I could tell from the first trailer alone Halo season 2 would go in a different direction than the first. Where season 1 bogged down in strange story choices that didn’t leave much room for the characters – namely the Spartans – to do what they do best – namely kick Covenant ass – season 2 feels more in line with what a Halo performance should go.
According to Pablo Schreiber, the difference is mainly in the tone. “The biggest place where we succeed on a level that we didn’t quite reach in Season 1 is that I think the tone of this season feels darker,” he said in an interview with The edge.
Schreiber, who plays Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, thinks the action has also improved – I agree – and attributes these improvements to Halo‘S new showrunner, David Wiener.
“This year we are living in David Wiener’s world,” he said. “[His] vision, I think, matches the tone of the Halo franchise in a way that is perhaps more appropriate than the first season, and it is incredibly successful.
The first two episodes of HaloThe second season of the series is out now and they are damn good. I’ve already shared my thoughts on episode 1, “Sanctuary.” While Episode 2, “Sword,” is much lighter on action, this more than makes up for it in the way it reintroduces us to Riz-028 (Natasha Culzac). In the previous season, only half of Silver Team, Kai-125 (Kate Kennedy) and the Master Chief himself, got any screen time devoted to their character development. Schreiber said one of his greatest joys of this new season was correcting that.
“Early on in the second season, we start finding ways to differentiate everyone and give them a little bit of personality,” he said. “Seeing all these people I’ve worked so closely with for the past almost five years Getting their moment in the spotlight was something that was really satisfying for me.”
As for the Master Chief’s other relationships, Schreiber has previously said he wasn’t crazy about the baffling but brutal sex scene between John and Makee (Charlie Murphy), a human member of the hostile Covenant aliens. Schreiber would have preferred a more subtle approach.
“The more you get in your face with elements of romance or sex, the less anchored it feels in the franchise,” he said. But Schreiber also doesn’t think that the Master Chief as a character is too serious for romance; it’s just that he prefers a different partner: Cortana. “There’s plenty of romance in it Halo. It just happens that it’s between John and Cortana, you know.
Of course, it’s not a new idea that John loves his AI copilot. (Whose personality was cloned from Dr. Halsey, the woman who essentially created John and all the Spartans and is seen as a mother figure to them all – make of that what you will.) She almost confesses her love for him in Halo 4, and in Halo 5: Guardians, he goes AWOL for the first time in his life to get her back. However, you could read that as fierce loyalty – a trait Spartans are known and loved for – with Chief considering Cortana a member of the team.
So it was interesting to hear Master Chief himself describe the final moment of “Sanctuary” as romantic. In the scene, John visits a VR parlor and talks to a hologram that almost looks like Cortana, but misses the point. John tells Cortana (Christina Bennington) that he feels like a part of him is missing and that he hears noises that he thinks are her.
While I’ve never had a sentient, autonomous AI implanted in my brain, I imagine that if I did, and then it was taken away like Cortana was for John, I’d also feel like something was missing. But maybe I was a little too literal. “If you didn’t hear any romantic undertones in that scene, I’m not sure how to spell that for you, but I definitely thought there were,” Schreiber said.
Of course, if you’re not a Chief/Cortana shipper (personally, I’m a Tom-B292/Lucy-B091 girl) or just consider them friends, that’s valid too.
“It depends on your concept of romance,” Schreiber said. “When you talk about a life partnership, you’re talking about someone who adds something to you, someone who completes you, someone who makes you better than you were. That’s certainly what Chief saw in Cortana.
Sounds a lot like love to me.