Apple TV’s excellent dark dystopian thriller Silo concluded on Friday, the 10-part series is an adaptation of the first book in Hugh Howey’s bestselling trilogy of the same name.
The final episode ‘Outside‘ pays off our patience, as our questions about what is happening outside of the silo are answered. After being shown from the very first episodes after Allison & Sheriff Holston leave that there are lush green, habitable surroundings, which is contrary to the screens from inside the Silo which shows the world as a bleak, grey scene of death.
This setup had left viewers speculating, throughout the series as to why it appeared people who go outside still died, are their suits poisoned? Did they really collapse and die? These questions have now been answered.
Why does Juliette leave the silo?
After finally hacking into the hard drive that she received from George, Juliette discovers a file that shows the world as lush and green, as birds fly across the sky, she declares “We’re being lied to. Everyone has to see this.” With help she projects the file to all computer screens in the silo causing many people in the control room to see images of the beautiful scenery outside. This causes Bernard to scream at everybody to close their eyes.
Juliette is tracked down by Bernard and Sims, they take her into custody with accusations that she declared out loud that she wanted to leave, she didn’t utter those words but under silo law this now forces her to be ejected from the silo.
So is the display a lie?
Yes and No, by the time we see the outside world through Juliette’s eyes we have seen the green scenery a number of times and by now many viewers & Juliette have noticed that the birds are repeatedly flying in a V formation across the sky. It’s a VR simulation, likely projected through the screen of the helmet that she’s wearing. But we do also see Juliette lean down and try to place Sheriff Becker’s badge on his body, she’s unable to see his corpse but we do see Juliette’s hand go through an obvious digital display. So the origin of the simulation is not entirely explainable at that moment.
So those in charge are not actually lying to the occupants in the Silo, the screen visible in the canteen that is displaying the outside world is actually accurate it’s a grey, dark picture of death. This is also confirmed to Juliette, in a moment of panic Bernard rushes to the silo severs and uses a key to turn off the simulation, thus exposing the real wasteland to Juliette outside.
Why have the VR simulation in the first place?
Likely the founders needed to provide those who desired to leave the silo a reason to clean the camera. The lush green surroundings would have encouraged them to clean to show people inside the beauty they are missing out on. This is shown in an example when Allison leaves, she tells her husband that she will only ‘clean’ if it’s beautiful outside, so he knows. She leaves and upon being exposed to the VR she is stunned and takes delight in cleaning the camera.
The real reason being the authorities need them to clean the camera so the people inside can see the state of the outside world clearly as they watch them die when trying to walk away. Therefore discouraging people from ever wanting to leave. This method would also stop people raising questions, if the screen/camera was cleaned regularly people would ask how? Therefore people who do leave are asked to ‘Clean’.
So is it toxic outside? If so why didn’t Juliette die?
Yes it is indeed toxic, as Juliette’s display is cut off we see the world as truly decimate, barren as far as the eye can see. We also learn that the silo’s authorities didn’t fill their suits with toxic gas. They died because their suits were intentionally designed using defective tape to let in the toxic gases. Also some removed their helmets when seeing the VR simulation, ultimately killing them quicker.
Juliette survived and managed to walk much further than anyone else before her, she gets to the top of hill to view the horizon. Prior to leaving she received a gift from Martha with a note that read “You wanted the truth. The truth is I love you. Have no fear. They’re good in Supply.”
As Juliette walks away, she recalls Martha’s words, she realises the people in supply who helped put on her suit, sealed her sleeves using good quality heat tape making it airtight. The quality of the tape is actually mentioned during the show when Juliette steals tape from IT she complains to Bernard that it’s poor quality and not as good as what she has used in the deep down. This gives us a strong indication IT were using faulty tape to suit people up. Martha is the one who requested the supply workers good quality heat tape to seal Juliette’s suit, essentially saving her life.
What else do we learn?
The above shot shows us that there are in fact many, many silo’s of similar proportions, we do actually see when Bernard turns off the silo servers in a panic, he pulls a key that displays the number 18. The number 18 is regularly seen across the series including being on the hard drive that Juliette had in her possession. Suggesting that there are at a minimum 18 silos, however it looks like there may be many more than that, as the final shot of the horizon shows and that’s just at the angle we are shown.
Season one was based on the first of 3 books, those that are desperate to continue the story don’t have to wait for Apple to complete the next season.