Sue: Yes! Robert Holmes is back. Thank God for that.
The Doctor wants to know who’s been tampering with the Matrix.
Sue: It’s the Valeyard! It’s obvious!
Two capsules arrive on the Time Lords’ space station. One of them contains Sabalom Glitz.
The other contains Melanie Bush.
Sue: So, is his best mate dead, then? I liked him… You know, I don’t understand this at all. How did they get here, exactly? And how can Bonnie be here now if she hasn’t met the Doctor yet? And is Glitz staring at her like that because he can’t work out whether she’s a boy or a girl?
The Master is responsible for Glitz and Mel’s presence in court.
Sue: I ****ing knew it!
Me: Really? You never said anything.
Sue: I didn’t want you to take the piss out of me. But I knew it had to be him. It’s always him.
The Valeyard wants to adjourn the trial.
Sue: There’s something fishy going on here. I bet the Valeyard is the Doctor’s brother or something stupid like that.
When it emerges that the High Council interfered with planet Earth in order to protect their sordid secrets, the Doctor doesn’t hold back.
Sue: That was a fabulous speech. That’s probably Colin’s finest moment in the series so far.
And then the Master drops a bombshell.
Sue: EH? What did he just say?
The Master explains that the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of the Doctor’s nature, somewhere between his twelfth and final incarnations.
Sue: Wait, I’m sorry, WHAT? Stop the DVD, Neil. You’ll have to explain this to me.
I refuse to comply because there’s simply no point; I don’t understand it either.
Me: Good twist?
Sue: ****ing mental.
The Doctor suddenly finds himself in a Victorian courtyard.
Sue: Nice set.
Me: They’re on location, Sue.
Sue: Are they really? At night? Oh yeah, so they are… I’m impressed.
The Valeyard has the Doctor over a barrel. Literally.
Sue: It’s proper Doctor Who, this: scary and unpredictable.
Glitz follows the Doctor to the Fantasy Factory.
Sue: That sounds a bit rude. I hope it isn’t a Victorian brothel.
But before the pair can enter the establishment, Glitz is inconveniently harpooned.
Meanwhile, back in the courtroom, the Master has a few more beans left to spill. Or to paraphrase Brian Blessed: “PERI’S ALIVE!”
Sue: WHAT THE ****? Peri married Brian Blessed? Is that a joke? Is the Master taking the piss? Sorry, but I don’t believe that for one second.
Glitz survives the incident with the harpoon and he enters the Fantasy Factory with the Doctor.
Sue: Oh, it’s Eddie Yeats. A posh Eddie Yeats. That makes my head hurt even more than the stuff with the Valeyard. Which I still don’t get by the way.
The Valeyard is playing with the Doctor. He wants to humiliate him first.
Sue: How do you humiliate a man who wears a coat like that?
The Doctor signs his remaining lives over to JJ Chambers.
Sue: He’ll regret that when they force him to regenerate later. What an idiot. Why would he sign his lives away like that? That makes no sense at all.
The Doctor enters a waiting room that leads to a windswept beach.
Sue: He finally made it to Blackpool.
Grabbing hands emerge from the sand to ensnare the Doctor.
Sue: Just when you thought it was safe to go to the beach, generations of children are completely traumatised. It’s good, though. A proper, scary cliffhanger for a change.
The credits roll.
Sue: Wow. There was a lot to take in. It looked great but I don’t get the Valeyard thing at all. Is he the Doctor or not?
Sue: I’m really looking forward to this one. Regenerations are always exciting. It’s a shame, though. Colin is leaving just as I’m getting used to him. I don’t understand why he… WHAT THE ****?
The words ‘Pip and Jane Baker’ have just appeared in the title sequence.
Sue: Where’s Robert Holmes gone?
Me: I’ll explain later.
Glitz races to save the Doctor.
Sue: If Bonnie was his companion at this point, the Doctor wouldn’t stand a bloody chance. She’d get pulled into the… Oh, it turns out he was rubbish, too. Is that it, then? Does Sylvester McCoy take over now?
The Sixth Doctor is still alive, but if the Valeyard has his way he won’t be around much longer.
Sue: This sounds like Jekyll and Hyde to me. But I thought the Master was supposed to be the Doctor’s dark side? We don’t need another dark side running about the place.
The Doctor and Glitz are rescued by the Master.
Sue: The Master doesn’t want any competition. It’s his job to be the evil side of the Doctor. Everybody knows that. I actually like the Master in this story. He has a decent motive for a change, and he isn’t trying to take over the world or anything stupid like that.
The Master places the Doctor in a catatonic trance.
Sue: The Master is simultaneously flashing all the colours of the Doctor’s coat directly into the his eyes. So now he knows how we feel.
The Master’s TARDIS, which is disguised as a statue of Queen Victoria, materialises in the courtyard.
Sue: How cool is that? Why can’t the Doctor’s TARDIS do that?
Me: Do you really want to get rid of the police box?
Me: Well then.
The Valeyard hurls some exploding quills at the Master and Glitz.
Sue: This is a bit of a mind-****. Thank heavens we didn’t get 14 episodes like this. My brain would have melted.
Mel suddenly appears in the Matrix and persuades the Doctor to follow her.
Sue: She’s an illusion, you fool. She can’t possibly be the real thing because she isn’t over-acting.
The Doctor follows Mel into the courtroom.
Sue: See, it’s just an illusion.
Me: (Singing) Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, Ah-ahh.
The Doctor accepts the court’s guilty verdict.
Sue: Can he still regenerate if this is just an illusion? It’s a bit tense, this.
The real courtroom watches this fabrication unfold on the screen above them.
Sue: It’s really good, this. Pip and Jane are doing more than okay.
The Doctor is led away on a horse and cart to be executed.
Sue: Children singing nursery rhymes always freaks me out. I would have been a terrible primary school teacher. I honestly don’t think the Doctor is going to get out of this one. I think Bonnie’s too late.
But Mel intervenes and the illusion is shattered.
Sue: Colin is very good in this story. He’s pulling out all the stops for his last episode, bless him.
The Master and Glitz decide to make a deal.
Sue: Why didn’t they get their own series? I’d have watched it.
The Doctor hopes to draw the Valeyard out.
Sue: They should just switch off the Matrix. Or put the Time Lord version of Norton Anti-virus on it, or they could defrag the hard drive. There must be easier ways to deal with him than this.
The Doctor and Mel explore Popplewick’s office.
Sue: This would be really difficult to follow if you hadn’t seen the Matrix.
Me: The Deadly Assassin, you mean?
Sue: No, the Keanu Reeves film. It makes a lot more sense if you’ve seen that.
The Doctor unmasks Popplewick. He was the Valeyard all the time.
Sue: That was an excellent effect, but it makes no ****ing sense at all. If he really is the Valeyard, why doesn’t he just vanish like he did earlier?
When Mel finds a megabyte modem, Sue laughs out loud.
Sue: To be fair, that would have been pretty fast in 1986.
The Master’s meddling has brought chaos to Gallifrey.
Sue: Is this where the Time War starts? It is, isn’t it? This is really it! This is why we aren’t on Gallifrey itself – the planet is going to explode!
Or as the Valeyard so eloquently puts it: there’s nothing you can do to prevent the catharsis of spurious morality.
Sue: Who actually talks like that? What does that even mean?
The screen in the courtroom explodes.
Sue: The Doctor’s too late! I didn’t expect that!
The Valeyard accuses the Doctor of triggering a ray phase shift.
Sue: I don’t understand a ****ing word of this.
Whatever a ray phase shift is, it puts the mockers on the Valeyard’s plans, and the Doctor returns to the courtroom victorious.
Sue: See! They’re all dead… Oh, they were only having a nap. Sorry, my mistake.
All charges against the Doctor are dismissed.
Sue: So what happened to the Master? Am I missing something important? This can’t be over yet.
The Inquisitor has more good news for the Doctor: Peri is alive and well and living as a warrior queen with King Yrcanos.
Sue: (Throwing a cushion at the television) What load of bollocks. For ****’s sake!
The Doctor and Mel depart in the TARDIS, arguing about carrot juice.
Sue: How is that even possible?
Me: Yes, I know. Mel is a walking paradox.
Sue: Does she go on to create a hole in time? Does she explode? Will she make him regenerate? Is it a trap? This can’t be over yet.
We return to the courtroom.
Sue: Here we go…
The Keeper of the Matrix is none other than…
Sue: Oh, it’s the Valeyard. That is disappointing. But…
Sue: I thought that was Colin’s last story? You lied to me again!
She reaches for a cushion.
Me: I didn’t lie.
Sue: There are plenty of problems with it. It didn’t make any sense for a start! That twist with the Valeyard sounded good, but what does it actually mean? The ending didn’t warrant 14 weeks of build-up. It looked great, though, and the acting was excellent. I want to like it a lot more than I do, but I feel cheated.
If you treat the Trial season as one story, Sue’s scores average out at 6.71 out of 10. So, if we’re rounding up, the Trial scores seven out of 10. Fancy that.