Despite its lack of mechanical realism, AppleTV+’s Silo episode three (“Machines”) is a fun and exciting foray into silo engineering, politics, and a dash of romance.
This is a recap and review of Episode 3. Spoilers to follow!
Recap and Review
We start the episode with Jules still hanging off the rope. She changes her mind about entering the water. Instead, she gets drunk and cries over George.
After she’s woken, hungover, by a friend, the walls begin to shake. They run to the generator. When her apprentice, Cooper, doesn’t move fast enough, Jules punches him out of the way so she can fix the problem.
Afterward, she receives a dressing down from Knox, her boss, and they argue about the idea of turning off the generator to fix it. As punishment for hitting Cooper, she’s sent to help Marty. While she’s there, the walls begin to shake again.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jahns and Deputy Marnes get ready to leave on their journey. When they pass the Judicial headquarters, they pause, and Jahn decides not to enter. It’s clear there’s conflict between her and Judge Meadows.
They stop at IT. Jahns attempts to bribe Bernard with brandy, but he claims Jules is a thief who stole heat tape from his department. He warns her to just accept Peter Billings (Judicial’s suggestion) for sheriff to ward off the growing tension in the silo.
They also visit Jules’ father, Pete (Iain Glen), an OBGYN, who explains that when Jules’ mother died, she left his level at age thirteen to apprentice in Mechanical. Their relationship is clearly strained.
Jahns and Marnes flirt heavily at dinner but are interrupted by Judge Meadow’s agent Sims (Common), who offers them a dessert. She declines and tells him she’ll make her decision after she meets Juliette. Sims is not impressed.
The pair arrive in Mechanical during the second breakdown and watch as Jules listens to the generator and then announces that the vibration has shifted. She goes into the generator alone to fix it. Meanwhile, Jahns visits Marty, her old friend, and asks her about Jules.
After the generator is repaired, Jahns introduces herself to Jules and asks her to take the job. Jules rejects it, claiming she needs to stay with the generator, but accepts Holsten’s gift of his badge.
Jules talks with her crew about the situation, and as they hash it out, Hank finds something carved in the back of Holsten’s badge. This causes Jules to chase Jahns down and say she’ll take the job in exchange for time to fix the generator, including shutting it down temporarily. Jahns agrees, despite the risks.
The crew and the cops prep for the shutdown, which is when the episode goes off the rails. It seems the most challenging part of the whole process is shutting the generator down, not fixing the part, but first, they have to assess the problem. They open the generator up, revealing a massively sparking turbine blade at the top of the machine. They must stop the generator, remove the blade, repair it, and put it back. Why they don’t have serviceable parts on hand already is beyond me.
The biggest problem is that steam releases into the generator’s shaft (from somewhere), and they can only close that port for so long before the steam builds up and has to be released. According to the person I watched this with (who works in construction and is very mechanically inclined), not a lot of this makes any sense, but it was a tense and incredibly fun scene that reminded me a lot of the Stallone movie Daylight from the 90s in certain respects.
The main problem with this scenario is that steam doesn’t do what the show suggests it does. Steam is the vapor of boiling water; therefore, it would never get hot enough to melt steel. It’s just hot compressed air, so while it would pressurize the chamber and eventually blow the door off the hinges, the door would neither get red-hot nor would spraying it with a hose do anything at all.
Still, it was a lot of fun to watch them fix it!
During all this entertaining chaos, we find that Sims from Judicial has a little kid, and Jahns makes an overt pass at Marnes, telling him she plans on retiring soon, which leads them to kiss. I love a good late-life romance.
Afterward, Jules says her goodbyes, specifically to Marty, who explains she knew George and hopes Jules doesn’t end up like him. We also learn that Holsten had carved “Truth” into the underside of the badge, which was what convinced Jules to take the job as sheriff.
Back at the top, Jahns invites Marnes back to her place. Unfortunately, Marnes finds her in the bathroom on the floor, foaming at the mouth.
Even though it took some liberties with realism, I really enjoyed this episode. It’s always fun when people have to fix giant machines with spinning blades in a short period of time.
The episode also revealed that something is up with the windows of the silo, as when the generator shut down, there was a brief flash of … something … outside, of which only a few people noticed.
The next episode airs May 19 on AppleTV+.