Kale's old nemesis returns
Trial By Fire
Writer: Cameron Robertson
Story number: 5.3
Enemy: Xanitu
Setting: 21st-Century Gandra
Format: 1x45 minute format
Previous Story: Prime
Following Story: The Fear

"Trial By Fire" is the third episode of the fifth series of Doctor Who. It first aired on 24th July 2010.


"If you must break the law, do it to seize power!" - Xanitu

The TARDIS is 'hijacked' and dragged onto Kale's home planet, Gandra. The Doctor, Martha and Kale are arrested on arrival and Kale is put on trial for his desertion of the Gandra Academy, escaping to Earth. But something is going on behind the scenes. Something that lies within the very foundations of the Gandrian Empire.


On Planet Gandra, Kale, in handcuffs, is escorted to a courtroom by two armoured guards. He stands at the centre of the room. Martha, with the Doctor (both also restrained) tries to shout to him and stop the trial. The prosecutor, Lord Gemini Omicron IX, announces a series of alleged crimes that Kale has been accused of. He states his name as 'Libra Omega VI', and has commited treason, desertion, conspiracy and - murder.

Flashback to inside the TARDIS. The Doctor, Martha and Kale are contimplating on where to go next. Before anyone was able to say another word, the TARDIS shook violenty. The Doctor sees that there is a force from outside that is 'dragging' the Doctor towards it. The TARDIS lands safely on the surface. They cautiously exit and are met by a group of armoured guards with yellow eyes, pointed ears and fangs - the Gandrian Imperial Guard. They stated that all three of them were under arrest, especially Kale, who has been wanted by the Gandrians for several years (centuries in Earth time). They impound the TARDIS and take the Doctor, Martha and Kale to the palace. Unseen from a window in the palace, a Gandrian dressed in a black and red looked on at them, particularly Kale.

They were stood at the throne room of the Gandrian Emperor, Capricorn Alpha II. The Emperor is at first furious at the sight of Kale, but he becomes almost afraid of him when he realises that the Doctor, the last of the Time Lords, has let him travel with him. He accuses Kale of being a criminal and scolds the Doctor for letting him see inside the TARDIS: 'A Gandrian like him can never know of the mechanics of time itself!' The Doctor tries to speak in Kale's defence, but are met by one of the Emperor's advisors, Scorpio Psi VI, who manages to convince the Emperor that they should all be put on trial, on suspicion of aiding a fugitive. The Emperor agrees, having the trial at nightfall, he sends the Doctor, Martha and Kale to their cell.

In jail, the Doctor and Martha question Kale about these charges. Kale explains that he only deserted the Academy and stole a ship to get to Earth. He also says that Scorpio, the Emperor's advisor was almost convicted of treason himself, accused of being the most feared terrorist in Gandra, Xanitu. Kale found evidence that Scorpio was Xanitu but Scorpio just managed to be acquitted out of a technicality. Out of fear that Xanitu would kill him, Kale hijacked a ship and fled. The incident in London possibly alerted the Empire of Kale's location, and must have worked out that he was with the Doctor. Using what is called a 'time snare', the Empire located the TARDIS in the Time Vortex and snatched it out. Kale warns the Doctor that Xanitu must be planning something bigger than revenge to order the TARDIS to be brought here. A guard then appears and takes Kale to his trial, and two more take the Doctor and Martha to the observation deck.

After a repeat of the first scene, Kale is asked if he pleas guilty or not guilty. He chooses 'not guilty'. During the trial, Kale is subjected to violent and brutal forms of torture to gain the truth from him, and secretly for Xanitu's own amusement. Kale is asked why he stole an Imperial Starship, Kale responds by telling them of the various assassination attempts that were made to him during time at the Academy. He then reveals that Xanitu was his teacher then, showing he left out of fear not treason. Xanitu has Lord Gemini call a momentary recess. Kale is about to be pulled back into his cell when Xanitu grabs hold of him and threatens him. Kale coldly replies, 'I have met far worse creatures than you.' He proceeds to knock out Xanitu and the guard and free the Doctor and Martha.

They escape to Gandrian's capital, Monolith City. There they meet Kale's old classmates at the Academy, Leo Gamma XIX and Virgo Epsilon V. They were with Kale when he found the evidence that revealed Xanitu's identity. They hide them in their home until dawn. They disguise themselves as Gandrian 'kedders' (translates as 'tramps') and go through the city and slip into the palace.

In the palace, Kale kills three guards and tells Martha and the Doctor to use their armour to get close enough to Xanitu. The Doctor scolds Kale on his uninhibited brutality, but Kale apologizes, saying after the 'Slaughter', the Gandrians have had to prepare themselves for anything. They use the guards' armour and pretend to escort Leo and Virgo to Xanitu's chambers for interrogation about the fugitives. Xanitu falls for the ruse and allows them entry. As soon as Xanitu lets them in, Kale removes the armour, challenging Xanitu to an 'honourable duel' with swords. Kale uses the sword that was in the armour and Xanitu uses his own personal twin blades.

They engage in battle, with the Emperor himself invited to referee. The duel is fierce, quick-paced and brutal. Xanitu seems to gain the upper hand until, ironically, Kale manages to cut off one of Xanitu's hands, immobilising him. Kale then forces Xanitu to reveal his plans: to kill the Emperor and take control of the throne using Kale as a scapegoat. Kale is about to deliver the final strike when he is stopped by the Doctor, stating that killing Xanitu would defeat the duel's purpose of being honourable. Kale leaves the cowering Xanitu to the Emperor's guards, who return the TARDIS to the Doctor. As he, Martha and Kale leave, Xanitu is ordered to be executed immeadiately. Before they all leave, an old Gandrian woman grabs the Doctor's coat - warning him of a terrible prophecy.

In the TARDIS, Martha notices Kale brooding in a corner of the console room. She asks him what the problem is. He replies that Xanitu was the reason he left Gandra, abandoning his whole life. The Doctor asks Kale if he wants to stay in Gandra. Kale smiles and says, 'And miss out on all this fun?' The Doctor and Martha smile back and set off to their next trip.



  • This episode is interesting as it is the only episode to feature deaths at the hands of someone that is not the villain of the episode, in this case, Kale.
  • In this episode, Kale's real name is revealed: Libra Omega VI.

See Also

Phoenix Saga - Series 5
Red Scar  • Prime  • Trial By Fire  • The Fear  • His Return  • Pentagram  • The Lonely Heart  • Sand Devil  • Time Slip  • Ripples In The Lake  • Ragnarok  • Tree Of Life  • Vengeance Sevenfold