Flapper space wife is back. She says some sensible stuff that’s largely ignored, and totally won’t come back to bite her husband. This is the burden of Flapper Space Wife. But first!
I ended last week’s rundown by saying “Halo” had found its true voice, centering itself on Natascha McElhone’s brilliant portrayal of Natascha McElhone as she smirks vengeance at anyone who dares turn her monologue into a dialogue.
I even said: “What about Kwan Ha, Soren, and their rebellion against the Rhyming Dictator? The show may have realized it had no clue where its B-plot was going and cut it out. We see them fleetingly in episode 5 before they disappear completely in ep 6. Buuut, it’s “Halo”, so I’m sure the next episode will be entirely about them”.
Yeah sure, betting on horse racing is legal, but there’s no betting market for future “Halo” plotlines. That’s my calling. I coulda been someone. I could’ve gone on that midnight edition of Sportscenter that’s all about gambling and tolerated Scott Van Pelt long enough to explain the betting ins and outs of calling future “Halo” episodic arcs. But that’s too ridiculous! Let’s just stick to reasonable things, like betting on which horse can tolerate the largest amount of drugs the longest. And you wonder why I keep watching “Halo” instead.
We open with a flashback to when Kwan Ha was younger. It shows us that she was once angry at her dad for leading the rebellion that she now wants to lead. The only thing this makes us understand better is how “Halo” isn’t capable of portraying character development. It just gives you flashbacks where the characters were totally different in order to make you go, “Huh, I guess they must’ve learned and changed in a more interesting episode I didn’t get to see”.
Cut to Soren, Kwan Ha’s erstwhile chaperone. He’s having a party with his flapper space wife and their flapper space family. Naturally, this must be a flashback as well – the last we saw of him his double-cross of Kwan Ha was double-crossed and he was stranded unconscious in the desert without a ship. The show wouldn’t steal from us the tale of how he managed to escape a desert planet with no money or transport, would it yesitwould.
Soren’s just suddenly back home with no explanation for how he got there. But there is talk of how he came back without his ship, his valuable bounty, or his payment. What is that talk? Will it tell us how he made it back to his asteroid colony faster than it’s taking Kwan Ha to drive 100 miles? It’s not that sort of talk. It’s more like an amorphous, non-specific talk that fades into an incoherent mumbling, like the showrunners trying to explain where the fucking budget went, or a Bob Dylan lyric.
It’s enough talk to set up an incoming plot point, but not so much as to explain the several that just got skipped.
In front of Soren’s entire party, his business partner Squirrel is all like, “Have you heard the talk? It’s a-mumbling”. Why’s his name Squirrel? Who knows anymore.
Soren takes offense at this. He asks Squirrel if he thinks Soren’s lost a step. Squirrel is kind of frenetic in an anxious way – maybe that’s why he’s named Squirrel. Anyway, he backs off and Flapper Space Wife ™ collects Soren, but not before he lays this line down. Check it out, this is why you watch seven episodes deep: “Looks like Squirrel found his nuts”. Oh shit! That’s why he’s named Squirrel! For that line. So the writers could put that line in the dialogue! Emmys here we come!
Later, Soren regrets leaving Kwan Ha on Madrigal. Flapper Space Wife tells him she knows that Kwan Ha’s still alive cause Vinsher just tripled the bounty on her.
What about that rhyming dictator? Vinsher’s more into free verse now, OK? He rides around the desert in a black SUV spamming lines that want to be like Shakespeare at a driver who probably doesn’t get paid enough for this shit.
And folks? You haven’t lived until you’ve seen his trenchcoat made entirely from backpack mesh pockets. Oh, you think I’m kidding:
This guy’s awesome. Those pockets were on every backpack made in the 90s and 2000s. He must’ve hunted every single one of them down to have that coat made, Cruella de Vil style. Of course, he’s a dictator, so I’m sure it’s bulletproof, like every backpack made in the 2020s.
So he’s being driven around, wearing his backpack coat EVERYWHERE, and spitting free verse like the only way to save the old student center is to beat Anne Waldman one-on-one in a Poetry Battle at Bennington Parents Weekend, and he only just learned what poetry is from his drunk roommate last night.
Meanwhile, Kwan Ha’s located the desert witches who can prophesy her fate. It’s refreshing to see such an original plot point in sci-fi for once. Their religion seems to be based around wearing extremely fake white wigs. The head desert witch, Desiderata (I shit you not) is all like, “I don’t know, you’re too angry. The only way you can prove yourself is to drink this juice I just made from fire”.
PSA: This is an example of peer pressure. If someone ever makes you hand flame juice, don’t drink that shit. Kwan Ha does, and the vision she has is actually kind of cool. She has to fight Master Chief, who unmasks even in her dream, but of course she can’t even dent him. It’s only when she realizes she doesn’t have to fight Master Chief in her vision and they can just hold hands that he remembers his stage directions and Carlos Castanedas her over to her father.
Her dad tells her that their family are the protectors of a portal. To where? He won’t tell her, but I’m totes mega sure it won’t have anything to do with the Halo ringworld that Master Chief and Makee had a vision of last week. I’m sure it’s a portal to the nowhere else that’s been mentioned in the show so far instead.
Meanwhile meanwhile, Soren and Squirrel are stealing a super-engine from the UNSC that’s going to make their ships extremely fast and it’s…like smaller than a car engine. In the universe that’s made a point of still using AK-47s 500 years from now. Sure. Soren catches Squirrel in a trap that relies on Squirrel putting his foot under a loaded shipping pallet so Soren can drop it on his toes cause there’s no way anyone can foresee Day One fucking OSHA training. How bout those nuts, Squirrel? Almonds and acorns, and I like cashews, those are good, pecan pie’s my favorite, are macademias overrated, I don’t know where I’m going with this, I’m clearly not the writer these “Halo” guys are.
I want to take a moment to highlight that their pirate crew is dressed like they’re characters from “Unreal Tournament 2004”, i.e. Cliff Bleszinski’s BDSM-tinged vision of corporate space future that’s also arguably the best multiplayer FPS ever made.
Come to think of it, Flapper Space Wife is more like Ska Emo Space Wife in this one, like if Gwen Stefani had gone club goth instead of marrying Gavin Rossdale. That’s probably the good timeline.
Soren gets back to Madrigal in the time it takes Kwan Ha to drive to a place the Desert Witches can clearly fucking see from their camp. So that’s Soren out of Madrigal and back to it in the space of a scene when earlier in the series they made it abundantly clear what an incredible and expensive pain it was for him to get there. Maybe he used the new carburetor he stole from the UNSC; we’ll never know.
Soren joins Kwan Ha as Vinsher descends on her, and Vinsher’s troops – all wearing trench coats in the desert – wander straight into a deuterium fuel field. Needless to say, they’re surprised when they’re blown up, Vinsher’s caught in the blast, and I’m totally sure his backpack mesh pocket coat didn’t save him and he won’t be back in a future episode with the make-up team going overboard on scars and burn texture. Seriously, let me bet on this nonsense.
I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I do think this was one of the better episodes of “Halo”. It’s certainly the best of the Kwan Ha plot so far, because she’s actually written to do something now. It works. I’m not sure what show it works for, but it works.
What about Natascha McElhone, Master Chief, and Cortana? The show may have realized it had no clue where its A-plot was going and cut it out. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Because I can’t.
You can watch “Halo” on Paramount Plus, but only if you’ve finished your OSHA training.
Help me reach my dream of one day having a backpack mesh pocket coat.