C’mon, surely you remember it? From World Enough and Time, of course!
The Doctor decides to give Missy practice being good in a practical situation, drags Nardole and Bill along, and puts their lives in her hands to an extent. Bill thought the whole thing was a bad idea — she’s right, gets a hole in her chest, and hauled off in a lift to the bottom of a ship at the edge of a black hole, where time passes much slower that it does at the top of the ship that’s closer to the phenomenon (i.e. time dilation). She gets patched up in a creepy hospital and waits for the Doctor.
FOR 10 YEARS.
Yes, she waits there. In a creepy hospital. With Razor We see them living together. Eating together. Bill has to live with a cyber unit in place of her chest. For 10 years.
Now… I respect and admire Steven Moffat and everything he accomplished and tried to achieve over the years with Doctor Who. He is, without a doubt, the Robert Holmes of the new era.
But this was just bonkers. The question must be asked — how did the Master successfully keep up the presence of Razor day in, day out, for 10 years? How the devil did he sit there for over 3,600 days, sipping tea, making small talk with Bill, making like they’re friends, giving painful hugs, being a janitor?
FOR 10 YEARS?
In The Power of Three, the Doctor can’t relax for 20 minutes without going nuts. Exile on Earth back in the ’70’s was no picnic for him either; stuck in one time, on one planet, but he had adventures to go on, things to do, a Brigadier to irritate, and pompous officials to deflate!
Marooning yourself, disguised as a janitor, for 10 years, even as part of an overall scheme against the Doctor… it seems enough to drive someone crazy. And make no mistake, this Master has always been nuttier than a fruitcake, so granted, he’s just nuts enough to wait it out. But here, we get another example of just how cruel this incarnation truly is.
Because Bill was fine. Think about it. After:
- 10 years being holed up with Razor
- In that horrible hospital with the pain speakers turned down
- With that miserable nurse
- Generally frightening conditions
- In that city on that ship
- Staring at a different still picture of the Doctor on the black and white TV every day for a decade…
… And yet Bill was fine, even after all that time.
You might naturally assume that any person in those conditions would go crazy themselves or at the very least, get into a jail-time mindset, become hard, bitter. But no. She was good old Bill.
You might also say that it was irresponsible writing on Moffat’s part, just glossing over the effects of a 10-year lockdown (although The Doctor Falls admittedly had plenty else to tackle). But no, I think one could easily conclude why she held up so well, aside from the Doctor being stuck in her head with “wait for me” rattling around.
Because Razor was there for her. Talking to her, being with her, eating, drinking, watching the static TV. Supporting her. Being her best friend. The closest of friendships.
Just gleefully waiting for the moment when he’d betray her and turn her over for conversion.
I guess he also helped shepherd in the Cyber race — who knows how long he was on that ship?
I guess it’s one of the reasons I dislike John Simm’s incarnation so much. He’s just bad news. Look what he did to the Doctor at the end of Series 3. *Shudder*
I find Sasha Dhawan’s incarnation frivolous, manically insane, useless, and, if I never see him again, that’d be fine. But this Simm version of the Master has maybe the worst mean streak of all. Dirty dog.
More’s the pity that they didn’t keep a lid on the reveal of him at the episode’s end. That would have been as big of a surprise as Tom Baker showing up in The Day of the Doctor or Paul McGann in The Night of the Doctor.
It all makes you appreciate Missy all the more, in contrast to her other incarnations in the new era. But I digress.
The moral of the story?
Some lockdowns are worse than others.