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Netflix’s latest Korean thriller takes the audience to the space with The Silent Sea, which stars the suave Gong Yoo as Captain Han Yun-jae and Bae Doo-na as astrobiologist Doctor Song Ji-an.
The Silent Sea depicts a perilous 24-hour mission on the moon, where space explorers try to retrieve samples from an abandoned research facility steeped in classified secrets. We caught the media preview of this eight-episode series ahead of its release on Christmas Eve. Here’s what we think about The Silent Sea:
1. The premise is alluring but some key events are illogical.
The Silent Sea is set in a world suffering from drought, and access to clean water is determined by class. People with a higher contribution to society, such as scientists and doctors, are given a higher class, which means that they can get more clean water than the general public. The inequality becomes one of the reasons for people to take on the space mission, as a successful expedition would grant one a higher water class.
Besides, the space setting is always captivating, which provides a vast canvas for ideas out of this world (pun intended) to develop. From aliens to mishaps to wormholes, anything goes. But The Silent Sea may have taken this a little too far, with multiple inexplicable accidents happening almost back-to-back. It becomes ridiculous at some point, as if a supernatural force is behind everything, or the team just has really bad luck.
One of the most unrealistic scenes is when the spacecraft is about to crash-land, nobody seems to care that they are in a no-oxygen environment and that they should suit up, in case the spacecraft breaks apart upon impact. But of course, the spacecraft miraculously remains intact and glides on the coarse moon surface. After the team has gotten out of the spacecraft, it tumbles down a crater and disrupts the environment, but the nearby spacemen are not affected by the tremors at all.
The lack of such attention to detail at the opening of the series left a rather bad impression. Regrettably, the ending isn’t any better and has its own illogical scenes as well. If you compare the incident five years ago with the current happenings, you’ll find certain parts of the story that don’t make sense. Again, there is also the irony with the no-oxygen environment, when one character walks on the moon without the need of any gear, as if it doesn’t require oxygen to live.
2. The characters turn out disappointing despite having interesting characteristics.
One of the most fascinating characters is Doctor Song, who was pictured in a scene tending to an injured tiger without any form of defence. Her ability to understand and communicate with dangerous creatures should be pivotal in the space mission. But it feels like she didn’t get the authority and respect that she should command from the team, which leads to awkward moments when her opinions were not valued.
On the other hand, Captain Han is supposedly an authoritative figure, but he does not emit the vibes of a leader. Apart from giving out plain instructions and communicating with the headquarters, which, honestly, anyone can do, he doesn’t really add value to the team. As a protagonist of the story, the character can benefit from detailing his past achievements and competencies, which will help explain why it must be him to take on a particular dangerous task. Just because no one wants to do it doesn’t warrant his action, especially when the team cannot afford to lose a leader. It only makes him look like a foolish daredevil.
3. The story feels incomplete.
In building up the plot, Captain Han is given a background story about his daughter. But this part of the plot is conveniently forgotten at the end of the series, which does not seem to have a sequel. It would have been more coherent, perhaps even touching, if they give a proper conclusion to this sub-plot.
The story also mentions an enemy force that does not exactly appear in the series. Similarly, the whereabouts of this force, whose vessel is said to be approaching the team on the moon, is also neglected at the ending. The lack of explanation on what happened to the enemy vessel makes the whole series feel imperfect.
Although The Silent Sea is flawed in multiple areas, it still contains thrilling suspense that grants an entertaining experience. The visual effects may not be the most spectacular, but they are also quite intriguing to see.
The Silent Sea is available on Netflix from 24 December.