You can’t forget the shocking moment when Michelle Gomez’s character (aka Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere) was revealed as the latest incarnation of The Master. As blatantly obvious as this seemed, us Whovians denied her identity due to Moffat’s previous plots that were shrouded in mystery which made us biased that this character wouldn’t be the villain we know and love. Not for a second did we think the new incarnation of the Doctor’s oldest friend was appearing on our screens throughout Series 8 this whole time. Not only that, the Master regenerated into a woman! But was it necessary?
I have to hand it to Steven Moffat for deciding to see if gender changing would work in Doctor Who by regenerating the Master. There’s a lot less risk compared to transforming our main protagonist. Undoubtedly Michelle Gomez is perfect for this part. Her insanity, ruthlessness and dark humour radiates off the screen like she was born to play it. Even if she was written far too flirtatious in her first episodes which didn’t appeal to me; her incarnation has grown much more admiration from me as the writing of her character has improved by subtracting the tedious flirtatious quotes. It’s unclear Steven Moffat planned to cast the Master as a woman (which personally I dislike if that is true). However, he hit the jackpot when Gomez was cast.
Quite frequently nowadays it’s been forced into our face about the Doctor changing gender. We all have different and opposite opinions on this matter. Personally I think a female Doctor would only be acceptable if she was the best person for the role and not casted because it is seen as “morally correct”. I think this goes completely against casting a woman as the Doctor as they are mainly casting the gender and not the person. It seems Steven Moffat has been suggesting this for a while and constantly trying to persuade us into a female Doctor which I find quite irritating. In my opinion, I prefer the Doctor as a man; however, if they find the right person: perfect. What other reasons are there to why we shouldn’t cast her? But of course, not for the hell of it.
For most fans I’ve seen an overwhelming response to her Master and have welcomed her in open arms; some even calling her their favourite Master. Missy follows a long line of Masters; each with a unique quality they give to us. With Steven Moffat’s take on the Master, he views The Doctor and Missy as best friends on opposite sides. In the past they were seen as mirror opposite of themselves and mortal enemies. I quite enjoy Moffat’s take on her character as it can explore much deeper relationship between the two. The dynamic between the Twelfth Doctor and Missy really brings out the fun in the show and Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez working incredible together.
Also, just to add a little nit-pick, I really wish they used the name The Mistress instead of Missy. It sounds so much more intimidating and are is more likely to be taken seriously. You could have even called her The Master no matter what gender really. But who cares really when you have Michelle Gomez on your TV?
So what has Gomez given to this role? Personally I think her Master has given a breath of fresh air to the character. There’s a hint of vulnerability and her reliance on the Doctor with her Master. There bond seems a lot much stronger and you really get a sense that is a long history behind them. Missy is undoubtedly the same Master we always knew. Her cunning personality is still the same as it was and you can still see elements of other Master’s in her performance yet also making it her own. For me I see elements of Delgado and Simm in her performance yet giving off something new and fresh as well.
So was it necessary to change the Master’s gender? Well yes and no. Yes, as you can’t deny Michelle Gomez is captivating as this iconic villain of the shows history and is a great choice to portray this character. You would be mad not to give her the part. No, because we don’t need a gender to enjoy a character being portrayed. I guess it doesn’t really matter about gender as long as the actor playing the part is great so it shouldn’t be necessary to change a character’s gender. Like I said earlier about the Doctor changing to female: it’s the actor you cast and not the person. Michelle Gomez is fantastic and deserves to be renowned as one of the best Master’s we’ve seen. What do you think about the Master changing gender? Leave your comments below or tweet us @GallifreyRchive your thoughts.