Through the use of Captain Jack’s vortex manipulator-via a literal last minute fix from the Doctor; the Doctor and co. Are able to escape the end of the universe and return to the present day.
However, they’ve arrived a bit too late, as the Master’s “Masterplan” is already in motion-he’s gotten himself elected as prime Minister “Harold Saxon”. Using hypnotism (on a large scale via an “Archangel” network of satellites), murder, and deceit, he’s risen to high office-and even gotten married to a woman named Lucy. He also plans to initiate first contact with an alien species-The Toclafane.
The Doctor, Jack and Martha are forced to go on the run, and it’s here where the Doctor reveals the Master’s origins.
As a young time lord, the Master underwent an initiation which involved him staring into the “untempered schism”-the raw time vortex itself. Since then, the Master has heard constant drumming in his head, driving him insane. (although this wasn’t present in the earlier depictions of the character).
The Doctor and his companions however are unable to foil the Master’s plan, and the Toclafane-in fact, not aliens, but humans from the future Utopia reduced to sphere-like cyborgs-decimate the Earth. The Master then prepares to weaponize the planet to go to war with the rest of the universe. He also captures the Doctor (using Lazarus technology to make him old and feeble) and Jack, although Martha is able to escape.
Martha spends the next year trying to find a weapon that could kill the Master, but secretly, she’s actually planting the idea of the Doctor in people’s minds. Ultimately, using a mix of telepathy and the Master’s own Archangel network, the Doctor is able to defeat the Master, and also restore the world back to the point before the Toclafane invaded. Lucy however shoots her husband, and the Master refuses to regenerate, and he dies in the Doctor’s arms. The Doctor then cremates him.
However, he’s not really dead-he’s transferred his mind to a ring, and using a mix of Lucy’s DNA, some potions and the ring, a group of loyalists are able to resurrect him.
However, Lucy attempts to stop the Resurrection, and she’s halfway successful.
The Master is revived, but in a somewhat weakened state-he has an insatiable hunger, he’s even more nuts, and his skin sort of becomes translucent from time to time.
Eventually-after eluding the Doctor-he’s captured by businessman Joshua Naismith, who wants his knowledge to refine the Immortality gate, a piece of alien technology that can heal wounds. However, he rewrites the program so that every person on the planet-minus the Doctor, Wilf and his granddaughter Donna-are turned into a clone of the Master-and he once again plans to use Earth to take over the universe.
However the Time Lord high council use this moment to break out of a “Time lock” during the Time War-turns out they sent the drumming into the Master’s head in the first place, as a sort of ‘homing beacon’ to return. Once they do, they plan to pretty much rip apart reality and ascend to higher consciousness. When they arrive-led by Lord President Rassilon-they undo the Master’s work, leaving only the “prime” Master. After a tense standoff between the Doctor, Master, and Rassilon-in which the Doctor destroys the link binding the Time Lords to our reality-The Master then turns on Rassilon after he threatens the Doctor, vanishing into the void-and presumably returning to Gallifrey in the process.
However, that’s not the end of the Master’s story. Shortly thereafter, all the incarnations of the Doctor team up, and find an alternate way of saving Gallifrey and the Time Lords, by sending them to another dimension. After the Doctor experiences another regeneration, a mysterious woman named “Missy” greets those who have died during the Doctor’s adventures, in a mysterious courtyard, presumably “Heaven”.
However, “Heaven” is in fact the Nethersphere, a piece of time lord technology called the Matrix, which Missy is in fact using to build an army of concealed Cybermen. She plans to turn all of Earth’s dead-and then the living-into Cybermen. When the Doctor uncovers her plan, she reveals her true nature-That “Missy” is short for Mistress-and that since she is now female, she couldn’t keep calling herself “The Master”. She in fact wants to give the Doctor the Cyberarmy, as a ‘present’ so they can be friends again.
Although Missy is captured by UNIT, she’s soon able to escape, zapping the Doctor’s friend, Osgood, in the process. She also reveals that she set up the Doctor and his companion, Clara, in the first place.
The Doctor however refuses the army, and gives the control to Clara’s Cyberized boyfriend Danny, who then uses it to command and destroy the other Cybermen. The Doctor is unable to kill Missy, but a still-lingering Cyberman does it for him-a resurrected Brigadiar Gordon Lethbridge Stuart-who zaps his old enemy.
But is that really the end of the Master/Missy? Not by a long shot….as I’ll explore in my next article.