Flood Outbreak In ‘Halo’ Season 2 Explained: How Can The Flood Storyline Shape Up In Season 3?

Like we have stated previously as well, the Halo TV series has exercised a number of creative liberties when it comes to the core storyline, making changes that sometimes feel unnecessary, and the total omission of the Flood storyline in the first season was one of them. Given how much of a role this hideous intergalactic parasite plays in the lore of Halo, the adverse reaction of the fans was justified, and the makers learned their lesson in due time.

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In the very first episode of the second season, a major Flood teaser was given through the insurrectionist survivor of Madrigal, Kwan Ha’s, conversation with Soren’s son Kessler, who mentions the possible arrival of a primordial evil that threatens to become the end of everything. In the cave paintings of Soren’s quarter in Rubble, Kwan finds ominous signs of the presence of Flood. But even Kwan didn’t believe in the ominous prophecy until much later, and by then, a little glimpse of the horrifying potential of the Flood had been showcased as it ravaged through the entire UNSC and ONI command on the planet Onyx. We will discuss a bit about the intriguing origin of the Flood, its importance in the overarching narrative, and what role it might play in the future of human-covenant conflict from this point onwards, and a spoiler warning is hereby issued. 

Spoilers Ahead

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The Origin Of Flood And Its Importance

In its most basic form, the Flood is a highly contagious, rapidly mutating, and ever-adapting virulent parasite that feeds on every form of life. What differentiates it from a host of other fictional death-dealing parasites like Metroid is the fact that, in its most empowered state, The Flood is an intelligent, sentient lifeform that can think beyond the basic necessities of survival and proliferation and actively strategize better than most advanced species in the galaxy. Furthermore, aside from being one of the most ancient creations, the Flood can absorb the psyche of its victims into its own hive mind, thereby accumulating knowledge through the eons. 

After the initial stages of infection, like an airborne pathogen, the flood spores take control of their host’s nervous system, turning their victims into feral, unhinged, mutated organisms that have grown into grotesque forms through shapeshifting. At this point, the victim is deceased, and the Flood has assumed control over its body and mind. The Flood continues to take over myriad life forms and combines the mutated organisms to create a centralized form known as Gravemind, which acts as the unified form of the parasite. However, the Flood has the potential to continue growing this singular form into an unbelievable stature, as large as an entire planetary or star system, and it can continue gaining more strength and intelligence in the process. The intriguing origin of Flood, which dates back to the creation of life itself, imbues it with such superior abilities.

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In the Halo universe, Precursors are known as the prime beings; they command a godlike status as this highly advanced alien species with Lovecraftian appearance were the first lifeforms to exist, and they created several sentient species like the Forerunners and humans, initiating civilizations across the galaxies. However, as the Precursors chose humans as their worthy successor to uphold the Mantle of Responsibility (a philosophy that dictates the liability of preservation of all living things rests with the deserving advanced species), the Forerunners started an uprising against their makers and were able to usurp the Mantle from them. Almost the entire population of the Precursors went extinct; the remaining few decided to preserve themselves by transmuting into biological dust, waiting for return when the time was right. The bio-dust got corrupted through various cosmic influences over time and gave birth to Flood. The consciousness of the Precursors, forever active in the Flood hive-mind, pledged retribution against their creation—the Forerunners, who were responsible for their downfall in the first place. 

The Flood started spreading across galaxies, corrupting both human and forerunner populations across the galaxies. This parasitic lifeform initiated the human-forerunner war after tactically choosing sides to manipulate the two parties, which resulted in the defeat of humanity and eventual de-evolution to the primitive era at the hands of the forerunners. Forerunners themselves got almost wiped out by the Flood, and as a last resort, they created the Halo array, a set of doomsday megastructures that purged all lives across the galaxies to deprive the Flood of its food source. Even though the Forerunners went extinct, the Halo proved to be effective in containing the flood. Being a corrupted form of precursors, the viciousness of the flood wrecked upon the forerunners was surely a form of poetic justice. Dismantling the hierarchy that led to so many cosmic wars in Halo, the Flood turned out to be a deadly unifier that purged life indiscriminately—akin to the Halo megastructure itself. 

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How Can The Flood Storyline Shape Up In The Third Season? 

In the final episode of the second season of the Halo TV series, the flood was unleashed in the Onyx UNSC, and it swept through the entire facility. Characters like Parangosky and Laera met their end in its rampage. Dr. Halsey got infected as well, but Miranda managed to protect her in suspended animation through cryosleep, thereby halting the infection until she manages to find a cure. But with technology much more advanced than her comprehension failing to contain this ancient devastation, there is no telling whether she can keep her promise. Kwan Ha’s mystical connections and visions regarding Flood might provide some clues in the future, which will be unraveled in the third season as well. 

Master Chief, who has managed to arrive at the Ringworld to stop the activation of Halo, is totally unaware of the situation, and by the time he manages to return, there might not be a world worth saving. Whether the devastating impact of the flood will lead Chief to consider using Halo to purge the infection and all sentient life forms alongside it—or whether there might be an off chance to salvage the worsening situation—is yet to be seen, which will be one of the main focuses of the third season of the series. 

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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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