“Fallout” Season 1 Ending, Explained: What Does the Finale Mean for Season 2?

Hank heading to New Vegas is a bigger deal than most viewers realize

<p>Prime Video</p> Ella Purnell as Lucy MacLean and Walton Goggins as The Ghoul in episode 8 of

Prime Video

Ella Purnell as Lucy MacLean and Walton Goggins as The Ghoul in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Now that all season 1 episodes of Prime Video’s Fallout have been released, fans are eager to know what’s coming next for Lucy MacLean (Ella Purnell), Maximus (Aaron Moten), The Ghoul (Walton Goggins) and Hank MacLean (Kyle MacLachlan).

The first seven episodes of Fallout, the apocalyptic futuristic drama series inspired by the role-playing video game franchise, establish the central characters' backstories while gradually revealing the corruption that led to the destruction of American society.

Season 1 takes place in Southern California in the year 2296, over 200 years after nuclear bombs decimated the United States in what has become known as the Great War. While a lucky few hid in underground vaults as the bombs fell, most who survived were forced to face the brutal realities of a lawless post-nuclear world.

Related: Meet the Fallout Cast: All About the Star-Studded Lineup in Amazon’s Video Game Adaptation

The main storyline follows a vault dweller named Lucy, who leaves behind her brother Norm (Moisés Arias) and sheltered life to rescue her father, Hank, from Moldaver (Sarita Choudhury), a raider and leader of the New California Republic (NCR) holding him captive on “the surface.”

While venturing above ground to find her dad, Lucy encounters The Ghoul and a Brotherhood of Steel soldier named Maximus, who both have their allegiances, agendas and motivations for survival.

Although season 1 dives deep into Lucy, Maximus and The Ghoul’s lives, it isn’t until the action-packed finale that their narratives fully intersect.

Alongside Lucy, viewers discover the disturbing reason Moldaver kidnapped her father, the true history of the nuclear attacks, the ongoing corruption caused by Vault-Tec, what happened to Lucy’s mother and why it seems every force on Earth — including the Brotherhood — wants the severed head of Dr. Siggi Wilzig (Michael Emerson) that Lucy is carrying.

As the finale concludes, she discovers her father’s dark secrets and the ongoing struggle of civilization, but while she walks off into the unknown, fans are left wondering what the revelations mean for future episodes.

Read ahead for the Fallout season 1 ending, explained — plus everything we know about season 2 so far.

How did Fallout season 1 end?

<p>Prime Video</p> Aaron Moten as Maximus in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Prime Video

Aaron Moten as Maximus in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

In the season 1 finale episode of Fallout, aptly titled “The Beginning,” Maximus goes back to the Brotherhood headquarters with a fake head in tow after giving Lucy the real head one so that she can bargain with Moldaver and rescue her dad. His plan is foiled, however, when the Brotherhood’s leader, Elder Cleric Quintus (Michael Cristofer), quickly realizes that Maximus is trying to trick him.

The tense exchange, which almost results in Maximus’s death, concludes with Quintus offering the young soldier the chance to be “the sword” of a new Brotherhood alliance should he succeed in retrieving Wilzig’s head, which contains a Cold Fusion device that can restore power to civilization on the surface. Maximus agrees to lead the Brotherhood to the Cold Fusion reactor with the hope of rescuing Lucy and Hank in the process.

As for The Ghoul, more about his backstory before the Great War as Cooper Howard, a famous actor and Vault-Tec spokesperson, is revealed in a flashback scene. Viewers see Cooper drive Barb (Frances Turner), his wife and a Vault-Tec executive, to Vault-Tec headquarters.

The two are interrupted when fellow Vault-Tec executive Bud Askins (Michael Esper) pulls up beside them in the parking lot and begins telling Cooper about his training program for high-achieving executives called “Bud’s Buds.” When Barb and Bud head inside, Cooper implants a listening device into Barb’s Pip-Boy and later spies on their meeting with other corporate figureheads and hears about their scheme for world domination.

In the present timeline, viewers see Lucy finally reach the Griffith Observatory, where Moldaver and members of the NCR are located. There, she finds her father trapped in a cage while Moldaver dines at a table nearby with a mysterious decrepit ghoul. After Lucy turns over Wilzig’s head to Moldaver, along with the Cold Fusion reactor inside of it, she learns the truth about the nuclear war.

Who dropped the nuclear bombs?

<p>Prime Video</p> Sarita Choudhury as Lee Moldaver in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Prime Video

Sarita Choudhury as Lee Moldaver in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Vault-Tec is behind the Great War and the destruction of the country — and, as fans discover, Hank played a major role in the company’s conspiracy.

Moldaver explains to Lucy that Hank is a Vault-Tec junior executive from an era before the nuclear bombs fell — otherwise known as a member of Bud’s Buds. As part of Vault-Tec’s grand plan, Hank was cryogenically frozen in Vault 31 alongside other junior executives and later thawed to oversee the breeding of those in Vaults 32 and 33 for a new society.

Vault-Tec's goal was to drop the bombs to eliminate their corporate competition, cash in on their vault creations, create a monopoly on resources and design a new superior race that Vault-Tec executives could control to reshape civilization in their vision.

Part of Vault-Tec’s strategy was to make those in the vaults falsely believe that they were the only survivors of the bombs. Once Hank’s wife and Lucy’s mom, Rose, discovers his lies about civilization, she flees the vaults with young Lucy and Norm to Shady Sands, a rebuilt above-ground city of over 30,000 inhabitants.

When Hank tries to sway Rose to come back to the vaults, she refuses but he ends up taking the kids back anyway. He then initiates the drop of another bomb that wipes out Shady Sands, killing thousands and leading to Rose becoming a ghoul — the same one that Lucy sees dining with Moldaver.

Where did Hank go at the end of Fallout season 1?

<p>Prime Video</p> Kyle MacLachlan as Hank MacLean in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Prime Video

Kyle MacLachlan as Hank MacLean in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

After Moldaver reveals everything about Vault-Tec, she leaves Lucy and Hank to help fight the Brotherhood attacking the Observatory and shortly after, Maximus joins them.

Well-intentioned but unaware of what’s been revealed, Maximus frees Lucy’s dad, who then repays the Brotherhood soldier by knocking him out and fleeing the scene with his armor. Ultimately, Lucy decides to team up with The Ghoul — who encountered Hank at Vault-Tec before the bombs dropped — to bring her father to justice.

After leaving the Observatory with Maximus’s stolen armor, Hank is seen wandering the Mojave Desert and walks by the skull of a Deathclaw, one of the most iconic, vicious creatures from the Fallout video game. But what lies ahead of Hank is perhaps the most important clue of all: a desolate skyline that includes the Lucky 38 casino from the video game.

As gamers will recognize, the cityscape in the distance is New Vegas, a city rebuilt on the remains of Las Vegas. It’s presumed that New Vegas is where Hank will hide out from Lucy and The Ghoul and possibly seek refuge with someone in line with his and Vault-Tec’s mission.

Related: The 10 Best Fallout Easter Eggs That Nod to the Iconic Video Game

What’s in New Vegas?

<p>Amazon Prime Video</p> New Vegas in 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Amazon Prime Video

New Vegas in 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

While many questions remain, the final scene with Hank headed toward the New Vegas cityscape hints that potential future episodes of Fallout may be inspired by the storyline of the 2010 video game Fallout: New Vegas.

In the game, power-hungry factions, including the NCR and a Roman-inspired group named Caesar's Legion, battle to gain control over New Vegas. One of these factions belongs to Mr. House, who happens to be headquartered in the Lucky 38 casino.

Formally known as Robert Edwin House, Mr. House is a robotics inventor and the founder of Rob-Co Industries, who makes a brief appearance at the Vault-Tec executive roundtable in the season 1 finale. It’s probable that Hank is seeking out Mr. House in the final moments of the first season or will, at the very least, cross paths with him.

In Fallout: New Vegas, Mr. House develops defensive technology and robotics to protect himself and the city against nuclear attacks, but when the Great War begins, his equipment experiences issues that put him in a coma. During the New Vegas game, he awakens, and it’s then up to the players to decide whether to help him or free New Vegas from his control.

Fans should note that the Fallout: New Vegas game takes place in 2281, about 15 years prior to the events of the first season of Fallout, which means the show creators may need to make their own decisions about who winds up in control of New Vegas.

It also leaves greater mystery around how the series will make the timeline work, considering Bethesda Game Studios director Tom Howard confirmed to IGN that the show is canon.

Will there be a Fallout season 2?

<p>Prime Video</p> Walton Goggins as The Ghoul in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Prime Video

Walton Goggins as The Ghoul in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Fallout is returning with a season 2 on Prime Video.

After becoming one of the three most-watched titles on the streaming platform, Amazon MGM Studios renewed Fallout for a second installment, according to Deadline.

Though no additional details were shared, like a release date or how many episodes it will be comprised of, executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy of Kilter Films expressed their excitement in a joint statement.

“Praise be to our insanely brilliant showrunners, Geneva [Robertson-Dworet] and Graham [Wagner], to our kick-ass cast, to Todd and James and all the legends at Bethesda, and to Jen, Vernon and the amazing team at Amazon for their incredible support of this show,” it read, per Deadline. “We can’t wait to blow up the world all over again.”

Co-showrunners Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner added, "Thank you to Jonah, Kilter, Bethesda and Amazon for having the courage to make a show that gravely tackles all of society’s most serious problems these days — cannibalism, incest, jello cake. More to come!”

The renewal news was announced after Variety reported on April 8, two days before the first season even dropped, that production for the next installment of the series will be relocating from New York to California and that the Golden State is awarding the show $25 million in tax credits.

What will happen in Fallout season 2?

<p>Prime Video</p> Walton Goggins as The Ghoul and Ella Purnell as Lucy MacLean in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Prime Video

Walton Goggins as The Ghoul and Ella Purnell as Lucy MacLean in episode 8 of 'Fallout' season 1 on Prime Video.

Given the events of the season 1 finale, Lucy and The Ghoul will be focused on finding Hank. As for what they’ll be up against, the ominous Deathclaw skull featured in the last few moments of the first season should serve as a warning sign that the dangers they will encounter along the way will be even greater.

While we don’t know how or when another Deathclaw will appear, Wagner, co-showrunner of Fallout, confirmed the presence of the treacherous monsters in upcoming episodes.

“We wanted to get Deathclaws, but we didn’t want to just throw it away. It’s such a monumental piece,” Wagner told The Wrap about the decision to exclude them in season 1.

He continued, “We want to save something for season 2 to be able to do it properly, not just added on to the massive world building we had to do already in season 1. So season 2, we’re very excited to finally tackle one of the most iconic elements of the games.”

Beyond Deathclaws, Lucy and The Ghoul, Maximus could also take center stage again. Following Moldaver's death in combat at the Observatory, Maximus and the Brotherhood are now in control of the headquarters and Cold Fusion reactor. With Maximus’s likely promotion, season 2 may explore how he handles becoming a prominent leader of the Brotherhood and the power that comes with it.

There are still many more questions: How did Cooper become The Ghoul? Will Maximus ever see Lucy again? What will happen to Norm, who’s trapped in Vault 31? How will Hank survive once he reaches New Vegas?

All potential plot points to be covered in season 2 and beyond.

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