We have been wonder, theorizing, and arguing internet style since the beginning of the eighth season “Doctor Who” about who the mysterious Missy is. Answers range from a female regeneration of The Master, my favorite The Rani, Romana, River Song, Clara herself, or a completely new menace. Now, in the penultimate chapter of this season, we may well discover the answer. Watch out for Cybermen, and meet me after the jump for my thoughts on the first part of the season finale, “Dark Water!”
The Death of Danny Pink
If you have been following along this season, or if you know anything about time travel or paradoxes – you know this is a bad thing. Danny being dead means no grandson who is Earth’s first time traveler, and in a more human sense, it means a wrecked Clara. In an accident that is startlingly familiar – Rose Tyler’s father’s death springs immediately to mind – Danny dies in the street struck by a car, just before Clara would let him tell her he loved her too. Poor doomed Danny Pink.
Clara Oswald, the Impossible Girl, is certainly living up to her name as a girlfriend. More power to the late Danny as I don’t think I’d have been able to tolerate her. She’s been cheating on him mentally and emotionally with The Doctor, and lying almost constantly to him. Now, with the use of Post-It notes, and via telephone (the cheater’s way to communicate), she wants to make it all better, but too late. The silence on his end of the phone is heartbreaking when you know he’s not there any more.
Of course, in her hour of need, Clara calls The Doctor, but there’s no answer. She has her own bizarre way of mourning. She feels Danny’s death was too ordinary, and that she’s owed something, owed better, by The Doctor. Clara’s gone bye-bye obviously at the very least, and that’s just the beginning of this Steven Moffat scripted episode. When The Doctor finally does answer the phone, she lights up, smiles even. Jenna Coleman does madness very well. I guess that’s what she gets for traveling with a Scottish Doctor. Madness. And scheming.
Clara runs to The Doctor and the TARDIS, wishing to go ‘away.’ As The Doctor questions her in his usually fluffy flippant manner as to what she is running from, never letting his eyes wander from the TARDIS console, she collects all the hidden TARDIS keys, and requests to see a volcano. Ever the other man wanting to please his lover, The Doctor obliges… and BOOM, he is unconscious outside the TARDIS in a volcano, and Clara has all the keys to The Doctor’s true love, and starts tossing them into the lava unless she gets what she wants.
I referenced Rose’s father earlier from the first season of the new series episode “Father’s Day” written by the brilliant Paul Cornell. It is a fan favorite. In it, Rose insists that the madman with the box, her alien time traveler, then played by Christopher Eccleston, use his time machine to save her late father, or at least give her a few minutes with him. The Doctor explains about fixed events in time that cannot be changed, and that this is one of them. Rose mucks with the time stream anyway. Seriously, that girl never listened.
Time monsters, called Reapers, attack, eating time and destroying reality, until the flaw in the time stream has been repaired. This time, three regenerations later, The Doctor refuses for completely different reasons. He claims paradoxes, he claims he knows when time can and cannot be changed, he challenges Clara and attempts to take control of the situation, but like a Scottish Doctor, Clara is mad, and cannot be bluffed – she tosses all the keys but one. And then, all gone. The Doctor, possibly manifesting his own inner dark side, the Dream Lord, has bluffed her – it’s all a dream. Moffat does like tricking us.
Into the Danny
Betrayed by Clara, and she by The Doctor, what else would two mad folk be up to at this point? Saving Danny Pink of course. So as not to incur the unnamed Reapers or cause any paradoxes, The Doctor opts for a different tact. They’ll go to the afterlife and pick him up there. He allows Clara to once again connect to the TARDIS as she did in “Listen” when they first encountered Danny’s timeline.
Now we all know where Danny really is. Who has been snatching folks from around The Doctor and depositing them in some form of afterlife? That’s right, Missy. Now Danny wakes up in Seb’s (Missy’s assistant) office in the now officially named Nethersphere, After Death Department, also known as the Promised Land and/or the Underworld. It’s a shiny hollow inside of gravitationally impossible buildings. Kinda like if New York were in Skartaris, nice visual. Seb seems like he’s walked out of “Young Ones” or “Red Dwarf,” it’s refreshing honestly.
The TARDIS lands in a dark multi-tiered mausoleum, with many cells of sitting rotting skeletons in chairs underwater. Further investigation finds a holographic ad from a company called 3W, narrated by Missy, who’s also standing behind it. We meet at last, and kiss at first. We learn on introduction, that we have all been spelling Missy wrong. It stands for Mobile Intelligence System Interface, and she’s an introductory android to welcome folks, or at least we think she is. Yeah, it’s Moffat making a joke with the MISI kissy obviously. Like The Doctor, we have to remember that Moffat lies.
What isn’t funny is that the skeletons are turning their heads to watch. They are not quite dead. When we switch back to Danny it’s a bit troubling to find tat Heaven is so business like, run like an office. If it had not been for the Cybermen in the previews, I might not have figured this one out, and it might have been a horrible horrible shock – so boo on that, but yeah, it dawned on me early this isn’t just a Cyberman trap… it’s a Cyberman tomb and next. People are once again being harvested for Cybermen. The water cells are just like the cryocells in the long lost story “The Tomb of the Cybermen.”
When The Doctor asks the question of what he’s missing, who would be harvesting the dead, you want to slap him and ask if he’s seen the previews. Of course it’s the Cybermen! He was right about it being a con, a scam, but he didn’t catch on until it’s too late. And worse than that, he didn’t realize who Missy was until it’s too late either. Her plan revealed is to build Cybermen from cyberspace onto harvested human bodies… using Gallifreyan technology. Oh yeah.
Now we get the kiss, the two hearts, the hints that The Doctor knows her, and the technology… Missy is short for The Mistress. The Master has regenerated into a woman. And the absolute worst is yet to come…
Next: The Finale!