The Fallout show's loser Squire Thaddeus is the most quintessential game sidequest character

Fallout TV series - Squire Thaddeus wears a dopey grin in the wasteland
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Fallout is a world sold by sidequests. It can rock a main plot well enough, but the wasteland is best when it's weird. The series gets silliest once you step off the paved path and get embroiled in the lives of the freaks around you. Fallout has many genres of side characters: scientists of questionable credentials, beleaguered bureaucrats, and average assholes, but my own favorite have to be the loser dudes. 

In our Fallout TV show review we call it the best thing since Fallout: New Vegas in part because the story actually feels like a series of quests straight out of the games. It also feels like it has genuine game characters and the Brotherhood of Steel's Squire Thaddeus is hands down my favorite. Be warned I am going to spoil a bunch of Thaddeus Facts for anyone who hasn't watched the full first season of Amazon's Fallout TV show that premiered last week.

Thaddeus is the platonic ideal of a pathetic little man delivering a sidequest in a Fallout game and actor Johnny Pemberton pulls off a perfect whiny guy. He has a backstory that's equal parts laughable and lamentable that he delivers to the main character with almost no prompting: He worked on a farm as a "shitter" literally eating and pooping out food to feed flies which in turn became protein for human food. He's a B-tier bully brought low after getting dragged into the plot, can't shoot a pistol worth a damn, and just cannot stop getting injured.

For these sins, I adore him. Thaddeus follows in a long tradition of pathetic little guys giving sidequests. Fallout 3's own bratty bully Butch DeLoria of Vault 101, coiner of the "Tunnel Snakes rule!" motto, is another total loser. He needs the player's help to save his mom from radroaches, for one thing, which can usually be dispatched by fists or BB guns. And if you wind up recruiting him as a follower you'll find out he's got pretty shit stats. 

Fallout New Vegas has the best deep cut pathetic guy, Carlyle St. Clair III, a runaway rich guy holed up outside the Vegas strip. He doesn't even have a sidequest of his own. He's just an accessory to the much-loved Beyond The Beef sidequest about fancy cannibals, in which you can substitute him as a sacrifice to save some other rich dude's adult son. You can subdue him with force or, if you have the Black Widow perk as I always do, convince him that you want to have sex with him. In a dumpster. What a dork.

Fallout 4's premiere whiny guy has to be Travis Miles, the totally unfit radio DJ of Diamond City who's got not a lick of charisma to him. Unlike some of these other lads, Travis is actually a decent dude, he's just very sorry for being such a burden.

It just feels right, doesn't it? (Image credit: Amazon Studios, edited by PC Gamer)

Thaddeus captures all that silly sidequesting flavor throughout the first season of the Fallout show. He starts out as a bargain bin Butch DeLoria, bullying main character Maximus just because it's a bit of bonding for his cronies. He does feel a little bad about it though, channeling the sad guy vibes of Travis Miles, revealing his own lackluster origins and regretting that Max (allegedly) died without getting to also pick on someone in turn. Later on he winds up off on his own, like Carlyle, largely hapless and ineffective, totally at the mercy of the wastelanders around him. Oh yeah, and that gulper nearly ate him, poor guy.

As my fellow Fallout-enjoyer Chris Livingston pointed out to me, he's exactly the kind of side character who would turn up several times throughout a game, comically entangled in some new offshoot of the main quest. The kind of loser who would make me laugh out loud when I realize he's turned up again. 

One of my initial worries about Amazon's Fallout TV series was that it wouldn't manage to capture the world's wry humor. It totally does though, with its very blasé attitude about sex and violence, no qualms about making powerful people look like total tools, and side quest characters with just the right blend of tragedy and comedy. 

Our season one reviewer Jody Macgregor says that the show nails Fallout's tone, in part because it "treats the Brotherhood of Steel like the joke it's supposed to be." And Thaddeus is the butt of that joke as much as anyone. He just cannot catch a break because bad things happening to people who only kind of deserve it is a Fallout cornerstone. 

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.