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Silver Debrief: Visegrad

Debrief 017
L-R Kate Kennedy as Kai and Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in Halo episode 3, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+
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  -  2 months ago

The third episode of Halo released yesterday and that means it’s time for a Silver Debrief breakdown on all the latest action.

Be warned: Spoilers lie ahead!


The episode begins with Silver Team approaching the Visegrad relay in the woods at night. Riz attempts to raise Cobalt Team and Visegrad station personnel, but hears nothing. When Kai asks if they’ll be getting air support, the Chief states that FLEETCOM doesn’t believe the Covenant are on Reach and that this is a search and rescue operation for Cobalt Team.

Once inside the relay station, they find it abandoned with half-eaten meals suggesting that personnel left in a hurry. The radio comes on with a signal heavy in static and unintelligible noise, which the Chief recognizes as what he heard on Sanctuary, before the Spartans are alerted by the sound of movement. Finding a jammed door trying to close, ONI black-ops forces suddenly arrive. Captain Briggs orders the Master Chief to stand down and reveals to Silver Team that there was no mission authorized here—the Chief stole a Condor, falsified a flightplan, and they aren’t even authorized to be in their Mjolnir armor.

After a tense standoff, the Chief pushes past the officer and into the room with the jammed door, finding it to be empty.

L- R Anna Koval as Captain Briggs and Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in Halo episode 3, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Back at FLEETCOM, Admiral Jacob Keyes admonishes the Master Chief for going AWOL, operating outside the chain of command based on a delusion, and declares that Silver Team are suspended from combat operations. As the Chief continues to insist that Cobalt Team were at Visegrad, Keyes pulls up a flightplan that shows their deployment to Aktis IV and relieves the Master Chief from duty, confining him to the barracks until he clears a psychiatric evaluation.

The Chief demands to know whether Ackerson put Keyes up to this and if he even tried to defend them, to which Keyes says that he’s the only reason the Chief isn’t facing a court martial.


L-R Bill Paterson as James Ackerson Senior and Joseph Morgan as James Ackerson Halo episode 3, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

In a residential apartment, James Ackerson tends to his father, who is suffering from dementia. Ackerson says that he may have to go away soon and can’t bring his father along. His father asks when Julia is coming—James Ackerson’s sister, who he has flash cloned as Dr. Halsey’s attendant—to which Ackerson reminds him that she’s dead. Before departing, Ackerson’s father makes him promise not to let them take him alive.

Angered by the Master Chief’s lie, Riz and Vannak walk away as he continues to insist to Kai that this is all a set-up by the Office of Naval Intelligence. Riz visits Louis in his home with his husband, Danilo, and joins them for dinner, saying that she realized once she got out of her bunk that she had nowhere to go. Recalling their conversation from the other day, where Louis told her that there are other ways to live and other things to be beyond being a Spartan, Riz asks what those are.

Kai speaks with Ackerson, telling him that Silver Team were left in the dark by the Chief, but that he was doing what he thought was right, noting that Spartans are not built to sit around and wait. Kai then suggests that she be deployed alone, temporarily, until the Chief is cleared for duty, but Ackerson asks if the Chief shared his plans with her—as, twenty minutes ago, he incapacitated the soldiers ordered to monitor him and escaped the facility. Thinking of his father’s degrading condition, Ackerson tells Kai that sometimes people don’t get better, and that sometimes we do more damage to them by holding on when Kai suggests that the Chief just needs time.

L-R Kate Kennedy as Kai and Joseph Morgan as James AckersonHalo episode 3, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+


On the Rubble, Laera walks through the markets and finds that she is being stared at. Ducking into a side passage, she is snatched by Kwan, who tells her that she is in danger from Soren’s crew—they got rid of her husband, and now they’re coming for her.

Returning home, Laera finds her son Kessler playing with Antares and Carina—two of Soren’s crew who betrayed him. Antares informs Laera that the ship is fixed and they can leave, to which Laera says that she was told it would take several days. Antares insists that they worked all night because they care about Soren. When Kessler asks if he can come as well, Antares says no but Carina insists that he does, though Antares eventually manages to get Carina to stand down and allows Laera to meet them at the ship.

Later, Kwan, Laera, and Kessler watch refugees pouring in at the docks from a catwalk. Kwan says that the survivors from Madrigal left with four ships, but only one made it out, pointing out the processing center where refugees become indentured servants—the price of being “rescued” from Outer Colonies that have been glassed. Kwan tells Laera that she feels she deserves this for having failed the mantle of responsibility she inherited as a protector of her people, as the Ha family have been for countless generations.

As another wave refugees comes in, the trio join the crowd to blend in with them. Ducking out to board Soren’s ship, Laera takes off but the hangar bay’s blast doors get sealed shut, blocking their escape. Laera gives Kwan her necklace, telling her that it’s worth enough to get her and Kessler onto an outbound refugee ship, asking Kwan to promise that she will protect Kessler before causing a distraction to allow them to escape—starting a fight with Antares and Carina.

Taken back aboard Soren’s ship, Antares demands to know where Soren’s stash from Madrigal is hidden, and when Laera threatens him with what Soren will do once he’s back Antares taunts that Soren was on a prisoner transport bound for Reach. A repetitive tapping sound echoes through the ship and Antares sends two of his group to investigate while Carina hauls Laera into an airlock, Antares gives her one last chance to change her mind as the oxygen is drained from the room. Laera passes out as blood splatters on the airlock.

Awakening, she finds that she has been rescued by Kwan, who also cuts Carina’s throat. Asking where Kessler is, Kwan tells her that she left Kessler on the transport vessel, or else Laera would be dead.


L-R Bill Paterson as James Ackerson Senior and Joseph Morgan as James Ackerson in Halo episode 3, Season 2, streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Ackerson and Admiral Keyes examine the bodies of Cobalt Team, which were found in the trees near Visegrad. Captain Briggs informs them that plasma scoring was spotted in the area, and upon asking Ackerson what he would like to do with the bodies, he says that Cobalt Team will be marked as missing in action.

Keyes asks if Ackerson knew that the Master Chief’s concerns were valid when he sent Cobalt Team into hostile territory and is incredulous when Ackerson tells him to calm down, as the Covenant is already on Reach. Ackerson says that this was a matter of time, a mathematical inevitability, and tells Keyes that plans are in place that will require some hard choices because they’re not going to win this battle, but they will live to fight another day. Keyes declines Ackerson’s offer to assist him.

Ackerson later meets with Halsey, criticizing her for how fragile she made her Spartans by conditioning them to ultimately rely solely on her, before informing her that he’s come to say goodbye and wanted her to know that her efforts weren’t in vain—even though she won’t be around to see it, her Spartans will be the foundation for something extraordinary which he hopes will give her some comfort.

Halsey tells Ackerson before he leaves that she gave the same speech to his sister Julia before she died. Ackerson’s hatred of Halsey derives from Julia’s involvement in the SPARTAN-II program, where she washed out of the augmentation procedures and ultimately perished. Halsey says that she knew that Julia loved her brother very much, her expression hardening as she concludes that she hopes this will give him some comfort.

As Ackerson leaves, he walks back in and says that he didn’t want to leave her alone. Standing aside, Soren walks in escorted by two guards, and Ackerson departs to let them get reacquainted.

Ackerson then returns home to his father, giving him a capsule to swallow before bringing in the flash clone of Julia so that he and his daughter could die in comfort.

L-R Natascha McElhone as Dr. Halsey and Bokeem Woodbine as SorenHalo episode 3, Season 2, Streaming on Paramount+ 2024. Photo Credit: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+


The Master Chief meets with Margaret Parangosky, having earlier activated the tracker she gave to him, and he informs her that the Covenant are already on Reach but ONI is covering it up. Parangosky warns that if he makes himself ONI’s enemy it won’t matter that he’s the Master Chief and advises him to return to FLEETCOM, smooth things over, do his time in the brig, and they’ll proudly give him another medal for going along with it. Spotting two agents nearby, the Chief surmises that Parangosky has played him—she never left ONI.

Parangosky cautions the Chief that if he walks out of here, she will not be able to help him, advising that he stands down. The Chief refuses and departs to find Corporal Perez, her mother telling him that she’s not at home.

Finding Perez in a church, the Chief confides in her that he saw something in the fog on Sanctuary, and Perez asks if he means the woman—Makee—which confirms to the Chief that he was not delusional. Perez says that she can’t sleep because she can’t get the sound she heard out of her head, handing him a pair of headphones with a recording from Sanctuary which contains words beneath the interference. It is a prayer, saying:

“I bring you blessings, people of Reach. Know that I have come without mercy, without pity. Know that I am the instrument of your extinction. I bring this planet forth as a burned offering. Upon this altar, I place the head of the demon. May his blood mark the way to the sacred ring and consecrate the Great Journey for my people. Know that I am death.”

As Perez concludes that the Covenant are already here on Reach, an explosion erupts outside, shattering the windows of the church.


Halo: Reach screenshot of two Sangheili Zealots, one of whom is holding a UNSC Army trooper hostage

This episode has a number of interesting connections to certain elements of core canon concerning the fall of Reach. No doubt you all caught Admiral Jacob Keyes namedropping WINTER CONTINGENCY—an emergency protocol that serves as the namesake of the first playable mission in Halo: Reach where Noble Team discovers the Covenant already deployed on the planet.

But something that these opening episodes of Season Two have been exploring is the fact that the Office of Naval Intelligence knew about the Covenant’s presence on Reach in advance of the main invasion.

A series of data drops back in 2011 sought to deliver some truth and reconciliation around certain details and differences between the 2001 novel Halo: The Fall of Reach and the game. These took the form of communiques between Admiral Margaret Parangosky and Vice Admiral Hieronymus Stanforth regarding ONI’s statistical analysis efforts to track the Covenant’s recent advances and determine which colonies stood the highest risk of invasion.

By July 19, 2552, the Epsilon Eridani system returned a probability of 87.2 percent—a parallel that the show drew in the previous episode in the conversation between Ackerson and Cortana. This was a prescient result, as Noble Team would discover the Covenant’s presence on the planet less than a week later, on July 23.

As a result of this, Parangosky and Stanforth considered the viability of using Reach as an opportunity to launch Operation: RED FLAG—a last ditch effort to send the remaining Spartans to the Covenant homeworld (what would later be discovered to be High Charity) with the objective of capturing a Prophet and forcibly negotiating a ceasefire. They note, however, that the military cost of such a gambit would be the greatest military sacrifice in human history.


Sydnee Goodman returns with a new instalment of Halo The Series: Declassified which takes us behind the scenes of the latest episode.

Title card for Season Two of Halo The Series Declassified

In this episode, Sydnee speaks with Natascha McElhone (Catherine Halsey) and Shabana Azmi (Margaret Parangosky), explores the evolving character dynamics between the members of Silver Team with the master Chief, and takes an exclusive look at the creation of Reach’s undercity—including its famous ramen eatery favored by Parangoksy herself!

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

That rounds us out for another week of Halo, and next week will mark the half-way point of the season. Given where this episode left off, I think we all have a good idea of what’s coming next…

We’ll see you next week.