Halo Finally Delivers The Games' Master Chief

Halo Finally Delivers The Games’ Master Chief

While the journey has been controversial, the John-117 fans got in Halo’s finale was more like the games’ Master Chief than he has been all season.

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Halo episode 9

While the Halo television series provided a glimpse of a Master Chief who was more faithful to the games in its finale, he’s come too late. Paramount’s Halo TV series has been met with criticism for the its portrayal and characterization of Master Chief John-117 played by Pablo Schreiber. Although some fans of the original games and novels have not appreciated this new iteration of SPARTAN super-soldier, some semblance of a more accurate John-117 was seen in the finale.

Even though the Halo series streaming on Paramount+ is set in its own continuity known as the Silver Timeline, John-117’s personality and character choices were extremely bold bordering on bizarre. One of the most glaring issues was the constant removal of Master Chief’s helmet and armor. While that makes a certain amount of sense in the context of episodes where Master Chief wasn’t in active combat along with the new medium of a television series over a first-person shooter, it’s been a sizeable visual departure from what fans were expecting. Likewise, the Master Chief of the games is much more stoic compared to the show’s Chief who was engaged in an incredibly emotional battle to reclaim his past memories and humanity. While not inherently bad, an armorless and far more emotional John-117 is far from a faithful adaptation of the Halo video games’ protagonist.


Related: Halo’s Spartans vs. Captain America: Which Super Soldier Is Stronger?

Ironically, it took the potential death of John-117 to provide a Master Chief that’s closer in line with the version seen in the games. Unable to save his team and also retrieve the Forerunner artifacts on the Covenant world of Aspero, Master Chief allowed his advanced AI companion Cortana to take over his body, knowing full well that she might not be able to bring him back in the aftermath. Following a battle with the alien Covenant that put John’s combat prowess on full display, Cortana’s Master Chief saved the team and the artifacts, all without speaking and removing his/her helmet. While nearly every prior scene had John taking off his helmet to pilot the team’s Pelican, Cortana kept the helmet on, serving as an interesting visual cue. As such, this more silent and helmeted Master Chief was more like the expected version, but did not appear until the very end of the season..


Cortana taking over John 117’s body in Halos season 1 ending is might be an unexpected way to get there, but the result is a Master Chief that felt more like the “true” Chief than he had been. The change is cast as being Doctor Catherine Halsey’s dream of humanity transcending via her SPARTAN program. It’s an ironic twist that it came about by Cortana discovering the benefits of humanity in its current state rather than eliminating their emotions and flaws as Halsey thought was necessary.

While it will be interesting to see how Cortana emotes through John, one can imagine that it will be reduced due to her unfamiliarity, thereby providing the more stoic and reserved Chief fans know. The final shot also teased she’ll be keeping the helmet on. It’s unclear whether Cortana’s control will be a permanent change or something that’s only temporary before John-117 is somehow brought back. Either way, even with a Master Chief that’s better realized with this new status quo, it’s doubtful that the finale did enough to bring viewers on the fence back for Halo season 2 (which is already in development). The improved Master Chief in Paramount’s Halo was simply too little and far too late.

More:1 Halo Infinite Scene Perfectly Explains How The TV Show Messed Up

Halo is now streaming on Paramount+

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