The Silo: Season One **SPOILER ALERT**

Conrad Reeder art for The Silo: Season One
I’m in a spacesuit and I can’t get out

by Conrad Reeder

Gonzo Today Contributor

The legacy sci-fi writer Ursula Le Guin famously wrote, “The landsman looks at the ocean as at a salt unsteady realm that has nothing to do with him at all. The village two days’ walk from his village is a foreign land, and the island a day’s sail from his island is a mere rumor… (A Wizard of Earthsea).” 

And so it is with The Silo, a new series on AppleTV. Rumors abound but the inhabitants of a humongous underground vertical silo-type structure housing 10,000 people and an orange cat settle for a small window to view the apocalyptic landscape outside where something supposedly happened to destroy the environment 140 years before they were born. Conveniently, there was a fire, and all the historical records were burned, so no one really knows why people in spacesuits die within several minutes after going “outside”. But wait! Those rumors! Is the scene in their small viewing window really what the outside looks like? Plato’s Cave is splashed all over this story line. 

Not having read any of Hugh Howey’s six books in the series, allows me to watch carelessly, so forgive my lack of reverence in that regard. I dithered on the channel after finishing the latest episode of The Foundation, my current true TV-love, and somehow got transported out of heavenly space to an underground hell. The great thing about watching these sorts of series by myself in the comfort of my own home on my rather large TV screen is that I can fast forward through the boring plot stuff (like the lingering chase scenes that invariably end how they are foreshadowed) and hover where I like. It’s especially easy when you can see frames of action. 

Then, Juliette Nichols (actress Rebecca Ferguson), a scientist/engineer starts questioning certain rules in the silo. An old relic is found and the events surrounding the death of someone she loves, embolden her suspicions. These suspicions eventually get her shoved outside in a space suit like others who previously died after being shoved out for breaking the silo rules, but she does one thing different. She breaks tradition and doesn’t clean the outside of the viewing window which all the others have done and walks away as her former Siloians gasp in horror. She also senses that the greenery she sees from inside her helmet is not what’s really there.

She walks past dead bodies of previous poor souls shoved outside the silo and stumbles over a small hill. More gasping from the Siloians. No one has done that. The gatekeeper (Tim Robbins) goes batshit crazy at this point, running to an office to do what? Once over the hill, the verdant landscape in Nichols’ helmet disappears (obviously lost the connection to an embedded stream) and her view is now of a vast field of many, maybe thousands of Silos just like hers, spread across a dead landscape like the meteor pocked surface of the moon. The outline of a city can be seen in the gloomy distance.  END SCENE.

What a lot of plot (20+ hours), to get to this metaphor of our current existence a mirror of our own world, like many citizens of Planet Earth who have no curiosity about what’s outside their own silo-existence of lies and corruption, living alongside gatekeepers who kill to control the narrative: go outside and you die. So-called experts or so-called religious leaders or self-titled dictators love to repeat that tired adage—sacrifice the few to save the many. Yawn.

I’m sure The Silo will have some answers for their viewers once the SAG/WGA strikes end and Season 2 can resume. Of course, you could just read the books.

One World. Our World. I sang that with John Denver on his RCA recording (1986) and at venues all over the world. It seemed maybe possible at the time, due in part to the naivety of youth and in large measure to John’s positive resolve to make it so. Now? Not so sure. For that to happen, someone or something will need to eliminate the false messaging streaming in our helmets.

Conrad Reeder