Wish Upon A Star
On the surface, SF8’s latest episode is a simple tale around life and death. The themes are definitely prevalent throughout the 50 minute episode but visually the episode tells a much more profound and interesting tale.
Episode 3 of SF8 wastes little time throwing us head-first into this pollution-choked world of the future. The year is 2043 and a thick layer of dust clings to the atmosphere. In a bid to try and combat this, the world is divided into two groups – C’s (cleans) and N’s.
C’s are given an antibody reserved for the rich elite allowing them to live for up to 100 years. N’s (non-cleans) are not so lucky. Instead, they can only live up to 30 years.
Our main character here is Yio, who wears a power purifying suit outside to try and preserve her lifespan. Given the short life expectancy, N’s are rare at college but she shows up and studies regardless.
Given she was a C all her life, the sudden doctor’s assessment came as quite the shock to her. Now she’s struggling to adjust to her newfound circumstances.
The world is very different now and as Yio is driven home by her friend Kyung, they arrive at N Town. There, a guide shows them around and explains how the city works. Instead of bemoaning their luck and living in misery, Yio sees that these men and women are happy and living their best life.
One such example is Joan, who works in a coffee shop. When Yio heads inside, she immediately becomes frazzled and rushes away. Back at the university, she finds Joan standing before her. Touching her wrist, the two finally start communicating.
Given Yio is now an N, she clings to Joan as a way of opening up and becoming more carefree. Together, they wind up in an underground bar complete with music. As it turns out, the keyboard player is actually Joan’s sister, Yi Jeong.
The evening is certainly a new experience for Yio who’s whisked up on this adventure, including dancing in the rain and hanging out at an observatory. Under the dancing stars, they look at one another and smile. It’s a moment of pure happiness and something Yio clings to.
In the morning Yio returns home where her Mother berates her for heading out without a suit on. Despite her tumor becoming malignant, Yio refuses to wear her suit again. Instead, she heads back to spy on Hyun-Soo, the guy who had the antibody injection instead of her.
There, she receives a new perspective on how he’s living and it certainly gets her thinking.
However, she’s unable to tell Jean about her surgery. When Yio doesn’t show up to college, Joan struggles to conduct her presentation as she think over the great time she had with Yio.
We then cut forward one year later. Yio’s surgery goes well and she’s able to live freely like other N’s. It turns out the real person who received the antibody was not Hyun Soo but instead Joan. As she watches her up on the big screen, it turns out she’s gone on to become a scientist.
The Episode Review
The idea of making the most of time is a really great concept explored beautifully by the subtle inclusion of pollution and humanity causing their own downfall.
Most people live life waiting unitl they receive bad news or a life threatening injury before making substantial changes in their life. This is reflected through the N’s and the C’s.
The C’s may be clean but their minds are clouded by fear that prevents them living their best lives. The N’s meanwhile know their days are numbered and instead live to their fullest for the short time they have on this planet.
It’s a really beautiful metaphor and something told really strikingly through the colours. Everything is bathed in yellow and oranges when Joan is nearby.
Yio’s yellow dress is a reflection of her newfound optimism and symbolizes warmth and joy. Back with her mother everything is white and muted. This episode is a perfect example of how the small screen can really elevate an otherwise simple tale into something much more profound.
Ultimately though SF8 has been a really solid anthology series so far and this episode is no exception. As we near the halfway point of this series, every week offers something new making for a really enjoyable anthology.
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