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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Doctor Who Season 12 Episode 4: Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terror

January 20th, 2020 by Todd Black Comments

After last weeks disastrous “Orphan 55” episode (in my and MANY other people’s opinions), Doctor Who really needed a course correction. And what better way than with a historical episode? It’s actually kind of shocking (pun intended) that Doctor Who has never met Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison before, but “Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terror” definitely lived up to the potential of having these characters together.

First and foremost, I loved how the Doctor and Tesla were basically kindred spirits, as they were both inventors, seers of the future, and ones who wanted the best for humanity even if others mocked them. That’s honestly the basis of who Doctor Who is as a character, and what Tesla was as an inventor.

Seeing Tesla look upon the future tech from the Doctor and the aliens were really fun, especially as the others would talk about future tech and Tesla would note that he “had ideas like that”. And then of course, the arrival of Edison, Tesla’s real-life rival and the man who helped ruin Tesla’s life, we got to see the other side of “progress”, the kind that did make things…but for a profit.

What history is now rightfully revealing about Tesla was not only how brilliant he was, but how he just wanted to give away his inventions. He wanted to power the world for free, while Edison “lit the world” for a profit. And for the record, both AC AND DC current are vital in our world today.

Anyway, getting back to the plot, having aliens find Tesla and wanting to use him to help them with their own technology was a fun twist on things. Especially when this brand-new alien race were stealers and scavengers through and through. It was fun seeing Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor show contempt for them because they’re not doing anything to move history forward, just stealing from others, was a neat thing.

I almost wish though that our dear Doctor pulled a Van Gogh (via the now legendary Matt Smith episode) and showed Tesla the future that he helped build. But alas, it might have been best that he didn’t, and Tesla did help make the future, and we’re now realizing just how much he helped despite many blasting him at the time for his theories.

In the end, “Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terror” was a fun, yet simple, episode that honestly did get things back on track for a fun season. Hopefully next episode brings us back to the “Timeless Child” storyline and all that, but we’ll see.

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!