The Silent Sea is another feather in the Koreans' hat. It is a statement of their craftsmanship and excellence. I am very glad that Netflix is putting more effort into curating and presenting many more Korean works, and they hardly ever disappoint.
The series of just 8 episodes is a very harmonious mix between sci-fi and dystopia. A chaotic story of astronauts and scientists trying to salvage the last "drop" of hope of an ever more chaotic, dying world. The trailer is excellent, too. It hardly has any spoilers and yet creates excitement and suspense. The trailer had me excited, but the series left me awestruck.
The Silent Sea is like a poached egg. It may seem simple and mundane, but cooking a perfectly poached egg takes effort, care, practice, and precision. What may seem like an easy task can soon end up in a distasteful, disappointing experience. And it is not generally a public favorite.
That is precisely why I think there shouldn't be a season 2 and it should be left as is. It is perfect. Beautiful runny yellows, hardly any burning on the whites, and a delicious piece of art. Leaving it on the stove for longer, that is making a second and/or more seasons, may or may not ruin the perfectly cooked show.
The premise of the show is a very common one; dystopian future and the earth is at the brink of destruction, there is an off chance that an alien tech/element can save the earth, getting hands on it is almost like a suicide mission, the final choice of people to carry out the mission have a relative that has directly or indirectly been affected by the mission or cause of the mission. And just like every series of the same genre, the mission has to begin with some bad luck.
However, The Silent Sea reaches further than just sticking to a modification of the same storyline. The show thoroughly enjoys bending and twisting the expectations of the viewers and finds glory in ricocheting from a suspense to a calamity to another suspense to another calamity without ever letting us ever truly reach any certain climax.
For the longest time, it is not clear who or what is the imminent danger that the current crew faces or the previous crew faced. We only know that there is some sort of danger hovering on the moon's base and nothing else. There is always a sense of mystery throughout the show, right until the end.
From the start, there is a huge mystery revolving around the existence of the base itself. Then there is the unexplainable cause of shutting the base down. The mysterious dead bodies with symptoms that are not aligned with the known cause of death. The "package" that the final team is sent out to retrieve is also a giant mystery. What is the package? And what is it with all the secrecy?
One of the things I really enjoy in any motion picture may it be a movie or a serial is the use of suggestions. There are a lot of ways of manipulating the viewers' perception and it is this quality of Edgar Wright that made me fall in love with him. The Silent Sea uses light, noise, and music to suggest the mood, intensity, and overall feel of any situation.
The dimmed noises and immersive music always make you feel like you are in low gravity, high-pressure kind of environment that is also uncomfortable...which is what I expect to feel on the moon. There is almost never enough light during dire situations which made me feel claustrophobic and it only added to the effect. The CGI was almost too perfect. I think The Silent Sea really nailed it.
Thinking back, the series is one strong manifestation of every water riddle out there. It was the first time for me to watch something like this. It is a fresh idea, using water as a double edged sword in such a way. The "intruder" (Luna) was also a very interesting character - an unlikely manifestation of "karma".
There is so much we don't understand about Luna. And the show makes no effort in explaining much about the future Luna holds. She is both the result of humanity's evil doings and the savior of all the good there is in humanity. She is both innocent and evil at the same time. Should she be allowed to live? Should she be killed? Should she be forgotten? What about the lives on earth?
The season ends with more questions than answers. It becomes clear that Luna is completely adapted to the moon, and in that way, maybe she is less human. That can be a good thing, especially if she never repeats the mistakes humans did on earth. On the other hand, she can save every single soul on earth, but can humans learn anything from it? There is also a big chance that Luna might suffer a painful ending if she goes to earth.
I am a little biased towards stories with open endings. Especially ones with too many questions to count. The Silent Sea has plenty of conundrums lingering as the credits start rolling in on the final episode. And it feels just perfect. Let the audience imagine and decide what happens to the moon, Luna, earth, and its people. It is just perfect.