And we’re off on the second story-arc of ToaTL!

Episode 1:

We zoom in on the space station, and then enter within the courtyard. Again/still, The Doctor and the Valeyard exchange barbs and insults and bait each other until the Inquisitor interjects herself and reprimands them both.

Once that’s settled down, the Valeyard says that they’ve just seen a typical event that illustrates The Doctor’s glee at interfering in other cultures. When The Doctor objects, he is told by the Inquisitor to “sit down and shut up.”

Thank you, Sagacity,” the Valeyard says to her.

Sagacity? You sycophant,” The Doctor addresses the prosecutor. “Since when has that been a form of address used in a Gallifreyan court of law?”

I’m simply showing respect to our learned Inquisitor,” he replies.

An attitude I much approve,” the Inquisitor adds.

Well, you would, wouldn’t you,” The Doctor says, sitting back in his chair, muttering, “Sagacity,” in disbelief.

The Valeyard then begins to introduce his next bit of evidence, saying it was the adventure that The Doctor was currently engaged in when he was removed from time and brought to the court.

The Doctor interrupts (politely, by raising his hand until the Inquisitor allows him to speak), asking about the box (of secrets) and why Earth was two light years away from its original location. When he is told that is not pertinent, he brings up that it was pertinent enough to be bleeped out of the record. The Inquisitor says that is a matter for the High Council, not this court. (Seems she’s gotten over the bit of affront she was demonstrating over it earlier…)

The Valeyard resumes his introduction of the next sequence, with The Doctor’s arrival on the planet Thoros Beta… “24th century, last quarter, fourth year, seventh month, third day.”

We see an alien landscape with a ringed planet in the horizon. Blue rocks, purple-pink ocean water, green sky. The TARDIS materialises in the surf, much to Peri’s amusement.

They see the ringed planet, which The Doctor identifies as Thoros Alpha, the twin planet to Beta. They wade through the pink water, Peri complaining all the while, until The Doctor complains about the irrelevance of this.

The Inquisitor agrees, urging the Valeyard to move to a more important segment. The Valeyard apologises and The Doctor sits back, grinning smugly at the prosecutor.

The Doctor and Peri walk through the blue-white rocks. The Doctor has a device that he says was manufactured on this planet. As they talk, we learn that they got the device (a weapon) from a warlord, who said with his dying words, “Thoros Beta. Send more beings that kill.”

Peri remarks that “Beings that kill wasn’t the only thing he had on his mind,” and then, “Dirty old warlord,” suggesting another example of the badguy/monster-that-falls-for/wants-Peri-as-his syndrome exists even in unaired stories!

The Doctor wants to know how the warlords got such advanced tech, saying that if the people here are interfering with less-advanced societies, “it’s got to be stopped.” Now that’s meta.

When Peri asks if they have to be the ones to do the stopping, The Doctor replies, “Who else is there?”

In the courtroom, the Valeyard addresses this, saying his very words condemn him, that The Doctor feels that only he has the right to meddle and all others should be stopped.

The Doctor retorts, “You’ll soon discover that I made the right decision!” Again the adversaries exchange intense gazes.

The Doctor and Peri discuss the tide, which has gone out already; Peri wonders if it’s due to the sister-planet, but The Doctor says it’s probably mechanical in nature and finds a cave, saying the controls could be in there.

There’s a lovely quote (and really, I’m trying not to quote so much, but it’s so hard – there’s so much great dialogue in these serials and so very salient to what’s going on) when Peri asks if their course of action (exploring the cave) is wise.

The Doctor replies, “My dear girl, if I stopped to question the wisdom of my actions, I’d never have left Gallifrey.”

Peri then replies, “Sometimes I wish you hadn’t.” Okay, Miss Brown, you just doomed yourself to the low reaches of the favourite companion list with that comment!

They share a look and both chuckle.

Peri sees two boxes, which somehow seems to catch her attention. She directs The Doctor’s attention to them, but suddenly a monster grabs her from behind. The Doctor struggles with the monster and the weapon goes off, killing the beastie.

In the courtroom, the Valeyard accuses him, “Another death, Doctor?”

The CD phaser discharged accidentally. Re-run the struggle, see for yourselves,” he retorts.

No need, there are clearer examples of your guilt to come.”

Peri wonders why the creature attacked, but The Doctor doesn’t know. A klaxon is sounding and Peri begins to worry about someone showing up. The Doctor admires some machinery, saying it extracts energy from the sea – much like he suspected earlier.

The klaxon stops and when The Doctor and Peri try to leave, they are confronted by men, who question why the killed the Raak. When they claim self-defense, the lead man says they must have antagonised it somehow.

The man insists that they accompany him (taking the weapon from The Doctor), as when he questioned if they were part of Crozier’s people, they agreed, and he wants to confirm this with Crozier.

In a laboratory, we see a primal man (played by the ever so awesome Brian Blessed) laying in a medical bed. Several people in operating gowns attend to instruments and things attached to the primal, almost savage man. He hisses at one of them. In retaliation, the surgeon (I think that’s Crozier) says, “Let us pacify the brain of this barbarian,” and zaps him through the wired helmet the ‘barbarian’ (King Yrcanos) has strapped to his head.

Outside Crozier’s lab, The Doctor and Peri are told they must wait, as Crozier cannot be disturbed. The Doctor and Peri, trying to hard, refer to him as “good old Crozier”, raising the suspicions of the man, who says that Crozier is “young for a man of science” and asks them to describe him.

The Doctor tries to distract by saying he doesn’t think the Raak is dead. The Doctor says he is a doctor and believes the Raak is still alive. He asks his “nurse”, Peri, to attend him in applying the “skedaddle” test. Peri asks if that’s wise, but is told to come by him and help him out.

They flip the gurney over at the guards and dash off, but the one in charge tells his men not to follow, “There’s nothing down there… only the Lukoser,” as if that explains everything. “We’ll wait here for a minute, then pick up their bodies,” he adds, and I guess that does explain everything.

In the caves, Peri finds a bone. She wants to go back to the TARDIS, but they hear a howling sound. Moving around the corner, they find a humanoid chained, and when Peri kneels by him, he tries to attack her. He seems to be a savage half man, half dog/wolf/something.

Peri tries to talk to him and he grabs at her, but then whimpers, “Help me,” but before any more can progress, something shoots at them, and they dash off from him.

Hearing someone coming, they hide, as a party passes by. Humanoids pass by, several of them carrying aliens known as Mentors – the second known to The Doctor and Peri and to us – the ever-so-undelightfully-delightful Sil!!!! YAY, SIL!!!

That explains the CD phaser sales to Thordon,” The Doctor says after the procession has passed them. It turns out that Thoros Beta is the home planet to the Mentors.

Peri says she wants out, as she is very upset at seeing Sil again. The Doctor all but ignores her and says they have to follow.

In the courtroom, the Valeyard asks, “Do you relish danger, Doctor?”

Not particularly.”

Yet, you seem to court it so obviously.”

Well, even a nervous Time Lord must appear to act with competence at all times,” The Doctor explains.

At this risk of his companion’s life,” the Valeyard demands to know.

And his own, sometimes,” The Doctor replies simply.

The Valeyard points out how many times Peri has been exposed to danger since this sequence started. He then turns to the Inquisitor (again addressing her as ‘Sagacity’), “I have calculated on a random Matrix sample that the Doctor’s companions have been placed in danger TWICE as often as The Doctor!”

Delightfully self-centered, The Doctor replies, “Well, there have been many companions but only ONE me.”

When the Inquisitor asks what the point he is trying to make, the Valeyard replies, “That you remember such information when judgment is considered on taking The Doctor’s life and all future regenerations.” (This is the first that caveat has been mentioned.)

It is noted,” she replies, but The Doctor is outraged. He stands up, “This is the most ridiculous, preposterous travesty of a trial since the so-called witches of…”

Again, Sagac… I mean, the Inquisitor, cuts him off, warning him again about his behavior. She orders the playback to proceed.

Sil and another Mentor are seen, the former eating and the latter complaining about it. It seems the other is Sil’s superior, as Sil is kissing his ass quite boldly. They discuss the Thordon world and their arms dealings and negotiations there.

He asks Sil about King Yrcanos, who says that Crozier is “persuading” him to cooperate.

In the lab, Crozier and his assistant are doing something when Yrcanos awakes, hissing and then saying, “Blood… death… terror… kill,” then yelling incoherently. They increase the power on the machine he’s hooked up to and he goes limp again.

Crozier says that Yrcanos is a barbarian and knows only how to fight, so he is fighting their “attempts to give him peace and tranquility.”

Wonderfully, Yrcanos lifts his head and snaps, “Scum,” at Crozier.

The more stupid the subject, the longer it takes,” Crozier retorts, immaturely.

He and Matrona return to their original work, which seems to have a brain in a bowl of ice. They discuss the ganglions and lesions and detaching both junctions, but before her question is complete, the door opens and the men who had captured The Doctor and Peri enter.

You are forbidden,” Crozier snaps, rushing over towards them. They bring in the Raak, telling him it was murdered.

Kiv (Sil’s superior, who has not been named yet, but I’m going with it already) and Sil discuss the contract the Thordonians.

The Doctor and Peri find a door hatchway, but it suddenly opens. They hide as two men carrying a body on a stretcher pass through, then slip towards the door, but have to hide again as Crozier and Matrona and the head guard dude pass through next. The door is closed behind them.

The Doctor opens the door.

Kiv asks Sil what is next on the agenda, but suddenly he cries out in pain, saying the pressure is getting worse. He says if something is not done soon, Sil will be the one called “Magnificence” (a title Sil has been using thus far.) Sil says he hopes that day does not come for some time, and addresses his superior as Kiv.

Crozier and Matrona arrive with the guard. Crozier says that there is trouble in trying to save Kiv and tells them that the Raak is dead, killed by intruders. Crozier says that if the Raak was in fact, aggressive, he is worried that it was regressing and this could mean the transference of Kiv is in question.

Kiv demands that he relieve his suffering. Sil says so much depends on Lord Kiv, the making of wealth, the funding of Crozier’s research. Crozier says he must be certain, which enrages Kiv (who is still in pain.)

Sil demands to know where the strangers are, but learns they have escaped.

Kiv threatens Crozier, saying that if the transference fails, he will be killed. He then tells Sil to take charge, saying he will die first if they wait on the others to find the strangers.

The Doctor and Peri are in Crozier’s lab, where they find Yrcanos hooked up to the machines. The Doctor starts unhooking him, but then Sil and his entourage and Crozier and Matrona and the guards enter.

There is fun banter, where Sil offends Peri’s appearance.

The Doctor insists that the Raak attacked them. Sil has The Doctor put in a bed and the helmet strapped on, to force the truth from him. Crozier says he’s never tried it and it could result in The Doctor’s death.

Sil says The Doctor won’t mind “donating his sanity for the advancement of science”, and they activate the helmet. The Doctor thrashes on the bed… and the credits roll.

Not a bad cliffhanger, better than some, not as good as others. Delightful to see Sil again and I love Brian Blessed (and Yrcanos is good, shouty fun.)

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

Yrcanos breaks free of his bed while this is going on and begins smashing things everywhere. Sil orders his men not to shoot him, as they need him alive. He single-handedly beats the guards and smashes the laboratory and leads Peri and The Doctor out of the lab.

The Doctor is out of it, in a dream-like statement. Yrcanos says they have his man Dorf somewhere and he must free him. But first, he talks (well, more booms) about finding weapons and raising an army to destroy the Mentors.

Introductions are made; Peri says she is “Perpugilliam.. of the Brown.” Yrcanos wants to know where that is, and she says Earth, a place filled with madmen playing warriors and actors as politicians.

Yrcanos asks if she is pledged to The Doctor and when she says, “Certainly not,” he says this is good and gets a little touchy-feely with her face. She moves to The Doctor, trying to get him to get to his feet so they can move on.

In the courtroom, The Doctor says he doesn’t recall anything after the machine zapped his brain. The Valeyard asks if he is claiming amnesia as a defense. The Inquisitor asks if that is, in fact, his defense, but he says no. She inquires (inquisits, perhaps, heh) if his mind has cleared from being taken out of time, and he says he believes so, but still cannot remember. She says there must be another reason.

The Valeyard accuses him of lying, The Doctor shouts back that he is not.

The Valeyard gets a rather nasty line in, “Then you’re in for a surprise, arent’ you, my dear Doctor? An exceedingly nasty one if your memory is as fallible as you pretend.” Ominous music builds as he speaks.

Kiv and Sil are in the lab. Crozier assures them the machinery that Yrcanos smashed will be fixed soon enough. Kiv demands to know what’s being done about his predicament.

Crozier explains to the viewers, by telling Kiv what he already knows – Kiv’s brain is growing, but his skull lacks the room to grow, the elasticity to stretch, and thus the pain the Mentor is feeling. In a few days, he will die if Crozier does not perform a transference.

Crozier says he must know if the Raak reverted, for if he did, then the procedure he hoped to use on Kiv will not be an option.

Kiv blames Sil, who begins sucking up, much to Kiv’s dismay and pain. Kiv tasks Sil with finding The Doctor, saying he will give he and Crozier one more day before he will have them both killed if they do not find a cure for him.

Sil leaves and checks in with the guards in an area where new slaves are brought in for processing. Watching from a nearby tunnel, Yrcanos and his “warrior queen”, Peri, and The Doctor watch, making plans to steal weapons from the guards.

The Doctor, still suffering from the effects of the machine, has adopted a personality not entirely unlike Yrcanos’ – though it’s more of a parroting of the domination persona around him, I think.

Sil instructs the guardsman (the one who had originally captured The Doctor and Peri) to search the last remaining tunnels.

Yrcanos slips in, but The Doctor warns the guards and the barbarian king is forced to flee. Peri grabs a weapon and shoots at Sil, but The Doctor chooses not to join her, and she runs off, too.

Instead, he approaches Sil, who asks why he warned them. He says the odds were against them, “and why should I risk my life for a savage and a stupid girl?”

Sil praises his wisdom for betraying his friends, but then says, “You are planning some trickery, of course. This is a ploy, yes?”

The Doctor says he’s no hero, and he’s just like Sil.

How nice for you, Doctor,” Sil replies, and then instructs his men to inform Kiv and Crozier.

In the courtroom, The Doctor leaps up, protesting that is not him. The Valeyard says it was, that his friends did not matter. Again, The Doctor protests.

You realise that the Matrix of Time cannot lie,” the Valeyard says.

After a pause, and quietly, The Doctor replies, “Can’t it?”

Ignoring him, the Valeyard suggests he confess to his crimes and ask for the mercy of the court.

Mercy? No… no… there’s something wrong.” He then says it must be a clever ploy on his behalf.

In Crozier’s lab, The Doctor insists that the Raak attacked first, and Crozier says he believes him. He says he must do new research, but Sil says they have only one day and he will find him a new body to transplant Kiv into.

The Doctor offers to look at the transference equipment and Crozier allows it. Sil finds The Doctor’s desire to help to be suspicious.

Peri, wandering the tunnels, is caught by the head guardsman. She gives him the slip.

Yrcanos comes across the dog-man, and when the hybrid calls him “majesty”, the king realises it is his man Dorf. He frees his man and swears that they will kill the sorcerers for this.

Guards chase Peri, but she ducks into a side chamber; Yrcanos and Dorf are running past just after and the guards follow them instead.

Matrona finds Peri and says she will not turn her in if she agrees to help her in the managing of the female servants.

Dorf begs Yrcanos to kill him, but the king says if he will die, it will be in battle. Yrcanos tells Dorf he will get his revenge on Crozier, while he has plans for getting back at The Doctor.

Matrona and her veiled ladies approach the Mentor’s chambers. She tells Peri (who is veiled like the others) to await outside until summoned. The others go in and give The Doctor and the Mentors food and beverage, but Kiv has an attack. As the Mentor cries in pain, Crozier instructs Matrona to fetch the amniotic fluid.

Matrona goes out to fetch Peri, who has the medication for Kiv. Peri resists, but Matrona threatens to denounce her, and she reluctantly follows Matrona in. The Doctor stares at Peri and calls her over to fetch him a new drink.

Kiv’s agony is eased by the medication and he praises her.

The Doctor demands to know what’s in the drink Peri just brought him, and she calls him Doctor. Kiv wants to know how she knows his title, and The Doctor lifts her veil, saying she is a traitor.

Peri is dragged away by the guards, screaming and kicking as The Doctor stands, indifferently.

In the courtroom, The Doctor says he remembers the ploy was to remove them both from the center of the Mentor’s base of operations. His hope was to earn their trust by repairing the transference unit and then be allowed to question Peri alone, to escape.

The Inquisitor asks if the interrogation took place and says she would like to see it, when she is told it did.

Peri is tied to the rocks on the beach as the pink water splashes up against them. The Doctor accuses her of being a spy for the Alphans, then kneels by her, saying, “We’re alone now, we can talk.”

She says she thought the brain transference pulse had made him crazy, but he insists he’s her friend. She asks how do they get out of this, and he replies that all she has to do is tell her where the Alphans are, so they can be annihilated.

He threatens her that if she doesn’t answer him, she’ll add her own to the Sea of Sorrows.

The Mentors and Crozier watch from the Mentor chambers. Sil says it’s like the old days, enjoying watching people suffer (a reference to Varos, I dare say.)

When Peri asks what’s happened to him, The Doctor says he’s looking out for his own interests. He says she’s expendable, she means nothing. He tells her that they intend to use his body for a transference and he will do anything to stop that, even if it means sacrificing her.

Crozier interrupts him via speaker to say they have more effective ways of interrogation.

In the courtroom, The Doctor protests that it was never like that. The Valeyard says he can’t be certain, with his faulty memory. Again, he brings up the fact that the Matrix never lies.

I wonder,” The Doctor replies, again quietly and solemnly.

The Inquisitor says she tires of these constant interruptions. When The Doctor insists again, “It never was like that,” she says that is enough. “The Matrix does not lie, it cannot lie.”

Yrcanos and Dorf follows The Doctor as he leads Peri back into the complex, accompanied by guards.

Peri says she can barely to look at The Doctor now, the way he’s changed. She gives a speech about truth and justice, but fortunately, it’s interrupted by Yrcanos and Dorf attacking the guards.

Peri dashes away from The Doctor and Yrcanos confronts the Time Lord, saying it is his time to die… and the credits roll.

Again, a decent cliffhanger. We’ll see you on Friday!