Friday, June 25, 2021

Friday Creature Feature - Daleks

"Creature" is an interesting word to describe a Dalek, especially if you're not familiar with Doctor Who. If you've only seen these R2-D2 lookalikes (FYI, Daleks appeared on Doctor Who about 14 years before Star Wars premiered) in memes on social media, calling them a "creature" makes them seem almost living. Well, that's the thing. They are living.

Inside that metal shell is a little squid-like creature. The metal casing includes an eye stalk and two arm-like attachments. One is a laser blaster. The other is usually looks like a toilet plunger (although on occasion it can be different)--basically this "manipulator arm" helps the Dalek interact with the outside world (although we have seen it drain a human's life and memories out in one go). The Daleks believe they are the superior race in the universe and will exterminate all other life to prove it.

The Daleks started out on the planet Skaro. On Skaro, they were created from the descendants of the Thals, by the mad scientist Davros. Once upon a time, before Davros mutated them, they were humanoid. At the point of their genesis, the Fourth Doctor had the opportunity (more like an assignment) given to him by the Time Lords to prevent their creation. Eventually, while still on Skaro, the Daleks would have their first true encounter with the Doctor, as the First Doctor and his first companions arrived. At this point they could only move by static electricity along their floors. The First Doctor and his Slytherin/Ravenclaw brain got the better of them and was able to defeat them.

But it wouldn't be the last time the Doctor would encounter them. Through the hundreds of years and dozens of companions that followed, the Doctor would begin to see the Daleks attacking through time and space. Doctor Who has had no shortage of appearances from the Daleks; they attacked 22nd century Earth, back on Skaro, and 1963 London, just to name a few. Each time they appeared they got more dangerous, leading us into the modern era; the Doctor would face the Daleks as they threatened the Game StationCanary Wharf, and all of existence

Over space and time, the Daleks have stayed more or less the same, in contrast to their Cyberman rivals (who are constantly upgrading). They've used other species along the way, but any "impurity" entering the Dalek species was blasphemous, as seen in 1930 New York. But when it fit their purposes, they're not above using other species as puppets, both metaphorically and literally.

A defining characteristic of the Daleks is their hatred of other species. In "Asylum of the Daleks", the Daleks even called hatred divine and beautiful. In that same episode, as Amy began transforming into a Dalek puppet, Oswin deduced that turning her into a Dalek meant removing love and inserting anger. As the Doctor has lost his temper with the Daleks (on more than one occasion), he's been told he'd make a good Dalek. 

Moral of the story, feel more love. Share more love. Don't be a Dalek.

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