Halo Episode 2 Introduces Soren, But Who Is He?

Paramount+ has managed to score a big hit with "Halo," the big-budget streaming adaptation of the wildly popular video games of the same name. Things are moving right along in the first season with the show's second episode recently hitting the streaming service. It brought a lot to the table, revealing more of Master Chief's past, in addition to further exploring the universe, as well as setting the stage for more to come in future episodes. 

One of the most important elements of the latest episode is the introduction of a new character named Soren, who is actually quite important to the framework of the series. We're here to go over what we know about Soren, as well as his roots within the franchise before the show.

Warning: spoilers ahead for "Halo" episode 2. Proceed with caution.

Who is Soren in the Halo TV show?

Soren, aka Soren-066, is arguably the biggest character in "Halo" episode 2, and he is seemingly set up as one of the lynchpin characters of the entire first season. We first meet him in a flashback sequence when he and Master Cheif were much younger and in the Spartan training program. It's a little unclear how Soren came to be a part of the program — was he born into it or was brought there as an infant? In any event, as we come to discover, he and Master Cheif/John had a plan to escape, but John's loyalty wouldn't allow him to go through with it at the pivotal moment.

Instead, he had a change of heart, and, rather than turn Soren in, he gave him five minutes to escape before alerting everyone. Later in the episode, Master Chief and Kwan are in need of somewhere to lay low. They ultimately head to a place called The Rubble, embedded within an asteroid field that is a haven free from the reach of the UNSC. Unsurprisingly, there they meet Soren, who is all grown up and played by "Spider-Man: Homecoming" star Bokeem Woodbine. He offers them safety, food, and shelter.

We come to find that Soren has made a life for himself and others like him who want to be free at The Rubble. While he clearly still harbors some ill-will towards his old pal John, he also feels sorry for him for not being able to escape the cold life of being a Spartan, carrying out marching orders without questioning things. It's the definition of a complicated relationship.

The implications of his actions

Beyond the actual relationship between John and Soren, the actions of this character had real consequences on the world of "Halo." The Spartan program is a tightly run ship, headed up by Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). These soldiers are major assets in the war against the Covenant and, beyond that, great tools of propaganda to get the public on the side of the UNSC. But having Soren escape the clutches of the program was a black mark that they were not willing to risk again. It happened once and only once.

Interestingly enough, in the show's first episode before we actually meet Soren, there is a moment where Halsey enacts something referred to as the "Soren Protocols" once it is believed that Master Chief is going rogue. In hindsight, this is clearly in reference to the fact that Soren escaped the program and, after the fact, those in command were forced to enact new measures in response to the situation. All the while, Master Chief, despite being a model soldier, never said more about his friend or that he had originally planned to leave as well.

Ripped right from canon (just not the games)

One thing that caused quite a bit of uproar when "Halo" was making its way out into the world were comments by producer Steven Kane that they "didn't look at the game" in adapting it for the small screen. While that may have been true, it doesn't mean that they ignored the canon and the lore entirely, and this character is excellent evidence of that. To that end, Soren-066 actually traces his roots to a story in the franchise's expanded universe.

The character was first introduced in the 2009 book "Halo: Evolutions" by Frank O'Connor — specifically one of the short stories within the book titled "Pariah." The story is different as it tells the tale of a Spartan who was deformed during the augmentation process that these super-soldiers go through. But the story does involve Halsey and Soren, and it clearly served as a major source of inspiration for this character and how he is being used in the show. So the canon does come into play here, they just aren't slavishly attempting to adhere to the timeline of the games, instead existing in what has been dubbed the "Silver Timeline" for the sake of creative freedom.

"Halo" is streaming now on Paramount+.