After a whole episode of the Halo TV series dedicated to escalating the adventures of Master Chief and the UNSC, Episode 7 takes the time to put all its efforts on the secondary plotline following teenage resistance fighter Kwan Ha, and the former Spartan-turned-pirate, Soren.
While this will no doubt irk the very vocal viewers who are here for Master Chief and Master Chief only, Episode 7 makes it pretty clear that the role of Kwan and the Planet Madrigal in this first season is indeed integral to the overall arc – it just took a while to get there. But that’s really no different to the primary plotline, if we’re being honest with ourselves.
Whether you’re watching the Halo TV series and looking for a second perspective, or if you’re not a subscriber of Paramount+ but want to keep up with this approach to the Halo universe, these recaps are for you. If you need to catch up, here are the rest of our recaps and episode analyses:
- Halo TV Series – Episode 1 Recap – ‘Contact’
- Halo TV Series – Episode 2 Recap – ‘Unbound’
- Halo TV Series – Episode 3 Recap – ‘Emergence’
- Halo TV Series – Episode 4 Recap – ‘Homecoming’
- Halo TV Series – Episode 5 Recap – ‘Reckoning’
- Halo TV Series – Episode 6 Recap – ‘Solace’
- Halo TV Series – Episode 7 Recap – ‘Inheritance’
- Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
- Halo TV Series – Episode 9 Recap – ‘Transcendence’ – Season 1 Finale
[WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE HALO TV SERIES CONTINUE BELOW]
Halo TV Series – Episode 7 Recap – ‘Inheritance’
We open on a very merry dinner, two years before the events of the Halo TV series, where Kwan and her father are having dinner together around a table with several of the Madrigal resistance leaders we’ve seen in previous episodes, as well as Kwan’s now-deceased aunt. There’s a lovely camaraderie here from people of all ages, as they eat Korean food and talk strategy about the war against the UNSC.
One of the leaders brings in a new recruit, Ruben, who’s invited to join in. Kwan’s aunt tries to slyly set Kwan up with Ruben, but Kwan is having absolutely none of it. Instead, Kwan uses his presence to get into an argument with her father about how he’s motivating the new soldiers with misguided ideals, and she leaves to stare out at the desert.
Cut to the present day, and Kwan is driving the dune buggy Soren brought back a few episodes ago into a sandstorm. When we last left Kwan, she was pointing a gun to Soren’s head, but we’re not shown the aftermath. Kwan is determined to continue Madrigal’s resistance movement against the UNSC, as well as overthrow the new governor of Madrigal, Vinsher.
Kwan suddenly sees something in the middle of the sandstorm and stops the dune buggy. She foolishly gets out, and instantly gets a bag thrown over her head.
After the opening titles, we’re back on Soren’s outlaw colony built into an asteroid field – The Rubble. He and his wife are hosting what appears to be a very classy ‘welcome back’ soiree, and he’s regaling his guests with tales of survival on Madrigal.
One of his business partners arrives, and immediately is put off by the upper-class atmosphere of it all, but is urged by his date to stay and enjoy himself. We later see him be disgusted by Soren sharing yet more wondrous tales of his adventures to guests.
As time passes once more, and Soren is finishing off yet another grand story – now to a whole room full of guests – his partner pipes up and asks him about what happened to Kwan. The partner voices his displeasure with Soren leaving with Kwan, who had a bounty on her head, without telling anyone, and returning with nothing – no ship, no money, and no Kwan.
The partner informs him that people on The Rubble are talking about Soren, suggesting that he’s gone soft in his leadership. Soren confronts him, and he leaves.
Back on Madrigal, Kwan is unhooded and finds herself among a desert tribe of women, all dressed in light colours with white hair – like if the Tusken Raiders of Star Wars were also a wellness cult. She guesses that these people are the ones that her father came to see to find out his ‘true purpose’ – information that was relayed to her by her aunt before she was killed, a couple of episodes ago.
Kwan speaks with the leader of the tribe, Desiderata, desperate to find out what they told his father. She learns that whatever was going on between them and her father started generations ago in her family, but Desiderata deems her unready to take on whatever it is. Kwan demands more answers, fuelled by rage.
Cut to the very evil Governor Vinsher, who’s monologuing to himself like an absolute villain in the back of a futuristic SUV speeding through the desert. He’s in pursuit of Kwan, and the driver confirms that Soren somehow regained consciousness and left the planet by himself since we last saw him.
Their conversation immediately turns to Kwan’s search for ‘desert witches’, who they somehow know about. It seems as if Vinsher’s men have tried to locate them in the past without any success, and Vinsher understands that they are what made Kwan’s father so dangerous.
Back on The Rubble, Soren confronts his mouthy partner – who is named Squirrel – about his outburst at the party. Squirrel tries to apologise, using his drinking as an excuse, but Soren turns it around and flatters him, saying that he’s been taking their partnership for granted. He asks about a heist Squirrel mentioned at the party – one to rob a UNSC cargo ship full of slipspace engines – and the two agree to execute the plan together.
Back at the Desert Witch camp, Desiderata is teaching Kwan of Madrigal’s history.
Madrigal began as a barren planet with little food and water, and Kwan’s ancestors were one of the first pioneers to inhabit the planet. She describes the pioneers’ initial discovery of a great fuel source, which coincided with alien contact – a visitor from ‘another time and existence’.
The being gave the pioneers a responsibility, which was subsequently passed down through the generations, and now to Kwan, if she chooses. Desiderata offers Kwan a concoction to drink, which she does, and she begins to have a vision.
Kwan wakes up, and she’s back on the UNSC dropship from the first episode of the Halo TV series, where she’s confined in a cell and Master Chief is looking longingly at the Covenant keystone. Master Chief suddenly appears to unlock her cell door and leads her to the surface of Planet Madrigal at night.
They’re suddenly in the Desert Witch camp, and as Master Chief disappears into a tent, the unhinged seer from the Rubble – who first told Master Chief about the concept of ‘the Blessed Ones’ back in Episode 2 – escorts her in.
Inside, the Desert Witches are forming a circle in some kind of Fight Club-esque initiation, where Kwan has to go toe-to-toe against Master Chief. Desiderata is there too, encouraging her to harness her rage.
Armed with a chain, Kwan strikes Master Chief and tries to strangle him, but unsurprisingly makes little progress. Chief punches Kwan square in the face. She blacks out, but immediately wakes up with Desiderata calling for another around.
Kwan is handed a blade by the seer, but it does nothing to Master Chief’s armour, and she’s knocked out again. For the third round, Kwan uses a gun. Another failure. For the fourth, she uses a rock, and breaks down in tears when it shatters on Chief’s armour. The Master Chief of Kwan’s vision is suddenly unmasked, and reaches out a hand.
A now unarmored John leads Kwan out to the desert where she sees one of her ancestors at a well, who speaks to Kwan in Korean. The ancestor explains that John will be back on Madrigal soon, and that she’ll need to show him the way and ‘open the door’ for him.
When Kwan asks who the person is, she sees him shapeshift into a variety of different Korean people, presumably the people in the generations that follow, which ends on her father. There is a brief but touching moment of reunion as she embraces her father and shares her regrets about their relationship.
Kwan’s father explains that there is a kind of portal on Madrigal that must be protected, and that its secrets won’t be revealed until Madrigal is free – hence the constant fighting against oppressors. It’s easy to assume that all of this is a piece of the puzzle to reaching the Halo array, the ring world seen briefly at the end of Episode 6.
Kwan laments that she can’t raise an army like her father to fight Vinsher by herself, but her father encourages her to play to her own unique strengths, and meet the enemy on her own terms. He ends by telling her to ‘go back to where it all began.’
Meanwhile in Space, Soren and Squirrel have successfully executed the heist on the UNSC cargo ship. While moving the goods, however, Soren takes the opportunity to drop a cargo pallet on Squirrel’s foot to punish him for mere suggestion of insubordination.
Later that night, Soren opens up to his wife before bed, revealing that he’s still got Kwan on his mind, even though he finds her completely irritating and figures she’s probably dead. His wife reveals otherwise however, informing that Governor Vinsher has tripled the bounty on Kwan in his absence.
Back in Madrigal City, we see Agatha – formerly a resistance general and right-hand to Kwan’s father, who Kwan suspects sold out the resistance – get forcibly pulled into a face-to-face meeting with Vinsher, who’s trying to track Kwan down.
Agatha has no idea, but Vinsher uses the moment to ask Agatha what the people of Madrigal ever saw in Kwan’s father, to which she explains that he gave the people a sense of ‘Pride’. Vinsher seems amused by this, referring to Madrigal natives as ‘Hole Diggers’ in response. Absolutely lovely guy.
Vinsher remarks that he’s confused that Kwan’s father would stop the planet’s drilling of its most valuable resource.
Meanwhile, Kwan has returned to the original resistance base where the Covenant massacred almost everyone she ever knew in the first episode. One of Vinsher’s men alerts everyone to the fact, and Vinsher kills Agatha as she turns her back to leave. Evil guy!
As Vinsher heads towards Kwan’s location, Kwan explores her family residence. There, she finds a letter from her father to her grandfather, who expresses confusion over the portal and what it does. Kwan hears some commotion, and quickly she arms herself with Soren’s golden gun, which she acquired when we last saw her, as she heads outside.
Surprise! It’s Soren. Kwan is aggressive and uneager to follow his lead to get out of there, suspicious that he’s only there for the bounty on her head. But he reiterates his promise to John to keep her safe, and she relents. Soren asks for his pistol back, but Kwan refuses.
As they start to get into a tiff about it, Vinsher announces his arrival over the base’s PA system (why are all villains so dumb?) along with a frankly stupid number of armed guards for the goal of capturing a teenage girl.
As Soren and Kwan retreat to a control room, Soren prepares himself for a Spartan-style one-versus-many firefight, but Kwan has a different idea. Remembering the sage advice to fight on her own terms, she concocts a plan to self-destruct the base (it’s a fuel depot) which will fry everyone inside it, while Soren and Kwan move to protect themselves inside a steel vault.
Kwan gives a rousing speech over the PA system about how Madrigal belongs to the people, as Vinsher comically chomps a cigar and orders his army to advance.
Kwan and Soren immediately discover their plan has hit a snag, and requires someone to cross the battlefield and manually engage a fuel pump to prime the base for an explosion. Kwan volunteers, much to the surprise of Soren, because she knows a secret underground route.
While uncovering the underground route, they stumble across a lunchbox full of coins. It looks like a pile of silver arcade tokens, but Soren is smitten so we assume they’re worth something. ‘I told you I was rich,’ quips Kwan.
As Kwan makes a move, Soren begins to take out a bunch of Vinsher’s men with nothing but a pair of revolvers, a knife, his own hands, and a few sneaky guerilla tactics. ‘He’s everywhere, boss!’ complains one of Vinsher’s goons.
As Kwan reaches the fuel pump, she’s jumped by a goon, but after a short tussle he’s shot in the head from across the yard by Soren. Kwan engages the pump and begins to head to the vault.
Kwan is spotted on the way there, but stumbles upon a Covenant pulse grenade leftover from the battle of the first episode of the Halo TV series, and sneakily attaches it to her pursuer, who suffers an explosive death.
As Soren closes in on the Vault, with dozens of soldiers firing on him, he’s somehow magically shot in the neck by Vinsher from across the yard, who orders his men to cease firing while he begins another big bad guy speech. Soren grabs a rag from the ground to plug the hole in his neck.
Kwan, meanwhile, finds herself under the big truck she also hid under during the first episode, the place where she watched her father get impaled by a Covenant soldier. There, she finds Master Chief’s assault rifle.
Soren stumbles ever-closer to the vault door while Vinsher flaunts around, before Kwan suddenly rushes onto the scene, using Master Chief’s assault rifle to make a pinpoint shot at the fuel tank to set off the base-wide explosion, which absolutely fries everyone there. Kwan and Soren narrowly make it to the vault in time.
From some distance, the Desert Witches see the explosion and smile.
Kwan and Soren leave the vault to witness the destruction they’ve caused. It begins to rain, and Kwan begins to cry tears of happiness. She’s done it, folks. Kwan has successfully liberated Madrigal from Vinsher, so she and Soren say their goodbyes. With a lunchbox full of arcade tokens in hand, Soren boards his ship and leaves, with just a sliver of hesitation.
Kwan looks out into the distance with a determined look on her face.
There’s certainly been quite a bit of chatter online regarding this storyline, most of it unfavourable, and that’s understandable. In the first half of the season, the Halo TV series would cut to very brief moments of Kwan and Soren without ever revealing what the hell the ultimate goal was for them. Sure, find the Madrigal resistance. But then what? And how did any of that relate to the primary plotline? The show was asking for a lot of ‘wait and see’ faith from the audience, which was not the best way to go about it.
But after spending so much time to fully accelerate the Master Chief and UNSC storyline to where it needed to be in Episode 6, it seems fair that the show would spend the same amount of time bringing Kwan’s story to where it needed to be, too. They’ve done that now – Kwan is the protector of what we assume to be a portal to the Halo array. But it certainly could have been a lot more concise.
This plotline isn’t as complex or enticing as the primary plotline to be sure, but I’m glad it exists. It adds another dimension to the Halo universe that isn’t all shiny titanium and Spartans punching aliens.
After viewing the first episode of Halo, I remarked that I wish we could see more about this wildly multicultural society the show has established with Madrigal, and we got a lot of that this episode. We got a few glimpses of ordinary life, a bit about the history of the place and its original inhabitants, and the fact that the imperialist UNSC came in and just messed up their whole deal.
The show has definitely gone out of its way to frame the UNSC as more of an inherently evil imperialist force who threatens all the show’s protagonists, whether they’re UNSC affiliated or not. That’s definitely refreshing compared to the gung-ho militaristic approach of the games.
I’m very glad the Halo TV series has now taken the time to explore the other side of the coin – what life is like for people outside of UNSC reach, and that they’ve seemed to make these people just as integral to the ultimate MacGuffin of the Halo array.
Will Episode 7 be enough to placate the Kwan dislikers? Look, probably not. But we can hope.
Thanks to the creative team for doing something different.
- Are you telling me that Soren, an ex-Spartan who is also a space pirate, whose life could be threatened at any time, only ever travels with a single revolver to arm himself with? It’s only got six shots! It takes him a long time to reload with his messed-up arm! Surely he has room on his ship for a more versatile secondary weapon?
- Sure, the Desert Witches looked cool, but I still can’t grasp what it is they actually do. Why do they specifically need Kwan’s family lineage to be the protectors of the portal if there are so many of them? Are they purely there just to be messengers? If so, they seemed completely overstaffed for that. What would they have done if Kwan, the last of her line, died? I demand answers!
- The range of funky space fashion on display during Soren’s welcome back party was absolutely top notch. I’ve said it before, but the Halo TV series often feels like more of a Mass Effect series with its outlandish take on future space culture.
See you next week!