Sunday, 30 July 2017

UNADULTERATED BOORISH OPINION: THE SILLINESS OF GENERAL FAN CONSENSUS - PART 1

Here is a special series under the BOORISH OPINION category that I'm going to greatly enjoy writing. It's a pretty well-known fact among my fan friends that I like to think for myself. That, regardless of how the rest of fandom feels about a certain matter, if I see things differently - then I am very vocal about it. Some even refer to me as the Great Contrarian. 

What fandom probably doesn't want to know is that a lot of the general opinions that I hear from them I find to be poorly thought through. If they had just stopped to ponder how they see things a little bit longer they would have realized their point was feeble. Unfortunately, they stated the first idea that came to their minds. Other fans who also didn't want to think things through a bit agreed with it. And, suddenly, we have a weak idea that is being accepted by many as something valid. Thanks to the internet, an opinion that hasn't been properly considered can spread like wildfire and become part of Popular Fan Consensus within a very short period of time.

So, every now and again, I am going to write something like this that tackles an issue that many fans hold to be a Sacred Truth but I feel has actually been ill-considered. I will also try to address certain trends that I see in the critical thinking of General Fan Consensus that seem to appear over and over. In fact, I'm going to look at one of these trends, right now: 



THE SILLINESS OF GENERAL FAN CONSENSUS:
PART 1: "SEEING PATTERNS IN THINGS THAT AREN'T THERE"

Oh, how right the Eighth Doctor was as he watched the inaccurate news broadcast in the 96 Telemovie. We humans seem to be experts at finding and believing in the fictitious elements of any situation.  While ignoring a simple truth that seems to be presenting itself quite clearly in front of us.

Fans of a cult series seem to be even worse for this. We pick something apart and claim to see things that weren't there at all. But we're certain we've found something and we have to share it with everyone. Amazingly enough, other fans seem to pick up on it, too. Before you know it, a widely-held belief has developed. And everyone is perpetuating it without really stopping to think about what they're saying.


MAKING MATCHES THAT DON'T REALLY MATCH

The "Seeing Patterns In Things That Aren't There" phenomenon breaks down even more. Fans participate in this process in many different ways. The one I want to focus in on for this particular essay is the "It's Just Like Something Else But It Isn't, Really" Observation.

Every now and again, a new episode has a story element in it that causes it to ever-so-vaguely resemble another tale of some sort. Sometimes, it's a previous Doctor Who story. Sometimes, it's something else entirely. But, because of this ever-so-vague resemblance, fans start crying "Re-tread!" or "Rip-off!" or something to that effect. Basically, the writer is horrible because they completely stole their plot from another source.

One of my favorite examples of this in recent years was when The Shakespeare Code came out. Certain fans swore that it was just Harry Potter all over again. Yes, it did reference Harry Potter twice - but, otherwise, that's pretty much where the similarities ended. These were witches, not wizards. Yes, they cast spells - but in a totally different way than the characters in Potter did. Potter characters tended to utter weird "latinesque" phrases when summoning their powers. Whereas the witches spoke in verse. We even, eventually, see that the Doctor debunks the Magic in Shakespeare Code by pointing out that it is still actually a science. Whereas Potter swears to its bitter end that magic is real. None of the major characters in Shakespeare Code are kids. Nor does the story take place anywhere near a school.

And yet, fans swore it was a total Potter rip-off. Because both stories seem to use magic as part of its central premise. Using that same logic, we can claim that people and cats are exactly the same because they both drink water. Yup, people and cats have a few things in common (more than just the fact that we both drink water, actually). But I would still say that a cat is very different from a human being. But, apparently, fans can greatly dislike logic or common sense. If they want to complain about something being unoriginal - they will jump all over it. It takes only the vaguest of similarities to incense them.


A MORE RECENT EXAMPLE

Okay, so now let's get to the most recent example of the "It's Just Like Something Else But Isn't" Observation that I've seen occur. This is what finally sparked me off and made me decide to write this. I'm just going to say it right away in a poignant single-sentence paragraph:

The Monks and the Silence are not completely the same thing.  

As we reached the end of Series Ten's mid-season 3-parter, I kept hearing people saying over and over in fan forums: "Moffat is running out of ideas! The Monks and the Silence are identical to each other!" Even personal friends who enjoy the show were making this claim in conversations. I really couldn't believe how little thought people were putting in to this observation. It was like they were just looking for a quick easy complaint. It seemed as if they were trying look insightful without actually having to employ a whole lot of thought.

So, let's get the important point out of the way: it's not like there are absolutely no similarities between the Monks and the Silence. Yup, both races claim to be influencing humanity throughout their entire history. I get it. That's definitely something they share in common. Just like Harry Potter and Shakespeare Code both have magic. Just like cats and humans both drink water. But that's, pretty much, where the similarities end.

Fandom would have you believe differently, of course. That Moffat can't come up with new aliens anymore so he's doing a re-tread. Let's take a closer look at this notion, then.


JUST HOW MANY DIFFERENCES THERE REALLY ARE

Okay, let's start with timescales. That's where we'll find our first major difference. While the Silence gets mentioned all over the place in Series Five, we don't meet any members of the movement til the beginning of Series Six. At first, all we're meeting are the Priests that delete themselves' from human memory the moment you turn your back on them. These creatures claim right in The Impossible Astronaut (the very first episode we see them) that they've been working this secret agenda throughout the course of human history. It's their biggest bragging right, really. In the end, it becomes the source of their undoing.

The Monks, however, don't start making this claim til their final episode. Before then, the agenda they're working is the exact reverse principle of the Silence's plan. They're more concerned about our future and what sort of role they can play in it. It's only after dominion has been surrendered to them that this whole new false history has been inserted into the human consciousness that asserts that the Monks have been with us all this time.

Which leads us to our next crucial difference between Monks and Silence. The Silence are quite happy to admit that they've been up to no good while they were meddling with our past. That their agenda has been one that advances them but exploits us. Again, it's the exact opposite with the Monks. They're saying that they've been with us the whole time but it's been to help us grow and evolve. That, in fact, their whole influence on us has come from a completely selfless motive. That they just want to do some good in our lives.

And now we reach the most crucial of differences between our two alien species. The one that I find really makes a fan sound dumb when they say things like: "Oh my God! The Monks and the Silence are totally the same!" When the Silence claim that they've been guiding us along throughout our entire history - they're actually telling the truth. Whereas the Monks were completely lying. They had only recently invaded us and then created a false past that we were collectively believing in. See the huge, gigantic difference there, kids? Silence - really did it. Monks - didn't. I don't think you can create a larger difference, really.


CONCLUSION

That last glaring difference, of course, means that the Doctor must also dispatch these two enemies in an entirely different manner. Because the Silence really had been ruling us throughout our entire history, the Doctor had to use that against them and wake up the humans to their secret oppressors so that they would declare war against them. In the case of the Monks, he just had to dispel their illusion. So even the way in which the two races are defeated are different from each other.

Again, I will admit: there is one core similarity between the Monks and the Silence. That can't be denied. But it doesn't make them complete copies of each other. If that were the case, then the Silence is actually a total rip-off of the Jagaroth. And the Jagaroth is a total rip-off of the Daemons. Since all of these species claim to have been meddling with humanity's development since the Dawn of their Creation.

Fans, I think, need to remind themselves' that science fiction has certain tropes that get re-used from time-to-time (which is the whole essence of a trope, really). If fun and original things can be done with that trope then there is no harm in dipping again from that particular well. I believe that was the case with the storyline that gets created in The Lie of the Land. If you don't feel that was achieved - I'm okay with that. But please don't claim the Silence and the Monks were identical. That's lazy critical thinking. See the difference, there?

I hope you do. And I hope that the next time a trope gets re-explored in the series - you see the difference then, too (unless, of course, it is a legitimate re-hash). Rather than just screaming "Re-tread!" because of a few minor similarities. It's quite annoying when you do that. And it makes you seem quite dim.



Well, that was a fun rant. I'll steer away from opinion pieces for a bit. Particularly since I did just pick on fandom. And fandom is meant to be my actual audience! Mustn't bite the hand that feeds you too hard! 






Thursday, 20 July 2017

UNADULTERATED BOORISH OPINION: A FEMALE DOCTOR

Our darling internet is on fire, right now, by a certain casting choice Chris Chibnall finally announced. In some ways, I actually think this is great. It's given my favorite program lots of attention and also created some interesting discussion and debate. As usual, some fans are making fools of themselves' - but that's nothing new!

Of course, I have my own opinion on the matter. As a rule, I've only offered it if it's been asked for. But there is a certain advantage to being the author of a well-read blog. On certain occassions, you can express your blowhard ideas to an audience who might find them interesting even though they weren't solicited.

So, here goes:.



As the Beeb naturally expected, a certain amount of yule and cry occurred after the announcement that Jodie Whittaker would be the Thirteenth Doctor. While I have heard some legitimately convincing arguments about why the Doctor should never be a woman, there are a few opinions that I feel compelled to utterly dismiss. They're just so outrageous that someone needs to shoot them down.

OBJECTIONS I FIND OBJECTIONABLE

There's really only two theories circulating that, in my opinion, really need to be addressed:

1) The Beeb is just trying to be PC

Certainly, there are still some imbalances within the British television industry and Doctor Who, itself, that need to be re-dressed. Moffat has discussed these problems within his own era. We've seen him, for instance, make a conscious effort to commission more female writers to provide us with new episodes. In this sense, I think a bit of political correctness is required. There's still just a little bit too much of a "boys' club" going on in television and conscious efforts to change that are genuinely needed to make the business a fairer practice.

But some fans would have you believe that this latest bit of casting was done purely on that merit. That Jodie Whittaker did not receive the role because she deserves it but because the BBC just wants to make itself look like its practices are always fair and equitable. That they are social justice warriors rather than a TV station that's trying to produce quality entertainment. And that, because this is their intent, the quality of the show will now drop dramatically.

I find this opinion difficult to swallow. This sort of decision-making is just far too impractical for many reasons. Which is not to say, of course, that the BBC never makes poor choices. Let's remember, they did cancel Doctor Who, once! But I do think that this is just too ridiculous of a motivation for them to have. They just couldn't be that stupid.

The BBC treat Doctor Who as a flagship program. They want to see good ratings. Anyone with half a brain can see that casting a woman as the Doctor will lose a heavy segment of viewers. It might gain some new ones, too - but that's still a big risk they're taking. I can't see the BBC being that counter-intuitive. To want to appear PC but take that kind of chance with one of their highest-grossing and most expensive programs doesn't make sense. There has to be more to this decision than just the desire to look good to the Left. The Left won't give them the ratings they need.


2) It's all just stunt casting

This one seems even sillier. There are fans that seem to believe that Jodie Whittaker got the role simply as a "gimmick" or a way to grab attention. That we're, essentially, observing a piece of stunt casting.

I am actually hearing mention of Beryl Reid in this sort of discussion. Fans are comparing Jodie to her. Beryl Reid is, of course, the most notorious stunt casting in the entire history of the show. She was hired to play the captain of a space freighter in one of my favorite stories. If ever there was someone who was most unlikely to play a space captain, it was Beryl Reid. But such an unlikely casting got attention and, apparently, lots of people tuned in to see if she could pull it off. Which is, of course, the whole point of stunt casting!

While such a ploy might work with a supporting character like the one Beryl played, you can't pull this same stunt off with the protoganist of a show. An audience will only put up with a certain level of stunt casting. A cameo or a support is small enough to make us curious. But anything bigger than that and we just naturally assume that the show will be ruined. You can only go so far with this trick. And even the most open-minded of fans will offer consumer resistance. The BBC are smart enough to know this. They are not going to stunt cast a lead in one of their most popular shows.


I think what bothers me the most with both of these theories is that they imply that Whittaker did not earn the role. That she was cast for political reasons. Or simply to create hype. I can't imagine how insulting it must be for her to hear this kind of stuff. I know I'd be offended if I were in her place.


IF YOU OBJECT TO JODIE DOES THAT MAKE YOU A SEXIST?

Having berated fandom a bit for some of the stuff they've said, let me defend them where they deserve it. If you don't think Jodie Whittaker should be the next Doctor, I don't believe that this, necessarily, makes you a sexist. I have heard some concerns about this casting choice that I might even consider legitimate.

The biggest one being that some of you have seen her in other stuff and have disliked her performances in those shows/movies. So you don't think she'll do well in this role, either. I can't really argue with that. It's your own opinion, really. Personally, I've seen her in other roles and greatly enjoyed her performance. But if she's not to your liking - I can't help that.

Besides tastes in acting styles, there are a few other opinions against a female Doctor that are floating around that I also find have some credence.  But I will add that there are many more opinions that I hear that sound like thinly veiled sexism. That some of you really can't accept a woman as the Doctor simply because she's a woman. But you don't want to say that because you know how that will make you look. So you've come up with some weak theory to disguise your true beliefs.

But I do hate that some people are implying that not accepting Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor instantly makes you a sexist. That line of thinking is almost as oppressive as sexism, itself.

There is already a satirical video circulating the internet that was posted to my Wall. It's meant to be a fake ad for a helpline that assists people who are having a hard time accepting a female Doctor. The person working the helpline is female and she keeps rolling her eyes as men are calling her with concerns that are blatantly sexist ("She better only be making 79 cents on every dollar Capaldi was making!"). The video was a bit amusing but it bothered me more than anything. I took it upon myself (for what it was worth) to point out in the comments that there is an abundance of female fans who disagree with the casting decision. Do they all hail from repressive cultures that have brainwashed them into believing that women are second class citizens? Or could it be possible that someone can object to Jodie Whittaker being the Doctor and not be a complete chauvinist pig?


WHAT DOES ROB REALLY THINK?

Okay, as usual, I've beat around the bush and dealt with some side issues before getting to my real point: what is my actual opinion on Jodie Whittaker being cast as the next Doctor? Am I elated over the fact that my favorite show has become even more progressive? Or furious that the image of an iconic character is being too harshly altered? Or somewhere between the two extremes?

The truth is: I'm pretty neutral.

I will confess: changing the Doctor's gender is a bit hard to accept. Mainly because he has been male for 36 seasons. But I do think they can get it to work and that it can even be very fun and exciting if they do it right. But I really have to see Doctor Thirteen in action before I can say much. And that's really my strongest point in this whole essay: how can we really pass any kind of judgment on a woman as the Doctor until we see some episodes?

I do think the gender issue needs to be addressed head-on from time-to-time. When the Doctor first regenerates into a woman - there should, perhaps, be some conscious adjustment. Not a lot, but some. This would only be realistic. You can't walk around in a male body for over 2 000 years and transition into a female without having a few problems with it. As the Doctor makes those compensations - the audience does, too.

Whenever the Doctor visits a place in Time and Space where women's rights are still being violated she should need to have to deal with that, too. She doesn't need to change the thinking of the whole society but she should change the minds of a few key characters who might be trying to restrict her. These characters might think she's incapable of doing anything useful because she's a woman and the Doctor's sheer brilliance proves to them that they need to open their minds. Something similar to Martha going through the bones of the hand when Nurse Redfern can't believe she's studying to be a doctor because she's black.

But, aside from those scenarios, the Doctor really shouldn't give a damn about the fact that she's now a woman. She should just go on with being the Doctor. And that's the only way I think the change will really work. It can't always be about the Doctor being a woman - but it can't be ingnored, either. The formula needs to sit somewhere in the middle.

And I wouldn't be surprised if someone as skilled as Chris Chibnall knew that.

Which means, of course, that I think things will be very exciting with Jodie Whittaker piloting the TARDIS. They might not always be perfect. But when has Doctor Who always been perfect? I just hope that, when the show does misfire, that we don't get a gang of idiots proclaiming: "See! I told you it wouldn't work! It's because she's a chick!".

Unfortunately, we probably will. That's just the way certain segments of Fandom can be.


FINAL CONCLUSION

So, ultimately, my feelings on the matter are largely positive - with a hint of trepidation. Which is how I feel whenever the Doctor regenerates. There is always the slightest fear that this new actor might finally be a mistake. And I think that's just a natural thing to go through during such a large change.

I will go so far as to admit that I'm a bit more concerned than usual because the change is greater than normal. Not sure if that makes me a sexist. I experienced a similar sentiment when they announced Matt Smith as the next Doctor because he was much younger than normal. Which means I might also be ageist. Or I just recognize that a greater risk is being taken and that might make me a little more nervous than normal about something I'm always a bit nervous about.

But, overall, I can get behind all this. This is something the show has been preparing us for (read my footnotes) and I certainly feel ready for it. I also think it can represent some very interesting new directions that the whole program can move in.

But I really can't say much more than that til I see some eps. And I really think it's a bit ridiculous that some fans have decided to pass such harsh judgement without actually seeing Whittaker take on the role, yet. In all honesty, it's a pretty foolish stance to take.

In my opinion, at least.





So, that's my Unadulterated Boorish Opinion on the matter. Hope you like it.

When I first started writing this, I decided to chronicle just how long it's been since the idea of a female Doctor was first introduced to the audience. I realized I was "beating around the bush" even more than usual and that I needed to get to my point faster. So I cut and pasted it down to a footnote. You can have a look at it if you want to hear even more of my jaded opinions!




FOOTNOTE: THE HISTORY OF A FEMALE DOCTOR

I do find it fascinating that some people seem a bit shocked that such a casting decision has been made. In terms of continuity, the show has made a conscious effort in its last few seasons to clearly establish that Time Lords can change genders when they regenerate. It started with a piece of dialogue in The Doctor's Wife and moved on to a surprise revelation about Missy in Series 8. Finally, we actually saw a gender switching regeneration happen right before our very eyes during Hell Bent. Just to make sure we were well-and-truly braced for it, the Doctor had one more discussion about it with Bill in the penultimate episode of Series 10.

So the actual content of the show has done its very best in the last few years to brace us for this. It's been very clearly established within the mythos of the actual program that if our male protagonist suddenly stops being male - no one should be shocked.

But it's not just in the writing. Behind the scenes, Doctor Who production teams have been bracing us for this since the early 80s. Admittedly, it started off as a bit of a prank. As the story goes, Tom Baker and Jon Nathan Turner were on their way to a press conference to announce that the Fourth Doctor's era was about to reach its conclusion. Baker, lover of controversy that he is, suggested to JNT that he allude to the public that he might be considering a woman for the role. An uproar ensued and the 80s showrunner got the media fireworks he so frequently relished (if you don't know it, look up the story about where the name "The Doctor's Wife" came from - it's a fantastic example of JNT's love of stirring the pot!). Although this was more of a stunt than something the producer was legitimately considering, it still did set the whole "Should the Doctor Ever Be a Woman?!" Debate into motion. From this point onward, every time a regeneration was due in the Classic Series, at least a bit of speculation would ensue about whether the next incarnation would be a man or a woman.

For the 96 Telemovie and the first series or two of New Who, the casting of the Doctor was never in doubt: it would always be a man. But, even as Tennant announced he would depart, those Chinese Whispers seemed to start up again. The possibility of a female Doctor was being discussed by the media and in fan forums.

But, if you really want to be accurate, this didn't truly start with Baker and JNT on their way to a press conference. It can be traced all the way back to the first time regeneration was introduced to the program. Fans are digging up quotes from Patrick Troughton and Sidney Newman claiming that they think the character should be played by an actress in some future incarnation.

Truth be told, this is something the show has spent a long time preparing its audience for. So if anyone is truly surprised by this - you've been living under a rock

Thursday, 6 July 2017

CHRONLOGIES AND TIMELINES: A HISTORY OF THE MASTER - APPENDIX A

Series 10 has reached its end. It was definitely a good one and I'm sad to see it's over. Like everyone else, it's going to be absolute murder waiting for the Christmas Special. 

This season featured some lovely stories with recurring villains and/or monsters. We saw a great episode with the Ice Warriors. And, of course, we got that amazing Double Master story that included the Mondasian Cybermen. Even the Dalek cameo in The Pilot was nice. 

Empress of Mars ended up contradicting some stuff I had written about when I tried to piece together a history for the Ice Warriors. I immediately, composed an Appendix to correct things. World Enough and Time /The Doctor Falls also presented some problems with a timeline I tried to create with the Master. So now I'm going to take a shot at fixing that. 

If you'd like to see what I've written about the Master, already - here are the links to my first stab at establishing his history:

Part 1: Early Days..
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2016/10/chronologies-and-timelines-master-part-1.html

Part 2: The Great Cliffhangers
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2016/10/chronologies-and-timelines-history-of.html

Part 3: New Who Master
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2016/10/chronologies-and-timelines-master-part-3.html



THE MASTER DOESN'T REALLY NEED A TIMELINE

Just in case you don't bother to read the previous installments, I just want to re-state that I know the Master doesn't really need a timeline. He and the Doctor both adhere (more or less) to Gallifreyan Mean Time. This isn't like River Song - they're not meeting out of sequence. As Time Lords, they're actually required to always clash against each other in chronological order (again, more or less). My bigger mission with this particular series was to fill in certain gaps in the Master's timeline. Things have occurred off-camera in his/her life that are only vaguely alluded to in the dialogue of certain episodes. I wanted to expand on some of those ideas and explore them more deeply. I, very specifically, also wanted to address some of those end-of-story cliffhangers that took place in the 80s that were never properly answered. That was more the point of this endeavor, than anything. To try to solve some mysteries in his past - not so much to try to arrange it in a proper flow.

Word Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls, for all its brilliance, has created one or two direct contradictions to things I stated in my third installment of the Master's timeline. It also presented a few "shady areas" in the Master/Missy's past that I think need some light shed on them. Please don't get me wrong, by the way. I'm not complaining about this story. Moff can contradict me all he wants if he's going to create tales as magnificent as this. I'm just going to be the pedantic nerd that I am and try to fix these discrepancies. I'm not going to lie - I'm actually happy this has happened. It's given something to keep my little geek brain occupied.


THE AMENDMENT

Okay, first things first. In the third part of the Master's timeline, I try to explain how John Simm's Master survived The End of Time and became Missy. Man, I was trying to sound so smart when I did. I just thought I was the biggest genius in the world with the most incredible observation skills.

Turns out I was totally wrong. Again, just in case you didn't go back and read my original entry, here's what I wrote:

THE SOLUTION:  The Master is in trouble, here, in three different ways. 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. 

I've got some serious yolk on my face, now, of course. This isn't what happened at all. As we embark upon the second part of the Series 10 Finale, the Doctor goes to the trouble of asking the Simm Master how he escaped from Gallifrey. The solution was much more simple than that contrived nonsense I came up with. 

Turns out that the Time Lords just cured him of his problem with his draining lifeforce. Then, when Gallifrey returned to our Universe, they just told him to get lost. So he did.  

Well, don't I look pretty foolish, now?!  

In my defense, this does tie in nicely with some of the stuff I wrote about Gallifrey returning to our Universe. Since I seem to be in the mood to post links, here's what I wrote on that matter: 


What's Going On With Gallifrey? - Part 1:
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2016/07/fixing-continuity-glitches-whats-going.html

What's Going On With Gallifrey? - Part 2:
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2016/07/fixing-continuity-glitches-whats-going_24.html


Hopefully, I look a bit less foolish if you should bother read the links. I sound quite clever, again, in those entries. I don't think anyone making the show will go all that specifically into detail about the Return of Gallifrey in some future story and that the theories I express in those links will end up getting contradicted. But, who knows? Someday, I may have to write an Appendix on this too! 



FROM END OF TIME TO WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME 

Okay, my retraction has been posted. Now we need to move on to a shady area that could probably use a bit more light. What exactly might have happened to lead the Master to the colony ship that was heading to Mondas? 

I'm guessing that, once the Master left a Restored Gallifrey, he went messing about in the Universe again and caused a bit of trouble. He didn't just go straight to the Mondasian colony ship, he probably hatched an evil scheme or two in other parts of Time and Space first. Even though the Doctor wasn't around to stop him, whatever sinister plans he concocted had failed. 

The Master got to thinking: if he was really going to take over the Universe, he needed an army. Preferably one that was already good at conquest. He remembered the alliances he had formed with the Daleks over the years and realized he had been on the right track. But he needed to make sure his allies were more loyal to him. He decided that he should probably go back into the past of whoever was going to join him in his cause and arrange things so that they were completely obedient to him. 

Meddling with the Daleks' history was too dangerous of a venture. With their mastery over time, they would probably know this was being done to them and make restitution before their past could be properly altered. The Master may have even discovered that the Doctor had already gone back to their point of origin. Working around whatever his rival had done to their Genesis was going to be too complicated of a matter. So, instead, he went to the second-best race of galactic conquerors. He delved into the past of the Cybermen. 

After a bit of homework, our favorite evil Renegade Time Lord was amazed to discover that the Cybermen didn't actually begin on the Planet Mondas. But, rather, on a colony ship that was bound for Mondas. He was even more intrigued by the fact that said colony ship became stranded at the threshold of a Black Hole. This, he had just had to check out.

As he approached the colony ship in his TARDIS, the Master immediately picked up on the time dilation that was going on. Sure, he could arrive at the top of the ship where time was flowing at one speed. But things looked far more interesting at the ship's thrusters - where time was moving at a different pace. A whole colony, already, seemed to be growing there. That must be where the Cybermen would eventually evolve.  

In this particular incarnation, he loved to be bold. So he materialized at the bottom of the ship. The time dilation blew out his dematerialization circuit - stranding himself there. No matter, he had work to do. He needed to establish himself as the leader of this fledgling colony and persuade them to start converting themselves' into Cybermen. As their leader, he would be in control of the Cyber-army once it was complete. A perfect strategy. 

Except, of course, that the colony eventually rejected his leadership. The Master had to take on a disguise and find a new way to manipulate the people into mass-conversion. He becomes an eccentric worker at a hospital and manages to carry out his plans from there.

SPECIAL NOTE: We do still need to get Gallifreyan Mean Time to work a bit, here. The Twelfth Doctor makes it clear that he hasn't met the Simm Master until that fateful moment at the end of World Enough And Time. The Eleventh Doctor was around for quite some time - particularly after he chooses to defend Trenzalore.  Their timelines need to line up, at least, a bit. So, let's say the Master spent nearly a thousand years in the colony ship. Considering it's in a weird time zone of its own, the idea can vaguely work.

SUPER SPECIAL NOTE: Having said that, Gallifreyan Mean Time is still being broken a bit when the Twelfth Doctor meets the Simm Master. But it's also being broken because the Master and Missy are meeting each other. So, really, anything goes in a moment like this. However, once the Master regenerates into Missy, her timeline synchs up properly with the Doctor's as we start watching Series 8. Which is why I say the Master spent so much time in the colony ship. It gets Gallifreyan Mean Time to work properly again once the Master regenerates and escapes the colony ship 

SUPER DUPER SPECIAL NOTE: There is much about this Mondasian colony ship that needs deeper investigation. The biggest question being: how do the Cybermen on the ship eventually become the Cybermen we see in The Tenth Planet? I have a feeling we might get some of these answers in the Christmas Special. So, for now, I will leave this alone. Someday soon, however, expect me to finally do a CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES about the Cybermen. 


WHEN MASTER MEETS MISSY

At this point, of course, the events of World Enough And Time/The Doctor Falls takes place (within context of the Simm Master's timeline, at least). There is one curious question that doesn't get a particularly satisfying answer. How does the Master know he's looking at his future incarnation? 

My guess is he heard some rumors about Missy during his exploits after Gallifrey but before the colony ship. Perhaps even talked to a person or two who had met him in his next body, already and given him a description of some sort. Maybe even shown him a picture or two. This sort of thing can happen when you time travel - particularly if you run into a person that is not a Time Lord and is, therefore, not bound by Gallifreyan Mean Time.   

The other thing I'd like to note about this encounter is that I'm pretty sure Missy was completely lying when she said she couldn't remember details from her multi-incarnation encounter. Claiming that their timelines are too tangled for her to retain things only happens when it's more than two incarnations that run into each other. As far I'm concerned, she recalls everything. This is certainly implied in the final confrontation at the lift entrance. She is quite clear to her previous incarnation on how he will perish - which indicates that she knew, all along, how things were going to play out.

If this is the case, it actually helps to get some continuity to make really good sense. After the botched attempt at controlling Mondasian Cybermen, the Master regenerates into Missy and embarks on a second attempt to build a Cyber-army. This is one of her own creation. He's also seen into his own future and knows that, as a woman, she will become closer to the Doctor. She will, eventually, choose to stand at his side. So she starts that process by offering her army to the Doctor once it's been assembled. He, of course, refuses and Danny Pink sacrifices himself to wipe the army out. 

After that second failed attempt, the Master/Missy abandons trying to recruit the Cybermen to his/her cause. Missy's desire, however, to befriend her greatest enemy continues. She'll try to rescue him a short while later when he chooses to visit a dying Davros on Skaro. 


WHAT HAPPENED WITH THOSE DALEKS? 

And so we come to another gap that needs filling. I'm going to speculate on how Missy makes it from Magician's Apprentice/Witch's Familiar to the Vault we see in Series 10. Truth be told, I'm going to remain purposely vague. I'm now fearful that, if I become too specific, the show will eventually present a full account of her adventures during this time and wildly contradict me. 

I'm such a coward, sometimes!

Still, this whole essay becomes pretty useless if I don't come up with some sort of theory. So here goes: when Missy proclaims: "I've just had a very clever idea!", it's something that will fix the damage the Doctor has just done to the Dalek City. With various models of Daleks surrounding her and ready to fire, Missy strikes a bargain. She will save the Skarosian mutants if they let her live. Perhaps she even donates some regeneration energy to reverse-engineer the whole problem. 

While there was probably some deception on both sides, everyone ends up honoring their end of the deal. Missy saves the Daleks and the Daleks let her live. During the twenty-four years that the Doctor spends with River Song, his arch-rival probably gets up to quite a bit of no good. We get the impression that she still interacts with the Daleks from time-to-time. That they are on good terms and, occasionally, work together. She seems to have almost gotten a bit "gossipy" with them. 

Eventually, however, Missy's sins catch up with her. We're not sure exactly how - but she is brought to the planet Camathon. There, she will be executed for the crimes she has committed against the Universe. Her remains will then be placed in a special vault for a thousand years. As part of the ritual, she must killed by one of her own kind. The Doctor is summoned to perform the task. 

In the end, the Doctor can't do it. But he still places her in the Vault in hopes that her imprisonment will lead to her redemption. Series Ten, basically, leads Missy through that final process that she will see the end result of when she was still in her previous incarnation. She will actually choose to become a good person. 


ONE LAST BIT OF SPECULATION

And so, once more, we're current. We've filled in some gaps and made the appropriate amendments and my chronology of the Master makes some kind of sense, again. Not much, but some! 

After the embarrassment of my "Look! I figured out how the Master escaped Gallifrey!" incident, dare I try to speculate on how the evil Renegade Time Lord will escape his/her latest horrible fate? This one is as nasty as the end of Planet of Fire. The Master/Missy may have made his/her final Great Curtain Call. There seems no real way out of this one. I really shouldn't try to guess at how she might have dodged this latest bullet. That would be the most foolish of ventures. I'd be an absolute idiot to touch this one. 

Who am I kidding?! I have to try to show off how clever I am. Even if it may blow up in my face at a later date.

I've already indicated that Missy is lying to her earlier incarnation when she says she doesn't remember much of anything regarding her encounter with him. That, in fact, she recalls every detail. She told this lie for various reasons. The biggest one being that if the Simm Master knew her memory wasn't as faulty as she claimed, he would have been more thorough in dispatching her. He would have realized that, if his next incarnation did remember everything, she would've have known he was going to shoot her with the laser screwdriver and made proper preparations. 

So I say that Missy knew what was coming and was wearing some sort of high-tech bullet-proof vest and/or personal force field that absorbed the bulk of the blast. She still needed the whole thing to look convincing so she made sure her defenses weren't too strong. The Master would need to see some damage being done or he wouldn't be fooled. Of course, the wounds that she will receive from the attack will precipitate a regeneration that she will only induce after her earlier incarnation has taken off in the lift. 

The Master will live on...  

...Or, at least, that's my guess.  



And with that, I am done my Appendixes until more new episodes get made. I'm going to veer away from Chronologies And Timelines for a bit and explore some other topics. Hope we all make it to the Christmas Special without losing our sanity. It's going to be a difficult wait...