to Eridanus-II with John, Kwan and Soren make their way back to Madrigal, with Makee also on the same trail.
Declassified is the official after-show hosted by Sydnee Goodman, exploring each episode of the series with interviews and featuring all sorts of other behind the scenes goodies.
This week, Sydnee Goodman talks all things episode three with Chalie Murphy who explores her character, Makee, and details the unique challenge of learning the Sangheili language for the show from David Peterson (who notably also worked on the Dothraki language for Game of Thrones). The constructed language has been being published on Archive of Our Own over the last few weeks, so if you want a closer look at the Sangheili language check out the dialogue from Episode 1 and Episode 2!
It also takes a look at the making of the show’s worldbuilding and sets with Roel Reiné and Sophie Becher, catches up with members of the 405th to discuss what Halo means to them, and provides a glimpse at this week’s upcoming fourth episode.
For folks who want even more of a peek into the references and lore that the Silver Timeline is exploring and pulling from in Halo’s core canon, as well as more of the Silver Timeline’s own unique lore, be sure to check out the weekly videos from Halo Canon taking a closer look at these elements of the show!
The ever contentiously compelling Dr. Catherine Halsey takes center stage in “Emergence” as we see the events that transpire around Cortana’s creation—something which is only briefly touched upon in core canon.
Installation00 has done a marvelous video exploring the momentous and gruesome events around Halsey’s flash clone, which you should definitely check out too!
END OF DEBRIEF
It’s hard to believe we’re now a third of the way through the first season of the show, but here we are—just days away from episode four!
Catch you next week, Silver Team.