The second episode of the web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn has arrived (watch the first here), inching the students of Corbula Academy to their confrontation with the Covenant. While fans eagerly await the beginning of all-out conflict (since that’s what will inevitably herald the arrival of the Master Chief) the new episode takes a closer role at the motivations and personality of Lasky (Tom Green), Vickers (Iain Belcher) and more.

Who knew so much turmoil could be at play within a single squad? Needless to say, Thomas Lasky won’t be the only character important to the UNSC’s chances in Halo 4 if Part 2 is anything to go by.

Previous previews showed the dominating personalities of both General Black and Orenski, but Part 2 gives a better sense of the rest of the squad. Particularly the discipline exhibited by Chyler Silva (Anna Popplewell), with the first episode hinting that her distrust of the Insurrectionists challenging the UNSC-protected inner colonies came from a distinctly personal place. Lasky lost his older brother, Cadmon, to the war, but it seems Silva is more openly exhibiting the kind of drive and conviction that Lasky’s superiors would hope to see that tragedy instill in him.

Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn Episode 2

The confrontation we’ve been waiting for between Lasky and Vickers finally arrives, since the two have seemed to be complete opposites in their views of war, duty and morality. With Lasky the son of a decorated officer expected to impress (much like his older brother) and Vicker simply willing to follow orders in a fight, the pair have more than a few reasons to enter into a friendly (or not so friendly) debate. But as undesirable as it is to see two cadets reduce themselves to a fistfight, it is good to know that Lasky has some things that he considers worth fighting for.

While the heart of the action may wait for the Chief and Covenant to arrive, Lasky is already taking the first steps toward becoming the leader we know he will be in the course of Halo 4‘s campaign. It’s nice to see that he won’t be completely shaped or inspired by the Master Chief’s valor in combat, since – as good as that may sound conceptually – it did give his character short shrift. If his role in the events of Halo 4 (and possibly beyond) then having his best qualities attributable to him, and not merely ‘that one time I met the Chief’ is significant.

The stand out moment of Part 2 for us was obviously the surprise appearance of 343 Industries‘ Frank O’Connor channeling a boarding school prefect as ‘Beamish,’ a spectator of the Vickers-Lasky throwdown.

Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn Frank O'Connor

What moments have stood out for you so far, in this episode and the first? Are you buying in to these new characters in the Halo universe, or waiting to see the fight break out? Think Forward Unto Dawn has already started paving the way for the Halo movie, or do they still have a ways to go?

It will be interesting to see if the series continues to give brief insights into the plot of Halo 4, like the opening sequence’s focus on Cortana’s years spent alone aboard the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn. The theme of AI Rampancy is going to be a major one for John-117’s relationship with his longtime counterpart, and that amount of time in isolation certainly won’t be helping.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn will be released via Halo Waypoint and Machinima every Friday, leading up to the launch of Halo 4 on November 6, 2012.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.