Fallout Episode 4 Recap: I Can’t Make You Open Your Heart

Fallout Episode 4 Recap: I Can’t Make You Open Your Heart

Fallout Episode 4 asks hard questions of our intrepid heroes. It puts them in difficult positions and asks them to come up with answers. Much as they do in the games the show is based on, some of those decisions will have serious consequences in the future. Below, you’ll find our full recap.

You can watch all eight episodes of Fallout on Prime Video. It’s already streaming in full.

Straight up, if you don’t want spoilers for Fallout‘s pilot episode, do not read anything that follows this top line of text. I mean it. I am going spoiler bonkers below. Like any episode recap, this is a yarn for people who have either seen it and want a little extra insight, or they just want a digest of what happened in the episode. If you’d prefer not to cop any spoils, please watch the episode and then come on back. I’d love to see some proper discussion in the comments.

If you’d like to catch up on our Fallout episode recaps, you can find each one listed below.

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Image: Kotaku Australia

On the road again

Lucy and The Ghoul continue their march across the desert. He’s starting coughing more as his meds begin to wear off. Lucy makes a mental note of this.

The pair comes upon Westside Medical Clinic and hears yelling from within. “MY NAME IS ROGER,” a guttural voice yells. The phrase repeats as they creep into the building, assessing the threat.

Watching this scene, I felt sure we were about to cop a Super Mutant or something. So far, at least, Fallout hasn’t had much interest in the Big Yellow Guys from the Capital Wasteland.

They find the source of the noise in a room down a long hall: a lone ghoul huddled away from the elements. Coop appears to know him, referring to him as Rog. 

Rog is in a very bad way. Screaming and thrashing, he keeps saying his name because it’s the only memory of himself as a person he can strongly hold onto. He’s fighting off the change into a feral ghoul. The Ghoul knows Rog turning. So does Rog. Rog asks, hopefully, for a vial of The Ghoul’s medicine, but he has to turn the poor guy down. Rog understands. He urges them to leave, peacefully. “28 years since I first started showing. Not as long as you, though, Coop.”

“That’s a lot of vials.”

The Ghoul looks at his feet. He’s quiet. “I’ve always been good at making money, Roger.”

He asks Rog if he remembers the taste of food. Rog does, getting a moment to enjoy a nice memory of a delicious apple pie right before The Ghoul shoots him through the head. As Lucy protests the murder, The Ghoul begins pulling Rog’s teeth out, presumably to sell. He then does something unconscionable. He takes out a bowie knife and begins to gut Rog, slicing his still-warm corpse open and peeling flesh off him in strips. Then, The Ghoul begins to eat the raw flesh. He’s apparently open to Cannibalism (another in-game easter egg).

“How do you live like this?” Lucy asks, watching him feast with horror and revulsion. “Why keep going?”

He stands. Faces her. “One good question deserves another. Why the fuck am I doin’ all the work?” He puts her to work carving up the dead Rog.

There’s a cruelty to this demand. He’s trying to debase her. Humiliate her. It’s yet another layer of dignity and civility stripped away from Lucy. She hates herself for carving up the dead ghoul, but she does.

Tread lightly

Back in the Vault, voting is underway to choose a new Overseer. Woody and Reg, the two main candidates, are competing. They’re keeping an eye on a raider in isolation and attempting to have a civil discussion. The raider wakes up and starts trying to break out. They casually tranq him.

Norm has found a quiet spot to sit and think. He looks at a dot matrix picture of his dad on his Pip-Boy, the old man on his mind. Betty, one of the vault’s older citizens and a member of the interim Overseer team, brings him a piece of pie as an excuse to check-in. They discuss what he said in the meeting. He reveals to her that he hid during the raid, and that doing so made him feel like a coward. She understands he’s angry at himself as much as the raiders, but she doesn’t tell him not to go after them.

“Just tread lightly, that’s all I ask.”

An honest exchange

A short time jump, and we’re back with Lucy and The Ghoul on the road again. Still parched and yet to find anything to drink, Lucy keeps looking at puddles of brackish, irradiated water. The Ghoul dips his flask into the muck, filling it with the foul liquid, and drinks. Whether he wants it or not is immaterial. It’s only supposed to tantalise her. It’s rancid, but does she want it bad enough? The Geiger counter screams as she gives in. She leans down toward the grey water, revulsion mixed with desperation on her face. She drinks, choking it down.

“Now you’re getting it,” mutters The Ghoul.

“What are you?”

“I’m you, sweetie, if you just give it a little time.”

He starts coughing again. It’s become a terrible, wracking cough that forces him into doubling over. Finally, Lucy sees her chance and bolts but doesn’t get far, running up on a huge pit in the middle of what used to be DTLA. A lasso catches her, hauls her back. The Ghoul grabs her and tries to hold her firm, but she bites his finger off. Undeterred, he catches her, spinning her around and wrenching one of her arms into the air. Slowly, painfully, he cuts her index finger off in response.

“That right there is the closest thing we’ve had to an honest exchange so far,” he growls.

I don’t even know man this whole scene weirded me out

Back in the vault, the heavily pregnant Steph and Chet discuss the death of Steph’s husband in the raider attack. It leads to an after-hours rendevous in which Steph brings a box of her dead husband’s things to Chet’s quarters. The two of them share a charged conversation before she jokingly drapes him in a sweater her husband owned. She starts to kiss his neck, moaning her husband’s name. Then she moves to his lips before the two of them quickly retreat to the bed. His hands dive between her legs and he remarks how wet she is down there.

That’s the moment when Steph suddenly makes a guttural sound and leaps off his lap, unzipping her vault suit in an effort to take it off. She stands in the middle of the room, half undressed, and from her nethers sprays a TORRENT of bodily fluid. Her water has broken. She’s having a baby.

I don’t know what purpose this scene served other than to embarrass its actors greatly. It’s really fuckin’ weird.

Into the Super Duper Mart

Lucy and The Ghoul enter the Super Duper Mart looking for supplies and medicine, both now fingerless and feeling like they’re a little more on an even keel with each other. He does not let this stop him from bossing her around though. In another random display of cruelty, he sends her into the dilapidated department store alone. This feels very like a mission I remember from Fallout 3. There’s a lot of Fallout 3 in this show.

Creeping through the darkened, ransacked store, Lucy bumps straight into a classic Fallout service robot. It looks like Codsworth from Fallout 4 and it’s voiced by Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, What We Do In The Shadows), in what might be the show’s best cameo stunt casting. He brightly offers to patch her up, reattaching her finger, chatting Britishly all the while. 

The robot then says he’s going to harvest her organs and immediately tranqs her.

Back to Vault 32

Norm goes to deliver food to the raiders again. He distracts the guard with jell-o cake and turns to the raiders. He says he’s going to make them pay for what they did to Vault 32. The raider stops him. “I don’t know what they were up to in Vault 32, but it was anything but innocent.”

Norm heads to see Chet, who is stuck in his home listening to a screaming Steph give unexpected birth while doctors tend to her. “Wanna get out of the house?” he asks. Chet shuffles awkwardly. “Yeah.” The two of them then abandon a woman in labour to head to Vault 32, taking a disused tunnel between the two vaults. Vault 32 is in darkness, its power now down to basic systems. Lights flicker throughout the hallways. Everything still dead.

“Whatever happened here happened a long time ago.”

There are signs of a huge fight everywhere they look. Cracks in walls, damage everywhere. An impaled corpse wears a Pip-Boy on its wrist, its last vitals detected two years ago. A corpse sits before a TV describing a mouse colony that ate each other to survive overpopulation.

The further in they get, the worse the damage gets. The carnage grows. A body slumped against a wall lies next to a bloody message: ‘we know the truth.’ Corpses lie togethe, positioned in a way that suggests they strangled each other to death. One appears burnt, immolated.

Chop shop

Lucy is wheeled through the Super Duper Mart on a gurney, hazily remembering her mother’s smiling face as the tranq wears off. She awakens, quickly realising where she is. She sees a Ghoul trapped in a display case, alive but turning, saying her name is Martha over and over. The robot arrives to deliver Lucy to a pair of lazy raiders sitting pretty in the centre of the store. They’re not that interested in a Vaultie and order him to take her away and get to work. He does, bringing her to an operating theatre. Restrained, Lucy begs for her organs.

A wild kick frees her from her bindings, and she electrocutes the robot to death. The bot chirply announces, “There’s no fudge here” as it collapses. Then, more blankly, “I am ready to serve.” Lucy immediately connects the dots: it’s been reset to defaults.

The two raiders have no idea what’s happened. Lucy re-emerges from the operating theatre and sicks the reset robot on them, swirling blades first. While she was back there, she also freed some Ghouls and she turns them on the raiders too. 

Carnage ensues. Everyone dies. 

All that’s left is her and Martha the Ghoul. Martha is turning, but she’s trying like hell to fight it. Lucy doesn’t want to kill her. Martha keeps advancing, leaving her no choice but to blow this defenseless woman away. Covered in blood and narrowly escaping with her life for what must now be the fourth or fifth time that day, Lucy grapples with the dehumanisation she’s experiencing. It’s starting to take a toll on her.

Hacking in

Back in Vault 32, Norm and Chet have found their way to the former Overseer’s office. What they find there is a long-dead man sitting in the Overseer’s chair who died a violent and likely horrific death. The words ‘Death To Management’ are scrawled on a nearby wall in long-dried blood. 

While Chet reacts to the grisly scene as a normal person would, Norm busies himself with breaking into the Overseer’s terminal. He quickly snoops through the files and comes upon a familiar name attached to a personnel file: MacLean, Rose. It’s his and Lucy’s mother.

The animal you will become

Lucy emerges from the Super Duper Saver with a new look. She’s now out of her vaultie top and dressed in a white tank, wearing a raider pauldron over one shoulder. While she’s been in the Mart, things have worsened for The Ghoul. He’s laid out on the ground, wheezing. “I may end up looking like you, but I’ll never be you.” She gives him his drugs. “So long, motherfucker.” She leaves, AND she’s cursing now! Change, and hard to tell if it’s for the better!

Lucy is back on the road, by herself. She is bloody, bruised, battered, but alive.

Mustering the last of his strength, The Ghoul goes into the Super Duper Mart looking for drugs. He finds ‘em. He goes hog wild in there, horking down whatever he can find that the looters left. Booze. Drugs. Chems. Whatever he can find.

Among the detritus left in the store, he finds a tape. The Man From Deadhorse. As the drugs do their work and he starts to level out again, he puts it on. The man who used to be Cooper Howard watches the movie he was making in the show’s earlier flashbacks. What he does here is no different from the other feral Ghouls we’ve seen, repeating their names, trying to hold onto their memories. 

He sees himself as a man, a person, who he was. He remembers. 

He stares at the screen as the television intones, “He was ugly, strong, and had dignity.”

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