Wednesday, 19 October 2016


In Part 3 of our little dissertation, we look at the Master's exploits after the Classic Series ends...


As Survival concludes, the Master is in some pretty sorry shape. Like the Doctor, he seems to have fled the planet of the Cheetah People before its imminent destruction.   Where he went, for sure, we can't say. More than likely, he found his way back to his TARDIS. But even if he did, he's not doing well.  
Not only is he inhabiting a Trakenite body, but said body is now infected with the virus of the Cheetah People. He is a Time Lord consciousness trapped in a multi-species form, with the savagery of the Cheetah People constantly striving to absorb his will. None of this would be making someone like the Master too pleased with his current state of affairs. 
Once more, the Master looks upon the physical condition of his greatest rival with some degree of envy. Still only in his seventh incarnation, the Doctor has many more lives the Master could burn through if he could just steal away his body. He's tried it once, already, why not make another attempt?  
But before he can look that far down the road, he has to take care of an immediate problem. His current incarnation is a Trakenite/Time Lord/Cheetah People battlefield. The problem needs to be rectified.   
Setting himself to work in an advanced laboratory, (possibly in his own TARDIS, possibly somewhere else) the Master creates a unique form of protoplasm (sometimes known as a "morphant") that he can store his consciousness in. Once he has sealed all his memory, intelligence and personality into the strange slimy material, he is capable of seeking out and invading the bodies of other sentient beings with it. Upon entering a body, he can completely decimate whatever soul was previously inhabiting it and take full possession of it within a matter of seconds. The body he has taken over can even use the protoplasm for various forms of attack. An opponent can be paralyzed and killed when a large amount of the slime is sprayed on them. A small quantity can create a mind control bond. This new way of inhabiting bodies works excellently - but there is one drawback: the body that the protoplasm invades burns itself out fairly quickly and a new carrier must be found within a matter of days.  
Still, this allows the Master to be free of the Anthony Ainley incarnation until he can seek out a more permanent solution. He abducts a suitable humanoid body (possibly, a character being played by Gordon Tipple whom we see being atomized by the Daleks at the beginning of the 96 Telemovie - or, maybe, he goes through a few other people before he reaches him).  He, then, transfers himself from Trakenite/Cheetah Person body into the goo and invades the humanoid he kidnapped.   
Now he can move on to bigger plans. His morphant form can invade and take over the bodies of lesser species - but the will of the Time Lord can fight this process. If he just jumps into the Doctor and tries to control him, this will not work. The Doctor will reject him. Remembering how directly tapping the Eye Of Harmony helped him out in Deadly Assassin, the Master devises a method to partially access the collapsed Black Hole's energy through the connection all TARDISes have with it. Under the proper conditions, he can use that link to the Eye of Harmony to scoop out the Doctor's soul from his body and put his own in. From there, of course, he can use his rival's remaining incarnations and extend his lifespan significantly.   
His final key to the plan is to lure the Doctor into the trap. Taking advantage of the mounting hostilities between the Daleks and the Time Lords, he arranges to be put on  trial on Skaro for the many crimes he has committed. One gets the impression this was a plot made between the Daleks and the Master to bring the Doctor to an end once and for all.That the trial, itself, is bogus and was created strictly as part of a bigger plan. Whether this is true or not, the current body that the Master is inhabiting is sentenced to execution at the end of the court case.  One of the many assets of this special protoplasm that the Master has created for himself is that it is near-indestructible. So a bit of it remains even after the body is atomized. It will slowly regenerate itself and eventually become a decent-sized mass that can be shaped by the Master's will to resemble scary snakes.  The Master requests, at his execution, that the Doctor bring his remains back to Gallifrey.  Even as the Doctor seals those remains into a special container aboard his TARDIS, the morphant is growing in size and breaks its way back out a short while later.  From there, the events of the 96 Telemovie ensue....  


As the the 96 Telemovie concludes, we get another cliffhanger, of sorts. The Master appears to get sucked into the link that the Doctor's TARDIS has with the Eye Of Harmony (In the story, itself, it's always just referred to as the Eye of Harmony.  In truth, of course, it's a physical manifestation of the connection a TARDIS has with the Eye Of Harmony - but that is far too big of a mouthful!). Bruce the Ambulance Driver, the body the Master was currently inhabiting, seems to blow up into pieces as he is absorbed into the Eye.  But we've already seen evidence that traces of the protoplasm will survive atomization.   Only, in this case, they are probably floating around in some sort of nul-space that exists between the Doctor's TARDIS and its Power Source at the heart of Gallifrey (causing some indigestion, of course).   
The Master seems to be really done for, this time.   Yes, his essence has survived, but it has no hope of escaping back into our reality. 
Perhaps the Master does find some way out of this and clashes with the Eighth Doctor a few more times.  Somehow, there is a final fateful confrontation in which the Master's protoplasm is well and truly destroyed.  But as the Time Wars ensue and the Doctor refuses to fight in them, the Time Lords are in need of a skillful and resourceful General to run their campaigns.  So they find some way to resurrect the Master and give him a whole new regeneration cycle (the promise was made one time before in The Five Doctors and we've seen the Doctor get the same reward in Time of the Doctor).  This may be the resurrection that is described in the phone call between the two Time Lord enemies that we bear witness to in Sound of Drums
It's just as possible, too, that the Master never escaped from the Eye Of Harmony.   That, throughout the Eighth Doctor era, he's just stuck there.    But when the Time Wars begin and the Doctor won't fight in them, the protoplasmic Master is extracted from the link the Doctor's TARDIS has with the Eye of Harmony and the Master is put into a specially-created body for him that has a whole new regeneration cycle.  This could also be viewed as a resurrection, of sorts, and would also suit the description the Master gives in the Sound of Drums phone conversation.  
Either way, the Master is back in action and he's got another thirteen bodies to play with.    But he has to fulfill a bargain with the people who have granted him this new lease on life and fight in the Time Wars.  
Of course, the Master only honors the deal for as long as it suits him.   
As the events of the Time Wars seem to grow out of control and it really looks like the Daleks might just win, the Master decides to flee for his life.    After watching an Emperor Dalek take over something known as a Cruciform, he hatches a scheme to escape from the battle.   Travelling to the end of the Universe in his TARDIS, he uses a Chamelon Arch to disguise himself as a human. As he is doing that, he also induces a regeneration. This may be his first regeneration in his new cycle - it may be that he has used several, already.    We can't say for sure.   But the Master does seem to have some control over what he will become.   He purposely turns himself into a young child who is found by humanity on the coast of The Silver Devastation (whatever that is!).   The only thing he had on him was the fob watch containing his Time Lord essence.   For many years, he lives out the life of Professor Yana - a brilliant but under-appreciated human who is trying to find the mythical land of Utopia.   A place that will, apparently, be safe for humanity as the Universe implodes once and for all.   Because of the perception filter placed on the fob watch, he never feels an inclination to actually open it and restore his memory.
All of this seems to occur while the Doctor is in his Eighth Incarnation and is refusing to fight in the Time Wars.   He seems totally ignorant of the fact that the Master had been resurrected to fight for the Time Lords.   So, before that fateful crash on Karn where the Doctor takes on the form of the War Doctor, all these events with the Master took place.   As the Doctor finally joins the fight in his "secret incarnation", the Master has already disappeared from the Face of the Universe.  So the Time Lords keep the knowledge of the Master's involvement in the Time Wars a secret.   No doubt, even as the War Doctor, he would be infuriated to discover how his arch-nemesis had been brought back to life and used in such a dubious manner.          
But in his Tenth Incarnation, now a lonely survivor of the Great Time Wars, the Doctor's attitude is very different.   Along with Martha Jones and Captain Jack Harkness, they run into Professor Yana on the planet Malcassairo and foster an instinct in him to finally open that fob watch of his.   As he does, the Master is released, once more.    However, the Derek Jacobi incarnation of the Master is short-lived and another regeneration is induced shortly after his memories and Time Lord biology are restored.  
Again, we have no idea what incarnation that this puts the Master at in his new cycle.    The Simm Master is, at the very least, his third body.   But if his track record in his first regeneration cycle is anything to go by, he probably regenerated a few times while fighting in the Time Wars.   It's difficult to say as we do see times in the Master's life where he seems to take care of an incarnation for a while.   Both the Delgado and the Ainley Masters stuck around for quite some time.   Perhaps he has similar success with the first body the Time Lords gave him after his resurrection.   Then again, perhaps he doesn't and the Simm Master might be a fourth, fifth or even later incarnation.  Who can say, for sure?  


I must admit, as Last of the Time Lords concluded, I was most intrigued. We seemed to be getting a sort of hybrid version of how stories in the Delgado and Ainley Eras ended. The Master was being left in a fairly horrible and inescapable situation - but we were also being given a teaser that would indicate that he would be back again to fight the Doctor. As we get to Part One of The End of Time, the cliffhanger is resolved satisfactorily. All these new powers that the Master has from his botched resurrection seem a bit weird, but the way RTD carries him from one story to the next was done well. I'm even a bit relieved by it all. I really love my 80s Who, but one of the few things that genuinely irked me about this period of the show was the way we were never given satisfactory answers regarding how the Master escaped his end-of-story cliffhangers. 

Imagine my chagrin, then, as we finish up Series Eight and no explanation is given about how the Master escaped Gallifrey in the Time Wars and came back to our Universe to start building a Cyber-army. So it looks like we have to go back to our Part 2 Format:

The End of Time - Part 2 

THE CLIFFHANGER: There we are, at the big exciting climax. The Doctor must choose between killing The Master or killing Rassilon. Then he sees his Mommy's face (or, at least, that's what RTD claims she is) and makes a better choice. He destroys the whitepoint star and sends the High Council and all of Gallifrey back into Hell. Rassilon, however, has just enough time to take the Doctor out before he goes. But then, the Master steps in and goes toe-to-toe with the single greatest Time Lord in all of history. The two combatants fade away back into the Time Lock. The Master - who already seemed to be dying - definitely seems lost, now. Trapped, forevermore, in the Time Wars with the Lord President of Gallifrey determined to kill him. This one might be just as brutal as the Planet of Fire ending! 

THE SOLUTION:  The Master is in trouble, here, in three different ways (beating the double-whammy he was stuck in at the end of Castrovalva). First off, his screwed up resurrection is causing him to die. Next, Rassilon is trying to kill him with a Torchwood glove. And, finally, he's trapped in the Time Lock that has been placed on the Time Wars. So we have to find solutions for all three of these problems. Problems One and Two can be resolved quite easily. The Master keeps shooting his lifeforce into Rassilon and Rassilon keeps gloving the Master until the two of them take so much damage that they both induce a regeneration (the fact that the next time we see them they're both in a new incarnation helps to support this). Both are now too weak and vulnerable from the regeneration to keep fighting. Other Time Lords step in and break up the fight. Realizing he's going to be stranded forevermore in The Time Wars, the Master (or Missy, as she is now going to start referring to herself, as) needs to find a quick way out. She manages to find it by breaking through the Gallifrey Falls No More painting (perhaps he learnt about it during his brief period as the Minister of Defense or the Prime Minister). That weird hand that a bunch of fans point out as Clara emerges from the painting is, in fact, Missy escaping back into our Universe. 


For a while, it does seem like the transition between Death In Heaven and The Magician's Apprentice is going to be another Anthony Ainley Cliffhanger. But then, as we reach the beginning of Witch's Familiar, two cliffhangers get explained away in one fell swoop (even the Moff-bashers have to admit - that was a pretty solid piece of writing!). Everything seems to line up pretty good, after this. There is no need for any other things to be nitpicked or given a more lengthy explanation. 

We get a beautiful tease at the end of Witch's Familiar, of course. Missy is in another cliffhanger, of sorts. She's surrounded by multiple Daleks - their gun-sticks trained on her. 

"You know what? I've just had a very clever idea..." she proclaims. 

Who knows what sinister plans she might be concocting with the Universe's greatest menace? Whatever it is, she seems to have formed yet another alliance with the Daleks. 

We'll have to wait and see how things pan out....

All righty, then. All those nasty continuity issues sorted out with the Doctor's greatest enemy.

Missed the first installment?

Here's Part Two:

Like watching me unravel the histories of various major players in the Doctor Who Universe? Here's the first episode of my epic and long-winded History of the Daleks:



  1. You made some interesting points in this part. Now, if you REALLY want to drive the fans nuts, check out the two appearances of the Master in the New Adventure series! In one, he works out a way to get a shot that induces a new regeneration cycle, eliminating all the Cheetah and Traken DNA in him. In the other, he uses a Gallifreyan device, and the DNA of another person, to create a series of clones that he could implant himself into!

    1. I've read those books. They're great fun. I wish the Master had shown up more often in that series. I really enjoyed the way they wrote him.

    2. Very True. A mixture of the Charm of Delgado, with the zaniness and desires of the Ainley Master.

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    1. All these templates and colors come with blogspot. No need to call in designers. It's all there for you.


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