Fallout Episode 5 Recap: What A Difference A Day Makes

Fallout Episode 5 Recap: What A Difference A Day Makes

Fallout Episode 5 is just past the halfway point for the first season, and things are heating up. This episode sees a lot of setup for what is bound to be a particularly spicy sixth episode, and while I wouldn’t describe it as “filler,” it’s certainly a bit less action-packed, dialling up the mystery, adding to a growing pile of questions as our heroes continue on their journey. Below, you’ll find our full recap of the entire episode, with a few thoughts interspersed (Emily’s version).

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 Episodes 1-5, 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 wander back over. I’d love to see a 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

Fallout Episode 5 starts with Henry by The Jet Tones as Maximus and Thaddeus have some brotherly (brotherhood-ly?) bonding time around a fire alongside Wilzig’s very decayed-looking head. So far, his ruse seems to be going well – so well, in fact, that Thaddeus asks to be branded as Knight Titus’ squire. Maximus reluctantly agrees, and decides it’s time to come clean.

Unfortunately for him, his newly-branded squire isn’t quite as understanding as he’d hoped. Thaddeus makes a break for it, and Maximus crushes his foot in the ensuing struggle. Proving that Squires are the ones that hold power over their Knights, Thaddeus uses a key in his pack to freeze Maximus’ armour, taking his T-60’s fusion core and Wilzig’s head, and departs with CCX404 in tow. Maximus is stuck in his power armour with a limited air supply as his former squire books it out of there (with some difficulty, given the crushed foot) and things are looking pretty grim. Cue the opening title.

Radroach food

Maximus’ prospects aren’t looking good the next morning, still stuck in the T-60’s standby mode, sweating absolute bullets (or crying? Or both). His bad situation is quickly getting worse, though – a pack of Radroaches have found him and decide a canned meal sounds like a solid prospect. 

Just when it seems like Maxxy boy is about to become food for the Radroaches, someone saves the day with a bang. And what do you know? It’s Lucy to the rescue! She’s clearly got some pent up anger to burn off, as one of the roaches gets absolutely squished to smithereens under her boot…multiple times. 

Maximus pleads for her help getting out of the armour. Lucy’s not quite as trusting as when she started out though. “I’ve had a tough week,” she says. “Yeah, me too,” Maximus responds. While the two debate why Lucy should or shouldn’t help him out of his suit, it becomes pretty clear that she’s suffering from severe radiation sickness. Thus, a bargain is tentatively struck: Maximus has Radaway for her, but unless she helps him out they’ll both die before she can make use of it. 

Lucy decides to make a leap of faith in assisting him, and despite her help, Maximus, for some reason, still decides to keep up his Knight Titus ruse. Lucy has no skin in the game when it comes to his identity – he could just tell her the truth, but he won’t. With Maximus out of the suit and finally able to breathe (and move) easy, Lucy passes out.

Thankfully for Lucy, she’s hooked up to some Radaway and appears to be doing much better. Maximus/’Knight Titus’ is hiding his T-60 and looks ready to take off, wishing the Vault Dweller the best of luck. Lucy’s clearly not keen on making her way alone much longer, and proposes a deal: she’s got a tracker for Wilzig’s head to help Maximus find it, and in exchange he’ll lend her some Brotherhood of Steel power to track down her father.

Trust clearly is a rare commodity  in  the Fallout world, but the two strike a deal. Even in post-war America, a common goal is enough to unify two strangers. Lucy and Maximus go onwards on their journey to find Thaddeus and Wilzig’s head, with a razor-thin line of trust between them.

A vault of secrets

Back in Vault 32, Norm and Chet are reeling from last episode’s discovery that Norm and Lucy’s mum’s Pip-Boy was used to open the Vault. Chet’s pretty keen to get the fuck out of there, but Norm has one more thing he wants to see: the gate to Vault 31. 

The duo finds more bodies piled up at the entrance that appear to have been trying to get in. On the wall, “we know what’s in there,” is written in blood. Yet another mystery to unravel – who’d have thought the Vaults weren’t as idyllic as they seem? Absolute shocker.

The two make their way back to home, sweet home in Vault 33, and Betty’s not buying their excuse as to their whereabouts. While her face says it all, she holds off voicing her suspicions and lets the two run along.

We cut to election day in Vault 33, with Betty, Reg, and Woody all in the running to become the next Overseer. It looks like Betty is the top candidate of the day – even Reg himself votes for her. 

A brief history of the last 200 years

Back to Lucy and Maximus, the two are hot on the trail of Wilzig’s head. She’s keen for a “quick rundown” of all of the events from the last 200 years. Maximus says the bombs dropped when he was a child – and given he’s not over 200 years old, Lucy is pretty sceptical on that. 

Lucy talks about her childhood with her mother, saying she felt as though she could really feel the sun in some memories she retains. There’s a contemplative moment, as if there’s a bit more to that memory than simply a realistic projector, but perhaps it’s just the rose-tinted shade of nostalgia. She quickly changes the subject – have those living outside of the Vaults gotten any closer to all agreeing on whether the Earth is round or flat?

There’s a standoff moment between Lucy and Maximus and some rather nefarious looking figures on a bridge. Both parties claim they’re unarmed (obviously a lie) and just want to pass through, but neither seems willing to make a move. Lucy tries (and fails) to relieve the tension with some breathing techniques, but much like my attempts to do the same after a stressful gaming session, it’s about as useful as tits on a bull.

After a failed unarmed crossover, the strangers go to attack – but Maximus takes them out before they can do any harm. Beyond shooting him in the arm, of course. Lucy’s concerned about the bullet to Maximus’ shoulder, but in true Monty Python fashion, ‘tis but a scratch, according to him.

It turns out the now very-dead strangers were fiends – cannibals – who would’ve eaten the two if given half the chance, according to Maximus. “I hate it up here,” Lucy says.

The mashed potatoes are always better on the other side

Back to Norm’s sleuthing again, and Vault 33’s archives on trades with Vault 31 seem to show a concerning pattern. All of the elected vault Overseers for the last 200 years have been Vault 31 residents, including his own father. Betty is elected with a 98% majority, adding to the growing list. Something fishy is going down here, but everyone’s too focused on that Women’s Weekly magazine-worthy jelly abomination to really care.

Woody is feeling pretty down and out about his election loss, but Davey’s here to provide some comfort. He ran a great campaign, after all: he put up ten posters and everything. Davey says he ran for Overseer once, but was pipped (no pun intended) at the post by Hank MacLean when the weevil famine came. What an interesting coincidence, some might say. Davey whips out a rather strange saying that seems to be the rallying cry during Vault 33’s hard times: “when things look glum, vote for somebody from Vault 31.” 

Norm’s trying to convince Chet, now playing the stepdad who stepped up, that the whole Vault 31 Overseer streak doesn’t quite add up. Chet’s not that phased by it, though. After all, they’ve got better resources and education, so it just makes sense. Steph, also from Vault 31 reckons the main difference between the two Vaults is that they had better mashed potatoes. That’s what Norm’s dad used to say, just to add another drop to the coincidence pile. Chet’s looking a bit less convinced it’s all a coincidence now.

Cut to Norm serving food to the prisoners, and I’ll be honest – Vault 33’s mashed potatoes look like absolute garbage, so maybe Steph and Hank had a point. Betty announces a morning meeting regarding the future of the defunct Vault 32, which as you might recall is littered with bodies right now. What’s she planning?

There’s more than one way to save the world

Lucy and Maximus arrive at Shady Sands in what Fallout fans might recognise as part of the New California Republic. In the games, we’ve not visited the capital Shady Sands since Fallout 2, which at the time appeared to be chugging along. Even in Fallout: New Vegas the NCR seemed to be kicking still, but since then there’s been not much mention of the faction.  

Lucy’s world is turned on her head, ideas of Reclamation Day and all, when she realises that places like Shady Sands were home to over 34,000 people after the war without any need for Vault Dwellers to recolonise the topside. While reeling from learning that her whole Vault’s purpose, their encouragement to keep going, was done without them, Maximus drops some news. While others tried to restart civilisation in Shady Sands, it didn’t work out.

In one of the more emotional moments of Fallout Episode 5, Maximus leads Lucy to the cratered remains of Shady Sands. Another bomb fell here, and from the looks of it, it was a major blast. Lucy asks what happens, and Maximus gives us the anchorpoint of the episode, as well as of Fallout itself: “It’s the same thing that always happens. Everyone wants to save the world…they just disagree on how.”

What this does make clear, is that after everything went to shit topside, it just continued getting shitter with even more bombs. Because what better way to heal as a country after being obliterated by nuclear fallout than to blow some more of it up?

Lucy wonders aloud if anyone survived, and we find out that Maximus’ flashbacks, the ones that landed him with the Brotherhood of Steel, were actually the bombing of Shady Sands. We don’t get to dwell on that too long, though, because Maximus’ “just a graze” shoulder wound is actually a bit more than just a graze. The head can wait, Lucy says, and the two look to find something, anything, to help.

As luck would have it, the Hawthorne Medical Laboratories (a division of Vault-Tec corporation) are closeby. It just so happens to be the research and development section, and given this is good old Vault-Tec we’re talking about, who knows what’ll be lurking inside. They head in anyways in search of a first aid kit.

Lucy’s nowhere to be found, and it’s ominous as fuck inside. Not a hair looks out of place beyond the backrooms-type lighting, and as Maximus enters the door marked ‘Medical Supplies’, down a chute he goes. Classic Vault-Tec shenanigans.

A renovator’s wet dream

We finally get to see just what exactly Betty’s been up to in the Vaults. The inhabitants of Vault 33 head over to Vault 32, and the newly-elected Overseer announces that half of them will be resettling this as their new home. Chet and Norm wander through with the rest of the group to see a completely madeover Vault 32, sans dead bodies and flickering lighting.

What A Difference A Day Made by Dinah Washington fittingly plays, and it looks like Betty has been hard at work – her efforts would be envied by any contestant on The Block, honestly. A fresh lick of paint, perfectly staged kitchens, and even a toaster with freshly-made toast (as opposed to a fork) replace the very grim Vault 32 of the day prior.

Norm and Chet are understandably shook by this as we cut between the renovator’s wet dream and the images of carnage the two saw just yesterday. There’s been one other little touch up to Vault 32, perhaps the piece de resistance – the Overseer’s terminal has been smashed to smithereens. Norm tells Betty she did a “great job cleaning up,” and it’s clear the off vibes of our newest Overseer are only going to get worse.

Norm asks Betty what happened to his mother’s Pip-Boy. It was apparently buried with her, which Betty is sure of because her and Hank buried her themselves. Clearly the fuck not. Norm’s unravelling a very concerning conspiracy here, and has all the threads, but can’t quite connect them just yet. 

The best place in the world

In the final moments of Fallout Episode 5, we cut back to Lucy and Maximus. They’re out cold on stretchers, but as they both awake, Lucy makes what she thinks is a wonderful discovery. Maximus asks where they are, and Lucy is more than happy to tell him. “We’re in the best place in the world,” she says, as the camera pans through a window to a thriving community. “We’re in a vault.” 

And roll the credits. Oh gee, I wonder what could go wrong?

If you’re keen to check out more about the Fallout TV series, we’ve got you covered here. We’ve also got recaps of episodes 1-4, with more recaps going live each day.

Image: Prime Video

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