|Season 7, Episode 25 (89)|
|Air date||August 17, 2013|
|Written by||Jon Graham|
|Directed by||Jon Graham|
- "So this is what it's all come to. Awesome. Awesome possum."
- — Arbiter, in regards to the previous traumatic events.
Ignition is the twenty fifth and final episode of the seventh season.
Arbiter confronts Chief to learn of Cortana's true fate after discovering her base plate buried in the box of junk at the bottom of the hallway closet, where Chief had hidden it after accidentally incinerating her. The apartment receives unexpected visitors.
Confronting Chief regarding Cortana's baseplate he found in the hall closet, Arbiter interrogates Chief for information surrounding Cortana's disappearance. After resorting to beating him, Chief submits and tells him everything. Arbiter, horrified and furious, chases Chief into the kitchen and climbs after him onto the stove. Chief grabs a knife but Arbiter uses a pan to knock it away, forcing him to jump down and run to the bathroom. Chief throws a near empty matchbox at Arbiter in an attempt to slow him down, but Arbiter catches up with Chief and begins to bash his head against the wall. Arbiter throws Chief across the room, where he explodes into pieces upon hitting the wall. Arbiter, horrified and remorseful at what he had done, walks up to Chief's torso, which begins convulsing and spouting incomprehensible gibberish.
Suddenly, Arbiter hears several knocks at the apartment door. He asks who it is, and a voice responds, identifying himself as a courier. Arbiter, however, recognizes the voice as Tyler's. Tyler explains that he tracked Arbiter down through data extracted from an image from Jon's blog, and used it to trace Jon's IP address. The two talk briefly regarding Eugene's suicide, to which Arbiter apologizes about, but soon after threatens to call the police if Tyler doesn't leave. Tyler prepares to use a chainsaw to cut through the door when a police officer arrives and attempts to arrest him. However, Tyler turns the chainsaw on the officer, and the policeman shoots and kills Tyler. As Chief continues to yell gibberish in the bathroom, Arbiter - unable to sustain the events happening around him and on the verge of breaking down - leans against the door and repeats "I'm in my happy place" to himself. Tyler's blood drips down from two bullet holes in the door and onto Arbiter's helmet.
The next morning, Arbiter washes the blood from his helmet, smokes one final cigarette at the window, and plays Halo. When he is killed, another player tells him that he "sucks" and that he should kill himself, and Arbiter replies "okay". In the bathroom, Arbiter attempts to reassemble Chief, who still can't talk in normal sentences. Arbiter apologizes for what he has done, and bids goodbye to him before going to the window. He proceeds to lament on his contribution to his only friends and to force himself to jump and stop the contemplation. Just as Arbiter prepares to jump out, he hears Claire's voice calling out to his avatar that was left idle in the Halo server. Arbiter looks back and forth between the window and Claire, and ultimately decides to talk to her.
Meanwhile, Chief, banging his head against the wall, finally regains his ability to speak, and curses his predicament. He then notices the single match lying across the room that he threw at Arbiter.
Back in the Halo server, Arbiter confesses what has happened regarding Eugene, Tyler, and Colin, and how he wishes he could die. Claire reassures him that he has helped her shape her life, and apologizes that he considered her a fair-weather friend. The two agree to play together every day for a couple hours to rekindle their friendship before Claire leaves. Arbiter then notices a sound coming from the kitchen, and goes to investigate.
Arbiter finds Chief, who is still missing his legs, sitting against the stove and holding his match. Chief reveals that he is running gas out of the stove, intending to light his match and destroy the entire apartment and the two of them with it. He declares that it is "time to check out" and even states that Arbiter himself had said they should go out in a "blaze of glory." Arbiter allows him to do it, but decides to at least give the other tenants a chance to evacuate the building. Using Jon's cell phone lying next to Chief, Arbiter calls the landlord, delivers a quick warning, and then slumps to the floor to wait with Chief. Arbiter sadly remarks that he won't be talking with Claire after all. As the alarm sounds, Chief asks if Arbiter thinks they'll go to Hell, and once again, Arbiter affirms his agnosticism. Chief then makes one last request to Arbiter: if there is an afterlife, he should wait at the entrance so Chief can find him and then they can go inside together and "fuck shit up". Arbiter agrees, and Chief, smiling (with a tear under one eye), strikes the match and detonates the stove, destroying the apartment and killing both of them.
The fire alarm continues its blare as the police and fire trucks arrive whilst the apartment burns away.
- Microsoft Sam as Master Chief
- Microsoft Mike as The Arbiter
- Jordan Kast as Tyler King
- Woody Tondorf as Police Officer
- Jon Graham as Xbox LIVE players
- Elizabeth Carr-Ernst as Claire Ferguson
The episode, while controversial, has nonetheless garnered mostly universal positive reactions from viewers. Many expressed sadness at the series' end, but they also expressed a lack of satisfaction and closure. The idea of Arbiter and Chief committing suicide also did not sit well with most and the episode was criticized for its message. Despite receiving mostly positive feedback, significant criticisms were made regarding the fates of Chief and Arbiter as well as the ending in general. Some felt that Arbiter's acceptance of his demise was grossly out of character considering his previous exchange with Claire.
Following the episode's release, many viewers took to old episodes of the series and "paid their respects" in the comments, with most saying that they had just came from the series finale to re-watch the entire series in a marathon or otherwise express their gratitude for the memories.
In the two years following the release of "Ignition" and the reveal of an eighth season, positive reception to the episode has increased significantly among fans.
- This is a double-length episode.
The decision to release the episode in this format was influenced by fan participation in a poll published by Jon.
- Additionally before the decision was made to make the episode double-length, the episode was originally set to be two episodes, entitled "Happy Place" and "Ignition", with "Happy Place" ending with the shooting of Tyler.
- According to Jon's Twitter feed, the episode's script is 33 pages long.
- This is one of the only episodes without How-To's.
- The scene where Chief and Arbiter are in a stand off holding a knife and pan respectively is a call-back to the pilot episode where the duo met each other holding the same objects.
- On November 22, 2013, Jon revealed in a blog post that he considered ending the show with Chief and Arbiter bickering as they played games. Due to the ambiguous nature of this ending, Jon scrapped it.
- Another ending he considered was showing the toys literally falling apart piece by piece. He scrapped this as well, saying it would be "too cruel".
The title of the episode most directly refers to Chief igniting a match to commit suicide via an explosive fireball. However the term Ignition is used to describe the implementation of nuclear fusion, created by two atoms coming together to generate energy. The lives led by Arbiter and Chief may be represented by this title.
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