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Silver Debrief: Sword

Debrief 016
Halo The Series image of Riz-028 conversing with Kai-125
Photo of Alex
  -  18 days ago

Back again already? Well, of course you are—we did just have a two-episode premiere for Season Two, after all!

Let’s dive right into episode two, ‘Sword.’


EPISODE SUMMARY: SWORD

Doctor Catherine Halsey is sat at a table in what appears to be a comfortable living room where she is visited by a young girl who brings her “gifts” and they begin to play a board game. As Halsey questions the young attendant about the man behind all this, the young girl’s nose begins to bleed and she seemingly loses consciousness.

RIZ RECOVERS

L-R Natasha Culzac as Riz and Kate Kennedy as Kai in Halo episode 2, season 2 streaming on Paramount+, 2024.  Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Following the events of Season One where Riz-028 was critically wounded during the final battle against the Covenant at Raas Kkhotskha, Kai-125 finds her still in discomfort and struggling due to her injuries—but Riz insists on training.

Riz trains with Louis, a blind instructor who can tell that she is struggling. Louis tells her that she won’t be able to serve forever and that there are other ways to live, encouraging her to think about life beyond being a Spartan, which she flippantly says is a life that doesn’t matter—something she immediately regrets saying, as Louis is a “washout” from the Spartan program.

When conducting a “ring the bell” training exercise with Silver Team in her Mjolnir armor, Riz is prevented from completing her objective by the Master Chief after firing a shot to make her fall while climbing. The Chief orders them to go again, but when Kai interrupts to point out Riz’s condition—concerned that she is being pushed too far—Riz insists that she is fine. However, though Riz gets close to ringing the bell at the top of the cliffs, she loses her grip and hits her back on the long fall down. The Chief orders her to get back up, insisting that this is necessary because the Covenant are training for something, before ordering them to go again.

Later, Riz waits with Louis for the man he says saved him when he washed out of the Spartan program. Louis relates his experience after the augmentation procedures that turned them into super-soldiers, saying that he felt invincible at first, but over time he began to experience darkness at the edges of his vision that he kept quiet, before losing his sight altogether—the last thing he remembers seeing being how proud and beautiful he saw his fellow Spartans to be.

STANDBY MODE

The Master Chief looks at the Spartan deployment roster and sees that Silver Team are being held on standby, confiding to Kai that Ackerson believes something is wrong with him and revealing that he saw Makee on Sanctuary. Kai denies the possibility of this, as she shot Makee herself on Raas Kkhotskha.

Seeing that Cobalt Team’s status is also set to standby, the Chief becomes aggravated and seeks out James Ackerson. Ackerson mockingly says that as far as he knows Spartans never die, prompting the Chief to demand that he clear Silver Team for action or he will find somebody else who will, but Ackerson makes it clear that the Office of Naval Intelligence is running the show—and that he represents ONI.

Taking a more direct tact, Ackerson says that the Chief’s account of events on Sanctuary are dubious and could not be corroborated by Corporal Perez, upon the Chief’s insistence that he speak with her, only to be told that she has no recollection of the events that transpired. The Chief says that she must be lying, to which Ackerson asks the Chief to put himself in his position. Given the Chief’s recent behavior, would he trust him?

The Chief concludes that Ackerson can’t win this war against the Covenant without Silver Team, which Ackerson confirms, pointedly saying that he—and everybody else—needs the Master Chief. But at the end of the day, John is just “a guy in the suit.”

UNWELCOME VISITS

Cristina Rodlo as Corporal Perez in Halo episode 2,Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Dr. Halsey plays a board game with her young attendant, who has seemingly recovered, but as Halsey asks once more who the man that sent her was, the girl’s nose begins bleeding again. Halsey tells the girl that she is dying and insists on her saying the man’s name, but the girl dies before she can say anything.

Meanwhile, the Master Chief pays a visit to Corporal Perez at her family home and is invited in for dinner. Perez relates her story to him about what she remembers: she heard something when the comms went down and could feel that something was with them, but she didn’t see anything—and then all of her fellow Marines were killed. She asks the Chief to explain why she wasn’t killed as well, explaining that this was why she didn’t tell Ackerson, because she was given a medal and doesn’t know what it’s for beyond simply surviving.

The Chief tells Perez that what she heard was a message from the Covenant and that it will happen again, and then confides that she will think about her squad every day, see their faces when she least expects, and that it doesn’t get better—only further away.

Back with Halsey, Ackerson meets with her in person as the body of her attendant—a flash cloned girl—is taken away. Halsey asks where Cortana and the Master Chief are, but Ackerson introduces her to a new flash cloned girl named Julia who will serve as Halsey’s next attendant. Departing the room, it becomes clear that Halsey is being held inside a simulated prison cell.

UNDER COVER

On the Rubble, Kwan goes out to steal food and attempts to remove the tracking tag used on indentured servants from her ear. Caught by several men hunting her down, Kwan escapes into a service duct and kills the two people hunting her.

Laera wants to take Soren’s ship to find him, but the crew that abandoned him tell her that it needs repairs that will take at least a couple of days. Laera insists that Soren is alive and reprimands them for not saving him themselves, as he would never have left them behind.

Kwan returns to the cavern where she tells Kessler she must leave because people are looking for her. Kessler says that Soren will protect them when he gets back, to which Kwan says that he isn’t coming back.

PROBLEMATIC PROBABILITIES

L-R Joseph Morgan as James Ackerson and Natascha McElhone as Dr. Halsey in Halo episode 2, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Ackerson enters the chamber where the smaller part of the Forerunner keystone artifact from Season One is still being held, remaining inert to his touch. Cortana then appears and Ackerson asks if she has made any progress with the problem that he gave her to solve, to which Cortana says that there is a ninety-seven percent probability based on the data he has given her.

Asking if there are any viable strategies that she would recommend to prevent this outcome, Cortana states that all simulations return the same result regardless of any action taken, leading Ackerson to conclude that there is nothing to be done. As Ackerson departs, he says that he will come back, but Cortana notes that—according to the simulations—he won’t be able to.

FLIGHTPLAN

The Master Chief attempts to track Cobalt Team’s mission, but is told that no missions are associated with them. Cross-checking missions concerning communications relays, two results for active missions are returned: one on Meridian, and another located in the Epsilon Eridani system—here on Reach itself. The Chief surmises that Cobalt Team never actually left the planet.

Taking a Condor with Silver Team under the pretense of a training mission, the Chief tells them they are actually going to Visegrad Relay, where Cobalt Team was sent, and they’re going to get them back. Kai asks if they’re cleared for combat, to which the Chief lies and confirms that they are. When Kai inquires as to the specific nature of their mission, the Chief simply responds: “The Covenant is on Reach.”

At Sword Base on Reach, a group of Marines move through a darkened corridor, but they are all cut down by a Sangheili warrior. Makee then appears, and asks the Sangheili to open the door, finding the other part of the keystone artifact within.


CORE CONNECTIONS

The Spartan roster and the scene where the Master Chief tracks the missions that other Spartan teams are on will return some undoubtedly familiar names to those familiar with the SPARTAN-II program.

Among the names listed are Black Team and Omega Team, who have both appeared throughout the expanded universe of Halo’s core canon.

Crop of a panel from Halo: Blood Line showing the four Spartans of Black Team

Black Team (composed of Margaret-053, Roma-143, Otto-031, and Victor-101)made their debut in the Halo: Evolutions anthology novel, specifically in the story ‘Blunt Instruments’ where they were sent to take out a station that would prevent Helium-3 from being supplied to the Covenant ships blockading the colony Tribute.

They were also the primary focus of the comic series Halo: Blood Line, and later appeared in Halo: Escalation’s ‘The Next 72 Hours’ arc where they met their end at the hands of the Forerunner commander known as the Didact.

Halo Wars 2 art of Omega Team

Omega Team (composed of August-099, Leon-011, and Robert-025) was first introduced to us in the beloved announcement teaser for Halo Wars back in 2006, where a group of Spartans appear at the end with the line: “This is Spartan Group Omega. If they want war, we’ll give ‘em war.”

Omega would go on to appear briefly during the campaign of Halo Wars when the UNSC Spirit of Fire helps evacuate civilians on the colony world Arcadia, and they were also hero units that could be deployed in Halo Wars 2’s multiplayer.

Most recently, Omega Team appeared in our latest Waypoint Chronicle, Halo: Hippocratica. You can read this free short story here on Halo Waypoint, as a PDF, or as an audiobook on YouTube!


DECLASSIFIED

Title card for Season Two of Halo The Series Declassified

Sydnee Goodman brings us the latest instalment of Halo The Series: Declassified which takes us behind the scenes of today’s dual-wielded episode premiere.

In this episode, Sydnee speaks with David Wiener (Executive Producer) and Joseph Morgan (James Ackerson), explores the process that goes into getting Riz-028's injury make-up and prosthetics done, and more.

(NOTE: Some regions may not be able to view this episode.)


RIZ-028

The second episode of Season Two had a strong focus on Riz-028 and the struggle that she is going through following the injuries she sustained at the end of last season. It is only fitting that this week’s Ultimate Reward in Halo Infinite, obtained by completing all of your challenges, would be Riz’s helmet.

Oh, and that’s not all! Log into Halo Infinite this week and you’ll instantly unlock Riz-028's visor for your Spartan as well.

Halo Infinite image of Riz-028's helmet

That wraps us up for this two-episode premiere, which has gotten Season Two off to an explosive start—and, in the words of the Master Chief himself: we’re just getting started.

Same time next week for episode three where we’re heading to Visegrad. To all the Halo: Reach fans out there who perked up at the mention of that particular location... from the beginning, you know the end!