In 1900, Tesla was in a heated battle with Thomas Edison (Robert Glenister) over whose electric current would power our nation, Tesla’s AC (alternating current) or Edison’s DC (direct current). When we catch up with Tesla in this episode, he is trying to build a “World Wireless System” to transmit electric energy wirelessly on a global scale. He has built a tower called Wardenclyffe on Long Island, and is ready to make it all happen, when his funding falls through. However, this personal and business setback gets overshadowed by an alien race called the Skithra kidnapping him.
In this version of events, Tesla has intercepted an alien signal and signaled back. His innocent exchange was with giant scorpion creatures who are ruthless scavengers with a breaking-down ship. By interacting with them, Tesla has attracted their attention. They send a scanning orb to check him out and decide he’d be an ideal engineer to fix all of the tech they’ve stolen around the universe.
Of course, The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and fam are sightseeing in the area when everything begins to go down. She picks up the orb’s energy signature and follows it to Tesla. The fam gets involved and draw Edison and Tesla’s secretary, Dorothy Skerritt (Haley McGee), into the conflict with the Skithra. Ultimately, they win the day through some speechifying from The Doctor (about innovation and building being superior to stealing the ideas of others) and a showdown that ends with repurposing the Wardenclyffe tower into a giant ray gun that kills (or banishes?) the Skithra Queen on her ship. Her hive creatures all disappear and the day is saved.
In the middle, Graham (Bradley Walsh) sasses Edison for being an idea stealer, Yas (Mandip Gill) gives a pep talk to Tesla and Ryan (Tosin Cole) bonds with Skerritt over the appeal of working with extraordinary people.
Once the dust has settled, Yas asks The Doctor if their innovative use of the tower to save the Earth has changed history in favor of Tesla, ensuring that he would get the wealth and recognition he deserves for his ideas. The Doctor says no, splitting from how Timeless approached a similar question in their Hedy Lamarr episode.
Anyway: standard monster of the week stuff for Doctor Who. How did you feel about it?