Holy crap. I’ve loved Forward Unto Dawn since the beginning, but this episode was nothing short of amazing. It was easily the best episode, and it was evident, at least to me, that the creators had saved the bulk of their budget for this final, climactic episode. In keeping with the previous episode, the episode focused, mainly, around one major enemy: A hunter.
The episode begins with the surviving cadets (Lasky, Silva, Orenski, and Sully) and the Master Chief blazing through the forest on a warthog. Chief mans the turret, and everything seems to be going all right. Chief calls for extraction, and they just cruise along. Until a plasma grenade appears in front of them. And then detonates, damaging the warthog. Now, those of us who have played Halo know that that grenade would have flipped the warthog, but it didn’t here. Oh well.
And then the ambush begins in earnest. We get a few unclear shots on the jackals that are attacking, and I didn’t think we’d get much more than that. But it’s quite the opposite. From Silva’s point of view, we see the Jackals clearly. And, as it happens, she’s a pretty good shot, taking them out quickly and efficiently. Once they’ve taken them all out, they stop the warthog because of the damage it’s sustained.
And this is where the first surprise of the episode occurs. Silva looks over at Lasky, and Lasky looks down. And there’s a pink needle sticking out of her stomach. My first thought was “Noooo!” Despite how close minded Silva was at the start of the series, I’d grown to like her. And, of course, all the bio foam had been used by the Chief on the Sully.
And then the first Hunter shows up. We only see this one in the Chief’s visor, but the shock value is still there. And his advice to run is quite wise. The cadets run, while he stays behind to deal with the beast. They run, and take shelter in one of the shelters on the training course. Here they apply some stun rounds to Silva to ease the pain. But it doesn’t really matter. This is probably the most emotional part of the series. Because Silva DIES. I had no idea that that was coming. And the effect that it has on Lasky is clear. He seems to break.
Master Chief returns at this point, and, honestly, he’s a lot colder in the future. He actually expresses that he’s sorry about the loss of Silva. I guess after seeing most of his friends and companions die, he eventually reached the level of coldness we see in the games. And when they leave, Lasky seems shell shocked, as if he can’t move because of this. It’s actually quite sad, which is a testament to how well Forward Unto Dawn has handled the characters.
So it’s no surprise that when the other Hunter shows up (which was hunting them the whole time) Lasky volunteers to distract it. I get the feeling that at this point, he’d be ok with death. And Master Chief is fine with him doing the distraction, and he runs out, in a very similar manner to what he did in the first episode during the training exercise. It’s a great scene.
And then we see the Hunter in it’s full might. It comes up on the top of a hill and stands there. The scene is so awesome words almost can’t describe it. It’s that awesome. And then we get the close up of the plasma cannon as it charges up. And that is equally awesome. Lasky charges it in slow motion, with the Halo theme in the background.
And then the way in which Master Chief takes out the hunter… that’s just awesome. It’s something I wish you could do in the games. Basically, he jumps on it’s back, and shoves a grenade in the weak portion on it’s back, taking it out. And it’s all done in slow motion, which is awesome. After it explodes, Master Chief stamps out the last remaining worm that survived. The other three cadets run over to Lasky to make sure he’s Ok, and if it weren’t for the fact that we’d seen an older version of him in the first episode, I would have thought he was done.
And then they get to the Pelican. And we see more marines and more Spartans! Fred and Kelly to be exact, who remove their helmets in the pelican. Master Chief, in keeping with the rest of the series, does not. Instead, he hands a piece of solidified stone from the encounter with the Hunter to Lasky,
It’s also interesting that Orenski asks how old they are, because it’s sometimes hard to remember that the Spartans are only 15 or 16 at this point. And that proves how messed up and desperate the UNSC was.
And, finally, Lasky comes back from the flashback in the future. And he orders a jump to Requiem to help Master Chief. This is another touching scene, as we see what the rock was. Melted into the rock are Silva’s dog tags, which Lasky had dropped during the confrontation with the Hunter. And then we find out he’s in charge of the UNSC Infinity, which, along with a fleet of frigates, makes the slipspace jump.
And we’re left with an image of the Master Chief awakening. And it’s clear to me that this is where Halo 4 will begin. And, honestly, I can’t wait for Tuesday.