Daleks are my absolute favorite villains in the entire Whoniverse. In fact, they are my favorite villains or monsters in all fantasy and sci-fi books and shows, second only to Lord Voldemort. Personally, I find them rather adorable – they look like some half-baked school project (pepper shaker?) but in reality, they are so cold and murderous. They are even more terrifying as antagonists because they do not have a single human element — they are so monstrous that they display no emotion and they feel no love.

 

The Daleks are the perfect archnemesis for the Doctor. Despite the godliness of being a Time Lord, he is capable of feeling pain, remorse, and love. On some occasions, he even seems to be more human than actual humans. Daleks, on the other hand, have rejected what they perceive to be weaknesses (such as feelings) and they are the ultimate xenophobes. Classic Who really contrasts the Daleks to the Thals, a beautiful race they mutated alongside in their home planet, Skaro. Like the Doctor, the Thals seem to be human and they are pacifists. It is more horrible to consider the Daleks since they had such good origins.

Left: Thals Right: Dalek

Another reason the Daleks are the exact opposite of the Doctor is their indifference to negotiation. The Doctor prefers to outwit the situation and avoid as much bloodshed as possible. When encountering the Daleks, they are deaf to his pleas and he has to resort to violence. Daleks really touch his nerves!

That being said, this episode was disappointing in the way it introduced Daleks to the series. Instead of showing how terrifying and powerful the Daleks are, the audience is introduced to the last Dalek, which really acts like a pathetic and endangered pepper shaker. In a sense, it was a clever way to introduce more snippets about the Doctor’s history and the mysterious Time War, but the episode did little justice to explain Daleks.

The significance of the emotional Dalek who longed for sunshine was lost because the series did not prolong the introduction of the Daleks as cruel xenophones. For example, Daleks could have been introduced in an entirely different story previous to this episode, just so the shock of a caring and feeling Dalek could really settle in.

I am sure, however, that veteran fans were reeling at the thought of a Dalek with a heart. Daleks are, by definition, heartless, so this moment was the equivalent of a long-lost lover turning out to be alive (like in soap operas) or an evil character turning out to be the bravest of them all (like in The Deathly Hallows).

I think it was inevitable that the Dalek would die because he would be mentally anguished by the tension caused by his newfound humanity and his all-important Dalek mandate. It would not make sense to continue the series with a ‘good’ Dalek, because new fans would miss out on all the fun of evil Daleks. Also, it would seem like a huge contradiction to Classic Who.

In conclusion, I was both highly intrigued and highly disappointed by this episode. I loved and hated it. Once again, I found myself thanking God that I started with Series 5.

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