The Silent City

Posted in Audio by - March 20, 2024
The Silent City

Released March 2024


With the Silent Priest now installed in a position of power over the joint forces of Kay Aradhana and Bud Shacket in a thriving Sunset City that has seen crime plummet as a result, the particular facts fueling this tourist destination’s resurgence don’t quite make sense. In ‘The Silent City’ by David K Barnes, the Seventh Doctor has come to investigate, finding the casino to be the centre of some mysterious operation he can’t quite remember as he faces the consequences of actions his next incarnation will come to take.

Of course, the structure of two crime bosses ceding power to a figure they knew they could never remember is inherently a flawed one that makes little logistical sense as the Eighth Doctor previously tried to point out and question. Nonetheless, the results are fascinating to see on multiple levels. While crime rates have unquestionably dropped, it’s clear that crimes are very much still happening but without any followup in terms of police pursuit, witness testimony, or ultimate confession. The police were shown to be rather ineffective in this city’s former crime-ridden state, but the reports detailing Nalah Massi’s many believed first encounters with the casino’s manager hint at the far stranger truth that has taken hold of this city more recently. Indeed, as wealthy individuals play surprisingly poorly with seemingly no concern about the vast amounts of money they are losing at the casino, it’s all too clear that something is awry, something that becomes all the more prevalent when inexplicable events in Sunset City begin to directly and significantly influence the stock market.

While it would have been easy to show the Silent Priest changed for the worse through his association with Kay and Bud even as it becomes clear that he has sought their advice on ways to ensure a constant revenue through the casino, Barnes takes the altogether more powerful approach of showing a misguided individual doing his best to genuinely help this city and its many poor individuals via the money his influence can procure. This is a startlingly effective contrast to the faction of the Silence shown on screen and further helps to develop this terrifyingly powerful race as a whole while leading into the general discussion about the Silence’s general stance about non-intervention. This latter fact is particularly interesting simply because of just how incessantly the Silence work to seek down perceived rogue elements, and while it’s not clear why the Doctor had to become involved in their schemes as a means of gathering information, the Doctor’s shock about his unknown role in these affairs is brilliantly realized by showing that even the master manipulator is fully at the mercy of anything the Silence want and say. Sylvester McCoy is immense throughout as his Doctor tries to work around the similar gaps in everyone’s memories to piece together the truth, but this moment is profoundly powerful and cements the limitless power and threat the Silence can pose when they so choose.

With the mafia angle of the previous story eliminated to focus on the new partnership and mysterious boss figure on top, the excess of overexaggerated accents in thankfully absent as well. This helps to create a far more immersive experience in this second half that is likewise far more visual and natural in its plot development without so much flat exposition present. ‘The Silent City’ as a whole is another engaging and strong outing for this Classic Doctors, New Monsters series, utilizing incredible sound design and direction alongside its strong core performances to prove how much potential this era-blending format still holds and just how much more there is to explore about the Silence and their many beliefs and roles.

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