The Game is Afoot
Likewise, when the Master played with the Doctor on his Father’s estates, he probably didn’t know that his schoolfriend would ultimately become one of the most important beings in the universe, and that he would spend most of his life desperately attempting to attract his attention with a series of elaborate schemes.
‘You could almost say we were at school together’, said the Third Doctor, perhaps insulting Jo Grant over her lack of ability with the English language, but probably drawing a distinction between school and the Academy on Gallifrey. They definitely attended that together, as the Master reminds the First Doctor when he doesn’t recognise him in The Five Doctors (to be fair the Master does look slightly different, but then again so does the First Doctor). Despite being very good friends, there came a point where their paths diverged. The Doctor stole a TARDIS/was stolen by a TARDIS/had Clara tell him which TARDIS to steal (canon is in flux, the internet is the show’s equally contradictory footnotes), and went off to see the universe. We don’t know where the Master was at this point, but we can assume he followed shortly afterwards. Not to see the universe but perhaps not to conquer it either.
But since he was driven mad by the The Untempered Schism and Time Lord meddling who’s to say.
The Master doesn’t want to conquer the universe, really. He wants to play with his friend. Hence, the Master involves the Doctor in his evil schemes even though this means they’re almost certainly doomed to failure as a result. Why does he spends much of the Third Doctor era invading Earth even though it’s the only planet in the universe the Doctor can be on? Because it’s the only planet he can be on, and the Doctor welcomes his old friend’s appearance. After the dozens of deaths in Terror Of The Autons – hundreds of thousands narrowly averted – the Master is trapped on Earth, but the Doctor is rather looking forward to it.
And they battle. They play. Two “gods” among Men.
And I am an unabashed superfan of Roger Delgado’s Master.
But even that comes to an end.
The Master had outlived his Rengeration cycle by the time of the Fourth Doctor. But he schemed ways to prolong his life. To prolong the Game.
He even steals Nyssa’s Father’s body in “Keeper of Traken” and parades around the Universe in it until the Daleks exterminate it in the opening teaser of The TV Movie.
Ainley’s Master is more of a Paantomine show-off look at me mustache-twirling villain. Don’t get me wrong though, I love Anothy Ainley’s Master.
I dislike Eric Roberts’ Master.
The comes the kindly professor-in-disguise, Sir Derek Jacobi as Professor Yana who is awakened by The Doctor.
Then bat-shit crazy, zany supervillain John Simm who will make his reappearance again this weekend after being dead.
And regenerating into Michelle Gomez.
Yes, I am totally against a Female Doctor. But Gomez is a tour de force as Missy, the mischievous, devilish, and oh so charming Femme Fatale Mistress. She really sells it.
So will her former self turn her back to The Dark Side, or had she ever left?
That’s what we get to find out tomorrow in Part 1 of the Season Finale.
With The Master/Missy around expect lots of Machiavellian machinations, death, mayhem, and some really evil comedy.