Moffat Confirms Missy Will Return, But Who Would You Resurrect?
You can’t keep a good, deranged Time Lord down. Steven Moffat has confirmed that Michelle Gomez will return to the show as Missy.
Maybe it was the deliberate move to another tombstone, the genre itself or that fact that nothing, not even the end of his regenerations can keep the Master from returning, but ever since she was vaporised, it was only a matter of time before she was confirmed to return.
Speaking to the Radio Times about the non-secret, secret Steven Moffat said: “I can’t imagine anyone who’s ever watched this genre being convinced that she’s dead. The Master is never dead, no matter what happens to him or her. She’s entirely unzappable!”
It’s great news; Death in Heaven was possible the best new Doctor Who Master story, albeit with not much competition (if only there was a way to distil the magic of Utopia into a whole episode) – a more successful Journey’s End and, at the heart of it, a new interpretation of an old character.
If you had to draw one consistency out of the mess of inconstancies – some intentional, some the product of incongruent writing – then probably the most pertinent would be that the Master e wants to conquer the universe by bringing order to it; even though he embodies the same kind of chaos he seeks to eradicate.
Whatever your thoughts are of Death in Heaven, it had a point. Stripped of the meretricious embellishments of John Simms incarnation, the story benefited from a clarity of thought. Despite the grand scale of Missy’s evil schemes, there’s something strikingly small and simple at the heart of her diabolical endgame.
To quote the old clichéd line, she wanted to prove that ‘we’re not so different, you and I’ and she has a point although admittedly, and rather wonderfully to this Master fan, perhaps her choice to make the impossible decisions that the Doctor will not consider ultimately answered the query for her and the question that has been vexing the Doctor from the start of this series: Am I a good man?
It’s this contradiction that makes the Master such an enduring character and what makes him such a delightful foe for the Doctor.
In the aftermath of Dark Water when the reveal was made and Michelle Gomez confirmed what we already knew, there were some quibbling about why Steven Moffat had made the choice to make the Master the first Time Lord to switch gender when the Rani, a female Time Lord, was already available (there is Romana but never for a moment did I think that she was a possibility. I mean it is possible – but think of the continuity that would have to be scrapped! You’d be able to see a u-turn like that from E-Space).
Firstly, you have to assume that the decision to swap gender and to bring the Master back were made simultaneously with the development of Series 8. Once that decision was made then you would have to assume character was the overriding factor.
You couldn’t simply swap out a character based solely on them now sharing the same gender. It would be like swapping Bobby Zamora for Lionel Messi because they both happen to be strikers. It could only be the Master because his character is markedly different to the Rani and is necessary for the point the episode was trying to make. That the Master just wanted her old friend back albeit on her terms.
It still doesn’t answer the question: Why make the change at all? It’s not a question I find myself particularly worried by. Sure it’s a big change with greater implications for a future Doctor but by making what has been politely hinted at into a living, breathing lady Time Lord, I can only see it as a good thing.
Quite what that means for the Doctor and for the traditions of the show are perhaps still open to debate: the Doctor is written in a certain way with a certain perspective wired into his character from its inception and, even though the Master has demonstrated that gender is no barrier for consistency, gender does inform perspective; how could it not? Is that a barrier to ultimately changing the Doctor? Should tradition stand in the way of development?
Character is everything and so finding the best person to inhabit that character and build upon what has come before, with the groundwork laid out, it’s simple a matter of finding the best performer for the part and, for the Master, Michelle Gomez was perfect.
So what does this mean for other characters? Who else could come back? Should we even indulge this kind of thinking? If character is key then should we be so caviller with the cannon? Isn’t this the kind of thinking that rubs traditionalists the wrong way?
As for death in fiction; rules have to be obeyed.
As Steven Moffat said, genre informs those decisions. Creators are dealing with so many levels of perspective – from the macro universe, to the micro, individual’s interpretations of that worldwide perspective – meaning travels in all directions. Sometimes shifting one of those pieces back into play, can overthrow the whole thing.
Should Osgood be resurrected? The Missy/Master change goes some way to prove that Moffat is listening but how do you rate importance in this regard? The show should always come first even if fans are clamouring for a character’s return as sometimes characters have to stay dead
As the Ninth Doctor (less memorably) said: “Everything dies.”
So for the sake of indulging our inner creators; who would you choose to resurrect? Osgood? Astrid Peth? I’d probably plump for Kamelion…. but maybe that’s just me…