With exams looming and Master Chief inbound, part two takes us one step closer to Laskey's transformation into a badass capable of dealing with the Covenant invasion.
Part two begins on board Master Chief's Forward Unto Dawn spaceship, which we find out has been floating aimlessly in space for 1651 days, six hours and 19 minutes. Thank goodness therefore for cryo chambers, because no amount of bizarre space television would stave off cabin fever for that amount of time.
Back at the Corbulo Academy of Military Science, the cadets are abruptly awoken as part of a combat readiness drill, carried out as punishment for Laskey's inability to follow orders in the previous episode. Presumably Aslan used to run similar drills in Narnia, because Chyler Silva very nearly breaks the academy record.
Unfortunately for Laskey and his arch-nemesis cadet Vickers, the punishment doesn't end there, as commanding officer April Orenski ruthlessly deprives them of their yummy academy quiche in the cafeteria. Unhappy with his punishment, Vickers berates Laskey about his dead brother, which leads to a fist fight, with Laskey the surprising victor.
Bloodied and bruised - and with a ticking off from who we assume is his mother - Laskey returns to his bunk to watch more family videos of his brother in action, just in case anybody was unsure about how much he misses him. Here's hoping the makers don't try to remind us again, because we're starting to resent the poor guy.
With a military strategy class unable to quell Laskey's insubordination, love interest Silva gives our protagonist a motivational speech in a bid to make a leader out of him. Meanwhile, Silva's motivations are finally made clear with the revelation that her parents were killed in action.
As it turns out, Silva's pep talk worked, because after a period of soul-searching, Laskey volunteers to lead the cadet's final field exam, much to the chagrin of Vickers and Orenski. It's a risky move too, because failure will see the class fail to graduate and Laskey "running tour duty for the rest of the year".
To show how seriously the cadets are taking the final exam, we're treated to a montage of them shaving their heads, ironing their uniforms and lining up rows of bullets. If this were a Rocky film, it would probably have been accompanied by 'Hearts on Fire' or a similarly inspirational slice of '80s rock.
In what's sure to please fans of the shooter franchise, the final exam takes the form of a game of capture-the-flag, with Laskey's blue team taking on the nameless reds. Vickers clearly wasn't listening in class, and his frankly stupid idea to go head-to-head with the enemy is quickly shot down by the more patient Laskey.
In a moment akin to Luke Skywalker deactivating his target computer, Laskey's team remove their helmets and take the red team by surprise, something we'd love to be able to do in multiplayer matches. With the flag in touching distance, Laskey's ill health finally gets the better of him and he collapses. Is this the end of Laskey's military career? Will Vickers ever taste academy quiche again? We'll have to wait until next week to find out.
Although we enjoyed the game of capture-the-flag at the end, this second episode was once again a bit short on action. The bulk of the episode involved Laskey pining after his brother and generally upsetting his fellow cadets. While we love a good character-driven serial, we're not sure if it's Forward Unto Dawn's strong point.
Fortunately, next week's episode promises explosions, gunfights and even a kiss, so there's hope yet for the Halo miniseries. We're also keen to find out what happened to Laskey's class after his collapse, but hopefully not at the expense of a bit of action.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn will return for episode three next Friday, October 19 at Machinima.
Watch the second episode of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn below: