The 3rd installment of the web series, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, hits today!
I really like this series so far, and this episode was great overall, but its the first to disappoint me. Its not necessarily this episodes fault though, but more the fact that the conflict doesn’t really build up or start until the end of this episode meaning we only have 2 episodes for what I would consider the real meat of this series. This bums me out. I’ll come back to that though.
Once again in this episode we see an awesome beginning with Cortana and the Chief in cryo. I think these beginnings scenes could be my favorite parts of each episode. They give me chills. They take place in the half of Forward Unto Dawn itself which was severed at the end of Halo 3 and is free floating in space and likely heading to the planet Requiem which Halo 4 takes place on. The CG used looks really great and looks just like some of the footage we’ve seen of the beginning scenes of Halo 4. Cortana gets a little…violent. We know she is dealing with her rampancy in Halo 4 and its likely a key plot point, but this shows its effects starting even before the events in the game, and its very interesting to say the least. I’m excited for what this means in the game, and I’m interested to see how the opening scenes differ from the intro scenes of each episode.
Further character development of Thomas Lasky takes place and things get kind of grim for him. His reactions to cryo come to a point and he is faced with a decision. He also seems to be struggling with the fate of his brother and family affairs. I am finding that I really like Lasky. He’s the noble character type that always sucks me in and I think Australian actor Tom Green plays the part well.
One of the cadets, Sully, decrypts and pieces together video shown in the first person from a battle. As the viewers, we know its likely from Master Chief’s point of view. It shows Spartans fighting alongside the Insurrectionists against an unknown threat. Again, as the viewers we know its the Covenant and green plasma fire and the familiar sounds of plasma weapons are heard. The video pauses on an image (pictured below) of a Spartan with the numbers “104” on his shoulder. This is Fred, a Spartan that has a role in the events of several of the Halo books as well as one of the shorts on the Halo Legends film set. This is exciting for Halo fans and hopefully means we’ll see Chief fight alongside Spartans in the coming episodes. Seeing this video makes the cadets question who the real enemy is. Another bit worth mentioning is that the cadets don’t know what the Spartans are, nor the Covenant and adds emphasis to the timeline of the events of Forward Unto Dawn.
The first two episode features bits of action through training exercises and cafeteria brawl when Vickers insults Lasky who retaliates. This episode though, we see some real action. Things get hairy real fast and the Academy prepares for battle and evacuation. ODSTs drop in hot, Covenant ships show up in the night sky, and structures explode. The space tether gets knocked out presumably leaving the cadets stranded. It looks terrifying and they’ve done a great job showing how scary an attack like this might be. Things look bleak. We’ll have to find out what happens next week.
Now, to return to my first point and why I am disappointed. I’ve liked each episode as a whole, but with only 2 episodes left I feel the action and conflict are coming too late in the series, and Master Chief still hasn’t made his appearance! I don’t doubt that the final 2 episodes will prominently feature the Chief and loads of action, but at this point I can’t help but feel its coming a tad too late, especially since its just getting started in the final quarter of this episode. I worry that the action and Master Chief get cut short or don’t get the time and attention they deserve, but that remains to be seen. Perhaps Forward Unto Dawn will flow better as a single experience. I liked the events of each episode so I’m not sure I’d cut anything to speed it up. I have to remember that so much of the story is about the development of Lasky and we’ve seen a good amount of that. I could also be jumping the gun, but I’ll have to wait and see.
Overall I’m really pleased with this series so far and I’m really anticipating the fourth and fifth episodes. What I assume will happen in the fourth episode with the Chief and some sort of rescue and battle, I had hoped would happen in this episode. My disappointment isn’t great, however, and I still highly recommend this episode and catching up if you haven’t seen them yet.
If you haven’t already, definitely check out our review of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Episode 1, as well as Episode 2, along with our interviews with Master Chief himself, Daniel Cudmore and the Frank O’Connor of 343 Industries! A new live-action trailer, “Scanned”, also just dropped.