After a reasonably exciting fifth episode, Halo gets back to being a boring, low-rent piece of shit with Solace, an hour of mind-numbingly banal science-fiction storytelling that ends in basically the same fashion as half the other chapters in this belabored exercise of collecting Eastern European tax incentives.

Oh, there’s a Halo somewhere? How mysterious! How interesting! It would be neat to go there sometime!

In the aftermath of last episode’s battle sequence, our heroic Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) is back to crying about his terrible upbringing and walking around the bland corridors of UNSC’s military-capital city on Reach. He’s still mad that mommy mad-scientist figure Halsey (Natascha McElhone) kidnapped him as a child, replaced him with a cancer-ridden clone and then lied to his parents about the “death” of their son. I guess that’s something you’d end up holding a grudge over, but frankly, the Halo lore works better when Chief accepted his origin as a cost of saving humanity from alien invaders.

You wouldn’t know aliens are invading, of course, because this is a show on a budget originally built for Showtime, and thus no aliens appear. Instead, we get more of Makee (Charlie Murphy), the Covenant’s human pet who got herself captured on purpose to taunt John. The two of them share a connection to the Forerunner artifact that has vexed everyone all season, and she hopes the two of them can unlock it.

Pretty lame!

There’s a little more movement on the interpersonal intrigue on Reach surrounding Chief. Halsey finds herself displaced by Admiral Parangosky (Shabana Azmi), who wants to protect herself from revelations about Halsey’s nasty experiments. For some reason, they replace Halsey’s role in the Spartan program with her daughter, Miranda (Olive Gray), who looks 15 (the actress is 27). She’s supposedly a prodigy, but it’s downright comical the show couldn’t afford to introduce one more character into the mix. The UNSC is apparently made up of an admiral, a captain, his ex-wife scientist, their estranged daughter, four Spartans and a bunch of nameless Marines in ill-fitting costume armor. What a dumb show.

The saving grace of Solace is that we’re never forced to think about all the dumb bullshit happening on Madrigal between Kwan (Yerin Ha) and Soren (Bokeem Woodbine). If their story disappeared from the rest of the season, the show would be better off, but I know we’re not that lucky.

Anyway, there are three more episodes of this left. I’m in it to win it, as the saying goes. Presumably, there will be another big action sequence in the ninth episode. I bet it will tease a Halo again, too!