Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 7

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Jessica Lowrey

We’re back with another week of Halo, although I wouldn’t exactly fault you if you thought otherwise. Someone must have heard me complain about the lack of closure for the Kwan Ha/Soren storyline in my recap of the last episode, so now that dynamic duo gets a full hour just to themselves! Now I’ve found the character to be an interesting and welcome addition to the Halo lore, but there’s little doubt that the Kwan Ha storyline has been a mixed bag so far. On the one hand, she was fantastic in the first episode and she gives us an excuse to keep Soren around, but on the other, her story feels rather inconsequential to everything else and she herself hasn’t done much to guide her own narrative; mostly being escorted from place to place to give us updates on the goings-on on Madrigal. Still, the heat she’s been getting from some corners of the fan base has been inordinate and I’m more than happy to see them spend a good chunk of time on it if it means we’ll get to a resolution. Is this just the episode we need to make Kwan Ha and Soren feel like important people in this sprawling narrative, or will they have burned through whatever goodwill they had left by the end of it? Let’s find out!!

The story picks up some time after Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) escaped from Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) and is still intent on finding the desert mystics who will hopefully help her reignite the rebellion; the same way they helped her father many years ago. The journey is difficult but she eventually makes her way to them while Soren managed to find a way off -planet and back to The Rubble where he’s trying to continue his life as the coolest pirate ever like nothing had happened. For both of them though, they seem to be getting more pushback than they expected as the desert mystics are skeptical of Kwan Ha’s intent of overthrowing the government of Madrigal while Soren has to deal with people whispering about how he returned empty-handed and if it means he’s no longer fit to be their leader. Time is running short for both of them as they need to step up and prove that they shouldn’t be underestimated, but with Vinsher Grath (Burn Gorman) on the hunt for Kwan Ha and a few knives looking to find their way in Soren’s back, is there a way to get through all of this alive even if they do prove themselves as worthwhile leaders? What will Kwan Ha have to do in order for the desert mystics to take her seriously, and what fears from her past will she have to confront in the process? It’s pretty amazing that sci-fi drugs are so good at revealing deep emotional truths about someone; otherwise, it’d seem irresponsible to give this Spice knockoff to a teenager!

“Looks like you’ve got a big green boulder to roll, Sisyphus! Good luck!” “Wait, you’re here too? Seriously, what was in that drink!?”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 6

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman

We’re back with another episode of the two best live-action shows based on a video game, and honestly, I don’t even think those who dislike this series can genuinely disagree with that statement. It’s basically this, The Witcher, and a huge drop off to… I don’t know the Super Mario Bros Super Show or one of those Mortal Kombat things? In any case, we’ve just had a big action set piece at the end of the last episode and there’s a lot of fallout to go through for Chief, the UNSC, and everyone else that’s caught in the middle. Is this an engaging and emotionally charged follow-up to the exciting battle we just saw, or do they pump the breaks too hard after giving us everything we wanted? Let’s find out!!

With the Battle of Eridanus II being, at best a “mixed bag” for the UNSC, everyone has low spirits and frazzled nerves as they make their way back to Reach; none more frazzled than Chief (Pablo Schreiber) who’s getting really tired of Halsey’s (Natascha McElhone) secrets and lies. Frankly, he’s not the only one as Admiral Parangosky (Shabana Azmi) is making moves against her and even her own daughter (Olive Gray) is starting to comprehend just how deep the well goes with her mother’s cruelty. If that wasn’t bad enough, they’ve got a Covenant prisoner (Charlie Murphy) on their hands that may hold the secret to winning the war, but since we know she’s a double agent, it’s unlikely they will get anything useful out of here and that she’s just here to stir the pot. With tensions high and spirits low, can our beloved cast of characters work through this funk and get back on track before the Covenant find them first? Just how far will Chief go to get the answers he’s looking for, and how much of this is still Halsey’s manipulations? Is it just me, or is something missing in this episode?

“Cortana; check my inbox for any communications from Kwan Ha or Soren.” “No new messages to report.” “Oh. Well I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about!”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 5

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman

I had my issues with the last episode, but the vitriol that continues to be rained down on this show is getting tiresome. There are legitimate complaints to have with the series, but more and more I see people refusing to engage with the material and are just trying to justify their resentment with Cinema Sins style gotchas, and look, I’ve been there! I’ve had movies I reviewed that I couldn’t articulate exactly why I didn’t like them and so I leaned into nit-picks and literalisms instead of thoughtful analysis. It’s an easy trap to fall into so I don’t want to come down too hard on people for it, but it’s also getting harder for me to take criticisms against the show seriously. So with that being said, does the latest episode manage to pick up the slack of the last one and deliver on what the show has been building towards, or will this be another plot-heavy episode that will only annoy the critics even further? Let’s find out!!

With Chief and Halsey (Pablo Schreiber and Natascha McElhone) finding a new artifact on Eridanus II, the UNSC has sent a detachment of troops and researchers to study it and hopefully find whatever this big weapon is that they seem to be pointing to. It’s an uneasy situation to be sure as Chief is still suspicious of Halsey and the secrets she’s kept from him, but with Cortana inside of his brain and still under Halsey’s thumb, she doesn’t have a lot to be worried about just yet. On top of the tension there, both Miranda and Jacob Keyes (Olive Gray and Danny Sapani) are part of this operation as well as the other members of Spartan Silver Team, and throwing them all back together after so much has happened is bound to bring out some bad blood and questionable actions. Say what you will about The Covenant, they seem to have their act together and are working diligently with Makee (Charlie Murphy) to try and locate the artifacts that the UNSC has uncovered. As soon as they do, the marines and the Spartans are gonna have a heck of a time repelling their attack and keeping the artifact for themselves. Also, let’s not forget about Kwan Ha and Soren (Yerin ha and Bokeem Woodbine) who are still on Madrigal with the latter trying to find a way off the rock while the former is realizing just what kind of uphill battle she’s got ahead of her if she wants to reignite the rebellion. Can Halsey and her team uncover the secrets of the new artifact before The Covenant find them and scorch the earth with plasma? Just how far will Kwan Ha go to save her planet, and who will have to pay the price for that in the process? Seriously, can The Covenant just not right now? Chief is going through a few things and doesn’t have time for this!

“The hell of it is, today was supposed to be my day off.”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 4

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Roel Reiné

Another week, another episode of Halo for a certain segment of the fan base to get testy over! I think I’ve made it quite clear by now that the changes to the lore and the focus on characters have been a huge positive for me even if some of the fans out there are dismaying the lack of action and the shift in tone. Still, while I am enjoying everything they are doing so far, it’s possible that this slow burn will fizzle out at some point and all the buildup will be for naught; especially if we never do get to the thing that this series is named after. Does this episode continue the upward momentum of the series as it soldiers on in bold new directions, or will the cracks start to show as there are fewer and fewer things from the games to pull from to placate fans with? Let’s find out!!

With John the Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) finally remembering his home planet, he and Doctor Halsey (Natascha McElhone) head to the planet to see if they can find more clues as to what this mysterious artifact was that was found on the planet Madrigal and why it reacts so strongly to John. Of course, there’s always the risk that John may discover too much about his past that Halsey has worked hard to keep secret, but that’s what Cortana (Jen Taylor) is for as she is meant to keep Chief placated and in line. While this is going on, the other members of Spartan Silver Team, Kai, Vannak, and Riz (Kate Kennedy, Bentley Kalu, and Natasha Cultzac) are working with Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray) back on the planet Reach to conduct unrelated research on the artifact, though with Kai having just removed her own emotion chip, it’s possible that Keyes may learn more than she bargained for from these towering war machines. If that wasn’t enough drama for you, Kwan Ha and Soren (Yerin Ha and Bokeem Woodbine) have made it back to the planet Madrigal where Kwan is hoping to reignite the resistance against the planet’s new leader Vinsher Grath (Burn Gorman), though much like everyone else in this episode, the answers to her questions may not be the ones she was hoping to find. Will the Chief be able to go back to being a Spartan warrior and a tool of the UNSC once he uncovers the truth of his own childhood? Can the ideals of liberty and freedom survive on a planet that is now directly controlled by an authoritarian puppet of the UNSC; especially when they offer security from the impending alien threat? Speaking of alien threats, where are The Covenant in this episode!? Did everyone just agree to take a Mental Health Day as they deal with their tragic pasts and uncertain futures!?

“We have you scheduled for art therapy today.”     “Great! I’ll start by turning this head into a Jackson Pollock!”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 3

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Roel Reiné

We’re back with another episode of the show that fans love to hate! Well, certainly not all fans have been down on this new version of the story, but there are certainly those who have had a hard time getting behind these reinterpretations of the characters and the sizable overhaul to the lore. Will this trend continue as we finally get introduced to the TV version of Cortana, or will it finally click for them the same way it clicked to me right off the bat with the very first episode? Let’s find out!!

With Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) returning to the UNSC at the end of the last episode, Dr. Halsey (Natascha McElhone) has to put her biggest project yet in motion if the Spartans are going to continue to function as a unit. Enter the Cortana Project which Halsey has been working on in secret but may just be the buffer between Chief and the UNSC that she needs to keep the program under her control. Cortana (Jen Taylor) is to be an AI built from the ground up on a copy of Halsey’s brain (where she got that copy is pretty disturbing, but we do what we must for science!), and it will be injected into Master Chief to keep him in line and provide invaluable tactical support. Chief is obviously skeptical of having an AI embedded into his head, but as a good soldier he does what he’s told with the minimum amount of pouting and spends most of his time focusing on those flashbacks he was having and the words from Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) that have stuck with him longer than he expected. While all this is going on, the Covenant’s sole human Makee (Charlie Murphy) starts her journey to recover the Keystone from the UNSC, and Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) is getting antsy about the authoritarian crisis on Madrigal brought about by its comically over the top new leader Vinsher Grath (Burn Gorman). Can Chief and Cortana find a way to work together before Makee finds her way to the UNSC headquarters and the mysterious alien tech housed there? What will Kwan Ha do to try and save her planet from Grath, and can Soren ultimately keep his promise to Master Chief? I don’t know about you, but Cortana seems pretty useful to me! She’s like Siri, right?

“Cortana, play Spartan Party Jams volume 4.”     “Again? We just listened to that yesterday.”     “Fine. Play Spartan Party Jams volume 5, but we are NOT skipping volume 4 on leg day!”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 2

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Otto Bathurst

We’re back with another episode of Halo; everyone’s favorite show about a quip spouting robot that isn’t Bender! Well I guess that’s a bit hyperbolic as the Chief in this version is somehow even more taciturn than he was in the games, but we’ll talk about changes to the source material soon enough. The first episode was an absolute delight that managed to capture the feel of Halo’s intense action while reworking its dubious source material into something new and exciting! Still, a lot of shows will frontload their first episode with flashy spectacle and surprise twists with the follow-up being a better indicator of what to expect from the series going forward. Can Halo sustain its momentum through its sophomore outing, or was that the peak and it’s all downhill from here? Let’s find out!!

After their daring escape from the UNSC, Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) have to find a place that will not only protect them from the wrath of Earth but to also help explain what this mysterious artifact is that they found on her planet. Fortunately, Master Chief does in fact have friends outside of the military and goes to the one person in the galaxy who is equal parts friendly to him and spiteful to the UNSC. They arrive at a hidden space colony known as The Rubble where Chief’s friend Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is a big wig and may have some of the answers they seek, though in a place outside of Earth’s control there is a clear sense of animosity towards the USNC’s biggest propaganda symbol and Chief may not have safe-harbor for very long. Can he keep Kwan Ha safe from the UNSC and any other parties that may have an interest in her disappearing? What does Soren know about this artifact they found, and are its secrets even more dire than anyone could have realized? Can we just get a show about Soren? Or maybe even a buddy show with him and Chief? I mean Cortana hasn’t shown up yet and we need someone to fill the personality vacuum!

“You ever hear of polishing a turd? Well, this guy is what you get when you polish a turd with a suit of power armor!” “Not funny, Soren.” “Oh, like YOU have a great sense of humor?”
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Cinema Dispatch: Pacific Rim Uprising


Pacific Rim Uprising and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Steven S DeKnight

Hey, remember when Pacific Rim was a thing?  Yeah, it REALLY feels like a long time ago at this point, doesn’t it?  I mean, it DID come out five years ago, but with The Shape of Water showing us what Guillermo del Toro is really capable of when he puts everything he’s got into a movie (and not just special effects),Pacific Rim is feeling more and more like an afterthought in his career.  That being said, it WAS a really well made movie with a great turn by Charlie Day as a befuddled super science, and it led to him and his co-star Burn Gorman teaming up again for one of the best episodes of It’s Always Sunny; Flowers for Charlie!  Now we’ve got a sequel that doesn’t have del Toro in the director’s chair and looks to be more of a big budgeted Transformers competitor instead of the more methodical and intense vibe of the first film which certainly isn’t a BAD direction to take the series in, but will they be able to pull it off?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place ten years after the events of the first film where Jake (John Boyega) who is the son of Idris Elba’s General Stacker Pentecost is NOT living up to his father’s legacy and is instead bumming around one of the many cities that were more or less abandoned after being hit by a Kaiju attack.  Jake doesn’t like to play by the rules and would rather spending his time ripping parts out of retired giant robots known as Jaegers than to join the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) and continue his father’s legacy while also preparing for the next inevitable Kaiju attack.  Too bad for Jake though because he runs into a fellow street hustler named Amara (Cailee Spaeny) who’s made her own mini-Jaeger but is soon busted along with Jake for having an illegal robot which is a thing now I guess.  Anyway, Jake is faced with some serious jail time if he the cops throw the book at him, but his sister Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) who is a General in the PPDC offers him one more chance to set his life straight.  Join back up with the PPDC and train some new recruits which will include Amara whose impressive robot making skills has caught the PPDC’s attention.  So that’s it, right?  It’s basically Top Gun but with robots!  Well… not quite.  While this is going on, we ALSO have to worry about the PPDC losing their favor with the rest of the world as a tech company led up by Liwen Shao (Jing Tian) has developed Jaeger drones that can be piloted by ONE person instead of two, and can do so remotely which will pilots from having to climb into the robots themselves.  Seems like a good idea, but if you know ANYTHING about sci-fi movies, there’s always some unforeseen consequences to overly mechanizing jobs that humans are also doing; ESPECIALLY jobs which involve deadly weapons!  Not only that, but while this squabble is taking place, there are hints here and there that the Kaiju may be returning sooner than they all think!  Can the PPDC and the Shao Corporation come to an understanding before even bigger threats will tear them both apart?  Will Jake be able to finally stop running from his TORTURED BACKSTORY PAST (mostly involving Daddy Issues) in order to succeed in the one place where he truly belongs?  Any chance we can just forget about that Power Rangers movie and just let the filmmakers behind this make one that’s ACTUALLY good?

“IT’S MORPHING TIME!!”     “The heck it is!  No way I’m wearing spandex in this thing!”

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