Choosing Tesla

I sat with a newish client the other day. They were struggling with how to handle a professional relationship that had gone sour. Their former business partner seemed set on damaging my client’s business via targeted, malicious social media attacks.

My client felt torn between the choices we all have when facing a bully. Give as good as we get and attack back, or firmly, but respectfully, maneuver the bully out of our lives. It’s never a simple choice.

During our session, as I struggled to find a story that would connect with my client, Tesla v. Edison came to mind. It’s a perfect example of choosing between self-respect or self-promotion. Choosing Tesla may leave us without any glory, but preserves our self-respect and our integrity. The story worked for my client, it’s works for me, and I think it works for Doctor Who as well.

And what a great delivery of a lesson! Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror was a smart, good-looking, romp of a life lesson, beautifully written, produced and directed.

And, in terms of The Doctor and her fam, not only do we get a smidge more action for Yaz, but the window opens a little more into the hearts of the Thirteenth Doctor.

By this time in both 11 and 12’s tenure, we had a pretty good idea of the Doctor’s inner struggles, his fears, his strengths, his sense of self. We know almost nothing about 13’s inner world. However, in this episode, we get the clearest insights into her unique character than we’ve gotten to date. Not only do we get some insight into her, but I may have spotted some threads of a season arc.

In one of the best scenes in this season so far, Tesla and the Doctor discuss being inventors. The Doctor reveals how out of place she feels. While this may only refer to her enthusiasm for science, the strongest we’ve seen since the third Doctor, it also harkens back to comments she has made about how differently she is treated by others now that she has a female body.

This Doctor has several identities that, according to traditional gender roles, don’t go together. First, scientists account for only about .1% of the world population. So, to be a scientist is a rare thing. Secondly, as much as times are changing, science continues to be dominated by men, with women accounting for less than 10% to 40% of scientists, (depending on the specific area). So, to be a female scientist is a fairly rare thing. In the US, women apply for only 20% of new patents. To be a female inventor is even rarer. Of course, her most unique identity is being Gallifreyan.

Perhaps her comment about understanding how alone one can feel isn’t just about being sciencey, but about being female in a male dominated world and feeling like she doesn’t quite fit in.

Welcome to the club, Doctor.

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