Halo season 1, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

By M.N. Miller
Published: March 24, 2022
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Paramount+ series Halo season 1, episode 1 - Contact


The premiere of the Paramount+ series Halo is an intense and nail-biting ride.

This recap of Paramount+ series Halo season 1, episode 1, “Contact,” contains spoilers.

Read the season 1 review of Halo. 

Halo season 1, episode 1 recap

Halo starts with an aerial shot of endless dunes and fire stacks. This is UEG Outer Colonies Year 2552. As the camera looks into a guarded facility, with a wall protecting something that looks like the Space Needle, Vinisher Grath (Burn Gorman) is on television. He says he has been sent to negotiate an end to the war. That’s when the room takes an ominous turn. A young man says he has fought marines, and everyone laughs. One Spartan is worth a hundred marines, he is told. And the one difference is a Spartan can’t be killed.

General Jin Ha then looks for his daughter, Kwan (Reef Break’s Yerin Ha). She is hiking with some friends looking for a specific plant on Madrigal, the galaxy’s purest concentration of heavy hydrogen. Why? So she can say what most young people do in any year. So she can leave this rock.

When Kwan wanders, she sees a ship has landed and lights blazing in a cavern. She runs to her friends to alert them to get back to the outpost. Of course, they are run difficult because Kwan just fed them Madrigal and are high. Maybe that was a good thing because then, as two of them are running around happy as drug-induced clams, they are blown to bloody pieces by someone (maybe holding a Plasma Carbine?). Kwan now has egg blood on her face.

Kwan sends off a red flare to alert the outpost. By the time she reaches it, all her friends are dead. Her father asks her how many of the UNSC? “It’s not UNSC, Dad!” She yells. She also adds they aren’t Marines. So, what are they? Spartans? Alien life forms?

I’ll take the latter. You know who they are. Where most thought that they were UNSC propaganda, it turns out they are genuine. It’s the Covenant! A collective alien race that holds halos with scared regard. And they have come to wipe out 2552—evidence how they have even chosen to kill all the outpost children.

That’s when the Spartans show up. Led by the genetically-engineered super-soldier Spartan-117, known as Master Chief (The Wire’s Pablo Schreiber), the massacred outpost team immediately tries to shoot them, but as they find out, they are here to have them. Master Chief avoids the General’s bullets to kill one of the demon aliens. They nod to each other as they come to an understanding.

The silver Spartan team neutralizes the Covenant, but only General and Kwan remain. He thought his daughter was dead until he saw her off hiding. His relief is short-lived because one of the Covenant is heading towards her. He starts to unleash a hail of gunfire upon them, but the alien’s energy sword quickly kills him. Before it can grab Kwan, Spartan-117 ends the threat ultimately. Twenty aliens and 150 civilians are killed, and only one survivor.

The opening scenes lasted 18 thrilling minutes.

As the Spartan team entered the cave, The Covenant had been there to excavate something on planet Madrigal, but they were unsure of what. As John touches a probe the aliens left on the cavern wall, he is transported, and a family is having a picnic, and a white dog runs off. That’s when Kia pulls him off, and they see one Covenant remains. It takes off and begins to run, being able to run somehow through the cavern walls without making a hole like the kool-aid man. It ends up running into Kwan, who is knocked out cold, and gets to its ship and takes off.

They return to the United Nations Space Command. There, Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey (The Truman Show’s Natascha McElhone) insists on taking the object found by the Spartans to study it. Also, the good doctor seems to be working on a secret project that her boss, Admiral (Shabana Azmi), thought she had paused. The camera pans the room and shows a body lying in a pod. Could this be the Spartan-II project? Could this be Cortana?

Kwan then is welcomed to the UNSC by Dr. Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray). She would like the ship’s newest passenger to shoot a short video saying how they saved her and the actual alien threat. She admittedly refuses and tells Keyes the only way to give Madrigal its freedom. (It would be fair to point out she is the last planet member, but I am sure Keyes will bring that up later). Later, her father approaches her, who tells her that Kwan is scheduled to be terminated. Despite her objections, he is adamant that this is the way and the only way.

With Kwan and the Master Chief heading back to UNSC headquarters, he offers her some food. They get to know each other, including Kwan dropping this little anvil on top of Master Chief’s head- this is not the first time they have met. Kwan tells him that he killed her mother. The information is processed, and the Spartan’s equipment sends him a message to eliminate Kwan. (This presumably was sent by the UNSC team that Kwan was issued a termination notice).

Since the Master Chief is starting to have memories and feelings, Dr. Halsey takes it upon herself to end the threat of Kwan. She has them drop the oxygen to 0% in the ship to kill her. However, she drops it to 40% inside 117’s suit. The Admiral doesn’t like Halsey’s creations, especially one that defies orders. So she has the marines assemble to blow the ship, but Dr. Halsey has other plans. She orders Spartan-117’s team to protect him at all costs, including being attacked by friendlies. 

The ending

The Admiral has Chief Keyes shoot down the plane, so it is disabled, keeping Master Chief from being destroyed. As the marines surround them, the artifact falls out of his case. The Master Chief looks intently, and as he reaches for it, the Marines prepare to open the ship’s doors. Then, the artifact lights up. Spartan-117 has a, I can only presume, flashback of his time as a child with his family and him drawing the artifact. Suddenly, the object lights up and shoots a wave of energy from the ship and across the facility. The entire base has lost power, and all weapons have been disabled. However, his ship is now lit up like a Christmas tree. 

The Spartan and Kwan take their seats and fly off.

What did you think of Paramount+ Halo season 1, episode 1? Let us know in the comments below!

You can watch this series with a subscription to the streaming service.

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