Silo: Season 1, “Machines” – TV Review


  • Creator: Graham Yost
  • Starring: Rebecca Ferguson, David Oyelowo, Rashida Jones, Tim Robbins, Common, Ferdinand Kingsley, Harriet Walter, Chinaza Uche

Grade: B

Warning: Reviews of Silo season 1 will contain spoilers.

Not much happens in this week’s episode of Silo, and that’s ok with me. By and large, we don’t get more hints about the Silo’s mythology* or any of the history that’s been teased already this season. We don’t dive deeper into the mysteries set up by Holston’s death or George’s hard drive. Rather, Machines is mostly dedicated to fleshing out Juliette and, to a lesser extent, mayor Ruth Jahns. 

*The one exception coming when the generator is turned off and, for a brief second, we see the outside camera glitch and show the world as it was through Holston’s eyes. I don’t think anyone gathered around it noticed, but it’s an interesting detail nonetheless.

Prior to Machines, much of what we knew about Juliette was in her relationships to the other primary characters in the show. This week, we learn a little more about her backstory, including meeting her father. We know that she works in the Machinery section and takes great pride in running the Silo’s generator. As Jahns and Deputy Marnes (Will Patton) make their way down to the generator, they interview various people who’ve intersected with Juliette to see if she’d make a suitable sheriff.

Silo; AppleTV+

Turns out Juliette is the daughter of a doctor (Iain Glen), so why is she slumming it in the Machinery division? I imagine we’ll get answers sooner or later. The other lingering mystery in Machines revolves around Judicial and the implied Cold War between the division and Jahns. The only member we’ve met so far is Sims (Common), who serves as a kind of enforcer, though there hasn’t been a strong indication of Judicial’s power, logistically speaking, within the Silo.

I haven’t touched on the show’s technical components much yet, but Mark Patten’s cinematography is a highlight here, especially in the later half as Juliette and the mechanical crew work to repair the generator – though I had to turn the brightness on my device all the way up. The visualization of the Silo itself is captivating as well; the lower levels, and their inhabitants’ rooms, appear grimier than those closer to the surface. From the moment I saw one of the porters in the first episode, it was obvious who they were and what they did, without one of the characters having to spell it out. With sci-fi properties, you tend to get information force-fed to you, so I appreciate that bit of restraint from Yost and the team. Visual effects can be hit or miss with streaming shows, but I have yet to find any weak spots in this mostly fabricated world. The aforementioned repair scene is edited well enough too, as it ratchets up the danger for Juliette and the crew.

Silo; AppleTV+

Even when Silo doesn’t dive deeper into its mythology, it’s an encouraging sign that it can still get by from week to week. Machines clocks in at just over an hour, which feels a little too long in spots, but it doesn’t often drag by slowing things down too much. There’s still plenty more that we don’t know, both in terms of the show’s characters and its lore, but Yost and his team seem confident enough that we’ll be curious enough to stick around and find out.

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