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How Amazon Prime's Fallout Fixes Dogmeat - The Series' Goodest Boy, Explained

Contains spoilers for "Fallout" Season 1, Episode 2

Prime Video's "Fallout" TV series features a cast of original characters, but that doesn't mean the show is afraid to play with familiar archetypes. For instance, the small details in the "Fallout" teaser trailer seemed to suggest that the franchise's resident good boy, Dogmeat, makes an appearance. However, the show opts for a similar yet different dog character, CX404. While the "Fallout" faithful might reflexively balk at this change, the decision allows the show to freely tinker with the canine companion's backstory — which, in turn, fixes how heroic "Fallout" doggies are traditionally portrayed. 

Various versions of Dogmeat have appeared in the games. He might be a semi-feral terror whose owner has died and who's strong enough to fight several enemies. Other times, he's a cute, freewheeling German shepherd who takes a liking to the protagonist and decides to tag along. However, the dog's prowess is invariably — and inexplicably — far beyond what you'd expect from a random wasteland hound. The "Fallout" series elegantly fixes this by reimagining the pup into CX404, played by Belgian Malinois Lana5. Zildig (Michael Emerson) rescues her from a scientific facility, keeps her hidden, and secretly raises and trains her. While CX404 is a bit of a runt who survives to adulthood only because of Zildig, the show makes it clear that the dogs in the facility are the product of a rigorous breeding program and may be genetically engineered or enhanced.

In practice, CX404 is exactly the kind of clever, combat-capable tagalong you'd expect a live-action Dogmeat to be. Unlike Dogmeat, however, her backstory as a science experiment attack dog who lucked out into a loving upbringing provides a perfect explanation for both her combat skills and her tendency to hang around with the protagonists. 

The show demonstrates the drawbacks of being a post-apocalyptic dog

"Fallout" Season 1, Episode 2 also demonstrates that being a dog in the "Fallout" universe can have significant downsides, regardless of the puppy in question. While CX404 is strong, clever, and well-trained, she's still a dog. As such, she finds out during her short fight with the Ghoul (Walton Goggins) that there's only so much damage a 52-pound dog can inflict on an experienced, well-medicated bounty hunter who can absorb a ridiculous amount of damage. Fortunately, the knife wound the Ghoul inflicts on the poor pup isn't fatal, and he later heals CX404 with a stimpak. 

While CX404 lives to wag her tail another day, her injury would quite likely be fatal without the Ghoul's interference. This is a marked difference from, say, the immortal Dogmeat from "Fallout 4," and it informs the viewer that even a good dog with a well-crafted backstory can die in the live-action "Fallout" wasteland. As for how a more conventional, wilderness-grown dog might fare in the show's post-apocalyptic setting, it's worth noting that the episode also mentions Dogmeat by name ... in the sign of a food stall in Filly. No prizes for guessing what kind of protein it sells.