Netflix has premiered its last kdrama of 2021 “The Silent Sea” last night, but does the drama live up to its expectations?
I’ve had my eyes on “The Silent Sea” for over a year now. It marks a lot of things, it is Lee Joon’s first post-military comeback, it is also Gong Yoo’s first-ever drama since the massive success of “Goblin,” and its also produced by the famous Jung Woo Sung. Thus, expectations were high… how did it end up being? Quite average to be honest.
NOTE: this is a spoiler review of the drama
Im gonna be honest with you, the first thought I had after the drama concluded was, ‘so this is it?’ the second thing that came to mind was just how unaffected I was by what I’ve seen, it felt like the drama drained from my memory as soon as it entered it. For a drama this massive, I expected it to linger in my thoughts for a lot longer.
“The Silent Sea” is the type of kdrama that’ll divide people, I think some will say its the best thing they’ve seen while others will say it was just average. Both sides have merit, I tend to stand on the second side.
I think it will also depend on how much you like the actors involved in this project, if you really like them, chances are you’ll find yourself more engaged with the story.
“The Silent Sea” is written by screenwriter Park Eun Kyo who famously worked on some of the best Korean movies ever, some very memorable watching experiences too, I still recall her 2009 movie “Mother” every once and a while, that’s how much of an impression it left on me.
The drama would’ve been better suited for a longer movie than a full blown series. While she excels at writing engaging movies, you can see her struggle with this format, they’re too different fields.
The drama has an okay plot. For a kdrama, it is very impressive indeed as it marks the first ever sci-fi Korean drama. But if you see a lot of sci-fi projects, this one just feels average, so it depends on what you’re exposed to. In terms of plot development, it was slow at times and very easy to guess, but it was still fun.
There is a bigger issue with this drama…. Its characters.
“The Silent Sea” struggles most with its characters, none of which feel like real-life human beings, more like vessels to carry the plot. The flashbacks do little service to make us even remotely care about anyone involved, and I walked away not particularly annoyed or sad that anyone had died.
“The Silent Sea” feels sluggish at times and is a bit too long too, it would’ve been nice if some scenes were cut in favor of longer flashback scenes that focus on each character’s motivations and fears, thus, when they’re killed off, I’d feel bad about them. Even Gong Yoo’s character sacrifice, in the end, felt so… meh, like, the dude has a daughter he must look after but chooses to just sacrifice himself like that, very little time is devoted to focusing on what should have led up to making that point stick with people for longer.
I couldn’t care less about Gong Yoo’s character and I wanted to care about Bae Doona’s character but then, the screenwriter makes the very weird choice with the two sisters’ story.
In the drama, through exposition, it is revealed that the two sisters separated when they grew older and didn’t have the best relationship, you could say they had a fallout but not quite that either. There is no emotional scenes, there is literally nothing to grab. This in turn makes me feel odd about why her character is trying so hard to uncover the truth behind her sister’s death if she’s been content with living alone for the majority of her adult life. I would’ve loved to see a bit more about why they fell out, why they stopped contacting each other and why it matters in the grand scheme of things other than just one scene where the two girls are sitting together after what appears to be a funeral they’ve held.
Lee Joon’s character shows potential, but its shoved aside and not properly explained either, so even in his death scene, I just couldn’t bring myself to care about why he’s tormented or knew enough of what led him to that point either. He shows the most potential in terms of properly fleshing a character but that also is poorly done.
Being told something matters through exposition differs greatly from showing why it matters, one is effective, the other isn’t. Don’t tell me it matter, show me why, this is what I found myself thinking about watching this drama.
As a result, the drama feels empty. It is visually pleasing and the story; aside from the characters; is still entertaining, but nothing beyond just surface level. And you can feel that, you can tell its shallow, at times, it feels like the creators are so impressed with having made this rather than focusing on keeping people engaged with the story.
If you’re a fan of anyone in this project, you’ll likely enjoy this one. I guess I am just sad “The Silent Sea” didn’t have a bigger impact on me.
I think if I had not been a kdrama fan or known any actor involved in this project, I would’ve really struggled to watch it in its entirety. I know all the actors and I love them so much, thus, I persisted. Everyone gave an amazing performance and you can really tell they tried so hard to make their characters appear so real covering up for the drama’s lack in that department, but it is so glaringly obvious to the point that not even their amazing performances can mask it.
So this is likely my last review of 2021, thank you so much to everyone who has read any of my reviews. I am sorry if I upset any of you, these are just my opinions so take them as such.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy new year, I’ll see you in 2022.
So these are my thoughts on “The Silent Sea”, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.