Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’

Master Chief finds love and bonds are tested as Season One of the Halo TV series enters its high-stakes conclusion.
Halo TV series episode 8 recap allegiance

Things are starting to get heated on the Halo TV series. Or should I say steamy? As Season One heads towards its conclusion, Episode 8 – the penultimate episode – sees our good buddy Master Chief find happiness while the characters orbiting him have their relationships pushed to the limit. The stakes have risen, and it makes for some good drama – which thankfully feels like a satisfying payoff after a comparatively slow start to the show. 

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Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’

Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

We open on Master Chief/John (Pablo Schreiber) standing naked in the bathroom – okay, well not quite. He’s very purposefully wearing a towel this time (perhaps they’ve reached the butt quota after Episode 3), staring into the mirror and recalling his astral interaction with Makee (Charlie Murphy) on the Halo array. They had this shared vision back when we saw them all the at the end of Episode 6

He draws a ring – or Halo – on the steamy mirror, and we transition to Makee, who’s also staring into a round mirror in her cell, recalling the Halo vision, and the feeling of John’s hand on her face. It’s all very intimate. 

John enters Makee’s chambers, and escorts her out of the cell, and onto the civilian train line. He reassures her that she shouldn’t be afraid, and takes her hand.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

After the opening credits, we rejoin John and Makee taking a stroll through one of the prettier areas of planet Reach, while Doctor Halsey (Natasha McElhone) speaks to her assistant Adun (Ryan McParland) and Cortana (Jen Taylor) about the special qualities she saw in John as a child. 

Adun remarks that now there are two ‘special ones’ with Makee around, and as they continue to monitor the vitals of John and Makee (as they were doing at the end of Episode 6), they happily observe that John’s previously unstable state seems to be improving dramatically. 

Halsey remarks that John is now discovering what she’s always suspected – that he’s connected to something beyond all of them.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

John and Makee take a lovely walk through a public park, as Makee recalls a passage from the Dawn of Angels novel she read incessantly as a child, introduced in Episode 3 – you’ll note that this is likely Makee’s first experience of a human planet that isn’t covered in piles of trash. 

Makee sees young boys and girls running around together, and recalls her brief flirtation with her young friend back on the trash planet Oban, before he was brutally beaten to death. There’s a brief look exchanged between John and Makee before they move on.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

The two are being observed via surveillance, of course, with Admiral Parangosky (Shabana Azmi) and Captain Keyes (Danny Sapani). Parangosky is absolutely flabbergasted that John is simply taking a lovely stroll with Makee, rather than beating the shit out of her. Keyes is convinced that John has a grander plan, however – soldiers are always on mission, he says.

Parnagosky also remarks that she dearly hopes John doesn’t suspect that the two of them were involved in his abduction as a child – he seems to only suspect Halsey at the moment. 

John and Makee arrive at a secluded spot, away from prying eyes, among an orchard of lovely blossom trees. It’s here where John shares his vision of the Halo with Makee, and Makee confirms that they did indeed share a vision and astral connection. 

John asks why the Covenant want the Halo Array so badly, and Makee reveals that there is a prophecy that suggests finding the Halo will cause them to ascend to godhood, while those unworthy – meaning humans – will be cleansed.

Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

John tells Makee about the childhood flashbacks he received upon touching the artefact, and remarks that he only saw the goodness, hope, and love of humans in them (despite also being really messed up, what with the child abduction and all). 

The visions were essentially John’s very brief and intense acclimatisation to the best and worst of humanity after regaining the ability to process emotions. But he’s landed on the good side of the coin.

John is called away and alerted to a military situation by some marines. Meanwhile, a Golden Retriever barks at Makee (perhaps the same one John saw in Episode 3? What an easter egg!), which causes her to jump and unsheathe her finger energy blade – just in case you forgot she was still armed and dangerous.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

In the UNSC war room, the leadership team is learning that the Covenant has attacked the planet Criterion, completely glassing (read: bombarding with plasma) a city of 11 million people, turning it into a molten crater.

Admiral Parangosky wants to send in a fleet to search for survivors, but Captain Keyes evokes the Cole Protocol, which in Halo lore is a directive to stop the Covenant from discovering the location of the core human colonies. 

John walks in and backs Parangosky, saying that they need to get out there, find the Covenant, and fight them before they find the UNSC first. He suggests getting Makee to use the Keystone, which is in UNSC care, to pinpoint the location of the second Artefact.

Parangosky and Keyes are absolutely against the plan, of course, because Makee’s allegiances to the Covenant aren’t fully known to them. John suggests that deep down, Makee is human like them, to which Keyes responds brazenly, saying that you can’t override decades of indoctrination. 

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

It’s a perfect setup for John to say: ‘I did’. 

Parangosky hesitantly agrees to the plan.

In the hangar, Spartan Silver Team members Riz (Natasha Culzac) and Vannak (Bentley Kalu) are trying to hack into the Covenant ship they procured way back in Episode 1 to get Intel. Vannak asks whether Kai (Kate Kennedy) is fit for duty yet. Riz isn’t so sure. 

Cut to Kai in the gym, lifting up an enormous piece of machinery via a pulley system, as dozens of marines cheer her on and throw cash bets around (they still use cash in this future??). She moves onto lifting a whole Warthog with marines on it next. What a beast!

Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

We join Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray) as she’s attempting to translate the intercepted Covenant transmission from Episode 3. Captain Keyes arrives to check in on her ahead of the upcoming artefact tests, and they share a brief and loving father-daughter moment as Miranda enthusiastically explains her work, remarking that the transmission voice has some kind of accent or impediment.

Cut to the voice behind the transmission, Makee, who is quietly mumbling to herself in her cell. John arrives, relieving the marines guarding her door, and informs Makee that she’ll be allowed to use the keystone. John tells her that the UNSC trusts him, and he trusts her.

He’s also brought her a paperback book – something called Tender Nights, which I can only assume is a steamy romance novel. Makee tears up at the act of kindness and places a hand on John’s chest. He responds by taking her hand, and they kiss.

They proceed to undress and then – you guessed it folks – Makee and Master Chief have sex. This show is very much a brave new world for Halo lore.

Master Chief has sex in Halo TV series
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

Meanwhile, Cortana stares off into the distance in Halsey’s apartment, completely aware of what John is doing, and visibly shaken. 

Post-lovemaking, Makee runs her hand along John’s neck as he sleeps, and the ominous strings make us very aware that the energy blade is still sheathed inside her index finger. Her hand becomes poised to strike for a moment, but nothing happens.

Cut to Makee in the bathroom, forcibly ripping off her fingernail from her finger (and the energy blade with it) in an incredibly gruesome manner. Ugh. I needed a break after that one. 

Later on, as John smiles and leaves, Cortana relays what has happened between John and Makee to Halsey, remarking that their biochemistry suggests that the two are deeply connected. Cortana remarks that John is no longer alone in the galaxy, to which Halsey responds: ‘He was never alone. He had me.’ 

It lands like a wet blanket. Get over yourself, Halsey. 

Cortana informs Halsey that Makee is due to interface with the keystone at noon that day.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

Captain Keyes pays Halsey a visit and tells her that Parangosky wants her off the planet by noon that day, appropriately enough. Halsey has a go at Keyes, outraged that he went back on an agreement that he, her (former) husband, would always have her back. 

Keyes strikes back, incensed at the idea that Halsey continues to sacrifice everything – especially her relationships with himself, their daughter Miranda, and John – in the name of scientific progress. Halsey shows zero regret.

When Keyes leaves, Halsey retrieves the contact lens from her encounter with Miranda in Episode 6. We now know that it was used to duplicate Miranda’s retinal ID, which Halsey proceeds to use to gain access to her lab data and other UNSC systems. Cortana looks on, horrified.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

Halsey projects herself into Makee’s room to speak to her about John, alerting Makee to the idea that the artefacts are not safe under the protection of the UNSC. She offers Makee the alternate view of humanity, one that paints humans as selfish creatures who only foster misery and pain. 

Halsey purports that if the Halo array is indeed a weapon, the UNSC will use it to destroy themselves. Cortana looks on, very concerned now. 

Makee remarks that John will never let that happen, to which Halsey retorts that there is no John. There is only Master Chief, a product created by humans to be used, just as the UNSC will use Makee. 

Halsey proposes that John and Makee break away from both UNSC and Covenant factions, and take control of the Halo array for themselves – with Halsey’s help, of course. 

Halsey continues, urging Makee to convince John to steal the artefact and bring it to Halsey’s ship, but Makee hangs up on her, distressed after hearing Halsey insist they can use the Halo to ascend to a higher intelligence.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

Humans, Covenant, they’re just as bad as each other! What’s a human Covenant sympathiser to do?

Halsey paces around frustrated, remarking at the weakness of humankind to abandon reason in the face of attachment – pride, fear, or as Cortana solemnly offers, love. Halsey orders Cortana to signal the Spartans. 

At the hangar, Riz, Vannak and Kai receive the signal and suit up, under the false pretence that the artefact has severely tampered with the reasoning of senior UNSC leadership, and that Master Chief is unwell and needs to be forcibly apprehended, along with Makee and the artefact. 

Riz remarks that John won’t leave without a fight, but Halsey suggests that Cortana can easily disable his cognitive functions (as she did in Episode 5). 

Cut to a close-up of Cortana now looking super guilty.

Kai offers a word of resistance, and it’s here where Halsey notices that Kai’s emotional suppression pellet, which she pulled out in Episode 4, has been compromised. As Kai tries to appeal to Riz and Vannak, Halsey removes Kai off the communications channel, and discreetly orders Riz and Vannaker to knock Kai out, which they do very efficiently.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

Cortana asks Halsey what the plans are for Master Chief, and she lets on that John will no longer be needed once they have Makee to activate the artefacts. Halsey plans to turn over full control of John to Cortana – as Cortana once wanted back when she was activated in Episode 3

But now Cortana seems incredibly put off by all of this. Halsey notes her lack of characteristic enthusiasm, but she brushes it off. 

Halsey suggests that a Master Chief completely controlled by Cortana will be ‘the best out of all of us’, to which Adun jealously mumbles ‘congratulations’ to himself. Poor, poor Adun.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

As John and Makee make their way to the artefact room, Vannak and Riz prime themselves to ambush them. 

Meanwhile, Miranda Keyes’ translation protocol has suddenly made a breakthrough in decoding the Covenant transmission, the results of which Miranda is startled by. 

Kai remains tied up in the bunker, and Captain Keyes and Admiral Parangosky stage themselves in the artefact room.

Makee asks John what he intends to do with the Halo, to which he replies ‘Destroy the Covenant’ and ‘end the war’. Beyond that, he doesn’t have an answer, which disturbs Makee. The cogs of her allegiances are slowly turning back.

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

Miranda finally pieces together the fact that it’s Makee who made the Covenant transmission, and tries to get in contact with her father. Unfortunately, Halsey has shut down all communications on the base to set up her ambush.

As John and Makee near the ambush point, and Halsey readies Cortana to disable John, Cortana instead makes a frantic plea to John to stop what he’s doing, explain the situation, and get the hell out of there. 

Cortana cuts Halsey and Adun’s connection to the base. Adun flips right out, with a big, jealous lover ‘I TOLD YOU SO!!!’ energy, as Halsey acts impressed and amused by Cortana’s ability to deceive her. 

John sends Makee away, telling her to go find safety, as Miranda rushes to Captain Keyes in the artefact room, and Kai wakes up.

Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

An unarmored John enters the location where Vannak and Riz are stationed, announces his arrival, and is immediately tackled by Vannak. John manages to disarm Vanak and turn his weapon around on him, pleading for him to listen to reason. 

Riz rushes in and delivers a flying punch, which shatters the firearm and sends John across the room. As Riz and Vannak advance on John, Makee sneaks into the arena and observes what’s happening.

Keyes and Parangosky finally cotton on that something is up, and send a guard to retrieve John and Makee, while Kai breaks free in the bunker by kicking the crap out of the stone bench she’s cuffed to, destroying it. 

Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

Kai rushes through the base and orders marines to make sure Halsey’s ship is grounded, while Makee is apprehended and brought to the artefact room. She warns Keyes and Parangosky that John is being attacked by two other Spartans, and Parangosky sends another marine to investigate. 

John attempts to outpunch a fully-armoured Riz and Vannak with the aid of Cortana, who remotely accesses a Warthog and pins Vannak with it, while John latches a pulley hook onto Riz. But the two Spartans quickly break free and beat John down pretty ruthlessly. 

As Vannak holds a pistol to John’s head, Kai charges in to even the odds, ending the fight in a Mexican standoff. With Riz holding a gun to John, Vannak urges her to take the shot.

Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

While talking with Makee, Keyes and Parangosky realise Halsey is behind everything, but Miranda finally gets there and warns against listening to Makee at all, revealing she was the one who made the Covenant transmission, and also killed a ship full of UNSC soldiers.

Makee gets tased, which causes her to have a flashback to when she was tased as a child, as well as Halsey’s words about humans being cruel. It’s the last straw for her – John’s efforts to turn her have been for naught.

She’s brought back on her feet and immediately touches the artefact, frying the marine who was holding onto her, and causing a shockwave to knock everyone in the base, including the Spartans, off their feet.

John is knocked back into the astral projection of the Halo, along with Makee. Makee says her goodbyes to John, and disappears. 

Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

Critical Analysis

The stakes are finally at an all time high now, and Episode 8 had a lot of great clashes, both emotionally and physically. It’s good to finally see the Halo TV series really smash some characters together and explore the ups and downs of human relationships, even if we do have to fill in some of the blanks for ourselves.

The relationship between John and Makee is probably something you could have seen coming, but definitely not a place that an avid Halo fan would ever expect them to go. I’m glad they did though. The changes to Master Chief’s whole identity this series has been interesting (and entertaining) to see unfold – first the helmet, then the butt, and now the lovin’ – and I can only imagine the show being far duller without it all.

Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

It’s also pleasing to see the climax of Halo spending time to focus on things like the parent/child relationship between Miranda and Keyes/Halsey, as well as Cortana and Halsey. It’s just as important as seeing a bunch of Spartans beat each other up, if you ask me. 

Finally, it’s amusing to note that both John and Makee’s entire moral compasses are informed by about five life-changing minutes from their respective childhoods. I could make a crack at that being the extent of character development in an action series, but I think Halo has done a little more than that overall, and deserves some credit for it.

Stray Observations

  • When John and Makee take a walk in the park, they come across a bunch of food and dessert carts. There’s a burrito place, a slushy place that serves drinks out of giant fishbowls, and then there’s something called GAUSS.

    What the hell are these things? They look like malformed, imperfect, solid blocks of pastel colours on incredibly long (and inconvenient) sticks.

    Are they light and fluffy like fairy floss? Are they hard like an ice block? It somehow looks like it could be really chewy as well?

    Whatever it is, it’s clearly designed for foodies on Instagram and probably doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as it looks.
Halo TV Series – Episode 8 Recap – ‘Allegiance’
Image: Paramount / Amblin Entertainment

See you next week!

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran