Halo Season 2 Episode 4’s Big Death Confirms This Show Doesn’t Like the Games

Despite finally giving us a moment from the games we’ve all been waiting for, the Halo series still manages to botch the execution with the death of a major character…

Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in Halo
Photo: Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

This Halo article contains spoilers.

While it’s never pretended to be a direct adaptation of the classic video game series it’s based on, the Halo TV series has made some really weird alterations to Master Chief and his world, and the latest change to the story Halo fans know and love is the most bewildering yet. It comes just as the show finally sets course to cover the Fall of Reach, a pivotal event from the games and tie-in books that has somehow taken a season and a half to get to.

To be fair, there are a few things to like about season 2 episode 4, “Reach.” For one, at the height of its war-movie-style CGI-heavy action, the show finally feels like Halo and not a talky political thriller that only occasionally flirts with the spectacle of the games. That we’re finally at the Fall of Reach also means the show is one step closer to actually stepping foot on a Halo ring. After all, in the timeline of the games, the destruction of the planet is what causes Master Chief and Cortana to blast off into space on the Pillar of Autumn, a journey that leads them to the Halo installation. The Pillar of Autumn accidentally finding the mysterious ring while trying to escape from Covenant ships is the very first scene of the first game!

But as happy as I am to see the show get to the point after so much set up and odd side quests, it does so while also killing off Admiral Keyes (Danny Sapani), who sacrifices himself so the other characters can escape Reach. It’s a moment that not only doesn’t feel earned, considering how little material Sapani’s Keyes got in the first place, but robs the character of his much better video game ending. Worst of all, the show seems to kill him off simply for the shock value of it, and perhaps to be different from the games, rather than to improve on anything we’ve seen before. When compared to Keyes’ very memorable ending in Halo: Combat Evolved, the show’s version feels bland and uninspired.


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