Cooper Howard In ‘Fallout’ Series, Explained: Why Did The Ghoul Want To Catch Hank MacLean?


Cooper Howard is the tertiary protagonist of Fallout. He was introduced to us as the Ghoul, an undead gunslinger who lived off a potion that kept him from going feral. He was brought out of his grave for assignments and then buried six feet in the ground again. When he learned about Dr. Siggi Wilzig and the size of the bounty, he killed his employers and decided to go on the journey on his own. Since Lucy got to Wilzig first, he had to follow her in order to get to Wilzig. However, when he learned that the Lucy that he was tracking was the daughter of Hank MacLean, who had been captured by Lee Moldaver, Cooper’s whole journey was imbued with a whole new meaning. And he realized that if he could get to Moldaver’s headquarters at the Griffith Observatory, he’d be able to face Hank MacLean.

Spoiler Alert

What Did Cooper Learn About Barb?

Cooper’s story in Fallout unfolded in a nonlinear fashion so that the truth about his wife, Barb Howard, aligned with his faceoff with Hank. So, let me unpack it in a comparatively linear way. As Cooper claimed multiple times, he was a war veteran. Then he pivoted to acting, married Barb, and had their daughter, Janey. Barb worked at Vault-Tec, one of the biggest corporations in the world, building the vaults that we saw throughout the show. He became the face of Vault-Tec and started advertising the vaults. But that was when his friend, Charles Whiteknife, got in touch with him and asked him to attend a seminar by Lee Moldaver so that he would get an idea of what Barb was involved in. Cooper was totally against the idea, but when Moldaver asked him to simply eavesdrop on Barb for a little while, he thought about giving it a shot. And that was when he realized that Barb, along with Vault-Tec and a bunch of other corporations, were planning to nuke the planet so that nobody else but them would be in charge of the world. Cooper was shell-shocked to find out that his own wife was a genocidal maniac. He couldn’t process it properly, though, because a young Hank MacLean was in his face asking for an autograph.

Why Did the Ghoul Want to Catch Hank MacLean?

Now, something went down between the moment Cooper learned the truth about his wife and when we saw him and Janey at someone’s birthday party as the “star act.” Given how the father of the birthday boy was mocking him, Cooper had clearly fallen from grace. Why? Well, I guess that he started to create some form of awareness about Vault-Tec. Since the corporation owned everything, they must have ruined his reputation. Barb obviously chose Vault-Tec over her own family, and that was why she was nowhere to be seen in the opening scene of Fallout. I have a feeling that Cooper and Janey were attending a party to make ends meet because they had no idea that the nuclear bombs were actually going to drop. The news was going haywire about rumors of a nuclear attack, but the people refused to believe it because it was that preposterous. We saw Cooper taking his horse and Janey and riding away to a safe place that would shield them from the blast and the radiation. I think it’s safe to say that Barb is definitely alive somewhere in a vault, and Hank knows about it. I have a slim feeling that Janey is alive, too, but Cooper has no idea where she is. Cooper thinks that Hank knows about his family, and that was why he wanted to catch him and squeeze the information out of him.

How Did Cooper Howard Become the Ghoul?

There is an information gap between the time Cooper faced the nuclear blasts in 2077 and the moment he was dug out of his grave in 2296. We know that one doesn’t look like he did in 2296 at once. They have to drink a certain potion to gain healing powers. Every time they healed, their skin would get a little wrinkly. And then they had to keep having that potion to avoid turning into a full-fledged zombie. So, it’s obvious that over the course of 219 years, Cooper was on a quest to find his family and the members of Vault-Tec who had doomed humanity. Given how he had built a reputation as a vigilante, I can speculate that he deviated from his path of vengeance and began doing dangerous odd jobs to simply survive, which gave him his scars and corpse-like look. But now that he has a clear heading (New Vegas) regarding his family’s whereabouts, maybe he’ll be more determined and motivated to stay on track. I’ll contradict myself a little and say that Janey is possibly dead, and Fallout is building up to a father-daughter relationship between Cooper and Lucy. I mean, Cooper doesn’t have a daughter, and Lucy’s father is a villain. So, I guess that Lucy and Cooper’s journey to New Vegas is going to turn them into the dynamic duo of the wastelands, and when Cooper regales Lucy with stories about his adventures, we’ll get to know how the superstar became a ghoul.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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