‘Fallout’ TV show ending, explained SuperNayr

Let’s be honest here: We’ve entered the age of the video game adaptation. Now that superheroes are old news, movies and shows like The Last of Us, Twisted Metal, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and now Fallout are all showing the rest of the world something fans have known for a long time: There are no better stories and settings than those established through games.

With Fallout arriving on Prime Video all at once earlier this week, people have been binging the series harder than those guys from Mad Men hit the liquor when they take a lunch. So what about that ending? Let’s take a look and break it down.

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, Prime Video’s Fallout tells the story about what life on Earth would look like after our world is bombed to bits by nuclear weapons. Set 200 years after that initial apocalypse, the show stars a young woman named Lucy (Ella Purnell), who’s a “vault dweller.” Dwellers are people who live underground in the hopes of one day rebuilding society, but things with Vault-Tec are never as they seem. Lucy soon meets a bounty hunting Ghoul (Walter Goggins) and a Brotherhood of Steel Knight (Aaron Moten), and quickly discovers that each new character comes with a heaping dose of complications.

Fallout episode 8 recap

Amazon's Fallout poster crop
Photo via Amazon Studios/Prime Video

Before we start addressing questions, let’s recap that final episode, because a lot of things happened that pertain to the direction we’re headed for a (not yet confirmed) season 2. Eventually fate draws everyone to the observatory, but not before Maximus makes his way back to the Brotherhood with fake spoils in hand. Spoils in this case being the head of Wilzig, concealing something very important in his neck. His ruse is discovered by the cleric, and after Max begs forgiveness a strange suggestion indicates that a new Brotherhood sect may be forming.

Cooper Howard, in a flashback, continues to hold reservations about Vault-Tec, made worse by the tracer he links to his wife’s Pip-Boy. Several other hints are dropped as various characters foreshadow their futures, and it all perfectly melds together when we arrive back at present day, where Lucy finally reaches her season-long goal: She finds her dad, albeit locked in a cage, and earns her standoff with Moldaver.

Back at Vault 31, Norm locates a robot brain (it’s annoying Vault-Tec employee Bud Adkins), and finally learns the truth. There’s a program called “Bud’s Buds” where company members couple with Vault 32 and 33 dwellers to create a race of um… super managers? This ties into the revelation that each vault is doing its own experiments, and that the company thought the best way to get results was to facilitate the bombing so they wouldn’t lose money on the vaults.

Moldaver tells Lucy the truth about her mother, revealing that she ran away to Shady Sands but Hank hunted her down, stole the kids back, and destroyed the town. That ghoul tied to a chair? Its Lucy’s mom, long dead from the actions of her father. From there, things cascade as the device is activated and the Bros of Steel face off against the New California Republic. Max frees Hank, not knowing his true intentions, and Hank puts his savior out of commission for a while. The Ghoul tells Lucy something cryptic pertaining to who’s “behind the wheel,” and Lucy mercifully kills her Ghoul mom. In the last scenes we see the cold fusion device lighting up buildings stretching far into the distance. Max is officially declared a knight and Hank makes his way to what looks a lot like New Vegas.

Now let’s answer some of those pressing finale questions.

What exactly is the cold fusion device?

Now that the season’s over, we finally know why everyone wanted a piece of Michael Emerson’s Wilzig. His popularity was not a result of his charming good looks, but rather what he had in his neck – a “cold fusion” device that could power the surface, finally making the evil Vault-Tec corporation redundant. It’s main selling point is “limitless power,” but, by the end of the season, its shifted into the hands of the Brotherhood. That couldn’t possibly spell trouble for season 2, right?

Who dropped the bombs?

Perhaps the biggest revelation of the whole season is Vault-Tec’s hand in the bombing. In a mind-blowing display of selfishness, the soulless higher ups ensured that Vault technology wouldn’t go to waste in a world that was inching toward peace. Corporations don’t get much more evil than that. While we never see a Vault-Tec employee actually press the button, it’s heavily implied that they had a massive hand in the bombs dropped during the Great War of 2077. This is particularly interesting given the lore of the games, which never really bothers itself with who did the bomb dropping, so this provides some brand-new developments for the treasured Fallout franchise.

Is Hank evil?

Kyle MacLachlan in Fallout
Image via Prime Video

In episode one, we see Hank MacLean (Kyle MacLachlan) as a loving overseer, father, and provider for the residents of Vault 33. He saves his daughter and is promptly kidnapped, and for the bulk of the season that’s all we know him as. In the finale, we learn that long, long ago he was a suit at Vault-Tec and part of the “Bud’s Buds” program that was created to make sure the company lived on.

After being cryogenically frozen for a few centuries, Hank was woken in 2267, married Lucy’s mom, and had two children. Once his wife learned about the breeding program, however, she bailed with the kids, but Hank found her and destroyed Shady Sands. We don’t know exactly who he’s working with, but something tells me he may come across Cooper’s wife in season 2.

What’s Next?

Well, for one thing, there’s a very good chance we’ll get to see New Vegas up close and personal, considering that’s where Hank was seemingly headed at the end of season 1. We’ll likely learn far more about the factions and who won the war for territory on the surface. As for the Brotherhood of Steel, things are only looking up. They have not only Maximus as a new, very capable sword, but also the cold fusion device. Season 2 could additionally introduce a separate faction of the Brotherhood — perhaps even one headed by Max himself. While the Brotherhood will undoubtedly be in power on the surface, expect a lot of competition.

As for the Ghoul, it sounds like he wants to find out what happened to both his family and the person “behind the wheel.” This will have to be a wait and see situation, but like we said before, it may very well involve his wife Barb. Let’s all hope for a season 2!

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