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’.

The Reapers

Reapers - Father's Day

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?

Army of Ghosts - Daleks - Void Ship

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

Doctor Who Series 7 finale The Name of the Doctor

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

The Black Guardian - Enlightenment

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?

Sutekh

Sutekh

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!

Mandragora Helix

Masque of Mandragora

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!

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  1. TimeChaser says:

    These are the best they could come up with? Seriously?

    I never liked the Reapers because if time is that fragile why don’t we ever see them again later on when everything has gone to heck, like in The Big Bang or The Wedding of River Song? I think they are more than a bit of a mistake because hey were painted way too broadly. “Uh oh, you created a paradox! Here come the Reapers!”

    The rest are, the article says, individuals prone to inflated egos despite their nearly omnipotent powers. And Mandragora has to work through weak human vessels to get it’s job done.

    I’m shock the Weeping Angels didn’t make the cut. They are intelligent, calculating, and very difficult of not impossible to kill. I would be interested to see if a Dalek blaster would do anything to an Angel in stone form, and let’s face it, the Daleks are hardly going to react fast enough to avoid an Angel attack.

    • Dr Moo says:

      Imagining a Dalek/Angel encounter….
      Dalek: EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! [Gets approached by angel. Angel freezes when it sees reflection in the Dalekanium. Nothing happens.]

      Would be surprisingly boring I think.

      • TimeChaser says:

        I’m not entirely sure the Angel would be frozen by it’s own reflection. Another living being looking at it, yes. But then, even when we look, we are not safe. They can get into our minds and destroy us from the inside out.

        • Dr Moo says:

          It would be frozen by itself if it had a reflection. The Time Of The Doctor shows this.

          • TimeChaser says:

            Not all Daleks are shiny and reflective though. Some are Skittle. 😛

          • Dr Moo says:

            True, but the current design is reflective though. I don’t like the Skittle Daleks either, what was Mark Gatiss thinking?!

          • TimeChaser says:

            And what was Moffat thinking when he said “That’s a fantastic idea, Mark!”

          • Dr Moo says:

            Marketability. My brother loved the redesign and he’d just turned 11 when Victory Of The Daleks aired. And there’s your target audience.

          • TimeChaser says:

            My sister refers to them as Hunchback Daleks.

          • Dr Moo says:

            This sums it up nicely:

          • TimeChaser says:

            Hadn’t seen that one before. That just made my day. 🙂

          • Dr Moo says:

            In fairness, I do like the blue one. But that’s just because it’s a BLUE DALEK! How awesome that my favourite monster now comes in my favourite colour!

          • TimeChaser says:

            I can go with the white, blue and red. And I’m not just being a mindless American saying that. 😉 The Orange and Neon YelloGAAHMYEYES! just don’t work really.

          • Dr Moo says:

            I think the problem with the NDP is that they went overboard with the new colours. I agree that it’s the red white and blue (that’s British too, by the way) that I can deal with. Three is sufficient, five is overkill. I think the Moff wanted to put his own stamp on the iconic creatures but it massively backfired on him. His response was to reduce them to a cameo in series six, use every kind in series seven, use the bronze RTD-era variety in the 50th and reduce them to just a speaking role in that year’s christmas special. Into The Dalek didn’t really try anything much and just gave us very generic looking ones that didn’t do a great deal for most of the episode.

          • TimeChaser says:

            You’re right. I tend to forget how many countries have flags with those colors.

          • TimeChaser says:

            Looks like the largest category, with red & white and blue & white just behind. Thanks. 🙂

          • Dr Moo says:

            You’re welcome. I thought you’d appreciate nothing more than a bit of ‘Fun With Flags’.

          • TimeChaser says:

            Thank you, Dr. Cooper. 😉

          • Dr Moo says:

            Good that you got that reference, it would have looked like a very weird comment otherwise!

          • TimeChaser says:

            Lucky for you my wife got me into The Big Bang Theory. 😀

          • Philip says:

            I actually like them. Probably more than the bronze ones. Especially the Supreme: combined with the deeper voice, he’s a scary Skaronian. Plus, they are very intimidating in “real life.” Honest, Guv.

          • Dr Moo says:

            That makes sense; They’re a bit bigger and have deeper voices. Much more menacing. Would have to disagree on the bronze ones though, I liked the bronze ones. But of all the designs there’s been over the last 52 years it’s the grey-turquoise ones of ClassicWho that work best for me but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about them.

    • Philip says:

      I think the thing with the Reapers wasn’t so much, “oh dear, paradox”/”oh dear, trouble with time”, but more an issue that two sets of the Doctor and Rose were there. It’s like an extra paradox added on. But maybe that’s just my thinking. As the Curator says, Who knows?

      • TimeChaser says:

        I suppose. There was a lot of extra malarkey going on in that episode. And yet the TARDIS can explode and erase all of history, or time can be stuck in the same moment with all of history crammed in that moment, and this doesn’t bring out the Reapers? I think those things are a lot more catastrophic in the paradox department than extra Doctor and Rose, and then Rose giving Blinovich the middle finger by holding Baby Rose.

        • Philip says:

          I dunno, I guess. Maybe they were erased too? As for Wedding… Well, maybe they were chowing out on Brussels or somewhere and we just didn’t see them. 😉

          It seems to be that no one really wants them back – well, no writer of the show anyway!

          • Dr Moo says:

            Good riddance to them, I say! They let down “Father’s Day” for me, reducing it from ‘potential classic’ to ‘decent enough I guess’ which is a shame. Sticking with series one, even the Slitheen family were better monsters than the Reapers because at least they had some characteristics other than ‘kill for the sake of killing’.

  2. Dr Moo says:

    I’m surprised by the absence of…
    …Weeping Angels. They could destroy you all before you even know they’re there.
    …Silents. They make you do their bidding and you never even know. The ultimate way of keeping your hands clean.
    …Midnight Entity. It possesses you and controls you and steals your voice.
    …The Beast. It can possess you and is probably Satan. What could be worse?

    • Dr Moo says:

      Other truly incredible Dr Who creatures worthy of at least an honourable mention for just being so believable and terrifying:
      Kandyman, Abzorbaloff, Human-Dalek Sec, Dinosaurs (as in Invasion Of), Tetraps, Vervoids, Lumic — Oh wait a minute…!

    • Semi-Evil Semi-Genius says:

      Weeping Angels can be defeated by mirrors, as well as ducking in a corridor with two of them. Plus, they send you back in time, generally (from what we’ve seen to safe places. Entirely overrated.
      Silents. Anybody can kill them when seeing them.
      The Midnight Entity. Who knows what it wanted? It was creepy, but it really didn’t do any harm to the Doctor. It was the panicky humans fearing the unknown around it, that were the threat. It may have had sinister intentions, but it wasn’t the worst. Plus, it seemed relegated to a near uninhabitable planet.

  3. KevC says:

    They are all scary but you have all missed out the most evil Dr Who monsters ever. The Adipose. My Missus adores them and I have to keep buying her all them silly toys.

  4. Semi-Evil Semi-Genius says:

    You really overthought the Reapers. There were a one-time creature hastily thrown into a script. Their origins and nature weren’t thoroughly explained. If anything, they seem to be temporal bacteria or fungi or something. They are a part of the universe, and seem to repair temporal damage. Lots of temporal anomalies happen in Doctor Who, and Reapers don’t appear. They aren’t all-powerful, and aren’t everywhere. They can be likened to the body’s immune response, and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
    There’s no evidence that Reapers are equal, lesser than, or greater than the Time Lords. And this silly notion among the general populace that creatures and people have fixed “power levels” (like Dragon Ball Z) is insane. You can’t rate beings into a properly ordered list.
    Instead, beings just have general tiers. Daleks and Time Lords are among the most advanced civlizations in the universe. There are powerful singular entities like the White & Black Guardians, the Celestial Toymaker, and the Beast. And then there are some really powerful niche creatures like Weeping Angels and Reapers.
    There is not one beats all. Every single creature / machine / civilization in Doctor Who is a bewildering set of factors in variables (just like in reality). Environment, mindset, goals, technological & biological capabilities, etc. all determine the situation. What comes out on top is dependent on a very complex formula, one might call it luck.
    This is often the essence of the Doctor’s gambits. On the one hand the Doctor has some great abilities: several centuries of knowledge, the TARDIS, the sonic screwdriver, and regenerations. On the other hand, he doesn’t hold up real well to bullets, lasers, giants, and explosions. So, in some situations he is theoretically outclassed, but wins through grit, ingenuity, and a favorable turn of the circumstances. Other times, he is held captive by primitive cavemen that he should be able to beat on paper, but they managed to capture him regardless.
    Look at real world countries. Each nation’s power is constantly in flux. Every major nation has won wars, and lost some. There’s no solid best. Currently, the United States of America is one of the absolute greatest powers on the planet. It has a large population, lots of money, a big and well-developed military, great technology, a strong network of allies, but it isn’t invincible. It has contenders. What would we call North Korea? They are very backward in many areas, but they can be a nuisance. I wouldn’t put them on par with America, but they could do some damage.
    Finally, going full Blue Oyster Cult is NOT fearing the reaper.

    • Dr Moo says:

      This. This, right here, sums up the article. Why are we ranking these many, often very different, groups or individuals when we should be looking at what their track record is rather than whatever theoretical power they wield? That alone could provide anything even resembling a definitive list of who has more power, nothing else can do that. But even then, something can easily go wrong for one of these groups and tip the balance in favour of someone else! The whole thing is an exercise in pointlessness!

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