Fallout: The Beginning
April 21, 2024 4:49 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Two hundred years have passed since the beginning of the apocalypse. Leaving the atomic shelter that protected them will pave the way to an unknown world that will unleash a war for survival.

Lucy and Norm, independently, learn the truth of the war, while Howard also reminisces about that truth. Pre-War, Howard eavesdrops on Barb and her colleague, Bud Askins, learning they are explicitly managing Vault-Tec's plans to start a nuclear war to delete its competitors – ensuring peace-by-monopoly over the vault humans. Howard also meets Vault-Tec's Betty Pearson and Hank MacLean. Norm discovers Vault 31 contains the cryogenically stored Junior executives of Vault-Tec, overseen by the cyborg brain-on-wheels of Bud, who traps Norm in Vault 31. Lucy turns the head over to Moldaver, who reveals: when Hank is from; that Rose left the vault with infants Lucy and Norm; that Hank found her and took the kids back; and that Hank nuclear bombed Shady Sands, turning Rose into a feral ghoul. Maximus is forgiven by the Brotherhood, joining the upcoming battle against Moldaver's forces. Lucy convinces Hank to give Moldaver the code activating her fusion reactor. Maximus makes his way to Lucy and frees her father. Hank is driven off by Howard after Lucy disowns him for his actions. Howard, believing his family might still be alive, offers to guide Lucy east to find him; she takes him up on his offer. Maximus witnesses Moldaver activating the fusion reactor, powering the city just before she dies from her wounds. The victorious Brotherhood forces assume that Maximus is responsible for Moldaver's death and acclaim him as Knight Maximus.
(Description copied from IMDB and extended summary copied from Wikipedia.)
posted by Pong74LS (38 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 


New Vegas's lights appear to be off. Make of that what you will.
posted by East14thTaco at 3:18 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I presume that the technicians that kept Hoover Dam operating drifted away when the NCR broke up and quit paying them?
posted by wintermind at 5:58 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


From the IMDb trivia section:
The code the Overseer types into the keypad, 101097, is the North American release date for the first Fallout game, October 10, 1997.
I have to admit I expected a messy explosion of somebody at the end, since that's how that game ends. Instead, we have a very blatant "Hey, we could do a sequel if you like" and I am here for it.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:37 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Also stoked for the next season. My main complaint is that spent a little too much time wandering around those crumbling warehouses in the real life skeleton coast.
posted by youthenrage at 7:44 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


This was a satisfying conclusion. It's unfortunate that Maximus had to get hit by the armored fist of "writers looking forward to a second season with Lucy and the Ghoul teamed together," but to be fair, the Ghoul and Lucy make a far more interesting dynamic.

Maximus does have the most supportive friend who immediately gives him a battlefield promotion to knight even though they're just a squire.
posted by Atreides at 10:47 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


Did they ever explain how Moldaver managed to live for so long? As far as I can tell she wasn't one of Bud's Buds so how did she get access to the cryo, if she even did get access to the cryo? Given how things ended I doubt the second season will be revisiting her story and I personally would like to know.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:23 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Atreides: Yeah, I was wondering who exactly gave Dane the authority to promote Maximus like that :)

Parasite Unseen: I also wonder about that, and if they will continue next season. It's possible that they bring her back only in flashback sequences following Cooper after finding out his wife is literally the worst. We can presume that there are cryopods scattered throughout the US at other vaults and probably their own separate locations (the ending credits show a billboard ad for a facility in Vegas). I would guess her, and perhaps some associates, either lied their way into Vault-Tec cryopods with fake IDs, or they had their own separate facility.

Welp, I guess I was dead wrong about Maximus being behind the boot spiking! I'm a big enough ghoul to admit when I'm wrong. I also turned around significantly on Maximus the character and Aaron Moten's portrayal. A lot of the performance came together for me when I realized about midway through the season that he's playing Maximus as essentially still the 8-10 yr old boy who emerged from the old refrigerator. The "you mean use my cock? ... it gets all hard and explodes, it's kinda gross" conversation with Lucy was the moment that really cemented it for me.

I'm still wondering what drug it was that the snake-oil salesman/chicken-fucker gave to Thaddeus that apparently turned him into a ghoul almost instantaneously. Was that ever something in the games?
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:43 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


I will admit that I had a "Say the phrase, Bart"-meme celebration when Barb finally gave us the "War... War never changes" I had been craving since the first episode.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:55 PM on April 22 [9 favorites]


i feel that got stronger as it went along. really impressed they managed to catch the "feel" of fallout so regularly.
posted by LegallyBread at 6:30 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


Honestly, my main complaint about the show is they got all that Fallout 3/4 era imagery and soundtrack down so well, and then they never went for "Anything Goes".

I really enjoyed the scene where everyone is coming up with vault experiment ideas. I wonder which one of those assholes is responsible for Vault 77.
posted by cardioid at 6:58 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


HI BETTY! HI HANK! Oh, Barb, that's quite a heel turn, there, and a whole lot of bad ideas. I recognized some of them from the games, but I'm not sure if all the ones they listed were ones we've seen in the games.

Parasite Unseen: Me too - I think I literally said "SAY IT" out loud at the pause after "War..."

So, the power armor won't move at all without a fusion core, but one fusion core will let you jetpack all the way to New Vegas? Okay, that's a trade-off.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:59 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Heyyyy. No wonder that RobCo guy looked familiar. IMDB says that character is Robert House. Per an IGN interview, Todd Howard says the events of New Vegas definitely happened, and that Hank bombed Shady Sands shortly after that. I did see one theory that the "fall" of Shady Sands is different from the "complete atomic-bomb-crater destruction" of Shady Sands and are two separate events, which might make the timeline line up better.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:14 AM on April 23


One thing that bothered me in the wake of having seen the final episode and how Moldaver is brought forward as this person who just wanted (and still wants) to create a better world for everyone, is how freaking violent her people were in attacking and killing the Vault 33 crowd. With the exception of the Vault 31 leadership folks (presuming), it seemed like the Vault 33 people were innocent folks just living their naive corporate defined lives. Was it revenge on MacLean? You blow up my world, I try to destroy the crap out of yours?

Other thought! Was Sandy Shores blown up *just* for not being a VaultTec approved future utopia or was it that same sex relationships were not envisioned as having a place in an approved future utopia? (I.e., if Lucy's mom and Moldaver had not been in a relationship, would have MacLean spared Sandy Shores?)

And to that end, what the heck, Moldaver, let your wife rest in peace, geezus.
posted by Atreides at 12:04 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


My theory as to Moldaver's heel turn in ep 1: she arrived with 3 or 4 NCR fighters but wanted more muscle, so she made a deal with a raider gang for more soldiers. In support of this, I offer how she clearly did not bother rescuing any of them, and didn't seem to care if they lived or died (indeed, her bomb in the tunnel suggests that she was planning on letting them die from the get-go)
posted by Mogur at 1:56 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


Lucy's Mom & Moldaver were a couple? I missed that entirely. I just assumed they were friends, but I guess I missed a scene or didn't read the subtext... Is that what everyone else got?
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:04 PM on April 23


the mcguffin in Enclave guy's head - did we get much of an idea as to what it does? i couldn't tell if the guy's knowledge when talking with Lucy was because the Enclave still had vault files/mainframe access, or he was developing some light telepathy.
posted by LegallyBread at 2:59 PM on April 23


The mcguffin in the head was the cold fusion "core" that lit up the city, right? Not that any of that makes sense, nor do we ever learn why mcguffin man injected the thing into his head when he could have just put it in his pocket, but *shrug*
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 4:14 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


Lucy's Mom & Moldaver were a couple?

It was subtext, but it was VERY LOUD subtext. Here's an interview with the actor who played Moldaver, Sarita Choudhury, being extremely coy about it (also featuring screencaps of the two smiling lovingly at each other and Moldaver tenderly holding hands with Rose-as-feral-ghoul). Here's a live interview with Choudhury where she says, "I can't say much, but I can say I love that [the fans] are picking up on all this...if there's a season 2, you'll find out." I have no idea if the coyness is due to an exec-level interdiction on gay, or whether it's to avoid spoilers.
posted by ourobouros at 8:18 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


The mcguffin in the head was the cold fusion "core" that lit up the city, right? Not that any of that makes sense, nor do we ever learn why mcguffin man injected the thing into his head when he could have just put it in his pocket, but *shrug*

Presumably, he figured that he could lose everything out in the wilds, clothing, bags, even limbs (He did lose a foot after all), and if it happened, he could still keep it safe and keep going. But, if it was in his head, well, if he loses that, his mission is pretty much toast.

Turning on the electricity, for Moldaver, I think, was a real act of hope that someone wouldn't just blow it up or turn it back off. It was implied the Brotherhood was going to take it over, and I guess, since they love "pre-bomb" technology, it's in their wheelhouse.

i couldn't tell if the guy's knowledge when talking with Lucy was because the Enclave still had vault files/mainframe access

In my opinion, he just had access to information at his work place.
posted by Atreides at 9:16 AM on April 24


I recognized some of them from the games, but I'm not sure if all the ones they listed were ones we've seen in the games.
There's a list of all known vaults, including the experiments they're running. It's a "fun" read.
posted by cardioid at 10:08 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I have no idea if the coyness is due to an exec-level interdiction on gay, or whether it's to avoid spoilers.

Really hope it’s the second case!
posted by ellieBOA at 11:35 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


OK Overseer MacLean and Moldaver weren't in cahoots and Maximus didn't actually put the razor blade in Dane's boot. In that sense things were more straightforward that I had expected.
As for how Moldaver is still alive, I guess it makes more sense that she was also in a cryo pod and came out of it relatively recently (say in the last 20 years or so) instead of her roaming the world for the last 200 years.
I know we were getting glimpses of The Ghoul's past but I wasn't ever sure how much he still remembered, it looks like the answer to that is everything.

I feel like I have to re-watch the show now to see what was shown in the earlier episodes that I didn't pick up on.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:42 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Eh. It was fine. I liked the parts with Vault Tec and the vaults more than basically any of the rest of it? I mean, some of it is basic post-apocalypse annoyance (look at all that refined metal! That's still useful! Why are communities still crapsacks after 200 years? Sandy Shores showed other outcomes are possible, etc etc etc). The rest of it was basically a fetch quest and a massive overuse of the same handful of sandy buildings. Meh?
posted by Kyol at 6:11 AM on April 25


Overall I thought this was a really strong show. I think the acting and characters are the strongest part, which is rather surprising. People were kind of down on Maximus but I thought Aaron Moten was a standout in an already strong cast.

I think my biggest gripe is just how we're 200 years after the nuclear holocaust, and somehow the wasteland hasn't changed much. Fallout 1 had such a wonderful aesthetic that the later games couldn't help copying, even when it strained credulity. Like even the Brotherhood of Steel... so cool they have to be in every incarnation of Fallout, but somehow it's still the same knights-in-power armor with nebulous morality. Probably to most people 200 years is just a number, but it does dampen my enjoyment of the stories that get told in the Fallout world, and I guess some other people feel similarly.

Still, it's an easy enough thing to put out of my mind, and otherwise the show was much stronger than I was expecting. I thought this finale did a really good job of closing the season in a satisfying way, and I'm looking forward to the second season.
posted by Alex404 at 1:06 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Building the World of Fallout [Inverse]
posted by ellieBOA at 5:59 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Don't know if this counts as fan-casting or not, but because of my below average face skills I thought that the serum vendor/chicken fucker character was played by the guy from the white stripes.
posted by LegallyBread at 5:33 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]


The mcguffin in the head was the cold fusion "core" that lit up the city, right? Not that any of that makes sense

Also, energy scarcity doesn't seem to be a huge problem in this world of beer-can-sized fusion cores.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:41 PM on April 28


Well, beer-can sized fusion cores that originally Vault Tec or one of the other megacorps controlled and was only really using to push a post nuclear war Vault-y future, and even now are still kind of holy grail items for the Brotherhood of Steel to control.
posted by Kyol at 7:19 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Also, energy scarcity doesn't seem to be a huge problem in this world of beer-can-sized fusion cores.

It's a manufactured scarcity, that's the problem.
posted by Atreides at 8:35 AM on April 29


I was bothered by the world still being in ruins but there's a case to be made for the destruction of shady sands resulting in a load of new chaos and ruin.
The stabilising influence of the NCR spent fighting over Helios One and Hoover Dam and so on. (I don't think we canonically know the ending of new Vegas do we? There were even some more nukes launched at the end of lonesome road in theory)

And maybe our protagonists just never went to the hub or vault city or whatever, or maybe they devolved into chaos or walled city states or something with the fall of the NCR.

I'd love to see some progression in the fallout world, like we got between 1 and 2, but there's at least plausible headcannon for why the world is like it is.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:36 PM on April 29


Yeah, in a way the answer to a lot of "why is the world still a crapsack after 200 years" type questions is sort of "Well, Vault Overseers did wacky things to keep the truth of the surface from their charges". Which is both - ok fine, Hank had a nuke and he blew up Shady Sands when it was getting to be too big for its britches, and presumably the same thing happened to any other civilization rebuilding effort that happened before the local overseer was ready to open up their vault - which is to say never. But on the other hand, what, that's the case for every burgeoning rebirth of civilization? Everywhere? I mean ok I guess if the reincarnation of Genghis Khan is making a New Karakorum, we probably wouldn't know about it in North America until they advanced to the age of flight again, so maybe? I dunno.

It's unsatisfying, but it's also what the show is kind of trapped in with existing canon from mumpty-hundred hours of gameplay. Canon that is more or less acceptable enough while you're playing since you're presumably too busy to ask those sorts of questions, but questions that a post apocalyptic show is more subject to? It's a catch-22, unfortunately.

(That said, I suspect I'd probably have the same sorts of questions if I ever ran across a population level greater than one barely surviving by raiding pre-war caches? But I'm not sure how evident that was in the games. Certainly not in the world population as far as I ever got, but it might have been hinted at in the text.)
posted by Kyol at 5:50 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to accept a lot of hand-waving here. I would never accuse the Fallout games of being careful about their lore, so I'm not going to hold this show to a higher standard. People seem to have quibbles with how these events fit into the timeline, and that's fair; but it's also a universe where they managed not to invent the transistor for 200 years and somehow still listen to Perry Como, so my standards are not super high.

But, damn, this episode drove me nuts.

The part where a revealed heel sheepishly tries to explain their motivations — “X, you have to understand…” — is an opportunity for some fun moral ambiguity. As we're told, good villains don't think they're really villains, and the best villains are the ones who can almost bring you around to their way of thinking.

Hank, on the other hand, stammers his way to absolutely nothing. “War never changes, so the only way to stop factions from warring is to… kill all the factions,” he says, probably muttering “yeah, that's the ticket” under his breath. The rebuttal to this inanity is so obvious that they can't actually have Lucy argue with him, or else it would draw attention to the lazy writing… which is why she spends like ten minutes of screen time being mutely heartbroken. (Enough time for several Lone Teardrops to slide down her cheek.)

Lucy can also, with even a word or a hand gesture, prevent the slapstick series of events that leads Hank to be freed from his cage, klonk Max over the head, and escape. If you want Hank alive for Season 2, at least have him earn his escape! Even a little bit! It relied entirely on aphasia and short attention spans.

Obviously, the folks at Vault-Tec were going to be villains; I've seen their work. But the dissonance is really thrown into stark relief in the eavesdropping conference-room scene. Five people have a meeting, decide somewhat casually that they're going to destroy the world, and then start brainstorming ways they can torture the people that they've decided are worthy of surviving the apocalypse.

I get the point they want to make about the banality of corporate evil here, but this is all delusional, and the show doesn't do itself any favors by pretending otherwise. In the Fallout universe, apocalypse is painted as a prudent business decision. I'd love to see the numbers on this one: “if we kill 99% of our customer base and move to a barter system, we could increase year-over-year revenues by nearly ten bottle caps per, uh, surviving customer.”

I know there's not tons of room for backstory here, but have more fun with it than that! You already have a character who went Howard Hughes — becoming obsessed with the apocalypse and somehow, through this obsession, bringing it closer to reality. He was at the meeting! The danger of a sick system is not that everyone's Hitler; it's that the Hitlers among us can bend the system to their will.

I'm curious who Cooper is referring to when he says “my family.” I expect that his ex-wife wound up in one of the good vaults, if not Vault 31; but considering how much agency she had over the precipitating events, I wonder why she would allow her own daughter not to be in a vault when the first bombs fall. I don't know when Cooper becomes a ghoul, but from what we see in the opening scene, I just assumed that he lost his daughter and was living out the cosmic punishment of long, irradiated life to reflect on his decisions.
posted by savetheclocktower at 12:33 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


paper chromatographologist: "Also, energy scarcity doesn't seem to be a huge problem in this world of beer-can-sized fusion cores."

This is part of the problem when you have to work around the lore of the video game.

Fusion cores were introduced in Fallout 4; in ordinary gameplay you might find one of those for every two hours of roaming. Their main purpose in the game is to act as a battery for power armor. They serve the game designers' goal of allowing you to romp around in power armor and feel like a god… but only when you need to, because if you drain the batteries when you're zapping radroaches you won't be able to use it against deathclaws and yao guai.

Game mods have made fusion cores more generally applicable, and you'll find them in various places in the wasteland doing things other than powering power armor, but the player can't canonically use them for anything other than power armor (and as ammunition for a certain gun).

So they're scarce enough that if you came across one in the game, you'd at least consider taking it with you, even if it would completely screw someone else over (and typically it wouldn't). But they deplete quickly enough in power armor — and have no recharging method that is usable by the player — that you'd wonder how the Brotherhood could manage to use so many power armor suits.

But the answer is just that nobody has thought it through. Hell, in earlier games, power armor was said to be powered by an even-more-implausible sort of battery, so I suppose this is progress.
posted by savetheclocktower at 12:27 PM on April 30


I really enjoyed this show, but I'm not quite sure it stuck the landing.

Some of the reveals don't seem to quite jibe with the start of the show. It is possible that some of this will be revealed in season 2 but for now it feels a little unsatisfying.

1) what exactly did happen in vault 32? I think what happened is that thanks to miss management by the overseer, and a crop blight, the inhabitants started to starve, and at some point killed the overseer. They then found out the truth of vault 31 and tried to break in? But why did they commit suicide? Just lack of food I guess? Why didn't they ever ask for help from 33? I think they all died before Moldaver arrived, but I'm not really sure.
2) The reveal that 31 was sending pre war people to run the other vaults actually felt... A little tame? Ultimately it's not like the residents of 32 and 33 were being miss treated, and the thing they said, that the goal was to reclaim the surface, was broadly true. The biggest lies were that the surface was uninhabitable.. but its not exactly nice out there either! Sure, Hank was a monster, but was that system completely evil? I mean, it's obviously not good to lie to people, but given what other vaults are like it felt a little tame
3) What was Moldavers deal? Her behaviours in the first episode seems completely at odds with how she is in the final scene. In particular her apparent fondness for Lucy and her mother don't really gibe with a plan where she essentially plans to send a raider to rape and then murder her! I think the show wanted to do a thing where Moldaver initially seemed like a villain, but it appears to create contradictions. The timing is also potentially weird, but I can mark that down to unrevealed story elements.

Having made complaints, I did generally speaking really enjoy this show, and found the characters and world compelling. The story was engaging, I loved the bleak humour it engaged it. I do think Maximus was probably the weakest character, simply because it wasn't completely clear what motivated him, but still really enjoyed it
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:19 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


1) what exactly did happen in vault 32? I think what happened is that thanks to miss management by the overseer, and a crop blight, the inhabitants started to starve, and at some point killed the overseer. They then found out the truth of vault 31 and tried to break in? But why did they commit suicide? Just lack of food I guess? Why didn't they ever ask for help from 33? I think they all died before Moldaver arrived, but I'm not really sure.

There's a lot of information on the Wiki that I can't tell if it's direct from the text (the supporting links seem kind of thin), if it's from some ARG out there, from the showrunners after the fact, or just made up whole cloth because it sounds good and mostly fits the facts as presented? Heck, I'm not sure how it fits into show only / books included / etc as we're applying it on FF. Anywho, there are answers out there, I'm just not sure where some of them are coming from.
posted by Kyol at 1:04 PM on May 5


Don't know if this counts as fan-casting or not, but because of my below average face skills I thought that the serum vendor/chicken fucker character was played by the guy from the white stripes.

My thought was that if this series had been made 15 years ago, it would be a Tom Waits cameo.

Overall, I enjoyed the series and look forward to future episodes of Lucy and the Ghoul, but I think some video game plot elements work better when you're actually playing the game than when you're watching. I can't tell how much of my enjoyment is nostalgia for those days in my New California Republic hoodie, trying to play New Vegas without a walkthrough.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:22 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


I wanted to like this show but I really didn't. I complained in previous Fanfare posts that the TV show was too intense, too much violence. (And this from me, a fan of the violent video games!) That calmed down and became a more comfortable pace for me.

But this last episode was bizarre in how suddenly there was All This Plot all shoved in 20 minutes of exposition. Was any of it necessary? I think the season would have been stronger with no Moldaver or Hank MacLean at all. No discussion of how the war was started, no flashbacks to the founding of Vault-Tec and the other companies like Rob-Co. Just tell the story of Lucy and the Ghoul and Maximus.

I dunno, in the games mostly you're questing around the wasteland encountering wacky situations. The vaults are sort of a sideshow, a dungeon with a story-in-a-bottle. This TV show inverted that. The vaults are the real story and the wasteland moments are the siloed stories. It didn't work for me.

What did work was the production design. Just gorgeous, really adapted all the design work done for the games (particularly FO4) very effectively to TV. I also liked the three main actors quite a bit, great casting.
posted by Nelson at 2:38 PM on May 22


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