‘Halo’ Season 2 Episode 5 Recap Summary: Is Kai Dead?

The augmentation program, which led to the creation of the super-soldier Spartans, integrated enhanced physical faculties into the test subjects but robbed them of their humanity to ensure the authority gained absolute control over the modified soldiers. Things probably would have gone well for the UNSC if the Spartans continued serving their purpose as apathetic killing machines, brainless soldiers whose sole purpose of existence is to serve the interests of their military higher-ups. But ever since the dastardly machinations of UNSC came to light, the emotion suppression pellet was taken out of the Spartans, and complex human psychological trials started plaguing the minds of the Spartans. Coping with the loss of someone close, the purpose of their lives beyond their responsibility as soldiers, and accepting the fact that even the best of us get marred by shortcomings—these realizations dawn from a lifetime of experience—something that the Silver Team hasn’t been afforded thanks to the cruel whims of fate. In the aftermath of the cataclysmic fourth episode of the second season of Paramount+’s Halo, Silver Team’s tribulations become the focus of the fifth episode titled Aleria.

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In the previous episode, in the wake of the Covenant invasion and subsequent fall of Reach, a series of tragic deaths crippled the UNSC from the core. Riz’s close friend and training partner, former Spartan Louis, and his love, Danilo, breathed their last in battle; Captain Keyes sacrificed himself to allow safe evacuation; and Silver Team member Spartan Vannak was killed during a confrontation with the Sangheili Elite, Arbiter. Sustaining serious injuries, Master Chief was deemed helpless, and a majority of the tragic events were a direct result of the shrewd, cowardly Ackerson escaping with the Mjolnir armor and valuable resources beforehand. Soren and Dr. Halsey escape their captivity, join their team by coincidence, and bear witness to the tragic events unfolding.

Spoilers Ahead

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Who Saved Master Chief And Co.?

At the beginning of the episode, Master Chief starts gaining consciousness as heavy firing continues by the Covenant forces, who seek to obliterate the remaining UNSC forces on the planet. A still-dazed Chief momentarily forgets that his compatriot Vannak has breathed his last and starts getting concerned about him. Riz and Soren try to push back the opposition and somehow take down a Covenant Brute. 

As all hope of escaping seems lost, a shuttle descends, and it is revealed that Laera and Kwan Ha have arrived to rescue Soren from the UNSC. The team rushes into the shuttle, and after pondering for a moment, a headstrong Riz lunges back behind the enemy lines —to recover Vannak’s body. In the very short span of time since the Covenant attack, Riz has lost a number of people who were close to her. She is not willing to let another of her friends be memorialized among numerous nameless fallen ones, even if it means putting her own life on the line to make that happen. Unfortunately, even though Riz recovers Vannak’s body while boarding the shuttle, she is hit in the back by an artillery round and gets grievously injured as a result. As the team escapes the planet, the completely demolished cityscape looks like a fiery hell from afar. 

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Kwan Ha and Laera had left Kessler in a mining outpost on the planet Aleria to ensure his safety, and after rescuing Chief and the rest of the team, they headed towards the location. En route, an injured, mentally distraught Chief starts having delirious episodes and has several altercations with Dr. Halsey, who sedates him for a couple of days to calm him down. Just as the team reaches Aleria, a comatose Riz undergoes surgery under Halsey’s supervision, and after waking up, Riz gets to know that her already battered, broken physique has sustained even worse damage. Spartan training regimen never taught them how or when to quit, and Halsey accordingly instructed her to push through the pain and trauma. Meanwhile, Laera and Soren are unable to find Kessler in the outpost, and as they start searching for their son, a local merchant misdirects them. 

Chief, on the other hand, gets some assistance from Kwan in processing his grief over Vannak’s passing. From remaining in complete denial to being able to differentiate between loss and death, Chief’s mental clarity stems from Kwan sharing her common experience of losing people close to her. Eventually, Vannak’s funeral is arranged in Aleria, and Chief pledges in front of his friend’s funeral pyre to make the people responsible pay dearly—in this case, deserters like Ackerson and Parangosky, the chief controllers of ONI. Kwan gets an ominous vision from the priestess of Sanctuary, who reminds her of her higher purpose as a member of ‘Ha’ of finding the portal to the Ringworld (Season 01).

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What Happened To Cortana?

Elsewhere, on board the Arbiter’s ship, Makee watches the death and destruction she has caused by bringing the Covenant forces into Reach, and it almost seems like she is feeling apologetic. However, without wallowing in sentimentality much longer, Makee concentrates on her prime objective—to use the Cortana chart as a waypoint to the Ringworld of Halo. Cortana initially refuses to comply, which leads Makee to threaten her with decommissioning. The Arbiter doesn’t seem too fond of Makee’s methods but tolerates her anyway, as Makee is one of the blessed ones who can access Forerunner technology.

The Arbiter laments as he was not allowed to slay the demon (Master Chief), twice now, thanks to Makee’s interference, he decides to take Cortana to the Hierarchs of Covenant, to the Prophets, to make amends for his perceived failure. Makee gets absolutely livid after knowing this and pleads with the Arbiter not to make such a mistake, as she knows from her own experience how deceitful, self-serving, and pathetic those Covenant Prophets are (Season 01 Finale). An enraged Arbiter goes to strike a death blow at Makee when Cortana saves her life by distracting the Arbiter with an ethereal vision of the Halo Ringworld. Makee makes the Arbiter believe that it’s his presence that is causing this, and the Sangheili Elite leaves in confusion. With one part of Keystone already retrieved from Reach, the Arbiter will try to seek the other part, which is seemingly kept hidden by the UNSC. 

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Has Kai Survived The Fall Of Reach?

Laera takes matters into her own hands to threaten the lying merchant and learns that the UNSC has captured Kessler for reasons still unknown. Soren’s family arc and Kwan’s personal journey have plunged viewers into boredom in this season so far, and it seems like the problem will continue to persist through the rest of the season as well. 

With Riz finally in a better state of mind, Chief asks her about Spartan Kai, and it is revealed that she is unaware of her fate as well. The duo considers Kai to be another one among their fallen comrades and mourns her losses. With Soren and Laera leaving the planet in search of their son, Chief plans to move with his remaining team as well. However, Riz chooses to quit her Spartan career and have a taste of the normal life, which Louis had talked about so fondly. She has pushed herself beyond her limits time and time again, and the recent events have made her appreciate the worth of life much more than she previously used to. Chief, suffering from survivor’s guilt already, fears being alone and, in a desperate attempt, tries to command Riz to comply with his orders. Eventually, he too realizes the futility of the entirety of it and lets Riz take a shot at reshaping her life anew. It’s a luxury he cannot afford, as he has to bear the immense burden of loss and pain to continue moving forward. 

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The scene shifts to Camp Currahee, at Planet Onyx, where UNSC has established a new operation base. Our focus shifts to Spartan Kai, who, wielding her Mjolnir gears, exchanges a glance with Ackerson, and as the outer gateway of the facility opens in front of her, a large troop of armored soldiers, presumably Spartan IV warriors, are seen awaiting her orders. As the episode ends with this shocking revelation, viewers can’t help but wonder whether Kai has deliberately switched sides and betrayed her team to become Ackerson’s loyal steed, or whether her emotion suppression pellet has been turned active to make her comply with UNSC’s arbitrariness. Chief will hound Ackerson irrespective of whether he is able to take on the might of ONI, and the revelation of his most trusted friend, Kai, turning out to be assisting Ackerson will undoubtedly come across as a brutal gut punch. 


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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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