Fallout episode 1 and 2 review - Bomb voyage to the video game curse

Fallout episode 1 and 2 review - Bomb voyage to the video game curse
Images via Amazon

Written by 

Tom Chapman


10th Apr 2024 14:00

Like a clattering Mr. Handy robot, it's fair to say that the average video game adaptation has struggled to do justice to the IP it's based on. From abysmal movies like 2005's Alone in the Dark to perfectly average outings like the Tom Holland-led Uncharted, even Paramount's Halo series has failed to set the world alight.

Still, there have been some diamonds in the rough, with HBO's The Last of Us raising the bar in terms of apocalyptic adventures. Now, Westworld's Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have put on their Pip-Boys, dressed in their blue and yellow jumpsuits, and headed out into the radiated wasteland of video game adaptations with Fallout.

Spoiler alert Beware that there are some spoilers for the first two episodes of the Fallout TV show beyond this point.

GGRecon Verdict

Fallout is off to a stellar start with an all-star cast and the staple dog companion by its side.

Westworld in the Wasteland

Ella Purnell as Lucy in Fallout Season 1
Click to enlarge

With the wider Fallout mythos covering hundreds of years, hundreds of vaults, and thousands of characters, I imagine it was a daunting task for Nolan and Joy to take on. Thankfully, with the player character never being that important (aside from New Vegas' Courier), the world of Fallout has become its own MVP in Amazon's live-action series.

Deciding to tell its own story rather than trying to adapt one of the mainline games is a big win for Fallout, splitting its time between the lead three of Vault Dweller Lucy (Ella Purnell), the cowboy-esque Cooper Howard/The Ghoul (Walton Goggins), and The Brotherhood of Steel's Maximus (Aaron Moten). All three are superbly acted, although I'd argue Maximus is the weak link here.

Hopefully, his character grows into something more than just The Brother of Steel's wet pawn, although the trailers make it look like Lucy and The Ghoul will spend the most time together. Each has its own faction, and our flipping loyalties remind us of the many agonising choices we've had to make in Bethesda's games. 

Maximus power

Aaron Moten as Maximus in Amazon's Fallout
Click to enlarge

While Fallout lacks the emotional gut-punch of The Last of Us' early episodes, that isn't to say it's without its poignancy. In fact, the opening scene of a pre-bomb Cooper Howard sets him up as much more than just a disfigured gunslinger who's been wandering the Earth for hundreds of years. 

Also, what Fallout lacks in terms of tears, it more than makes up for in laughs. From Lucy's naivety and the Vault Dwellers' cheery optimism to a surprise cameo from Michael Rapaport, the apocalypse has a comedic edge. The cartoony public service announcements of Vault-Tec have always added levity to the Wasteland, so I'm glad to see it transfer so well here. 

Boasting imaginative set pieces and a treasure trove of Easter eggs (heads up to the mention of Cooper and the Mojave Desert for all you New Vegas fans), Fallout is about as faithful an adaptation as you can get while also carving its own path. Then again, with Westworld's early days being a thrilling cowboy caper, I'd always expected the team to nail Fallout's aesthetic. 

If only I could've gone in with fresh eyes. I know it's a common practice of marketing, but with the first trailer mainly using footage from the first two episodes, it sadly spoiled the opening assault on Vault 33 with Moldover (Sarita Choudhury) and Steph's (Annabel O'Hagan) survival. Thankfully, there's plenty more to see here, and Kyle MacLachlan told us at the screening that we'll see Hank again.

A ghoul in love

Walton Goggins as Cooper Howard in Amazon's Fallout series
Click to enlarge

Fallout comes out swinging, and by the time the credits roll on the first two episodes, I feel like I've been friends with the main three for an age. It's a shame that we likely won't see much more of LOST's Michael Emerson as Dr. Siggi Wilzig, but hey, at least we get to see an actual Matt Berry and not just hear his voice as Mr. Handy. 

From the sizzle reel shown at the end of episode 2, it's clear there's still a lot to come here - particularly when it comes to Cooper Howard. While the Fallout games have largely glossed over the tragic events of Bombs Drop Day, the series' elongated storytelling means there's plenty of room for it, pitting Vault-Tec as some shadowy corporation. 

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Get exclusive news, content, and discounts sent directly to your inbox

You've joined our newsletter. Thank you!
Sorry, there has been an issue in subscribing to the newsletter.

The Verdict

Nolan has pitched the series as 'almost' Fallout 5, and with Bethesda busy on Starfield, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, and The Elder Scrolls 6, it's good news because we're settling in for a long wait until we'll be able to play a new game in the franchise. We basically get the best of both worlds, dipping our toe in the radiated pond of Fallout without being subjected to Bethesda's notorious bugs - and no, I don't mean radroaches. 

It's hard to know where the series is heading without watching the other six episodes, but with rumblings of a second season already making their way across the barren landscape of video game adaptations, we can see Fallout running for a long time. That's great news, considering Fallout is off to a stellar start with an all-star cast and the staple dog companion by its side.


Reviewed at a screening event.

Tom Chapman
About the author
Tom Chapman
Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.
Why trust GGRecon?

Established in 2019, we don’t just cover games - we live them. Our expert team is full of dedicated gamers, qualified journalists, and industry insiders who collectively boast decades of experience covering gaming and esports. This deep-rooted expertise allows us to provide authoritative and nuanced perspectives first-hand from a team who are playing, and researching every game covered on our website. 

Our foundation is built on a profound commitment to editorial independence, ensuring our content remains free from external influence and advertising pressures and is held to the highest level of editorial conduct, integrity, and quality. 

Every article on GGRecon comes from rigorous research, informed analysis, and a passion for gaming that resonates with our readers. We uphold these standards through a transparent editorial policy, accessible here, which governs our processes and maintains our accountability.