What is the Syndrome in Silo, Explained

Apple TV+’s science-fiction seriesSilo’ follows the lives of the residents of the titular silo, which accommodates the remnants of humanity after an apocalypse. The human beings living in the silo are expected to follow the rules stated in the “Pact,” a document that can be considered as the constitution that governs life in the establishment. In the sixth episode of the series, Juliette finds out that her deputy Paul Billings has “the syndrome,” which, according to the Pact, should stop him from becoming a cop. So, what exactly is the syndrome? Well, here’s everything you need to know about the same! SPOILERS AHEAD.

What is the Syndrome?

“The syndrome” is a health condition that is diagnosed among the residents of the silo. The same is mentioned on a board in the mechanical department, which gives adequate information about how to recognize the condition. According to the board, the symptoms and the aftermath of the syndrome are “involuntary twitching is the first sign, leading quickly to shaking of the extremities, flashes of pain and muscle spasms are next. Balance and movement are severely impaired. If untreated infection will attack the brain, resulting in reduced cognitive function and finally, A shut-down of the entire nervous system.” The board, however, doesn’t reveal what causes the Syndrome and how.

The board adds that the residents who suffer from the syndrome should receive advice and treatment for the same upon reporting it. It also states that “clean living” is a way to not get diagnosed with the condition. Considering the information provided through the board, the syndrome can be caused by bacteria present in unhygienic surroundings. The ones suffering from the same can be mostly from the lower parts of the silo, where residents live without adequate living conditions, which also explains why the board is placed at one of the lower levels.

One of the known individuals suffering from the syndrome is Deputy Paul Billings. According to the Pact, individuals suffering from the condition are not authorized to hold public offices, which makes Billings hide his condition from the people around him. Juliette discovers the same through the symptoms her subordinate displays and the latter promises to help the former to ensure that his ill health will remain a secret. Since Juliette doesn’t try to stay away from Billings or maintain a distance between them, it is clear that the syndrome isn’t contagious, which explains the absence of a pandemic at the establishment despite the alarming presence of the condition.

The Syndrome doesn’t seem to be hereditary either. Although Billings has the same, his child hasn’t shown any symptoms of the condition, which makes his wife clarify that the condition doesn’t get passed from a parent to a child. However, it is unknown how Billings got diagnosed with the same when he is privileged enough to live with appealing living conditions. The answer to the same question may also reveal how the officer became a favorite of Robert Sims. Billings must have belonged to the underprivileged group and Sims must have taken him under his wing.

As far as creator Graham Yost is concerned, the syndrome is the aftermath of thousands of people living inside a closed space. “There is a sense, at the core, that this is wrong. Human beings weren’t meant to live like this. Talking about that with Hugh, we came up with something called ‘the syndrome’. It’s a neuralgic response to the pressure of living in these conditions,” Yost told SFX for its April 2023 issue. “Is it genetic? Is it this or that? It’s something people are ashamed of, and we wanted to play with that. If you have the syndrome, you shouldn’t have access to any weapons. You shouldn’t have physical activity,” he added.

Read More: What Book is Apple TV+’s Silo Based on?