Masterfully not killing Missy, the Fake Doctor reveals secrets, Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 6 review

; Date: May 20, 2017

Tags: Doctor Who »»»» Season 10

How do we know whether the world we see is real? Many spiritual traditions teach that this physical world we see is not in the slightest bit real. For example 'A Course in Miracles' goes so far as to suggest our insanity is what creates this insane world we see (heck, politics this year is extremely insane, yes?) and that by waking up we can see the real world. Many spiritual traditions teach this sort of thing without causing those who receive that message to commit suicide. That part, people who read the Veritas committing suicide, was troublesome, especially when the story flips that around to suggest that suicide is an act of freeing ones' self from the illusory world. Really? I don't know what to think about that, but the episode was otherwise excellently convoluted.

Quelle Surprise: Missy's in the Vault? Who would have expected that!

It was way too obvious that Missy was in The Vault. And therefore, Stephen Moffatt's head fake for us was to have Missy in the Vault because we were of course going to invent all kinds of cockamamie scenarios of who's in the Vault. Moffatt did that before when introducing the Master - we'd seen Missy several times, wondered who this person was, and the much-too-obvious-answer was that Missy was the Master, which is what was actually the case.

Missy's scene on the execution platform was straight-up-Master, doing his/her best to exploit any weakness to escape what was seemingly a certain fate. In the past, the Doctor has tried hard to "save" the Master. For example with the John Simm Master, the David Tenant Doctor pleaded to offer the Master help to straighten out his personal energy system. Therefore in this case - one might think the Doctor would relish the chance to rid the universe of a baddie, but he has a history of helping the Master, and would therefore act as he did to circumvent the execution.

We now know what/who is in the Vault. It's the Master/Missy, and we know that the Doctor agreed to spend 1000 years guarding the Vault. That's quite a long time for the Doctor to stay in one place. So of course he's been making little detours like we've seen this season. A couple episodes ago we saw The Doctor bringing in "Mexican" take-out food, shooing Nardole away, and then entering the Vault. Does that mean the Doctor and Missy have been having hanky-panky in the Vault? If so, what might be the result? A daughter that then produced a grand-daughter named Susan?

Any "hanky-panky" going on would be morally troubling. Any Jailor has legal/judiciary power over the Prisoner. Yes there are instances of Prisoners and Jailors forming sexual relationships. But we're talking about the Doctor, and he's always strived to operate under high morality.

That college in Bristol is unlikely to exist for 1000 years, yes? For example it's known that in 2150 the Daleks stage a major invasion of Earth and try to steal the planetary core. The Doctor knows this. And those generation ships riding on the back of space whales, that was in 2500. If he started this Guarding The Vault task in 1947 or so (70 years before present), those and some other events are well within the 1000 year time frame. And, I'm overthinking this aren't I? He'd just move the Vault somewhere else?

Illusory truth in a fake world?

The main part of this story was this trip into the Hereticum, a super-secret library in the Vatican storing all kinds of crazy arcane knowledge. We went over the history of the word Veritas and some other details in Extremis, Season 10 Episode 6 preview

We know these crazy-looking "monks" in the red robes are capable of creating fake worlds, and are intent on invading this world for some reason or other. It's a good idea to run simulations of a plan before executing the plan. They're intelligent monks, you gotta give them that.

I don't understand something about this book, Veritas. If it's a warning for the fake-world-people then why would it be useful for the real-world-Doctor to receive a copy of Veritas? Well, the real-world-Doctor received more than that, he also received information about the nature of the creatures and the nature of the attack. Will this Veritas book play a role later in the season? Or was that just an elaborate red herring on Moffatt's part?

That begs a question - is the real-world-Doctor really the real-world-Doctor?

Pope Benedict IX in 1045?

According to Wikipedia, Pope Benedict IX's reign was 8 November 1047 – 17 July 1048 (252 days). Oh, wait, that's not accurate. Benedict IX actually held the office in three separate periods of time, including for a period in 1045. [Wikipedia1] The Doctor's memory, Lovely Girl, I knew she was trouble etc is interestingly strange since Pope's are men. But the Wikipedia page talks of how Benedict IX "seemed as if a demon from hell, in the disguise of a priest, occupied the chair of Peter and profaned the sacred mysteries of religion by his insolent courses" and that "he" was the first Pope rumored to be homosexual. A later Pope, wrote this about Benedict IX: "his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts of violence and sodomy. His life as a pope was so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it."

For better or worse, the authors of this episode chose a suitable Pope to have started the Hereticum library.

The image above is what the Doctor Who staff wants us to believe is a portrait of Pope Benedict IX.

By Artaud de Montor (1772–1849) -, Public Domain,

This is the official Portrait of Pope Benedict IX, as retrieved from Wikipedia, and in turn that picture came from a book scan on ( This looks like a guy, doesn't it?

On a website named "The Book of Bastards" [BookOfBastards] there's more information about Benedict IX's infamy. He frequently held bisexual orgies, had sex with animals, and on and on, seemingly intent on violating the Seven Deadly Sins as quickly as possible. Instead of being a proper Religious man, he was the scion of a wealthy family who had worked for decades to keep the Papacy in their family.

Was the actual Pope Benedict IX actually a woman in disguise? Or is Doctor Who playing a little loose with our history? Given that Benedict IX ruled nearly 1000 years ago, it's very unlikely we can determine the truth.

What we do know is that the Pope they chose for this episode was a real gem of lunacy. Trouble would be a very good word.

This fake world did have some differences from the "real" world, though. For example, fake-world-Bill asked Penny out on a date, and real-world-Bill hadn't done so yet. Maybe its fake-world-Pope-Benedict-IX who was a woman, and the Doctor Who staff isn't asserting that real-world-Pope-Benedict-IX is a woman?

I'm definitely overthinking

Yup. I should stop here.

Oh.. Nardole. No longer just a comedy side-kick. I said I was gonna stop though. Oh... wait... River Song's diary in his pocket. I stopped already. Sheesh.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.