02 January 2022

K Drama Review: The Silent Sea (2021) 4.2 || 4

It's been a while since Gong Yoo, who's part of my list, starred in a drama. I don't really think Squid Game counts because his appearance there was more of a cameo. So, yes, I was really excited to see this one. 

Apart from Gong Yoo, we were also looking forward to see Bae Doona in something more substantial. So far, we've only watched her in a House on Wheels guesting and in Persona where she didn't really have a lot of speaking lines. 

Although we were quite wary about the sci-fi genre, we braved watching this show because the actors all seemed great and promising. 


The Silent Sea is set far off into the future. The Earth's resources are almost depleted and there's a global drought that's dried up oceans and rivers. Water has to be rationed and people are battling over it. Everyone gets a water classification/rating, which determines how much water they'll be entitled to. 

Countries are finding alternative water resources. Korea set up a station on the moon, Balhae Station, to study if its water can be used on earth. However, the station was shut down all of a sudden, allegedly due to a radiation leak.  There were no survivors left. 

Five years later, 11 people are tasked to go back to the station to retrieve some samples. They are given very limited information about the mission and they are mostly kept in the dark about what really transpired in the past. As the crew members die one by one, those remaining on board unearth very troubling information about how the entire operation was conducted. Turns out that lunar water can act like a virus that multiplies rapidly when it comes into contact with a live host. The series takes us through how the survivors struggle to come to terms with the details they've discovered and how they try their best to escape and return back to earth. 


I have nothing bad to say about the cast. They were all stellar. Everyone was perfect for their roles. 

Once again, Gong Yoo showcased his versatility. He showed us why he's one of the most sought after Korean actors. He can play cutesy roles like in Coffee Prince. He can play a character who's both serious and funny like in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. And he can be serious like in Squid Game and Seobok. He can do thrillers like Train to Busan as well. This time around, Gong Yoo was credible as Captain Han, the leader of the mission. Despite knowing the perils of this trip, he decided to go for it to improve his water classification to help his ill daughter. 

It was great to finally see Bae Doona in something longer. Just like Gong Yoo, she was perfect as astrobiologist Dr. Song Ji An. Her sister was the head of the research team when the station was first opened several years ago. Dr. Song reluctantly joined the mission, hoping to find answers to her sister's death. Bae Doona gave justice to her role, showing both feistiness when she stood her ground against the other crew members and tenderness when it came to Luna. 

The other actors were great as well. The most remarkable ones for me include Chief Gong (Lee Moo Saeng of One Spring Night and Prison Playbook) and Dr. Hong (Kim Sun Young of Juror 8, Crash Landing on You, Vagabond, Hospital Playlist, and Reply 1988). I loved how Chief Gong was headstrong but still knew how follow the chain of command. He never defied Captain Han even if he appeared to disagree with his decisions. I also loved the gentleness Dr. Hong exhibited in taking care of the crew, especially those who passed on already. 

Lt. Ryoo (Lee Joon) was also credible as a villain who was tormented by his past of locking up mission members from five years ago and leaving them to die and who now works for another organization trying to beat Korea in getting the samples from the abandoned lunar station. 

Even the Space and Aeronautics Administration folks were great like Director Choi (Gil Hae Yeon of Law School, Something in the Rain, and One Spring Night) and Section Chief Kim (Heo Sung Tae of Squid Game and Reply 1994). 


I admit that it took time for us to warm up to the series. This can be problematic for some people given that there are only 8 episodes which are all less than an hour long. You need to see the bigger picture and the message the show is trying to bring across to fully appreciate it. 

The show is actually some sort of social commentary on how we're depleting the earth's resources, especially water. And the dreadful future we face if we don't act now. It was scary to look at the Han River all dried up. 

Apart from environmental problems, the bigger issue the drama's trying to show is how human greed makes us forget about caring for humanity and our responsibility to make sure that no one is left behind, especially the neediest ones. It was really appalling to see how people and countries prioritize their personal needs over the lives of other human beings. 

And it was horrifying to know the lengths people go to to satisfy their needs. For this mission, for instance, 73 girls had to die before they found the perfect genetic combination that could tolerate lunar water. 

While I appreciate the general message the show tried to bring, I felt it lacked some things in terms of storytelling. Perhaps it was because there were very few episodes? 

For instance, it was not clearly established why the SAA decided to shutdown Balhae Station all of a sudden. It did not make sense after they've failed 73 times and have now finally succeeded testing lunar water with one. It was not even well thought out because they didn't even bother to get a sample before they shut it down. 

The ending was also quite difficult to follow. I had to read up on why Captain Han had to be left behind. He apparently had to decompress the chamber from the previous chamber. 

And while I could have forgiven the other stuff, I can't accept how there was no clear resolution on how the perpetrators of all those horrendous crimes would be punished. I assume they would be. But I hoped for a clearer treatment of this angle, knowing how a lot of innocent people had to sacrifice their lives to achieve the selfish goals of few people. 

Over all, the show was just okay. Although I'm not really a huge sci-fi fan, I know this could have been done better to make it more appealing even to sci-fi dummies like me. 

Oppa says...4.2.

Noona says...4.