‘Fallout’ Series Ending Explained: What Happens To Moldaver’s Cold Fusion Reactor?

It has been quite a while since video game franchises broke free of the curse of live-action adaptations, and Bethesda Softworks’ Fallout franchise is the latest one to find success in that regard. With the recently released TV series adaptation produced by Amazon Studios, Fallout has managed to create a separate narrative posited further into the lore’s future timeline, thereby expanding the established narrative. 


The mastermind behind much-loved long-running game series like Fallout and Elder Scrolls of Bethesda, Todd Howard, had been involved in the creative brainstorming behind the live-action series. The decision to take a separate route from the original saga by creating a new storyline was his idea as well. The implementation of the idea was successful, as the core themes of Fallout are captured perfectly through a seamless tie-in of multiple subplots and a central plotline. As the first season of Fallout neared its end, the penultimate episode and the finale dealt with several shocking revelations, which shaped the future course of the series dramatically. Here, we discuss the possibilities hinted at by the conclusion of the first season and analyze what it means for the overarching narrative.

Spoilers Ahead 


What Is Lucy And Cooper’s Next Destination?

Throughout the first season, the primary focus is on Lucy Maclean’s journey from being an ignorant starry-eyed vault dweller, who believed in high ideals, to a jaded, hard-boiled survivor of the wasteland who gradually unlearns every lie she has been fed. Through her experiences, she realizes that, contrary to what her father, vault 33 overseer Hank Maclean, tried to project – the vault dwellers being the saviors of humanity – they are merely a cowardly, privileged bunch of people who were able to buy their seats at the protected subterranean base. Her belief about vault dwellers being morally responsible and superior shatters in an instant after she learns of her father’s role in creating this post-apocalyptic world, to perpetuate which he didn’t even hesitate to wreak havoc on the newly found civilization on the surface world. Needless to say, this transformative realization acts as a catalyst that alters her worldview, and she even agrees to meet her makers—the despotic conglomerate chiefs like her father who are responsible for the crisis in the first place—and to do so, she even agrees to partner up with her former captor, Howard Cooper, aka the Ghoul. 

Speaking of Cooper, it has been a journey for redemption for him, as through flashback sequences we see how in the pre-war timeline he learns about his wife Barb’s role as the prime orchestrator of the nuclear disaster, but he was unable to stop her, despite his best intentions. Post-nuclear fallout, Cooper was transformed into a ghoul, and his experience as a survivor living for over two centuries changed his psyche significantly. However, something that didn’t change was Cooper’s will to reconnect with his family, and he kept on living in the hopes of reuniting with them. It is hinted that his family, Barb and Janey, have survived for centuries as well, probably in a similar manner as the Vault-Tec employees did, entering into cryo-chambers. It was Moldaver who had exposed Barb’s true face to Cooper all those years ago, and upon learning about her survival, Cooper decided to visit her to learn the whereabouts of his family. Although he fails to find answers from Moldaver or even Hank Maclean, who flees the scene, he continues his journey to search for his family and offers to take Lucy to the conspirators responsible for the crisis. The journey begins anew for the duo, possibly diminishing the hostility that marked their initial encounters. 


The Fate Of  The Vault 33 Residents

As a major subplot of the first season, the crisis involving the vault dwellers of Vaults 31, 32, and 33 presents a fascinating perspective as an allusion to the state’s oppressive and diabolical control over its subjects. Hank Maclean and Betty Pearson, the original members of Vault-Tec who survived till the present day through cryo-sleep, knew about the experiments conducted on vault dwellers and of the events that led to the deaths of all the residents of Vault 32. Norm Maclean, the youngest member of the Maclean family, learns about Betty’s involvement, and as the new overseer continues to cover up all the troubling findings, Norm finds himself helpless. With a portion of the residents of Vault 33 getting shifted to Vault 32 as part of Betty’s plan, Norm goes to Vault 31 to find answers and is horrified upon learning about both his father and Betty’s involvement in the vault shenanigans. However, before he can inform the rest of his fellow vault dwellers about his findings, he gets trapped inside Vault 31, with the only option for his survival being going into cryosleep. Only Chet knows about the problematic situation involving the vaults, and his interference might be the only way the rest of the residents learn about the whole thing. 

Steph, Chet’s prospective partner, is another resident of Vault 33, who was formerly from Vault 31. She might be another member of Vault-Tec as well, which can complicate things further in the future. Lucy’s return to her vault will be something to look forward to, as she has learned about the entire conspiracy during her brief time in the wasteland. This information she can use to foil the plans of Betty and her other like-minded followers. 


What Happens To Moldaver’s Cold Fusion Reactor?

The cold fusion reactor acted as a McGuffin in the first season of Fallout, a source of safe, limitless energy that greedy corporations like Vault-Tec wanted to keep out of the hands of the public to perpetuate their fearmongering business. The creator of the reactor, Moldaver’s company, was ruined during the pre-war timeline. Vault-Tec assumed control of it until, two centuries later, Siggi Wilzig managed to smuggle it away. To make a bargain for her captive father’s life, Lucy brought the reactor to Moldaver. During the final moments of the first season, Moldaver provided a glimpse of the immense capabilities of the cold fusion reactor by illuminating the destroyed city of Shady Sands, and with her dying breath, she asked Maximus what his future course of action would be with a power so immense. Truly, the cold fusion reactor can free the surviving surface dwellers from the clutches of the megacorporations controlling the desolated world and usher in a new age of humanity, but only if noble minds get hold of it. Throughout the first season, Maximus presented himself as an opportunist, but despite that, his goodwill was shown on several occasions as well. It remains to be seen which characteristic trait of his gets precedence while handling the situation, which can make or break the future of humanity. 

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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