In the second episode of Silo, a dystopian sci-fi series from AppleTV+, Sheriff Holston makes a big decision that affects the whole community, while Juliette Nichols reveals to him what her partner George, was working on before he died.
Holston, now erstwhile sheriff, is being prepped to go outside. He’s being assisted to don his suit and cleaning implements, as the mayor reads out the mandate of the law.
Pretty sure he already knows this, but he lets the authorities ramble on. It’s also clear that none of them want to be doing this, only Holston is compelled.
He wants to know the truth about what happened to his wife, and he wants to know if she was right about the state of the surface world. Still, as he’s walking out, he gives his former deputy Sam Marnes a squeeze on the arm.
Like a friendly reminder that it’s not his fault and he’s been absolved.
Silo season 1, episode 2 recap: Stepping out to the surface
There’s a long and pretty suspenseful walk upwards after the decompression chamber but a true revelation awaits him once he reaches the top. The heavy blast doors open, and the landscape is green.
All verdant. The trees are abundantly leafy. There’s bushes and flora galore.
There’s even a flock of birds flying in V formation against a semi-cloudy, blue sky. Meanwhile, there’s a clear disconnect between what Holston is seeing and what the people in the silo are viewing.
Especially on the Deep Down lower levels’ cafeteria projection screen. To the folks down below, including Juliette, they can only see a white-suited figure coming out to the blasted grey landscape.
No green leafies, no birds in sight. Who’s seeing the truth here?
This is why skepticism is built into the series. Clearly one of the images is false.
Holston decides folks need to see what he’s seeing. So, he turns around and heads for the camera, takes out his kitchen scrub, and wipes away the dirt on the lens.
The camera itself is situated under some kind of covered concrete shed in the middle of what looks like a recessed valley. The circular shape of the recession surely marks the borders of the silo.
Silo season 1, episode 2 recap: Gambling on his survival
Lens has been cleaned. Everybody below ground cheers.
Only Juliette and her other mechanic friends keep their calm, stoic skepticism. Now the question is, will the former sheriff make it past the line of dead bodies and walk above the crest line marked by, to the view of the spectators, a dead tree?
Bets are laid down. Many gamble on the odds that he won’t make it past three minutes and then the poison they believe is out there kills him.
Which begs the question, I mean, why even bother with the white Hazmat suit if it didn’t do the rest of the dead bodies around the tree any good? Holston starts to walk to the tree, towards what appears to be the body of his dead wife Allison.
We the viewers see Holston simply walking to a grassy field that crests above a tree. No dead bodies, no dead wife.
Then he starts to breathe funny. He starts to wobble in his steps.
Oh damn, maybe it’s something they put in the air tank of the suit? The clever Holston now starts to try and take off his helmet.
He succeeds. Bravo!
He’s still having great difficulty breathing, though. Maybe whatever was in his air tank already did its work?
We’re then cut off from Holston’s view and all we can see is what’s projected on the silo’s screen. To them, Holston staggers and falls.
Then he crawls his way to the body of his dead wife where he collapses, gasps, and expires.
Silo season 1, episode 2 recap: “He’s a liar!”
Silence in the viewing room. Utter disappointment.
Then Juliette walks off in a huff shouting, “He’s a liar!” The rest of the disappointed folks, with no outlet for their frustration, take it out on one another.
A brawl starts but is defused by Knox, the head of mechanical and Juliette’s boss. It’s really the aftermath of Holston’s exit from the silo that concerns us in this episode.
People are freaked and it’s up to the authorities to calm them down. But the troubles aren’t over yet.
It turns out Holston had nominated Juliette to be his replacement as sheriff. Hence the title.
What a calamity for the folks in charge. There’s plenty that deepens the mysteries in this episode, but we also get a great fair bit of character history and development.
There’s multiple flashbacks of Juliette and George, including their meet-cute, courtship, and eventual cohabitation as unsanctioned partners. This is how she knew that George was looking for a secret door somewhere, down at the bottom of the dig pit.
In his absence, and because the police haven’t really helped at all, she tries to retrace his steps in the watery space left by an inoperative giant drill, under the silo.
Breakdown and review of Silo season 1 episode 2: Illegal relics and secret doors
Holston and Juliette form a bond during the investigation into George’s alleged suicide. As she grows to trust Holston, she eventually shows him the old USB stick, an illegal relic, that George left her.
From there, she leads him to the abandoned dig site with the gargantuan drill machine. At the dig site is George’s hideaway nest for research.
And it’s there that they uncover information that George and Allison, Holston’s wife, had been working together to decode the relic hard drive we saw in episode one. It’s in this episode that we’re also introduced to Sims, an enforcer from the Judicial branch.
Played by rapper Common, he resembles a Judge Dredd-type character, rather than a lawyer. But it’s good to know that there are more factions here than just the poor folks who live on the lower levels and the bougies on the mid and upper levels.
What I like in episode two is how it firmly establishes Juliette as the hero in this series. She may be the underdog, but she possesses all the motivation to find out what’s going on, or at least look into why George was killed.
As we follow her point of view, we’re left with a cliffhanger of her biting off more than she can chew. She’s hanging on to a rope, as it dangles into the huge, water-filled pit that lies at the bottom of the dig site, under the shadow of the giant drill.
With her headlight lost and the general inability to swim of the silo-dwellers, there’s a fair bit of danger and suspense if she can get out of it unscathed. Is this the end of Juliette’s search?
You can stream episodes of Silo on AppleTV+.