This weekend’s episode of Doctor Who revealed a strange new twist in the Doctor and Missy’s tumultuous relationship. We recently had the chance to talk to Michelle Gomez about her time on the show, and now that “Extremis” is out in the wild, we had to get her spoilery thoughts on Missy’s latest appearance.
Missy played a small but important role in “Extremis”—which revealed her once and for all as the mysterious figure the Doctor and Nardole have been guarding inside the Vault. “I was excited,” Gomez told us when she found out about Missy’s arc in the new season. “I just thought that was, again, something you never saw coming. I think that’s Steven’s strength as a writer, and as a showrunner. It really sort of takes us on a journey, and at no point can you seem to know what’s going to happen.”
Surprise is something the actress has come to expect when she’s reading her latest Doctor Who scripts. “You know, whenever I read it for the first time, it’s always a noisy read. I’m always gasping or laughing at loud, or, you know, there’s surprise enough—you’re the one that’s in it! But yet, you really have no idea what’s coming. So it’s always very thrilling to read it for the first time around.”
“Extremis” revealed that Missy is in the Vault as part of punishment for her various crimes... and that part of that punishment was meant to be her own execution, at the Doctor’s hands. Although ultimately the Doctor reveals he has no plans on killing his longtime frenemy, Missy’s supposedly final words to him mark a surprisingly intimate moment of friendship between the two Time Lords. “I think any great manipulator has to believe they’re kosher. I think any great salesman believes what they’re saying, and I think, in the moment, you know, she’s genuine,” Gomez said of Missy’s final plea. “And I think because, you know, if she’s trying to save her life—or she’s trying to err on another life, she would say and do anything. She has to. And then fuck the consequences of that, later!”
Speaking of those consequences, Gomez believes Missy is going to do whatever it takes to get out of the Vault—even if it means sinking as low as exploiting the Doctor’s blindness, revealed to her at the climax of the episode with the Doctor in crisis at an impending alien invasion. “I think she uses any opportunity to make a play in her favor, no matter what it is. She is armed with the ability to turn on a sentence in terms of her emotionality. That’s what makes her really dangerous,” Gomez hinted. “Because she’s so unpredictable and she commits to her emotions and she’s feeling. That’s what makes her dangerous, because she’s kind of weirdly—for a two-dimensional character—she’s very believable. And persuasive and seductive, in a way. She’s so ruthless, she’ll use anything to her means, really.”
So when Missy gets out—which, considering Gomez has already teased us with scenes she’ll be sharing with returning Master John Simm later this season, is practically a foregone conclusion at this point—don’t expect any more pleas of friendship with her oldest foe, or even Mexican takeout and shared tales of monsters eating people, as we’ve seen the Doctor offer in past episodes this season. The next time we’ll see Missy, it’ll be her on the look out for revenge at her imprisonment... and maybe even her wardens.
Doctor Who airs on BBC America Saturdays at 9/8 Central.