Fallout Episode 102 recap and easter eggs: "The Target"

What happens when a Vault Dweller, a gunslinging Ghoul and the Brotherhood of Steel walk into a Wasteland settlement? It's a showdown in Filly in the second episode of Fallout!
Walton Goggins as The Ghoul in Fallout.
Walton Goggins as The Ghoul in Fallout. /

All eight episodes of Fallout are out now on Prime Video, and so far it's been a hell of a ride. Helmed by Jonathan Nolan (Westworld), this sci-fi series is just as wacky, deranged and entertaining as you'd hope considering its quirky source material. The Fallout video games have a very particular view of the post-apocalypse, driven by 1940s US-era nostalgia, gallows humor and an occasionally blistering examination of privilege. The show has done a great job of capturing that magic.

We've already discussed the season as a whole. Now we're going through each episode with a fine-tooth comb to make sure we're catching all the important details. Fallout has plenty of twists and turns, even at this early stage. Read on for our recap and review of "The Target" below. SPOILERS ahead.

Michael Emerson in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

Fallout Episode 102 recap: "The Target"

The Fallout premiere ended with both The Ghoul and the Brotherhood of Steel searching for a man who had escaped from the Enclave with a powerful artifact. The second episode starts by introducing us to that man: Dr. Siggi Wilzig, played by Lost's Michael Emerson. Wilzig works for the Enclave, a governmental-type organization with a proclivity for immoral scientific experiments. We don't learn a lot about the Enclave in this sequence, but considering they like chucking puppies into incinerators, it's enough.

As it turns out, the puppy murder is actually not just for shock value, but the whole reason that Wilzig ultimately ends up fleeing the Enclave. He saves a puppy, CX404, which he raises in secret to protect her from the unscrupulous tests. Eventually, he's found out and physically confronted by another doctor. CX404 comes to his rescue, mauls the other doctor to death, and then comes in for bloody cuddles because she's a good girl. It's enough that Wilzig and his canine friend have to run.

At the same time, Wilzig been hard at work on a some sort of science project contained in a small capsule. Shortly before he's discovered, we get our first hard tonal shift of the episode when Wilzig injects whatever that project is into his neck, and the pleasant music shifts to something much more ominous as Wilzig writhes in his chair. What is that glowy light in his neck, I wonder?

On the way out the door, the duo are attacked by an automated turret with the words "Please remain calm" printed on it — a cute game Easter egg that exudes that quintessential Fallout spirit. Ah, Fallout, never change.

Ella Purnell (Lucy) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

The truth about the Wasteland

With Wilzig on the board, it's time to check back in with our Vault Dweller, Lucy (Ella Purnell). She starts out the episode exploring, accompanied by the song "Don't Fence Me In" by Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters. Everything is new to Lucy. While this makes for some cute moments, such as when she's startled by a tumbleweed, the longer she wonders, the more sobering her experience becomes. She eventually finds a house with bodies in it — an entire family who poisoned themselves at the dinner table, including their baby who was in a high seat. And the poison was produced by none other than Vault-Tec, of course.

She makes camp, only to wake up to find CX404 growling over her. But instead of attacking, the dog chomps up a radroach that was lurking in the bushes. Lucy is surprised to find Wilzig sitting next to her campsite, which allows him a nice opportunity to tell us all about how roaches have become dangerous predators in the post-apocalypse capable of eating people. Is it a little contrived that he happened to be in the exact same spot as Lucy? Maybe, but it's easy to forgive because it keeps us zipping along, builds intrigue, and imparts fascinating information about the local fauna.

"The question is, will you still want the same things, when you've become a different animal altogether?" Wilzig asks Lucy. That's the million dollar question the show is likely to spend a decent amount of time tackling. Lucy is just now setting out into the Wasteland; who knows how it will change her? Wilzig leaves her to mull on that as he wanders back into the night.

Fallout - First Look
Power Suit and Aaron Moten (Maximus) in “Fallout” /

Maximus and Knight Titus find trouble in the wild

While Lucy is exploring on her own, Maximus (Aaron Moten) and the Brotherhood of Steel knight he's sworn to serve, Knight Titus, make their own trek into the wilderness. The wide shots of the vertibird helicopter are gorgeous, and the design of the craft itself is excellent. Titus, however, is a giant ass who ignores Maximus' attempts at conversation and instead orders him to clean the groin plate of his armor. Then Titus decrees that they'll be disembarking several miles farther away from the town of Filly than intended, because he feels like shooting something.

I've raved pretty consistently about the fact that Fallout uses practical effects for its power armor rather than copious CGI, and "The Target" is an episode where that decision really shines. The power armor looks incredible. But the man in the armor, Knight Titus, is lacking. After Maximus discovers a shirt and cannister of Cram (think Spam) which Dr. Wilzig left lying out in the wilds, Knight Titus orders him to explore the depths of a cave despite the fact that he has no armor. The jerk move backfires when a yao guai — a giant, mutant bear — attacks Titus, who flees in ridiculous fashion and is mauled nearly to death. Maximus finally saves his life with a well-placed gunshot.

But rather than be grateful, the freshly unmasked Titus (Michael Rapaport) degrades and threatens Maximus. And because Maximus is not your standard hero, he takes this so badly that he decides to sit and watch Titus slowly die from his wounds rather than give him the medicine that would have healed him. This is a captivating sequence, not least because of how fluidly it shifts from dangerous to hilarious and back to terrifying all over the course of about 30 seconds. Rapaport only gets this one scene with his face on camera, but he makes the most of it with some bleakly funny disbelief over how much it sucks to live in the Wasteland.

Ultimately, Maximus takes up Titus' armor, despite the now-deceased knight's warning that the Brotherhood of Steel will kill Maximus for even daring to put it on. "Not if I bring back the target," Maximus says. We'll see if he can pull it off.

Power Armor in Fallout. Credit: Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

After the relative heaviness of Maximus watching another man die in cold blood, Fallout is quick to inject us with a double shot of humor. On one front, we have Lucy dealing with a deranged guy wearing a cloth poopy diaper, who's been trying to make his water filter work by putting sand in it. He tells her that the town of Filly, where she might get information about Moldaver, is just over the hill. But he's never been over the hill because that's dangerous, so maybe she'd like to just settle down with him on his plot in the middle of the desert and be his wife. He doesn't have long to live anyway! All his sand can be hers!

On another, we have Maximus, who is so excited to finally drive his own suit of power armor that he dances around in it, launching rocks into the ocean. It's all great fun until he accidentally knocks down half a building, and proceeds to get drawn into a conflict between two men who are seemingly beating each other to death. Maximus intervenes, and after one of the men flees, he finds out that the altercation was due to that guy having sex with the other guy's chickens. This sort of interaction is so true to the game, where you often come across people fighting it out and never really know who's in the right until after you get involved. Although I can't say I recall a chicken sex scandal, so the show should get all the credit it's due for that invention.

This is also as good a place as any to shout out Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi, who scores Fallout. Djawadi alternates between a few different musical styles on the series, depending on whether he's dealing with Wasteland wanderers like The Ghoul, the militant Brotherhood of Steel, or the Vaults. At the same time, he backs off in all the right places to allow silence to add tension. Djawadi's scores can sometimes be hit and miss for me, but in Fallout he's firing on all cylinders.

Fallout - First Look
Ella Purnell (Lucy) in “Fallout” /

A showdown in Filly

The back half of "The Target" is centered around a long set piece in the town of Filly, which we're introduced to through the eyes of Lucy. The set itself is very impressive; a kind of junkyard tent city filled with unique booths and wreckage. I caught myself gasping more than once as Lucy navigated through tunnels and out into the village square. There are tons of Easter eggs to be had here too, from shop signs to vendors selling items like iguanas on a stick and dog meat.

Lucy hits up a shop in Filly where she sees a Pip-Boy in the window, thinking that must mean that its owner, Ma June (Dale Dickey), knows some criminals and can point Lucy towards Moldaver. I've been excited to see Dickey in the series ever since her first raspy laugh in one of the trailers a few months back, and she does not disappoint. She brings an exasperated, mocking tone to her performance that is a riot to watch.

But that doesn't mean she can't get serious when needed. One of my favorite moments of the episode is when Ma June suddenly challenges Lucy to actually explain how the vaults do anyone any good. This is the first time Lucy's belief in her peoples' way of life is really tested, and you can see that it starts the wheels turning for more development to come.

Ma June kicks Lucy out of her store, where she runs into Wilzig. Again, these sorts of chance encounters do feel a little contrived. But the intrigue is on point: he knows intimate details about Lucy's vault, right down to the crops they plant and what images their projector screen plays. He warns her to go home, but she hardly gets the chance to decline before The Ghoul (Walton Goggins) arrives on the scene.

Ella Purnell, Michael Emerson, Dale Dickey in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

And so begins a big, bombastic shootout in Filly. The set piece is impressive in pretty much every way, from how it contains character beats like Lucy and Maximus' first meeting, to the stylishly violent action as The Ghoul shoots his way through the competition, to Ma June's exasperated comedic inserts, to Lucy's face-off with The Ghoul, to Wilzig's rushed prosthetic leg application. The fugitive doctor pleads with Lucy to take him to his destination; according to Wilzig, him reaching Moldaver could change the Wasteland for good. She reluctantly agrees, and they sneak out the back to escape the town.

There are a few genuinely nerve wracking moments in this sequence, such as when The Ghoul knifes poor CX404, or when Maximus fails to account for his armor's weight and gets stuck on a loose plank, giving his enemy a chance to sever a vital piece of tubing that causes the suit to malfunction. I was on the edge of my seat all the way through the fight in Filly. If it's an indicator of the sort of set pieces Fallout is capable of, I'm excited to see what's down the road.

While Maximus flies off and crashes on the other side of town, The Ghoul finds clues in Ma June's shop as to Lucy's whereabouts before having a surprising change of heart: he carries in the wounded CX404 and injects the dog with a stimpack that heals it. Stimpacks are syringes like the one we saw Lucy use on herself during the season premiere battle in the Vault. In the games, they're a healing item that can restore almost any condition. The show seems to be playing fast and loose with the idea of stimpack healing, prioritizing vibes over realism. I don't mind it!

"The Target" ends with Wilzig collapsing in the desert, unable to go on and losing buckets of blood from his botched prosthetic. As Lucy tries to get him to his feet, he tells her he's already taken a cyanide pill, knowing he was done for. I liked this turn a lot; having the rug pulled out from under Lucy's optimism is compelling. We're only two episodes deep, but this Vault Dweller is already having her worldview pushed quite a lot.

Wilzig insists that Lucy doesn't need to bring all of him to Moldaver — just his head. Remember how the episode started with Wilzig injecting a glowing science experiment of some sort into his neck? It seems safe to say that that's all Moldaver needs from him. Lucy understandably balks at the idea of cutting off his head, but with his dying words he convinces her — as well as reveals he knows her name. If only he'd lived long enough to give more answers!

So while The Ghoul shows a rare sliver of humanity at the end of the episode in reviving CX404, Lucy has to give up a piece of her own as she saws off Wilzig's head in order to continue her journey. High-minded morals don't last long in the Wasteland!

All eight episodes of Fallout are available to stream now on Prime Video. We'll be recapping more of them so you can make sure you catch all the little details. Check back soon for more!

Next. Fallout E3 review. Fallout Episode 103 recap and easter eggs: "The Head". dark

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