Halo season 1 episode 2 recap & review: Unbound

Season 1 episode 2 of the science fiction series Halo follows Master Chief as he attempts to uncover the true nature of the artefact he discovered on Planet Madrigal. The series is currently streaming on Paramount+.


Episode 2 opens up at the UNSC Spartan Training Centre, 22 years ago, with a young John-117 sitting on his bed with a wounded back while the other trainees are sleeping.

John then goes on to jump the fence of the centre with a rifle in his hand. He meets another trainee, a young Soren-066, with his Spartan armour on. John tells Soren that he’s not leaving and he cannot let him go too. But after a quick exchange of words, Soren is allowed to leave as John looks on.

Back to the present day, Master Chief and Kwan Ha are continuing on their escape route. After navigating through an asteroid field, they reach The Rubble, a lawless settlement filled with rogues and misfits. Soren greets them and tells them about the bounty Vinsher has placed on Kwan Ha.

Governor Vinsher, in Kwan’s words, is a traitor to the resistance on Planet Madrigal. He’s put in charge by the UNSC but, ever since, he has managed to take more control than the UNSC would have wished for.

At the High Charity, the returned soldier testifies in front of the three prophets and the blessed one, Makee. He describes seeing a ring when Master Chief touched it. This confirms Makee’s doubts around the artefact being a keystone and she requests to go on a mission to retrieve the important artefact.

At FLEETCOM, in a meeting of the UNSC, Catharine Halsey introduces the possibility of using the Cortana system, an AI which can overwrite Spartan consciousness, to tackle Master Chief. Admiral Parangosky, although hesitatingly, gives approval for limited trials. This remains the only option for them to control their most valuable weapon against the Covenant.

On Planet Madrigal, Vinsher executes the rebel insurrectionists as he expresses his distaste toward General Jin Ha. Kwan Ha witnesses this through a drone feed. Her hate for Vinsher grows.

Soren tries to convince Master Chief to take out the pellet attached to the back of his neck which mutes the Spartan’s memories. Meanwhile, the other three Spartans, Riz-028, Kai-125 and Vannak-134 continue on Master Chief’s tail.

Soren introduces John to Reth, a mystic who’s escaped a Covenant ship before, in hope of finding more about the keystone. Reth informs John about the true destructive nature of the keystone. He tells him that the ring the keystone produces when a blessed one, like John, touches it is a doorway.

A brief encounter here with the keystone leads to John having some more glimpses of his past. Reth asks John to first destroy the keystone and then, himself. Wary about the artefact in his possession, John leaves Kwan Ha with Soren and takes the keystone with him to reunite with the rest of the Spartans.

He turns his ship’s beacon on. He’s arrested and taken to Reach. Halsey takes the keystone in her custody as Miranda Keyes helplessly looks at the whole situation.

Halsey visits John in a cell. They talk about the keystone briefly before Halsey tries to find out what made him defy orders. She sees that John has changed since her last meeting with him. He has started to feel things. He only returned because he trusts Halsey.

The episode ends with Makee preparing for her mission to retrieve the keystone and Catharine Halsey activating Cortana as she promises John a new beginning.


  • While the first episode was more about Master Chief and Kwan Ha, the second episode has brought more active players into the picture.
  • The episode was missing any action and took to build on the lore of the world with new characters being introduced.
  • The only disappointment is the flat character arc Catharine Halsey’s character is provided by virtue of being consistently portrayed as the evil genius mastermind who’s playing all sides to achieve her ulterior motives with little reflection on what these motives truly are.
  • The episode’s arc is mostly flat but leaves on a high with Cortana and Makee both set to play active roles in the coming episodes.

Rating: 3/5

Also Read: Halo season 1 episode 1 recap & review: Contact

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