“It’s only Nikola Tesla,” The Doctor says in this week’s fantastical episode, “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror.” Doctor Who continues to deliver flawless episode after flawless episode, and last night’s was no exception. Beware of spoilers below.
This week the Doctor travels back in time, bumping into the one and only Nikola Tesla. Tesla is currently working on trying to raise funds for his idea, a wireless power transmitter. Basically, we understand it today as WIFI. That is the crazy thing about Tesla: while he was the mastermind behind so many inventions we have today, during his time he was a true outsider. This is probably why he was a perfect historical figure to throw into the Doctor’s path. Not to mention, seeing each one geek over the other was the perfect lightheartedness we needed after last weeks gloomy episode.
Doctor Who Welcomes Outsiders
Like any good Doctor Who episode, the action is quick to follow as the Doctor and Tesla run from a hooded figure with sparking hands. Taking shelter in his lab, we get our first amazing encounter with the two. This is probably one of the best encounters of the episode. As they work together to assess a glowing sphere, the Doctor pulls out her Sonic Screwdriver. Tesla looks in awe as he asks about her own invention. In true Whovian fashion, the Doctor explains it’s made of mostly spoons.
The instant connection and camaraderie between Tesla and the Doctor really sets the backbone of this episode. It is like the Vincent Van Goh episode, where every step of the way you are rooting for his success but knowing he will never experience it. We see this concept explained perfectly with how the companions first talk about Tesla. Not really knowing who he is they spend most of the episode trying to guess what contribution he gave to society. This in the end leads to them finding out how much of a role he truly plays in the future we face today. This point is also perfectly created when Thomas Edison is introduced into the Doctor Who plot.
The whole gang, along with Tesla and his assistant march across town to see what part Edison might have played regarding the hood figure chasing them. Now meeting Edison was a hoot. Watching him puff out his chest and discuss the “American sense of humor” pulled me slightly out of the story, but I think the point was made. Edison is taught as the greatest inventor in our schools, but as we get older, IF we are lucky to learn more; we realize that Edison really wasn’t this great guy. So, while the character was a little silly, the over all concept was a good lesson.
Most of the first part of the episode is focused on setting Tesla up as this somebody that nobody knows. But that all changes when he is kidnapped by SCORPIANS! Ok, maybe not technically, because they are an alien race that just happens to look like scorpions. But still, they are effin SCORPIANS. This instantly will transport you back to the episode Runaway Bride from season 3, where we meet the spider queen. Make up, attitude, and even creepy killing creatures were all pretty deju vu BUT it worked! This episode didn’t come off as a duplicate or boring, as the viewer, you are constantly entertained.
The comedy duo that is Graham and Ryan is one important key to this episode getting an A+ review. They honestly have been slaying the comedy side of the episodes this season. My favorite moment of the two this week was when Graham tried to console Nikola Tesla’s assistant. “…this isn’t our first rodeo.” He says trying to get Ryan to help settle any anxiety in her.
Ryan, oblivious to Graham’s good intention, replies, “We’ve never been to a rodeo.”
Not only were the comedy lines on point, but this episode gifted us with two amazing, heartfelt moments. The first is towards the start of the episode, while we are still getting to know Tesla. It is this touching moment where Tesla explains what it feels to be out of place. It also barely brushes against the idea of racism and acceptance. The other moment comes towards the end with Tesla again. During the plot we see Tesla go from struggling to fit in, to this air of confidence and motivation to keep dreaming, to invent for the future. His words will probably linger throughout many season to come as one of the best quotes from the series.
“….I work for the future, the future is mine.”
The words send chills, vibrating through Doctor Who fans who mostly claim this episode another success.