The latest episode of Silo focused heavily on relics, with both Billings and Juliette spending a large amount of time pondering over them. In particular, Juliette focused on her efforts to decrypt the contents of the mysterious hard drive that George left her after his death.
By now, we are aware that Judicial and the other higher members of the Silo are lying to the general population about the conditions of the outside. One of the defining factors in this, however, is the hard drive that George left for Juliette to find. What exactly is on the hard drive, however, and why is Bernard and Judicial so hell-bent on keeping it a secret?
Note: this article contains spoilers from the books that Silo is based on. It may contain spoilers about future events of the TV show.
The history of the hard drive
The hard drive first becomes relevant when George Wilkins shows the drive to Allison Becker in the first episode of the season. He tells her that he needs help to recover some files on the hard drive, but she is weary, knowing that the relic could change their lives forever.
Despite this, she assists George anyway, and eventually, they happen across data on the hard drive that shows the outside world as a lush, verdant green oasis. They feel as though they have been lied to all of their lives about the true environment outside of the Silo. Allison tries to tell Holston this, but he is reluctant to listen, and simply remarks that the screen in the cafeteria shows a 24-hour livestream of the outside world and all of the corpses that have built up over time.
Allison, convinced that the outside is habitable, asks to be sent out to clean. She makes a deal with Holston and tells him that if the outside is a lush oasis as she believes, she will clean the sensor and Holston will know she was telling the truth. When she exits the Silo, she does indeed see the world as an oasis and cleans the sensor as promised, but momentarily dies due to the toxic air outside.
Holston, believing his wife to be telling the truth, also asks to be sent outside. He, however, realises that the screen in his helmet has somehow been manipulated and dies shortly after like his wife.
How is this connected?
One may be asking how this is connected to the hard drive, and to figure this out, we can look to the books, but also the most recent episode of Silo. In the books, Juliette and Scottie manage to find a programme on the hard drive that is used to project images onto a screen—I’m sure you can see where this is going?!
Most people would assume that the programme is used to project images onto the screen in the cafeteria, but they are wrong. Scottie realises that the programme can only project images of 8×2, which indicates that the images are being projected onto something much smaller, about the same size as a visor in a helmet? Juliette also finds this programme on the hard drive in the most recent episode of Silo, The Getaway.
In the books, Juliette is sent out to clean by Bernard, who wishes to get rid of her by any means necessary. When she is being suited up, she realises that the visor in the helmet is about 8×2, and as a result, is more than likely the subject of the projections. This is the reason they remove their helmets when they leave the Silo. The images are of a lush, green oasis outside of the Silo, whilst nothing could be further from the truth.
Why are people being show false images?
The images acts as a further layer of manipulation, and further enforces the idea that it’s life within the Silo, or no life at all. For those leaving the Silo, seeing the lush green oasis would be an indication that they can safetly remove their helmets, only to be greeted with the truth: the outside air is just as toxic as those within the Silo believe it to be. And as a result, everyone who removes their helmet after leaving the Silo meets a quick end.
Furthermore, each time someone is sent out to clean, they are watched by a lot of residents from the cafeteria. Those people watching witness each person going out to clean and dying, which acts as a detterant, and is one way Judicial tries to force people to stay within the confines of the Silo—and also their control.