The 20th anniversary special, this is not technically part of the 20th season, but stands alone. I remember this one well and it’s pretty darn good.

We open with a snippet of The Doctor’s heartfelt speech to his granddaughter, Susan, upon leaving her on Earth. Then the opening credits roll!

An alien landscape. The insides of a fortress seen amongst the mountains.

Then, switching to Turlough walking amongst some ruins. He sits down with a sketchpad and sketches the landscape.

In the TARDIS (looking spiffy, I’m guessing a new set), The Doctor polishes the console. Tegan enters, wearing a different outfit. She asks if he repaired everything, but he argues the TARDIS is more than a machine. However, to her point, he has difficulty opening the door.

He exits, and strolls along the ruins, finding Turlough. He admires Turlough’s sketch. Tegan joins the boys. Apparently, this is the Eye of Orion they spoke of at the end of The King’s Demons. Tegan asks if they can stay and The Doctor agrees they can, for a while, as they’re “due for a rest”.

Elsewhere, a mysterious gloved hand works some controls. We see, on the screen, the edifice from the opening.

The First Doctor is seen strolling along a garden. (Obviously, as William Hartnell had already passed away, the First Doctor is played by Richard Hurndall.) A mysterious twirling triangle of energy zooms down, and though he attempts to run away, he is snatched up.

The gloved hand takes a figure of the First Doctor that has appeared in a lightbox in the wall out and sets it on what appears to be a gameboard of some sort.

The Fifth Doctor clutches his chest, gasping in pain. He explains he felt “a twinge of cosmic angst,” “…as if I’d lost something.”

Inside the UNIT HQ, the Brig is visiting, apparently some form of reunion. He talks to his replacement, Colonel Crichton, and they talk of The Doctor. Just then, the Second Doctor bursts in, greeting the Brig. The Doctor says he read the article on the Brig’s speech in tomorrow’s newspaper and hopes he’s not too late for it.

The Brig and The Doctor go for a walk (the former hoping to get the latter away from his replacement, hoping not to cause any offense.) They reminisce about Yeti, Cybermen, Omega and others.

However, The Doctor says he has to go – he’s not really supposed to be there. However, before farewells can be said, the same force that kidnapped the First Doctor grabs the two of them.

Figurines of the two of them appear and are placed in the board.

The Doctor says, “It’s fading, it’s all fading. Great chunks of my past, detatching themselves like melting icebergs.” He tells his companions that all is well, but then collapses.

The Third Doctor is driving Bessie, when he sees the energy triangle. He tries to avoid it, but he and the car are snatched up by it.

He, too, is added to the field of play. (No figurine for Bessie, though.)

Turlough posits that The Doctor is under some psychic attack. The Doctor says he needs to get back to the TARDIS and the companions assist him. En route, he gasps again. He says he has to find his other selves.

Sarah Jane is leaving her flat, but K-9 tells her there is danger and she should not go out. He cannot identify the cause of danger, only that it is extreme and getting worse. When he tells her that The Doctor is involved, she says he’s imagining things and leaves.

The Fourth Doctor and Romana II are shown in footage from the (then unaired) Shada. The Doctor is piloting their punt, when the force abducts them. (Tom Baker had declined to appear, so the footage from the incomplete serial was used.)

The gloved hands work the controls, frustrated at the inability to manifest figurines of Four and Romana Two.

In the TARDIS, The Fifth Doctor collapses.

At the bus stop, Sarah Jane is abducted. She is added to the game board next to Three.

The TARDIS column rises and falls rhythmically. Turlough is surprised to discover that The Doctor has two hearts. As they watch, The Doctor seems to fade off and on, as the TARDIS materialises.

The gloved hands add three more figurines to the game board.

Turlough says the instruments say they’re no where and no time. When Tegan asks what they do, he says they wait.

Time Lords mill about hallways in the grand city. The Lord President Borusa attends a meeting of the Inner Council and protests involving someone who is awaiting them. They remind him that the Council has over-ruled him and they bring in The Master.

Borusa offers him a complete pardon, including a complete cycle of regenerations – to earn this, he must “rescue The Doctor.”

The First Doctor wanders some halls with crystalline walls. Lightning and thunder crash all about. Suddenly, he sees a shadow of a woman – it’s Susan!!! They embrace, happy to have found each other. She asks him what’s happening, but he’s clueless.

As they question their situation, a Dalek rounds the corner and they rush off. The Dalek pursues, shooting wildly, shouting for The Doctor’s death.

The Inner Council shows The Master the “death zone”, which has recently become active. It is draining energy from the Eye of Harmony, enough so to endanger all of Gallifrey.

When The Master asks if they bothered investigating on their own, Borusa says that two of the High Council went and did not return. They explain that The Doctor has been lifted out of time – only the Fourth can be found, trapped in some limbo.

A cosmos without The Doctor scarcely bears thinking about,” The Master muses. When he asks why they want him, he’s told that they need someone ruthless and cunning. Again, they ask if he will go.

Five continues to fade in and out, but he becomes mostly rooted. He tells them he’s being drawn into a time vortex, but must find his other selves and be whole.

Susan and her grandfather flee the Dalek. It chases them into a dead end. They hide and when the Dalek approaches, they push it into the cul-de-sac and it fires. It’s beams bounce off the reflective walls and it ends up killing itself.

Part of the wall is blasted open and they recognise the Dark Tower – they both know it and where on Gallifrey they are – the “death zone”. The Doctor says they will find their answers in the tower.

The Brig complains about the wintry rocky terrain they find themselves in, while Two says it’s not his fault.

You attract trouble, Doctor, you always did,” the Brigadier sums up his complaints.

They seem something moving, at a distance, in the mist, and crouch behind a partial wall. A metallic hand reaches out and grabs the Brig’s wrist, but Two beats at the hand until it lets go and he and the Brig dash off.

The movement in the mist is Three in Bessie. He stops to take in the area, and sees someone moving.

Sarah Jane, wandering in the mist, falls down a slope, crying out. Three, hearing her, calls out to wait and lowers a rope down, tied to Bessie, and drags her out. Sarah Jane is amazed to see that he’s still Three and not Four, and confused when he explains that hasn’t happened yet.

They get into Bessie, so he can explain while they travel.

Five cannot recall what he’s supposed to do; Tegan and Turlough remind him he wants to send a signal to become whole, but before he can do anything, he collapses again.

The First Doctor takes a break, but Susan sees the TARDIS and they go to it. They enter, finding the Fifth Doctor and companions. One demands to know what they’re doing in his TARDIS.

The companions explain that it’s “his TARDIS,” indicating the fallen Five. One asks who he is, and Turlough answers, “The Doctor,” and One seems to ‘recognise’ himself once this is pointed out.

Seemingly revived by his other self’s presence, Five awakens and tries to explain how he got there, but he doesn’t know. One says it doesn’t matter, and is delighted to find out there are “five of me running around.”

Introductions are made; Tegan (having known the Fourth Doctor) understands the two Doctors should not be together. They agree, saying it only happens in the gravest emergencies.

One starts barking orders, saying Tegan needs to fetch some beverages. Before she can go ballistic, Five begs her to play along.

The council gives The Master the Seal of the High Council (to prove his working for them) and a recall for the transmat so they can bring him back when he needs to speak to them.

The Master asks if anyone is going to wish him luck, but Borusa says he will wish him success, “…for all our sakes.” Personal note: when people say “wish me luck,” I always wish them success and I believe this is where I first picked that up.

The Castellan activates the transmat, sending The Master into the death zone. Borusa dismisses Flavia and the Castellan, saying he would prefer to wait alone.

The Master comes across a dessicated Time Lord, musing, “One of my predecessors.” A blast of energy comes near him and he calmly remarks about the inhospitable environment.

Two confirms his suspicions – they are in the death zone on Gallifrey – and explains to the Brig about the history of said place. In the days before Rassilon, his people abused their powers and would kidnap beings from other worlds and times and put them in the death zone. They set off to the Dark Tower, which Two says is Rassilon’s tomb.

One and Five argue whether to send the signal and wait (One’s preferred plan) or to go out (Five’s side.) It’s a classic example of the difference between the Doctors.

They set about setting up the “computer scanner” to see what’s out there.

Bessie moves down a road through a gnarled forest. Three explains that the zone was a setting of “the games”, until Rassilon put an end to it. He stops to get his bearings and indicates the Tomb of Rassilon to Sarah Jane.

The Master steps out and calls out to them. Three stops the car and isn’t sure he recognises him. They drive back and banter, The Doctor presuming The Master is behind it all. His enemy says he’s working for the High Council, presenting the seal as proof.

The Doctor says it’s probably stolen and doesn’t believe The Master is there to help. There’s more banter, but a thunderbolt strikes the ground near The Master. He dashes off, and Three drives off in Bessie, thinking it’s a trap.

One and Five have pulled up a schematic of the Dark Tower (the Stephen King fan in me is loving that name), identifying three entrances – the main, one above and one below.

One argues against Five’s plan to go in via the main door.

Bessie has been disabled by the thunderbolts. Three claims this proves it was a trap.

Borusa orders a technician to stabilise Four in the part of the vortex he is trapped. The Castellan arrives to inquire if there’s any news from The Master.

Two wonders if Rassilon brought them there. The Brig wonders about that if Rassilon was dead. They discuss the legends of Rassilon – The Doctor says that some speak of Rassilon not being a good guy, despite the official history.

Two posits that they could be playing the “Game of Rassilon”. The Brig says he guesses they’re not expected to win. Two frowns and they set off towards the tower again.

Five heads off with Susan and Tegan in tow; Turlough remains in the TARDIS with One.

Three and Sarah see a Cyberpatrol of Cybermen Cybermarching through forest.

In the TARDIS, One identifies the presence of two more Doctors… and wonders what happened to the final one.

Two and the Brig approach the tower, the Time Lord singing a nursery rhyme about the tower, trying to recall how to enter. They find some torches and a brazier and after he lights one, Two leads the Brig into a cave.

Five, Tegan and Susan encounter The Master. When the renegade Time Lord says he knows it will be hard to believe, but he means them no harm, Five replies with, “Like Alice, I try to believe three impossible things before breakfast.”

As the two Time Lords confer, and the companions worry from afar, a Cyberman Cyberspots them and Cyberreports to the Cyberleader. (Ok, ok, I’ll stop.) The Cyberleader orders that they be kept alive and interrogated.

The Master and The Doctor banter and threaten each other. The Master tries to convince him he’s legit, and even says his credentials were taken by another self.

The Cyberpatrol approaches the Time Lords; the companions dash off, and the Time Lords are attacked. The Master is knocked out. The Doctor takes the transmat recall device, and beams away as the Cyberpatrol arrives to take him prisoner.

Susan and Tegan rush off, Susan limping after hurting her leg (which I seem to recall happened frequently during her time with the TARDIS.)

Five arrives where Borusa, Flavia and the Castellan await.

The Master is taken prisoner by the Cybermen, but offers his services to them.

Back in the TARDIS, Tegan inspects Susan’s leg. One suspects that Five escaped via a transmat, but says with “our young friend” gone, he will have to go to the Dark Tower himself. Tegan says she will go with him, though the Time Lord is less than delighted.

Five discovers that he was wrong about The Master; Borusa says if he survived, “I’m sure he will learn to live with the misjudgment.”

When Five wonders who is using the death zone and the time scoop, the Council tells him they were hoping he could tell them. They say if he suspects the time scoop was used, it would be a Time Lord.

Five says he suspects it would be a rather important one, at that, eyeing the three of them. When Borusa asks if he has evidence, he says he doesn’t yet.

And that’s where we’ll leave off until Friday my friends, as this is the halfway point of the story…

Advertisements