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Revisiting Spartan Ops Episodes 8 and 9

Revisiting Spartan Ops Episodes 8 and 9

This week we’re looking at Episodes 8 and 9 of Spartan Ops. I had said last week that Episode 7 was pure filler. It was a level of awful that we hadn’t seen since Episode 3. I also skipped over discussing the cinematic for that week.

Today, I’m going to be talking about Doctor Catherine Halsey.

In Episode 6, she tells Captain Lasky that there are secrets left in the universe, and that she so desperately wants to know everything. That’s why she abducted children, you see. She had them indoctrinated and their bodies augmented to be the perfect soldier. Halsey created the Spartan-II program, because she wants to know everything the universe has to offer.

Oh, and she designed the MJOLNIR Mark IV power armor, too. Equipping super children in the most advanced armor that humanity has ever seen so that they can be the best soldiers humanity has ever seen furthers her goal of understanding the universe.

This is absurd. Halsey didn’t start the Spartan-II program because she wants to know everything. She started it because the UNSC had a problem when expanding into the stars: Insurrectionists. The Spartan-II program, as Mysterious Interrogator reminds us in the prologue for the Halo 4 campaign, was created to crush human rebellion.

It’s possible that Halsey’s goals shifted following the Covenant invasion of Epsilon Eridani IV. Blue Team (lead by the Master Chief) discovered a mysterious object that would later turn out to be a Forerunner artifact. From that artifact, Cortana would discover coordinates to Halo, or Installation-04, and kick off the events of the first Halo game.

Discovering an artifact that predates humans by 100,000 years is a pretty big find. It’s reasonable to say that Halsey wanted to learn more about them. However, the Halo mythos has gotten to be rather convoluted as it “grew;” there is contradictory information about when ONI first knew about both the Forerunners and the Covenant. It’s hard to say if Halsey even knew about them when she started the Spartan-II program. What’s remained constant, however, is that Halsey has always put humanity at the forefront of her actions; everything she’s done, she did to advance humanity and keep it united.

So let’s go back to Episode 7. When she contacts Jul ‘Mdama, she knows who he is. They met in the Kilo-Five novels. They have history together. She knows what Jul wants and she’s prepared to make a deal with the Devil, so to speak. When Roland regains control over himself and cuts off communications, Jul sends Prometheans to Infinity to find Halsey and take her back to Requiem.

In Episode 8, we see Halsey try to say something to Lasky. Maybe that they’re after her and if she just goes quietly then the attack will stop. After all, the first Knights to arrive on Infinity were teleporting in close proximity to Halsey. Anyway, a Knight cuts down Palmer (whose armor sustains no damage, unlike Spartan Thorne’s), nabs Halsey, and then teleports away.

In Episode 9, Halsey unlocks the Librarian AI, goes inside, and is handed the Janus Key—a map to the Absolute Record. She throws half of the key to Spartan Thorne. Then Palmer shoots Halsey in the shoulder. We’ll talk about that injury next week, though.

Halsey knows who the Librarian is when she meets her. Similarly, the Librarian knows who Halsey is. Instead of asking an actual Forerunner questions and getting answers, Halsey is dumbstruck by the encounter. She looks at the map like a kid in a holographic candy store. It’s such fitting behavior of someone who wants to know everything, right?.

Everything about this is dumb. In the first five Episodes, we see Halsey one-upping everyone who talks to her. Her wit was unmatched. She was calm, collected, and in control of the situation. In the last five episodes, however, we see her distressed, desperate, and brash. That’s not Halsey.

The Halsey from the first five Episodes would have engaged the Librarian in verbal sparring, picking at her for answers. We don’t see that at all. Instead, she gets distracted. Oh look, a hologram! It’s not like Halsey’s magnum opus—Cortana—used a hologram as her primary means of interacting with humans. Oh look, some sort of sub-dimension! It’s not like Halsey spent one year inside of a Shield World that was several hundred times bigger on the inside than what was seen on the outside. Oh look, a Forerunner! Best not pay attention to it because you can find one on every street corner.

This logo says 'Forerunners' but I can only see 'Rushed Joke'.

This logo says ‘Forerunners’ but I can only see ‘Rushed Joke’.

Let’s talk about Fireteam Majestic.

The Librarian’s Rest is in Sniper Alley. We know this from the campaign. We know this because that’s where Doctor Glassman, who was working for Jul ‘Mdama, runs into Spartan Thorne in Episode 6. We see in Episode 8 that Glassman and Thorne are still in Sniper Alley, and being hunted by Gek. Fireteam Majestic shows up and kills Gek. In Episode 9, we see Palmer sneaking through Sniper Alley to get to Halsey. Wait, how does she know where to go? Anyway, we also see that Majestic is still in Sniper Alley and they go to rescue Halsey.

The main takeaway is that Majestic is in Sniper Alley.

In Episode 8, Fireteam Crimson has to rescue Majestic from Covenant plasma launchers, or something. They’re holed up inside of a structure. Crimson doesn’t actually get to meet Majestic in person, we just talk over the radio. Naturally, Majestic is currently at Tempest, which is deep behind enemy lines and not Sniper Alley.

343i can’t even keep the cinematics and the chapters consistent. The cinematics exist independently of gameplay. For the first five Episodes, the cinematics told the story of what was going on with Infinity while we were on Requiem. In Episode 1, we recovered the artifact in-game; the Episode 2 cinematic showed us what the artifact did to the Infinity. In the Episode 5 cinematic, Spartan Thorne is teleported to Requiem; we go looking for him in-game. Though the two diverged, they were telling the same story.

In the cinematics for Season 1.5, we’re seeing a wholly separate story being told alongside the one we’re being told in-game. In Episode 6, Roland only reports finding Thorne, with no mention of Fireteam Crimson. In Episode 8, Majestic is in two places at once. In Episode 9, Halsey manages to hack a Covenant computer between the time she talks to the Librarian and Jul whisks her away from Sarah Palmer.

I won’t be talking about the actual chapters in Episodes 8 or 9 this week. There’s no point to it. What happens is inconsequential to the plot. The cinematics exist to deliver the plot while the chapters exist to give us things to shoot and buttons to push.

However, I will give a brief synopsis of what happens in Episode 9: the UNSC believes they are chasing a signal being bounced around Requiem by Halsey. However, it’s heavily implied that the signal is actually being bounced around by the Librarian. The Librarian leads Crimson to a map. That map will come into play next week. Requiem’s time is at an end.

Speaking of next week, come back and see what the deal is with Episode 10 and the Epilogue.

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