One of the things I was most looking forward to about the ultimately disappointing Series 10 Boxset release was the chance to edit together all the Missy clips from Extremis into a prelude-type episode of their own. The Fatality Index, as I was always going to call it, seemed to me to work much better as a standalone than a set of intrusive flashbacks within the Extremis narrative. But doing that from the broadcast version of the episode wasn’t possible with a stereo mix. So once the Boxset came out, with rippable 5.1 audio, this edit was always going to be the first one I tackled from it.
The first thing to do was to make up a set of opening titles, something that has always been tricky to do since there isn’t a clean version to work from. But the Deleted Scenes portion of the S10 release has a clean version of the section just after the Tardis spins off-screen, where the story title would normally appear. All I needed to do was to sync up the two clips, slightly adjusting the brightness of the deleted scenes one to match the actual titles clip and I had an opening credits sequence that’s about as close to “proper” as you can get. But since it’s impossible to get a clean version of the credits without Pearl Mackie’s name in them, I settled instead for starting the opening after the actor’s credits, in the style of an official BBC minisode.
Having got that out of the way it was a case of combining all the original flashback clips into one file, with the only slightly tricky part being how to manage the transitions from one to the other.
Chronologically, The Fatality Index must take place before The Return of Doctor Mysterio, even though Mysterio was broadcast first. Since Twelvy first meets Nardole on the planet of the un-named executioners, let’s call them “The Deathsmiths” [of Goth???] the timeline seems be to that, after The Husbands of River Song is over, Twelvy stitches Nardole’s head back onto his body and then he gets the summons to the Deathsmiths’ planet, sticks Missy in the Vault in Bristol, after which it’s Mysterio and then The Pilot.
Which means the summons to Missy’s execution is the reason why Twelvy finally leaves River, knowing her next stop will be The Library and her first meeting with Ten and her last with the Doctor. Talk about spoilers, and it’s rather neat that after all she’s hidden from him, it’s the Doctor himself who gets to keep the biggest spoiler of them all from her…
It’s also of fan interest that once again the Master has been captured for execution. The last time it happened was to Gordon Tipple on Skaro but only headcanon, for the moment anyway, holds the answer as to who sent Michelle Gomez to the Deathsmiths.
This compilation minisode/series ten prequel runs just under eight minutes., and the storytelling benefit of putting all the footage together on its own, as opposed to siting it within the Extremis narrative, is that the initial misdirection that it’s Twelvy who’s going to be executed now works rather more effectively. A revisitation of Extremis and the rest of the Monks Trilogy, to remove all these Missy flashbacks I had to include the first time round, will appear on Whoflix at later date…