‘Fallout’ Ending Explained: Here’s What That Last Scene Means

And how it sets up Season 2

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(L-R) Ella Purnell (Lucy) and Kyle MacLachlan (Overseer Hank) in “Fallout” (Courtesy of Prime Video)

The “Fallout” finale is a humdinger. The video game adaptation in such a way that if Amazon were to not renew this show for a second season, there would be uproar. Indeed, the “Fallout” ending is chock full of shocking reveals, but those answers lead to more and bigger questions that would (and must!) be answered in subsequent seasons of the show.

So without further ado, if you’ve finished “Fallout” Episode 8 and have some questions about all those reveals and what that final shot means, we’ve got answers.

The truth about Hank

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Kyle MacLachlan (Overseer Hank) in “Fallout” (Photo Credit: Prime Video)

In the finale, Lucy (Ella Purnell) is reunited with her father Hank (Kyle MacLachlan), who is being held captive by Moldaver (Sarita Choudhury) at the headquarters for the New California Republic. Moldaver reveals to Lucy the truth about her father – he’s actually a Vault-Tec employee who was cryogenically frozen in 2077 (or sometime thereafter) and woken up in the future to serve as Overseer for Vault 33 (more on that in a bit).

After their kids were born, Hank’s wife Rose suspected something was fishy with Vault 33 and discovered that people were living on the surface, despite the vaultdwellers’ belief that they were the only ones alive. She fled the vault with Lucy and Norm (Moisés Arias) in tow and set up shop in Shady Sands, which at that point in time was a utopia of sorts – a thriving metropolis that had been rebuilt under Moldaver.

Hank tracked down Rose and took his kids back to the vault, but then – to really cover his tracks – dropped the bomb on Shady Sands. Yep, Lucy’s dad is responsible for totaling the entirety of Shady Sands, about which Maximus (Aaron Moten) – a Shady Sands survivor – is none too pleased.

What happened to Lucy’s mom?

When Lucy first arrives as the NCR headquarters there’s a deteriorated ghoul at a dining table. As it turns out, Rose didn’t die in the Shady Sands blast, she was turned into a ghoul. Moldaver has kept her alive. There are allusions that perhaps Moldaver and Rose were lovers at some point, but it’s not made explicit. Lucy eventually puts Rose out of her misery, shooting her in the head.

What’s in Vault 31?

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Norm (Moisés Arias) in “Fallout” (Photo Credit: Prime Video)

Meanwhile Norm has discovered the secret of Vault 31. It’s full of cryogenically frozen humans, but not just any humans. They’re all Vault-Tec employees. You see, Vault-Tec prepared for the apocalypse by freezing a bunch of Vault-Tec executives who would oversee the new population as “management.” When Vault 33 needs a new overseer, someone (like Hank) is unfrozen in Vault 31. Every single person from Vault 31 is from before the bombs dropped in 2077, including Betty (Leslie Uggams) and Stephanie (Annabel O’Hagen).

What did Cooper’s wife Barb do?

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Cooper Howard (Walton Goggins) and Barb (Frances Turner) in “Fallout” (Photo Credit: Prime Video)

We learn in the pre-bombs flashbacks that Cooper (Walton Goggins) followed his wife into Vault-Tec and listened in on a conversation between her, Vault-Tec’s Bud and a consortium of competitors in a war room not unlike the one in “Dr. Strangelove.” It’s during this conversation that we overhear Barb pitching to Vault-Tec’s competitors a scenario: they each take over several vaults and run whatever experiments they like with their inhabitants.

But how can they ensure these vaults will sell when nuclear war hasn’t happened yet? Barb says they’ll make it happen by dropping the bombs themselves, revealing that Vault-Tec – with Barb’s buy-in – created the wasteland by dropping the nukes in the first place. Yikes.

What does cold fusion do?

In the final moments of the finale we finally see what the “artifact” inside Dr. Wilzig’s (Michael Emerson) head does. It was the final piece of the cold fusion puzzle Moldaver had been working on before the bombs dropped, and as she hits the button to test the machine while she’s bleeding out, we see the cityscape light up with electricity. Indeed, the world of “Fallout” is forever changed now that electricity is back – and the Brotherhood of Steel has it under their control.

Where did Hank go?

While Hank jets away in the armor after The Ghoul’s shot misses his head, the final shot of the season has major implications for a potential second season. First off we see a skeleton head of a giant creature – this is undoubtedly a Deathclaw, one of the most dangerous creatures from the game.

But biggest of all, we see Hank land on the outskirts of a cityscape that is assuredly New Vegas, the location for one of the most iconic “Fallout” games, “Fallout: New Vegas.” This city is built on the ruins of Las Vegas.

Unanswered questions

There are still even more questions left hanging at the end of the season. How did Moldaver get to the post-apocalyptic future? Did she sneak into a Vault-Tec cryotube or are there other cryotubes we haven’t seen yet? And what was up with Dr. Wilzig in the first place — what’s that lab and how does he know everything about Vault 33? And what in the world did Rose get up to once she arrived in Shady Sands?

There’s also plenty more to learn about Cooper Howard’s journey, including whether his wife and daughter are still alive somewhere.

Come on, Amazon. Do the right thing.

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