“I know not everyone believes this, but I’ve found that some mysteries are best left unsolved.”
Bernard Holland, I.T. director-turned-acting-mayor, uses these words to exert some quiet pressure on his new sheriff. But by the time he says it, it’s too late, as unsolved mysteries — and the further mysteries those lead to — are at the heart of this episode.
Juliette now knows who killed Mayor Jahns and Deputy Marnes (a Judicial functionary named Doug), but not why. She searches his apartment, her new untrustworthy deputy in tow, and finds the ancient Pez dispenser that George — her boyfriend, also murdered — gave her, and we get a flashback to the moment just to remind the audience. Like Allison in the first episode, his collection of odd — and forbidden — relics gets him asking questions about the nature of the silo, and what history is being kept from them and why. And like Allison, those questions are his undoing.
And now they’re Juliette’s questions. George suggests that the relics wouldn’t be forbidden if they weren’t important, and the “why” of the string of murders we’ve seen so far has the same question hanging over it. What were George, Marnes, and the Mayor close enough to discovering that someone wanted them dead?
Juliette’s also not allowed to ask questions about the relic, or even have it in her possession, without permission from Judge Meadows. We’ve already been told the judge has a preference for sweeping things under the rug. So Juliette cannily frames the investigation as being focused on forbidden relics — a slippery slope that leads to worse crime, in the judge’s opinion. But it’s really an excuse to continue investigating Doug — Jahns and Marnes’ killer, and probably George’s — whose convenient death is a matter the judge would rather consider settled.
Juliette has to turn over the Pez dispenser to Sims. This sets them on parallel investigations, with him puzzling over the strange object’s origins, and her knocking on doors to see where George got the wristwatch he gave her (another relic that’s legal for her to have, for reasons that aren’t clearly explained), in the hopes of finding out who’s dealing in these relics. But both investigations — and some flashbacks to Juliette in happier times — really only exist to shed light on George, both who he was and what exactly he was up to with his collection of old, illegal objects.
Juliette finds the woman who gave George the watch in the first place, and she turns out to be an ex he had never mentioned. The woman feels like George only used her to help his trade in relics, and then tossed her aside when he was ready to move down to the lower levels. He found someone else to use, who could help him get closer to “the big questions” — Juliette. Their relationship was real to her, but in the flashbacks this episode has given us, we mostly see Juliette being her prickly self, while George waxes philosophical about the silo’s mysteries and lets her barbs glance off of him. Juliette doesn’t seem like an easy person to get close to, but however George managed it, it seems like simply putting up with her standoffishness is more than most partners would do. If he did have cynical intentions behind his relationship with Juliette, it seems like it would have been pretty easy to keep her on the hook simply by not letting her push him away.
The two investigations lead Juliette into another confrontation with Sims and Holland. Sims strongly implies Juliette planted the Pez dispenser in Doug’s apartment to frame him for George’s murder, but she points out that it was Deputy Billings — who only has the job because he was foisted on her by Sims — who found the relic during the search. And Holland surprisingly breaks ranks with Sims, pointing out that it’s far more likely that Doug had found the relic in George’s apartment and swiped it.
That’s enough to send Sims slinking away, but we get one more surprise. Juliette did plant evidence, and she was perfectly happy to let Billings take the fall. He sees through her, but she quickly lays bare secrets he’s been keeping from her. They’re both good detectives, but just when it was starting to look like they could work together, they trust each other even less than when they started.
The show also throws us one last ambiguous relationship, as Lukas, the oddball Juliette keeps running into in the top-level cafeteria, takes some time to awkwardly flirt with her. Is he just a lonely soul? Or does he have a hidden agenda, like George might have had? Is there anyone in this silo who doesn’t?
• Rebecca Ferguson is Swedish, and while her accent is mild, it doesn’t really make any sense that in a silo where people have been sequestered for generations, Juliette would have a different accent than anyone around her. That only struck us six episodes in, but that might be because she’s so terse that we don’t get that much dialogue from her, outside the flashbacks that we get several of this week.
• The choice to kill off several key characters early (Allison, Holston, George) is an unconventional one, but an effective one. None of those characters have left the show. We see them in flashbacks, in references, and in the consequences of their actions. The dead never completely leave us, and as with George, we can sometimes only truly understand people when they themselves are no longer around to muddy the waters.
• We won’t spoil the final set of scenes, but Juliette gets one final revelation. And so does the audience, as we get hints of someone even more secretive and powerful than Judicial, and the power they silently exert over the silo. Just when we think we can see the edges of the conspiracy Juliette’s been drawn into, it goes — appropriately enough — one level deeper.