Halo Season 2 Finally Confirms Who The Arbiter Is In Episode 5

Halo Season 2 has finally confirmed the TV series version of pivotal Covenant warrior The Arbiter.

Halo Season 2 has finally dropped all mystery or ambiguity surrounding one of the franchise’s most pivotal characters, as Episode 5, Aleria, finally acknowledges the Covenant Arbiter by his name and rank!

(SPOILERS) One of the most important plotlines of Halo Season 2 has seen Master Chief’s (Pablo Schreiber) AI companion Cortana (voice of Jen Taylor, body of Christina Bennington) separated from him. ONI leaders Col. James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan) and Admiral Parangosky (Shabana Azmi) kept Cortana hidden on reach at a secret ONI facility; during the Battle of Reach, the Covenant’s “Blessed One” Makee (Charlie Murphy) and her elites breached the facility and stole Cortana. 

(Photo: Paramount+)

“Aleria” finds Makee back on the ship of Elite warrior Var ‘Gatanai, who led the infiltration and decimation of Reach, once again faced Master Chief in a fierce duel, and killed Spartan Silver Team member Vannak (Bentley Kalu). Var is angry with Makee for sparing Master Chief’s life a second time on Reach (after she already did so during the Battle of Sanctuary), but Makee leverages Cortana and its tactical usefulness as further warranty on her life. Makee finally gets Cortana to go online and speak with her, explaining that the AI has been captured by Var ‘Gatanai, “The Arbiter.” 

There were a lot of fans who first started theorizing that the Covenant Sangheili warrior we saw battling Master Chief in the Season 1 finale (and gaining favor) was destined to be The Arbiter. That evidence kept mounting in Season 2, as the few seasons of Makee and her companion we saw, certainly hinted at the religious fanaticism and bold mission of The Arbiter. Now, Var ‘Gatanai (played by actor Viktor Akerblom) is a full confirmed and realized person in the series, already set to be the pivotal character we know from the Halo game series. 

Who Is Halo’s Arbiter? Explained

(Photo: Bungie)

Gamers were formerly introduced to The Arbiter as a playable character in Halo 2 (2004), and then again in Halo 3 (2007). The name “Arbiter” is actually a title of honor(?) bestowed by Covenant leaders, The Hierarchs, upon a Sanghelli warrior deemed to be the “chosen one” in times of great crisis. 

After Master Chief destroyed the Halo ring in the first game and defeated the Covenant forces, the Supreme Commander of the Covenant Fleet, Thel ‘Vadamee, was put on trial for his defeat at Master Chief’s hands and loss of the Forerunner relic. Instead of being executed, the Hierarchs made Thel the new Arbiter, cutting his full name down to “Thel ‘Vadam,” branding him with a mark of shame, and giving him the sacred armor. The Arbiter was sent on many deadly missions against the UNSC, The Flood, and even Covenant separatists but survived them all. 

Eventually, Thel became Master Chief’s ally when he learned from a Flood Gravemend that the Covenant prophecy of “The Great Journey” via the Halo rings was a lie used to manipulate the Covenant ranks, and that the rings destroyed all life as means of galatic renewal. Thel eventually killed the Covenant Prophet of Truth, took leadership of the Sangheili, and helped broker a peace that ended the Sangheili’s war with the humans. 

Obviously, the Halo TV series is going a different route, but the foundation is much the same: Var ‘Gatanai became Arbiter in the shadow of defeat after the Battle of Raas Kkhotskha; he seeks redemption by defeating “The Demon” (Master Chief), and he currently is a reverent believer in the Great Journey prophecy. However, thanks to Makee’s presence in the show, The Arbiter has already started his bend towards breaking ranks from Covenant leadership. 

Halo Season 2 releases new episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+. 


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