In which I'm finally starting to see the Master in Missy...
(Spoilers of the slightest variety for Doctor Who 9.2: The Witch's Familiar)
I've been going back and forth on this for a week. Again, I missed the back half of Series 8 so this was my first exposure to Missy as a character instead of something people on the internet were going bananas about because of... bleh.
You see, I have two conflicting emotions where it comes to the Master as a holistic entity. The first is that I love Roger Delgado's version: he's amazing, he saves more than one of the scripts he appears in, his chemistry with Pertwee is absolutely fantastic since it absolutely forced Pertwee to raise his game.
So maybe the problem I have with Missy (and with the Simm incarnation) is that I prefer the Delgado version?
Well, that brings us to emotion #2: I hate that Anthony Ainley spent so much of his time in the role just being a lame Delgado impersonation. Ainley wasn't the most versatile actor in the series (but by no means the least, either) but on the one or two occasions when he was given something unique to do with the role (by my count Planet of Fire and Survival) he absolutely shone.
My outright stated preference for the Master is for him to be recast whenever the Doctor is. As much as Ainley doesn't work as a Delgado impersonation, he works worse with Colin Baker than he did with Peter Davison and I honestly can't imagine Delgado working opposite Tom Baker. The “dark mirror” aspect of the character means they're probably best being redesigned every time the Doctor is because the dark version of Pertwee is not the dark version of Tom Baker.
What this is coming around to is me saying I'm starting to feel my two views on Michelle Gomez's Missy, that I like Missy but don't see her as the Master, are actually two sides of the same coin.
I like Missy. I enjoy Missy. Gomez has fantastic chemistry with Jenna Coleman and she's fantastic fun. I don't see Delgado or Ainley or Beevers in there but that's actually something I can appreciate now I'm more used to her. I think perhaps my reluctance here where I've never been reluctant to accept a markedly different version of the Doctor is because the Master's presence isn't constant. Since they only turn up every now and again there's perhaps an unreasonable demand for the character to be more consistent than we demand the Doctor be between incarnations.
Just a thought.
And I love the joke about the chair.