; Date: January 1, 2020
The episode starts off with a standard trope of Doctor Who - a series of mysterious deaths, and then a summons from Officialdom for The Doctor to come and save the day. That The Doctor and crew get hijacked along the way to meet Officialdom is a good suspense-filled twist. However - the destination, MI-6, is one of the ways I am doubting that Doctor WHo is in good hands.
Since the time of the 2nd and 3rd Doctors, The Doctor has dealt with U.N.I.T. as a secret spy agency that deals with The Unknown. U.N.I.T. was a branch of the United Nations, and played a role for almost every Doctor incarnation. The existence of U.N.I.T. seemed as strongly entrenched as The Master and The Daleks.
But during Season 11, when The Doctor needed to turn to U.N.I.T., she called them up and got a message that because of budget shortfalls U.N.I.T. had been shut down. Which left MI-6 in charge of The Unknown, and as we saw in this episode they're completely inadequate to the task.
But... if we take a step back .. did The Master have a role in causing U.N.I.T. to be shut down? For this scheme to play as it has, The Master needed a freer hand. The killing of all those spies should be seen as part of a larger scale effort to disable the possibility that Earth's governments could counter The Master's plans. Hence, removing U.N.I.T. would have served the same goal of eliminating an organization that has thwarted The Master in the past.
Has The Master regenerated into this fella? That's always a good question with The Master, since he has always been a master of subterfuge. In the past The Master took the form of people he met along the way, such as The Keeper of Traken.
In this episode we learn The Master met the real instance of this person on his first day as an MI-6 employee. He did a shrink-ray thing to the person - an old trick of The Master - and took his form. He carried the shrunk version of the guy in his pocket to aid maintaining the charade. But this means it's very likely The Master has another form, and this is some kind of high-tech-mask. One hopes that The Master is still Missy and has simply taken this form for some crazy-ass cockamamie reason.
When we last saw The Master, he was a she calling herself Missy and had just been shot by her previous incarnation and was about to die. Hence it's likely that Missy regenerated into this guy... or...? Uh...? It's actually much more convoluted than that.
During the 4th Doctor's run we learned that The Master had run out of regenerations. He was able to keep having bodies solely through subterfuge and stealing bodies of folks he met along the way. An example being that crazy ceremony The Master had to concoct to steal the life force energy of some followers in order to reformulate the body he'd inhabited.
Maybe The Master is still out of regenerations and therefore Missy had to pull some cockamamie stunt to continue having a body to inhabit? We don't know but given that we're talking about The Master, it has to be totally cockamamie. And how many times can I use that word in one blog post?
Since this will be confusing to some people -- What is O's house doing flying next to that airplane -- let's just point out the obvious. That's actually The Master's TARDIS.
The Master is a Time Lord and, like The Doctor, stole a TARDIS. Unlike The Doctor's TARDIS, The Master's TARDIS does not have a broken chameleon circuit, and therefore his TARDIS can change shape as TARDIS's were meant to do. For this phase of this cockamamie plan, The Master had his TARDIS flying alongside the airplane, and was also carrying a recall device so that he could escape before the plane crashes.
At the end of the episode we're left with a few questions ...
- Just what are those creatures The Master has teamed up with?
- Just how cockamamie is The Master's plan this time?
- Just when will The Companions wake up from their slumber?
- The Companions were left behind in the crashing airplane - how will they be rescued?
- The Doctor has been kidnapped to that crazy other-world place, what for?
- Is The Master actually in control of those creatures? (I rather doubt that)