Synopsis: On the edge of Niagara Falls, something is wrong at Nikola Tesla’s generator plant. The Doctor, Yaz, Ryan and Graham join forces with the inventor to save both him and planet Earth.
This week’s episode does a great job of introducing Nikola Tesla and throwing us straight into the action as he, the Doctor and Dorothy Skerritt are chased by a Skithra assassin who is attempting to reclaim an Orb of Thassa that Tesla has come into possession of. Our heroes travel to 1900’s New York where we meet the unpleasant Thomas Edison, and the Skithra assassin murders Edison’s employees. I felt that the tension this week was sustained well and the pacing put me in mind of 2018’s “Rosa”. There were moments when the pacing seemed to lag a little bit but for the most part this was a gripping and exciting adventure that kept me hooked. I liked how the 13th Doctor’s gadgeteer genius coupled with that of Tesla himself came to the fore again as the means of defeating the Skithra, and there was plenty of humour from team TARDIS which felt natural and welcome in the story. Graham got a great line when he compared Edison to a supervisor Graham once knew who only cared about making a profit, and I really liked how Edison was concerned for the welfare of his employees and ended up becoming friends with Tesla again by the episode’s end.
Jodie Whittaker seemed more Doctor-y than she has done in the 2018 series but her performance is still not 100 per cent there. That being said I thought 13 played off Anjli Mohindra’s Skithra Queen well, who herself did a good job of being terrifying and slimy in this episode. Goran Visnjic does a great job of portraying a sympathetic, kind and restrained Nikola Tesla and also at showing his sadness when he receives news that his funding is being pulled. Also of note is the utterly brilliant line “The future is mine” delivered by Goran Visnjic at the end of the episode. Robert Glenister plays a great foil to Tesla, both physically and in terms of personality and I loved their short confrontation which was cut short by Graham calling them “AC/DC” and telling them to stop squabbling. Going back to Jodie Whittaker, there are some great moments of humour like when the Doctor says “High five!” to Tesla and he looks completely confused, as well as some good Doctor like speeches from 13 to Tesla about how important he is and to the Skithra Queen when she says “I’ve seen more than you can possibly imagine.” Although the writing is great Jodie Whittaker’s acting is regrettably still not quite the Doctor we all know, though she is trying. I felt that Haley McGee’s American accent wasn’t that great and she was somewhat under-used as a character, although she did get a nice moment at the end of the episode with Graham and Ryan. Bradley Walsh continues to bring the humour and the everyman heroism and gets some good moments with Tosin Cole, and I felt that Mandip Gill and Goran Visnjic played off each other well in the scenes they had together.
There is some absolutely beautiful music in this episode. The score at the beginning when Tesla is explaining his inventions is very inspiring as is the music when the Doctor is giving a speech about Tesla’s genius. The score that was used when the Doctor and Tesla’s lightning cannon is powering up had me on the edge of my seat and there was a lovely use of incidental music when the Doctor talks about Tesla’s future at the end of the adventure
The CGI of the Skithra was absolutely brilliant this week. I loved the sweeping shot of their spaceship interior that showed them massing above Tesla and Yaz and I loved the CGI when the Skithra chased Yaz and Thomas Edison. I also liked how the TARDIS interior turned electric blue when the Doctor powered up the lightning cannon. I thought the CGI of Paul Kasey’s disguised Skithra was very creepy and helped to draw me into the episode.
A great episode with just a few minor pacing issues.
- Incidental Music10