Fallout Episode 104 recap and easter eggs: "The Ghouls"

Lucy levels up in the adrenaline-fueled fourth episode of Prime Video's Fallout. Plus, a Mister Handy robot shows up!
Ella Purnell (Lucy) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC
Ella Purnell (Lucy) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

We've officially reached the halfway point of Prime Video's Fallout! Our intrepid Vault Dweller Lucy (Ella Purnell) has survived a raider attack on her vault, a chaotic shootout in the settlement of Filly and a close encounter with a gulper, but in "The Ghouls" she'll face her biggest challenge yet. Will she still be the same bright-eyed person on the other side?

"The Ghouls" is perhaps the most focused episode of Fallout season 1. After their victory over the gulper, Maximus (Aaron Moten) and his squire Thaddeus (Johnny Pemberton) sit this episode out; there are no flashbacks, either. Instead, "The Ghouls" is all about Lucy and The Ghoul's (Walton Goggins) journey through the wasteland, with a healthy dose of Vault 33 hijinks to help it go down smooth. Beware SPOILERS ahead.

Fallout Episode 104 recap: "The Ghouls"

We begin with Lucy and The Ghoul walking through the ruins of Los Angeles, with Lucy's hands still tied and her looking pretty unwell. There are some blink-and-you'll-miss-it Easter eggs in these scenes, such as the fact that one of the streets they travel down is the Hollywood Walk of Fame; you can't tell from the ruined buildings, but there's a brief shot showing a couple of stars through the sand.

Their journey brings them to a clinic which echoes with terrifying monster sounds. The slow walk toward whatever's making those horrific noises is very creepy. But it's not some mutated animal; it's a ghoul named Roger (Neal Huff), who's an old acquaintance of The Ghoul's. Roger is on the verge of going "feral," which is what happens when a ghoul has been around long enough that they lose all sense of humanity and become a mindless zombie. Remember those vials that got smashed in the gulper fight? It turns out they're what staves off the transformation.

Roger asks if The Ghoul has any, but after the gulper encounter, he doesn't. Instead, The Ghoul asks his old friend about food, distracting him with a happy memory before putting a bullet in his head. This isn't a cold-blooded act; it's a mercy killing. But you'd be forgiven for forgetting that from the way The Ghoul immediately starts looting and butchering his friend; ripping out his teeth, cutting off pieces of his flesh and eating them....it's gnarly. Lucy thinks so too, which leads to some great dialogue. These two are a joy to watch together, with The Ghoul as the cynical guide to the wasteland and Lucy as a good-hearted foil.

There are also some interesting tidbits here. The Ghoul reacts as if he's heard Lucy's last name before. She also tells him that her mother died during a plague where there was a lot of suffering in Vault 33.

After The Ghoul forces Lucy to help cut up Roger, they set back out into the wasteland. Note the bits of Roger-flesh hanging from The Ghoul's bag. Here, Lucy finally caves and drinks from a small puddle of water that makes her Pip-Boy's rad sensor crackle from the radiation. "Now you're getting it," The Ghoul says, smug, until a coughing fit doubles him over and gives Lucy a chance to run. The ensuing scene, where he lassos her, they fight, and then she bites off one of his fingers and he cuts off one of hers in return, is edge-of-your-seat stuff. Fallout has had plenty of shockers so far, but that scene made my jaw drop, helped along by good prosthetics and great performances.

Annabel O’Hagan in Fallout. Credit: Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

What happened in Vault 32?

While Lucy struggles on the surface, the mysteries back in Vault 33 begin to unravel. Woody Thomas (Zach Cherry) and Reg McPhee's (Rodrigo Luzzi) rehabilitation efforts for the raiders are going nowhere fast, but Betty (Leslie Uggams) is concerned that Norm (Moisés Arias) may have stirred the pot with his suggestion to kill them all. It's nice to see more of these characters, especially Norm, and the vault set remains gorgeous to look at.

But if Norm was swayed by Betty to lay low, it doesn't last long. While he delivers leftover jello cake to the raiders, one of them gets inside his head by saying that the people in Vault 32 were up to something, and it was "anything but innocent." His suspicions are only exacerbated when he discovers all the records for Vault 32 are inaccessible on his computer. Norm decides to investigate, with a little help from a friend.

That friend would be Chet (Dave Register), who participates in the episode's most ridiculous scene. Steph (Annabel O’Hagan) visits him, intending to give him some of her late husband Burt's stuff. This whole scene is awkward and hilarious, and gets even funnier when Steph has Chet put on Burt's absurd-looking sweater and scarf. First she breaks down crying, murmuring Burt's name...before things get spicy. "I am Burt!" Chet declares, as Steph calls him the name over and over again while they prepare to have sex. Unfortunately for them, her water breaks all over Chet's floor before they can do the act, while she screams "Buuuuurt." It's ridiculous. It's gross. It's Fallout.

Moisés Arias (Norm) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

Needless to say, when Norm comes knocking to enlist Chet's help in going to Vault 32, the guy's more than happy to get out of his apartment, where the doctors are helping Steph deliver her baby. The trip to Vault 32 is dark and ominous; the ruined wheat field is a very arresting setting. Norm realizes that whatever happened in Vault 32 happened a long time ago, which is confirmed when he accesses the Pip-Boy attached to a corpse and finds that the last bio signals from the person were from two years earlier.

That's the first of several gruesome scenes they find in Vault 32; they also find someone who committed suicide by putting a fork in a toaster, while a video of mice in mazes played on a loop in front of them. There are ominous statements written on the walls in blood, like "We know the truth" and, my personal favorite, "Death to management." It appears that the people in the vault died fighting each other. What happened here?

We don't find out all the details in "The Ghouls," but we do get an important piece of the puzzle. The vault door was opened from the outside, which is presumably how Moldaver and her raiders got in before their attack on Vault 33. And they used the Pip-Boy of Norm's late mother, Rose MacLean, to get the door open.

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

"I'm simply going to harvest your organs!"

While all of this is happening with Norm and Chet, Lucy undergoes her most dangerous challenge yet. It turns out The Ghoul has decided to sell her in exchange for a two-month supply of the vials that will keep him from turning feral. The surprisingly polite English voice on the other end of the line replies that they'll have to assess Lucy's physical condition, so The Ghoul sends her into the dilapidated building. Then, he promptly collapses.

Inside, the building is decorated with bright, colorful lights and has a bunch children's rides. Lucy doesn't get far before she encounters Snip Snip, a Mister Handy robot voiced by What We Do In The Shadows' Matt Berry. He offers to help get her patched up, and leads Lucy to a small medical office where he happens to have a drawer full of fingers. He melds a discolored one onto Lucy's hand in place of the one she lost, and she now has a fully functional hand again. Ah, the miracles of modern (sci-fi) medicine!

Lucy expected this robot to do horrible things to her, so the kindness causes her to open up to him in what is arguably one of the series' funniest conversations. In the Fallout games, the Mr. Handy robot is voiced by John Cleese. Getting Matt Berry, another English actor who can pull off that same sort of tongue-in-cheek tone, is an absolutely inspired decision. Lucy has nothing to fear, he's "simply going to harvest [her] organs." Wait, what?

Yup, Lucy went from a bad situation to worse. Snip Snip tranquilizes her, then wheels her out on a gurney past numerous small glass cells containing people and ghouls to meet his bosses, played by Matty Cardarople and Elvis Valentino Lopez. They appear to be very stoned and are watching TV, and order Snip Snip to go ahead and chop up Lucy so that her organs are ready for the next pick-up. All the while, the cheery song "Journey Into Melody" by Sam Fonteyn is playing in the background.

The feeling of dread in this scene is so well executed. Snip Snip brings Lucy to another room for the procedure, where mutilated body parts line the entryway. Fortunately, Lucy's anesthesia wears off just enough so that she can knock aside Snip Snip's buzz saw arm as it comes toward her stomach. The animation for the robot is cool and deserves a nod — it almost looks more like Ray Harryhausen-style stop motion animation than it does straight CGI. It gives the scene a classic horror flair.

Lucy manages to knock out Snip Snip with a defibrillator, then fills his syringes with the poisonous Abraxo cleaning fluid and goes back out to threaten the two stoner bosses. She doesn't just want to escape, she wants to free all the prisoners. They agree, hitting a button which opens their cages. We get a triumphant moment where a bunch of people run free, one ghoul even stopping to thank Lucy on their way out of the building. But then she notices some ghouls are still captive, including one she passed on the way in who was muttering "Martha, my name is Martha." Lucy insists they must go free too, threatening the criminals until they open the doors.

Except, it turns out that the ghouls who were still captive are feral. They immediately attack. What ensues is a frenzied, bloody fight scene where Lucy is shoved off to the side, and all the ghouls and criminals murder each other. Just when it seems the dust has settled, Lucy realizes there's one left: the ghoul named Martha. She tries to reason with her, but Martha is too far gone. Lucy is forced to shoot her.

So many kudos have to be given for the way Fallout handles this sequence. First off, I think the show made a really excellent choice to convey how sad it is for ghouls to turn feral in this episode, rather than showing them as bloodthirsty zombies first. The scene between Lucy and Martha is heartbreaking, as is the one between Roger and The Ghoul earlier in the episode. And the parallel — that Lucy begins the episode horrified that The Ghoul would kill a ghoul turning feral, and ends it by making that exact same choice herself — is powerful.

This episode also contains some of Ella Purnell's best acting yet, which is fitting since it's a huge turning point for Lucy. When she emerges from the building sporting a new shoulderpad and upgraded gear, there's a feeling that she is emerging a stronger person more capable of facing the wasteland. She's leveled up!

But just because Lucy is stronger doesn't mean she's losing her core of goodness. The Ghoul is still on the ground outside, unable to move as she approaches. After everything he's done, we'd probably barely bat an eye if she killed him. But instead, she tells him she may one day look like him from radiation, but she'll never be like him. She gives him the vials that will save his life. "Golden rule, mother f*cker," she says as she leaves him to recover on his own. A fist pump moment for Lucy.

Walton Goggins as The Ghoul in Fallout. /

After Lucy leaves, The Ghoul stumbles into the building, eating everything in sight, drinking, swallowing bottles of medication and otherwise going on a hell of a bender. Walton Goggins committed to this scene, and it's a great one. He's had a long career, but The Ghoul may turn out to be one of his most memorable roles.

High as can be, The Ghoul finds a video tape that belonged to the dead criminals: The Man From Deadhorse. That just so happens to be the movie that we saw him filming in Episode 103. He pops it into the VCR and settles back on the couch among all the corpses to watch. There's something compelling about seeing him watch the scene of his character committing a murder, which we saw him protesting the filming of. Cooper Howard has changed a lot in the past 219 years. Walton Goggins conveys so much about the complexities of that with his facial expressions, even through the heavy prosthetics. It's a strong way to end one of Fallout's best episodes.

More easter egg

  • Norm and Chet use the flashlights on their Pip-Boys to explore Vault 32! Great little detail which is true to the games.
  • Norm and Chet also duck past an eye-catching trunk while they're in Vault 32. That's an item you can craft in Fallout 4 to decorate your settlements.
  • All of the computer interfaces are exactly the same as the video games. The commitment to detail in this show is insane.
  • The Ghoul's bender is actually a clever easter egg: stumbling upon a room where a bunch of people have murdered each other and proceeding to loot all their stuff is very much something that happens in the games. So is eating everything in sight. That's actually something of a running gag in Bethesda Softworks games like Fallout and Skyrim, where eating food restores minuscule amounts of health. Players will often find themselves eating and drinking a ridiculous amount at any given moment, especially after a near-death moment like The Ghoul had in this episode.

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!

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