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Since neither Edward nor myself have actually come across anybody who 'gets' it, it's probably worth explaining the last episode of Doctor Who, so that anybody who might even think about commenting on my journal can at least make sure not to anger me.

The entire point of Derek Jacobi's character was to kill the Master. That's what he was there for. It's a well known Sci Fi device that if you trap something's essence in a vessel and destroy said vessel, you can destroy the original something. Upon opening the watch, Derek Jacobi then becomes Anthony Ainley, and delivers a convincing performance in character. As the scene progresses, he becomes increasingly caricatured, with the final reveal into the camera that he is "The Master" before the obligatory murder scene. Following his being shot, this gets ramped up even further, as the writers metaphorically pour into him all the out-dated qualities that persisted in the original series. As it approaches the regeneration scene, he becomes increasingly like the moustache-twirling pantomime villain that he had become in the original series, until the final, over-dramatic line "The Master! Reborn!".

And back to my original point - this is the writer's way of actually killing the old character. Anthony Ainley's Master stopped working long before the original series came to a close, which is probably why they came up with The Rani as an alternative villain (though she was no better written). In any case, the old character could not have functioned in today's series, he needed reinventing along with the rest of the show. So they made Derek Jacobi everything that The Master used to be, and then killed him.

Then they introduced John Simm, who I think is as perfect for The Master as David Tennant is for The Doctor, and I'm really looking forward to their actual scenes together. He's a youthful villain, who takes an obvious pop at the flaws of the old character, and demonstrates that he's very different. This is all good.

I'm seriously astounded that this wasn't obvious to everybody else.. It's just kind of obvious (though very clever too).. You bring back a character, and then use an established device within the show to reinvent him, and show that you're reinventing him.

Absolutely brilliant, and well worth the borderline-mediocre filler for the 40 minutes up until that point..

And, for a bonus, due to the strong character continuity between Anthony Ainley and Derek Jacobi, it can be safely assumed (until shown otherwise) that Eric Roberts never existed. Personality picked up from where it left off in 1989, and just as well too..

I've worked out why I like the series so much - the new series is to the old series as Stargate SG1 is to Star Trek. Clever writing, self-awareness, believable down-to-earth characterisation, tongue in cheek sense of humour, and generally just a lot better..

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And, for a bonus, due to the strong character continuity between Anthony Ainley and Derek Jacobi, it can be safely assumed (until shown otherwise) that Eric Roberts never existed.

...Paul McGann was pictured in the Doctor's John Smith notebook. Does that count?

Personally, I'm for skipping over Eric Roberts and pretending that Paul McGann's Doctor with it's book canon exists but the film is a crazy alternate universe. Perhaps the one that Rose ended up in.

There's no reason why Paul McGann can't have been the eighth doctor, he just never went to San Fransisco and opened the eye of harmony in his Tardis by being half human, or whatever actually happened..

Spot on!

Totally agree.. I wanted to mull over it a bit more before I can really sit down and review it.
But wow...

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