Silo, the dystopian Apple TV+ series about the last survivors of civilization living in a cavernous underground structure, finds new sheriff Juliette treading on shaky ground this week. With a reluctant Paul Billings in tow, she starts intensifying her search for clues. Meanwhile, the silo’s Judicial authorities start to get mighty suspicious of her motives.
The episode, entitled “The Relic,” is a creepy and involving installment of an increasingly interesting show.
Silo recap: ‘The Relic’
Season 1, episode 6: Sheriff Juliette Nichols (played by Rebecca Ferguson) is distracted. She’s trying to investigate the murder of former Deputy Marnes (Will Patton), but she keeps having flashbacks to her time with her dead lover, George Wilkins (Ferdinand Kingsley).
Her positive memories prove nice enough that they make her present all the more frustrating. The locksmith can’t open the door to also deceased former Judicial apprentice Douglas Trumbull (Henry Garrett), who Juliette thinks is behind a rash of recent murders, including those of George and Mayor Jahns (Geraldine James).
Juliette makes a big show of finding a relic she planted among Trumbull’s artifacts, which she says must mean that Judicial is in on these murders. There’s no way a low-level grunt like Trumbull was working alone and without orders.
Now that’s a relic
Juliette’s deputy Paul Billings (Chinaza Uche), who is just getting used to her cavalier methods, is made very nervous by the idea of Juliette not turning in the thing (it’s a Pez dispenser) she found at Trumbull’s over to Judicial. So she agrees to go down and meet with them.
Justice Sims (Common) tries to do an end run around her in front of his boss, but she’s thought just about everything through. Juliette tells Judicial head Meadows (Tanya Moodie) that she wants to start a program identifying and targeting relics of the past, which are illegal unless properly registered.
This is a ruse, of course, and though Judicial says they buy it, they have Billings and Juliette tailed immediately. Their first stop is Patrick Kennedy’s (Rick Gomez) place. He’s the guy who Marnes had a blood feud with before he died. They ask Kennedy for a favor: Give them the name of someone who deals in relics, or they’ll give Kennedy’s name to Judicial instead. He finally relents and gives someone up.
An interesting connection
Next, Juliette and Billings meet up with Regina Jackson (Sonita Henry). And the first thing she notices is the watch on Juliette’s arm.
“Haven’t seen that in a long time,” Regina says. “It was my boyfriend’s.”
Juliette realizes that Regina doesn’t know George is dead … or anyway, that’s how she plays it. Turns out when they dated, Regina used to buy things for George from her family before she realized he was stepping out on her. Then Judicial came looking for answers from her and her family, and her family doesn’t talk to her anymore. The looks Regina gives Juliette say she knows George left her for the new sheriff.
Later, Sims and interim mayor Bernard (Tim Robbins) come to grill Juliette about the Pez dispenser. She charms Bernard enough that he doesn’t buy Sims’ version of events (that she planted the relic in Trumbull’s apartment — which is of course what happened).
Billings covers for Juliette, but makes it clear he disapproves of her methods. If, after all, they find out he’s in on this plot with her, they could both be killed. That’s when Juliette plays her hand: She knows Billings is suffering from a disease that’s meant to be disclosed. In fact, it’s a crime not to disclose it. They depart no surer of each other’s trustworthiness.
Just keep plugging away, Juliette
On her way home, Juliette runs into Lukas Kyle (Avi Nash), who says he waited up for her so they could flirt. That brightens her day a little, but she’s still down. In fact, she radios her friend and mentor, Martha Walker (Harriet Walter), to say she wants to quit her job. She came up here for George, but it turns out he was a liar and a cad. Is it worth it to learn why he died?
Martha guilts Juliette but good, and she agrees to keep going. Billings goes home to his wife, Kathleen (Caitlin Zoz). Rattled, he asks if their newborn baby has been exhibiting signs of the illness. She’s been secretly nursing him back to health every night after work, and keeping him medicated, but they have no clue how long they can keep the ruse up.
Humbled, Juliette returns to the investigation. She goes back to Regina’s house and says she knows she’s the informer who gave up George. Yes, but it’s more complicated than that. Regina was being shadowed by a man who broke into her house at night and used to threaten everyone she ever knew and loved.
One last clue for the week
Regina knew her mother, especially, would be sent to the mines to do hard labor if she didn’t give up George. So she did it. But she has one piece of evidence that no one collected. Regina kept it stitched into her rug and when Judicial searched her apartment, they didn’t notice it. She gives it to Juliette with a warning: Don’t say out loud what she’s about to see when she gets a good look at it.
The object in question is a travel diary from the state of Georgia. It has pictures of forests and rivers, animals in aquariums, beaches, lighthouses … Juliette’s stunned. She’s also not alone. Her apartment is being surveilled by closed-circuit cameras. The “man who knows everything” from Regina’s stories has every house in the silo bugged. And he’s about to find out about all this.
Not all of these things are elite
Laurie Rose (Kill List, Peaky Blinders) serves as Silo’s cinematographer this week, so the lighting is a little more expressive and romantic and the framing a little more intimate. It’s perhaps a subtle difference, but I noticed right away he was shooting the scenes with George and Juliette in a much more interesting fashion than is typical of the show.
Silo has many strengths, but its sludge-gray aesthetic isn’t always one of them. So I was happy to see whites and reds and oranges and blues shine through a little more than usual. Frankly, it’s a little wild to see this much brightness on the show, six episodes into a 10-episode season, but I ain’t complaining.
What’s a little confusing is that Rose also shot all of Apple TV+ sci-fi show Invasion, and in some of those episodes you couldn’t see a damned thing.
Plus, there are good compositions in this episode of Silo! A first! All the more reason I’m excited for next week’s episode: Rose comes back. Drama, action, intrigue … fine. Give me images first, please.
Watch Silo on Apple TV+
New episodes of Silo arrive Fridays on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper and But God Made Him A Poet: Watching John Ford in the 21st Century, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.