'Fallout' Season 1 Doesn't Answer What Happened to Vault 32 (SPOILERS)

It seems the experiment being conducted in Vault 32 didn't go as planned, resulting in the citizens' deaths.

Sara Belcher - Author

Apr. 15 2024, Published 6:59 p.m. ET

Norm and Chet entering Vault 32 in 'Fallout'
Source: Prime Video

Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for Season 1 of Fallout.

Now that the Prime Video original series Fallout is here, even those who have never played one of the many Bethesda-developed video games can begin to immerse themselves in the post-nuclear fallout world.

The storyline depicted in the first season doesn't depict any of the vaults already covered in the video games, but even after the finale, many are still confused as to what happened in Vault 33's sister vault, Vault 32.

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What happened to the habitants of Vault 32?

In Season 1 of Fallout, Norm and Chet sneak into Vault 32 after the raiders' capture, only to find that all of the original inhabitants are long dead. According to Norm's Pip Boy, there was no bio signal in that vault for two years, suggesting that a significant amount of time had passed since the downfall of Vault 32. Among the dead bodies and chaos littered throughout the vault, there were writings in what appeared to be blood, claiming "We know the truth."

The crops that failed in Vault 32
Source: Prime Video

Norm and Chet find that all of the crops in Vault 32 are dead.

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Vault 31 held a collection of cryogenic chambers containing various employees of Vault-Tec who had been trained by Bud Askins before the nuclear bomb dropped. These managers-in-training, also dubbed "Bud's Buds," would be routinely unfrozen when Vault 32 or 33 needed a new overseer.

The exact disaster that befell Vault 32 residents isn't clear, though the state of the bodies left behind suggested the inhabitants revolted at its end, with some committing suicide and others being killed.

Theories from fans suggest that the citizens' revolt began when the vault's crops failed, leading to them learning the truth about what's in Vault 31. Before Norm and Chet could get more answers, though, Betty had Vault 32 cleaned up and moved half of the Vault 33 residents into it.

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Every vault has a different backstory in the 'Fallout' universe.

If you aren't familiar with the Fallout universe, then you're only aware of a small slice of Vault-Tec's various evils. Beyond dropping the nuclear bomb that essentially destroyed modern civilization, the company leased out the various vaults to different shareholders and companies, allowing them to make the rules the vault's citizens would have to follow. As it was initially marketed as a community run by scientists, many of these vaults were basically used as real-time science experiments.

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Season 1 of Fallout explores life in Vaults 31, 32, and 33 (with a brief appearance by the mutated inhabitants of Vault 4), but there are actually more than 100 different vaults contracted by Vault-Tec — and the video games delve into a good portion of these. In many of these vaults, inhuman psychological, sociological, and physical experiments were conducted on the residents.

For example, Vault 77 contained only a single man and a crate of puppets, resulting in the lone resident descending into madness. Vault 12's door intentionally did not seal correctly, exposing all of its residents to radiation and turning many of them into ghouls.

Though Vault 32 and 33's experiment was meant to be a more positive one than some of the other vaults, it was still a social experiment nonetheless.

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