Are These 5 Doctor Who Villains More Powerful Than The Daleks?!
Apparently we should blame Russell T Davies. It’s his fault that the Daleks standing as the Doctor’s greatest foe has been undermined by near total failure. Be it his reliance upon fleet upon fleet of whizz bang Daleks making lots of noise and not a lot else, or his attempts to dilute the Dalek DNA with pinstriped abominations, What Culture, in a pique of frustration, have begun auditioning their replacements.
But we at Kasterborous cannot stand by and watch everyone’s favourite despots be cast as weak and fundamentally flawed – we love the Daleks and we won’t let their apparent misuse knock them from the number one spot.
In fact, let’s begin with that misuse. It’s a little hard to argue as the article does that a lone Dalek somehow possess more power than an entire fleet of the pepper pots: is it too much of a stretch to imagine that the same threat they carried in Dalek is still carried by those within the fleet?
If Russell T Davies is guilty of anything it’s of not reminding us enough during the fire and the fury of just how single-mindedly evil they can be – in fact, the difference in sense of jeopardy is akin to comparing Alien to Aliens – both have their value.
Anyway, let’s look at our new ‘greatest enemies’.
First potential conqueror of the Daleks are the Reapers from Series 1’s Father’s Day. In the episode we learned that they are an ancient race of bat-like creatures who live between universes and feast upon paradoxes created by higher beings meddling with the space-time continuum.
How does one feast on a paradox? By eating every living thing contained within those paradoxes on a sort of sliding scale based on how long they had existed before the paradox occurred. The older a person or object happened to be, the stronger they were against the Reapers attacks.
So what about the Doctor? Well, as hinted at during the episodes he does suggest that there are ways in which he could have mended the rift caused by Rose’s intervention. However, it appeared to be little more than wishful thinking; the only weapon he really had against them was his faith in humanity – he sacrificed himself believing that Pete would do the right thing.
Which brings us to the Daleks.
If we apply the rules of Top Trumps, it would suggest that the Reapers are at best equal to the Time Lords. If we take it as read that after the Time War, the Time Lords lost control of the universe – effectively removing the one barrier stopping the Reapers from leaving the Time Vortex and entering the universe at any given point where a ‘wound’ had appeared – and that the Time Lords were all but defeated by the Daleks, who’s march on the capital of Gallifrey involved them breaking down all 400 of the Time Lords sky trenches, resulting in the War Doctor using The Moment to destroy both races – then the Daleks would seem superior to the Reapers and arguably equal to the Time Lords.
If we go deeper into the specifics: the What Culture article goes on to point out that the Reapers are superior because they choose to live in the space between universes, that they wipe beings out of time as we may “…throw away a funny looking crisp you find somewhere in the packet” and the Daleks tend to avoid altering history therefore they must go full Blue Oyster Cult and fear the Reapers.
Now, as Army of Ghosts explained, the four most feared Daleks, the Cult of Skaro – a legendary sect above even the emperor himself – built a ‘void ship’, a one of its kind craft designed to exist between parallel universes and different dimensions. Not even the Time Lords believed the technology was possible – the same Time Lords who had been happily keeping the Reapers at bay in the time vortex.
The Daleks may not have been able to live freely in non-space but the fact that they managed to build a craft, travel into the void and avoid detection by the very same Time Lords happily keeping the Reapers at bay – I’m at a loss as to how: 1) they could be happily be living in the space between worlds if the Time Lords had imprisoned them in that dimension; and 2) how the Daleks could be inferior when they had avoided the very same wardens of time that the Reapers couldn’t escape from?
Which brings us to the second point. Wiping out beings is sort of what the Daleks do. It’s their party piece. Even if they don’t possess the organic means to do so they are effective killers. It’s really splitting hairs to argue that one race wiping out another for a singular purpose, be it existing within a paradox or just plain existing, is better than another because of the ease of which they do it. If anything the Daleks are not limited by any rules; if you aren’t a Dalek, consider yourself fair game for extermination.
What’s worse? Killing for a reason or killing for a cause?
And finally, do they really fear the Reapers? What this boils down to is what is more absurd: why is it strange that one creature attacks the whole of reality itself and okay for another to feast on paradoxes created by other beings changing the course of time? Why is time given greater importance than a perceived reality?
Eisenstein argued that our understanding of ‘now’ is fictional; it is our limited understanding of nature that requires us to perceive time as a series of sequential events. Even the second law of thermodynamics suggests that as we rush towards entropy that time is heading towards the future rather than existing all at once, or to quote the Fourth Doctor: “The more you put things together, the more they keep falling apart”.
Does it seem odd that a race primarily seeking its own advancement would view the universe in this same manner? A race blighted by a Neutronic War?
At the heart of the Daleks exists a trauma; a massive cataclysmic event that forever scarred them and altered the way in which they perceive reality: namely that time and space exist for the sole purpose of their advancement – Davros bent the universe to fit a philosophy of zero tolerance based on the idea that time itself can be altered to fit this reality.
So are the Daleks afraid to alter history because of the Reapers? Well, you would have to ask them what in their totalitarian world they view as history? Do they even acknowledge any history that doesn’t advance the Dalek cause? Like Orwell’s Big Brother, do they have an understanding of how history is used to advance a cause: do the Daleks understand that who controls the past controls the future in a literal sense? Or do they ignore the past because destroying reality now negates the need to worry about the past? If you are they only race left in existence, who is left to care about how history has been altered?
As the article rightly points out, the Daleks have only really stumbled across time travel as a means to advance their cause. They are, if anything, opportunists. In this sense, it’s more about what can you alter before the Doctor or the Reapers (if the Doctor lets them) stop your meddling.
Afraid? Not in the slightest.
The Great Intelligence
Dismissing the Daleks simply because their robomen were a bit naff does not a great foe make.
In this case it’s like saying boats are rubbish because they aren’t fighter jets – if, unlike the Time Lords, the Daleks can’t see all creation and had landed in a strange time, then surely we should be praising the fact that they had managed to absorb the minds of the dominate species on the planet and turn them into their puppets.
Let’s not forget the importance of that act to the First Doctor: if it’s enough to make him become more of the modern Doctor we are used to seeing – a man willing to stand up and help the helpless – then what does that say about their threat in the Possessing Minds category?
Yes, the Great Intelligence may have abandoned its own universe but the Daleks care not for any universe. They aren’t beholden to physical plane – they wanted to destroy reality itself.
Letting the Great Intelligence potter about in a physical form just gives them something to shoot at.
The Black Guardian
Okay, this one is a little tough but only if you think of them as competing with one another. Sure, he’s a pure evil God capable of creating vampires and wearing what appears to be a crow on his head, but why would he have a beef with the Daleks?
If anything, they could be of some use to each other; given the fact that he is at his most powerful when nearer the end of the universe – where his opposite the White Guardian cannot interfere – why not let the Daleks do the heavy lifting for him?
And if he’s the guardian of all chaos in the universe, what better agents for chaos than the Daleks? Sure they have a fixed ideology but to everyone else; pure chaos.
Admittedly there are a few ‘serious discussions’ to be had come the end of everything but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t use the Daleks to squeeze all the goodness out of the universe – his one true weakness – with their cold, unfeeling logic.
Who wouldn’t want to see this mutual lovefest?
Troubled spouse and self-proclaimed destroyer Sutekh is pretty formidable: the Egyptian God of Violence and Chaos, destroyer of stellar systems, imprisoner of victims through his eyes alone – he’s a card that one.
And it’s the stare where this argument lies; perhaps, as the article says, the Daleks’ stare is somewhat limited (all together “My vision is impaired!”) but when was the last time you saw a Dalek get distracted?
We can deal in absolutes – like the Time Lords being unable to stop him – but we know that is simply not true. So what’s to say that the incredibly paranoid Sutekh couldn’t be distracted by a threat to his hegemony – his real Achilles heel – and, in a classic pincer movement, be forced into the same time tunnel the Doctor used to cast him to his ultimate demise?
That’s the problem with these kind of all-encompassing deities: hubris. Sure are omnipotent and could destroy us all with a blink of that ubiquitous eye but they have to acknowledge the threat first – dismiss the Daleks at your peril mighty Sutekh!
Saying that this planet-destroying energy force might kill you is akin to saying the sun will eventually expand and kill us all. So vast and vague is its power that you wonder whether it would even acknowledge the Daleks – in fact, it makes you wonder how any cataclysmic event occurs at all within the universe if, as the What Culture article believes, it will just eventually kill you anyway.
If anything, you’d think that letting the Daleks win and obliterate all reality for their own gains would be right up the Mandragora Helix’s street – if you can create an entire planet in the same way most of us create a sandwich, why not let the Daleks wipe out all life? It’ll clear the drawing board for you.
Of course as the reality bomb taught us, the Daleks have the ability to pull planets out of existence and shift them into diabolical alignment; then you think that they’d be able to shift just one of stars needed to align every 500 years to bring the Helix about to the left a bit.
Do any of these aliens pose a credible threat to the Daleks? Can you think of any others? The Beast in The Satan Pit perhaps? Let us know by hollering in the comments below!