Fallout TV series Season 1, Episode 6 review — Time is the ultimate weapon

“You’re in the best place in the world – you’re in a vault”, Lucy proudly proclaims to Maximus. Oh, my sweet Vault Dwelling child…

This episode kicks off in the distant past with Cooper’s (Goggin’s human character) advertisement for a vault – Vault 4. This prototype semi-production vault was meant to be a five year test to showcase all of the amenities you can expect should you happen to move in here. After all, “The world needs Americans just like you”. Cooper Howard may have never done a commercial before, but it’s very clear that he’s settled into the role nicely. Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way, and it’s cost him roles and opportunities.

After finishing up his vault commercial, he ends up at the wrap party. It’s here that we see a very different side of Cooper. He’s laying on the smarmy charm pretty thick, but it’s clear that he’s just uncomfortable in his skin. He’s right to feel that way as many folks have begun to see him as the advertiser for the end of the world. It’s hard to carry that message, even if you are just working for your paycheck. He also runs into a fellow actor, Bartholomew Codsworth, played once again by Matt Berry. The two do a bit of commiseration on what it’s like to work in Hollywood, and it’s as slimy as you’d think.

Fallout - Official Trailer | Prime Video

The past is fleeting, however, and Cooper wakes up in the present day. Several deputies have shown up and they’d like to have a word with him. It turns out that they work for some place calling itself “The Government”, and they aren’t happy. I guess when you’re a ghoul, that’s fairly normal?

Popping back to Lucy and Maximus, we see that they’ve, in fact, landed in Vault 4, where they can get patched up. Waiting out their mandatory quarantine they get to know each other a little better. It’s not long before Vault 4’s Overseer pops in to see his two newest visitors. As Overseer, he’s responsible for keeping an eye on Vault 4 and its residents, ensuring newcomers don’t make any trouble, or at least know how things work there. Lucy declares “This is a safe place where people take care of each other”, but Maximus thinks it’s a cult.

Digging back into Cooper’s past, we see that Barb has picked up a PipBoy – a new piece of prototype technology they will be integrating into the vault systems in the future to control them. Cooper has always had an itchy feeling about what Vault-Tec is up to – that being no good – and that’s an opinion shared by a friend named Charles Whiteknife. Whiteknife wants Cooper to join him at a meeting of like minded people where he’ll be able to learn the truth. Cooper tucks that thought into his back pocket for later.

Sitting down for a meal with his wife, Barb, they talk about what life in the vault will be like – the rules, the conditions, and who will be running things. Barb is working hard to make sure that she, Cooper, and their daughter Janey end up in a “Management Vault” – obviously the best possible outcome in the case of a nuclear event. Cooper is just concerned about the rules that’ll come with it, along with a loss of freedom.

Back in Vault 4 and present time, Lucy has a quick sit down with the Overseer. She finds Vault 4 to be a fairly normal, well-adjusted place. Everyone here seems happy, pleasant, and supportive. Overseer Ben, played by the always-hilarious Chris Parnell, and Lucy aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on how he runs the place, but even she has to admit that this Vault seems like a safe place.

While Lucy chats with Overseer Ben, Maximus finds himself feeling more than a little curious about how Vault 4 sustains all of the lights and power throughout the vault. While he does get his answer, he also gets something he didn’t expect – a PipBoy and a place to call home. Given that Maximus has never had much beyond a shared dorm, this is a huge step for him. Hot running water, music, TV, cleaning products, and more fill his head with wonder. It’s easy to see the appeal of Vault 4 living, especially after the drudges of surface dwelling in the Brotherhood’s military encampment.

Lucy does a little exploring of her own, finding a classroom that is currently discussing what happened at Shady Sands, a part of the city where many of the Vault 4 refugees once called home in the New California Republic. The ominous hint of the Fallout 4 theme in the background is a wonderful part of the reveal, along with it bursting out in full as the NCR flag is unfurled. Before she can get into all that, however, it’s time for a little local tradition.

Popping back to Cooper, those Deputies have now hauled him in front of the authority for the area. While the younger deputies can’t quite put their finger on who this mouthy ghoul might be, the man in charge knows Cooper well. This man is serving as President of this territory, and goes by the name of Sorel Booker (played by Glenn Fleshler). It turns out he and his deputies are searching for a familiar face as well, though there seems to be some disagreement on the particulars.

The last fifteen minutes of Episode 6 are a roller coaster doing loops at 1000 miles an hour backwards and on fire. We finally see Cooper meeting with the Hollywood Forever folks, learning far more than he could have ever imagined. We pop back to Lucy while the Vault 4 residents join in for a tradition they would like her to observe that turns out to be more of a ritual of sorts. The vault dwellers of 4 settle in and make themselves comfortable (too comfortable) as they light candles in remembrance of someone called The Flame Mother, remembering and honoring those taken from them at Shady Sands. Back and forth, back and forth – my eyeballs were glued to the screen. You’ll have to see this for yourself.

While Lucy and Maximus are enjoying this small slice of comfort, they know they can’t accomplish their mission sitting here. Before they head out, however, Lucy wants to take one quick look at the rest of the vault to see what’s different about this place. Lucy learns that not every vault is the same as the one she came from, and maybe that’s ok. Maximus enjoys his very first bowl of popcorn. It’s an oddly fitting ending to the penultimate episode of Season 1, but one that slots in perfectly with the previous ones. The world is messed up, and nothing in that world is simple or easy. We all do the best we can, and you have to find your quiet moments when you can find them. Just be mindful of what they might cost.

My only complaint with this episode is that it introduces characters and then sheds them before they really get a chance to shine. This show has a ton of cameos, but sometimes scenes feel like they might occasionally just be written for that purpose. When they work, they work really well, but when they don’t, they stick out. It’s a minor nitpick when so much of the show works this well, though.

You can read our review for Episode 7 here.

Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.

Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.

Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 28 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes), and an Axolotl named Dagon!



Fallout TV series

Review Guidelines

Familiar faces, flashbacks, and explosive reveals, this episode is a memorable one. So many reveals that the near hour runtime feels like it’s over before it even begins.

Ron Burke

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