JP On Gaming

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

[Doctor Who Review] 12.04 Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror

Tesla is an interesting character for sure. A genius without business acumen. A man of ideas. In many ways, he embodies the little guy brutalized by the big man. As soon as I saw the teaser and title, my eyes rolled in exasperation. "This is gonna suck" I immediately thought.

To my surprise, this episode had some interesting ideas. The biggest problem was that it introduced the aliens too quickly and then with their 1988 CGI effect and terrible costumes (we only see the queen in super close-up), the story was an interesting romp that used historical elements pretty well.

One of the best element of the story were the companion asking each other "What did he invent?" and not being able to answer. He did come up with a number of ideas for technologies that we have today. My favorite is the death ray! Hummmm Death ray... So many uses for such a device.

Another highlight of the episode was Thomas Edison. I expected to see him as "evil corporate man", he did show some aspects of that (because he was a rather crummy individual) but one of his best lines was after Tesla accuses him of being a man of parts not a man of ideas to which Edison said something along the lines of "I make things people use". That exchange embodies the dichotomy between the two men: one makes, one thinks. When you get the two together, you can make awesome things. Problem is, both think themselves the most important.

The problem of the episode is very much like the rest of the season... Too many characters! Doctor + 3 companions + Tesla + Edison + Tesla's secretary... That's seven characters running around trying fighting for screen time. With one good companion, the three special characters could shine and do more. Here, they fight for lines and screen time.

The Moral section at the end was a bit of a let down as it details Tesla's life from this point on in a few sentences (it sucks).

Would I re-watch? Yes.

Rating: 3/5 (Best episode of the season so far)

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