Recap: We learn of all the conspiracies involved. The High Council set up the trial to make The Doctor a scapegoat! The Valeyard is a form of future self of The Doctor, promised his future lives if he can get The Doctor executed. The Master, of all people, has come to The Doctor’s rescue.

The Doctor and Sabalom Glitz have pursued the Valeyard into the Matrix, where he is hiding in THE FANTASY FACTORY, as one JJ Chambers. The Doctor has just signed away his remaining lives and stepped into what was supposed to be a waiting room, only to find himself on a beach, with arms dragging him below the surface.

spoiler warning

Episode 2:

Glitz comes running down through the scrub brush and arrives, trying to grab The Doctor by the feet, but it’s too late! Glitz laments The Doctor’s passing, saying he wasn’t all that bad. “Honest, of course. Still, nobody’s perfect.”

The Doctor’s voice (bubbly) emanates from where The Doctor was pulled down. The Doctor rises up out of the mud pit. Glitz doesn’t understand and again, The Doctor reminds him they’re not dealing with reality.

Suddenly, the Valeyard (not wearing his headpiece) appears, “Why waste your breath on that simple-minded oaf?” He disappears and reappears next to Glitz, “You cannot speak as though reality is a one-dimensional concept.”

He pops away, appearing next to The Doctor next, “Fortunately, there is a reality that you and I can both agree on. The ultimate reality.”

Death,” The Doctor asks. The Valeyard quotes Shakespeare in reply, “The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns,” and pops away again.

The Valeyard appears behind The Doctor, who turns around and identifies the quote, “’Puzzles the will,’ Hamlet, Act Three, Scene One.”

The Valeyard retorts, “I really must curb these urges… I have no wish to be contaminated by your whims and idiosyncrasies.” I do love this bit with the Valeyard, that he is fighting not to be like The Doctor. And this explains why the two of them were constantly fighting, sniping, even when it seemed not to further the Valeyard’s agenda.

They banter, the Valeyard popping about the whole time. The Doctor wants to know why the Valeyard would go to such lengths to kill him. The Valeyard answers, popping (teleporting) with each sentence, saying it is the only way for him to gain freedom, his own existence as a complete entity.

Only by ridding myself of you and your misplaced morality, your constant crusading, your…” but suddenly, Glitz interrupts, suggesting, “Idiotic honesty?”

The Valeyard appears behind Glitz, calling him an oaf and a microbe. “Pardon me for trying to help. I’m neutral in this set-up, you know,” Glitz retorts.

With you destroyed and no longer able to constrain me,” the Valeyard says, ominous music building again, “and with unlimited access to the Matrix, there wildl be nothing beyond my reach.” As he says this last bit, he fades out of sight.

Suddenly, nerve gas blows in off the sea and they run from it.

In the courtroom, Mel appeals to the others to help. The Keeper says she is applying logical thought to a situation that knows no logic. She charges at him, demanding the key, but he trips her up and she falls down.

The Doctor and Glitz go into a beach house, which fades from sight after they do. Inside, The Master greets them! It’s the M-TARDIS!

Well, I’d never thought I’d welcome the sight of you,” The Doctor returns his enemy’s greeting.

It will not happen again,” The Master promises.

What puzzles me is why it’s happening now.”

The Master explains he wants the Valeyard eliminated and feels The Doctor is “the most likely candidate to achieve that.” Glitz argues, saying he originally said he wanted Six dead.

With The Doctor as my enemy, I always have the advantage,” The Master tells Glitz, much to The Doctor’s displeasure. “But the Valeyard, the distillation of all that’s evil within you, untainted by virtue, a composite of your every dark thought, is a different proposition. Additionally, he’s infuriated me by threatening to deny me the pleasure of personally bring about your destruction. And so, he must pay the price.”

I have always liked when a villain is so out of touch with reality that they will not allow anyone else to defeat or kill the hero.

The Master starts his TARDIS and then takes Glitz through a door, saying, “You, Glitz, will help me collect.” The Doctor watches them, warily. Suddenly he grabs his head as loud sounds and lights assault him.

In the next room, The Master explains that the assault on The Doctor is engineered to result in a catatonic state.

The Doctor goes into a zombie-like state, as The Master promised.

The M-TARDIS appears in the courtyard of the FANTASY FACTORY again. Zombie-Doctor is brought out, The Master giving him verbal commands to walk and stop. He says this should prove an irresistible target for the Valeyard.

You Time Lords take the cake,” Glitz praises The Master, “Talk about devious. Compared to you lot, I’m transparent as crystal.”

The Master and Glitz hide, and the M-TARDIS disappears. When the Valeyard comes out onto the balcony, The Master fires several blasts from his TCE (or a similar device, as it seems to fire a few blasts) which bounce off the Valeyard. The Valeyard calls The Master second rate, mocking him for thinking he’d fall for such a “transparent ploy”.

They dash to safety as the Valeyard throws several quill pens at them that explode. When Glitz complains it all could be an illusion, The Master turns on him, telling him to stay and find out and dashes off.

Mel calls out to The Doctor, beckoning him. He comes out of his zombie-like state, and goes to her, asking how she got in there, but she dismisses his questions, saying he needs to follow her to get out of there.

They end up in the lobby, passing his TARDIS. He complains that they’re going back to the trial, but she says he has to clear his name or he’s just as bad as the Valeyard, a renegade an outcast.

When he enters, the Inquisitor says he owes the court an apology. He apologises, and she brings up the charge of genocide, “…based on your own evidence.” When Mel argues it was also refuted by The Doctor, the Inquisitor remarks, “Seems you have a champion in this young woman.”

The Doctor agrees when the Inquisitor asks if he would accept Mel as an impartial witness, saying, “I would trust Mel with my life.”

The Keeper plays back the final battle with the Vervoids. Mel is asked if that was the truth; She asks The Doctor what she should say, worried the truth might be twisted like the Valeyard did, but The Doctor says “the truth cannot harm me.”

She tells the Inquisitor that is what happened. The Inquisitor then asks, “Is it your contention that The Doctor was solely responsible for devising the scheme we are presently reviewing on the Matrix?” Again, Mel says if it wasn’t for The Doctor, they’d all have ended up on the compost heap.

She says it was “an out of this world” solution. The Inquisitor replies, “An appropriate expression, wouldn’t you say, my lords?” For the first time, the gathered Time Lords do more than sit and swivel in their chairs, they all murmur in assent.

Something’s going wrong here, I can sense it,” Mel says. The Doctor just stands there stoically. When she begs The Doctor to tell them that he had no choice, he replies that there’s always a choice.

The Inquisitor proclaims The Doctor guilty of genocide. Mel protests, but The Doctor tells her that the rule of law must prevail if law is to overcome anarchy. He then addresses the Inquisitor, accepting her verdict.

However, we then see, in the real courtroom, as Mel begs them to switch it off. She says that the Valeyard is taking advantage of “The Doctor’s romantic nature. He’s convinced that he must sacrifice himself and you’re content to let him!”

We cannot interfere,” the Inquisitor says, but Mel says that she can. This time, she succeeds in grabbing the key from the Keeper.

The Doctor stands in a horse-drawn cart, moving on the cobblestone, escorted by Gallifreyan guards.

Mel appears as The Doctor and Glitz did before. She runs off, as laughing and singing and children voices are heard.

The Doctor’s cart passes Glitz, who stirs from where The Master left him. He gets up, hearing The Master’s voice calling his name.

Voices chant “death” over and over as The Doctor’s cart makes its way through the city. The cart stops and The Doctor looks around, quoting Dickens, “Tis a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done. Tis a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Mel runs, catching up. She tells him the trial was an illusion, but he whispers at her to go away. But the cart disappears and The Doctor falls to the ground, saying she ruined everything.

She argues, saying she saved him. He says he was trying to get to the Valeyard. He knew the trial was bogus, as she brought up The Doctor’s denial of the genocide charge, which was done before she had arrived. And with Mel’s gift of total recall, that mistake would have never happened.

The Doctor leads Mel to the FANTASY FACTORY to fight the Valeyard.

In the M-TARDIS, The Master tries to hypnotise Glitz after the criminal says he won’t go out again. It doesn’t work, but Glitz’s eyes don’t move from the bauble, as he’s wondering how much it is worth.

The Master pulls out a chest full of gold and objects and jewelry and The Master promises him it’s his if he obeys him.

Back in the FANTASY FACTORY, Mel and The Doctor search about. The Doctor suggests that the Valeyard’s plants have been too elaborate and he wonders what the real goal is.

Glitz is seen in another office, where he finds the Matrix memory bank inside a desk. Popplewick confronts him, confirming that this is the master copy. He tells Glitz to put it back, pulling a gun on him.

The Doctor find a list of names – the Time Lords attending the trial. “Every member of the Ultimate Court of Appeal, the supreme guardians of Gallifreyan law.” Mel asks why the names are all crossed-through and The Doctor points out that the handwriting is his.

Just then, Glitz brings in Popplewick at gunpoint, who is protesting. Glitz says the bureaucrat has agreed to lead them to Chambers.

They return to the courtyard, The Doctor saying he’s misjudged Chambers/Valeyard. Mel saying not for the first time and wondering how he’s survived so long.

In the courtyard, Glitz tells Popplewick he’s done his bit, he’s delivered The Doctor and asks for the memory tapes. They swap gun and tapes. Popplewick fires the gun at Glitz, but the criminal had taken out the shot.

However, The Master shows up, telling Glitz that his weapon is not disarmed and orders him to the M-TARDIS.

Popplewick rejoins Mel and The Doctor, both who wonder where Glitz went off to. The Doctor suggests, not sincerely, that perhaps he stayed on guard outside. Popplewick agrees that must be the case.

Seeing that Chambers is not there, Popplewick leaves to find him. While he’s gone, The Doctor grabs some tool. When Popplewick returns, they grab the clerk. The Doctor pulls of a mask, revealing the Valeyard beneath.

Mel opens the door that Popplewick/Valeyard just came from, finding some machinery at work. The Doctor identifies it as a maser, and the Valeyard tips him off to realise that it is a “particle disseminator”, the ultimate weapon, can even destroy sub-atomic particles.

The Doctor makes the connection with the lists of names of the men in the trial room. The Doctor realises that the matrix screen is the medium that the death ray will be transmitted to kill those in the courtroom. He orders Mel to rush back and warn them.

The Valeyard laughs.

In the courtroom, the Keeper arrives with an urgent message for the Inquisitor. He tells her, “The High Council has been deposed. Insurrectionists are running amok on Gallifrey!”

On the screen, The Master says, “Thank you, Keeper, that is the news I’d been awaiting. Listen carefully, I have an edict to deliver. Somewhere The Doctor and the Valeyard are engaged in their squalid duel. With luck, they’ll kill each other, but that is a mere coincidental occurrence. What I have to impart is of vital importance to all of you.” More ominous music. “Now that Gallifrey is collapsing into chaos, none of you will be needed. Your office will be abolished. Only I can impose order. I have control of the Matrix, to disregard my commands will be to invite summary execution.” He rises and walks away from view on the screen as the Time Lords there begin chatting and murmuring amongst themselves.

Glitz asks now that The Master has gotten that out of his system if they can get along. He wants The Master to load the cassette (the tapes, the box from Ravalox.) The Master calls him a philistine, saying moments such as this should be savoured. When he hooks up the case and activates it, something unexpected happens – both men are pushed against the wall by some force.

The Master says it is a “limbo atrophier”.

The Doctor frantically works at the maser device, trying to undo it. The Valeyard says it’s an exercise in futility, but The Doctor points out that if the Valeyard can make it, he can unmake it.

Mel arrives at the courtroom, telling them to disconnect the Matrix. The Inquisitor says without the Keeper they cannot, and he is not there. Mel yells for them to get out and the Time Lords all move to rush out, believing her. But, just then, the Matrix screen bursts and energy crackles about the room.

The Doctor gloats, saying he’s done it, but the Valeyard calls him a “blundering imbecile”, saying he’s “triggered a ray-phase shift that may amass a feedback” to where they are.

The Valeyard, who has freed himself, shoves The Doctor aside. He rushes to the device, but says it is too late. He collapses and seemingly dies.

The Doctor rushes out as energy flies all about and things begin to explode.

In the courtroom, Mel gets up, followed by the others. The Doctor arrives, asking where they were. “I was about to be sentenced, I believe.”

The Inquisitor laughs, “All charges are dismissed, Doctor. We owe an immense debt of gratitude. Which I can partly repay, by telling you that the young woman, Miss Perpugilliam Brown… is alive and well and living as a warrior queen with King Yrcanos.”

The Doctor smiles, gasping in relief. We see a vision of Peri and Yrcanos.

The Inquisitor says that, once law and order have been restored, a new High Council will need to be elected. She asks if he would stand for Lord President again.

He laughs nervously, suggesting she do so instead. Hurriedly trying to leave, he stops to ask one favour. She tells him to name it. “When the Matrix is restored, you can do what you like with The Master, but exercise leniency with Sabalom Glitz. He’s not beyond redemption.”

Mel adds, “Just don’t let him anywhere near the crown jewels.”

Whimsical music plays as The Doctor and Mel head into the TARDIS, she talking about carrot juice and exercise. Oh, yay.

In the courtroom, the Inquisitor departs, telling the Keeper to repair the Matrix and requisition whatever he needs. He bows as she passes, and then turns to face the camera and we see that the Keeper has the visage of the Valeyard. He laughs… and the final credits roll.

Oh, what a fun season-long story. So, so, so good. It’s a shame they didn’t follow up with much of it. After all the change, the rebuilding, they could have worked a lot of it into the story, but I don’t believe there were any real effects from this story?

And it’s a farewell to Colin Baker. This makes me sad.

Next week – The Seventh Doctor!