Recap: Four of the Five Doctors, plus the Brigadier, Sarah Jane, The Master, a Dalek, some Cybermen, Tegan and Turlough find themselves in “the death zone” on Gallifrey, seemingly playing some “Game”. Five has transmatted back to the citadel and is meeting with the High Council, comprised of President Borusa, Chancellor Flavia and the Castellan.
Borusa demands what The Doctor is basing his accusations on. Five replies that the Cybermen were brought along, and even in their “darkest times”, the Gallifreyans never allowed the Cybermen to play the game.
“Like the Daleks, they play too well.”
Five opens the recall device to reveal a homing beacon. Borusa says that the Castellan gave it to The Master, but the Castellan says The Doctor is seeking revenge. Borusa orders his security to search the Castellan’s living quarters and office.
Back in the death zone, The Master struggles to convince the Cyberleader that he can help. He tells them the tower is the stronghold of the Time Lords, but he can help them. The Cyberleader agrees, promising to spare him in exchange (but not planning to keep his promise.)
Turlough and Susan watch One and Tegan’s progress. Suddenly, they realise there are Cybermen outside the TARDIS.
The Brig and Two continue through the tunnel; the Brig complains all the while. They hear the grumbling roar of some creature and hurry along.
Three and Sarah Jane make their way through the mountains towards the tower. Suddenly, a warrior robot appears. It shoots a spear at her from its arm. It seems to disappear from sight, appearing nearby, then jumping about, disappearing again.
The Doctor leads Sarah to the entrance. The robot appears near them, with its back to them.
Turlough asks if Susan can operate the TARDIS, but she says even though she can it will do no good – the forcefield from the tower still keeps them there.
Tegan and “Doc” (Her name for One, much to his displeasure) make their way.
The search of the Castellan’s quarters turns up a box with the seal of Rassilon on it. Within are the Black Scrolls of Rassilon. Borusa says it is forbidden knowledge. The scrolls burst into flame and Borusa closes the box.
The Castellan denies having seen the box or the scrolls before. Borusa orders him to be interrogated, authorising the use of the “mind probe”. As they take him off, there is a shot and a scream. The Doctor exits, to see that the Castellan has been shot down in an attempt to escape.
Borusa says The Doctor has found his traitor and hopes this will allow his other selves to complete their quests. He says Five cannot go back to the death zone, as the President needs him there to advise. Flavia takes The Doctor off to quarters to rest. Borusa is very pensive.
The Brig and Two flee through the caverns, pursued by the creature. They squeeze through a small hole in the wall and find safety there. A large paw tries to reach them, but Two fends it off with the torch.
Handing the torch over, Two searches his pockets for something, finding a firework to spook the creature. In the light, they identify it as a Yeti. The creature, enraged, attacks the opening, causing the rocks to slide down and block the hole they slipped through. Searching their area, they find it leads to a door. The door is unlocked and Two says that “someone…or something wants us to go inside.”
Despite this, they do enter.
The Cybermen are setting up something outside the TARDIS.
A Cyberman trailing Three and Sarah arrives. The robot attacks it, killing it. More Cybermen arrive, quickly dispatched by the robot. EVEN MORE Cybermen arrive (jeebus, how many are there?) Yet again, the Cybermen are killed with ease.
While the robot is distracted with them, Three and Sarah grab the robot’s spare… well, Three calls them “arrows” but they’re more like javelins. Three also grabs some bundles of cable. They move on and find themselves on the mountain facing the top of the tower.
Flavia assures The Doctor that his friends and other selves are safe. He tells her he’s more worried about the High Council, saying that the Castellan was limited and narrow minded, but always loyal to Gallifrey.
Five says the traitor is still at large. Flavia says she will speak to the commander. Five goes off to speak to Borusa.
Three lassos the tower and he and Sarah Jane slide across to the tower, while The Master and Cybermen watch from lower down on the mountain. They, too, find an unlocked door waiting for them, and enter.
Tegan and One stand at the main entrance. The Doctor finds an “entry coder” and opens to the door.
Susan says the Cybermen are setting up a bomb outside the TARDIS.
One tells Tegan to be careful as she approaches a checkerboard floor. He starts tossing coins onto the squares. The death trap doesn’t activate until you reach the fifth row of squares, then electricity arcs all about.
The Master comes up behind them, saying their ancestors were devious. When The Doctor questions who he is, he says they knew each other at the academy. He tells them they need to hide, just before the Cybermen arrive. They do so, just in time.
The Cyberleader questions why the main entrance was unguarded, but The Master says the Time Lords are overconfident. When instructed, The Master strolls across the board, with no repercussions, then skips back. But when the Cyberpatrol crosses, they are all blasted down.
The Cyberleader accuses him of betraying him, and tells him to show him the safe route, or he will destroy him. Despite the route changing each time, The Master seems to know it and leads the Cyberleader.
However, mid-route, the renegade Time Lord turns and shoots the Cyberleader with a Cybergun.
Tegan and One come out and she chastises The Master for his ruthlessness (showing mercy for Cybermen, when they were responsible for Adric’s death? Out of character for Tegan.) He skips across again and says it’s “easy as pie”.
The Doctor remarks, “What an extraordinary fellow. As easy as pie?” Suddenly, The Doctor realises he meant Pi. The Doctor says that the formula for Pi is the key. He walks across and then directs her across.
Five arrives at the Council room, but the President is not there, much to the guards posted outside surprise. Five tells the guard to inform Flavia, and then begins poking about.
Three and Sarah Jane make their way through the dark tower. Sarah Jane stops, saying something is stopping her, some force. Three says it is the mind of Rassilon, keeping her at bay. She sits down while Three goes on a bit.
While he’s separated, Mike Yates shows up, as is Liz Shaw – they say someone else he should know well is waiting – implying the Second Doctor. When Three goes back to get Sarah, they try to stop him.
Three realises they’re phantoms, “illusions of the mind,” and runs back to Sarah Jane. The phantoms call out to him to stop. Three reunites with Sarah Jane and they head onward.
Tegan feels the same as Sarah Jane; One says it’s all mental illusion and to just ignore it. The Master skulks behind them, following.
The Brigadier also feels it. Two explains it much like the first two. They hear a scream and investigate, though The Doctor says it could be a trap. Over and again, the scream continues.
Rounding the corner, they find Jamie and Zoe in the hall, warning them off. They claim there is a forcefield, and if he goes on or tries to free them, it will kill them.
Two realises that when they were returned to their own times, the Time Lords erased their memories. They, too, are phantoms. They move on, engaging in some wonderful banter:
“Trust me, Brigadier, have I ever led you astray?”
“Yes, on many occasions.”
“This will be the exception!”
In the council chamber, Five sees a painting of a harp player. There is also an actual harp. Playing with it, The Doctor realises it is a key to a secret door.
One and Tegan reach the actual tomb chamber. There is an obelisk that One examines while Tegan looks around. Three and Sarah Jane arrive shortly thereafter, and yes, there’s more Doctor on Doctor banter. Fun stuff.
The two Doctors examine the obelisk while Sarah Jane and Tegan introduce themselves and chat. One asks “What happened to the little fellow,” but before Three can answer, Two and the Brig arrive. The three Doctors (aw, yay!) banter and inspect, while the ladies greet the Brig.
Three is delighted to see the Brig and they shake hands. Before the Brig can complain too much, Three dismisses him and heads back to the obelisk. The companions exchange notes.
The three Doctors divine what it is all about, but One says it’s nothing to do with them. They simply need to leave. When the companions demand an explanation, One directs Two to fill them in.
It turns out that whomever takes the ring from Rassilon’s hand will get “the reward he seeks.” However, there is a warning of “to lose is to win and to win is to lose.”
At hearing how to gain the immortality, The Master steps out of the shadows. He rants at them, saying he came to help them, but he was scorned. Now he will help himself to immortality. The three Doctors protest, but he holds them off with his TCE.
The Brig sneaks up behind him and knocks out The Master with a right cross. Yay, Brig!!
(Yes, I know, The Master is my favourite Time Lord. But it’s the Brig, yo.)
Back at the TARDIS, the Cybermen (how many are there?) have set up multiple bombs. Apparently, the Cyberleader is with this crew, not one who went into the tower.
Turlough and Susan fret within, watching as the Cybermen withdraw from the perimeter of the TARDIS.
Five finally sees that the painting of the person playing the harp has a tune in the painting. He plays it, and reveals the gameboard and pieces and controls in a secret room!
Borusa, dressed in black robes, is there. He offers The Doctor his hand. The Doctor confesses he did suspect him, though not at first. The Doctor asks what has happened to Borusa. The President says he will not retire, his work half done. He wants to be President Eternal, to rule forever.
Tegan and Sarah Jane truss up The Master.
Three reverses the polarity of the neutron flow (take a drink everyone!) so the TARDIS will be free of the forcefield. Two attempts to contact the capital.
The TARDIS activates as the Cybermen detonate the bombs.
Borusa goes on, quite madman-like ranty, about following Rassilon’s clues. He says that the secret lies in the tomb. He sent the Doctors to get past all the traps. Borusa says that The Doctor will serve him; Five says he never will.
But Borusa is wearing the Coronet of Rassilon and that amplifies his mind to control others. He demonstrates by making Five bow before him, and then rise and accompany him as he departs the secret room.
The TARDIS arrives in the tower. Turlough and Susan join the others.
Two appears on the videoscreen of the transmat device. Five, under Borusa’s control, tells them not to meddle with anything until Borusa arrives to take charge.
After the conversation is over, Three says that something is wrong. Two mocks him for finding menace in his own shadow, but One agrees with Three.
Borusa and Five appear in the transmat booth in the tomb room. When the companions approach, Borusa compels them to be silent and not move.
One, Two and Three say they will not allow Borusa to win. They join their minds and ask Five to join them. They free him from Borusa’s control and he joins them; the four wills combined are more than the President, even with the Coronet, can handle.
Borusa says they cannot overcome him; Five says that Flavia and her guards will soon arrive. Borusa says that since he is the Lord President and they are an infamous renegade, Flavia will believe him, not they.
Suddenly, a booming voice announces, “This is the Game of Rassilon!”
Borusa moves to the voice, over by the tomb proper. One stops Five from following.
Rassilon (whose face appears in the air above his body) asks who disturbs him, what they seek. Borusa identifies himself, saying he seeks immortality. Rassilon asks who the Doctors are, and Borusa says they are his servants.
Three, Five and Two deny this, but One assures him the President speaks true. He asserts that Borusa deserves “the immortality he seeks”.
Rassilon instructs Borusa to take the ring; the President does so. Rassilon asks Borusa if he is sure, once more, asking if he will turn back. Borusa says “Never!” When instructed, Borusa puts on the ring.
Rassilon says, “Others have come to claim immortality through the ages. It was given to them, as it shall be given to you.” When he says this, stone faces on the side of the tomb become animated, their eyes glancing about helplessly.
There is a blank space. “Your place is prepared, Lord President Borusa,” and Borusa becomes a face in the blank spot. The ring returns to Rassilon’s finger.
The companions recover.
Rassilon asks if the Doctors claim immortality. They quickly deny this, saying they only wish to be returned to their proper place and times. Rassilon agrees to this, as well as to freeing the Fourth Doctor and Romana from the vortex. And The Master, whom Rassilon says “his sins will find their punishment in due time” disappears as well.
Rassilon says it is time for them to say their farewells and depart. He commends them on choosing well, and then he fades from sight. (Well, his floating face does; his body remains there all the while, laying atop the stone.)
Five asks One if he knew all along what would happen, but he says he suddenly realised what the warning meant, the one about winning and losing. He says it was a trap to remove those who sought immortality.
Farewells are said. One and Susan go into the TARDIS, followed by Two (who has to exchange name-calling with Three first) and the Brig, then Three and Sarah Jane go in.
After the others go in the TARDIS, Five says, “I’m definitely not the man I was… thank goodness.”
Tegan ask how they’re all going to travel together, but then each of the Doctors goes off in a triangle from the time scoop.
(That’s funny, I remembered it being separate TARDISes that branched off from Five’s.)
Flavia and several guards arrive by transmat. Five greets her, telling her that the legend of Rassilon is true. She says he has evaded his responsibilities far too long and he must replace Borusa, as the Council has appointed him the replacement.
She says that to refuse this would incur the wrath of the council. He deputises her until his return and (after instructing the companions back into the TARDIS under his breath), orders the guards to escort her back to the citadel.
In the TARDIS, The Doctor explains to his companions that he’s not going back to rule Gallifrey.
Tegan questions this, “You mean you’re deliberately choosing to go on the run from your own people, in a rackety old TARDIS?”
“Why not,” The Doctor replies as the camera zooms in on him, “after all, that’s how it all started,”… and the credits roll.
A fun story. Makes me excited to see the 50th anniversary special later this year.