‘Halo’ Season 2 Episode 8 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Master Chief Stop Halo Activation?

With much of the second season spent in the snail-paced development of unremarkable subplots, the finale of the second season of Halo was bound to get a bit haphazard and crammed. However, this obvious shortcoming was somewhat nullified by a good dose of drama, action, and plot twists, which probably stemmed from the sudden realization the series makers had to match up with the original storyline.

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Previously, as Makee and Master Chief were psychically transported to the Ringworld, the location of the Halo was recorded and revealed by Cortana, which led Arbiter to head towards the Halo, followed by a huge fleet of Covenant forces. ONI acting chief Admiral Parangosky decides to shift blame onto  Colonel Ackerson for the mishap on Reach, and upon learning that the Covenant forces are heading towards the Halo, he prepares to sacrifice the entire new generation Spartan III battalion to stop the Covenant from getting their hands on the megastructure. Master Chief needs to reach Halo before Arbiter or other Covenant forces and before Kai is forced to initiate Parangosky’s plan as a last-failsafe attempt to save humanity. Soren, on the other hand, fails to rescue Kessler, who gets taken by UNSC along with his mother, Laera. Along with Halsey and Kwan, Dr. Miranda Keyes manages to enter the mystical subterranean Forerunner vault and reaches a lab, from which she secretively recovers a unique device that might be of pivotal importance. With a ton of plot progression rushed into the near-hour-long finale and many more teases hinted for a third season, which has already been greenlit, it is easy to feel a bit lost in the mess, which is why we will discuss each major plot point in a separate article as well. 

Spoilers Ahead

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What Did Miranda Accidentally Unleash Upon Unsc?

The episode begins with Chief being interrogated by someone unknown, the identity of whom isn’t revealed until the end of the episode. This interaction happens at the final moments of the second season as well, with snippets of it scattered across the episode provided in the background context of Chief’s actions. 

The scene shifts to the Onyx ONI base, where Miranda is researching the components found inside the mysterious Forerunner device. It is revealed that some form of dormant spores have been preserved inside the device, which, according to a fellow researcher, Dr. Janine, have seemingly become active due to an external stimulant of some form. Concerned about the rapidly multiplying growth rate of the spores and their tendency to take over and degrade living cells, Miranda asks Janine whether she had interacted with the spores in her absence, which Janine denies. However, in reality, Janine has become a carrier of the spores, and after moving outside the research facility, she initially goes into a catatonic state, and soon after starts displaying erratic behaviors as she viciously attacks one of the scientists. Acting absolutely unhinged and feral, Janine seemingly loses control of herself, and she is taken into custody. In the same prison, Ackerson, Laera, and Kessler are held captive in different cells. 

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Ackerson tries to strike up a conversation with Kessler, but Laera warns her sons against interacting with strangers. Moments later, in the other cell, Janine starts exhibiting eerie metamorphic abilities and, in a rabid, violent state, manages to squeeze her way through Kessler and Laera’s cell. Fearing imminent death, the mother and son stand helpless while Ackerson pleads with a nearby guard to take action. Eventually, a desperate Ackerson steals the firearm from the guard and shoots Janine to death, saving the duo’s lives in the process. However, the unresponsive guard turns out to be another victim of the spores, which seem to be spreading airborne and acting like a parasite on its host. The guard soon partially transforms into a hideous organism and tries to attack Ackerson. 

Meanwhile, Kwan continues feeling ominous foreboding about an impending doom and remembers a myth of her tribe regarding an all-consuming darkness, which is related to the parasitic spores. She warns Soren about it and eventually accompanies him to search for Kessler and Laera inside UNSC Base. It is revealed that, by now, the parasitic spore has affected almost all of the prison security and has rendered them in a frozen state. As a result, Kwan and Soren manage to infiltrate the prison easily, even though they are unaware of the entire mess. Soren kills a parasite-controlled guard, rescues his family, and gets surprised to see Ackerson as a prisoner. Laera informs him about Ackerson saving their lives, which prompts him to release the former ONI colonel as well. The team follows Ackerson, who states that he knows the way out.

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Chief To The Rescue: Was Master Chief Able To Stop Parangosky’s Suicide Mission?

Elsewhere, near the location of the Halo, the Spartan Javelin team of new-gen warriors led by Kai gets deployed against the Covenant forces and gets absolutely annihilated while making the space jump to a Covenant Corvette. Dodging the oncoming horde of formerly deceased Spartan corpses, a handful of survivors, including corporals Perez, Mullins, and Kai, reach one of the Corvettes and somehow reach the central command of the ship. However, as oncoming Covenant forces continue to pour in, the surviving Spartans get flanked, and Perez gets injured. When even the oncoming UNSC fleet gets destroyed by a Covenant mothership, Perez requests Kai to spike their command control as directed by Parangosky. Kai, who knows that it will trigger the fusion drive and annihilate everything inside the star system, is hesitant to sacrifice her trained Spartans, but Perez tries to motivate her by asking not to let the deaths of the fallen go in vain. 

On the other hand, Master Chief, who was watching the dire fate of the new generation of Spartans, finds it impossible to follow his current directive to go to the Halo and decides to help the entrapped survivors, ignoring Parangosky’s commands, who is once again trying to spin a new narrative by pretending to be on good terms with Chief. Remembering Perez’s words to him and how his mere presence can change the outcome of battles, Chief enters the Corvette and takes on hordes of Sangheili Elites. Emerging victorious and arriving at the right time to stop Kai from installing the spike, Chief helps the surviving Spartans escape and proves Perez’s words to be true. Kai decides to stay in the Corvette after sending the rest of the survivors to safety, while Chief launches himself into space to approach the Arbiter’s ship.

Meanwhile, sensing Cortana’s presence can jeopardize their future actions, Makee tries to erase her by destroying the channeling device, but unbeknownst to her, Cortana enters the ship’s tech mainframe and survives. As Arbiter’s ship starts getting pulled towards Halo’s gravity and loses integrity, Makee and Arbiter leave the ship and directly arrive at the Ringworld. On the other hand, Kai sacrifices her life by ramming the Corvette directly into the Covenant mothership, thereby allowing humanity to have a fighting chance against the fleet of alien aggressors.


Was The Master Chief Able To Stop The Activation Of Halo?

Parangosky is puzzled to see Chief hurling himself towards an empty Covenant ship. She summons Dr. Halsey to ask Chief to cooperate and approach the Ringworld instead before it’s too late. Halsey realizes that Chief is trying to save Cortana. As we have learned, ever since connecting with her in a neural link during the first season finale and moving apart later on, Chief has started considering the all-powerful AI as more than just a sentient construct. Ignoring Parangosky’s commands, Halsey helps Chief navigate his way into the ship, and Chief connects with Cortana just in time as the ship crash lands inside the Halo Ringworld. Beating all odds, Master Chief emerges from the destroyed rubble with Cortana psychically assisting him, and the duo marvel at the splendor of the Ringworld’s beauty—a perfect assimilation of technology and nature. 

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However, they don’t have much time to waste as Makee and Arbiter are on their way to enter the main gateway of the activation portal, and Chief interrupts them just in the nick of time. A furious battle ensues between the Sangheili Elite leader and Chief, with the Arbiter initially gaining the upper hand. But a determined Chief persists and finally manages to defeat the Arbiter after a bloody beatdown. Formerly disgraced as a warrior and exiled from his clan, the defeat comes as a final moral blow to the Arbiter, and he pleads with Makee to ask John to end his misery. What remains of a soldier when he can no longer fight? is a question that John found himself asking after Riz decided to quit her Spartan life, which is why he can relate to the plight of Arbiter as well. An emotionally distraught Makee refuses to let the Arbiter die, but Chief grants his wish by thrusting his plasma blade through his heart. In anger, Makee activates the Halo entry portal, which triggers a chain reaction across the Ringworld, and the Covenant fleet starts entering through the horizon. 

Soren, Kwan, and the rest of the team rush towards the exit while tackling a horde of zombified UNSC security members, and through another ominous vision of the Sanctuary priestess, Kwan learns the name of the parasitic organism—it is an ancient curse known as the Flood. Laera decides to stay behind, as it is revealed that she has been infected by the Flood already, leading to a crestfallen Soren leaving Onyx with Kwan, Kessler, and Ackerson. After exploring further, Miranda is horrified to realize the devastating potential of the spore, and just as she informs her mother, Halsey, of her findings, a horror show starts unfolding in the ONI command center. Halsey witnesses the Flood spreading rapidly across the present members, who maniacally attack everyone in their sight, including her as well. Halsey somehow manages to escape and sees a confused Parangosky breathing her last while getting devoured by a horde of Flood-infected individuals. As Halsey reunites with Miranda, she expresses her amazement at the horrifying potential of the organism, much to her daughter’s surprise, and as Halsey suddenly freezes to a standstill, it is revealed that she has been infected as well. A heartbroken Miranda decides to put her mother in cryosleep to halt the course of the infection  and promises her she’ll find possible cure for this cataclysm. However, the zombified humans lurking outside put even Miranda’s determination to the test. Kai’s lifeless body floating through space only increases the uncertainty about humanity’s survival.

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Taking assistance from Cortana, Chief enters the activation portal gateway as well, and finally it is revealed that he was being questioned by the Forerunner AI stationed at Halo. Although his name is not revealed by the end of the episode, game series fans will easily recognize the cube-shaped light-emitting AI to be 343 Guilty-Spark. Fascinated by Chief’s unique way of dealing with situations, which is not understandable by his logic-driven directives, 343 informs him about someone waiting for him in the Halo megastructure. It was Chief’s destiny to arrive at the Ringworld with the fate of the universe at stake. Chief prepares to find answers as he dons the broken iconic helmet, and the finale ends in a massive cliffhanger. The identity of the being awaiting Chief’s arrival remains unknown, and Makee’s presence in the Ringworld will only further the troubles. Losing everyone and having Cortana by his side, Chief has to shoulder huge responsibilities in the days to come. With the flood ravaging the UNSC, there might not be anything worth saving for Master Chief to begin with, which promises an intriguing third season. 


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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