Lee Moldaver In ‘Fallout’ Explained: Is She Dead Or Alive?

The post-Second World War era marked a golden age for the American economy, a period that saw unprecedented growth in the country’s financial sectors, resulting in a booming middle class, a near-zero unemployment rate, and an overall improvement in the quality of life. Large-scale industrialization, revised taxation policies, the rise of the televised advertising industry, and the implementation of neo-colonization policies using the power vacuum in global politics as an opportunity were the key reasons behind this economic boom. Privatization of the public sector along with the advent of consumerist culture turned out to be an inevitable by-product of this, which transferred the nation’s mantle of power to the wealthy. The Fallout game series is a conscious, clever critique of the absolute control obtained by ‘the one percent’ whose machinations are puppeteering the real world till date, and the TV series adaptation of the game series doesn’t shy away from reflecting that in a direct way. 


Lee Moldaver, an original character appearing in the TV series throughout the past and present timelines, acts as an agent of direct criticism in that regard through her actions and overall influence over the narrative. We would like to assess the importance of the multifaceted role played by the character by highlighting how the makers chose to address the overarching social commentary through her. 

Spoilers Ahead


Moldaver’s Role In The Pre-War Timeline

The pre-war timeline of the Fallout world is stuck in a time bubble of the 1950s, with all its retro charm and political turmoil. The nuclear arms race, the Red Scare, and the Cold War had contributed to a general anxiety among the masses, and exploiting this fear and uneasiness, megacorporations aimed to bring about the proliferation of a strong war industry. Advancement in atomic research led to the creation of portable fusion reactors, which were put to use by all the conglomerates—from powering robotic assistants created by RobCo to fueling the power armors created by West-Tek to operating the vaults created by Vault-Tec as well. Eventually, the corporations monopolized the fusion reactor technology and made the people dependent on it by implementing it everywhere. 

During an unspecified time before the nuclear war in 2077, Moldaver’s company developed the revolutionary cold fusion technology, which was not only a safe alternative but also proved to be a limitless source of energy. Quite obviously, it was going to be detrimental for the businesses of the companies, who by now have commoditized the entire country, as the usage of cold fusion would result in their loss of control. Vault-Tec made sure to ruin Moldaver’s Company beyond recovery, prompting her to gather forces to expose the corporate giants to the rest of the world. Through Moldaver’s help, Cooper Howard had learned about the heinous conspiracy of the conglomerates, who revealed their plan to even commit full-scale global genocide by sparking nuclear war just to keep their business running. For Cooper, the most horrid part of learning about this was his wife, Barb’s, central role in such a diabolical scheme. In a time when everything has a price tag, human morality turns conditional, discriminatory, and fickle—something Moldaver makes Cooper realize, albeit too late, as despite knowing everything, neither of them were able to stop the inevitable nuclear holocaust. 


How Did Moldaver Become A Messianic Figure For The Surface Dwellers?

In the present timeline of the series, which takes place more than two centuries after the nuclear holocaust, both Cooper and Moldaver are revealed to have survived. Conglomerates have survived by putting their core members to cryo-sleep, thereby ensuring that even in the far future they don’t lose control over the world, irrespective of the state they are in. Radiation poisoning has turned Cooper into a ghoul, and although it remains unclear as to how Moldaver survived for so long, it can be assumed that, similar to the Vault-Tec employees, she had lived through the period in cryo-sleep. Even in a new world, the class division was more evident than ever, as vault dwellers were able to hide in the security of their bases, while the underprivileged had to suffer among every possible horrifying experience in the surface world. In an unintentional coincidence, this reminds us of Jordan Peele’s “Us,” although the situation was exactly opposite. 

Moldaver’s experience of the old world helped her to gain a reputation among the surface dwellers, so much so that she was both revered and feared by the majority of people Lucy had interacted with during her journey to find her father. In the newly established New California Republic, Moldaver was an influential figure for the surface dwellers, as her assistance was vital to establishing a civilization anew, until Vault-Tec once again used their nuclear might to demolish it to regain control. Moldaver knew that the doomed wasteland could still be freed from the control of the conglomerates if the cold fusion reactor could be retrieved, and she shared the information with her followers. In the scorched, broken world of the surface dwellers, her words reignited hope for a better future. The prospect of her being a savior elevated Moldaver to a near-mythical figure, as seen when surface-dwelling members of Vault 4 are revealed to be worshipping her as ‘Fire Mother’. The cold fusion reactor, now patented and passcode protected by Vault-Tec, was at the Enclave’s disposal, which Moldaver arranged to be smuggled by the scientist Siggi Wilzig. Coincidentally, she came across Hank Maclean once again, who knew the passcode, and ultimately Moldaver was able to activate the cold fusion reactor, albeit at the hefty cost of losing her life in doing so. 


Moldaver’s sacrifice opened up possibilities for a better future at the end, as even though the cold fusion reactor is now in the hands of the Brotherhood of Steel, it is still away from the reach of the corporate conspirators. With a source of free, limitless energy, the history of humankind can indeed turn in a better direction, which will be one of the focal points of the series in the upcoming seasons. 

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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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