Doctor Who: Is Missy Really Changing or Is It All Another Trick?

There are a number of thought-provoking moments from Doctor Who's "The Eaters of Light" that are probably worth probing this week. The theme stressing similarities rather than differences, the heroic sacrifices for the rest of humankind, and the non-issue of Bill's (Pearl Mackie) sexuality in the time of the Romans would all probably lead to deep discussions of the state of the planet and ongoing social issues. However, considering that Season 10 is quickly approaching its final destination (my, how time flies!), it's probably time to focus on the slow-building, season-long arc of everyone's favorite frenemy: Missy.

Although Michelle Gomez hasn't accrued a great deal of screentime this season, Missy's presence has certainly been felt. We've seen the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) spare her life and then promise to guard her body for 1,000 years. We've seen her offer advice to the Doctor to defeat the Monks. And we've seen her help to pilot the TARDIS in order to save the Doctor and Bill from living out the rest of their days on Mars together. Now that she's free from the vault, she's doing maintenance on the TARDIS and putting up a good front in order to win the award for Most Improved. She's even bringing the tears to sell it!

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"I don't even know why I'm crying," she tells the Doctor at the end of this week's uneven hour. "Maybe you're trying to impress me?" he offers in response. "Yes, probably some devious plan. That sounds about right," she replies.

This isn't the first time we've seen an emotional response from Missy this season; in "The Lie of the Land" she tearfully recalls that she has been remembering all the people she has killed. It's these little moments this season that imply the Doctor's former friend may be changing and is, if not completely trustworthy, at least no longer actively trying to destroy him.


The Doctor and Missy's broken relationship is one that obviously extends back into the reaches of Classic Who and is one of the most complicated relationships in all of the Whoniverse. And it's mostly been the same each time it's been trotted out: The Doctor wants to believe -- he hopes -- that the Master/Missy has changed or is capable of good, but in the end, he's always disappointed when her psychopathic tendencies resurface and she turns on him. Based on their history together, it makes sense that the Doctor is hesitant to accept that he's not being manipulated.

As viewers, it's equally hard for us to watch this entire scenario play out, because we want to believe people are capable of change, we want to believe that Missy is capable of good and has turned a new leaf. But we've also seen these two clash many times before. The relationship between the Doctor and Missy is so far beyond the point where we should be yelling at the naive girl to break up with her no-good, bad-boy boyfriend because she can't change him. (Yes, apparently the Doctor is the girl in this scenario. Just go with it.) You are smarter than this, Doctor! Do not fall for Missy's wit and good looks! You deserve better!

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And yet, we all know the Doctor won't shirk his duties or turn his back on Missy completely. He's not that kind of man. So we'll sit here pondering all the ways Missy could be playing the Doctor because what else can we do? The questions of why and how the TARDIS returned to Earth last week when Nardole (Matt Lucas) returned to it for supplies still remain as we look forward to next week, which will see Missy attempting to be a hero -- or at least not completely evil. (Jessica Jones tried this already, so we'll see what happens when Doctor Who attempts it.) Was it all Missy's doing so that Nardole would be forced to come to her for help and thus free her from the vault? Was it a strange whim of the TARDIS that brought him back? The end of the season is in sight, so I guess we'll find out soon enough.

But if it turns out that Missy is the one responsible for the Doctor's regeneration, we're going to have to fight.

Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 9/8c on BBC America.

This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Jun 18, 2017
Since this is her last season playing Missy I would love to see Andrew Scott take over the role.
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Jun 18, 2017
The text recap is up at tv.com, as soon as it clears the cache.
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Jun 18, 2017
"The theme stressing similarities rather than differences, the heroic sacrifices for the rest of humankind"

Well, that, and the fact that they covered most of it last week.
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Jun 18, 2017
She's chaging alright, changing BACK into The Master...
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Jun 18, 2017
Oooh! We've got a Dr Who reveiw again this week!

With Missy we get a sense of unease whenever we see her roaming freely on her own and with the TARDIS (we know what s/he is capable of doing with it) returning on it's own last week the easy/lazy option we're ment to believe is it's her and it's all been part of a long evil con. I'd be much more intrested in her previous self the Master trying to kill the Doctor and she ends up taking sacrificing herself to help save the day allowing him to fix the 'MacGuffin' and then s/he regenerates back into an evil version further complicating their further relationship. Also the Doctor mentions that s/he never listens to the music this has to be a referance back to 'The End of Time' where it's revealed about hte sound of the drums in the Masters head?

With Bill we've had her prejudices challenged repeatedly as two times we've had another character call out her judgement on their skin colour and then this week she's on the back foot when the Roman guy called her "old fashion" due to her only liking women, there must be something more to this ongoing SL? It looks like Bill's ill next week and walking through a ward of Mondasian's in varying degrees of conversion.
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