Fallout Episode 108 recap and easter eggs: "The Beginning"

All secrets are revealed! We recap all the twists and turns of Fallout's mind-bending season finale, "The Beginning."
Kyle MacLachlan (Overseer Hank) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC
Kyle MacLachlan (Overseer Hank) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

The first season of Fallout has arrived on Prime Video, and it's been a blast from start to finish. Based on the beloved video game franchise from Bethesda Softworks and Interplay, Fallout takes viewers into a post-apocalyptic wasteland populated by colorful characters, strange monsters and self-serving corporations, and it does so with an infectiously quirky sense of humor. We've been living it up in the wasteland, recapping each episode to help you catch all the little details as well as some of the most fun easter eggs. And there are a lot of them.

Now, it's time to analyze the mind-blowing season finale, "The Beginning." This episode is a doozy, packed with so many twists and turns that you might just lose your head. Come along for one last trip into the wasteland. MAJOR SPOILERS ahead in this mega-sized finale recap!

Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

Fallout Episode 108 recap: "The Beginning"

"The Beginning" kicks off right where Episode 107 ended, with Maximus (Aaron Moten) on a vertibird bound for the nearest Brotherhood of Steel outpost. These may be Maximus' people, but it feels like anything but a friendly homecoming as two power armored knights glare him down from across the aircraft. It turns out that their destination isn't the previous Brotherhood compound we saw, but Filly, which has been conquered. "The locals put up a fight, but so did we," the vertibird pilot says with a chuckle. Considering that we last saw Filly as a thriving wasteland city, this lends a lot more weight to Thaddeus' words in the previous episode that the Brotherhood is a complicated — and not necessarily benevolent — organization.

Maximus presents the head he's hoping to pass off as Wilzig's to Elder Cleric Quintus (Michael Cristofer). Dane (Xelia Mendes-Jones) is there as well, which is a welcome surprise. After compelling performances in both The Wheel of Time and the premiere of Fallout, I'm happy to see them get a bit more screen time. Elder Cleric Quintus points out that Maximus is wearing a knight's red outfit, prompting Maximus to admit that Knight Titus is dead. That, combined with the fact that the Brotherhood quickly deduces the head doesn't contain the artifact, puts Maximus' life in jeopardy. After all, this isn't the first time knights or squires in Maximus' orbit have come into misfortune — what's the use to keeping him alive? But Dane admits that they caused their own injury in the season premiere, and convinces the Brotherhood to spare him.

Elder Cleric Quintus then talks to Maximus privately, where Maximus reveals that Knight Titus died running. The Elder Cleric laments how the Brotherhood has lost its way, telling Maximus that they once ruled the wasteland. He actually approves of how Maximus has taken power into his own hands, and has a proposition for him: lead the Brotherhood to the real relic and help them build a proper home for themselves, with Elder Cleric Quintus as its ruler. Which doesn't sound at all like a morally dubious proposition.

We then jump to Lucy (Ella Purnell), who finally arrives at the observatory where Moldaver is holding her father. The set design for the observatory gates is great, built from a bunch of eye-catching scrap metal. Lucy is escorted in to meet with Moldaver, and we get our first look at this settlement, which serves as the base of operations for the remnants of the New California Republic, aka the government which used to run Shady Sands. It seems like a place with refugees as well; one of the people who watches Lucy enter is a ghoul she saved in the Super Duper Mart back in Episode 104.

The Ghoul aka Cooper Howard (Walton Goggins) and CX404 are on the hunt for the head as well, which is a good opportunity for a flashback. He recalls the day when when he drove his wife Barb (Frances Turner) to work at Vault-Tec, hoping to use the listening device he got from Moldaver to learn more about the company. Executive Bud Askins (Michael Esper) rolls in next to him and starts talking about his training program for up-and-coming executives: Buds' Buds. He talks about time, and how his program will transcend the human lifespan, which he sees as the biggest obstacle to true longterm projects. You can bet we'll be talking about that plenty in a moment.

The transmitter cuts out when Barb enters the Vault-Tec building. Cooper's only option is to go in after her, in hopes that he'll have a better signal. And that's only our cold open, baby! Now strap in for the twisty ride ahead.

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

Revelations at the New California Republic HQ

In the observatory, Lucy finally comes face to face with Moldaver (Sarita Choudhury), who has her father, Hank MacLean (Kyle MacLachlan), caged in one of the observatory's lookout rooms. A half-skeletal ghoul is tied to a chair beside a dinner table, setting the creepy mood as Lucy makes a deal: in return for giving Moldaver the head, she wants her father back. Moldaver agrees, and uses a tool to extract the artifact from the base of Wilzig's skull. Then she makes Lucy her own proposition: she'll let Hank go, but first she wants to tell Lucy how she knows him...and about his past. And so begins a long, multilayered reveal that spans most of the episode.

You see, Hank MacLean wasn't born in a vault. As Moldaver says these words, we cut to Vault 31, where Lucy's brother Norm (Moisés Arias) finds a brain in a jar attached to a little robot. That's what was rustling around in the scrap at the end of Episode 107; the robot was malfunctioning and got stuck there. Norm helps it out, but when it realizes he's not Betty or Hank, it tries attacking him with a syringe...and fails horribly, being a very slow and clunky little thing. The brain jar robot is the episode's biggest form of comedic relief, and I laughed plenty as it tried to prevent Norm from uncovering Vault 31's secrets.

Back in Cooper Howard's flashback, he's shown into a Vault-Tec office by one of Barb's assistants. There, he's able to sneakily tune in to a meeting between Vault-Tec and a bunch of other powerful companies: RobCo, West Tek, Big MT and REPCONN. Each of those is an important company from various Fallout games, but we've never seen their pre-war executives quite like this. This scene is filled with references, from the head of Big MT being told he could "lose money running a casino" (a reference to Fallout: New Vegas) to plenty of others. Needless to say, it's a Fallout fan's dream.

Vault-Tec head Bud Askins admits that the company has lost money because the peace negotiations for the war have been going well...but he's convinced that the vaults will give his company a competitive advantage. He pitches time as the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, just like he did to Cooper back in Episode 106. That's how Vault-Tec and its allies will win the game of capitalism: by outlasting all of the broken governments of the world.

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

This causes the executives to start bickering, until Barb reigns them in. Cooper begins quietly rooting for his wife as he listens...which just makes her next words even more devastating. Barb says they already have Bud's idea for the three interconnected vaults, but there are over 100 vaults spread across America. Vault-Tec wants each company to claim several of them in order to play out their own scientific experiments for creating the perfect conditions for humanity, with no government oversight or laws.

While Barb says this, there's some great crosscutting with Norm in Vault 31. He turns on the lights to find a room full of cryo pods. That's right: every single person from Vault 31 is actually from before the war. They're Bud's Buds, the executives in training that Bud Askins referenced during his conversation with Cooper Howard. And that brain in a jar? That's all that's left of Bud Askins himself. The people in Vaults 32 and 33 are only there to be the breeding pool for these executives, in hopes of creating the ideal human beings for rebuilding the surface.

Barb's proposal to the other companies catches their interest. They start pitching a bunch of terrifying ideas, from a vault which is intentionally overcrowded to one controlled by a robot and more. Each of these vault ideas corresponds with an actual vault from various Fallout games; remember, this show is canon to the video game world. So all these vault pitches you hear actually end up being carried out. The RobCo executive likes the premise but is wary; getting on board would require a big investment, and unless a nuclear apocalypse happens, it all falls through. How can Vault-Tec guarantee this future?

It's then that Barb delivers the coup de grace: Vault-Tec will drop the bombs themselves, and kick off the end of the world to improve their bottom line. Cooper's hearing starts ringing as his wife utters these words, which just makes it even more of a shock when he has to deal with two of Barb's assistants: none other than Betty Pearson and Henry "Hank" MacLean. The digital de-aging for Kyle MacLachlan is a little weird in this scene, but considering how surreal and insane the reveal is, it gets a pass.

"Your father has been around a very long time. Part of an organization that thought they had the answers to all the world's problems," Moldaver tells Lucy, while we watch young Hank MacLean gush over the cold-blooded murder scene that Cooper Howard hated filming. All the while, Cooper is in total shock, listening to his wife Barb through his ear piece as she tells the gathered executives that wiping out most of humanity is the only way to truly end all war. She drops one of the Fallout game series' most iconic lines: "War...war never changes." Chills.

Kyle MacLachlan (Overseer Hank) in Fallout. Credit: JoJo Whilden/Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

Next, we finally get a breather to catch up with Maximus and Dane as they prep to invade the observatory. Despite having a disabled foot, Dane is being sent into battle as punishment for maiming themself. They apologize to Maximus for the fact that the self-induced injury blew back on him, but Maximus isn't broken up about it since he met Lucy out in the wasteland. He confides in Dane that she's walking into danger at the observatory, and he wants to help her so that he can go live with her in the safety of her vault. He's convinced that no one there ever goes to war, which is splendid contrast with Barb's speech from the previous scene. "There's nowhere safe, Max. And there's no leaving. I wish there was," Dane tells him, before they rush out to board the vertibirds for battle.

Back in the observatory, Moldaver keeps the reveals coming: Hank MacLean never told Lucy and Norm's mother the truth of who he was, or when he was from. But it turns out Moldaver knew Lucy's mother quite well. She tells Lucy all about how Rose MacLean figured out that life had returned to the surface, but her husband shut down her theory and told her to never mention it to anyone. That's when she realized Hank was lying about things. Rose ran away, taking Lucy and Norm to the surface where she discovered a vibrant city: Shady Sands. Hank chased her there, but when she refused to return, he took the children and had the city bombed off the map.

Remember back in Episode 105, when Lucy told Maximus that when she was a kid she thought the big light in the vault was actually the sun? That's because it was the sun. Lucy has a flash of memory to her mother speaking to Moldaver in the streets of Shady Sands, where she once lived. Fun easter egg: Shady Sands is one of the most important locations from the first two Fallout games. I love that the show tied both Lucy and Maximus' past to it.

Moldaver explains that she plans to use her cold fusion technology to restore power to the waste, but that when Vault-Tec bought her research, they locked it so that only a Vault-Tec employee could power on the device. She needs Hank MacLean to turn it on. But Lucy isn't thinking about Hank's lies or cold fusion; she wants to know what happened to her mother. "I think you know," Moldaver says...and then Lucy looks closer at the skeletal ghoul tied up by the table. It has Rose MacLean's necklace, grown into its neck. The mindless, half-decomposed ghoul is all that remains of Lucy's mom.

Hank tells Lucy that Moldaver is lying, but Lucy just tiredly tells him to give her the code. There's a crestfallen look on Hank's face as he finally realizes he can't lie his way out of the situation; Kyle MacLachlan looks so different in this scene from the last time we saw him in the series premiere, and really gives a fantastic performance. Hank enters the code for Moldaver, and the cold fusion begins to fire up.

While this drama unfolds on the surface, we check in one final time with Norm in Vault 31. He tries to leave, but Bud's brain robot locks the door and informs him that he'll have to wait until it's time for everyone in Vault 31 to head to the surface. Norm says that could be hundreds of years, but the brain in a jar has little sympathy. It tells him that he'd be best off waiting it out in his father's cryo pod, since there's no food in Vault 31 anyway. When last we see Norm, he's standing in front of the cryo pods, mulling this difficult decision. We never actually find out whether he gets into one or not. A question we'll be wondering about until Fallout season 2!

Aaron Moten (Maximus) in Fallout. Credit: Prime Video © 2024 Amazon Content Services LLC /

The Brotherhood of Steel vs the New California Republic

On the surface, the Brotherhood of Steel arrives at the observatory just as the cold fusion devices is ready to activate. Moldaver rallies her forces to go out and fight them, leaving Lucy and Hank alone. Hank does his best to get inside Lucy's head, proving he really is as awful as Moldaver led her to think.

The battle scene between the Brotherhood and NCR is epic, starting with a vertibird approach against anti-air missiles before the fighting moves to the ground. It's another testament to the Brotherhood's darker side that they're just gunning down everyone in this settlement; remember, this is the last remnant of the government that existed in Shady Sands, along with refugees and who knows who else. While the carnage unfolds, Hank tries to convince Lucy that factions are the problem with the world; the solution is to get rid of them all, so it's no longer us and them, but "only us." While the violence is horrifying, so is Hank and Vault-Tec's homogenous worldview.

The Brotherhood's warpath eventually brings them into the stronghold, where they come across The Ghoul. His appearance is exciting, as he explains how he once piloted power armor and remembers there being a flaw under the chest plate. He then kills an armored knight in a single shot before pulling out the fusion core powering the lights and taking on the rest of the knights in the dark. It's brutal, giving The Ghoul one last chance to shine in combat before the end of the season.

Maximus manages to slip away during the chaos and arrives at the observatory room as Hank is trying to convince Lucy to let him out. She's still in shock, staring at her desiccated ghoul mother while tears stream down her face. That gives Hank an opportunity to get Maximus to open his cage before Lucy finally snaps to awareness and says she won't leave with her father, because he's the one responsible for the destruction of Shady Sands.

Just in case there was any uncertainty over whether Hank is a horrible person, he dons a suit of helmet-less power armor that had stumbled into the room and uses it to punch Maximus into unconsciousness. Lucy draws a gun on him but hesitates to pull the trigger while he laments how the wasteland has hardened her. Fortunately, The Ghoul arrives right then, with a great one-liner asking if "young Henry" would like another autograph. The Ghoul has waited over 200 years to ask someone from Vault-Tec one question: where is his family? Rather than answer, Hank turns and runs, using his power armor to fly out of the building.

The Ghoul's question raises an interesting point. We never actually see what happens with Cooper Howard on the day the bombs drop. In the series premiere, we see him throw his child Janey onto his horse and start riding for safety. These words make it sound like Janey and Barb may have made it into a vault. But if that's the case, why didn't Cooper Howard make it too? We need season 2 for these answers!

"War never changes," The Ghoul says to Lucy. "You look out at this wasteland, it looks like chaos. But there's always somebody behind the wheel. And that's who I want to talk to. That's where your daddy is headed." He invites her to join him, saying he left Hank alive so that they could track him to someone with answers. Lucy has two choices: stay where she is and be killed when the Brotherhood inevitably defeats the NCR, or go with him to meet the people who decided the fate of the world 200 years ago.

Lucy makes her decision, picking up her gun and ending her mother's decades-long misery. She kisses Maximus, who is still unconscious. Then she drops one last "Okey dokey" of the season and leaves with The Ghoul to track down her father.

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

The fallout

A short while later, Maximus regains consciousness just as Moldaver stumbles into the room. She activates the cold fusion device, then slumps down into a chair next to Rose MacLean's corpse, holding its hand as the electricity in Los Angeles powers up for the first time in more than 200 years. The effect of the lights coming on is awe inspiring; it's easy to get lost in the moment along with Moldaver and Maximus as the wasteland is changed forever. "What do you suppose your Brotherhood would do with infinite power? Maybe you can stop them, maybe you cant. Maybe all you can do is try," Moldaver says to him before she succumbs to her wounds.

Seconds later, Dane limps into the room. Thinking that Maximus killed Moldaver — and ignoring his protests that he didn't — they raise his arm in victory, starting a chant for Knight Maximus as the camera holds on Aaron Moten's face. Maximus is now officially a knight of the Brotherhood of Steel.

"We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, and Me)" by the Ink Spots accompanies the closing montage of the season, where we see The Ghoul, Lucy and CX404 go off together into the wasteland while the Hollywood sign (sponsored by Nuka-Cola) flickers to life in the hills above. It's nice to see the dog stuck around, even though Wilzig's head is presumably gone. I guess she really is The Ghoul's dog now! I wonder if the Dogmeat nickname will stick.

The final shot of Fallout season 1 begins with the skull of a Deathclaw, one of the most formidable creatures in the Fallout universe and something I absolutely expect to see at some point if the show continues. Hank MacLean walks up next to it in his power armor, and the camera cuts around to show a huge city ahead of him in the waste. That's New Vegas, the setting of the popular Fallout: New Vegas video game! The skyline is a dead giveaway, but just in case there's any uncertainty, the credits feature a New Vegas sign in front of that same skyline. We're going to New Vegas in Fallout season 2!

And that's a wrap on the first season of Prime Video's Fallout. As of this writing, the show hasn't yet been renewed for season 2 — though there is reason to suspect that it may have already been quietly given the green light. We'll have our ear to the ground for all the latest updates.

It's been a pleasure recapping this season with you. I hope that these guides are helpful for as many trips into the wasteland as you dare to take!

dark. Next. Fallout episodes reviewed. All 8 episodes of Fallout, reviewed

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