It was always going to be a tough sell. The Master has always been a chap (apart from the time he was a morphant snake) and a wily one at that. But who would have guessed – and settled on it being the answer without dismissing it out of hand as “too easy/cheap/obvious” – that Missy was actually the Master?
We’ll leave the various arguments that she might be lying to one side, for now, and focus instead on the reactions of the Kontributors of our website, who each have some very interesting opinions about Missy Master…
I did not see that coming! Well, I did actually, having seen a nice spoiler posted by the BBC last night before I’d had a chance to watch the episode… Anyway, I’m quite excited by the possibilities thrown up by a female Master. It’s a new dynamic which DOESN’T have be high camp like Servalan and Avon in Blake’s 7. Please, Moff… don’t make it camp! I, for one, don’t need an explanation on screen of how he became she. I like to speculate and fill in the gaps with my own imagination. Let’s just accept it for what it is and enjoy the shenanigans that will ensue!
‘Hidden in plain sight’ is maybe the way to describe it. Can’t say I guessed it, though I imagine plenty of people did. It did make for a memorable cliffhanger, something we’ve had too little of for a while. Any feeling of ‘meh…’ I have is not so much at the thought of a female Master but more because we’ve been presented with yet another forty-something female character portrayed in that knowing, arch way so beloved of this era of the show. Maybe those feeling appalled can cling to the idea that it wasn’t a proper regeneration, more a case of the Master stealing someone else’s body?
Maybe those feeling appalled can cling to the idea that it wasn’t a proper regeneration, more a case of the Master stealing someone else’s body?
What is the reason for it? None I can see. It doesn’t serve the story at all. Just another shock revelation for the sake of a shock revelation. Moffat knew he’d never get away with turning the Doctor into a woman, so he did so to the Master. Wasn’t clever, or interesting, and serves no purpose within the realms of the fictional world of Who.
I’m pretty appalled. When I saw the rumour, I thought, ‘it’ll never be that. That’s ridiculous.’ The episode was good but the “revelation”, and its implications, has spoiled the character for me. I love Moffat, but I now want this era over – and that’s something I never thought I’d say.
Brilliant revelation! I laughed – a lot! I can’t wait to see how this affects the Doctor / Master relationship in the future. Of course I was slightly disappointed that she wasn’t the Rani, but kudos to the Moff for being so bold.
That said, I imagine he will get a lot of stick for it, probably from the same people who admonished him for not having cast a female Doctor. And goodness knows what that chap from TIEA is going to make of it all!
In short – very happy, very excited, very amused! A brave move.
The Missy reveal is by far the most satisfying mystery/arc that Steven Moffat has produced in his tenure as Doctor Who show runner. While it is certainly controversial amongst some members of the fandom, Michelle Gomez absolutely shines in the role. What implications the gender swap incarnation has for the storied relationship between the Doctor and the Master/Mistress is yet to be seen, but it is certainly one of the freshest developments in the 50 year old programme of late. I genuinely cannot wait to see what Moffat has in store for us in the finale.
The droid thing was amusing but I’m glad that wasn’t the reveal. It’s nice to see the Master back, even if it’s as the Mistress. It would’ve been nice to be surprised though. Everyone saw it coming.
I won’t say it would be straightforward or easy for me if the Doctor changed gender but I’m game for it. Any other Timelord/lady – I’m not bothered. Regeneration sex-change has been discussed so much, I don’t even find it that shocking. I love Michelle Gomez and the most important thing is the dynamic she creates with Capaldi’s Doctor – can it match the interplay between Delgado and Pertwee? The kissing was crass but other than that I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. I’ve always found the Master boring but with someone a bit “Satanic” in the role I might get interested.
I saw all the theories at the time, but dismissed them as I figured they wouldn’t have the guts to do a gender swap regeneration as that’d be laying the groundwork for a female Doctor (gasp!) and would therefore be deeply unpopular.
I also seriously think we would have lost a lot of the impact of this episode if the Mistress had remained the Master.
I’m seriously excited that not only has that groundwork been laid, but that it gives us a chance to expand upon an element of the relationship that RTD was only able to hint at during his run.
I haven’t been this excited by a Doctor/Master dynamic since we saw the android Master in Scream of the Shalka.
Christian Cawley, Editor
Steven Moffat will no doubt argue that switching the gender of the Master is something he had to do to keep the character interesting.
It’s a fair argument to suggest that if that is the most interesting thing he could do with the Doctor’s arch nemesis, perhaps using a different character would have been better, or just trying harder.Now in fairness, Michelle Gomez does a superb job as Missy. She’s barking mad and sinister, all in one go. Like Capaldi, she switches fast – you never know how she is going to react, making her the perfect evil foil.But swapping gender as a proxy for the Doctor, as an “aren’t I clever you guessed this but never thought I’d do it” or as a laying of the groundwork for Doctor 13… well, they all trouble me.
The first as it seems like a waste of a potentially good new villain (the evil Clara splinter was a particular favourite), the second that Moffat has truly been at his word processor for too long, and the third more or less the date and time that I will bring an end to this site in its current form (or even completely). There are many characters to love in Doctor Who. The Master, despite being barmy and arch, has been one of them since he arrived in 1971 with the face of the incomparable Roger Delgado. Gomez doesn’t ruin this (I think she’s pretty faultless and I’ve enjoyed her appearances) but I’m sorry to say the man I once lauded as The Grand Moff has.
As ever, the thing that stands out most is how fans are completely divided on the change. But this isn’t something that should cause contention or attract insults from fans with differing viewpoints. After all, no two fans have quite the same viewpoint on Doctor Who.