The Halo: Reach Easter Egg You May Have Missed In Halo Episode 2

There's no medium quite like movies or television where creatives are able to flex their nerd knowledge on the biggest possible stage and pack popular stories full of Easter eggs, references, and various namedrops to other aspects of a particular franchise. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, to name just one ongoing and successful storyline, has turned Easter egg hunts into a cottage industry of sorts — not a single movie or streaming series goes by without viewers of all stripes pouring over the footage for any and all little hints that clever filmmakers couldn't resist throwing into the background of busy scenes. "Halo," the new Paramount+ streaming series, is certainly no exception to that rule. In addition to all the familiar staples preserved from the action-packed video game franchise (along with plenty of not-so-familiar divergences, too!), last week's premiere certainly kept fans busy with a cornucopia of fun treats aimed toward the most observant (obsessive?) among us.

Much of the same certainly applies to last night's follow-up episode as well, titled "Unbound." We covered many of the biggest can't-miss references and repurposed bits of "Halo" lore in the episode recap, but there's yet another seemingly minor one that those who've played the various games in the franchise certainly won't miss. And for those who did, well, none of us are perfect! It's not like you're a Spartan, after all. In any case, this particular Easter egg concerns a certain spaceship featured in a blink-and-miss moment towards the end of the episode. With the Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and Kwan (Yerin Ha) on the run from the UNSC (the latter with a bounty on her head), the unlikely twosome hole up in the hidden confines of the Rubble, led by John-117's former squadmate and friend Soren (Bokeem Woodbine).

By the end of the episode, alarming new information about the Halo ring motivates John to leave Kwan behind and turn himself in to face the music. This means turning on the beacon to his commandeered Pelican dropship (okay technically it's a repurposed Pelican known as a Condor, but I promise this is mostly just splitting hairs), alerting his fellow Spartans (Kate Kennedy's Kai, Bentley Kalu's Vannak, and Natasha Culzac's Riz) who are currently in pursuit. But it's the specific name of their ship mentioned in communications to the UNSC, the Stalwart Dawn, that may sound familiar to anyone who's ever played "Halo: Reach."

What's in a name?

Not to belabor the point, but this "Halo" series takes place in a separate and standalone timeline (referred to as the Silver Timeline) from the actual games and novels in the franchise. In that light, any explicit references to aspects from the expanded universe should be treated as their own thing entirely (such as Soren originating from one such novel but reimagined entirely for the purposes of the show), as opposed to a direct adaptation. With that said, however, one fun Easter egg you may have missed in "Halo" episode 2 concerns the Stalwart Dawn. Though only briefly glimpsed in the series, this UNSC ship actually comes with interesting trivia stemming from the games — particularly "Halo: Reach."

While the main "Halo" games get most of the spotlight, there's also the "Halo: Reach" spin-off released in 2010 (developed concurrently alongside yet another spin-off, "Halo 3: ODST"). The game brushed up against some of the events depicted in "Halo: The Fall of Reach," itself a prequel novel detailing the Master Chief's upbringing in the Spartan program and his actions leading up to the very opening moments of the original game, "Combat Evolved." However, "Halo: Reach" introduced viewers to a brand new squad of Spartans, Noble Team, located on the important — but ultimately doomed — UNSC military world of Reach (which was also glimpsed in the flashback scene of last night's episode).

The Stalwart Dawn factors into the "Seven Samurai" and "The Magnificent Seven"-inspired plot in a brief, but key, scene. When the Covenant juggernaut, inexorably winning the war against humanity and whittling down UNSC worlds, finally sets its sights on the Inner Colony world of Reach, the direst battle of the entire war breaks out in earnest. At one point in the campaign story, "Halo: Reach" dispatches the main character, Spartan-B312 (aka Noble Six), to the city of New Alexandria to defend against a Covenant attack. The Stalwart Dawn, stationed above the city's starport, assisted in the evacuation of citizens. However, its failure to provide any actual fighters directly led to the deaths of many innocents.

It's a fascinating bit of "Halo" lore to repurpose for the series, perhaps suggesting that we may eventually see the series adapt "Halo: Reach" in some fashion, either this season or next.

New episodes of "Halo" stream every Thursday on Paramount+.