Silo review: Apple TV’s small-town mystery set at the end of the world

Based mostly on trailers and pictures, it’s fairly simple to write down off Silo as one more dour post-apocalyptic story. It’s all gray and brown and depressing, with the remnants of humanity holed up in an underground silo to keep away from the toxic world outdoors. You’d be excused for mistaking it for one thing like The Starvation Video games or Divergent. However setting apart, Silo doesn’t have a lot in frequent with the remainder of the style. It’s extra of a small-town homicide thriller that simply occurs to happen after the world ends.

Silo, based mostly on the novels of the identical title by Hugh Howey, is ready at an unclear level sooner or later when the planet has been seemingly devastated. The people who’ve survived handle to take action by residing within the titular silo, a big underground construction sealed off from the poisonous outdoors world. The present kicks off 140 years after the silo first grew to become the everlasting residence to 10,000 people.

There are a number of essential mysteries on the core of the story. One is the truth that, for causes which might be a minimum of initially unclear, all of human historical past has been erased from existence. The individuals within the silo know mainly nothing about what got here earlier than. This contains every thing from tradition (one of many important characters is Juliette, performed by Rebecca Ferguson, and nobody appears to know the place her title comes from) to nature (the residents can see stars within the evening sky however don’t know what they really are). Relics from the time earlier than the silo are thought-about harmful and unlawful, even one thing as benign as a Pez dispenser.

This leads us to the opposite thriller, which is simply what’s occurring outdoors. Since nobody actually goes out of the silo as a result of it’s extensively believed that the air is poisonous, it’s unclear what it’s actually like. Residents are capable of view the panorama via a large display screen contained in the cafeteria. It depicts a typical post-apocalyptic scene: crumbling ruins, rubble strewn in every single place, and nothing that may very well be thought-about alive. If somebody says they wish to go outdoors, they’re allowed, however they’ll’t ever return to the silo, so it’s the equal of a demise sentence. (They’re additionally requested to wash the digicam outdoors in the event that they really feel prefer it, which everybody appears to do.)

These are all huge existential questions. And the present undoubtedly explores them, nevertheless it neatly does so at a really human stage. The silo is mainly a small city: it has a mayor and sheriff, a market and a farm, and everybody has a job of some type to maintain issues going. Issues begin out when Sheriff Holston (David Oyelowo) and his spouse Allison (Rashida Jones) get approval to have a child and spend the subsequent twelve months making an attempt to conceive. Rather a lot occurs in that yr, and over time, Allison begins to query a whole lot of the dogma that’s preached contained in the silo, and that rubs off on her husband. Finally, he meets Juliette, a gruff mechanic who works on the generator down beneath that’s very important to retaining everybody alive.

With out spoiling an excessive amount of, somebody dies, and the investigation brings Holston and Juliette collectively. As they struggle to determine simply what occurred, they’re pulled into the larger mysteries concerning the silo and the world that surrounds it.

Rashida Jones and David Oyelowo in Silo.
Picture: Apple

The present does an important job of balancing these two sides of the narrative. For essentially the most half, it stays targeted and grounded; characters examine by going door to door and questioning individuals, and all the greater storylines are immediately tied to particular characters and their histories. That features a shadowy safety chief (Frequent) and the pinnacle of IT (Tim Robbins), each of whom clearly know way more of the reality than they let on. Silo slowly reveals itself over the course of 10 episodes, and it stored me guessing most of that point.

That stated, there are some very apparent revelations, however these largely serve to misdirect from what’s actually occurring. The issues you’ll be able to simply guess from the start end up to not be that essential, or a minimum of not within the methods you would possibly anticipate. By the tip, my view of all the story had modified.

I additionally need to commend the manufacturing design. A concrete tunnel within the floor doesn’t appear to be essentially the most visually fascinating setting, however Silo’s silo looks like an actual lived-in place. Places of work and houses are painted in several colours so as to add a human contact, and since pictures don’t exist within the silo, everybody has lovely drawings of their households round. Issues really feel weathered and used, which is sensible because the place is greater than a century outdated, nevertheless it doesn’t really feel gross and soiled like many comparable exhibits and films. The visuals go an extended option to promoting this as an actual place. Additionally, Silo follows different Apple sequence like Severance and Hello Tomorrow in having some actually glorious retrofuturistic computer systems and devices.

The primary season is shocking in the way it makes use of a well-worn setting to inform a way more traditional type of story. It appears to be like like The Starvation Video games however turns into one thing nearer to Fargo. It additionally doesn’t reply every thing by the tip — in reality, the thriller solely will get stranger by the point the finale wraps up. Fortunately Apple appears typically prepared to provide bizarre mysteries the time to inform an entire story. I imply, we received four seasons of Servant. Hopefully we get that very same type of time to determine what the heck is up with the Pez dispenser.

Silo premieres on Apple TV Plus on Could fifth, with new episodes streaming on Fridays.

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