Each week Joe and Terry discuss the most recent episodes of Apple TV’s Silo, alternating between our respective sites.
Spoilers follow for Episode 4, “Truth.”
Episode 4 “Truth”: Juliette tries gaining the trust of Deputy Marnes as they work to uncover the truth about recent tragedies.
While watching “Truth”, I came to the realization why Silo has been working for me, despite some of its more generic sci-fi dystopian tropes, Joe. It’s basically a neo-noir, operating within a very claustrophobic environment, and the mystery goes all the way to the top! While the initial episodes have dealt with the overarching mystery of what exactly the silo is and why the Founders want to keep people from going outside, last episode focused on more pressing issues and the ending teed up the more noirish elements that “Truth” explored.
We have the grizzled detective played by Deputy Marnes (Will Patton) and the newcomer Jules (Rebecca Ferguson). He’s in rare boozed-up form after the murder of Mayor Ruth Jahns (Geraldine James). Important to note at the start of the episode, Marnes believes that Mayor Jahns wasn’t the target; he was. We get a little world-building as Marnes snaps at Bernard (Tim Robbins) and Sims (Common) that they wouldn’t know what it’s like hoofing it around the silo.
In “Machines”, we saw Marnes and Jahns sharing each other’s water bottles and “Truth” explains that that’s common because it’s easier to manage with bulky backpacks. “If Ruth’s bottle hadn’t had that leak, I’d be lying on that floor, too” he comments. And while Bernard doesn’t want to start a panic, throwing the word “murder” around, Sims says he’ll get Marnes a list of people within 25 floors either way that might have beef with the deputy.
I’m curious what Bernard’s play is here, Joe, because he seems willing to do the right thing. Though Marnes is annoyed that Jules was invited to the crime scene–she hasn’t even been sworn in and is having the worst first day imaginable–Bernard thought it best she join them.
He’s saying the right things and both he and Sims are accommodating and, at least on the surface, hoping to get to the bottom of things. Later in the episode, when Bernard drops off the sheriff uniform for Jules, they even talk about the fact he doesn’t like her. Jules suggests it’s funny that the man who accused her of stealing would be the one swearing her in while he responds that she wasn’t his choice but, “considering recent events, I think it best we let bygones be bygones.”
This doesn’t put them off the hook because, as Marnes suggests, they wouldn’t know that porters–the people who run up and down the silo–and everyone who doesn’t have the privilege provided of their positions of power drink from their partner’s water. If Marnes actually is the target, this bit of news suggests someone in power is the killer, not the petty criminals Marnes wants to blame.
Just like in a noir.
The rest of the episode digs into Jules’ first day on the force and her attempts to mollify Marnes’ obvious distrust of her with a pact. She’ll help him discover who murdered the mayor and he’ll help her discover who killed George. I have a sneaking suspicion, Joe, that the two deaths are connected. That seems obvious.
But over to you. After last week’s mammoth episode, what did you think about “Truth”, it’s shorter runtime and its more procedural focus? How did flashbacks work for you as a way of informing the way adult Jules operates? Do you have thoughts on the way that Sandy (Chipo Chung) treats Jules? And who’s the guy (Avi Nash) sitting in the cafeteria all day, looking at the camera filming the outside?
I’m glad you raised Sandy because, like a lot of Silo, it’s another classic trope of cop dramas and film noir to have a disgruntled or even disobedient underling that will eventually begrudgingly come to like. It’s beyond evident that everything about Jules’ no-good-very-bad-day on the job is either going to tie into these mysterious two deaths (which are absolutely linked!) or that these are the people she will eventually win over.
Sandy is still clearly grieving the death of her boss, whom she clearly liked, and suddenly this new abrasive woman who doesn’t understand how things work is hanging out in his office and barking orders. This might as well be a screwball comedy about how these two find common ground.
Ditto Jules and Marnes. Unless he gets murdered in the next few episodes, which *could* happen, it’s inevitable that these two will find a truce / bury the hatchet / come to terms with each other. It’s inevitable.
Same with Marnes’ belief that he was the target. Considering the changes Jahns was suggesting, right up to advocating for Jules as Sheriff, it seems beyond evident that she was the target. And people like Sims and Bernard are smart enough to know about the porters, and how best to frame them for what is clearly a politically motivated death.
And yet, I very much enjoyed this episode. Sure, it’s not as epic in scope as “Machines” and it doesn’t have the kind of action spectacle that made that one such a stand-out, but we’re far enough along in the show that our emotional investment in both Jules and Marnes allows the show to traffic in this kind of familiar narrative.
I don’t want six more episodes just like this, but as a transition into the new status quo and (re)introducing Jules to the shenanigans of the Uppers, this all works.
Similarly, the flashbacks to her young – while not the most enlightening we’ve ever seen – do the job. We’re still in the dark about a few details, such as what caused the death of her mother and younger brother, who seemingly has asthma in his opening scene. The way personal items are immediately recycled for the good of the overall population definitely makes sense (and ironically is similar to the communal nature of the population on another genre series, FROM), so seeing how objects become nostalgic tokens of the dead is fascinating.
Jules ultimately isn’t a super complicated character so these flashbacks confirm her personality rather than explain it. She and her doctor father (Iain Glen) don’t have a strong connection and, much like his take on Batman from Titans, he’s…lacking in emotion and affection.
Now I will say that I liked how Jules and gruff Martha (Harriet Walter) came to their understanding about how Mechanical operates. If anything, this pairing feels like a trial run for the kind of relationship we’re seeing between Jules and Marnes, as well as Jules and Sandy. Once the two adversarial, slightly emotionally closed off people figure the other out, they get along just fine.
Terry, I’ll kick it back to you: were you surprised something was hiding in the vent? Is the fact that everything gets recycled going to factor into the rebellion and the silo’s lost history? And what is in George’s missing file?
I wasn’t surprised, but I also didn’t expect that something was hiding in the vent. I do love the way Silo revealed it because it informed Jules as a character while also being plot specific.
The first time Bernard entered her new apartment and commented about the noise, Jules responded that she can’t sleep without it. It downplayed its importance and I honestly thought that maybe she purposefully broke something to give herself the white noise type sound she’s used to down in the depths of the silo.
But Holston has been quietly giving Jules clues ever since he left the silo and these moments add both to Silo’s detective story, as well as give the audience breadcrumbs to follow.
The way Silo quietly introduces moments like this that have payoff is entertaining and I’m curious to see, as you asked, whether these subtle moments with recycling will provide information later in the season.
The same goes for George (Ferdinand Kingsley)’s file. Will it contain what he was after? Will it confirm her suspicion that his death was a homicide? I don’t know, Joe, but I’m excited to find out.
So take us home. I’m curious if you have thoughts about these same questions. As someone who’s read the book but doesn’t quite remember it, is the show slowly bringing back your memories? And we’re about to reach the midpoint of the show…what does Silo need to do to escalate the tension?
I’ll confess that my biggest “aha!” memory recall was in episode two when Holston is sent out to clean and (supposedly) dies. Obviously I’d seen the artwork and knew that Rebecca Ferguson had a larger role to play, but I couldn’t recall whether she would continue to work with Holston, kind of like a buddy comedy. I won’t elaborate much more on my memory, but it definitely spurred something…
As for George, I think Silo is doing a really good job of keeping him and his death front and center, despite the fact that the character wasn’t really present much before he died. Obviously we’re getting flashbacks, and Jules is as deeply invested in finding out what happened to him as Marnes is with Jahns, but it’s still impressive how vital such a tertiary character feels.
We know he had the blueprints to the whole damn infrastructure, that he found that door in the water, and – given the political machinations going on – it seems pretty darn obvious that he was murdered, so figuring out the details of his death will solve a lot of narrative mysteries.
As we head into the middle of the season, though, it does seem like we need a new clue, which is why Martha and the camcorder are piquing my interest. I love a) that a queer woman is going to crack this case wide open and b) that no one in this future/past world has any idea how to work this tech. It’s the kind of delightful “ohhh, they’re so close, but not at all like us” detail that helps this show sing.
So yeah: I’m predicting we’ll unlock that tape. That, and I know that Billings, the man that Judicial *really* wanted to be Sheriff, will make an appearance at some point. Seems like he’s overdue now that Jules is settling in.
We’ll find out next week when we return to Gayly Dreadful for the aptly titled episode 5, “The Janitor’s Boy.”
Silo airs Fridays on AppleTV