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Film / Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

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The Story of Halo 4 Begins at Dawn.

"Axios!note "

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a live action prequel to Halo 4, canon to the Halo universe, that tells the origin of Commander Thomas Lasky, the executive officer of the very ship (the UNSC Infinity) that rediscovers Master Chief John-117 during the events of Halo 4. Taking place thirty-one years prior to Halo 4 in the year 2526, Lasky is a freshman cadet in Hastati Squad at the Corbulo Academy of Military Science on colony world Circinius IV. He is struggling to live up to the reputations of his mother and brother, while having no particular love for the way the United Nations Space Command is handling the Insurrection. Most of his fellow cadets look down upon him due to his sympathetic views to the Insurrection, although he finds friendship with fellow cadet Chyler Silva.

When the Covenant attack Corbulo Academy, Lasky's life is forever changed, as he is thrust into a new war that no one at Corbulo is equipped to deal with, with Hastati struggling to merely survive against their unknown enemy. However, Lasky also witnesses the Master Chief's heroics during the battle, which may just help him to find his own resolve to fight...


The series was released on YouTube in five separate parts from October 5 - November 2, 2012. Six short promotional pieces that expanded on the background of the characters and universe were released in the weeks leading up to the premiere. An extended cut was included with the Limited Edition of Halo 4, which was later released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 4, 2012 (with a Deluxe Edition released on May 27, 2013).


Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn features examples of:

  • Action Girl: Some of the cadets and officers both in the academy and mentioned as being elsewhere are women, and Chyler is the only cadet who manages to (intentionally) kill some of the attacking Covenant, taking down least three Jackals. There's also Kelly-087, though we only see her after the fighting has stopped.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Lasky brothers' names are Tom and...Cadmon.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Covenant. Big time. In particular, the Zealot that was stalking Hastati squad throughout Episode 4 was pretty clearly enjoying himself, given the laughter and the fact that he was using a cloaking device while hunting some unarmed cadets. There's absolutely no reason for the latter, except to terrorize his helpless victims.
  • Anyone Can Die: Lasky and the Spartans are the only people we know survived. Anyone else is fair game. By the end, only three members of the entire planet's population survive.
  • Arm Cannon: Wielded by Hunters, as usual.
  • Badass Normal: The cadets alternate between this and Action Survivors.
  • Battle Cry: Corbulo Academy's is "Axios", which is Greek for "I am worthy."
  • Berserk Button: From Episode 2: After hearing a fellow cadet snidely remark "Must be tough on your mom, knowing her real son's never coming home", Lasky's response starts with an elbow to the face.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Unarmed and trapped by a murderous invisible Elite (a Zealot, at that), it seems Lasky and his friends can do little but hide and wait for death. Then Master Chief assassinates the laughing alien with his combat knife. Cue the applause of every Halo fan ever. The trope is made literal - The Chief is huge.
    • Prior to that, attempted by the ODSTs. From the Cadets' point of view, the ODSTs' arrival is both a rescue and an Oh, Crap! moment. Unfortunately for them, they are hopelessly outmatched by their enemy.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. April is one of the few survivors, and Dimah was the first to get killed in any case.
  • Break the Cutie: Sullivan is easily the friendliest and most laid-back of Hastati Squad. As of Part 4, he's seen the Covenant massacre the rest of the academy, his roommate has been killed, and he's been nailed in the leg with a needle round.
  • Broad Strokes: See Series Continuity Error. The timeline of when the public first knew of the Covenant attacks along with the first appearances of various types of equipment has always been treated fairly fluidly in the franchise anyways.
  • Career Ending Allergy: In Part 3, Lasky almost gets this, as he turns out to be allergic to an important fluid needed for the cryosleep process. His superiors offered to release him from the academy on a medical discharge. However, we know he doesn't take it.
    Lasky: Apparently I'm allergic to war.
    • And apparently, he still has it even 30+ years later. It's a testament to his Character Development that he has become strong enough to endure it time and time again (though it helps that he ended up with the Navy as opposed to the Marines or Army).
  • Chekhov's Classroom: In Episode 2, the teacher is explaining the Battle of Cannae. She recounts how Hannibal defeated the numerically-superior Roman Legions by leading them into a trap and surrounding them with cavalry, which they couldn't reorganize fast enough to counter, resulting in a swift defeat. Lasky uses similar tactics in a training exercise, setting a trap and successfully ambushing the enemy, then capitalizing on the ensuring chaos. In the last episode, when the only weapon the heroes have left is a grenade, he uses himself as a decoy to distract the Hunter so that the Chief can use it.
  • Child Soldiers: Applicable to some degree to the Corbulo cadets thrust into a war for their survival. Definitely applies to Master Chief. He's only fifteen years old in 2526. This is of course, promptly lampshaded in the last episode.
    Sullivan: How old are all of you?
  • Classified Information:
    • Some files that "Sully" looks at are classified, and he's trying to break the encryption on them. In Part 3, it turns out the files are a SPARTAN-eye-view of UNSC Marines, SPARTANs, and Insurrectionists fighting the Covenant. At the time ONI was still keeping the Covenant's existence largely a secret, and the SPARTANs wouldn't be made public knowledge for years. In other words, very Classified Information.
    • Also the SPARTANs' response to being asked their age: "It's classified."
  • Colonel Badass: Lasky's mother, and Colonel Mehaffy, who served under her.
  • Colossus Climb: In Part 5, John-117 does a small scale one of these to a Hunter, ending with putting a grenade in its approximation of a gut.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: From Master Chief to the understandably shell-shocked Corbulo students.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of the marching chants the cadets use is the same one from Halo: Contact Harvest.
    • In another nod to Contact Harvest, the cadets apparently use the same flesh-numbing TTRs (Tactical Training Rounds) as the Harvest trainees.
    • Part 1 opens up on Cortana's Distress Signal, which she sent at the end of Halo 3.
    • Colonel Mehaffy quotes, "At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box," to Lasky as she gives him his medical discharge papers. This is a translation of the Italian phrase Cortana says when she is first activated.
    • Doubling as foreshadowing and a freeze-frame bonus, there's graffiti on the architecture of Corbulo Academy that states "Forward Unto Death", written in a very similar style to the graffiti scattered around New Mombasa in Halo 3: ODST
    • While Chief appears to be wearing Mark VI armor 26 years too early, its distinct shoulder pads show that it's actually the Mark IV variant depicted in The Package, which have blunter shoulder pads than the Mark VI.
    • In Part 3, Sully finally finishes touching up his classified ONI video; it shows a helmet (aka first-person) view of a SPARTAN mission gone haywire. None of the cadets have any idea what they are, as the supersoldiers would not go public till much later.
  • Cool Car: The production team only had one drivable Warthog, but it shows up in many different shots, most visibly in the climax.
  • Cool Helmet: Several iconic ones from the franchise: Spartan and ODST helmets, as well as UNSC marine headgear.
  • Creator Cameo: Frank O'Conner (aka Frankie), the Franchise Development Director for the Halo series, makes an appearance in episode 2 as a janitor at the Military Academy.
  • Cryonics Failure: A minor example: being flash unfrozen is part of the cadets' training, and Lasky suffers some pretty bad cryo burns on his hands and back. This is actually an in-universe danger of entering cryosleep while clothed. Lasky's particular example is due to a serious allergy to cytoprethaline, a drug used in cryosleep.
  • Curse Cut Short: In Episode 3, as the ODSTs rain down around the Academy, Vickers utters the line "What the..." before trailing off. His mouth, however, quite clearly forms the next word.
  • Cutting the Knot: John-117's response to a Locked Door? Punch it down.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: Of a sort in Episode 1, which, when the flashback starts, begins in a combat exam at Corbulo Academy, but is only revealed as such when Orenski walks up to Lasky after shooting him from a longer range with a TTR round.
  • Darker and Edgier: The series from Part 3 onward gives us a taste of what it's like to be on the recieving end of a Covenant assault and not be an augmented Super Soldier.
  • Deflector Shields: Averted. The Spartans are canonically supposed to be wearing MJOLNIR Mk.IV armor as of the series, which doesn't possess shields. This is demonstrated in the lack of golden shield-crackle when taking damage, but interestingly, even the unshielded armor seems to be capable of shattering Needler rounds on impact.
  • Distress Signal:
    • Part 1 has adult Lasky on the UNSC Infinity listening to Cortana's beacon from the Forward Unto Dawn, which had been playing since the end of Halo 3.
    • Cadet Lasky also sends one early in Part 4.
  • Doomed by Canon: See Anyone Can Die above.
  • The Dreaded: Hunters. Other Covenant species retreat when they show up (in the first book, it's shown that Hunters will literally squash lesser Covenant into a pancake if they don't get out of the way in time), and the Chief's only advice for the cadets is to run as fast as they can and stop for nothing. When they see the first one dwarfing the Chief, they take his advice.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The tendency of Halo NPCs towards this is lampshaded in Part 5.
    Lasky: It's harder than it looks!
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: For Lasky's older brother, anyway, who was an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, the elite members of the UNSC Marine Corps and second only to the Spartans. There is no such implication for the people at the academy.
  • Enemy Mine: In Part 3, the classified combat footage Sullivan cracks is shown to be Spartans, ODSTs, and Innies all fighting together against something (clearly the Covenant). Silva later wonders what could possibly make the UNSC fight alongside the Insurrectionists.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: As of Part 4: Lasky, Chyler, Orenski and Sullivan are the only surviving humans on the entire planet other than the Spartans. Chyler bites it by the end.
  • Evil Laugh: In Part 4, an Elite Zealot gives one as he approaches the surviving members of Hastati Squad, going in for the kill. Cue a combat knife In the Back.
  • The Faceless: John-117. At the end, when the other Fred and Kelly remove their helmets in front of the survivors, they look at the Chief, whose only response is to adjust his grip on his rifle and stare out the back of the Pelican.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Cortana when her true form is revealed in Part 5.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Episode 1, Sullivan is seen watching classified combat footage ONI is trying to cover up, General Black is seen nervously scanning the sky while ordering his troops around, and, toward the end while everyone sleeps, a computer screen glitches, showing strange triangular figures for an instant, while outside an object is seen falling from the sky.
    • In Episode 2, the "rebels" the ODSTs are fighting are firing weapons with an odd green glow.
    • At certain points, the comms systems can be overheard saying that there is a curfew in place, and that the communications are down due to damage - both of which are elements of the "WINTER CONTINGENCY" protocol that we saw in Halo: Reach, which is only activated if the Covenant show up.
  • Four-Star Badass: General Black.
  • Freak Out: Everyone in Hastati Squad starts freaking out when the Covenant show up. Very justified, given that they're in the middle of an Alien Invasion no had told them about.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When the monitor flickers at the end of Episode 1, you can catch a split-second glimpse of Covenant symbols flashing across the screen.
    • In-universe, Sullivan pauses a frame that gives us a glimpse of a soldier wearing unfamiliar armor. None of the cadets have any idea who it is, but the armor and 104 on his chest gives us viewers a pretty good idea.
      • Double whammy: Sully pauses that same frame again to catch the distinct visual of a sword-wielding Elite in said armored soldier's visor. Again, nobody in-verse has any idea what they're looking at, and most, if not all, of the audience does.
  • Friendly Sniper: Silva is one of the friendliest cadets, and said to be an excellent shot. She later proves this with a Carbine.
  • From Bad to Worse: In Part 3 Lasky finds out that he has a cryo allergy that may get him drummed out of the academy just when he was starting to earn some respect. And then the Covenant invades.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: At the Beginning of Part 4, we see the Colonel get hit by Needler shards before falling out of view. As soon as she does, there's an explosion from where she fell. Chances are the results would not have been pretty if it happened onscreen.
  • Hand Cannon: The M6 pistol makes its appearance as one of the Chief's signature weapons.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When the rest of Hastati squad is about to be found by an elite, Vickers pops out of cover, distracting it momentarily.
    • Senseless Sacrifice: Which was rendered moot by the hiding Cadets noisily crying out his name. Also, since the Master Chief showed up seconds later, it's possible Vickers would still be alive if he had just kept quiet.
  • Holographic Terminal: All of the terminals at Corbulo Academy seem to be of this type, as per much of UNSC equipment.
  • Improbable Age: Shown after a Reveal in the finale, when the Spartans take off their helmets and show that they are not any older than the academy cadets. Their training since childhood and augmentations make them far more deadly than could be expected of someone so young.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In Part 4 John-117 kills three sniper Jackals with one bullet each from his classic M-6 pistol while at a dead sprint.
  • Insert Grenade Here: While Lasky acts as a decoy, Master Chief uses this to solve the problem of the second Hunter.
  • In the Back: How John-117 saves the surviving members of Hastati Squad from an Elite in Part 4.
  • Death of a Child: In Part 3, the Covenant destroy the tether of a space elevator that was transporting teenage cadets up into space to evacuate. It's then made worse when the tether collapses onto the building that the rest of the cadets were waiting in, undoubtedly killing more. Making things even worse, almost a full minute after the tether is destroyed, screaming cadets who had been falling from the destroyed elevator begin crashing to the ground. Then there's four more such scenes in Part 4; a cadet being graphically impaled on an Elite's energy sword, the respective scenes of J.J. and Vickers being killed by the same Elite, and when the remnants of Hastati follow the Chief outside and find dozens of bodies laying around, many of them in cadet uniforms.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Played straight with Vickers, who's instantly killed by a plasma round, but averted with Silva, whose death via needle round is pretty slow and painful. Subverted with Mehaffy; the needles themselves may or may not have been instantly fatal, but them exploding sure as hell was.
  • It's Raining Men:
    • As stated above, Cadmon Lasky was an ODST. In Part 3, it starts raining men onscreen when the Covenant attack begins as ODSTs deploy to help evacuate the Academy/fight the Covenant on the ground. They do not succeed.
    • In the same episode, played much more morbidly when people start falling from the destroyed space tether. Worse in that it takes about a minute between the elevator getting hit and people actually hitting the ground; they were falling for quite a while.
  • The Leader: Senior Cadet April Orenski is the squad leader of Hastati Squad, with Walter Vickers serving as team leader during exercises. In Part 2, Lasky takes over the position of team leader.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Lasky in Part 1, which pisses off his squadmates as it brings down all of their combat scores. It even got him demoted from team leader.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Spartans. Master Chief is shown to be inhumanly strong, stealthy and fast in combat: he's able to tear open a secure weapons locker with ease, kill an invisible Sangheili commando without being detected, and disappear in the blink of an eye. He also managed to run back a good twenty feet to protect Sully from taking another needle round. He's also able to take repeated hits from Covenant weapons without injury. All this is justified by his augmentations and Mark-IV Powered Armor (which is shown in the expanded universe to be pretty resilient even without shields).
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The focus of the story is always on Lasky and the other cadets, and once the fighting starts they only catch glimpses of the heroics Master Chief gets involved in.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The death of the second Hunter in Part 5, thanks to the grenade going off both very close to the Fuel Rod Gun and inside the Hunter.
  • Meaningful Name: Hastati Squad. In the days of the Roman Republic, the Hastati were the young, less-experienced troops that went into battle first.
  • Military Academy: The Corbulo Academy of Military Science, which is for the children of the elite of UNSC society.
  • Military Brat: Many of the cadets, including Lasky, Silva, Orenski, and Dimah.
    • In Part 3, Dimah uses her mothers rank to get on the Space Elevator and even threatens a Marine's career if she isn't allowed passage. She gets killed when the Covenant Corvettes fire on the Space Elevator.
  • Moment Killer: In Part 3, Lasky and Silva get their first kiss in, but an air-raid alarm and evacuation and Covenant attack made it hard to get anything more done.
  • Multinational Team: Due to the nature of the UNSC, most of Hastati Squad hail from different planets.
  • Named by Democracy: How Cadmon Lasky became known to his ODST squad as "Volcano". He nearly ruined two outfits after getting a mouthful of local river water.
  • No Name Given: In the credits, Fred-104 is listed merely as "SPARTAN," despite the producers of the series having clearly gone out of their way to sneak him in.
  • Obscured Special Effects: The Covenant attack takes place at night, and the Covenant infantry and ships are typically seen from a distance, obscured by fog or dirty glass, or seen reflected off helmet visors. Even the one Elite featured for an extended chunk of time spends most of it cloaked. It works pretty well for dramatic purposes, especially because the audience knows what they're dealing with, but the characters don't, not to mention helping to crank up the suspense on their eventual arrival.
  • Offhand Backhand: The second Hunter manages to knock the Master Chief away with one of these the first time he tried to sneak up on it - staying true to the formidable in-game melee strength demonstrated by the species.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We tend to only see the tail end of Master Chief's more impressive moments, with the exception of taking out the second hunter.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • A few in Part 3:
      • When Sully's Holographic Terminal suddenly shuts down as he is showing to Lasky a video he hacked into, Sully panics and thinks that ONI managed to trace it back to him, causing him to run off to ask Dimah to speak with her mother on his behalf. However, the computer likely shut down due to the Covenant attacking the planet.
      • Hastati as a whole gets a moment of this when ODSTs start dropping onto academy grounds. Promptly trumped by a bigger Oh, Crap! when three Covenant Corvettes appear overhead and cut the tether with plasma fire, killing Dimah.
    • In Part 4, Hastati is hiding in Lasky's domicile when they hear a scream. Lasky looks outside and sees an Elite yanking his sword out of a dead cadet. It sees him looking at it and promptly vanishes.
      Lasky: It's invisible.
      Vickers: What the hell is invisible?!
      Lasky: One of those things is inside and it's invisible.
    • J.J. has a visible look of shock on his face right before he gets impaled by the above-mentioned Elite's energy sword.
    • Even the Chief gets an implied moment of this when he sees the first Hunter. Cue all of the surviving cadets getting one as well when they see it TOWERING over him. Then they find out that there's a SECOND one, and the Chief used up all his ammo to deal with the first one.
    • And then it turns out that in Forward Unto Dawn, this is an equal-opportunity trope. Specifically, the last grunt from that second Hunter after Chief stuffs a grenade into its gut sounds an awful lot like Covenant for "Oh, Crap!".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The cadets are well aware of the anger and resentment the Insurrectionists hold toward the UNSC. So when Sully accesses a classified video showing Insurrectionists teaming up with UNSC forces, they realize that the unseen enemy must be a serious threat.
  • Origin Story: The film serves as one for Lasky.
  • Parental Abandonment: Silva's parents were killed in combat against the Insurrection.
  • The Plan: Lasky comes up with one in the final training exercise in Part 2. It went perfectly, despite Lasky passing out suddenly.
  • Playful Hacker: In several parts of the series, Michael "Sully" Sullivan is seen looking through classified files, though he doesn't exactly seem to be up to no good in terms of trying to hurt someone.
    • The Cracker: Dips into this when the file begins to come together in Part 2, and it's shown to be a video from Section II of ONI that has been restored to its original form, pre-propaganda. Sully tells Dimah not to tell her parents about it.
  • Powered Armor: The Spartan's MJOLNIR armor.
  • P.O.V. Cam: In Part 3, the footage the cadets watch is revealed to be John-117's helmet cam, during an Enemy Mine situation where the Insurrection and UNSC team up against the Covenant.
  • The Reveal: The Cadets believe Master Chief to be some sort of robot, until at the end when a couple of other Spartans remove their helmets and reveal themselves to be human underneath the armor.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Dimah, J.J., and Vickers.
  • Sanity Slippage: In the intro to Part 3, Cortana rapidly vacillates between displaying her usual concern for the Chief and resenting him, literally arguing with herself over him as both a kind and a merciless voice. Her ongoing rampancy becomes a plot point in Halo 4.
    Cortana: I need to think.
    Cortana: Thinking is what's killing you.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Covenant, as usual.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Some weapons, vehicles, and equipment from the FPS games show up here 26+ years before they were supposed to be in service. The Watsonian explanation is that we're seeing the prototype versions. The Doylist explanation is that the production re-used costumes and props from previous live-action promos (namely Halo 3's "Landfall" , Halo 3: ODST's "The Life", and Halo: Reach's "Deliver Hope"), as well as digital assets from Halo 4.
    • Halo 4-era armor designs are used for the Covenant, because, well, the series is basically advertising for Halo 4. In-universe, 343 has justified it by noting that the Halo 4 Covenant (technically a Remnant of the original Covenant) are using a lot of equipment that are actually older models than the ones in the chronologically earlier Bungie games, since newer gear has become somewhat scarce after the Great Schism, particularly for rogue splinter groups like 4's Covies.
  • She Is the King: Female officers at Corbulo are referred to as "sir".
  • Space Navy: The United Nations Space Command Navy.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Master Chief, in the middle of a shootout with a unit of Jackal snipers. A simple way of demonstrating his superhuman speed despite his armor's weight.
  • The Squad: Hastati Squad.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In the final episode, Lasky is shown to have kept Silva's tags after her death.
  • Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: At the end, the UNSC Infinity is seen going into slipspace with a large accompanying fleet.
  • Stock Scream: Listen closely during the classified video Hastati Squad watches; you can hear the Wilhelm Scream. It happens as a trooper is thrown by an explosion.
  • The Stoic: Master Chief, unsurprisingly, but it's worth noting the effect that it has here. Sully's attempt at banter is met with dead silence. In an After Dawn interview the actor portraying the Chief highlights this as part of the character: John-117, at that point in his life, is nigh incapable of anything that doesn't get the job done in the most efficient way possible. It drives home that the Chief isn't just different physically, he is extremely different mentally.
  • Super Soldier: John-117 and his fellow Spartan-IIs, Kelly-087 and Fred-104.
  • Taking the Needle: Towards the end of Episode 4, Sully's hit in the leg by a Needle Rifle round. We see a Jackal sniper fire another round, and the Chief manages to move in front of Sully before the round strikes; being a heavily armored Super Soldier, he doesn't sustain an injury from this.
  • Tracking Device: All UNSC helmets have this as an IFF feature, including the students at Corbulo Academy, where students on combat exercises are monitored through their use. In Part 2, Lasky leads his team to victory in an exercise by taking advantage of this.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: the fact that John-117 shows up in this series was not precisely a secret. That's why his presence isn't hidden behind spoilers. (His actions are—we know he's going to kick ass, but the how is the fun part.)
  • Too Dumb to Live: If there's a massive space armada beating the snot out of your ships and defense stations, the LAST thing you do is get into the biggest, juiciest target... a SPACE ELEVATOR. That thing is just a "Shoot Me" sign a hundred miles high.
  • Uncanny Valley: Spartans without their helmets fall into this. This was likely intentional, since they've been trained and augmented so far beyond human potential. This comprises having faces too-youthful for their size (the youthful faces are right for their age, the size of the bodies on which those faces rest is what is unnatural), too-pale skin (from having spent most of their time in armor), and otherworldly eyes (due to their ocular augmentations.)
  • The Unmasking: In the Pelican Drop Ship at the end, Kelly and Fred remove their helmets, revealing youthful faces, covered in small scars. They are about the same age as the cadets, though their scars demonstrate the amount of action they have seen. The Master Chief remains The Faceless, partly because it's expected of him by the fans and partly because he's being played by an adult actor.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In Part 2, Lasky's plan to win the final training exercise, unknown to everyone but him. Wait until the enemies grow impatient and start searching for them, then remove their helmets. Once the enemy finds their discarded helmets, Hastati squad opens fire on the confused men. Now that the opposition is disorganized and routed, it's an easy shot to secure the flag. At least until Lasky suddenly passes out.
  • Veteran Instructor: General Black and Colonel Mehaffy.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The cadets, upon exiting cryosleep in Part 1. According to Halo canon, vomiting is a result of the "food" supplement that soldiers have to ingest prior to entering cryo.
    • Somewhat of a Running Gag: no character as of yet has actually swallowed it upon waking like they're supposed to.
  • Watching Troy Burn: When the surviving members of Hastati Squad are moving toward the evacuation point, they pass many dead soldiers and cadets, giving this impression.
    • Played straight as the pelican door closes we get to see that the corvettes have already begun glassing the academy.
  • We Wait: In the final combat exercise in Part 2, Lasky has his squad wait (for quite a bit, as they're seen idly picking at plants and checking their weapons). Turns out it's all part of the plan.
  • Where's My Gun?: The cadets find themselves scrambling to get weapons and live ammo in the face of a Covenant invasion. Making matters worse is that the storage locker for the weapons and ammo is password protected, and the system is malfunctioning. Clearly no one in the UNSC ever thought to use a simple key and padlock system, which can at least be smashed off in an emergency... like when genocidal aliens are invading.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Episode 2. After failing many combat exercises in a row, a clever trap planned by the squad's resident unfavorite cadet Lasky is on the verge of scoring them a success. And then Lasky suddenly falls unconscious mid-run.
    • However, they still win the exercise, but almost lose Lasky when he finds the reason for passing out is almost career-ending.