The Silent Sea -- Moral Simplicity: Series Review
When I read The Silent Sea's drama plot, I was intrigued. And then I found out the cast and immediately knew it was a drama worth watching. Neither the story, the actors, the director, nor the editing or CGIs disappoint. Not only is the drama comprehensible, but it also hits close to our present-day planet's climate change factual situation. A 2019 National Geographic article: Desertification explained noted that as global temperature rises and the human population expands, the more planet Earth becomes vulnerable to desertification and land degradation. While degradation has occurred throughout history, the pace has accelerated. More than 75 percent of Earth's land area is already degraded, according to the European Commission's World Atlas of Desertification, and more than 90 percent could become degraded by 2050. So this story is not far-fetched at all.
In more ways than one, The Silent Sea mirrors our world through its meticulously shot scenes. A series, set in the future of a desertified planet, lacking water and food, reflecting the world's dire situation. Additionally, the idea that a governmental space agency commissions a moon mission to retrieve a mysterious sample from an abandoned research station that could potentially save the planet seemed so realistic to me. Even the digitally metered water dispensation was relatable as a concept in our near future. Actually, metering solutions to conserve water is here. It's not a matter of how, as noted in kamstrup's article: The future of water metering is here: are you ready? Similarly, the thought that water from the moon maybe a resource for Earth is convincing, particularly since NASA recently announced they discovered the water molecule, H2O, in sunlit areas of the Moon. All in all, a convincing lay out of a story.
The Silent Sea is well researched and presented, and what I liked most is that it doesn't rush through its story-telling, it takes its time to build the sequence of events and the characters, and in particular what motivates them. Even the fictional parts of the story were so well done that it made me believe it could happen. And that is a credit to the script writer, editor and actors in how they presented the notion of water classification in how one's societal class determines the frequency and amount of metered water they can receive. This is coupled with the concept of water molecules that multiple when it comes into contact with human cells, drowning the body from the inside out -- thoroughly and perfectly done.
As predictable as part of the story were, the actions and choices of some characters weren't, and that added to the mystery, making much of the series enjoyable. The cast were brilliant, everyone from Bae Doo Na, Gong Yoo, Lee Joon, Kim Sun Young, Lee Moo Saeng, Lee Sung Wook, and more. They were able to distinctly bring a thrilling element to their characters, especially Kim Sun Young as Doctor Hong Ga Young. Despite having seen her in many dramas and roles, there was something compelling about the way she played her support role that drew me to her. I found myself rooting for her throughout the series, and was glad to see her among the survivors by the end of it.
Kim Sun Young is not the only one. The other character that drew me was Lee Joon, as Captain Ryoo Tae-Seok, the head engineer of the mission, a former elite member of the Ministry of National Defense, volunteered for the mission to escape the stifling environment at the Ministry. I've always had great appreciation for Lee Joon as an actor since the drama My Father is Strange, and he doesn't disappoint as a man imprisoned by past demons that inform his present choices. Gong Yoo, on the other hand, plays Han Yun Jae, a soldier for the space agency selected to captain this critical and mysterious mission, with very limited information, but he doesn't even question it. In the beginning, I chalk that to him being a man of integrity, one who puts the safety of his team above all else, even his own. But as events unfold, we find out that he isn't without his own personal burden, which influences his decision to go on the mission despite having planned to retire.
He isn't alone. Before long, we realize that several team members agreed to be part of the mission motivated by either a personal cause or greed, and Lee Gi-Su (Choi Young Woo), the co-pilot, a last minute addition to the team, is the biggest example of a man motivated by greed. Even Song Ji-An (Bae Doo-Na), an astrobiologist hand-picked for the mission, has her own reasons for joining. Despite her initial hesitation and rejection when first approached, she agrees to be part of the team when she realizes the mission was to the abandoned Balhae research station on the moon, where her older sister went missing and presumed dead. Watching Song Ji-An's apprehension even before the mission began gave me the sense that the abandoned station held the key to more than just important samples. Her vocality in requesting more information about the true nature of the mission, the loss of one of the team early on in the mission, combined with her demand for an investigation as they methodically uncover the agency lies, is the focal point of what ties all the pieces together for this drama.
As the story progressed, I wasn't surprised to know that the agency planted spies in the midst of the team members, nor was I surprised by the reveal of their identities. However, I was not prepared for the secrecy or nature of the station's research, and the people involved both in the research and the ultimate cover up. At its core, The Silent Sea not only poses uncomfortable questions about the price and lines humans are willing to pay, and cross, to save the human race and world from extinction. And answers the questions through the moral choices of the team members when faced with the cross-divide of immorality, with the unmistakable fact that an end never justifies the means. That no matter the situation, a positive outcome isn't, well, a good thing if the methods used were dishonest, corrupt, harmful, and inhumane. The open ending drives the drama's message even more -- it's not over until it's over. Watch the Series here.