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The Silent Sea Ending Explained - Energy And Water Development Corp

The Silent Sea Ending Explained


Netflix’s The Silent Sea ends by breaking its overarching aura of grimness to a certain extent, although the feelings evoked are bittersweet. Director Choi Hang-yong’s 8-episode series has been adapted from his own 2014 short film, The Sea of Tranquility. Being a dystopian K-drama, The Silent Sea touches upon resource scarcity and its horrid implications, and the absolutely unscrupulous manner in which capitalistic structures exploit the same.

Set in the near future, The Silent Sea opens with the earth facing a major water scarcity after natural sources dry up due to climate change, leading to tightly-sanctioned distributions based on class and social hierarchy. An official of the Space and Aeronautics Administration (SAA), Kim Jae-sun (Heo Sung-tae) pays a visit to astrobiologist Dr. Song Ji-an (Bae Doona) for a covert, 24-hour mission to the lunar base, Balhae Station. Once the crew is assembled and debriefed, things start to go amiss as secrets regarding the SAA’s operations start coming to light.

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The Silent Sea situates its focus on the tense 24-hour mission in Balhae Station, wherein the crew are chiefly responsible for bringing back a sample shrouded in mystery. As the series progresses, it is revealed that almost every crew member has their own reasons to accept the mission, and what the actual intentions behind the mission are. Here are some of the burning questions that dominate the narrative thread of The Silent Sea that contribute to the understanding of the space sci-fi odyssey‘s ending.

What is the Significance of Lunar Water in The Silent Sea?


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Since episode 1, it has been implied that one of the core reasons for Dr. Song to join the SAA crew for retrieval of a sample in Balhae Station was to unravel the truth about her sister’s death, who happened to work her. Song’s sister, Song Wonkyung, was not only one of the primary researchers on the base but had also discovered water on the moon, termed Lunar Water. As this entire operation was kept under wraps, the SAA crew are initially unaware of the exact properties of the “sample”, which in actuality, is the lunar water that holds the potential to solve Earth’s water crisis for good.


However, what Director Choi and the SAA chose to omit from the brief was the fact that lunar water contained wholly different properties than the water on earth, behaving in a virus-like manner when in contact with a human host. When in the early stages of theorizing, Song and onboard medic Doc Hong come to the conclusion that lunar water multiplies when inside a human host, essentially drowning internal organs and causing a painful death. While lunar water’s virality is extremely contagious, its effects are mellowed when stored under 80 degrees celsius, which is why Song and Hong are not affected by it towards the end.


What Happened on Balhae Station Before It Was Closed Down?


Balhae Station used to be a full-fledged lunar space station, wherein scientists and experts experimented on the nature of lunar water, and the ways in which the SAA could utilize it to exert their dominance while solving the crisis. Due to the inherently incompatible nature of the lunar water with human genetics, clones named Luna were created with the aid of gene modification, on whom the samples would be tested. However, as the clones mimicked human physiognomy, the lunar water would continue to damage their systems, leading to the deaths of at least 72 Luna clones. Only Luna 073 was able to survive the lunar water within her system—moreover, she was able to imbibe its many properties and gained superhuman abilities due to experimentation, including the power to heal injuries.


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Five years prior to the events of the series, Balhae Station was accidentally flooded by lunar water, leading to the death of all those inside it, and the doors were locked from outside on SAA orders when things got out of hand. This occurred because the SAA did not want any survivors who could leak the covert operations at the base (experimentation, genetic cloning, the death of sentient beings), leading them to die instead. Lieutenant Ryoo Tae-seok, who came with Captain Han (Squid Game’s Gong Yoo) on the mission and worked for RX (Resource Exploration Mafia), was one of the men ordered to leave the scientists behind, including Song’s sister, a decision that traumatized him enough to join the mission to right wrongs in his own way.


What Role Does Luna 073 Play In The Events of The Silent Sea?


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With next to no information about the sample they were supposed to retrieve, and the mysterious body they found outside the base that pointed at death by drowning, the crew was already on-edge when they entered Balhae. When they attempt to retrieve the sample, they are viciously attacked by a young girl named Luna, who Song believes has some connection with her sister. The young girl is Luna 073, the sole survivor of the Balhae incident, who is not only able to overcome the virality of lunar water but also weaponize it in the form of superhuman abilities.

The reason why Luna 073 was able to achieve what her predecessors could not, is due to the fact that Song Wongkyung combined human DNA with that of fish, after her observation that fish could survive in lunar water. This is most probably why Luna sports gill-like protrusions on her face and is able to move around in a swift, fluid fashion, as her genetic modification and gene hybridity allow her to do so. Similar in many ways to Firefly‘s River Tam, Luna is unpredictable throughout the series, although she is probably deeply lonely within, and craves companionship. As Wongkyung’s last message to her sister was “Find Luna”, Dr. Song adopts a maternal role in protecting the child, as she is a testament of progress and potentially humanity’s last hope.


Does Captain Han Survive At The End?


Towards the end of The Silent Sea, survivors Han, Hong, Luna, and Song make their way safely to gate number 7, with the intention of depressurizing the chamber and venturing outside the base. However, the depressurizing process could only be done manually, which Captain Han quickly comprehends, deciding to sacrifice himself in order to save the sample and the rest of the crew, along with Luna. While Han is engulfed in lunar water, hinting at the fact that his system was contaminated, he is seen outside the base, probably due to the force of the stream that pushed him outwards. While his helmet powers down, the audience sees Luna holding out his badge with his daughter’s sticker on it to him, which he does not reach out for. While unlikely, this means there is potentially still hope for him, owing to Luna’s healing powers, and the fact that the rescue team arrives at that very moment.


What Does The Ending of The Silent Sea Really Mean


The Silent Sea Trailer Image

The Silent Sea ends with Luna, Hong, and Song being rescued, while Captain Han’s fate remains ambiguous. Once outside the base, Luna takes off her space-suit, walking freely along the craters of the moon, which would probably mean that the lunar water inside her system has granted her the ability to survive the moon’s atmosphere. While it is unclear as to what Luna’s future entails, Song would likely try her best to provide her with a healthy, balanced life while working on making lunar water suitable for human usage and consumption. However, the implications still remain grim, as the SAA are capitalists at the core, willing to amplify their influence at the cost of ethics and equity. Moreover, there is no sure-shot way of making sure that lunar water is suitable for one and all, as even a distilled, compatible version could be a misfit for certain individuals and age groups.


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