This week’s episode of Halo: Nightfall dives a little more deeply into the psychology of the group stranded on the remains of Installation 04, which by itself sounds like a great idea. Adding to the overall sense of tension within the already antagonistic personalities of the focus characters is that only two of them will be able to actually leave the husk of the former superweapon, since the lifeboat they’re searching for has only two seats.
If only there was something resembling chemistry between the castmembers, and some element of psychology that felt real. Much like the previous two episodes, this third outing for Halo: Nightfall feels detached and devoid of humanity in a situation where, you would think, their humanity would be coming out with barely any ability to contain it. Well, on the one hand, they’re soldiers. I get that. As long as they were trained well and paid attention, they should be able to govern their passions and stay cool in intensely stressful situations. The previous two episodes, though, showed that not all of the soldiers in this group are created equal: part of them are from the UNSC’s elite Office of Naval Intelligence, another part of them are militia members from the backwater planet of Sedra. There’s not a lot of love going both ways.
What is designed to be tense and stand-offish, though, just comes off as wooden. Add to that the dialogue which in many cases is painfully bad, and even illogical, and you have a somewhat confusing story from an emotional standpoint that gives absolutely no service to character. Plot is fine for this show, but the character interactions leave a lot to be desired, since they don’t even really seem to follow a lot of emotional reasoning when it comes to the things they say, or the things they do within their group.
This episode tried to break up the monotony of the character “development” with a little bit of action, which wasn’t bad, but also wasn’t enough. Everything about Halo: Nightfall progresses at a snail’s pace, and the few minutes of action we got out of the full 23-minute runtime ultimately felt like it was just creating a thread to be followed upon in the next episode, with little rhyme or reason. While Jameson Locke as a character is thankfully well performed by actor Mike Colter, everything about the story being told in this show just feels padded.
With five episodes running at about a half an hour each, the final, full story will be about two-and-a-half hours long. At this point in the narrative, that seems like too much, as the overall thinness of the narrative seems like it would be better served by running maybe an hour. It just feels like the production team is compensating for the lack of punch that the story has by overstuffing each episode with characterizations that are aggravating to watch, and that’s disappointing for a franchise that’s beloved by so many people.
We’re now over the halfway mark for Halo: Nightfall episodes, and hopefully, they were saving the best for last.
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