In 1903, at Niagara Falls, Nikola Tesla (Goran Visnijic) struggles to interest investors in his wireless power system. They think it’s crazy and dangerous. Working late one night, he discovers a floating orb. He tries to run with his assistant Dorothy Skerritt (Haley McGee) but a cloaked figure fires at them. The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) arrives and helps them escape on a train to New York City. They detach the carriage in which the attacker is riding.

In New York, there are protesters waiting outside Tesla’s lab. They have been frightened by Tesla’s competitor Thomas Edison (Robert Glenister). The Doctor knows that the orb is an Orb of Thassa, originally designed to share knowledge, but apparently reprogrammed. The Doctor, Graham (Bradley Walsh), and Ryan (Tosin Cole) notice a spy for Edison, so they visit Edison’s workshop, thinking he might be behind the attacks. The cloaked figure arrives at Edison’s lab and electrocutes everyone there before chasing after Edison.

The group escapes and traps one of the creatures in a chemical ring of fire, but it teleports away. The Doctor tries to warn Tesla and Yaz (Mandip Gill) at the Tesla lab, but they are captured and transported to an invisible ship above the city. The queen of the Skithra (Anjli Mohindra) threatens to kill Yaz, but the Doctor transports onto the ship. It seems the Skithra ship is just a collection of stolen parts and the Skithra basically let other aliens do all their work for them. They chose Tesla as their engineer when he discovered their signal.

The Doctor transports herself, Tesla, and Yaz back to Tesla’s lab at Wardenclyffe Tower. Graham, Ryan, Yaz, Dorothy, and Edison ward off the scorpion-like Skithra when they attack. The tower shoots electrical bolts through the Skithra ship and it flees from Earth. Yaz is disappointed that Tesla is not winning against Edison, but the Doctor reminds her that a wireless world like the one he predicted will eventually come to pass.

The episode was written by Nina Metivier, who had been a Doctor Who script editor, and it was directed by Nina Manzoor. The reviews were generally positive, calling it an enjoyable historical romp. Like Tesla, Vsinijic is Croatian. Robert Glenister (Thomas Edison) had been in the 1984 Doctor Who serial The Caves of Androzani with  Peter Davison. Anjli Mohander  (The Queen) had been in the Who spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures. 1903 New York was filmed at the Nu Boyana film studios in Sofia, Bulgaria. Nikola Tesla actually tried to communicate with the Martians he believed existed. It’s a great episode, if you ask me, with Visnijic’s Tesla’s charming chemistry with Whittaker, the amusing rivalry with Edison, and the creepy giant scorpions running amuck through the streets of turn of the century New York.

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