Entertainment

Halo episode 3 review: “A mixed first impression of Cortana”ByBradley Russellpublished 7 April 22Review

After a shaky start, the Halo series sat down with its second episode. Still, that pace gave way to a slight lull in “The Emergence,” a fairly quiet episode best remembered for delivering a mixed first impression of Cortana.

As with last week’s diversion into the Master Chief’s past, “Emergence” opens with the origins of how Makee is so deeply tied to the Covenant hierarchy. In Oban, the young Blessed One listens intently to his friend Det reading a book. One word – “kiss” – triggers a very awkward moment between the two before they are chased by the occupying army and Det is brutally killed.

As a short story of innocence lost – boy meets girl, boy dies – it has an influence on the series’ failures so far. Suddenly, Makee feels less like a mysterious box and more like a fully formed character who can evoke genuine sympathy. While it doesn’t fully justify their actions later in the episode, the show further reinforces that Makee and Master Chief – two children ripped from their lives by warmongers – are two sides of the same coin. Although they haven’t met yet, the show does a great job of tying together their emotional journeys.

In the present, Master Chief undergoes a procedure to implant Cortana into his brain. This is where Halo proudly wears its sci-fi roots on its sleeve and gently delivers the operation – look elsewhere for the eyeball scene! – and delivering a sequence that could be memorized with mechanical precision last seen in Westworld.

Enter Cortana

(Image credit: Paramount)

Cortana’s design has been the blue colored elephant in the room for quite some time now. The character’s transition from video game to TV was discussed at length before the series debut, and sadly, Cortana doesn’t quite fit the show’s visual style.

The holographic design is rough around the edges and ultimately very distracting. The flaws really start to show when Cortana is surrounded by human actors staring at a fairly clear blank space where Chief’s AI companion should have been. Worse, some dodgy moves (with a clear eye to make Cortana “exist” on a physical set) and lip-syncing are reminiscent of a cartoonish mascot in a low-budget commercial.

Luckily, Cortana’s door can be bypassed thanks to comedian Jen Taylor, who reprized her role in the games. And that’s the last time I’ll use “voice actor” to describe it, because it’s a performance that, while familiar to fans of the games, adds so much life and energy to scenes that can look incredibly disconnected with below average CGI. . in its center. Top notch acting. Period.

While alongside Cortana, much of the episode revolves around the Master Chief’s fiery reconciliation with his new humanity, releasing an emotional pressure pill. Overlooking a Det-and-Makee-like couple sharing a candid look on a train, a burst of music takes Chief on his own journey to uncover the truth about himself, the artifact located on Madrigal, and his parents on his home planet. Eridanus. Of them.

Still, Halsey has a lot of things she wants Chief to know. In a fun twist, Cortana aligns herself with Halsey as she uses Chief as a pawn for her own interests. Cortana’s use of a double agent working against Chief is another example of subtly subverting the source material in a way that takes it and plays with audience expectations. Even better, it also kept the series away from the endless UNSC plans that have so far cut the length of every episode.

The real downside to the episode’s adoration of Cortana is the reaction of the Silver Team. The Master Chief’s Spartan allies inevitably begin to suspect that there is something wrong with John-117 when Cortana steps in and speaks wisely. Unlike Cortana’s prank, this scenario cannot trigger any storylines; It’s clear that the series has so far given too much narrative weight to the characters as an afterthought.

The big trip

Halo

(Image credit: Paramount)

Still making her way aboard a UNSC ship, Makee gently continues the momentum of the show. The attack on the ship even finds time to inject a surprising (and welcome) dose of fear. The swarm of tentacles writhing towards the crew echoes some of the most frustrating moments from sci-fi classics like Alien and The Thing. Not only is it a great scene in itself, but it also proves that the spectacle can attract the entry of parasitic species after the flood.

Elsewhere, Halo’s ability to balance multiple storylines almost reaches breaking point when Kwan Ha and Soren’s interactions in Rubble are punctuated sporadically throughout the episode. If Soren’s threats against the wannabe child soldier seem out of place, the Spartan immediately agrees to escort Kwan Ha to Madrigal so he can lead the resistance dunks of a show seeking to set logic aside for speed up some storylines. Not a bad thing in this case, but each of Rubble’s scenes could have comfortably endured the episode before the growing tension between Makee and Master Chief was cut short.

Halo Part 3 won’t set the world on fire. Its good. Instead, the series features some necessary ground tweaks before going supernova at Madrigal. The Master Chief’s personal struggles were deftly stinged, and Jen Taylor thankfully freed Cortana from being a stick for beating the show. When Master Chief returns to his homeland, Halo – like John-117 – seems to feel more and more comfortable in his own skin.


New episodes of Halo are released weekly on Paramount Plus every Thursday.


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Halo episode 3 review: “A mixed first impression of Cortana”

By

Bradley Russell

published 7 April 22

Review

After a shaky start, the Halo series settled into its groove in its second episode. That rhythm, though, has given way to a slight lull in “Emergence”, a fairly uneventful episode that will best be remembered for offering a mixed first impression of Cortana.
Much like with last week’s detour into Master Chief’s past, “Emergence” opens with the origins of how Makee came to be so deeply embedded with the Covenant hierarchy. On Oban, the young Blessed One is listening intently as her friend, Det, reads from a book. One word – “kiss” – sparks an adorably awkward moment between the pair before they’re chased off by the occupying military and Det is brutally killed.
As a short story of lost innocence – boy-meets-girl, boy dies – it is efficient in ways the show has failed to be so far. In an instant, Makee feels less like a mystery box and more like a fully formed character that can elicit genuine sympathy. While it may not fully justify her actions later in the episode, the sequence further hammers home that Makee and Master Chief – two children ripped from their lives by warmongering humans – are two sides of the same coin. Despite having not yet met, the series is doing a formidable job interlinking their emotional journeys.
Back in the present, Master Chief undergoes a procedure to implant Cortana in his brain. It’s here where Halo proudly wears its sci-fi roots on its sleeve, presenting the operation in squeamish fashion – look away during the eyeball scene! – and delivering what could have been a rote sequence with the sort of mechanical precision last seen in Westworld.
Enter Cortana

(Image credit: Paramount)
Cortana’s design has been the blue-hued elephant in the room for some time now. The video game character’s transition to television was discussed at length in the lead-up to the show’s debut and, unfortunately, Cortana doesn’t quite fit into the show’s visual style.
The holographic design is rough around the edges and ultimately too distracting. The blemishes really begin to show when Cortana is surrounded by human actors – who are quite clearly staring at a blank space where Chief’s AI companion should be. At worst, some of the iffy movements (clearly with an eye to try and get Cortana to ‘exist’ on a physical set) and lip-syncing resembles a cartoonish mascot in a low-budget commercial.
Thankfully, Cortana-gate can be overlooked thanks to voice actor Jen Taylor, reprising her role from the games. And that’s the last time I’ll be using ‘voice actor’ to describe her, because it’s a performance that – though familiar to fans of the games – introduces so much life and energy into scenes that could have felt incredibly disconnected with the subpar CGI at its center. It’s a supreme piece of acting. Period.
With Cortana in tow, the bulk of the episode revolves around Master Chief’s wistfully coming to terms with his newfound humanity, sans emotional repression pellet. A blast of music and overseeing a Det-and-Makee-like couple sharing an intimate glance on a train sets Chief off on his own journey to discover the truth about himself, the artefact found on Madrigal, and his parents on his homeworld of Eridanus Two. 
Yet, there’s only so much Halsey wants Chief to know. In a fun twist, Cortana is in league with Halsey to keep Chief on the straight and narrow as she uses him as a pawn for her own ends. Cortana’s using a double agent working against Chief is another example of skilfully taking the source material and subverting it in ways that play with audience expectations. Better yet, it’s also kept the show away from the interminable UNSC plots that have sagged every episode’s runtime up until now.
The real downside to the episode’s fascination with Cortana is the reaction of Silver Team. Master Chief’s Spartan allies inevitably begin to suspect something is wrong with John-117 when Cortana makes her entrance and starts cracking wise. Unlike the Cortana deception, this story thread fails to ignite any sort of intrigue; it becomes abundantly clear that the show is putting too much narrative weight into characters that have – up until now – been treated as afterthoughts. 
The Great Journey

(Image credit: Paramount)
Makee conniving her way onboard a UNSC vessel, though, keeps the show’s momentum ticking over nicely. The attack on the ship even finds time to inject a surprising (and welcome) dose of horror. The swarm of tentacles writhing towards the crew echoes some of the most nerve-shredding moments in sci-fi classics such as Alien and The Thing. It’s not only a great scene on its own merits, but it also acts as proof of concept that the show could pull off the introduction of parasitic species the Flood further down the line too.
Elsewhere, Halo’s ability to juggle multiple plotlines almost reaches breaking point with Kwan Ha and Soren’s interactions on Rubble sporadically dotted throughout the episode. If Soren’s threats to the wannabe child soldier seem out of character, the Spartan immediately agrees to escort Kwan Ha back to Madrigal so she can lead the resistance smacks of a show wanting to sidestep logic to speed up some of its plotlines. That’s no bad thing in this instance, but each of the Rubble scenes could have comfortably been folded into the previous episode without interrupting the gradual ramping up of tension between Makee and Master Chief.
Halo’s third episode isn’t going to set the world on fire. That’s fine. Instead, it offers up some necessary placesetting before the series goes supernova on Madrigal. Master Chief’s personal struggles have been nudged along in capable fashion and Jen Taylor has, mercifully, rescued Cortana from being a stick to beat the show with. As Master Chief returns to his homeworld, it appears that Halo – like John-117 – is feeling more and more comfortable in its own skin.
New episodes of Halo stream weekly every Thursday on Paramount Plus.

#Halo #episode #review #mixed #impression #CortanaByBradley #Russell #published #April #Review

Halo episode 3 review: “A mixed first impression of Cortana”

By

Bradley Russell

published 7 April 22

Review

After a shaky start, the Halo series settled into its groove in its second episode. That rhythm, though, has given way to a slight lull in “Emergence”, a fairly uneventful episode that will best be remembered for offering a mixed first impression of Cortana.
Much like with last week’s detour into Master Chief’s past, “Emergence” opens with the origins of how Makee came to be so deeply embedded with the Covenant hierarchy. On Oban, the young Blessed One is listening intently as her friend, Det, reads from a book. One word – “kiss” – sparks an adorably awkward moment between the pair before they’re chased off by the occupying military and Det is brutally killed.
As a short story of lost innocence – boy-meets-girl, boy dies – it is efficient in ways the show has failed to be so far. In an instant, Makee feels less like a mystery box and more like a fully formed character that can elicit genuine sympathy. While it may not fully justify her actions later in the episode, the sequence further hammers home that Makee and Master Chief – two children ripped from their lives by warmongering humans – are two sides of the same coin. Despite having not yet met, the series is doing a formidable job interlinking their emotional journeys.
Back in the present, Master Chief undergoes a procedure to implant Cortana in his brain. It’s here where Halo proudly wears its sci-fi roots on its sleeve, presenting the operation in squeamish fashion – look away during the eyeball scene! – and delivering what could have been a rote sequence with the sort of mechanical precision last seen in Westworld.
Enter Cortana

(Image credit: Paramount)
Cortana’s design has been the blue-hued elephant in the room for some time now. The video game character’s transition to television was discussed at length in the lead-up to the show’s debut and, unfortunately, Cortana doesn’t quite fit into the show’s visual style.
The holographic design is rough around the edges and ultimately too distracting. The blemishes really begin to show when Cortana is surrounded by human actors – who are quite clearly staring at a blank space where Chief’s AI companion should be. At worst, some of the iffy movements (clearly with an eye to try and get Cortana to ‘exist’ on a physical set) and lip-syncing resembles a cartoonish mascot in a low-budget commercial.
Thankfully, Cortana-gate can be overlooked thanks to voice actor Jen Taylor, reprising her role from the games. And that’s the last time I’ll be using ‘voice actor’ to describe her, because it’s a performance that – though familiar to fans of the games – introduces so much life and energy into scenes that could have felt incredibly disconnected with the subpar CGI at its center. It’s a supreme piece of acting. Period.
With Cortana in tow, the bulk of the episode revolves around Master Chief’s wistfully coming to terms with his newfound humanity, sans emotional repression pellet. A blast of music and overseeing a Det-and-Makee-like couple sharing an intimate glance on a train sets Chief off on his own journey to discover the truth about himself, the artefact found on Madrigal, and his parents on his homeworld of Eridanus Two. 
Yet, there’s only so much Halsey wants Chief to know. In a fun twist, Cortana is in league with Halsey to keep Chief on the straight and narrow as she uses him as a pawn for her own ends. Cortana’s using a double agent working against Chief is another example of skilfully taking the source material and subverting it in ways that play with audience expectations. Better yet, it’s also kept the show away from the interminable UNSC plots that have sagged every episode’s runtime up until now.
The real downside to the episode’s fascination with Cortana is the reaction of Silver Team. Master Chief’s Spartan allies inevitably begin to suspect something is wrong with John-117 when Cortana makes her entrance and starts cracking wise. Unlike the Cortana deception, this story thread fails to ignite any sort of intrigue; it becomes abundantly clear that the show is putting too much narrative weight into characters that have – up until now – been treated as afterthoughts. 
The Great Journey

(Image credit: Paramount)
Makee conniving her way onboard a UNSC vessel, though, keeps the show’s momentum ticking over nicely. The attack on the ship even finds time to inject a surprising (and welcome) dose of horror. The swarm of tentacles writhing towards the crew echoes some of the most nerve-shredding moments in sci-fi classics such as Alien and The Thing. It’s not only a great scene on its own merits, but it also acts as proof of concept that the show could pull off the introduction of parasitic species the Flood further down the line too.
Elsewhere, Halo’s ability to juggle multiple plotlines almost reaches breaking point with Kwan Ha and Soren’s interactions on Rubble sporadically dotted throughout the episode. If Soren’s threats to the wannabe child soldier seem out of character, the Spartan immediately agrees to escort Kwan Ha back to Madrigal so she can lead the resistance smacks of a show wanting to sidestep logic to speed up some of its plotlines. That’s no bad thing in this instance, but each of the Rubble scenes could have comfortably been folded into the previous episode without interrupting the gradual ramping up of tension between Makee and Master Chief.
Halo’s third episode isn’t going to set the world on fire. That’s fine. Instead, it offers up some necessary placesetting before the series goes supernova on Madrigal. Master Chief’s personal struggles have been nudged along in capable fashion and Jen Taylor has, mercifully, rescued Cortana from being a stick to beat the show with. As Master Chief returns to his homeworld, it appears that Halo – like John-117 – is feeling more and more comfortable in its own skin.
New episodes of Halo stream weekly every Thursday on Paramount Plus.

#Halo #episode #review #mixed #impression #CortanaByBradley #Russell #published #April #Review


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