‘Fallout’ Season 1 Recap (In-Detail): Did Lucy Manage To Save Her Father?

Through the ages, men in power have found excuses to wage wars to serve their selfish motives, be it for religion, territorial gain, nationalism, or economic gain. While the objectives vary according to the geopolitical situation, the principles of war remain unchanged, as the underprivileged are always the sufferers while the dominant sect reaps the benefits—a basic, universal truth that makes up the core of Bethesda’s acclaimed game franchise Fallout. While the video game series isn’t the first to have attempted to showcase an alternate, dystopian post-nuclear holocaust reality, it certainly added a unique flair through a scathing satirical tone directed towards American consumerism, holding capitalism accountable for a doomed future in the most brutal, humorous fashion imaginable. 


With an intriguing set-up like this, a Fallout live-action adaptation has been on the cards for a long time, and Amazon Studios did it justice with the recently released TV series based on the popular franchise. In sync with most modern adaptations, some creative changes are noticeable in the series, but a faithful adherence of the source material through world-building, keeping the spirit of the franchise intact, and the apt admixing of sarcastic hilarity with the grim treatment of the narrative make the overall experience a memorable one. 

Spoilers Ahead


Who Are The Key Players Of The Series?

Fallout takes place in an alternate timeline, a post-Second World War reality where the world never really got over the terrible anticipation of the Cold War, the McCarthy Era Red Scare, and most importantly, the fear of atomic warfare after getting a glimpse of the devastating capabilities of nuclear weaponry. The rapid growth of consumerist culture in America was emboldened by the rise of televised advertisements, and conglomerates cashing in on the war business started taking full advantage of that. In the event of a supposed nuclear war, underground vaults were created as a failsafe, meant to last through centuries where the rich and influential classes were able to purchase their seats. Eventually, as tensions between global superpowers escalated, the world got ravaged with nukes and plunged itself into the dark depths of the atomic blunder. The people hiding inside the vaults survived, while the rest of the surface world burned. Aside from a few survivors, newer denizens of the wretched new world emerged in the form of mutants (mutated creatures) and ghouls (radiation-mutated humans who gradually became zombified). 

As the series begins, we get a glimpse of the pre-nuclear war Fallout timeline set in 2077 and meet Cooper Howard, a Western movie actor who is using his past reputation to make ends meet for himself and his daughter, Janey after getting divorced. In a world where aesthetics is perpetually fixed in the retro 50s, the threat of nuclear warfare is inching closer with each passing day, and as Cooper is performing at a birthday party near Los Angeles, a series of nuke strikes initiate the nuclear armageddon, which annihilates life in the majority of the surface world. It is revealed that Cooper survived the fallout and turned into a gnarly ghoul in the following years. However, by taking certain medication vials, he managed to keep the feral instincts of ghouls at bay and has survived to the present timeline of the series as a dastardly bounty hunter. The scene shifts to two centuries later, in 2296, as viewers are introduced to Lucy Maclean, a denizen born and brought up in Vault 33. The vault dwellers live in a controlled environment inside their subterranean bases and believe that they are the last remnants of humankind, destined to bring civilization back to the surface world, now known as the wasteland. Lucy’s father, Hank Maclean, is the overseer of the Vault 33, and under his guidance, the vault stays in a perpetual state of peace and harmony. Lucy and her brother Norm lost their mother, Rose, at a young age and have been raised by Hank ever since.


Things go terribly wrong when, as part of the trade/breeder exchange, vault 33 opens its gates for neighboring vault 32, and outside raiders pretending to be vault dwellers infiltrate inside. The raiders mercilessly butcher a number of vault residents, which triggers a bloody struggle, and their leader, Moldaver, takes Hank captive before escaping with the rest of her followers. Lucy, desperate to get her father back, takes Norm and another of her associates, Chet’s help, to go to the outside world, against the wishes of the vault dwellers. 

We get introduced to a quasi-religious military faction known as the Brotherhood of Steel, which provides its top-ranking soldiers with fusion-core-operated power armor, bestowing them the title of Knights. Accompanied by their squires, the Knights venture to the wasteland to find relics of pre-war technology and preserve them to keep them out of the hands of what remains of humanity. Maximus, a timid, unremarkable, and often bullied trainee of the Brotherhood, gets the chance of a lifetime when his friend, Dane, who was supposed to be a squire to Knight Titus, gets injured before taking the pledge, leading to Maximus getting selected instead. 


What Is The Reason For Wilzig To Become A Target For Practically Everyone?

By now, remnants of the United States government have given birth to a deep state organization known as the Enclave, a powerful secretive government that seeks to gain absolute control over the wasteland. A scientist working under the Enclave, Siggi Wilzig, is shown to have stolen an extremely important technological artifact from Enclave inventory. Injecting the artifact into his head, Wilzig takes his trusted canine companion with him and flees the facility.

The stolen artifact turns out to be of ultimate importance, as almost every party seems to be interested in capturing Wilzig. Cooper, awakened from a long slumber, is given the tip of a high bounty on the scientist, and he sets off on his way to locate him. Knight Titus and Squire Maximus are informed about Wilzig, as the artifact is sought by the Brotherhood as well, and they start their pursuit accordingly. During an encounter with a mutant bear aka Yao Guai, Knight Titus gets grievously injured, and despite Maximus saving his life, the deceitful, pathetic Knight decides to put the blame on him for his situation. In order to save his life, Maximus kills Titus and dons the power armor himself. Meanwhile, on his way to Filly, a junkyard town near the East Coast, Wilzig meets Lucy and advises her to return to her home after learning about her identity as a vault dweller. The duo meet once again at Filly, as local trader Majune prepares to escort Wilzig to Moldaver to deliver the artifact to her according to their arrangement. Cooper arrives at the town as well and starts causing rampage, resulting in Majune and Wilzig getting badly injured in the process. Lucy tries to stop Cooper but fails miserably, and a timely save by Maximus in power armor distracts Cooper long enough to let the rest of them escape. Wilzig’s canine companion, CX-404, gets fatally injured by Cooper during the altercations. 


Out of options, Majune pleads with Lucy to take Wilzig to Moldaver, and seeing this as a chance to bargain with the raider leader, Lucy accepts the responsibility. On the way, Wilzig realizes that his injury will only slow them down and allow his pursuers to obtain the artifact, and as a result, he pleads with Lucy to take his severed head to Moldaver instead, before biting on a pill of cyanide to end his life. A dumbfounded Lucy has no choice except to agree to this unhinged proposition, and she continues to follow the coordinates to Moldaver’s hideout, given by Majune. To ensure she can keep track of the head in case it gets lost, Lucy puts a tracker inside it. In the meantime, Cooper manages to get Maximus off his back by damaging his armor, and he revives Wilzig’s dog to follow his trail. 

What Does Lucy Learn About The Wasteland And The Vault?

After venturing further into the wasteland, Lucy loses Wilzig’s head, which gets eaten by a giant mutant axolotl, and as Cooper catches up to her, he tries to use her as bait to get the head back, but to no avail. Losing his bounty, Cooper decides to take Lucy captive instead, and this marks the beginning of a painful, sordid journey for Lucy as she gradually gets acquainted with the horrors of the surface world. From getting denied food and water by Cooper to witnessing him feast on another ghoul corpse to getting sold to illegal organ traders and getting almost killed by their murderous robot, in the span of a couple of days Lucy grows a lot from her naïve, idealist, ignorant self. However, she refuses to let the viciousness of the surface world get to her, as while fleeing from the organ traders, she refrains from getting her revenge on Cooper and even provides him with the med vials, which allow him to prevent the ghoulish feral tendencies. 


Meanwhile, Maximus is joined by Thaddeus, a fellow member of the Brotherhood, who is sent to accompany Knight Titus after Maximus falsifies news of his own death. Despite remaining inside his power armor, Maximus remains vigilant about not getting his cover blown, as his assuming the role of a knight will result in severe consequences at the hands of the Brotherhood. Thaddeus unwittingly confesses bullying Maximus, and his apologetic demeanor about the incident results in Maximus forming a bond with him, which gets stronger after the duo manages to obtain Wilzig’s head from the mutant axolotl. CX-404, who had been waiting by the lake since Cooper and Lucy’s altercation, starts following Thaddeus and Maximus after picking up Wilzig’s scent. Eventually, Maximus reveals the truth to Thaddeus, who gets enraged and threatens to expose him to the Brotherhood. Eventually, as Maximus tries to capture him, Thaddeus gets himself injured; in retaliation, he immobilizes Maximus in the power armor by removing the fusion core and flees after taking Wilzig’s head with him. 

Lucy comes across Maximus once again and rescues him despite having reservations about strangers after her recent experiences. Maximus continues to lie about his identity as a knight, and after learning that the duo are after the same target, he offers to partner up with her. The duo comes across the ruined city of Shady Sands in the state of New California, which was founded in 2161 but was nuked later as war continued to rage across the world. Lucy is bewildered to learn that the surface world has made advancements to remake civilization even without the influence of the vault dwellers, as she starts realizing that there is a significant amount of stuff she is unaware of. After a close encounter with cannibals, which leaves Maximus with a wounded arm, the duo starts looking for medical facilities and comes across vault 4, a settlement inhabited by strangely mutated humans and surface-dwelling refugees. Lucy learns about the horrendous fact that the first generations of vault dwellers experimented with hybridization between surface dwellers and mutant animals, which led to the creation of the strangely mutated denizens of vault 4. After a minor misunderstanding and a bit of a scuffle with the residents, Maximus and Lucy continue their journey to track down Wilzig’s head. 


Meanwhile, Thaddeus dumps CX-404 at an abandoned gas station and seeks help from a quack doctor, who instead infects him with a concoction that enhances his overall healing abilities like a ghoul. Speaking of ghouls, Cooper leaves a bloody trail behind him as Moldaver’s connection with his former bounty has intrigued him immensely, and he begins to search for her hideout as well. Cooper comes across the gas station as he is reunited with CX-404. Through several flashback scenes, it is revealed that Cooper’s wife, Barb, was a Vault-Tec employee during the pre-war era, and along with other avaricious conglomerates like Rob-Co and West-Tek, the vault-creating company was responsible for orchestrating deliberate nuclear warfare to benefit their profiteering motive. Moldaver, whose company had suffered significantly due to the conglomerates’ machinations, helped Cooper learn about Barb’s influence in orchestrating a doomed future. 

Maximus finally catches up to Thaddeus, and as the Brotherhood manages to track them down, he manages to scare Thaddeus, stating that his ghoulish powers might result in severe trouble with the dictates of Brotherhood. Thaddeus leaves after giving Wilzig’s head back to Maximus, who gives it to Lucy to help her save her father’s life. Maximus returns to the Brotherhood with the severed head of a different person, and his lie gets detected by the elder cleric with relative ease. 


Did Lucy Manage To Save Her Father?

Meanwhile, Norm learns about a heinous conspiracy regarding the replacement overseer, Betty Pearson, as he and Chet discover that vault 32 residents were killed mysteriously even before the raiders appeared and that Rose Maclean’s Pip-Boy (a necessary device for vault dwellers to access the vaults and navigate across the surface world) was used to open the Vault door from outside. Betty Pearson orchestrates the deaths of captured raiders to cover up her possible connection with the mysterious vault dweller killing incidents. Upon probing further, Norm learns that his father, Hank Maclean, and Betty Pearson belonged to vault 31, and upon reaching there, Norm is hit with a startling revelation. The vault 31 is operated by a disembodied brain that oversees the cryo-chambers of original Vault-Tec members from two centuries ago, among whom Hank Maclean is a key figure. Norm fails to escape from the vault and is supposedly sent to cryosleep.

Lucy reaches Moldaver, delivers Wilzig’s head, and demands Hank’s release in return. Moldaver reveals that the artifact is a cold fusion reactor—a revolutionary technology that could provide infinite energy—a rather detrimental invention for Vault-Tec’s plan of ultimate economic control. Which is why they buried Moldaver’s company all those years ago, and the passcode to unlock the reactor lies with Hank, who is an employee of Vault Tec who kept the vault dwellers lulled through their propaganda. Moldaver also reveals that Hank’s wife Rose, who used to be her friend, had learned about the civilization flourishing in the surface world and had taken her children, Lucy and Norm, to settle in the city of Shady Sands after finding out about her husband’s falsifications. A vengeful Hank had taken the children back to the vault, and Vault-Tec launched a nuke strike to decimate the city. The revelation breaks Lucy, and she is even more devastated after seeing the feral, ghoulish condition of her mother, which resulted from the nuclear fallout of Shady Sands. A distraught Lucy asks Hank to provide the code, and Moldaver is able to initiate the activation sequence of the cold fusion reactor. 


At the Brotherhood, as Maximus faces the death penalty for trying to mislead the organization, he offers to reveal the possible location of the artifact in exchange for his life. After initial disagreement, the clerics agree to send the cavalry of the Brotherhood, who attack Moldaver’s hideout at the observatory. At the same time, Cooper arrives at the place as well, and a three-way fight begins, which results in severe loss of life for both major warring factions. Maximus, who was one of the survivors of the Shady Sands disaster, learns about Hank’s role in the tragedy and, infuriated, tries to attack him. Instead, Hank manages to escape captivity, dons a suit of power armor, and knocks Maximus unconscious. An enraged Lucy points her gun towards Hank to kill him, but fails to bring herself to shoot her father, despite all the horrendous acts he had performed. Cooper arrives and injures Hank, who eventually flees from the scene, and Lucy shoots her ghoul mother to end her prolonged misery. Cooper offers Lucy a chance to meet her makers—the conspirators who created this doomed world in the first place—or to return to her life in a vault,  enamoured with false hope, deceit, and lies. Lucy chooses the former and continues to journey with Cooper and CX-404. On the other hand, with most of her followers deceased, a fatally injured Moldaver activates the reactor to light up the destroyed city of Shady Sands, showing the capabilities of the invention to the now awakened Maximus, and before breathing her last, she questions what path he is going to take with such power at his grasp. Dane, mistakenly considering Maximus to be the killer of Moldaver, celebrates his bravery along with other members of the Brotherhood, and a conflicted Maximus remains puzzled considering the future. Hank is shown to have reached a settlement, which is supposedly the outpost where the top echelon of the conglomerate chiefs are residing—in short, the makers of the nightmare. 

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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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