Doctor Who Series 12 Episode 4 Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terror

Hello The Wasp here. I’ll be your Wibbly Wobbly guide to the Timey Wimey world of Doctor Who going forward for the foreseeable future.

This week after The Fam escape from the unpleasurable Pleasure Planet in Orphan 55 they find themselves in for the fright of their lives as they encounter an evil menace sabotaging Tesla’s Niagara Falls power plant.

Review Time: First off I really enjoyed this episode overall. It was another week of good clean Doctor Who fun and while it didn’t swing for any home runs I don’t think it needed to. For the specifics:

Characters: The Doctor gets to lean more into her own mad science tendencies as she geeks out over the labs of Tesla and Edison and dons her goggles to start sciencing the problems away.  Goran Višnjić and Robert Glenister both looked super good as Nikola Tesla and Thomas Alva Edison respectively but the episode’s script didn’t make them do anything outside of “Nice Scientist” and “Mean Scientist” thus failing to capture many of the idiosyncrasies of the two men that makes them both larger than life characters from the early 20th century. Graham once again steals the scenes from the other companions particularly when he gets to snark at Edison. Ryan and Yaz sadly are still struggling to find something to do each episode and it is getting to be a real bummer. Haley McGee is here too as Tesla’s assistant but she gets little to do besides glowing over Tesla’s coolness.

Plot: The plot is the best part of Night Of Terror with delightful Gilded Age set dressing, technobabble, heartfelt speeches about human ingenuity and progress. The fact that it provides us a tour of all the hits of Tesla’s career is a real highlight too as we go from Niagara Falls to Wardenclyffe. The final solution to defeating the scorpion monsters is fun too using Tesla’s electricity generator tower and an ancient holocron like device to blow up a giant space ship.

The Monsters: For some reason the show invented a whole new race of Scorpion looking aliens called the Skithra instead of just reusing the very similar (they even sound the same though Anji Mohindra is a lot easier to listen to) Racnoss from the 10th Doctor era. Fortunately the Skithra do look cool and when a giant scorpion may be too much for a scene they have the delightful red eyed holographic zombies to fall back on. (Hopefully since we know the Skithra are scavengers those Red Eyed creeps show up in a future adventure)

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Please sound off down below

Housekeeping: As I also write Weekly Who every Tuesday I will include the link to the latest column at the end of every one of these reviews. Also as I don’t have ready access to Classic Who I would like to get a feelings gauge on potential reviews of Big Finish Audio dramas. I’ll start with the ones on Spotify and expand out later if the demand/my interest is there.

Weekly Who #20 is Looming