In the Silo season finale, Juliette has been found out and has only minutes to prove her innocence — and the government’s guilt — before she’s caught and punished. Of course, nothing is ever that easy in the hit Apple TV+ sci-fi series.
Bernard and Sims panic at the idea of losing their grip on the seat of power. And the people Juliette knows and loves worry for her safety. The episode, entitled “Outside,” asks the question: Can you fight city hall miles underground?
Silo recap: ‘Outside’
Season 1, episode 10: Juliette Nichols (played by Rebecca Ferguson) has seen proof that the silo government is lying to everyone. She has a video that reveals the world outside the silo is not the gray wasteland it appears to be on the monitors supposedly piping in a live feed of the outdoors.
Along with her criminal ally Patrick Kennedy (Rick Gomez) and his hacker friend Danny (Will Merrick), they’ve cracked a hard drive containing sensitive state secrets. Now they want to broadcast it to every computer screen in the silo.
There’s only one computer capable of bypassing the I.T. Department’s security, but it’s about 100 floors down. And it doesn’t take Mayor Bernard’s (Tim Robbins) I.T. goons long to discover where the trio was looking at the hard drive — in Kennedy’s apartment — so they climb down a trash chute to level 126 and upload the video feed to every screen in the silo.
Bernard has a fit when the I.T. CCTV feeds are co-opted by the image of a beautiful outdoor world. He demands that everyone in the room, including Justice Sims (Common), turns their backs and shut their eyes. He shuts down every computer screen in the compound, then issues a stern warning: “What you just saw … you will unsee.”
Time’s up for Juliette
Bernard reasons that Juliette must be getting around using the trash shaft, so he has Sims gather up a bunch of heavy mechanical junk and start lobbing it down the chute to kill her. It almost works, but Juliette releases her grip on the ladder and falls several stories, rescued very narrowly by her people in the mechanical level.
Her old boss Knox (Shane McRae) calls Judicial, much to the chagrin of Juliette’s mentor, Martha (Harriet Walter), and her friends Shirley (Remmie Milner) and Deputy Hank (Billy Postlethwaite). But they also know there’s no fighting Judicial. If they didn’t give up Juliette, Judicial would make life for everyone in the “down deep” miserable.
Juliette goes quietly in exchange for answers. Bernard has her put in shackles and frog-marched back up the levels to make an example out of her. But before she goes, Juliette asks Martha for a favor.
Martha hasn’t left her apartment in 22 years. She’s worked from home, fixing things brought to her by the rest of the mechanical staff. But now she has to. She musters all her conviction and mettle, exhales, steps outside and walks up several flights of stairs to see an old friend (Clare Perkins).
Years and years ago, Juliette stole something called “heat tape” from the supply level, and the charge dogged her most of her life. What’s always made people curious is why she did it. The mechanical level had heat tape, and it was by all accounts better. So what gives?
A date with the great outdoors
Bernard shows Juliette the footage of her lover George Wilkins’ (Ferdinand Kingsley) death. It wasn’t a murder, per se, it was a suicide. But before he jumped to his death, George looked right into a camera, put his hand to his heart, and smiled.
Juliette then goes to jail to get fitted for her hazmat suit to be banished outside to die in the toxic air. Bernard sends Lukas Kyle (Avi Nash) to the mines to languish, while Paul Billings (Chinaza Uche) gets an exemption for his disease and is promoted to sheriff. Juliette’s dad, Pete Nichols (Iain Glen), stops by to feed her and to get one last word with her. They forgive each other.
Bernard performs Juliette’s last rites and sends her outside, failing to notice one small, seemingly insignificant detail. Everyone who gets sent outside is put into a suit, and the suit is taped together with … you guessed it, heat tape. The good heat tape…and it keeps the toxic atmosphere out of Juliette’s suit as she makes the same trek we saw both Sheriff Holston (David Oyelowo) and his wife Alison (Rashida Jones) take before — but she doesn’t succumb to the poisonous fumes.
Juliette gives one last “fuck you” to the cameras, then starts walking. But then she realizes something. The monitor in the silo isn’t a lie — the view from inside the helmet is bogus. The outside world isn’t beautiful. It’s the nightmare it appears to be to people inside the silo. The hologram in the helmet was to deceive the people sent outside before they perished. Juliette keeps walking over the hill, the farthest anyone’s ever made it.
A satisfying Silo season one finale
The Silo season one finale made for a satisfying ending to a show that gained a little interest and excitement with every episode, leaving lots of room for the next season. I’d like a little more of the writers’ personalities to shine through, and a few more directors with a more specific visual sense to be recruited for that, but I get that ultimately you’re following books down specific corridors. Maybe a show like this isn’t the best place for personality behind the camera. But a boy can dream.
The second season promises to be a more expansive thing than the first with new characters and new environs and the thing is that’s only particularly exciting because the show seems to have run out of things to do with this group of characters in The Silo that quickly, which is just not a very good sign. Still and all, the show proved its worth and though for such a huge show it wants for ambition (we have a potential cast of thousands and only met about 12 people who fulfil very expected dramatic and archetypal roles throughout), I’m excited to see Silo season two when it arrives.
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.