Lasky: Chief, I won’t pretend to know how you feel. I’ve lost people I care about, but never anything you’re going through.
Why is this important?
Because Lasky has lost everyone. His brother, Cadmon. His squadmates: Chyler, Dima, JJ, Vickers. His instructor, Colonel Mehaffey. His Commanding Officer General Black. All of his schoolmates save for Michael Sullivan and April Orenski. And at this point in the universe, he has probably lost his mother too. And this is just the ones we know. We know nothing of his time as a Navy pilot, or really anything between Corbulo and the UNSC Infinity.
So here we have this character who has gone through so much pain and suffering comforting John, who, in retrospect, only lost an AI. Not a flesh and bone person, not someone who lived a long life, or had a life cut short or anything really comparable to the losses Lasky has suffered. Yet, he still finds it within himself to genuinely and truthfully sympathize with John, and acknowledge John’s emotions without any prompting, and know when he’s pushed John just enough.
This is by far the main reason why I love Tom Lasky so much. His selfless, empathetic persona is a fantastic contrast to the grim and stoic UNSC personnel we’ve seen. Tom is someone deeply in tune with his emotions and unafraid of them; a rarity in the military (that comes from personal experience). His emotionalism almost destroyed him at Corbulo. He let his anger towards Cadmon’s death reign, but Mehaffey saw the value in it. A soldier with empathy and compassion…a unique trait that set Tom Lasky apart from the rest of his squad and later, from the rest of the Infinity crew.
Lasky has a trait that balances him perfectly against John, who vehemently rails against his emotions at an increasing rate through the game. And this, I think, is something often overlooked within Halo 4.
One episode into Forward Unto Dawn and chill and you got:
Entire thing is a parallel to The Fall of Reach novel which earns it +++ points right off the bat - “so we’re brainwashing kids and then sending them in to exterminate a bunch of overtaxed farmers”
Opening bookend scene aboard the Forward Unto Dawn adrift in space, heading towards Requiem with John in cryo and Cortana entering rampancy.
Lasky’s PTSD and cryo-oriented disability established and Lasky dealing with that is a central part of the story.
Awesome sets, use of CG, and props faithful to the Halo universe’s established aesthetic. Really minute details (like the Covenant glyphs) making it a really authentic visual adaptation of those elements from the games.
Three major female characters established - badass Israeli Colonel Mehaffey, leader of the main character’s squad April Orenski, and Anna Popplewell.
Cameo from some dude from BSG people apparently like as General Black telling us about GNAEUS DOMITIUS CORBULO in a a raspy authoritative voice and then shows up smoking a Sweet William cigar as a nod to Johnson and Mendez
Osric Chau doing a backflip. no… TWO backflips
Lots of POC characters in the ‘worldbuilding shots’ of the episode, establishing what kind of place this is and who goes there - a prestigious military academy for the UNSC’s best and brightest
“stop stepping on our dicks lasky”
Ayelet Zurer is Lasky’s angry and motivational Other Mum
thematic musical references made to Halo 4′s soundtrack
First actual exploration of the Insurrection in a piece of Halo fiction outside the books and does it really well, especially on the morality of the war
And that’s just the first episode. Like… this series is really bloody good.