This is one of those shows that just can’t stop getting better. I don’t know if it was the appearance of Master Chief (Finally!), the genuine feeling of suspense, the great character work, or maybe the elites running people through with energy swords. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of them. No matter what it is, part 4 of Froward Unto Dawn was the best episode to date, and I’m genuinely sad that it’ll all be over next week.
This episode pretty much picks up where the last one left off, with the cadets running scared from the invading Covenant forces. What’s really cool about this part is that you really don’t see many Covenant. I mean, you know their there, there’s no doubt about that. But all you see is the cadets running and the marines attempting (and failing) to hold them off. Pink needles and green plasma bursts are fired through the air, and this is where the first death of the episode occurs, and it’s the Colonel. I actually liked her, and that just proves how well the show handles it’s characters.
And this episode isn’t very kind to them. Initially there’s only a small group, consisting of Laskey, Silva, Sully, April, Vickers, and JJ. Dimah was blown up at the end of last episode, and the only other major characters are General Black and Colonel Mehaffy, are picked off. But pretty much right after leaving Laskey’s room, and elite puts an energy sword into JJ. He was a cool character, but the cast does need to be whittled down. Vickers is killed off later in the armory, by the same elite.
And that elite is a badass. You know, he has all the standard Sangheili party tricks. Energy sword, plasma rifle, cloaking. And that creates some awesome suspense. He hunts the group of cadets throughout the first few minutes. And the show does a create job of building the suspense, and there are clear elements of horror. And they come across really well too, and creates an awesome vibe for the episode.
But, of course, a single elite is no match for the Master Chief. After the elite kills Vickers, John just puts him down with a knife to the back. And then proceeds to do pretty standard Master Chief stuff, you know, like kill aliens. And he looks awesome. That moment where the elite drops and you see him for the first time… that was possibly one of the best parts of the episode.
Of course, though, the cadets don;t really know what he is. Obviously, they know about the Spartans, because of what Sully showed them last episode. They don’t know a lot, but they know enough. Sully’s comment about him being a robot is actually pretty interesting. And when you think about it, that’s probably what the Chief would seem like to a bunch of cadets.
Silva sees some great character development here. She just shuts down after seeing a few of her friends die. Which is interesting, since she comes off as being the no-fear, innie-killing type. But the Covenant are just so different. The trauma and stress one must go through in an encounter with the Covenant must be pretty intense.
Once they leave the complex though, she shakes it off. After Sully takes a needle to the leg. The group gets pinned down by a group of Covenant forces, equipped with needlers and carbines. The Chief just disappears, Batman style, and leaves the recruits to fend off the Covenant. Laskey makes a run for the warthog, and discovers General Black’s body. So scratch him off the list. And then Silva finds a carbine. And that is awesome. It looks great, and the CG is rendered extremely well. And it really looks like a carbine from the games. She uses it to take down an elite, and then the Chief comes back, running across the rooftop with a magnum.
Considering that this occurs before Halo 3, the magnum still has a scope and is probably the most powerful weapon known to humans. And he uses it like a boss, picking off Covenant troops at a distance while sprinting. He offers enough cover for the group to get to the ‘hog. It ends with them driving off, Master Chief on the turret.
Also, Chief seems to be having a conversation with Kelly. That’s awesome, and I hope we get to see her, and maybe Fred, Kurt, and others as well. How awesome would that be? I cannot wait for the next episode.