Halo Season 2 Episode 5 Recap & Review

Halo Season 2 Episode 5, titled “Aleria“, focuses on the aftermath of the devastating battle on Reach. With the planet glassed and their team shattered, Master Chief and the other survivors struggle to process their losses while continuing the fight against the Covenant.

Halo Season 2 Episode 5 Recap & Review

Halo Season 2 Episode 5 Recap & Review

As the Halo Season 2 Episode 5 opens, Chief, Riz, and Soren fight a desperate last stand against the Covenant forces invading Reach. A Brute Chieftain smashes through the ceiling and attacks the unarmored Spartans. Kwan and Laera heroically arrive in a ship and shoot the Brute, allowing the Spartans to evacuate with Dr. Halsey. But Riz risks her life to retrieve Vannak’s body before they escape the planet’s destruction.

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Chief passes out and recalls Cortana’s extraction by Admiral Parangosky. Makee oversees Reach’s glassing from orbit, frustrating the Arbiter who failed to kill Chief. When Chief awakens, Halsey reveals he’s been comatose for two days as Reach fell. Riz lies near death after her selfless act to honour Vannak. Chief angrily confronts Halsey about the Spartans’ mistreatment by ONI, demanding to know if she views them as people or just tools.

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The Search For Kessler On Aleria

When Chief awakens after three more days, he joins Soren and the others travelling to Aleria seeking Soren’s son Kessler. While Riz undergoes emergency surgery, Soren and Laera investigate Kessler’s whereabouts. Chief refuses Kwan’s plea to properly bury Vannak, insisting Spartans don’t receive burials.

During the funeral, Chief takes over Halsey’s eulogy and vows revenge against ONI for betraying them. Meanwhile, Laera learns Kessler was likely abducted by the UNSC. Riz decides to leave the Spartan life behind and remain on Aleria. The episode ends with a glimpse of Kai leading new Spartan-IIIs, foreshadowing another civil war within the UNSC.

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Chief Struggles With Loss And Guilt

A major theme in Episode 5 is the Chief’s difficulty in processing loss and grief. He regards the dead as empty corpses, not fallen comrades. While he won’t look at Vannak’s body, a bird seems to symbolize Vannak’s spirit haunting Chief. Only during the funeral does the Chief accept Vannak’s death and the pain it caused him.

Chief shows rare vulnerability by admitting the Spartans were his only family. He promises to avenge Vannak’s death through violence against ONI. But his plan stems from rage, not reason. When Riz abandons the Spartan life to find peace, Chief pleads for her to stay as his only family left. Their emotional goodbye highlights Chief’s isolation and inner turmoil.

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Other Key Developments And Analysis

  • Makee deceives the Arbiter with a vision of Halo, turning him against the Covenant to find the ring himself. Their dynamic grows more intriguing.
  • Kwan has her best moment yet, distinguishing between death and loss. Her eulogy for Vannak helps Chief acknowledge his grief.
  • Riz makes the bold decision to retire as a Spartan, choosing tranquility over Halsey’s demands to keep fighting. This surprise move complements Chief’s pathos.
  • Soren and Laera‘s marital tensions rise during their search for Kessler, creating an engaging emotional conflict.
  • Kai’s appearance commanding new Spartan-IIIs is an ominous sign of escalating inner conflict within the UNSC.

Overall, Halo Season 2 Episode 5 balances strong character development with advancing the plot. Chief’s grief over losing Vannak and Riz powerfully humanizes the iconic hero. Makee and the Arbiter’s uncertain alliance, Kwan’s wisdom, and Riz’s retirement all leave Chief increasingly isolated as threats mount on multiple fronts. While not flawless, Episode 5 represents a big step forward for Halo’s second season.