‘Halo’ season finale recap: Cortana unleashed

Image via Paramount Plus

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Halo episode 9, “Transcendence”

Paramount’s ambitious undertaking of Halo in live-action comes to an inconclusive end in this week’s ninth and final episode. Here’s everything that happened in the epic showdown between the Silver Team and the Covenant.

Spoilers to follow.

The finale starts with Master Chief making his way to Makee in a haze. Miranda Keyes tells her that their Covenant prisoner has escaped with the artifact. John tries to make his way to the hangar, but is once again interrupted by his fellow Spartans. Riz and Vannak are still adamant to take Chief to Halsey, but he reveals the truth about their childhood.

Vannak is hesitant to believe Chief, but Captain Keyes arrives just in time to confirm his story, revealing that the Spartans were indeed abducted as children and replaced by clones at Dr. Halsey’s behest. Master Chief, Vannak, and Riz try to intercept Makee and stop her from making off with the second keystone to no avail. Kai reaches Halsey’s ship and kills her assistant, but the scientist breaks off from the ship via an escape pod.

John and Cortana work together to figure out the riddle of the Covenant planet. Admiral Parangosky suggests sending 12 battalions to secure the artifacts, but Master Chief tells her that the Silver Team can do it alone. The group then flies off from Reach in search of the mysterious and hidden alien world.

UNSC soldiers manage to apprehend Halsey. Miranda talks to her mother, revealing that the higher-ups have decided to execute, rather than exile or imprison her. It’s then revealed that the incarcerated Halsey is, in fact, a flash-clone, with the real Dr. Halsey having escaped to an unknown location.

Master Chief and the Spartans arrive and fight their way through Covenant forces on the holy planet. Makee wants to help the Covenant “ascend” but they intend to sacrifice her to pave the path to Halo. Several hundred Covenant troops surround the Silver Team as they grind their way through to the artifact. Atriox arrives and engages Riz and Master Chief, defeating them both. Just as the brute is about to kill John, Makee touches the artifact and gives the Silver Team a brief window to regroup.

John and Makee, or at least their consciousness, are transformed to the Halo array again, where she asks him to stay with her. With Master Chief unresponsive, the Spartans are falling down one by one. Kai can’t bring Chief out of his reverie, which is why she decides to shoot Makee, breaking off their connection. Covenant forces continue to converge on their location, and Cortana suggests Chief can either take the artifact or save his team. John decides to sacrifice himself by giving Cortana full control of her body. The AI finally acquiesces and single-handedly destroys the Covenant forces using Master Chief’s body.

With the keystones recovered, the team makes its way to Reach but Master Chief seems a little out of sorts. The finale’s last moments linger on a closeup of Master Chief’s helmet, that symbol of human hope and resilience, who’s now lost all his humanity.