All the discourse in the world over seeing what’s underneath Master Chief’s helmet, but not a peep over seeing what’s under the suit. Yep, that’s right: In the Halo show, Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) gets naked.
Halo premiered on Paramount+ last month after about a century of development hell, and is surprisingly pretty good. But it isn’t canon, so bear in mind that any nudity won’t have any impact on, say, future Halo Infinite expansions. Still, this is, to the best of my knowledge as a lifelong Halo fan, the first time we’ve officially seen the iconic character in the buff.
By the show’s third episode, “Emergence,” out today on Paramount+, there’s a bullet lodged at the base of his spine. A frighteningly uncanny valley Cortana (Jen Taylor) guides him through some self-surgery, in which he plies the bullet out with a knife. The scene is clearly meant to show Chief and Cortana establishing trust, yet is distracting because, well, you can see Master Chief’s ass—in two separate shots. There’s a strategically placed pillar preventing any view of what’s in front, but yeah: full ass.
It’s not the only time the Halo show has shown someone strip down. Last week’s episode, “Unbound,” also earned its TV-MA rating. Makee (Charlie Murphy), the human woman on board the Covenant base of High Charity, gets naked for the eternally Hollywood-sanctioned reasons of Why Not? (C’mon, you can show brutal scars on a person’s trapezius without showing ass.) The scene is intercut with a pensive therapy session of Master Chief talking to Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone) about how he’s “different” and “doesn’t usually feel anything.”
Wow, I wonder what that’s building to.
If nothing else, the Halo series has shown a willingness to strip its main character of his stoic armor and (literally) show the human underneath. Fans are split, a divide that came to a head (You’re fired – Ed) following the first episode, “Contact,” during which Chief removes his helmet. Some fans were pissed at the divergence from canon. (You never see Master Chief’s full face in the games.) Others appreciated how fresh a move it was. And then you had those in the middle, fans who were cool with seeing Chief’s face but were hoping the show saved it for a moment in the finale, like what Disney+ did with the season-one finale of its thematically similar sci-fi show, The Mandalorian.
Three episodes into Halo, and we’ve already gotten way more than face. For what it’s worth, Cortana is suspiciously human-sized in this adaptation.