‘Halo’ Season 2 Episode 4 Recap Summary: Is Vannak Dead?

Death, destruction, and annihilation follow the congregation of alien zealots, otherwise known as the Covenants, as the harrowing impact of their attack on human establishments is showcased in the midpoint of the second season of Paramount+’s space epic series, Halo. In the previous season, Master Chief and his Silver team managed to bring the mystical Forerunner artifact back to Reach right from the Covenant home base of High Charity, and a severe retaliation was expected, which culminated in this season with Covenant’s invasion of Reach. 


In the previous episode, Master Chief and his Silver Team were temporarily relieved of their combat duties by Captain Keyes (on the orders of Colonel Ackerman) due to the Chief’s insubordination, and his concern about the Covenant attack and the Cobalt Team’s status was deliberately covered up by the Ackerson-led ONI. Later, after it is revealed that the entire Cobalt team was KIA, Ackerman informs Captain Keyes about the impending Covenant attack and has prior knowledge about it. Failing to convince a disgusted Keyes to join him, Ackerson flees from the Reach, not before meeting a captive Dr. Halsey for one last time and bringing Soren inside her VR-augmented chamber. Silver Team: Admiral Parangosky lets down Master Chief when he needs them the most and turns their back on him. Chief goes to meet Corporal Perez and finds a new confidante in her as she believes his words, states that she too had seen Makee on the now-destroyed planet of Sanctuary, and shares information that forewarns about the imminent attack. The full-scale invasion finally takes place in the fourth episode of this season titled “Reach,”  resulting in some severely tragic losses for the defenders of UNSC and humanity going back foot for the time being. 

Spoilers Ahead


Did Master Chief Finally Reunite With The Silver Team?

In the final moments of the previous episode, as Chief and Perez were sharing their minds about the impending attack, the Covenant invasion started, and the fourth one begins by showcasing the devastation that followed the arrival of the alien cavalry. Spartan Vannak is shown to be busy with his usual routine of feeding the pigeons when he is shocked to find the city of Reach getting destroyed by aerial bombardment by the Covenant forces. The situation is way more grim at ground zero, where Chief and Perez are seen to be somehow escaping from the raid, all the while witnessing the cataclysm unfold in front of them in the form of a gruesome massacre. Perez’s family and friends are among the hapless victims, whom an anguished Perez tries to save, but Chief, knowing full well that the situation has gotten out of hand, somehow stops her. In a brief yet poignant scenario, the terrible cost of war is highlighted by the plight of a curio shop owner who refuses to escape from her shop, which means the world for her, and gets increasingly disillusioned by facing the truth that the tragedy humanity is facing at the moment almost renders the entire history to be meaningless. 

Helping Perez get a grip over the situation, Chief battles some of the Covenant forces as the duo try to make their way to Fleetcom base to reunite with the UNSC cavalry. To ease Perez’s mind a bit, Chief shares an incident from his childhood days detailing mysterious intuitive abilities (possible forerunner connection) that have guided him up to this point. Chief remarks that he knows before the commencement of any battle that he will survive, but at the same time will lose someone close to him—and the statement foreshadows a tragic event that will eventually come to pass later in the episode. 


Near Fleetcom base, Chief reunites with his silver team member, Spartan Riz, and as they start getting flanked by Covenant forces, Riz’s training helps former Spartan Louis and his lover, Danilo, breathe their last. A traumatized Riz still continues to push through, and eventually the surviving unit reaches the base, where Chief and Riz meet Vannak as well. However, troubling updates follow as Spartan Kai is nowhere to be found and Ackerson has taken the Mjolnir armor while fleeing, which the Spartans donned to charge against stronger Covenant opponents. The Chief meets with Captain Keyes to discuss the immediate plan, which is to evacuate as many civilians as possible off the planet, as the Fall of Reach seems inevitable at this point. As the Spartans and the Marines prepare to make the last stand, Captain Keyes delivers an inspiring speech to boost the morale of UNSC forces. 

What Happened To Soren And Dr. Halsey?

On the other hand, the reunion between Dr. Halsey and Soren quite expectedly begins on bad terms, with Soren being distrustful about Halsey’s intentions from the get go for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, during the invasion, their holding cell—the VR augmentation chamber—unlocks due to impact-related malfunctioning, and the duo decides to form an uneasy alliance to survive and escape. 


As they gradually make their way towards the outer area, Halsey’s shocking revelation prompts Soren to see her from a new perspective. Soren was the only one among the Spartan program candidates who willingly participated in the ordeal (the rest were abducted and brainwashed), and when he decided to defect, Halsey allowed him to go, fearing his presence could influence Chief and others to break free of UNSC control as well. Eventually, Halsey finds out about Cortana, who gets taken by Makee as a Sangheili warrior, escorting her attack on Halsey and Soren. The duo barely survives by exploding a frag grenade at the nick of time. 

The duo finally reach Fleetcom base, and another unexpected reunion follows as Halsey meets her ex-husband, Captain Keyes. Halsey questions him regarding their daughter Miranda’s whereabouts, whom viewers haven’t seen since the ending of the previous season. Keyes refuses to disclose the information to Halsey but confirms that she isn’t in reach. 


Did The Silver Team Survive Reach’s Fall?

Captain Keyes expresses his wish to join in the last stand of Reach, but Master Chief implores him to leave the planet as he considers his guidance to be of the utmost necessity for the survivors. Without their Mjolnir armor, the Silver team joins the marines to stand guard outside the Fleetcom base to allow safe evacuation by flanking the oncoming Covenant forces, and Perez enters the final ship prepared to de-board with Captain Keyes. However, due to a system malfunction, Captain Keyes opts to manually disengage the fuel lock by going out of ship, despite the risk it entails, and orders a hesitant Perez to launch the ship lest he fail to return in time. Conveniently, a troop of Covenant warriors attack the base from a separate route, bypassing the marine/Spartan defense, and Captain Keyes, who successfully releases the fuel lock of the last ship, finds himself surrounded. Fearing about her husband’s fate, Halsey’s practical, pragmatic demeanor shatters in pieces as she frantically tries to save Captain Keyes, but realizing nothing can be done, Soren takes her away to safety. Master Chief eventually realizes that, unbeknownst to them, the opposition forces have attacked the evacuation bay, rushes back with his Spartan team, and gets surprised to see Soren and Doctor Halsey. 

Smoking his pipe for one last time and detonating charges to prevent the Covenant force from getting to the last ship, Captain Keyes goes down in glory, and a distraught Perez adheres to the Captain’s orders by launching the ship. Soon enough, a bunch of Sangheili Elites attack the survivors remaining at base, and the Spartans lay down all the lead to stop as many as they can. The leader of the Elites courts Chief for combat, and without his Mjolnir armor, Chief barely stands a chance as the Sangheili warrior easily pins him down. Just as he is about to deliver the deathblow on Chief, Makee appears and commands him to stop. Finding an opening, Spartan Vannak attacks the Elite leader with incendiary rounds, which barely harm him. However, in a shocking (or not so) turn of events, Vannak meets his end as the leader stabs him with the incendiary rounds instead, and a pinned-down Master Chief breaks down in anguish. Soren, Riz, and the rest of the survivors take Chief to safety as the leader and his forces inexplicably retreat, and the episode ends with the bleak imagery of the absolutely demolished condition of Reach. 


Packed with action from beginning to end, the fourth episode was a much-needed change of pace, but once again, it seems to be plagued with problems that infected the series in the first season. The multitude of deaths that took place in this episode doesn’t add much value to the narrative, especially how unceremoniously and ineffectively Louis, Danilo, and Vannak met their ends. Captain Keyes’ sacrifice still delivers some impact, but then again, it’s a drastic change from the original storyline, where he became a victim of the space parasite Flood, whose mention is nowhere to be seen despite the series being at the midpoint of its second season. Kai and Miranda’s absence might or might not be linked with Ackerson and ONI, which will be revealed during the upcoming episodes. The Chief now has a score to settle with Ackerson, as his horrid leadership is part of the reason that so many lives were lost, including Vannak’s, whose death was directly influenced by the deplorable Colonel as he had taken the Mjolnir armors away. The episode could have fared way better spectacle-wise if Spartans had donned their iconic armor during battles, and by opting for a HUD method, the makers could have showcased emotional moments as well, but once again, dubious decisions have cost the series. However, narrative-wise, significant changes are expected, as with Halsey and Soren assisting the Spartans, things might become a bit hopeful for the UNSC from this point onwards. 

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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