Sometimes I feel really and truly horrible for the Master.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s insane and a murderer and absolutely terrifying, and in no way should his insanity excuse his crimes, but he’s also a genius. He was smart, incredibly so, before he looked into the Time Vortex. Then, suddenly, on they day he would finally earn a title he had trained for years to uphold, Time Lord, he’s a monster. He’s pushed into madness by a constant pounding drumbeat in his head, and all anyone will tell him is that it’s not real, that he’s crazy.
He’s still clever, he’s still a genius, but suddenly everything he says is invalidated, and he can no longer interact with his own people. He can’t escape the drums, and he can’t do anything but try to make them stop, if just for a moment.
I wonder sometimes what could have happened, what he could have achieved, if the Time Lords didn’t put that drumbeat in his head.