In deep space, the Doctor meets with three aliens while Leela and K9 remain in the TARDIS. Leela is concerned as the Doctor hasn't told her what's going on or where they are. The Doctor has disabled the scanner control so she can't find out anything. The Doctor is concluding some negotiation with the aliens that gives him complete control over the Time Lords. The Doctor returns to the TARDIS but refuses to answer any questions.
On Gallifrey, Commander Andred picks up an incoming TARDIS and reports to Castellan Kelner, who puts them on amber alert. Andred then determines the capsule is unidentified. Kelner notes there is only one penalty for using an unauthorized TARDIS and orders Andred to arrest anyone inside when it arrives.
The TARDIS arrives while the Doctor's allies monitor the situation from their command ship. The Doctor and Leela emerge and the Doctor insists they take him away while having Leela remain behind. He convinces Andred to take him the office of Chancellor Borusa where he claims his inheritance of the Presidency of the Council of Time Lords. He holds a brief conversation with Borusa and insists Borusa recognize him because he was the last remaining candidate during his previous visit (in "The Deadly Assassin"). The power appears to have gone to the Doctor's head as he snaps at his old mentor, insisting the initiation ceremony must take place at first.
Borusa goes to talk to Kelner who seems willing to follow whoever is likely to command. Andred enforces the Doctor will and brings them to the Doctor, who wishes to inspect the President's chambers. He wants to redecorate it with lead paneling and Kelner obligingly follows along, particularly after he is promised a Chancellorship. The Doctor tells Kelner to give Leela quarters and make sure she is prepared for the ceremony, then verbally spars with Borusa, who begins to suspect something is going on.
Andred is put in charge of Leela who is clearly unhappy with the situation when she can't have any weapons. Borusa instructs the Doctor in the ceremony and how he will be given direct contact with the Matrix, with more power than anyone else in the known universe. The Doctor's alien allies monitor the situation and are pleased.
The Doctor arrives for the ceremony and after all proper rite and ritual, is recognized as President of the Supreme Council. The Doctor dons the Sash and Rod of Rassilon, then the circlet which gives him access to the Matrix. Everyone kneels before him and the Doctor writhes in agony before collapsing to his knees…