The last time they saw each other, Missy had resurrected Clara’s late boyfriend as a Cyberman, before condemning him to a second, gruesome death. Not the greatest start to a friendship, but that won’t stop the pair from teaming up in series nine opener The Magician’s Apprentice. Best. Buddy movie. Ever.
The unlikely alliance, of course, is born out of necessity: to save the Doctor, who, according to Jenna Coleman, is in so much peril that, “the only thing to do is to put differences aside and work together.”
As you can imagine, Missy and Clara do not get on. Yet, Coleman says, their dynamic isn’t totally antagonistic.
“In a way, Clara’s quite fascinated by Missy, but disgusted at the same time. That’s partly to do with how Michelle Gomez plays her, she’s so magnetic that you can’t help but like her, even though you’re supposed to hate her. It’s one of the really clever things she does. Clara and Missy actually end up getting on, but remembering they don’t like each other again.”
Coleman’s thoughts on the pairing chime with Michelle Gomez’s, who made her first proper debut at the gender-swapped Master in last year’s series eight finale Dark Water / Death in Heaven,
“Our relationship shifts greatly from where we left off in the last series,” Gomez told the BBC. “Dare I say there might be a hint of respect there? Perhaps not quite respect. More a healthy dose of circumspect, from both I guess.
“The dynamic takes on a whole new shape and not one I had imagined. There is something not quite right about it that makes for slightly unnerving viewing. Missy gets bored very easily. You can imagine her and the Doctor in the classroom. Missy using her intellect even then to cause mischief and disrupt.”
Coleman adds that Clara also begins to learn about the complexity of the Doctor and the Master’s relationship, which runs far deeper than them simply being enemies.
“Having two females that are very close to the Doctor is interesting for Clara to witness, because the Doctor and Missy are enemies, but they are also very ancient friends. They have a past and history that they cannot even touch upon, or even understand how you can like or be in love with somebody that has repeatedly tried to kill you throughout time and space.
“I also think it’s interesting for Clara to operate under a female Time Lady, she’s so used to running with the Doctor that to be with a Time Lady is quite a new experience for her. Somebody who is so maniacal is quite fun. You think you’re safe and within 30 seconds you’re literally being pushed down a cliff.”
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 with The Magician’s Apprentice on 19th September