It’s time to rejoin the UNIT gang with Kate Stewart and Petronella Osgood in their third Big Finish box set outing, UNIT: Silenced. They’ve battled the Autons and Tengobushi, but how will they manage to defeat an enemy they don’t know they’re fighting? Today, I’ll be reviewing the third story in the box set, Silent Majority.
Kenneth LeBlanc looks set to lead his party to national victory, overturning political opinion and taking the polls by storm. UNIT can only stand and watch as a silent revolution takes place.
But who are LeBlanc’s real backers? And what use to them is the triumph of a leader who seems to be nothing more than a liability?
The Silents are about to make the headlines.
The people at UNIT are finally realising that they’re fighting a seemingly impossible war. Kate especially seems to realise that she’s been trying to fight the Silence/ Silents for a very long while, and she’s no idea how well it’s going. It’s never happened to me (I don’t think) but that has to be infuriating.
Meanwhile, Kenneth LeBlanc is quickly becoming a predominant figure in the political world, even though he seemingly has no clue what he’s doing either. Luckily, he has Josh Carter’s endorsement and devotion, and LeBlanc is noticing.
I think that Silent Majority really highlights how interesting Josh is as a character, especially when he challenges Osgood’s beliefs and reaffirms his loyalty to the ‘future Prime Minister’ LeBlanc. And then we get a twist. A very UNIT-y twist. A brilliant Osgood twist. A great twist. Using a hologram of the Silence to manipulate Josh into forgetting some very important details of events. It’s a true flash of genius.
It seems that within the second act of Silent Majority, we get a set up to the events that I can only assume will happen in In Memory Alone. The Silents/ Silence are clearly using their powers of influence to get Kenneth LeBlanc into power, as it transpires that the Silents/ Silence are wanting to start a war. A war with what, or with whom, isn’t too clear, but UNIT seems to realise that they need to brace themselves.
I’m well aware that the characters in UNIT, or any other Big Finish audio for that matter, aren’t real. I know some of you will see that almost as sacrilege, but it’s true. I have to commend both John Dorney and Matt Fitton for writing Osgood as easily the cleverest person in the room at any time. What I love about Osgood is that she’s so understated and almost egoless. She never thinks she does something because she’s so talented and amazing; she does something because it seems that it’s the right thing to do. I know that Big Finish and Doctor Who both feature strong women regularly, but I can’t help but think that Osgood may well be the role model for people everywhere; especially after hearing her in Silent Majority.
Something that’s really interesting in Silent Majority is just how little the Silence are actually in it, which adds to the whole feeling of unease when listening, as you’re never quite sure what they’re up to or how they’re influencing everyone. When they do show up, about thirty minutes in though, they’re arguably at the strongest we’ve ever heard (or seen) them. John Dorney even manages to pull the rug from under your feet again as well. It seems that Kenneth LeBlanc isn’t playing the part you predict…
The climax of the final act is truly spectacular, and adds a sci-fi twist to a situation that could easily be plausible and is a very dark subject matter, along the same lines of extremism and terrorism. Luckily, this morality tale uses the Silence to not be so dark that children wouldn’t want to listen to it.
I have to admit that I had no idea that Silent Majority would end in the way that it did. I’m honestly shocked; it seems that John Dorney manages to shock me rather frequently. Well done Mr. Dorney, well done.
Overall, Silent Majority is yet another amazingly captivating and strong story in the UNIT: Silenced box set, that perfectly sets up what promises to be an epic finale in In Memory Alone. I can honestly say that I’ve never been so engaged in a UNIT box set, and I can’t wait to listen to the conclusion.
Should you want to purchase UNIT: Silenced, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £20 for a limited time for either the CD or digital download.