blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Silo (2023) s01e05 – The Janitor’s Boy

“Silo” threads a tiny eye of the needle and manages to kill off yet another character, fully introduce the conspiracy behind their murder, introduce two potential patsies and one killer, resolve that murder arc, and do an action sequence. All with a script credit show creator Graham Yost, who hasn’t had his name on the good episodes to this point. Maybe it’s director David Semel once again delivering the goods.

He also appears to have told the cast to knock it off with the silly accents. Rebecca Ferguson doesn’t get many lines—she’s the terse film noir detective only in a Western, only in a sci-fi—but when she does have them, the down deep accent is missing. It’s far more obvious when Harriet Walter shows up and barely has that weird eighties kids’ fantasy movie accent thing going. “Silo”’s been excelling despite a lot, but it’d be awesome if the accent thing got sorted.

This episode has new sheriff Ferguson (on her second or third day on the job, at most) investigating another homicide before the last body’s even cold. She’s got to work with her new deputy, played by Chinaza Uche. He was supposed to be the new sheriff if secret police agent Common got his way, and Common is the one who gives Uche the job, taking advantage of Ferguson not knowing the rules. It’s possible Uche and Ferguson are going to become amusing buddy cops, but so far, it’s not even implied.

Because even though we’re now halfway through the season, “Silo” still hasn’t established what the norm’s going to be. This episode ends with Ferguson starting the second act of the season (“Silo”’s on a delay since the first two episodes featured protagonists who die in their episode), and it’s entirely possible they could introduce a new supporting cast for the rest of the season.

But this episode—which does have to trick the audience to succeed (Yost’s going to Yost)—is still a major success. “Silo” can be about its bullshit but still excel. Ferguson’s got a swift murder investigation to run, which involves Common conspiring against her—but how far—and Tim Robbins being fun and kooky as the mayor (as opposed to low-key sexist). We also meet the Judge, played by an apparently uncredited Tanya Moodie, who is not the stunt cast I was expecting but is quite good. In her nothing scene.

Based on how the investigation wraps up, it’s unclear whether she’ll be important going forward. It’s wild how “Silo” mixes narrative shenanigans with prestige streaming so well. Maybe it helps the narrative shenanigans are from the source material (“Silo” has yet to Westworld, for instance); the approach does let the audience in on some secrets, but they’re not great secrets. It’s not even character development since the show’s managed to kill off almost every major character it’s introduced. And Ferguson barely knows most of the victims (if at all).

And they’re making it work, which is delightful.

“Silo”’s on pretty dang solid footing now.

I wonder who dies next week?

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