REVIEW: ‘The Silent Sea,’ Season 1 – Delivers A Mystery on the Moon

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Silent Sea - But Why Tho

The Silent Sea is a Korean sci-fi mystery series from Netflix. In the future, the Earth is drying up. The world’s water levels are down 40% of what they are today and it looks to only get worse. Severe water rationing has been implemented across the globe as nations scramble to find an answer. Amid this crisis, a team of astronauts and scientists are sent by the Korean government to former Lunar base Bahlae to recover a sample that could save humanity. But there is something suspicious about this mission. And the crew’s lead scientist, Dr. Song has questions that no one wants to answer. To further complicate matters, the base may yet be home to an unsuspected resident.

With the mega-success of Squid Game still on many people’s minds, The Silent Sea could look like the next must-watch thriller from Netflix. While the trailer may imply a thrilling tale of survival in the infamous vacuum of space, the actual reality is much different. While the show delivers a solid slow-burn mystery with some moments of tension, if you go into expecting a thrill-filled tale like the aforementioned hit, you will be setting yourself up for disappointment.

The secrets that the series reveals throughout its eight, roughly 40-minute episodes about the Bahlae station and the events surrounding why it was shut down makes for a unique and intriguing story. The sci-fi concepts involved throughout the series are some of the more unique I’ve seen in a while. The originality at play in the show’s core concepts alone might be enough to keep some interested.

The plot twists and turns that take shape as the story unfolds also keep the viewer engaged as it quickly becomes clear that what the initial story is surrounding the base is not nearly all there is to it. These twists come at a solid pace right up till the last episode. And even more impressive than the sheer number of twists the story takes is the fact that none of them ever feel superfluous or completely out of left field. No inexplicable betrayals that reveal a character did things that they never could’ve or other twists that stories often utilize in an attempt to surprise the audience, but usually simply confuse. But while the twists are interesting, The Silent Sea neglects the other element necessary to truly make these moments impactful: the cast.

Given the synopsis of this series, one might expect the first episode at least to take place before the crew’s departure. Perhaps some training moments where the crew meets each other and have a few interactions. This would establish basic character personalities and put faces to names in a clear manner. This does not happen here. By the 20 minute mark of the first episode, the crew are in space and facing their first perils.  This leaves the viewer playing a bit of catch up with who is who as well as making the viewer get to know these characters under extreme circumstances, without that baseline personality to ground them. This leaves most of the cast feeling fairly shallow as the show focuses on what is happening over who it’s happening to. You learn who has a compassionate streak and who the jerk is quick enough, but it largely never goes much deeper than that. Only the show’s lead character, Dr. Song, gets a real deep dive into her motives and past.

The design of The Silent Sea‘s tech and sets are well done. They manage a good balance of futuristic, but not too outlandish. A couple of holographic displays are about as “wow” as the tech gets and even those aren’t as impressive as many viewers have seen in near-future settings. Though, it does warrant a mention that if you are a stickler for moments that will leave you saying “that’s not how that would work” the final act of this series is gonna bug the crap out of you.

With so much mystery awaiting the show’s protagonists, the cinematography must do its part to manage the tension to build up those critical moments. Which it manages to do in a way that I would best describe as solid. It never drops the ball on any of the clutch scenes of the series, but it never creates those truly memorable moments that great cinematography can create.

When it all comes together, The Silent Sea delivers a unique sci-fi mystery that brings lots of twists to an original concept. As long as you don’t mind a story that is fairly light on character, I would say this series is absolutely worth a watch.

The Silent Sea is streaming now on Netflix.


The Silent Sea
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    Rating - 8/10
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TL;DR

When it all comes together, The Silent Sea delivers a unique sci-fi mystery that brings lots of twists to an original concept. As long as you don’t mind a story that is fairly light on character, I would say this series is absolutely worth a watch.