SPOILER ALERT: This story contains spoilers for “Outside,” the season finale of “Silo” now streaming on Apple TV+.
If the Season 1 finale of Apple TV+’s “Silo” doesn’t send people rushing to their local hardware store to stockpile heat tape, nothing will.
In the final moments of the ambitious, world-building thriller, Juliette (Rebecca Ferguson) was banished from the silo and sent out to “clean,” just as Bernard (Tim Robbins) had threatened to do, because of her attempts to broadcast the secrets on the elusive hard drive. But unlike the doomed lovers Allison (Rashida Jones) and Holston (David Oyelowo), who both died in their respective turns cleaning earlier this season, Juliette makes it beyond the ridge, thanks to the super-sealing heat tape supplied by Walker (Harriet Walter). Who knew all that talk about Juliette stealing the heat tape would be the lynchpin to the whole story?
But surviving long enough to ascend the ridge presents a new set of issues. First, Juliette learns the video of blue skies and green grass she’d seen on the hard drive –– the one she and the Flamekeepers thought proves the world outside the silo isn’t a toxic wasteland –– was in fact an illusion meant to give those sent out to clean a blissful final image before the toxic air seeps into their suit and they die.
The even bigger shock comes when the camera zooms out from Juliette’s walk to show the silo she just left is surrounded by dozens of other possible silos, meaning there could be countless other subterranean communities that also think they are the last 10,000 people on Earth.
Fortunately, the wait for answers won’t be long, as Apple has already greenlit Season 2, and production is underway in the United Kingdom.
During a break on set, Ferguson talked about the finale, and why she wants people to know Juliette never resigns to her bleak circumstances by the end of the season.
“We always hold onto hope, and I don’t want people to feel that she lets go of it,” Ferguson says. “That is what Juliette represents. It is that last breath, it is that last bloody push as a rebel against everything.”
Looking ahead to Season 2, Ferguson shared with Variety the finale scene that ranks among her favorites, how it was to film on the show’s enormous practically built sets — and teases what little she can about what’s to come on the show.
You’ve worked on some very large-scale films, two of which come out this year –– “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part 1” and “Dune Part 2.” But “Silo” has its own massive scale with huge practical sets. What has been like to work on that scale in episodic TV?
I didn’t know what to expect. I did a TV show a long time ago called “The White Queen,” and the sets were great. They were huge. But back then, TV was very different from what it is today. It’s going to sound like I’m blowing smoke up Apple’s ass for a moment, because I am. When I walked on set, I realized how much they put into this show. It’s love, but it’s also care. They could green screen and blue screen this, but they’re not. They built it. They are letting us create these entire worlds. It is phenomenal, and for us actors, it is everything. I hate working with green screen and blue screen, and I’ve been fortunate enough not to with “Dune” and “Mission: Impossible.” To walk into a world of TV shows that I thought weren’t going to be the scale that we have managed to create here, it blows my mind every day.
Whether it was an act of mercy or a power move before sending her out to clean, Bernard brings Juliette into the all-seeing surveillance room to show her a video that proves George (Ferdinand Kingsley) jumped to his death in order to protect the Flamekeepers and the drive. Her crusade has been to avenge him — so what does that moment mean to her?
That is one of my favorite scenes, because she has lived in this place her whole life, but walking into that cleaning room she just now realizes there is something so horrendous and controlling behind all these closed doors. It’s a police state times 10. For me acting-wise, it was such an unraveling to be able to see these screens and what they controlled. It is so abusive. Everything about it is emotionally abusive and it hits her at that moment. And then to see your loved one on the monitor. I think it is on such a grand scale. The relationship with her mom being studied, her entire childhood, the trauma she has been through and then this. I wonder sometimes…
[hesitates] No, I can’t. It’s too much of a spoiler!
Speaking of all she’s been through, Bernard asks Juliette if she regrets becoming sheriff, and she quickly says she doesn’t. Do you believe her, given all that has happened and where she ended up?
I do, and I think it was worth it. In the beginning, Juliette is a fish out of water, completely. Her most comfortable surroundings are working with her hands in a noisy environment. She’s had so much trauma in her life with people dying and leaving her; her father not coming to find her; and it is all so fucking lonely, right? But then she is put in this situation where she gradually realizes this self-centered human being that she kind of is because of trauma, and can start to become caring and nurturing.
She realizes it is not just about her. It affects the entire race, and her tribe and her people. But I think what’s so lovely about this journey is that we are not there yet –– where she cares about everyone. She just grabs the job that is offered, and she gives everything for it. But she doesn’t really know why yet. There are so many mixed feelings in her. It’s like a bowl of potpourri. Is it her? Is that why she’s doing this? Is it George? Is it for her mom? She’s like a young kid with a lot of emotions she hasn’t been able to unravel and it’s so unpredictable.
And those emotions are certainly scrambled even more as all her people, including her father (Iain Glen), come to say goodbye before she is sent outside to clean. Do you think she ever resigns to her bleak circumstances?
We always hold onto hope, and I don’t want people to feel that she lets go of it. That is what Juliette represents. It is that last breath, it is that last bloody push as a rebel against everything.
When she is finally outside, she makes it further than anyone we have seen, thanks to Walker’s tape. And she comes face to face with the realization it is a desolate world after all. But we see there are what look like other silos surrounding her own. What was your reaction to this revelation?
Well, I read Hugh Howey’s books, and this is all part of a journey — and it is a great ending to this part of it. The philosophy of it all is beyond mind-blowingly shocking, isn’t it? What is further and what is beyond? All of these emotions and to be able to play with them is exciting. There’s really an interior explosion in this world and it’s about what Juliette does next with that information.
Luckily, she has a satchel of extra tape so she can go explore what we saw in those final moments.
Maybe! We’ll see if it really was the good tape.
With Juliette literally walking into the unknown, what can you say about what’s to come?
What’s so amazing is that we’ve already been greenlit for Season 2, and right now we are diving into dissecting the world of where we end Season 1. So that is a question I am literally working to unravel right now, and I am really excited about it. It is brilliantly written. The show gets darker. It doesn’t take a turn from what we know. But it becomes darker and grittier.
This interview has been edited and condensed.