Warning: This article contains spoilers regarding the episode “Into the Dalek.”
Impossibly, Missy seems to have an even shorter appearance during “Into the Dalek” than she had last week in “Deep Breath.” Yet, during that minute or two we see her again, it is clear she will be playing a part of the overall story arch of this series of Doctor Who. This appearance, in a forest green dress, only a shade lighter than the black we saw her in last week, she is sitting in what seems to be a dining room, pouring her newest resident of Heaven a cup of tea. The dining room is empty save for Missy and Gretchen Alison Carlisle, a soldier who had accompanied The Doctor and Clara quite literally into a Dalek.
While they are the only two in the dining room, it appears to have multiple dining tables, as if it has a capacity for a much larger group of people. The room’s french doors have sheer curtains over them, so it is hard to see into the garden, but there is definitely one outside of the dining room. From what I could see, it looked similar to the garden Missy refers to as “paradise” in “Deep Breath” with the same columns outside on the porch area. Between the sheer curtains and blurred exterior, it was hard to tell but it looked as though it might have been missing the circular section in the center. Whether this is to keep us from being sure if it is the same place or if it is because this is a virtual projection Missy has created for people remains to be seen.
While it no clearer as to who Missy is nor how she fits into The Doctor’s life, we seem to have a refined sense as to her purpose. It seems to me, Missy is receiving only the people who sacrifice themselves willingly for The Doctor in an effort to protect him. We know for certain that we do not have all of the information yet, and it is conceivable that she is receiving people into Heaven that we are not seeing, but Ross was sacrificed by The Doctor yet failed to be “saved” by Missy. Ross did not realize he was making a sacrifice, and seemed to believe the pill The Doctor gave him would prevent his death, yet Gretchen knowingly and willingly sacrificed herself for The Doctor and is warmly greeted by Missy.
While last week’s big question was “Did the half faced man jump or was he pushed?” it is seeming more and more as if he jumped in a self sacrifice to save The Doctor from having to murder, if Missy truly is only interacting with characters that knowingly sacrifice themselves for or in the name of The Doctor.
While the speculation has infinite potential until the story plays out throughout the year, the character of Missy has grabbed the Who-verse by storm. We are challenged to look at our original hypothesis every time we have another glimpse of her character. Given the small amount of screen time she has had, Missy is shaping up to be central to both Doctor Who’s Series 8, as well as The Doctor’s quest to find out whether he is a good man or not.