Fallout review | Episodes 5-8

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The final four episodes dig deeper into the messy, complex world of Fallout, all building up to an explosive finale. Here’s our review of Fallout episodes 5-8. 

NB: Spoilers for Fallout episodes 1-4 throughout.

If you’re reading these words, I can only assume you’ve watched the first half of Prime Video’s Fallout and read our review of episodes 1-4. If you haven’t, may I suggest you do so before proceeding?

Still here? Great! On with the show! 

The first half of Fallout, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s ambitious adaptation of the videogame franchise of the same name, establishes the world and plot of the series. The United States (and presumably most of the world) has been devastated by The Great War, which saw nuclear bombs go off, leaving a radiated wasteland. 

Some people, like one of our protagonists Lucy, escaped into the Vaults, but as the first four episodes hint, not everything is quite so peachy in there either. By episode five, Lucy is well on her way to find Moldaver (Sarita Choudhury), who kidnapped her father (Kyle MacLachlan). 

These final four episodes are where things get really interesting. With the world and characters properly established, there’s now room to really explore the murkier themes. It’s still a crying shame that Fallout is a little on the overstuffed side when it comes to the narrative. It’s a problem that slightly plagued the earlier episodes, but is in full force here. 

Moisés Arias’ Norman, Lucy’s brother, is on his own trip as he investigates things in the three interconnected Vaults; 31, 32 and 33. His discoveries are thrilling, but these scenes are over before you know it. Fallout would have definitely benefited from having a few more episodes to flesh out some of the narrative strands and to occasionally stop, breathe and let things sink in for the audience. 

The Ghoul, played with brilliantly deranged energy by Walton Goggins, is still the most interesting character. Mostly because he’s awarded the most amount of screentime and, crucially, the most backstory. After all, it was revealed in episode three that before the Ghoul was a Ghoul, he was Cooper Howard, a successful actor and the original image for Vault Boy. 

In comparison, Ella Purnell’s Lucy is far less developed, but equally interesting. She strongly believes in The Golden Rule which asks you to do no harm to others, but as she travels further and further from the bliss of her own Vault, her worldview is beginning to change. Purnell is compelling in the role, but there simply isn’t enough room for her to really commit to Lucy. 

If Lucy’s underdeveloped, Maximus is barely an afterthought. His arc is so generic and light on the meat on its bones, it’s almost ridiculous. Nolan and Joy really struggle to keep everything balanced here. The plot is being pulled in multiple directions and the problem is that they’re all too interesting. I wanted more scenes in the Vaults, but in a series that’s already bursting at the seams, there simply isn’t enough time for that. Perhaps that’s still a better problem to have than a narrative that has too little going on to keep us interested. 

fallout maximus
Credit: Prime Video

Well, what about the ending then? Without spoiling anything, it’s pretty great. It’s brutal, emotional and thoroughly satisfying with some huge reveals. It’s already looking like we might be getting a second season and it’ll be a huge disappointment if we don’t. Nolan and Joy leave things very open-ended and hint at where we could be heading in the second season and all I’ll say is that it’ll be a real treat for fans of the games. 

Fallout season 1 slightly feels like an incomplete story, but the scale of it is impressive and riveting. Fallout was always going to be a difficult one to adapt; it doesn’t have an overarching, clear narrative like The Last Of Us, but Nolan and Joy, along with the individual episode writers and directors have truly managed to do the games justice. There are plenty of little nods to the games, but what’s most pleasing about Fallout is that it serves both existing fans and complete newbies all the same. 

With The Last Of Us and now Fallout, it finally seems clear that it’s possible to make great videogame adaptations. Let’s hope there’s more of these in our future. 

Fallout is streaming now on Prime Video. 

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