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During the episode "The End of Time, Part II", Rassilon just watched and waited for the Doctor to decide whether to kill the Master or him. But he had a metal gauntlet that he could have used to easily kill the Doctor. Why didn't he?

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    Rassilon spends about ten seconds powering that thing up and still doesn't fire it. By comparison, a pistol fires as soon as you pull the trigger
    – Valorum
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 23:45

3 Answers 3

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I've always had the impression it was simply an act of deceit (and to keep the Master in check; never the Doctor). Rassillion is just trying to buy time as he's well aware the Doctor ultimately won't shoot him (nor the Master).

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Rassilon's entire plan to save the Time Lords required them to break out of the timelock. They were doing that by bringing Gallifrey through the time vortex by a 'link' they created. The 'link' relied on the Master being alive, as the drumbeat in his head was acting as a beacon.

The Doctor had the upper hand - he had a gun and could terminate the link by shooting The Master, or instead shoot Rassilon and halt his plan. We can only presume that Rassilon did not attack the Doctor using his gauntlet for fear that the Doctor might still manage to fire the gun at The Master and sever the link in his final moments. Instead, Rassilon tried to reason with the Doctor, by appealing to his morality:

RASSILON: The final act of your life is murder. But which one of us?

Rassilon apparently hoped that the Doctor would concede and shoot neither of them, because he is known to hate violence (it is out of character for the Doctor to use a gun). However, the Doctor persuades the Master to move and instead shoots the Master's machine which has the same effect of severing the link.

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Because Rassilon knew (or thought) that The Doctor, at that point, had two options:

  • Allow the Time Lords to complete their plan and destroy the universe
  • Kill Rassilon, and then get killed in return

The reason that he didn't mind the second option was that he would not only kill The Doctor in the end, but it would be a victory of a whole other level (other then simply killing him): his morality. If The Doctor could murder him, then that shows that even the one who holds the values of compassion and mercy at their utmost would fall eventually, and that mattered to him as much as victory.

If he didn't, the destruction of time would, in a sense, be his fault (as Mel would have believed) and it would have meant more then victory.

By simply killing him, none of this would be true.

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    "You see, it's not enough for me to simply kill you [...] I will discredit your house and all opposition in the Royal Court" ... wait, wrong sci-fi franchise.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 18:40

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