Silo – Season 1 Episode 3 “Machines” Recap & Review


Episode 3 of Silo begins with Juliette in the depths of the silo, dropping down her rope to the dark, dingy water below. Breathing heavily, she clings to her rope and eventually ascends again, her search is fruitless. There’s nothing down there. It does, however, spill out her emotions and she begins drinking, trying to wash away the bitter memories of George’s death.

In the morning, Juliette struggles to get up with her alarm ringing in her ear. Her door is wide open and a fellow engineer shows, asking her questions.

Before they have to answer, a distinct rumbling snaps Juliette out of her half-drunk stupor. She races down to engineering where she immediately smacks a kid called Cooper in the face who’s investigating the generator and takes charge of the situation.

Juliette is pulled into a meeting with the head of Engineering, who tries to work out exactly what she’s doing. After punching Cooper in the face, he tells her she’s to take the day off and sober up. He reminds her she should be grateful that he’s not sending her to the trash line or doing any other menial, unpleasant job after her outburst.

The Deputy meets the Mayor and the pair head down to Judicial together. Only, they hesitate at the door. Mayor Ruth has a rather tenuous relationship with Judge Meadows, so Ruth heads deeper down the silo where he runs into Bernard. He’s been crunching the numbers and warns that without a sheriff watching over everything, the likelihood of big riots and citizens arming themselves is increasing every second.

Mayor Ruth steps up her investigation into Juliette’s candidacy, this time turning toward Juliette’s father, who happens to be one of the doctors down in the lower levels. He points out that Juliette has had massive interest in machines from an early age but to be honest, he doesn’t tell them much more. As Ruth herself says “more questions than answers.”

Ruth is unsure exactly why she’s been recommended by Holston to take over his role, but the Mayor tries to figure that out this episode. While sitting and eating together, the Deputy and Mayor are interrupted by Sims, who shows up with a fresh strawberry dessert. He’s the guy we saw operating around the slums last week and it seems like he may be working under Judge Meadow.

He pitches Ruth the name of Paul Billings, who is apparently the perfect guy for the sheriff role but Ruth is not deterred and promises to make her choice when she’s ready. Having sobered up, Juliette remains dedicated to fixing the generator and keeping the Silo running. This also gets Ruth thinking, as she visits Martha, the woman down in the workshop that’s been there for 20 years. She wants to know exactly who Juliette is and whether she can be trusted.

Martha puts in a good word for her colleague and it seems to convince Ruth, who similarly believes Juliette should take on the role. When she asks Juliette to take this on though, she outright declines, pointing out that the generator is not well and she needs to try and fix it.

Despite her rejection, the Mayor does hand over Holston’s old sheriff badge, telling her Holston wanted her to have this regardless. There seems to be something carved on the back of the badge, but we don’t see what this is until the end of the episode.

As a result, Juliette changes her mind and agrees to take on the role. However, it comes with a catch. She needs to fix the generator first and warns that they need to turn it off completely in order to do that. She’s confident she can repair it but it will mean there will be an 8 hour period of blackout. Mayor Ruth is worried that this could cause people to panic but agrees all the same.

Down in Mechanical, the engineers discuss what this really means given it could actually blow up should they keep the generator off for too long. The slightest mistake could leave everyone in the dark forever, or even kill someone. That’s a convenient detail Juliette omitted from the Mayor, but Ruth and the Deputy turn their attention to the maintenance of the Silo itself, agreeing to keep watch of the gun cabinet and make sure it’s completely safe.

The generator is turned off, and Juliette works with Cooper to try and find and fix the issue. Coper is clumsy and drops one of the fan blades, which clutters onto the ground below. Juliette encourages him to focus, while the rest of the engineers down below work to straighten it out so they can put it back on again. Time is running out though.

They have very limited time to try and get this generator up and running again and Juliette heads deep into the depths of the generator when they start to get warning lights, blasting it with cold water to try and cool the machine down. With a hose hitting the worst offended part, it works for the time being but it’s still touch and go for a while.

They eventually get Juliette out, everything is put back the way it was, and the generator is turned back on. Thanks to Juliette’s bravery, and the team working in tandem, they all manage to get the generator going and it works an absolute treat. While everyone cheers, Juliette’s victory is hollow given she knows how close they came to annihilation.

She’s also saddened by the fact she’s got to make good on her promise too, with her shipped off to become sheriff too. Juliette says her goodbyes to Martha, apologizing for her earlier outburst. Higher up in the Silo, Bernard returns and knows that Juliette is going to be selected as Sherriff and he’s not happy with the Mayor. He believes Juliette is not fit for office, given she’s proven to be a thief after taking some tape that didn’t belong to her. He gives a thinly veiled threat.

So what’s on Holston’s badge? Just before Juliette leaves Engineering, she flips it over to reveal one word: “truth”. And as the episode closes out, we flip back to Mayor Ruth one more time who looks under the weather. She walks away from the Deputy, suddenly collapses on the floor, and begins convulsing and bleeding from the mouth. As the Deputy screams for help, the episode comes to a close.

The Episode Review

Has someone poisoned the Mayor because of her choosing Juliette as the new Sheriff? Given what we’ve seen across the season so far, it certainly seems like there are higher powers out there conspiring to keep the powers that be in place, and it could even be this Judge we’ve been hearing so much about.

The dessert was a clear warning for the Mayor, and it could even be Sims scheming too. Beyond that, the rest of the episode centers on Juliette fixing up the generator and not so much concerned with the main mystery of the Silo, beyond that one word of “truth”, but I’m sure we’ll dive deeper into that in the episodes ahead.

There’s lots to like here and the show does do a decent job of really capturing this sci-fi haven and reveling in the little aesthetic and production design choices. The ending certainly hints that we’re about to get some very dramatic episodes ahead, and it’ll be interesting to see what direction this takes next.

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You can read our full season review for Silo here!


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7 thoughts on “Silo – Season 1 Episode 3 “Machines” Recap & Review”

  1. This was a difficult episode to watch, as an engineer. Disbelief was not suspended. At all. Few people can haul themselves up a rope, nevermind 40 metres up however much heroic wrenching you do inside colossal machines. Doing unprecedented maintenance on a life support generator with no plan, no contingencies, and little understanding of how it works is not engineering, it’s just chancing it. Like Bruce Willis in space. They turned the steam back on – the steam which makes the turbine turn – and magically the turbine spins up, with no steam blowing through it, and also no casing to contain the steam pressure to make the blades do _work_, which is how turbines function. At least they didn’t have any solar panels down there.

    The whole repair thing just took way too long.
    I’d you’re going to dedicate this much screen time (and therefore production cost) to a big engineering event, at least get someone to contribute to the script.

    One more thing… Why no lifts/elevators anywhere??! Maybe that’s explained in the book, but it seems a bit silly to have 144 storeys requiring a day’s commute to ascend.

    Anyway, as others have said, the fleeting glimpse of the green outside with no bodies was exciting, and I love the erie excavating machine cavern. Felt a bit Total Recall (Arnie version), though it’s been 30yrs since I saw it. I think we’ll see Holsteon and his wife Allison again…

  2. As an engineer, they could’ve built a bypass connected to the intake that allowed shutdown of the generator. It’s impossible that it wasn’t shutdown in the last 100 years. Not only the bkades but the many parts that assemble the generator deteriorates as well.

  3. The screen showed not just a lush green landscape it followed on with a flash of a desolate land with TWO trees in the centre!

    So what is going on

    Is it desolate with one tee, two trees or a green lush land !?

  4. When the power went out, just as the large screen in the common room shut down – it showed the real outside view: greenery with no need bodies!

  5. The head of Engineering doesn’t reminds Juliette that “she should be grateful that he’s not sending her to the trash line or doing any other menial, unpleasant job after her outburst”, he tells her that she WILL have to face punishment of one form or another.

  6. You don’t mention the biggest blink and you miss it scene when the power goes off the window monitor to the outside world very briefly flickers and shows the grey dead world as green and lush, implying that there is a filter that changes the outside world view and it was disabled a split second before the monitor cut off.

  7. The most interesting part of this episode flashed by in an instant when the power went down. There was a brief moment that outside the window the planet looked green and alive! It seems that with the power on a false outside desolate scene is projected and when power went down the real thriving planet was briefly glimpsed! Now that was super interesting!

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