Silver Debrief: Solace
On me, Silver Team! It’s time for another debrief.
As survivors from the battle of Eridanus II return to Reach, John-117 confronts Dr. Halsey over the lies of his past. The human prisoner picked up at the end of the battle, Makee, has her own inscrutable purposes, and the artifact recovered from Madrigal shows a new vision…
The episode begins with John-117 aboard Dr. Catherine Halsey’s ship following the battle of Eridanus II, where the Covenant successfully retrieved the keystone. In his mind, the disparate pieces of his childhood come together—Halsey visiting him as a young boy, discovering the artifact cave, his kidnapping, Spartan training... As he sees Halsey from a distance, his hands begin shaking, breaking out of his reverie abruptly as Kai-125 grabs his wrist in agony on a medical table.
After Kai is stabilized by Riz-028, Cortana tells John that he needs medical attention after exposure to the larger artifact which has overloaded his system. At that moment, Captain Jacob Keyes arrives and informs John that they couldn’t track the departing Covenant ship; John blames himself for losing the artifact, but Keyes reminds him that he saved one hundred and fifty lives—including his.
Turning to Makee, who is muttering under her breath as Miranda Keyes sees to her, John is informed that she’s alleged herself to have been kidnapped by the Covenant as a child. The ship arrives at Reach, and Keyes says to John that they will regroup and come up with a new plan. As the crew disembarks to take care of the wounded, John stays aboard and sees Halsey enter her lab.
Opening a panel to lock Halsey in the room, Cortana appears and asks John what’s going on. John asks her what she knows about Roman Quinn, the aeronautic engineer and ship designer, who was instrumental in modernizing the UNSC fleet. John explains that he knew all technology, no matter how advanced, could go wrong and therefore built failsafes into all his technology, with the exception of the UV decontamination system. The automatic sensor overrides inside the lab didn’t work and they remain the only thing Quinn never created a failsafe for, as it was the cause of his own death. Intending to expose Halsey to lethal amounts of radiation, he encourages Cortana to take him over and simply open the door to release her, which Cortana says she can’t.
As the timer counts down, John opens the door at the very last second and throws Halsey out of the lab. Telling her not to get too comfortable with being saved, John says that he just had to know Cortana’s limits.
At FLEETCOM, Admiral Margaret Parangosky convenes with Jacob Keyes and three members of the security council to discuss Makee and air doubts about the Master Chief. Not only was the artifact lost, but two Spartans failed to perform as they were designed to, to which Parangosky understands that what they’re really threatening is her position. When they mention that Fleet Admiral Hood is considering dismantling ONI Section 3 and putting the Spartans directly under the control of the UNSC she is quick to surmise the source of those ideas.
John approaches Makee’s room, the guard outside telling him to give her hell, as the Covenant don’t take hostages and he believes her to be one of them. Makee warns John that if the other keystone is here then the Covenant will not stop until they have it. When pressed about where her former captors intend to take the keystone, Makee tells John that it will be delivered to a planet known as Raas Kkhotskha in the Aspero system.
Making no secret of his distrust, John notes the convenience of her dropping from the sky and offering to help the UNSC get the artifact back. Makee says that she is like him, a Blessed One—one capable of activating ancient alien technology. Leaving the room shaken, John tells the guard to get him Captain Keyes, who begins directing the search for the Aspero system to find Raas Kkhotskha.
Dr. Halsey is interviewed by a representative of the Judge Advocate General’s Office on the matter of the SPARTAN-II program. Watching the interview through a holographic interface, Jacob Keyes tells Parangosky that this is a bad idea, to which she tells him that she’s giving the defense committee the scapegoat they need. Keyes points out that they purposefully kept JAG out of the SPARTAN-II program, to which Parangosky responds that the representative is under strict orders to keep his questions directed towards illegal flash cloning.
At that moment, John enters the room and requests to speak with Halsey—still watched by Keyes and Parangosky. He asks her why she did it, to which Halsey says that nothing of what she’s got to say will make any sense to him until the benefits are manifest. She tells John that she was planning the future of humanity. Natural evolution is failing humanity, human beings are still hard-wired for conflict and selfishness, and so Halsey decided that they needed a force that could prevent conflict before it started—hence the SPARTAN-II program.
Miranda enters the room where Keyes and Parangosky are watching the conversation between John and Halsey. Keyes says that she’s not authorized to be here, but Parangosky quiets him.
John tells Halsey to skip to the part where the Spartans were kidnapped, to which Halsey says that she needed children no older than six to carry out the necessary training and augmentations and replaced them with genetically compromised flash clones who were designed to die in order to give the parents closure, mourning a dead child rather than wondering for the rest of their lives about a missing one.
Halsey states that any challenge to the status quo is thought to be mad, bad, and morally reprehensible, until people come to see the benefits. John interrupts and asks who else knew about what she was doing, Keyes looks uncomfortable as he expects to have his own involvement exposed, but Halsey deflects by saying she knew it was worth the risk to reveal what truly happened by encouraging him to pursue his memories and unlock the mysteries of the artifacts.
The alien artifacts have upended everything Halsey thought she knew about the universe and John is the key to understanding it, as he has some connection to the Halo that will lead humanity beyond its current limitations, but he needs her to do this and they can ensure the sacrifices made along the way haven’t been in vain. Imploring John to finish what they started, he says that he’ll finish it without her.
Miranda leaves and sees John, who informs her that Makee claims to be able to interact with the artifact like he can and asks her to check on it. Taking a moment to collect himself, John asks Cortana who she works for—Halsey or him. Cortana says that she’s not designed to make that choice, to which John says that he’ll make it easy for her by cutting her out of his head the first chance he gets.
Visiting Kai, John tells her everything he’s learned about Halsey and the SPARTAN-II program. Kai reflects on her parents thinking that she’s dead and that they could still be out there, but Halsey wiped the records, and as she laments that everything Halsey told them was a lie. John tells her that they’re still Spartans before departing, ordering her to get better because he’s going to need her.
Halsey speaks with Parangosky and feels assured that she won’t actually be arrested, to which Parangosky offers a compromise: Halsey gets sent to a lab Parangosky is opening just for her at Barrier Moons, John gets justice, the committee gets their scapegoat, and Halsey gets to continue her research while Miranda gets the promotion she has long been denied and takes charge of the Spartans. As two guards enter, Parangosky revokes Halsey’s clearances and she is escorted from the FLEETCOM premises.
As Miranda gathers a blood sample from Makee, John sees the scars on her back. Miranda notes that a human ship was attacked just a few days ago by a Covenant corvette identical to the one that Makee ‘escaped’ from, the crew slaughtered, and they picked up a transmission that they’ve been trying to clean up which Makee might be able to verify the translation. As John listens in, he discovers that his hand has begun shaking.
Boarding a Condor, John scans himself to conduct a health diagnostic and sees a vision of Kwan asking if he’s going to live before the interface informs him that his status is critical and he needs immediate medical attention.
Parangosky checks in with Captain Keyes for an update on the Aspero system, to which he informs her that the reason it’s never been explored is because nothing is there.
In Halsey’s apartment where she is under house arrest, Adun informs her that he did what she asked before they got completely shut out—Cortana has been black boxed and can’t be reached. Halsey, however, remains certain that Cortana will reach out to her as John’s lack of trust in her means that she’s on her own for now.
Kai rejoins Riz and Vannak as they examine new weaponry and equipment, Vannak informs her that Miranda has taken over from Halsey and wants them up to speed on the latest upgrades.
Miranda enters her new lab, formerly Halsey’s, and orders blood reports on Makee to be brought up. Exploring the lab, she sees the pod where Halsey’s flash clone was created, and upon being denied access to a file she receives a message on the central monitor: SEE ME.
Visiting Halsey’s apartment, Miranda asks her mother what she wants. Halsey claims to want to say goodbye, but when Miranda sees through this she says that Miranda can’t conduct further experiments on the artifact without her—that she’s not equipped for what comes next. As they argue about the SPARTAN program, Halsey apologizes for the anger that Miranda has harboring, stating tearfully that while ‘family’ is not a concept she believes in, it was never her intention to hurt her.
As Miranda leaves, Adun enters the room and asks if she got a good look as she removes a contact lens from her eye. Outside the building, Miranda receives a message.
Back in her lab, Miranda and John analyze the results of Makee’s blood test and discover that they share a similar anomalous gene alignment. John returns to Makee’s room and tells her that Raas Kkhotskha is nowhere to be found and begins to lose his composure as he experiences a painful physical sensation, one that Makee identifies as the result of prolonged use of the keystone which will eventually kill him.
Makee tells John about the Covenant had ‘lesser’ stones which they forced her to use, and shares that the Prophets told her to surrender herself to the visions, allowing her to make the keystones her servants and saving her from further pain. Makee offers to show John how to do the same, imploring him to take her to the keystone from Madrigal in order to find its other half. She promises that when they are united, John will find peace.
Halsey’s patience pays off as Cortana bypasses FLEETCOM’s firewalls and she asks the AI where John is.
Back in Miranda’s lab, John considers that if Makee can use the artifact to find the other one then perhaps he can as well. Miranda believes that Makee could be setting him up, trying to eliminate the Covenant’s most powerful enemy through repeated exposure to the artifact as she sees how sick it’s making him. John, however, says that he needs to know and they head to the artifact chamber.
Cortana links Halsey into the artifact chamber as Miranda sets up the test, asking John to do her a favor and not die. As he touches the artifact, Makee also suffers a seizure-like reaction until they both lose consciousness.
Awakening on a hill in some kind of vision, John’s vitals stabilize and a holographic ring forms around the artifact. Looking over, he sees Makee and looks at the horizon, which curves up and over his head before circling back to his feet. Together, they are standing on the surface of Halo.
As the vision fades, John and Makee awaken, Miranda saying she thought they’d lost him for a second and asking where he went.
The latest episode of Declassified, hosted by Sydnee Goodman, features Natascha McElhone who portrays everybody’s favorite war criminal Dr. Catherine Halsey in the show. Natascha dives into the depths of complexity and controversy around this inscrutable titan of the Halo universe and her goal to propel humanity, where she believes the ends wholly justify the painful means.
This episode further dives into the music of the show with composer Sean Callery; there’s also a closer look at the Spartan training that Pablo Schreiber, Kate Kennedy, Bentley Kalu, and Natasha Culzac went through in the Mjolnir armor—from basic Spartan physicality, to running in the armor, to weapons training in a military bootcamp with military advisor Dan Hirst.
DR. HALSEY’S COMPUTER
Dr. Halsey’s computer has been updated!
This website is an official resource containing a trove of lore from the Silver Timeline. Every Friday, it is updated with new information.
Access the ONI Database to learn about the historical and ecological information of colony worlds (and a certain Covenant construct); read up on Persons of Interest to discover more about the characters—their rank, assignment, and current status.
Next up, your regularly scheduled content from Halo Canon, covering the Easter eggs, core canon references, and Silver Timeline lore, as well as keeping track of updates to Dr. Halsey’s computer!
END OF DEBRIEF
Here we are, two-thirds of the way through the season!
Next episode is a doozy, I must say! It’s one that I personally found to be one of my favorites of the show, bringing some great payoffs to Kwan’s storyline and going to some of the more esoteric corners of the Halo universe—stuff that really rubs close to some of Greg Bear’s writing. But I shall refrain from saying more, you’ll see soon enough...