What happens at the end of Fallout?

The ending of The Fallout is particularly devastating, as the film is an emotional drama exploring the aftermath of a school shooting. It follows Vada (Jenna Ortega), a survivor, and her struggle to overcome the trauma.

The Fallout concludes with a tragic reminder that such emotional wounds can never truly be healed when acts of mass violence remain prevalent. Written and directed by Megan Park, the film has been acclaimed for its powerful writing, direction, and the talented young cast led by Ortega.

1. What happens in the Fallout ending?

By the end of The Fallout, Vada has reached a hopeful ending.

Throughout The Fallout, Vada starts dealing with her trauma in a healthier way. She reconciles with her family members, deciding to stop keeping secrets from them and expressing what they mean to her. She and Mia resolve to re­main friends, and Jenna Ortega perfectly portrays every aspect of Vada’s complex and emotionally nuanced journey.

By the end of The Fallout, Vada appears to have reached a hopeful conclusion. However, what follows demonstrates just how challenging moving on from violent trauma can be.

At the end of The Fallout, Vada is texting her friend Mia, and it appears she’s finally found some joy. But this moment is cut short by a news alert about another school shooting in Ohio.

This news brings Vada back to her trauma, and she is consumed by emotional anguish as the movie ends, with sounds over a black screen implying she’s having a panic attack.

Fallout Ending Exlplained
Walton Goggins in Fallout (2024) | Source: IMDb

2. How trauma explains Vada’s actions?

The Fallout ending can be understood by how Vada tries to downplay or deny the impact the shooting has had on her throughout the movie. She repeatedly describes herself as “relaxed” or “low-key” and pushes away her mother’s attempts to get her to open up.

However, Vada’s actions become more unpredictable as the movie progresses. She sleeps with Mia and kisses Quinton, actions driven more by confusion than love. Vada also starts experimenting with drugs, moving from marijuana to ecstasy.

The fairly straight-laced girl Vada seemed to be before the shooting has now shown some out-of-character actions. Trauma is a complex psychological factor that doesn’t have a simple explanation. Vada’s traumatic experience during the shooting has shaped her behavior changes.

Like others in her class, she tries to find meaning in the tragedy and understand why she survived. While narratives about trauma are familiar in movies and TV shows, few have the subtlety of The Fallout.

In addition to seeking emotional connections, Vada’s advances toward Mia and Quinton, whom she hid with during the shooting, could be an attempt to make the shooting part of a narrative that ends with a romantic connection, giving the senseless violence some meaning in her life story.

Vada’s drug use is also likely an attempt to escape from the trauma or numb the pain.

3. Why The Fallout’s ending is so devastating?

The Fallout’s ending demonstrates that no matter how much Vada heals from her interpersonal trauma, she will always be vulnerable to the lingering impact of her traumatic memories.

This is due to the alarming prevalence of mass shootings in the United States, with over 1,000 school shootings reported in the past 50 years (according to data from Sandy Hook Promise).

School shootings have become a tragic cultural fixture, appearing in various media formats, from severe dramas like Mass to the more sensationalized American Horror Story. For someone like Vada, it would be nearly impossible to avoid encountering news coverage or depictions of these devastating events, which could serve as constant triggers for her.

The Fallout may be seen as a call to action, urging for tighter gun control laws in the United States, which are often criticized as being too permissive.

Vada’s friend Nick becomes an activist, appearing on television to plead for people to take concrete steps to prevent mass shootings from becoming such a normalized occurrence.

The final moments of The Fallout are so devastating because they recognize that, far from being unique, Vada’s story is familiar to thousands of Americans. As long as mass shootings are a regular occurrence, her healing can never indeed be complete.

Fallout Ending Explained
Ella Purnell in Fallout (2024) | Source: IMDb

4. What is the true meaning of The Fallout?

The Fallout ending is not just about legal changes. While the movie includes Nick’s sincere support for gun control, it also suggests that his political activism is partly driven by his trauma, an attempt to make sense of surviving while others didn’t.

This same desire for action was seen in the real-life activism of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors.

Rather than delivering a political message, HBO’s The Fallout subtly examines how trauma works and how recovery is often a complex and incomplete process. Vada is constantly uncertain about her feelings and what she wants to do.

Moments that seem to be signs of progress, like her return to school or her work with therapist Anna (played by Shailene Woodley), are handled with mixed feelings.

5. When does the Fallout TV show take place on the series timeline?

The Fallout TV show toggles between two distinct eras throughout the narrative. The primary setting is the post-apocalyptic world of 2296, 135 years after the events of the original Fallout game.

This is where Vault 33 is introduced, and the core story unfolds, following Lucy as she leaves the vault to search for her kidnapped father, Hank.

The secondary timeline is set in 2077, at the height of tensions between the US and rival nations.

This flashback period provides insights into the origins of the iconic Vault-Boy character, his famous thumbs-up image, and Vault-Tec’s sinister plans to provoke a global nuclear war. Additionally, we gain glimpses into Cooper’s life before he transforms into a Ghoul, a being who has endured the last 200 years.

Contextually, the Fallout TV show takes place nine years after the events of Fallout 4, still set in the California region around Los Angeles. This positioning within the Fallout timeline ensures the series follows the established canon while exploring new narrative frontiers.

The Fallout Ending Explained
Michael Rapaport and Aaron Moten in Fallout (2024) | Source: IMDb

6. Is Fallout Season 2 happening?

The show’s first season ends with plenty of teases for a second season. With Amazon Prime Video investing so much in the show already, there’s a good chance another season will be on the way.

Adding to the speculation is that the series has already been granted a tax credit for filming in California.

That being said, Prime Video has yet to make any official announcement, and we won’t know anything until it does.

Watch Fallout on:

7. About Fallout

Fallout is an American post-apocalyptic drama television series created by Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet for Amazon Prime Video. Based on the role-playing video game franchise created by Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, the series stars Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten, Kyle MacLachlan, Moisés Arias, Xelia Mendes-Jones, and Walton Goggins.

Amazon purchased the rights to produce a live-action project in 2020, and the show was announced that July, with Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s Kilter Films joined by Bethesda Game Studios in the production. Nolan directed the first three episodes.

Bethesda Game Studios producer Todd Howard, who directed various games in the series, signed on to executive produce alongside Nolan and Joy. Robertson-Dworet and Wagner were hired as the series’ showrunners in January 2022, and Goggins and Purnell were cast in February and March, respectively.


Leave a Reply