Well now, I certainly didn’t expect that.
With all of the little vignettes featuring Missy throughout the season, I never guessed that she would turn out to be the Master. That was a nice little twist, especially since the Master has been a character Steven Moffat hasn’t been interested in exploring up until now. (It is also interesting that he chose to make this version of the Master a woman, since the possibility of the Doctor someday regenerating into a woman has become a bit of a hot button topic lately.)
The last time we saw the Master was during the Russell T. Davies era, where the character was portrayed (brilliantly) by John Simm. In the final David Tennant two-parter, the Master seemed to sacrifice himself while battling Time Lord President Rassilon, who manipulated him in an effort to free Gallifrey.
I’m curious what the explanation will be for the Master reemerging as Missy. His last appearance was intertwined with the fall of Gallifrey, which is something that was revisited in the 50th anniversary special. In the current Who-niverse, Gallifrey is out there somewhere, though the Doctor has been too distracted to find it.
We also have the fate of Danny Pink up in the air. Right now, it looks bad for him, since he is dead and his consciousness is trapped in a floating orb. But we do know that he needs to have children, since Clara met their great great grandson Orson Pink in a previous episode. There’s a chance she could already be pregnant, but I’m guessing Moffat has a happier ending in store for the couple and the Doctor will somehow find a way to return Danny’s consciousness to his body. (Though probably not before he gets uploaded into a Cyberman and has to use his humanity to override the system and save the day.)
I found the Clara dream sequence a bit annoying. This season hasn’t been doing her character a lot of favors. She’s been needlessly deceptive with Danny and he died just as she was finally trying to come clean, but then she is needlessly deceptive with the Doctor in order to get him to help, which he completely sees through and helps her anyway. She’s coming across as a petulant child who manipulates her loved ones in order to get her way, which I’m guessing is not what the writers are going for.
I did really enjoyed Moffat’s version of the afterlife, which was bogged down in bureaucracy. Seb, the man doing Danny’s intake, was incredibly funny and had a perfect deadpan delivery of the endless questions and asides he had while processing Danny’s paperwork.
I also enjoy the symmetry of Danny and Clara’s storylines. When we first met (an alternate version of) Clara, she was trapped inside a Dalek, but completely unaware that she was no longer human. Danny seems to be headed for a similar fate inside a Cyberman.
I also think things are lining up for a suitably epic finale. The Master always adds an air of excitement to the show, since (s)he is the Doctor’s equal. And the Cybermen are one of my favorite villains, so I’m happy to have them in the mix. (They don’t seem like the type to play well with others though, so I’m wondering how well Missy can reign them in before they decide to turn on her.)
Peter Capaldi has really come into his own with the character and I’ve enjoyed his quiet intensity and scholarly approach to the character, but I think we’ll need to see a whole new dimension to his portrayal in order for him to take charge and take down the Master. It should be a fun finale.
And another thing …
- Now that we know she is really the Master, should we take Missy’s frenching of the Doctor as a madcap Bugs Bunny way of making him uncomfortable or as a very telling glimpse into the love-hate relationship he has with his nemesis?
- I really wish the previews last week hadn’t tipped me off that the Cybermen would be involved in the finale, since it gave away the big reveal of the tanks being drained and the skeletons being Cybermen.
- What are the odds the car that killed Danny struck him accidentally? I’m guessing we’ll find out his death was part of Missy’s plan.
Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.