‘Halo’ episode 4 recap: Unmasking the legend

halo master chief
Image via Paramount Plus / Halo (2022)

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Halo episode 4, “Homecoming”

So far, Paramount’s live-action Halo series has broken the ultimate taboo of removing Master Chief’s helmet. As fans try to adjust to this new reality where the legendary video game character constantly shows his face to friends and foes alike, the latest episode has taken that a step further by shedding light on John-117’s origins story.

Spoilers to follow

As mentioned last week, the action took a backseat for episode 3, with Halo leaning more into the drama by trying to give some depth to its characters, especially the newcomer Cortana. The latest episode, titled “Homecoming,” roughly follows the same pattern, with the exception of Kwan Ha’s storyline, which takes her to Madrigal and into the hornet’s nest.

John, Dr. Halsey, and Cortana make their way to Eridanus II, the world where Master Chief spent his childhood with his parents. Chief digs out his old drawings of the alien artifact, leading him to the house. He then asks Cortana to reconstruct the ruins and project the image through his helmet, which triggers some of his former memories.

Master Chief sees a cave nearby where the bigger piece of the artifact is stored. He also learns that Halsey used to visit him in their house, which directly contradicts what the good doctor told him after wiping his mind.

Elsewhere, the Silver Team cooperates with Halsey’s daughter to uncover the truth about the mysterious artifact, and why John seems to be the only one capable of activating it. One of the Spartans, Kai-125, follows Master Chief’s initiative and removes her inhibitor pellet, feeling emotions for the first time in many years.

This leads Kai-125 to help Halsey’s daughter Catherine, whereupon she explains that Halsey wants everyone to follow their programming, or else she’ll take measures to eliminate them, foreshadowing the inevitable confrontation between her and Master Chief.

As for Kwan Ha and Sorren, the two make their way to Madrigal, in the hope of finding her late father’s general and organizing a resistance against Vinsher. What they find there instead is people gripped by fear and an assassin on their tails. Vinsher’s goonies eventually find and chase the two as they ride into the upcoming episodes towards an uncertain future.

In the final moments, Master Chief makes his way to the mysterious cave and finds the artifact, with Dr. Halsey following and taking in the spectacle. Oh, and also, the word “halo” is uttered for the first time when Catherine Halsey decrypts the Covenant’s language.

Now that we’re gradually learning where Master Chief came from, Paramount’s adaptation has essentially unmasked the legend in its entirety. Though despite all the criticisms that fans are currently leveling towards the creatives for this controversial decision, we can’t help but notice that Pablo Schreiber has been absolutely killing it as Master Chief, not only embodying the character in the physical sense but also making him a compelling and relatable protagonist in the process.

Halo will continue next week on April 21. Meanwhile, you can watch the first four episodes, out of the 10-episode season one, on Paramount Plus.