Warning: The following recap contains major spoilers for Halo Season 2, Episode 2, “Sword.”
The Master Chief’s “Mother” Returns
In an idyllic mansion house room, Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone) plays backgammon with a young girl, Julia (Bronte Carmichael). Halsey quizzes her guest on what happens when she leaves Halsey’s room. Julia reveals there’s another, larger room and a door-filled hallway outside.
She adds that she’s forbidden from looking behind these doors by the “very nice” man who sends her to visit Halsey. When Halsey presses Julia for information on the man’s identity, Julia’s nose starts bleeding and she promptly dies. An unphased Halsey rolls her eyes in response.
On inner colony world Reach, Riz-028 (Natasha Culzac) is training despite not having fully recovered from the events of Halo Season 1. Kai-125 (Kate Kennedy) encourages Riz to take time to heal but Riz rebuffs her. When Kai suggests reinserting Riz’s emotion-suppressing pellet could help her manage her pain, Riz makes it clear she’d rather die than have that happen.
Kai then meets up with John-117/The Master Chief, who reveals that their boss, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan), thinks he’s unfit for duty. He also confides in her that he saw the Covenant’s human mole, Makee (Charlie Murphy) on Sanctuary in Episode 1. This troubles them both, as Kai killed Makee in Halo Season 1.
The pair’s conversation is cut short when the UNSC mission status board is updated to show Cobalt Team’s status as “Standby.” This angers the Master Chief, as Cobalt Team is still on deployment (as seen last episode). The Chief challenges the UNSC officer who updated the board and demands to know what happened to Cobalt. After receiving no answer, he storms off.
The Plot Thickens Across the Universe
On asteroid settlement the Rubble, Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) yanks her indentured servant’s tag out of her ear. She’s pursued by members of the gang that “own” her, however, she takes them all out and escapes.
Back on Reach, Riz continues to push her body to the limit. Blind former Spartan Louis-036 (Marvin Jones III) encourages her to consider the possibility of life after Silver Team, but she’s not interested. Meanwhile, the Master Chief confronts Ackerson beyond Cobalt Team. Ackerson dodges the Master Chief’s questions, so the Chief threatens to go over Ackerson’s head.
Ackerson makes it clear that his agency, the ONI, is calling the shots and he can’t be circumvented. What’s more, he informs the Master Chief that Corporal Perez (Cristina Rodlo) didn’t corroborate his account of what happened on Sanctuary. The tense encounter ends with Ackerson hinting that another Spartan could replace John as the Master Chief.
On the Rubble, Kessler (Tylan Bailey) visits Kwan in her cave hideout. When Kwan lashes out at Kessler, saying Soren isn’t coming back, he runs away upset. Elsewhere in the settlement, Laera (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) clashes with Soren-066’s (Bokeem Woodbine) crew, (rightly) questioning their loyalty to their captain.
In the wilderness on Reach, Silver Team undertakes a grueling training session. The Master Chief drives Riz too hard, leading Kai to challenge him. The Chief is unmoved, however, and insists they must be ready when the Covenant finally enact their master plan.
Over in Halsey’s picturesque prison, she plays another game of backgammon with Julia, who is inexplicably alive again. As before, Halsey pumps Julia for information and, as before, Julia dies. Halsey calls out to her unseen captor, demanding to know why she’s being detained in this way.
Episode 2’s Answers Lead to More Questions
On Reach, Louis takes Riz to see a non-UNSC healer for help. While they wait, he recounts his last days as a Spartan. Back at UNSC headquarters, Ackerson meets with Kai. He expresses concern over the Master Chief’s mental state and asks her if the Chief is a risk to himself or others. Kai flatly denies this is the case, although she admits the Master Chief carries psychological scars from his upbringing and military career.
Across town, the Master Chief shows up on Perez’s doorstep and Perez’s mother invites the Chief to stay for dinner. While the family says grace, the Master Chief clocks Perez rhythmically tapping her finger. He recognizes this as a coded Covenant message. Later, the Chief and Perez discuss Sanctuary, and Perez explains she didn’t back up the Chief’s story because she can’t understand why her life was spared.
In Halsey’s room, Julia’s corpse is taken away on a stretcher. Ackerson is also in the room, and dialogue between the pair confirms that “Julia” is actually one of several identical clones. Halsey adds that a key detail in the room, a pomegranate tree, alludes to one of her private memories only AI program Cortana knows about. Ackerson exits the room, which is revealed to be a holographic cell inside a lab.
Ackerson then enters a room containing the Forerunner keystone from Halo Season 1, before speaking with Cortana – confirming he now controls the AI. The pair discuss a simulation Ackerson asked Cortana to run, and she states that there’s a 97% probability of an unspecified outcome. Based on Ackerson’s expression, this clearly isn’t good news.
The Covenant Make Their Next Move
While this happens, the Master Chief searches the UNSC database for updates on Cobalt Team’s status. He learns that the Cobalt call sign isn’t attached to any active missions.
Further digging uncovers an “unknown mission” on Reach itself. From this, the Master Chief deduces that Cobalt never left the planet. The Master Chief then assembles Silver Team to bring Cobalt home – with none of his unit knowing their mission is off the books.
At Silver Team’s eventual destination, Episode 1’s hulking Covenant Elite – who’s surely Thel ‘Vadamee? – slices through several squads of UNSC troops. Makee is also on hand, and gains access to Season 1’s other, larger Forerunner keystone.
And that’s our recap of Halo Season 2, Episode 2. Check out additional episode recaps here.
Halo Season 2 is currently streaming on Paramount+, with new episodes dropping Thursdays.