DOCTOR WHO - Master and Commander - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

DOCTOR WHO - Master and Commander

With filming underway on the series 8 finale, and speculation rife that it will involve the return of the Doctor's ultimate nemesis, Christopher Morley examines what might be in store when we meet up again with the Master.
As a potential 'New-Who' series finale, Master & Commander (the rumoured working title) is sounding more & more like it could be one of the most exciting yet. While we may not yet know the exact details (the gossips speculating that either Charles Dance or Steve John Shepherd may be about to step into John Simm's shoes as the Doctor's equal & opposite), there are a number of theoretical possibilities which could take the tussles between the two in new & interesting directions...

Lets start by riffing on the possible implications of the working title. Cynics may suggest its just been pinched from the Russell Crowe film of the same name. But if we look into & beyond that it raises a quite tantalising prospect! Set during the Napoleonic Wars ( 1805 to be exact), the crew of HMS Surprise- yes, that really is the name of the ship- are chasing the French vessel the Acheron. You might now be able to see where this is going?

It could well be entirely plausible that Twelve & his Masterly nemesis do battle on the high seas- perhaps the Doctor could take on the role of the Duke of Wellington, with the Master as Napoleon ( whose rise from second lieutenant in the French army to Emperor of the country could be seen as a smaller-scale equivalent to the Master's ambitions of universal conquest).

Of course, those who've read the novel World Game will know that the Second Doctor once impersonated Bonaparte in an effort to aid Wellington against the Players. Which in turn explains how he got a certain outfit he tries on before settling on a pullover following his regeneration from his Sixth into Seventh incarnation...

Perhaps Twelve could be persuaded to don similar garb should he find himself thrust into the thick of things, with Clara as an ahead of her time first mate? The question of where their respective crews would come from leads in a roundabout fashion back to Two's last stand ( The War Games). 

Having landed slap bang in the middle of the War Lords' experiment, with the aim of creating a ' super-army' using the survivors from among soldiers plucked from their relevant time periods/battles & fighting in ' War Zones' designed to mirror exactly where they came from, he's eventually forced to call in help from the Time Lords. Do we really need to tell you what happened next? Oh, go on then...

If you've not seen it yet a handy guide to all the important bits can be found here. Once you've caught up, or if you don't need to, we can add another element into the mix. Should the War-mongers make a return, the Master could have used every ounce of his deadly charm to cut a deal with the War Chief ( the question of who could play him guaranteed to generate hours of fun).

If the Master does indeed return he could also bring with him another renegade Time Lord- the War Chief. Formerly known as Magnus back on Gallifrey, & a classmate of both the Doctor & the Master, he assists the War Lords in their operations by providing them with SIDRATs ( Space & Inter-Dimensional Robot All-purpose Transporter, as explained in the War Games novelisation). As the name implies, they serve as variants on the original TARDIS design. But they have one fatal flaw which the Chief has deliberately concealed from the masters of war...

He'll return as something of a pain to the Seventh Doctor in the novel Exodus- part of the Timewyrm series alongside Genesys, Apocalypse & Revelation- acting as an occult adviser to the Nazis under the alias of 'Felix Kriegslieter' in a parallel universe in which the Third Reich emerged from two World Wars victorious.

Perhaps we could also run with that idea, the Master cosying up to the Fuhrer while the Doctor leads the resistance. Indeed, a serial simply titled The Nazis was proposed by writer Brian Hayles as part of Season 4 ( the passing of the torch from First to Second Doctor) but never made it to air. 

Perhaps now is the time to re-use whatever relevant elements of it remain? Steven Moffatt could do worse than to consult the archives for Hayles's original notes if they survive to this day! Going back to the Timewyrm line of thinking reveals that the titular mental parasite at one stage made a home inside Hitler's mind, allowing his words to resonate & inspire fervour in ordinary Germans.

Applying this to Master & Commander, it could make sense to suggest that the Master wants similar power for himself & travels to Berlin in an effort to get it, much as he went to the trouble of summoning Azal in his first, beardy incarnation. Perhaps the Doctor would recall the events of the Players novel, too- in his Sixth incarnation, he was able to stop the King Edward VIII & Oswald Mosley of a parallel 1936 from signing a treaty establishing Great Britain as a province/protectorate of the Reich..

All of which would serve him in good stead should he find himself & the man formerly known as Koschei on German soil. Perhaps the answer lies closer to home for them though? The Master's decision to ' sacrifice' himself for the Doctor in The End Of Time might have at least in part been motivated by the desire to gain revenge on Rassilon for placing that incessant drumbeat in his mind, & what better way to do so than to strike first upon returning to Gallifrey? Whether by simply murdering him or staging a coup power could easily swing into the Master's hands.

His reorganisation of things would most likely lead to a form of military government, with himself as commander in chief. What role then for the Chancellory Guard is a logical next question to go over. Its tempting to imagine them functioning in much the same way as the Imperial Stormtroopers of Star Wars- or even their forebears. You'll recall that they're originally based on the DNA of the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Now factor in the Master attempting a larger-scale repeat of his 'Master Race' experiment.

It creates the potential for a whole new Guard, sharing their leader's thirst for destruction in much the same way that the first Clone Troopers were prepared to follow Emperor Palpatine's 'Order 66' without hesitation. Perhaps the Guard's uniform could be even be modified to reflect a more militaristic bent, modelled on that of the Stormtroopers ( whether they be the real-world SS or Emperor Palpatine's soldiery?) Of course he could equally well use the gifts he honed as ' Harold Saxon' to present himself as the only logical choice for leader of his particular corner of the constellation of Kasterborus after Rassilon's death. See below for a display worthy of any politician...

The whole business of Time Lord politics has grown ever darker since their return in The End Of Time, though they weren't averse to a bit of backstabbing even beforehand ( as those who remember the Fourth Doctor's homecoming in The Deadly Assassin will confirm). His return post-regeneration alongside his former selves in The Five Doctors isn't without its own intrigue, either. President Borusa' seeking power & he needs some very special pawns to play the Game Of Rassilon.

Time War related business somehow sees the man who gave his name to the Game resurrected, & if it's possible by then he himself has now become power-mad...

If it'll be this newest Rassilon we'll see taken out by the Master isn't yet known. But it sets the tone for what could be an epic power struggle, & such a battle could make Master & Commander very special indeed. What Twelve will make of his return 'home' as hinted at in The Day Of The Doctor could be equally explosive.

You'll notice a bit of a Master theme around these parts over the next couple of weeks, as we look back (and forward) to many Doctor Who stories featuring Gallifrey's second most famous Son. Check out our tribute to Roger Delgado, the actor who originally bought the character to life.

Post Top Ad