The Doctor has faced off with countless aliens, monsters, and machines in Doctor Who, but perhaps their greatest foe is also one of the most similar, the Master. Despite their differences, both the Master and the Doctor hail from the same planet, and the pair have a shared history. As young Time Lords, they knew one another and it is understood that they were friends.
Although they grew up as contemporaries, their paths diverged early on when their motivations and passions appeared to have grown apart. The Doctor, full of curiosity and a deeply ingrained desire to help others stole a TARDIS and left Gallifrey in order to explore time and space. The Master also ran from the Time Lords and their home planet, however, they had much less noble intentions for their adventures away from the watchful eyes of their race.
The Doctor and The Master: Far From Home
The two Time Lords’ paths crossed again during the Doctor’s third regeneration in an adventure titled, ‘Terror of the Autons.’ The Master, played at this early stage by Roger Delgado, has teamed up with the Nestene Consciousness in an attempt to invade Earth. The Doctor of course has an extraordinary fondness for Earth and many of its inhabitants and so he convinces his old friend to cease his plans and retreat. The Doctors ability to persuade the Master clearly stems from their preexisting relationship and the fondness the pair have for one another. As they continue to follow very different paths, they continue to come into contact regularly, and although the pair are primarily in opposition to one another and their plans conflict, neither can bring themselves to end the other.
Throughout time and space, the Doctor and the Master find themselves on opposite sides, but they have also come together in order to fight off greater threats such as the Cybermen. The Tenth Doctor, still grieving over the events of the Time War even offers to have the Master join with him in his travels as the last of their kind. The Master declines this offer and ultimately chose to forego regenerating in an attempt to end their cyclical relationship with the Doctor and cause them further pain. However, as with many things in Doctor Who, his death is temporary, and when they regenerate into Missy, they find themselves supporting their old friend, even to the point that they shoot their earlier regeneration to protect the Doctor.
Doctor/Master Relationship Status: Complicated
The Doctor and the Master have had many conflicts end on fairly amicable terms with the Master leaving Earth in peace or supporting their old friend, but they have also had their fair share of tense and difficult moments. The Master has stolen the Doctor’s TARDIS leaving them stranded, forced the Doctor to age forward by hundreds and thousands of years, and held the Doctor hostage to watch their wicked plans play out. True to both of their natures, they continue to be at odds with their motivations pulling them apart, but the two share a bond that neither is willing to fully sever. They rely on each other as much as they are opposed and find a way to lend each other a greater purpose. For all of these reasons, the Master and the Doctor continue to entangle their timelines throughout Doctor Who, for better and for worse.
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