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'Fallout' 2024 S01E01 and S01E02: More Than Okey Dokey (SPOILERS)

Deeply emotional, delightfully camp, and wonderfully faithful to the source material.

By CD TurnerPublished 2 months ago 16 min read

I had my reservations about Fallout being adapted to the silver screen...or should I say silver stream? For one, Bethesda wasn't even delivering on the video games. Bethesda became even more of a laughing stock after Fallout 76's launch and they didn't help themselves by trying to resell The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to every console, OS, and Samsung fridge. So, I was deeply skeptical about a Fallout TV show.

I am happy to say Season 1 of the Fallout show was absolutely breathtaking. Amazon Prime even chose to release the series earlier, albeit for fiscal reasons probably, but it was a welcome surprise.

The series is set within the continuity of the games and background lore, but it is not a full game-to-TV adaptation like HBO's The Last of Us. There's a few lore issues I have questions about, including a big one which I wonder is to be taken as canonical for all the game's lore, but I'll get to all that in subsequent posts. I have too much to say about each episode for one article so this is only going to cover Episodes 1 and 2 for now. Needless to say, this article is going to contain spoilers, so click off now or forever hold your peace.

Episode 1: "The End"

We experience the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Los Angeles within the shoes of three main characters: Lucy MacLean, Maximus, and The Ghoul. When I heard the TV series was based in Los Angeles, I was concerned about the lore, because in the first Fallout game, Los Angeles was known as the Boneyard 80 years after the Great War. But it's not too far of a stretch for a place to have two different names depending on who you talk to. Born Wastelanders don't have Pip-Boys.

The show opens with a Pre-War all-American family celebrating a kid's birthday. Cooper Howard used to be a popular Hollywood celebrity known for his role in Westerns but now is performing at kids' birthday parties. Normally, a Fallout game opens with Ron Perlman's iconic line, "War. War never changes" followed by a brief history lesson of how and why the world was consumed in a nuclear holocaust. I like that they didn't do that for the show. You hear tidbits about the war between China and the United States, but it more or less fades into the background. I find it humorous that Cooper's last name is Howard, definitely inspired by producer of both the series and many of the Fallout games, Todd Howard.

Cooper has a daughter named Janey with his ex-wife, Barbara. He takes a moment to explain why he doesn't do the thumbs-up anymore. His explanation is probably a reference to the meme about Vault Boy.

It was long believed that the thumbs-up Vault Boy displays is a method for deducing whether an atomic bomb was close enough to harm you. You would place your thumbs-up as far as you can reach. Supposedly, if the mushroom cloud is larger than your thumb, you're basically fucked. This was debunked for being the reason as Brian Fargo, one of the creators of Fallout and Fallout 2, stated that the Vault Boy "simply has a positive attitude." I don't see what the big deal is with this ret-con. The Pre-War world was steeped in propaganda so, yes, a military veteran like Cooper would have probably learned this "fact" and believed it.

Hmmm...that's definitely bigger than a thumb.

Anyway, the Great War commences and Cooper attempts to outrun an atomic bomb on horseback. Yeah, I'm sure that'll work. We see other parents and children scrambling to get into a personal bunker with people already throwing hands and leaving them to die. I hope there will be more scenes about different perspectives of the Great War and the moments right after, like citizens running for Vaults or desperately trying to find shelter. We don't see where Cooper and Janey eventually end up because the narrative switches to Lucy.

We fast-forward to 200+ years into the future where Lucy MacLean is meeting with the Vault Council. She's lived in a Vault her whole life. She mentions her skillset, which is a reference to the games' numerous skills you gain upon leveling up. Lucy as a Vault Dweller doesn't have many prospects besides teaching, maintaining the Vault, getting married, and having children. Since she's related to everyone in the Vault, she requests her chance to participate in a "trade" with Vault 32 -- meaning they get crops and Lucy gets an unrelated husband.

Vault 33 is much different than the Vaults we've experienced in the games. Their Vault is part of an insular community with Vaults 31 and 32, though they don't know what exactly happens in those Vaults. All we know is that they have available sperm donors.

There's a scene where she signs the inner fabric of the one wedding dress every woman wears for their wedding. It's kind of touching, if you ignore the obvious expectation of certain gender roles. Lucy's friend, Stephanie, is visibly pregnant and they both work as teachers. They display the "can-do" attitude you see in a lot of the propaganda, so I'd wager anything but a positive mindset is looked down upon.

"I'm just excited we get to raise our kids together."

Vault 32's dwellers come over for the party and Lucy meets her future husband. She shows just how stringently goal-oriented Vault-life is by asking him his sperm count. When they go back to their new home, we see him stripping and a close-up shot of his naked ass. I expect Lucy to be horrified, but nope, she just says "Okey dokey", slips her panties off, and hops on that dick. I mean, if you're not fucking on your dining table in your new house, are you really married? There's a scene afterward where he...cleans himself with a curtain. This break from the usual "cleanliness is next to Godliness" behavior raises Lucy's suspicions.

There were subtle clues that the Vault 32 dwellers are not as they seem. They seem unused to utensils and look rather unkempt. Turns out, surprise surprise, they're raiders. It's presumed that they killed the actual residents of Vault 32. A bloody massacre takes place as Lucy proceeds to fight her new husband off. I have a feeling if Lucy hadn't accepted his advances, he would have sexually assaulted her, because that's pretty par for the course for raider factions. He jams a knife into her stomach, which you would think would mean death, but no. She pulls the weapon out of her body -- if you're in the healthcare profession, I'm sure you were screaming at this. She finds a Stimpak, which is an incredibly fast healing device we know and love from the Fallout franchise.

We see footage of a pregnant Stephanie Harper kicking ass, though she loses her eye and her husband. I think in that situation, I would act like Woody because he just gets the fuck out of dodge and runs. Many of the Vault dwellers are rounded up and under gunpoint by Lee Moldaver, the Overseer of Vault 32...or so we thought. She gives Hank MacLean a choice of killing many Vault 33 dwellers or killing his daughter, Lucy. Hank locks Lucy in a saferoom and says, "You are my world." Moldaver and company kidnap Hank and she implies that Vaults 31, 32 and 33 are far more sinister than Lucy knows.

"You are my world."

Moldaver also implies that she knows Lucy's mother, meaning that Rose MacLean may not have died in the way Hank told her.

The narrative switches once more to our third main character: Maximus.

"Unless you know what to find and preserve, you are more useful as a corpse."

Maximus is an Aspirant of the Brotherhood of Steel. He grew up within the organization after he was saved in the aftermath of a bombing. His best friend is a non-binary person named Dane, which is great to see. If the post-apocalypse can respect people's gender identities 200 years later, you conservative snowflakes can, too. The lessons are grueling and he's bullied by the other Aspirants. The BOS's purpose is stated outright: to preserve technology. The lesson is soon ended by the arrival of an airship containing Brotherhood Knights in T-60 Power Armor.

Good ole Stompy Bois here for a mission.

From the Aspirant's perspective, we learn they aren't a usual sight around their base, possibly because they're sent on important missions. There's a scene of someone deciphering a code, writing it down. We hear that Dane is chosen to be a Scribe of Knight Titus, meaning they're an assistant to them in the field. Maximus feigns happiness for his friend, but is harboring resentment because he wants to go up the ranks so badly. However, Dane is incapacitated when someone puts a razor in their boot, badly damaging their foot. Maximus is blamed and led away with a sack over his head.

We go back to Lucy and Vault 33, where the residents are rebuilding after the disaster. Lucy wants to send out a search party for her father but the Council is vehemently against it, for good reason. Norman, Lucy's brother, claims they don't want to find Hank because they're now vying for his position as Overseer. Chet, Norman, and Lucy hatch a plan to go to the surface so Lucy can leave the Vault. Chet wants to go with her, but Lucy knows this is a bad idea, drugging him.

"It isn't like the Vault up there - it's big."

The Vault door is opened and I have to wonder if they actually designed the Vault to open mechanically or if it's a mix of CGI. Considering they legitimately made the suits of Power Armor, it's not too much of a stretch. We see the iconic blinding light of the real sun as Lucy steps foot outside the Vault door.

The ruins around the Vault are strewn with skeletons and sand-covered corpses, people who weren't lucky enough to gain access to the Vault. Lucy sees the expanse of the wide-open Wasteland and the ocean. She says her catchphrase - "Okey Dokey" - and she embarks on her mission.

We go back to Maximus, who's being interrogated. The Elder Cleric reminds me of the Maesters in Game of Thrones, complete with the chain around his neck. I find it interesting that the BOS in this iteration seems to reflect their Fallout 1 style, being a medieval yet technocratic order. Being initiated into the Brotherhood higher ranks resembles a religious ceremony. Maximus is branded with Knight Titus's initial, which seems a little dehumanizing. Squires are the pack mules and loyal assistants to the Knights. Even just a step up the ladder, Maximus enjoys his power, dismissing Aspirant Thaddeus as his inferior.

Maximus being smug after dismissing Thaddeus.

The setting switches again to a graveyard where a pack of cowboy-esque raiders come to dig up something...or someone.

"Well, well, well...is this an Amish production of the Count of Monte Cristo...or the weirdest circle-jerk I've ever been invited to?"

The strange yodeling will become The Ghoul's signature soundtrack, signaling the uncanny life he lives as an immortal ghoul. Keen eyes might notice that The Ghoul is none other than Cooper Howard from the introductory scene. He apparently became ghoulified after the Great War, though we don't see this firsthand. Ghouls are humans who have been irreparably mutated by radiation. He's been living dormant underground in a casket, put there by Dom Pedro (some offscreen bad guy), who routinely digs him up and cuts a few pieces off him.

The raiders, headed by a leader named Honcho, get much more than they bargained for, though maybe they should have considered the fact that a 200+ year old ghoul didn't last this long without considerable skill. The former Western star actor became a real-life bounty hunter and doesn't take kindly to Honcho bringing up his past. He kills the two lackeys and shoves Honcho into the coffin. He does take the bait of looking for the escaped Enclave scientist and this ends the first episode.

Episode 2 - "The Target"

We dive into the next episode, which eases us in with scientists...putting puppies in an incinerator. Oh, hi, Enclave. I guess that's you. We're not clued into what type of lab it is, only that they need quality dogs to train for...something? We're introduced to the doctor, the targeted man with a bounty on his head. This doctor fudges the number of one of the puppies, because any puppy below 10 grams must be incinerated. He trains the puppy as his own well into adulthood.

Dude, there are better treatments for migraines. Come on.

The doctor injects a shiny thing into his head which I first thought was some mutagen and he was about to Hulk out but no...just a shiny thing which I can't elaborate on without spoilers. The doctor gets into some trouble when another scientist discovers the shiny thing missing from the...thingamabob machine. Now, I'm not trying to avoid spoilers about that, I just don't know what it's called. I got a D in high school Physics, leave me alone. Apparently, it's important and the scientist slaps the doctor around and flips the alarm, but not before getting bodied by the dog, who springs to her master's aid.

The doctor attempts an escape with the dog from whatever snowy base he's on. Humorously, a turret pops out of the ground.

Where's the VATS button?!

Oh, you and your dark humor, Fallout. I love you.

Might I say that I freakin' love the soundtrack with my whole ass heart? It has many of the songs which play on the in-game radio in the video games along with a haunting score. It creates the wonderful soundtrack dissonance I love about Fallout. This is displayed beautifully and tragically with a scene where Lucy explores a bombed-out house where the residents all took lethal chems so they wouldn't suffer before the bombs dropped.

"Send me off forever, but I ask you please...don't fence me in..."

Lucy camps for the night, lighting a fire (mistake) and taking off her Pip-Boy (bigger mistake). She might have gotten some cursory knowledge of survival in her education, but this is the Wasteland full of mutant bugs and raiders. But then again, we as players were also naïve when we started out in the game, weren't we?

Lucy wakes up to the sound of CX404 - the doctor's dog - growling and learns she has unexpected company. It's the targeted man the Brotherhood and The Ghoul want, but Lucy doesn't know this. The dog brutally kills a Radroach and the doctor talks about the common belief that roaches will survive a nuclear holocaust.

Michael Emerson was born to portray wacko scientists.

The doctor insists that Lucy go back to the Vault and that Vault Dwellers are an "endangered species" in the Wasteland. True, Vault Dwellers are in no way respected by people on the surface who have to struggle to survive every day. The doctor also implies Lucy won't be able to do immoral things to survive.

"Question is: Will you want the same things when you become a different animal altogther?"

We check in on Maximus and Knight Titus, the latter deciding to disembark the Vertibird because he's "bored and wants to shoot something." They do just that. We briefly go back to the doctor, who rests by a cave while the dog goes off to salvage something. While the doctor calls her "4" in reference to her test subject name, she is Dogmeat, the dog which has accompanied many a Wastelander in the Fallout games, most notably Fallout 4 because Dogmeat in that game can offer some comedic moments like falling out of buildings and bringing you Fat Man Launchers out of nowhere. In this show, Dogmeat recovers something worrying to the doctor -- a freshly severed hand. The doctor and dog soon abandon the site, but Maximus and Knight Titus arrive.

I find Maximus the most interesting character. His morality has been formed from his time growing up in the Brotherhood. He claims his motivations are "to hurt the people who hurt me" but does he mean the people who dropped the bomb on Shady Sands or his bullies within the Brotherhood? He has respect for the Knights because it was a Knight who saved him from the ruins, but his time with Knight Titus makes him question the power dynamics.

Knight Titus comes off as a man who never grew up but somehow became a Knight. He veers off from the main missions because he's bored and wants to shoot something. Yet, he comes face to face with a Yao Guai (mutated bear) and shows how incompetent he is in the face of real danger.

Maximus is the one to put the beast down. Is Knight Titus grateful? Nope. He's remarkably stupid, mocking his Squire who has access to the device he needs. Maximus decides to let him die, deeming him as unworthy to wear Power Armor.

Back to Lucy, she comes across an...interesting character.

Ewwww, put some pants on. Do you have pants?

This particular person is rather dim-witted, wondering why his water purifier wasn't working after putting sand in it. He drinks all of Lucy's clean water as she asks him for information. He informs her of a town called Filly and makes her more uncomfortable by asking her if she wants to have a family with him.

"Watch out...watch out...there's a two-legged animal running aboooouut..."

Checking in with Maximus, he slides into the Power Armor after Titus dies. He shows absolute boyish glee as he tests out the suit, running and punching things. After taking the suit for a spin, he hears the commotion of someone getting the shit kicked out of him. He assumes the role of protector, holding the head of the aggressor until he lets his victim go. Though we soon find out the victim had been, uh, copulating with the farmer's chickens.

Back to Lucy, she finds no friends in the main roads leading to Filly. They all seem wary of Lucy in her Vault-Tec jumpsuit, giving her a wide berth.

If you've played Fallout 3, this area might have reminded you a bit of Megaton.

The town of Filly is a bustling trading spot built from the scraps of corrugated metal and crashed airplanes that fell during the Great War of 2077. The townsfolk are all roughshod Wasteland types wearing strange assortments of fabrics and metal fashioned into armor. We see some raider-types waging their own form of justice upon other people, with passing citizens giving no fucks. We see a Brahmin, a mutated cow with two heads, though they look considerably cuter than they do in the games. Brahmin in the Fallout games are pink and have pustulated udders.

Guess who.

The Ghoul is in Filly, presumably listening for information while idly playing with a bullet. Lucy ducks into a store which is selling Vault-Tec equipment. Ma June is a jaded Wastelander who owns the shop, stating her opinion about Vault-Tec quite plainly. Lucy comes off as incredibly privileged, and she is, having grown up in a sanitary, secure bunker with plenty of food and friends. Lucy's tense discussion with Ma June is like listening to a wealthy socialite trying to relate to a homeless person.

"Fuck the Vaults."

The doctor, who we now know as Dr. Wilzig, shows up at the shop and means to take refuge under Ma June. Lucy discusses her difficulties trying to get information about her father's whereabouts and Dr. Wilzig reveals he's quite knowledgeable of her Vault. We also get a clue of what the Vault experiment might be, because he mentions Lucy has grown up in a meritocracy, where "people pride themselves on doing the right thing." A meritocracy is a system of government where exceptionally skilled people are put in charge.

"You wouldn't happen to be a doctor, would ya? 'Cause I happen to be lookin' for one."

The Ghoul makes himself known and Ma June reminds him of Filly's "No Ghoul" policy but he's only after a bounty. He talks of "six agencies" which means bounty hunting is a lucrative profession in the Wasteland. The Ghoul wastes no time making sure Dr. Wilzig doesn't leave, blowing his foot off. Ma June declares 1000 caps (post-War currency) for whoever kills The Ghoul. He smiles, seeing the price on his head as a fun game. Many prospective collectors try to kill him but The Ghoul must have 100 skill points in Small Guns. Wait, he has explosive rounds. Would that count as 100 in Explosives?

The Ghoul chows down on some cherry tomatoes, spitting out pits while he casually massacres the raiders. Dogmeat comes out of the blue to attack the Ghoul, who knives her. She's not dead though, just injured. Lucy comes out of the store after trying to get information from Ma June's records. As she's not well-versed in Wasteland justice, she tries to de-escalate the situation with conflict resolution. Or to put it in game terms, she tried to pass a Speech check and failed.

"Fuckin' Vault Dwellers."

The Ghoul is amused, especially as Lucy tries to tranq him, which maybe would have worked if he wasn't a 200+ Ghoul with a lot of resistances and a fuckton of drugs in him already.

Maximus turns up, using his...wrist jets to fly. Is this Iron Man? That's my only complaint about the Power Armor. We had a jet pack attachment in Fallout 4, just saying. The Ghoul isn't impressed. Remember that Cooper Howard was a veteran in the Pre-War years before the bombs dropped, so he knows how the Power Armor works.

Maximus guards Lucy and somehow doesn't kill her by crashing into the shop. Luckily, the Ghoul's gun jammed so that buys them a couple of seconds. Just because Maximus has Power Armor doesn't exactly mean he has full knowledge on how to use it. He puts up a decent fight with the Ghoul while Lucy gets Dr. Wilzig inside. His foot is basically pastrami but thanks to the box of Jim's Limbs, apparently a Pre-War invention for dealing with amputees, Ma June manages to agonizingly ground down the ground beef into a stump and stick a metal foot on it. Okay, sure.

I have to laugh at Lucy's line after Ma June and Dr. Wilzig insist she take him to Lee Moldaver, the woman who led the assault on Vault 33.

"What does Moldaver want with you? I mean...she steals dads!" And murders half your Vault, but sure...your dad is the priority. And while this conversation and questionable doctoring is going on, Maximus and The Ghoul are knocking each other around.

Then Maximus gets the metal leg stuck, somewhat killing the invincible hero vibe. The Ghoul recovers enough to mock him and jam his knife into a part of the Armor that makes it go haywire. Ever the cowboy, The Ghoul lassos Maximus and causes him to go flying. He crashes into the ground in front of an outhouse. The Ghoul, meanwhile, uses a stimpack on Dogmeat, which begs the question of why Ma June didn't give Dr. Wilzig a stimpak, but anyway. The Ghoul needs the dog to find Dr. Wilzig.

Lucy and Dr. Wilzig rest halfway across a sandy shore, where Dr. Wilzig says he just took a cyanide pill.

"Vault-Tec Plan D. It was the most humane product Vault-Tec ever made. Quick. Painless. Tastes like banana. I was surprised it wasn't more popular."

The fact that a cyanide pill is the most humane thing Vault-Tec ever made and not the subterranean fallout shelters is a neat bit of foreshadowing.

He insists Lucy cut off his head and take it with her. You know, as you do. He calls her by her last name as he fades away, showing that maybe the name McLean is more notorious than we (the audience) think.

The opening riffs of "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" by The Inkspots comes on as Lucy revs the chainsaw.

"Okey dokey."

Overall, I am extremely pleased with how these first two episodes turned out. I'll be sure to critique the other episodes and my thoughts on certain lore changes and controversies. Till then, I hope you very much enjoyed!

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About the Creator

CD Turner

I write stories and articles. Sometimes they're good.

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