After watching the first couple series, I realized something. I wanted the Doctor to have an archenemy. Sure, one could say the Daleks fill that role, but their relationship wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I wanted him to have his own Ra’s al Ghul or Moriarty. A villain that knew him better than any other, and vice-versa. Someone whose relationship with him seemed to be equal parts enmity and respect. And in the series three finale, I met the Master.
He was the first one I saw that really outmaneuvered the Doctor at every turn. The three-part finale that saw his return was epic. I still don’t really care for how he was beaten (think Ten as Goku and regaining his “youth” as the Spirit Bomb), but the man was so driven that he refused to regenerate on his deathbed just to spite the Doctor and truly make him the last of the Time Lords. But, like all great villains, death was just a detour for him. He eventually returned in the two-part “The End of Time” to seemingly settle his business with the Doctor once and for all. Their confrontation here had the added bonus of the prophecy, “He will knock four times,” which spells the end for the Doctor. I–as I’m sure anyone else did who watched this–got ecstatic upon hearing that bit. See, the drum beat that the Master hears is one of my favorite touches for any character ever, and it had a pretty satisfying resolution. To me, at least.
Once again, though, death was only temporary for the (evil) rogue Time Lord. Twelve’s first series sees a woman showing up and talking to various characters who die in their respective episodes. The woman eventually reveals herself as Missy–short for Mistress. After all, she couldn’t very well keep calling herself the Master. Now, I love John Simm as the Master. He was the perfect villain for Ten. But Michelle Gomez as Missy just blew me away. She strikes the perfect balance of bored and playful, and it’s a truly terrifying mix when you realize she’s toying with the Earth’s dead. Her master plan (no pun intended…maybe) at the end of the eighth series also had shades of Joker’s in “The Death of the Family,” and that was just icing on the cake for me. I can’t wait to see what she does in series nine.
The Master is not only my most favorite villain in Doctor Who, but he/she is also one of my all-time favorites now. All hail the Master.