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The Silent Sea: An exploration of human consciousness on the high-stakes space trope

| Updated: December 29, 2021 17:52:21

The Silent Sea: An exploration of human consciousness on the high-stakes space trope

The Silent Sea, directed by Choi Hang-Yong, explores the numerous elements of the human mind. 

It draws the audience in with the first chapter, but it quickly becomes a reflection of human decision-making and mistakes, which are inextricably related to our emotions. This emotionally driven sci-fi concept, set in space, is ideal for telling a story about the links between a community of people that resonates with the audience.

Song Ji-an (Bae Doo-na), plays the role of a cynical astrobiologist who is struggling to cope with the death of her older sister, who was the head researcher at the Balhae Lunar Research Station until a radiation leak killed the entire crew, leaving the station abandoned for the previous five years. 

She is chosen by the Space Aviation Administration (SAA) to join an exploratory team of ten other astronauts, engineers and physicians on a 24-hour journey to the station to retrieve an unspecified sample led by Captain Han Yoon- Jae (Gong Yoo). 

Ji-an is immediately wary of the mission and its true goal, but she continues to cooperate unwillingly in the hopes of uncovering the truth behind her sister's death.

When the crew departs for their destination, it appears that anything that may go wrong will occur. Their spacecraft undergoes a system failure right away, resulting in a destructive crash on the surface of the moon. 

Soon after, the team discovers loads of bodies along with one of the station's spookily deserted hallways, as well as strangely normal radiation levels across the station, planting seeds of doubt and confusion in the crew.

To make matters worse, after hours of scouring through the base, not a single sample has been recovered and the remaining crew members have no way of returning to Earth or notifying the SAA. 

The Silent Sea quickly picks up speed as a crew member comes into contact with one of the dead while investigating the station's fissures. 

This one event then triggers a series of circumstances that adds a new dimension of intricacy and stress to the crew's already perilous mission, increasing the speed of The Silent Sea to maximum, asking the audience to speed up and enjoy the roller-coaster ride.

The Silent Sea features a bold premise and plot that develops into a double-edged sword. The series creates a nail-bitingly intense situation by flirting with the endlessness of the unknown – the unmapped terrain of the Moon and the uninhabited space station serve as perfect backdrops for the unravelling of the show's larger-picture enigmas, whether it's the strange deaths of the station's previous crew, the sample of uncertain origins, or a number of other mysteries. 

The Silent Sea does an excellent job of conveying the horrors that only the unfamiliar can offer, all while taking place in the confined orbits of the station's dark, winding corridors, which give no real escape or respite from the horrible situations in which the crew is forced to endure.

Ji-an’s portrayal is the driving force for much of the show's plot, slowly and inadvertently uncovering new layers to Song Ji-an and her intentions while straddling the border of predictability at times. 

However, many of the remaining characters, particularly Doctor Hong Ga-young (Kim Sun-young) and Ryu Tae-suk (Lee Joon) are denied opportunities to develop fully as characters in order to make room for The Silent Sea's larger-than-life plot. 

Director Choi Hang-yong attempts to compensate by depicting the finely sketched interpersonal relationships of many of the staff.

The Silent Sea is ultimately a refined exploration of outer space as humanity's last hope, that sheds light on the incredible lengths the top echelon is inclined to go to maintain themselves and their dignities. 

Even in the most disastrous of situations, reinforced by thought-provoking motifs and allegories, first-rate production and set design, and a concept that has gone through tireless improvements over a decade.

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