Daleks. For any Whovian out there, the name of the Doctor’s mortal enemy gives us feelings ranging from anger to fear to a combination of the two. Most of the time, I hate the evil things.
However, I should feel more pity then anger, to be honest. They are sad beings. Despite the evil of their current forms, their origin story is tragic.
The Daleks were originally a race known as the Kaleds. Kaleds were one of two races of “near-humans,” the Whovian phrase for humanoid species not of Earth. Unlike their counterparts, the Thals, the Kaleds were completely obsessed with racial purity. In their drive to be perfect, the Kaleds’ Scientific Elite (that’s their title), led by Davros, pushed to eliminate all the flaws that came with being “near-humans.”
That move led to Davros’s insanity, complete with the creation of the Daleks. Let me set the stage for you. The Kaleds and Thals were at the tail-end of a long, thousand-year war. The war was so powerful that their home planet of Skaro was a radiated wasteland. Davros, in an effort to find perfection, decided that radiated Kaleds would be the best form of existance. The radiated Kaleds would become Daleks, and would wipe out both Thals and Kaleds before moving onto other solar systems.
This makes for an awfully evil foil for someone who loves all life like the Doctor. In fact, the Daleks’ nature of extermination drew in the ire of the Time Lords, creating a war that spanned across all of time until the Doctor ended The Last Great Time War by time-locking it. In doing so, he left both the Dalek fleet and the Time Lord’s planet of Gallifrey to burn.
Even though the Daleks are supposed to be locked in their own timeline, without any way of interfering with other time streams, pockets of Daleks keep popping up. Throughout the series, the viewer is supposed to fear and hate the Daleks. But to be honest, there should be a sense of pity about them. These creatures pushed for perfection, went insane, and now see themselves as the only thing that can be perfection. The Daleks are barely sentient creatures anymore. They are blobs of hate crammed into a life-suit that keeps them going.
This great enemy of the Time Lords should be pitied, not hated.
From a purely scientific analysis, the entire Dalek race suffers from an obsessive-compulsive need to be perfect. Anything not perfect must be destroyed. And while you cannot support a drive to exterminate entire races, you can feel bad that it came to that.
An example of that is the Series 1 episode “Dalek.” In that episode, there is (supposedly) a single Dalek still in existence. That Dalek’s existence is pretty sad. In the end, the Dalek takes part of Rose’s DNA in order to escape to be destroyed. If that sounds complicated, it’s because it is. The Dalek’s drive to exterminate creatures that are not Dalek means that he must destroy himself.
The Daleks are evil, but they are evil because in their drive to be perfect; they lost their sanity. That’s sad.