Photo: ‘The Silent Sea’
The holidays are filled with times of joy and happiness; chances for us to spend time with the people we really love. These days consist of decorating the tree, lighting the Menorah or Kinara, and so much more. But personally, one of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to watch movies or shows released this time of year; and on Christmas Eve, Netflix wonderfully released a new sci-fi series to its members. But, this series is not exactly what you’d call a time for holiday joy; rather, instead, it becomes a time to experience true terror.
‘The Silent Sea’ is a Korean science-fiction thriller series that explores the reality and horrors that come about with exploring beyond our planet. More specifically, traversing through the great unknown and darkness of the solar system. Based on the 2014 short film ‘The Sea of Tranquility’ directed by Choi Hang-young, the series follows a group of space explorers during a 24-hour mission on the moon as they try to receive samples from an abandoned research facility. The facility is full of classified secrets, and together the space explorers must go on an expedition that may result in their death to get important information to bring back home. However, the only main thing that stands in their way is the fact that their ship has crashed and they must wait for the rescue ship to come and find them; leaving them utterly abandoned in the great abyss.
The Terrifying Feat To Space
There are so many things that I truly enjoyed about watching this series. But, with where I could think to start, premiering with eight episodes was certainly the way to go in getting audiences hooked onto the show and possibly even craving for a second season. The series kicks off immediately into the conflict, the space explorers’ ship already having crashed and everyone completely stressed as they’re now faced with this hopelessness of being stranded on the moon. The thriller aspect ensues as one of the explorers is hurt, the alarms of the ship blaring as the camera shakes and everyone is frantic; leaving the audience with this immediate sense of anxiety. But, it is when the team’s leader looks out one of the windows of the ship, and the camera pans out to show us the ship teetering on the edge of the moon with complete darkness surrounding them, that this show has now developed its thrilling tone and prepares us to buckle in for a ride of fear.
‘The Silent Sea’
It is after that panning shot that we’re now then brought back into the start of things; where everything all began before chaos ensued. I absolutely loved this transition, and it was a magnificent way of giving us a taste of what’s to come while still providing us with the needed exposition. During this time in the first episode, we’re introduced to all the characters that are about to embark on this journey together along with more information on why they’re having to go to this abandoned research facility in the first place.
I will admit that I initially had a hard time understanding just what was exactly going on in the first few minutes while they were developing the exposition at this point in the episode, but I stayed along for the ride and found that this was an interesting and mysterious aspect within this series (whether or not that was intentional by the writers). It feels so awarding to be able to figure things out while watching a series or a movie when it’s not directly given away to you; because ultimately we’re getting a look into the character’s lives as though we’re a fly on the wall, and it (at times) makes sense if not everything is not truly understandable at first.
It’s also important to note that this same element applies to overall giving the show a chance as a whole. The first three episodes feel as though they’re a bit slow-paced and there is still that aspect of trying to figure out what’s exactly going on, and it’s because of this that if you enjoy thriller sci-fi shows that you’ll have to stick it out until episode four to truly see all the horrifying twists and turns that ‘The Silent Sea’ has to offer. It is truly as soon as you get to this episode that you’ll be watching the show with your eyes wide and wondering just how this is all going to go that will make you want to press play on the next episode. This is what makes ‘The Silent Sea’ something of terror; giving you the unexpected just when you thought it wouldn’t come like a jumpscare without the loud music.
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The Astronomical Characters
All the characters in ‘The Silent Sea’ certainly have a lot to offer. Each of them has their own personality, and some are bigger while some are much smaller. But, this isn’t entirely a bad thing; personally, I think it gives a lot to the dynamic between all of them as a whole. We spend a lot of time with all the space explorers throughout the series since it’s entirely focused on them, so creating a strong dynamic felt crucial to making this show as emotional and scary as it was; mainly because when we spend more time with characters the more we’re emotionally impacted when something happens to them or their world.
While each character has their own purpose within the series, there are three main characters that the show focuses on: Han Yoon-jae (exploration team-leader), Doctor Song Ji-an (astrobiologist who joined the team to help gather samples), and Captain Ryoo Tae-seok (head engineer on the team). These big three are the ones who ultimately drive the story in the series, especially Doctor Song Ji-an. Played by Bae Doona, Doctor Song is the one who arises the majority of the questions and pushes the team into accomplishing what they’ve set out to do despite their possibly inevitable death. She isn’t always the most optimistic, but rather she’s the most realistic in a way that still somehow brings hope.
It’s also thanks to Han Yoon-jae (played by Gong Yoo), who works with Doctor Song, that the story is driven out even further due to the rather encouraging dynamic between the two of them. In regards to Captain Ryoo Tae-seok (played by Joon Lee), he feels like more of the mediator between the two so there isn’t entirely too much clashing; which brings the intensity in the series down a peg at times, making it a little bit more relaxing oddly enough.
The Silent Unknown
Like I mentioned above, there are so many elements in this series that I experienced while watching this series. But, talking about them too much would take away the amazing experience of watching it on your own (or with friends/family). ‘The Silent Sea’ is something for audiences to watch and gather their individual opinions on because there’s ultimately just so much to this show that feels mysterious. The spacial emptiness of the environment, and accompanying fantastically sparse score, give audiences a chance to experience the unknown.
Throughout the series, watchers are sure to go on a journey to a place full of the untold. Somewhere that doesn’t explain everything to us and lets us try to figure it all out as we wait to see what comes next in the story with each following episode. And while the ending will leave you scratching your head, it is when you sit and just take in what’s happened without having to think too much about it that you enjoy the secrets and mystery of ‘The Silent Sea’.
By Leah Donato
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