blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Silo (2023) s01e07 – The Flamekeepers

Iain Glen’s back this episode, and, wow, I had forgotten his lousy accent. I think it activates Rebecca Ferguson’s worse accent instincts and suddenly she’s slipping.

Though it’s a great episode for Ferguson in terms of performance. Returning directors Bert & Bertie (thank goodness) put her through the paces without emphasizing it. Ferguson’s basically having a panic attack throughout the entire episode, visibly shaking (which sadly can’t cover the accent stuff). Her reunion with dad Glen starts awkward and then goes terribly, terribly wrong because it turns out Glen’s got a history with returning guest star Sophie Thompson, who Ferguson wants to interview.

Thompson was in the first episode—a hippie doula who consoled Rashida Jones right before Jones committed suicide—and I thought she had another appearance, maybe in the second episode, but otherwise, she’s been absent because she was arrested.

This episode, we find out she’s been in the “Silo” version of an old folks’ home, albeit one where they keep everyone doped up (why they don’t just kill people instead of giving them tranquilizers goes unaddressed). What’s particularly strange about the episode is the timing—it aired right around the time Apple announced their “don’t-call-it-VR” headset, and Thompson imagines she’s on a beach, and it looks like she’s seeing it fill out like in the headset. The images populate before her eyes.

It’s a terrible scene. Necessary because it will give Ferguson and Thompson a significant touchstone with the beach imagery, but it’s a hammering blow; the rest of the episode’s relatively muted, even the Glen reveals—which are substantial—and action-packed finale, the opening is still a little much. Visualizing drug-induced hallucinations will have to improve in the age of spatial computing.

In addition to Ferguson’s rocky bonding with Glen, then weathering all of Thompson’s truth bombs—not just about dad Glen, but also Ferguson’s mom, the actual way life works in the silo, on and on. But in the end, Ferguson figures something out—something the show didn’t do a great job establishing—and it’s a great scene. Perfect culmination for Ferguson in the episode, too, because she visits mayor Tim Robbins and judge Tanya Moodie, who clue her in on things she never knew about as far as the quid pro quo of success.

It’s really good stuff.

Less good stuff is Ferguson’s shoehorned romance with stargazer Avi Nash. Nash is charming enough, but—even with female authority figure characters and a woman credited with the script—it’s traditional boy pursues girl romance. It comes off weird, even with B&B directing—the arc removes agency from Ferguson and gives it to Nash, who doesn’t have anything to do with it.

Except get kissy.

Hopefully, they’ll figure out something to do with Nash, but whatever’s happening next—there are three more episodes—we’re probably in the final arc of the season and prepping for the big season finale cliffhanger.

Other than the Nash stumbles, excellent writing—credit to Jessica Blaire—including three or four big exposition dumps. Nice work from Robbins and Moodie, though it seems like they’re way more supporting than the show initially implied.

Thompson’s good, even though her wig’s distractingly bad.

And then Chinaza Uche. He’s great again, though again, mostly playing second fiddle to Ferguson. At least he’s still alive.

Though… three more episodes… “Silo” can get rid of six characters in three episodes, easy.

Can’t wait to see.

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