Fallout Episode 106 recap and easter eggs: "The Trap"

Past and future collide as we learn the ramifications of Cooper Howard's decision to sell ads for Vault-Tec. Meanwhile, Lucy and Maximus meet some strange new Vault Dwellers.
Walton Goggins (The Ghoul) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC
Walton Goggins (The Ghoul) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

This week, Prime Video released the enrire first season of its science fiction show Fallout, and ever since we've been immersed in a bombastic, hilarious, darkly demented journey through the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Based on the beloved video game franchise from Bethesda Softworks, Fallout is a different sort of post-apocalypse, filled with twisted humor and a plucky 1940s nostalgia-fueled aesthetic.

We've been recapping each episode of the season to make sure you catch all the little details. Episode 106, "The Trap," picks up with Vault Dweller Lucy (Ella Purnell) and Brotherhood of Steel knight Maximus (Aaron Moten) in a strange new vault. Meanwhile, The Ghoul (Walton Goggins) reflects on his past, which is not quite as buried as he thought. By the end of the episode, the timelines are starting to converge in some mind blowing ways.

Read on for the full recap. As always, beware SPOILERS beyond this point.

Fallout Episode 106 recap: "The Trap"

Fallout's sixth episode begins with a 10-minute cold open featuring Cooper Howard (Goggins) struggling with his new position as the face of Vault-Tec. Back in Episode 104, we learned that Cooper agreed to do advertisements for the company as a favor to his wife, Barb (Frances Turner). Now, he's walking through Vault 4, talking up the vaults with a script that sounds like something straight out of the video games.

During the ad, Cooper talks to some scientists who say they'll be living in Vault 4 for a trial period of five years to prove to the public that it can work. They'll be running a community that is led exclusively by scientists. File that bit of information away; it's going to become relevant later.

I like how this scene begins in black-and-white to reflect what the actual advertisement might have looked like on television, before shifting to color when we see behind the scenes. The second Cooper steps off the set, he's approached by a Vault-Tec executive named Bud Askins (Michael Esper), who is overly enthusiastic and trying way too hard to schmooze with the famous actor in his midst. Askins says that before he worked at Vault-Tec he was a defense contractor who oversaw the rollout of the very first power armor, the T-45. Cooper isn't impressed by this; he served in the army during the war against China, and saw how the design flaws in the T-45 caused a lot of casualties. This is a good reminder that Cooper had actual military experience before the apocalypse.

Askins talks up the idea that time is the ultimate weapon. He thinks the future comes down to management, which calls to mind Episode 104's "death to management" graffiti. Layers on layers in this show!

Despite Cooper's desire to get away from the Vault-Tec suits, his wife Barb informs him that they're hosting a wrap party for the ad campaign at their house. Here we meet Cooper's dog Roosevelt, who is very lovable. We also get a nice walkthrough of his living space, where we see a poster for one of Cooper's movies titled "A Man and His Dog." He tells a party guest that he particularly loved that film, since it used his actual dog. And of course, Bud Askins is there being annoying.

“WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS” -- “The Mall” -- Season 5, Episode 1 (Airs July 13) — Pictured: Matt Berry as Laszlo. CR: Russ Martin: FX /

Out at the pool we hear a familiar voice: it's Matt Berry (What We Do In The Shadows), the voice of the Mister Handy robot that Lucy encountered in Episode 104! Except this is Matt Berry as Bartholomew Codsworth, the actual person who sold his voice rights to RobCo, the company which makes the robots. Codsworth is the only person that Cooper himself invited to this party that actually came, which tells us how doing ads for Vault-Tec has damaged Cooper's career and relationships. People don't want to work with him anymore because he's the "pitchman for the end of the world."

I mentioned this in the Episode 104 recap, but I just need to reiterate it: in the games, a Mister Handy robot named Codsworth is played by veteran English actor John Cleese. That Fallout cast Matt Berry in the part, and then showed the human version of Codsworth as an actor from before the war, is absolutely genius. I'm geeking out just thinking about it. This whole scene is fantastic, and a standout moment in a series filled with them.

Unlike those who dislike that Cooper is working with Vault-Tec, Codsworth thinks he has a good eye for where the world is actually headed. "The future is products," he says. "You're a product, I'm a product. The end of the world is a product. And for those of us who can embrace that, I'd say the end of the world is golden." They toast to that and we cut back to 2296, where The Ghoul is sleeping on the floor of the Super Duper Mart that Lucy destroyed. He's woken by Codsworth's voice coming out of the broken Snip Snip robot, just before a group of people in sherriff's outfits come in, put the robot out of its misery, and take The Ghoul captive in the name of "the government."

Whew, that cold open had a lot to unpack! But we're just getting started.

Ella Purnell (Lucy) in Fallout. /

Vault 4 rolls out the welcome mat for Lucy and Maximus

Next we're off to Vault 4, where Lucy and Maximus are being held. That's right, this is the very same vault that Cooper Howard was advertising in the cold open. It turns out that the reason Maximus' wound is so bad is because the cannibals who shot him used a rotten human tooth instead of ammunition. Gross, but what else do you expect in the wasteland? The Vault 4 foragers also found Maximus' power armor, and have brought it down to the vault. All this feels very considerate, and Lucy is happy to be back in a vault again after how harsh it is on the surface. She says as much to the Vault Dweller who's caring for them, Birdie (Cherien Dabis), but Birdie replies that she was actually born on the surface. Many of the people living in Vault 4 are survivors from Shady Sands, the city we saw the ruins of last episode.

Maximus and Lucy have to stay in quarantine long enough to make sure they aren't going to contaminate the vault, which gives them a chance for some ridiculous flirting. Lucy straightforwardly asks if Maximus wants to have sex, but he doesn't really know what that means. He's confused and shy, saying "that weird thing could happen," before explaining in excruciatingly awkward detail how orgasms are like a pimple popping and "they say it could happen to anyone," but not him though. Lucy fills him in that, actually, that's just how sex works. They don't end up doing anything, but the scene both builds up their relationship and show how literally everyone in this hellscape world is socially underdeveloped in some way.

True to their word, the Vault Dwellers let Lucy and Maximus out of confinement for a meal in the mess hall. Their kindness has Maximus on edge, convinced it's a cult since "everyone's smiling." Lucy tells him how wonderful vaults are...until the overseer, Benjamin (Saturday Night Live's Chris Parnell) comes over to say hi. He's only got one eye, smack dab in the middle of his forehead. He seems nice enough though, laying down the innocuous vault rules while Lucy and Maximus gape at his eye. There's one that rule catches Lucy's attention: Level 12 of the vault is off limits. What's down there?

Shaken by the surprise of Benjamin's mutation, Lucy suddenly realizes that a bunch of other people have mutations as well, like a guy with a second nose on his forehead and a woman with glowing eyes. She's weirded out by this, but Maximus doesn't think it's strange at all; he just thinks it's odd how nice they are. The comedic timing in these scenes, as well as this episode as a whole, is top notch.

Walton Goggins (The Ghoul) in Fallout. Credit: Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

The dark underbelly of Vault-Tec

Back on the surface, The Ghoul is escorted by the sheriffs of "the government" to meet their boss, which serves as an opportunity for more flashbacks. This time, we see the moment where Cooper Howard asked his wife Barb if she would leave Vault-Tec. Barb isn't having it; to her, it's practically a family business at this point, and she jokes about getting him and their daughter on the payroll. Cooper would rather buy a ranch and go back to being an actual cowboy, which is another good reminder of his pre-war skillset.

The conversation gets tense when he notices that Barb has a Pip-Boy, which he's never seen her use before. She explains that Vault-Tec licensed them from RobCo — that's the company that bought Codsworth's voice rights — and is planning on integrating them into the vaults. She insists she needs the Vault-Tec job because it guarantees their family a spot in "one of the good vaults." That alarms Cooper, especially because she refuses to elaborate.

This stirs up enough mistrust that Cooper calls up Charles Whiteknife (Dallas Goldtooth), an old war buddy and actor friend who Codsworth told him was "radicalized" against Vault-Tec. Whiteknife gives a great explanation of why Vault-Tec is a problem. They're a trillion-dollar company which owns an obscene amount of nearly every industry, and are in charge of the U.S. defense infrastructure since the country is flat broke from fighting in a decades-long war. At the same time, they have a financial duty to their investors to stoke that war, because that's how they sell product. This mixture of business and politics is interesting, relevant and chilling, and I like that Fallout spelled it all out clearly in this scene. Whiteknife invites Cooper to a meeting where he can learn more of the truth about where his wife works.

Later, a Vault-Tec employee named Henry calls for Barb at home. This is Barb's new assistant, and he represents yet another way Vault-Tec is intruding into Cooper and Barb's life. This leads to a great scene where Barb tells Cooper that dogs won't be allowed in the vault, since they're an "avoidable inefficiency." He has a problem with this, because it's a rule change that was made without informing the people who had already signed on to be in the vaults. He questions who gets to make these decisions, and whether going into the vault means sacrificing freedoms that he fought in a war to preserve. Barb pushes back hard, since the only way people would be in a vault is if a nuclear apocalypse wiped out most of life on Earth. It's a scene wrought with emotion, and Goggins and Turner kill it.

Barb also drops a very intriguing clue: that she's worked very hard to get their family into a special vault for management.

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

Back to Vault 4, Lucy and Overseer Benjamin have a conversation full of great comedic beats, from Benjamin misreading her name as "Goosey" to putting on glasses made for two eyes over his one. He tells her he's a fifth generation Vault Dweller, and that it's Vault 4 policy to take in any surface dwellers. He chafes at how this restricts his freedom to tell bad jokes, which is an interesting parallel to Cooper's previous scene. But the mood promptly changes when Lucy asks what the deal is with Level 12. Instead of answering, Benjamin kicks "Goosey" out of his office.

But if Lucy's suspicions are aroused, Maximus is getting comfy. First he checks out his power armor, and discovers that the way Vault 4 is powered is by a fusion core linked to a room full of Vault-Tec reactors. You can tell he's thinking about stealing it, until Birdie pops in to ask him how he's adjusting to life in the vault. Maximus is still under the impression he's going to be leaving soon, but Birdie thinks that's just him being unused to safety, like so many other surface dwellers are when they arrive at a vault. She gives him a Pip-Boy, which unlocks the door to his very own room complete with a hot shower. Maximus literally does not know what a hot shower is, so of course he goes to check out the new digs. He finds his room stocked with a welcome basket containing fancy food like caviar, deviled eggs and Sugar Bombs. Aaron Moten's acting is so good in this episode, making Maximus a mistrustful doofus who is totally out of his element in the vault. The show plays it for laughs really well.

We then get one of the episode's most important scenes, when Lucy goes into a classroom and sees the history of Shady Sands, which was the capital of the New California Republic. As she looks over the dates showing the rise of the NCR and fall of Shady Sands, the iconic main menu music from Fallout 4 begins playing. The show has featured actual scoring from the video games sparingly enough that this moment really lands, with Lucy unfurling the New California Republic flag just as the music hits its most recognizable phrase.

Now that we know the New California Republic is seemingly no more, the show reveals that the "government" The Ghoul was being brought before is really just an old crime boss acquaintance of his named Sorrel Booker (Glenn Fleshler). After a scene which is equal parts funny and brutal, The Ghoul turns the tables, killing the guards and asking for more details about Moldaver, since hers seems to be the force in the wasteland that holds the most power rather than this supposed "government." Sorrel confirms this suspicion, saying her many followers practically worship her as "The Flame Mother." The Ghoul finds a wanted poster of Moldaver nearby..and seems to recognize it. Oh, and he manages to sew his finger back on in the midst of all this. A crafty guy, that Ghoul.

This sets up an excellent bit of cross-cutting between Cooper Howard's past and Lucy's present, where she finally discovers some of the dark secrets in Vault 4. The people there do indeed worship this Flame Mother at an altar, where they get naked and drink blood while chanting. As an unnerving bit of musical chanting plays, the Vault Dwellers raise a flag with Moldaver's face. Meanwhile in 2077, Cooper Howard goes to the meeting proposed by his friend Dallas Whiteknife, where he's introduced to the person who will supposedly expose Vault-Tec's evils: none other than Moldaver (Sarita Choudhury).

Yes, that's right, Moldaver has been alive for more than 200 years. Somehow, she's weathered those years much better than The Ghoul.

Sarita Choudhury
New Group's "The Seven Year Disappear" Opening Night / Bruce Glikas/GettyImages

Lucy is understandably spooked by all this, and tries to warn Maximus about the danger. But he's all on board with vaults now, so Lucy sets out on her own to find some sort of proof of what's going on for herself. She heads to Level 12 to see what's being hidden there. Fallout dials up the horror vibes as she explores an abandoned lab, walking past a tank holding a dead gulper and jars with human organs. But the most horrific thing is yet to come: a video which shows a woman sitting in the water-filled tank in the center of the room, giving birth to a clutch of baby gulpers which proceed to eat her alive. So now we know where they came from. Terrifying.

Lucy finds a hallway filled with people frozen in cryo tanks, one of whom appears to be pregnant, presumably with gulpers or some other monstrosity. But before Lucy can find out more, the lights come on and she's caught in the act by the Vault 4 residents. She puts up a good fight, throwing acid in the face of one and beating up several others before they finally manage to capture her.

"You people are crazy! Your entire culture is insane!" Lucy shouts at Birdie as she's being restrained. "I'm sure if we came to your home, we'd say the same thing," Birdie coldly replies.

The final shot of the episode is Maximus, chilling in his room and eating popcorn; one last punchline for the road. We'll see how the cliffhanger resolves in Episode 107!

Easter eggs:

  • This episode is all about getting our first real look at the underbelly of the vault system. "The Trap" is a multilayered title that nods to this in a few different ways. The first is Lucy and Maximus falling through a literal trap into Vault 4. Then there's Cooper's agreement to do ads for Vault-Tec, where he stepped into the trap of working for the company and ruined his career. And finally, there's the nature of getting people to sign up for the vaults themselves, which have dubious origins. I love a good multilayered episode title!
  • During the cold open Vault-Tec ad, Cooper Howard says you can spend an "enchanted evening" with your family in the vault. "Some Enchanted Evening" is also the name of the song that plays during the season premiere while the massacre is happening in Vault 33.
  • I think it's hilarious that Codsworth has a robot with his own voice in his house, and thinks "it's f*cking awful!"
  • The blue power reactors in Vault 4 are the same design as a buildable power supply for settlements in Fallout 4, the Vault-Tec Reactor.
  • The destruction of Shady Sands has been a topic of some consternation among Fallout fans. Shady Sands is a major location in the first two Fallout games, and is referenced in later installments including Fallout: New Vegas, which takes place in 2281. The show says that Shady Sands was destroyed in 2277. Whatever the deal is with this discrepancy, I'm not too worried about it until we get another season to lend more clarity.
  • Remember, Vault 4 is the one that was going to be run by scientists. Based on the horrifying gulper lab on Level 12, I think we can say that it maybe didn't work out so well.

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

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