blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Silo (2023) s01e04 – Truth

I spent a while this episode worrying last week’s superior episode was a fluke, but, no, “Silo”’s found some great footing, even with the still wonky future accents—which make even less sense because we flashback to Harriet Walter when Rebecca Ferguson gets down to the engineering department as a kid, and Walter doesn’t have the weird accent. Even with the very real possibility the show is going to kill off a supporting character every episode, which I don’t remember from the Wool comic book adaptation, and means they’re going to need to start introducing more characters real soon….

Even with those potential problems, “Silo”’s great. Well, it’s another great episode. It’s going to take a while for these peaks to prove stable.

But this episode’s got a lot of good gristle for the future. In addition to Ferguson becoming sheriff and working up a mutually reluctant partnership with her deputy, Will Patton (who’s so good, especially as “Silo” becomes a Western this episode), we also find out Patton’s in some weird up-top-copper conspiracy with secret police agent Common. Tim Robbins also gets a bunch more to do, which turns out very well. Until this point, Robbins has been a peculiar stunt cameo. In this episode he gets to do stuff, including have stand-offs with Ferguson; they’re great. As long as neither of them dies too, there should be plenty more good stand-offs.

It takes Ferguson and Patton most of the episode to decide to work together, partially because Patton’s on a self-destruction arc, and Ferguson’s got to prove herself reliable not just for being his boss but for cleaning him up when he’s a mess.

The flashbacks—starring Amelie Child Villiers as young Ferguson—set up Walter and Ferguson’s “down deep” future but also establish Villiers’s relationship with dad Iain Glen. Things in the present are too busy for Ferguson to go say hi to Glen (even though we’ve already met him). The episode opens with a flashback in the flashback, to when Sienna Guillory—as Villiers’s mom and Mrs. Glen—is still alive. Also, there’s a little brother. They die between the first and second flashbacks, which then establish Glen’s not suited for single parenting and Villiers would be much happier anywhere but with him. Luckily, she’s simpatico with Walter, who somehow knew Guillory.

We don’t find out how Guillory or the brother died, we don’t find out if Glen’s thirty-six pounds of de-aging makeup (or is that bad CGI) was a personal appearance fad in the silo or if they didn’t have enough budget (not to mention the possibility of different casting), and we don’t meet the judge yet. So we’ve got one major cast reveal left. I don’t think it will be Susan Sarandon, but it should be Susan Sarandon. Or Susan Dey.

This episode’s also got a different director, David Semel, who is a very experienced television director and not that cinematographer who ended up directing Steven Seagal movies (Dean Semler). Semel does a perfectly reasonable job directing. He knows how to direct the actors, he gets how the show’s straddling multiple genres—they’re not sexist against Ferguson, they’re classist—and it’s precisely what the show needs after Morten Tyldum’s wanting work from the chair. Semel’s sturdy.

“Silo” may stumble and fumble going forward; it may even get stronger, but as long as they can deliver on half their promises… the show’s going to be okay.

Even with those accents. And the often too iffy special effects (no more “young” Glen, pretty please).

Also, it’ll be a problem if they solve the mystery by killing off all the suspects until it’s just Ferguson versus the bad guy. I mean, obviously, that one. Really hope they don’t do that one.

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