Space dramas are always hard to pull off. It’s difficult to tell a story revolving around an unconfirmed realm of humankind without the “fantasy” tag. With the vastness of the universe, the endless possibilities could either be a writer’s gift or a nightmare. Netflix’s latest work of fiction bravely delves into a world outside of our own dystopian reality. And even though the prophecy of this not-so-distant future scared me, I take it as a reminder to take care of the present and preserve whatever we could still save for the generations to come.
The Silent Sea revolves around man’s search for potable water – a prime resource so scarce it even created a whole new societal class system. The privileged ones get higher rations of drinking water, while those who belong to the masses fight under drought. There are no plants in sight while stray animals are killed. Every drop counts in the most literal sense possible.
Amidst this painful sight, we meet our group of heroes – the country’s most eligible in their respective professions, who take on a mission to retrieve undisclosed “samples” from the Balhae Lunar Research Station, a space station on the moon which was closed five years ago after all its employees were wiped out by supposed radiation. I knew from that point onwards that there’s something wrong with this secret mission: the vague objectives, the strange composition of team members, and lack of description on the items to be retrieved.
First, this is a drama that needs a major suspension of disbelief. I liked how the drama did not delve much into showing us the training for space travel and proceeded directly to the mission itself. It saved us maybe a few episodes of just watching soldiers and doctors get acquainted with the spacesuit and all.
As the story progressed, we found out that the “samples” they needed to retrieve were bottles of lunar water. It is a dangerous specimen – water that can multiply rapidly through a live host. It is what killed everyone at the station! Captain Han Yoon-jae (Gong Yoo) led the team, alongside Dr. Song Ji-an (Bae Doona), to get samples back to earth… but obviously, it is not easy as it seems. Because of their lack of knowledge of their dire situation, they lost three team members in an hour.
To make matters worse, an unexpected twist greets the team. Someone has been staying in the station all along, and it is quite territorial. It’s not an extraterrestrial being, but it used to be one of the clones – named Luna, apparently the 73rd version – produced by the Balhae researchers for their case studies on the impact of lunar water on humans. What followed was a sad and disgusting series of revelations, but the addition of Luna changed the show’s dynamics. From being a child with superhuman abilities, she became the only hope for humankind. She is the living proof that lunar water may work, but with a price to pay.
In the end, only Luna, Dr. Song, and Dr. Hong Ga-young (Kim Sun-young) survived the mission. I would say that Captain Han’s fate is still up in the air as there was no clear indication that he perished. I’m leaning towards him on still being alive because the series always used the pulse reader to show if a crew member died. In his case, his head gear’s light turned off which isn’t definitive in my opinion. Not to mention, should there be a second season, his character still has a lot to contribute to the story. The Silent Sea started with a lot of questions to be answered, and thankfully they were able to shed light on most of them and leave a bit of leeway for a potential new season.