Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Torchwood 'Cyberwoman' - Rating C

Well, here I am, fresh from last week when I could actually say something positive about this show and I prepare myself for an episode that’s unfortunately called ‘Cyberwoman’. God I hope that’s a metaphor or something. If not, I prepare myself with some trepidation for a robot sex toy that yells out a post-coital “Delete!” before cutting their partner’s brain out. Oh dear, I shouldn’t have written that. The Torchwood production team is likely to think it’s a good idea.

Onto this week’s scintillating episode where our very first shot is of Ianto. In the Television Handbook, this establishing shot means this is going to be a Ianto episode. Ianto! Yay! I’d say the writers heard my pleas for more Ianto over the last few weeks, but since I’m in Australia and these finished in the UK months ago, somehow I don’t think I had anything to do with it.

Ianto arrives in the Hub looking flustered in his trademarked suit. He walks through the rolling door thing to find everything is cool, cool chaos. They team are playing basketball, two on two. There’s loud hip hop music. For some reason Owen is on the next level throwing the ball into the hoop from the top and the pterodactyl is trying to join in. It’s all nonsensical of course but it’s also fun and friendly. The cool kids are clicking and Ianto is, of course, excluded. Do you think this happy family is going to have a rude awakening and get to know Ianto better in the process? Umm, I wonder.

Owen yells out that the first round is on the Cap’n and they all get ready to go out for a beer while Ianto stands there blank faced. The camera flicks back and forth crazily between the gang (together) and Ianto (alone). Jack throws the ball at Ianto on the way out the door. No one invites him for a beer. He’s left holding the ball in his arms looking at his reflection until the gang is out the door.

He’s obviously been waiting for them to leave because he is off across the Hub as soon as they’re out of view. More team banter on the way to the pub, my apologies to anyone that thought this dialogue was important. I didn’t. We’re just establishing that the gang has bonded, although not quite as much as by the end of this episode.

Back in the Hub, Ianto’s running appears to have been out of hunger. He’s only made it as far as the phone and is ordering a pizza and coleslaw. As he finishes up his order, a distinguished Japanese man enters the room and Ianto runs to greet him.
“Good to see you again, Sir,” Ianto says, “are they treating you well in the hotel?” He greets him in Japanese. He actually greets him by name but I missed it so he’s the Japanese doctor from now on I’m afraid. Ianto leads the Japanese doctor down to the basement, with the sound of water drizzling in the background. He lets the Japanese Doctor into a secure room with even poorer lighting than the rest of Torchwood. These guys need to do something about both their plumbing and electricity.

As he opens the door, Ianto says he “did all he could”. As they walk into the basement, we see terminals and medical life-support equipment. Ianto flicks a switch and a body rises up into view. Wow, the soundtrack of revealing our deepest, darkest secret is overwhelming in this scene and it’s just getting louder.

There is a being in some kind of constraints on a frame that seems to be a life-support apparatus. She’s obviously female but covered in metallic implants. They criss-cross her body conveniently showing lots of flesh. She both looks like and doesn’t look like a Cyberman. Japanese doctor looks at the body and says “That’s impossible, one of them survived.”
Ianto leans down and kisses her.
“This is Lisa,” he says. The woman who has a metallic headpiece around her normal human face opens her eyes and… …Torchwood.

Man those credits are a Supernatural rip-off. Although they’re kind of Spooks as well, with the strings and the cool people walking purposefully. I’ve never seen Spooks Season 3; I might go and rent it on DVD. Matthew Macfadyen is a God. Oh dear, the mind wandering so early in the show. Not a good sign.

Back from the credits, Ianto and the JD flank the Cyberwoman who’s lit up in the middle of the screen. How big is the Hub btw? I mean, how did nobody notice her before? She must have been there for at least 6 months. The JD moves closer and puts his glasses on. He asks or tells Ianto that she’s the “only one left across the whole world”. He’s really excited and walks over to Ianto and shakes his hand, thanking him for the opportunity to be there and get a chance to study a woman with cybernetic implants.

He moves back and starts examining her more closely. He refers to her as a thing and Ianto angrily reminds him that she’s a person. The JD seems to have a sonic screwdriver. What, are they manufacturing these in bulk now? I wonder if they pay the Doctor royalties. Do you think he put in a patent application?

Ianto explains that Lisa worked in Torchwood London. Apparently when they were losing the battle at Canary Wharf, the Cyberman needed more soldiers quickly and started trying to change human bodies, instead of just using their usual brain surgery technique. This makes little sense as, while this was the technique used by traditional Cybermen, these new parallel-universe Cybermen have never used this technique before and surely building the equipment to undertake this brand new procedure would have been more time consuming than implementing an existing process. Oh, what the hell? This is Torchwood so, who cares? (And I admit it is slightly hypocritical for a Doctor Who fan to complain about a retcon).

Still, the very very transparent reason for this retcon is so they can have a half-naked woman-Cyberman hybrid lying in the chair. For some reason, the Cybermen made her little silver panties and a gigantic metal push-up bra: this from a race that despises any difference and sees sex, race, religion and emotion as all being human weaknesses that need to be removed. This hatred of difference apparently doesn’t extend to scanty female underwear. As someone in a blog recently noted, what were they planning to do with her breasts? Remove them later?

Ianto takes Lisa’s hand and says she was halfway through the process when it was shut down. The JD asks if Ianto found her and we cut back to a shot that we recognise as being from ‘Doomsday’, with Ianto dragging Lisa’s half-Cyberfied body through the plastic sheeting (which was very polite nod to the use of cling film in Earthshock). “I pulled her out,” says Ianto.

The JD asks how much of Lisa is cyberfied and totally proceeds to feel her up as he tries to work out the percentage. He says her breathing and hearing are cybernetic but there’s also bare flesh. He estimates that maybe 55% - 60% of her is augmented. “It’s fascinating”, he says, but Ianto has scant concern for his scientific excitement.
“Can you make her human again?” he asks.

The JD notes that Ianto took parts from the cyber conversion unit and modified them into a life support system for her.
“How did you know what to do?” he asks.
“I told him,” says Lisa suddenly and she sounds very human, London accent and all. Ianto is all concern, telling her she should rest. He asks about her pain and checks her medication. She cries out.
“Is this him?” she asks Ianto, referring to the JD.
“I promised, didn’t I?” answers Ianto and she asks him if he will always keep his promises.

The JD says he’d like to ask her some questions. He introduces himself as Doctor Tanizaki and says he specialises in cybernetics. Wow, the writers have actually given him a name. In honour of this event, I shall use it. Tanizaki refers to “her friend, Mr Jones” and she corrects him to say that Ianto is her boyfriend. I wonder if Ianto has a grey guitar.

Tanizaki starts by saying that Ianto asked him to come and she corrects him again to say that they made the decision together. He asks her name and age and she says she’s 26 and her name is Lisa Hallett. “What is the last thing you remember before coming here?” he asks and she says “Pain. I remember my body burning.”

In a lab of some kind that looks remarkably like a public urinal, Tanizaki is working to separate Lisa from her life support system. He’s activated something to enable her to breathe without the respirator, but I totally missed what it was. Tanizaki says that once she’s able to breathe on her own, he’ll be able to judge the next step to making her human.

Ianto wants to know what happens if she can’t survive without support, and Tanizaki says there’s a chance she will die.
“Sometimes, in order to save one we love we have to risk losing it.”
This line was delivered with such intensity and we got such a close-up on Tanizaki as he said it that I honestly believed this was this episode’s moral. I personally didn’t get that from the episode so I’d be interested if anybody else did.

Equipment starts bleeping and Lisa’s eyes have rolled back in her head. Ianto yells “she’s not strong enough” and Tanizaki is running around trying to save her. Perfect timing then to…

…cut to a bar where the gang is having a great night out. Jack’s telling one of his stories and they’re all laughing. This brief interlude of camaraderie is broken, however, when Tosh’s organiser, digital download thing rings and she announces there’s been a UFO sighting over Cardigan Bay. It’s back to work for the team. Owen is annoyed and asks if he can finish his drink first. Jack is annoyed at Owen’s annoyance and says he has “ten seconds”.

We cut back to the lab knowing now that the cool kids are heading back to school. Lisa takes a deep gulping breath but she’s still struggling.
“If she dies because of you…” starts Ianto, but he turns back to Lisa as she gasps for breath and calls his name. Ianto looks back at Tanizaki and announces that she’s breathing. I don’t know how he can keep a straight face, when the camera is panning up those huge metallic breasts.

Lisa wants to know why she isn’t connected but Ianto kisses her and keeps yelling that she’s alive. She’s now able to operate autonomously. Both Lisa and Ianto are ecstatic and Doctor Tanizaki is pretty pleased with himself as well. There’s a bleep bleep and Ianto runs to a monitor. Oh no, the gang is back. I need a name for these guys. The Cool Kids just doesn’t cut it.

“Quickly,” yells Ianto and he starts to unstrap Lisa from the table. She says she’ll walk but Ianto thinks she’s too weak. Doctor Tanizaki offers to assist her and Ianto starts to clean up the lab. “I’m alive,” says Lisa in astonishment. Man, next to Tanizaki, this girl is huge. She must be at least 6 foot tall. Lisa and Tanizaki leave the room and Ianto runs off to try and head the gang off at the pass.

It’s a race for time as we flit back and forth between our heroic heroes of heroism returning from the pub and the struggle to get the cybernetically “enhanced” Lisa back to her basement.

We start with… …the gang walking through the Roald Dahl Plass, still bloody bantering as they head toward the Hub, all blissfully unaware of Ianto’s activities. I just realised they’ve all got their cool Angel outfits on. Owen is sharing his personal beef about having to drive the VOC after a short person. And then we cut back to…

…inside the Hub: Tanizaki is helping Lisa back to her basement and Ianto grabs an arm as he tries to get her across the main level in time. They’re under pressure because…

…the gang is now at the tourist information bureau preparing to go down. Gwen suggests a roster for the driving to solve Owen’s problem and for some reason Jack is offended that a top-secret organisation that hunts aliens from an underground base would ever use anything so common. Jack, you’re a twat. Also, he said “hunting alien technology”. You can’t hunt an inanimate object Jack, just like a dead person didn’t ‘attempt’ suicide, being, as they are, dead. I guess the English language is optional for a time agent from the 51st century. I finish my rant in time for us to…

…head back to the Hub, where Ianto and Tanizaki are still carrying the cyberfied one. Ianto hands her back to Tanizaki and promises to be down once the gang are gone. The gang walk through the rolly door thingy and Jack is barking out orders about satellites and radar. Gwen’s assignment is to talk to a man with a voice like Sean Connery’s. Lucky Gwen. We can only hope it’s a young Sean Connery and not a gross ‘Entrapment’ one. As Jack leaves the scene, Ianto walks into shot re-arranging his tie and collecting himself.

Downstairs, Tanizaki is still helping Lisa to her room. Tanizaki is all consideration. He tells Lisa to take it slowly because she’s still weak. Tanizaki’s initial work done, we now see that under his cold logical exterior is a good human being. It makes him much more sympathetic, so that we care when Lisa suddenly goes all Cyberman on him, grabbing him by the neck and pulling him off his feet.

Ok, I’m going to admit something here and that is that I didn’t work out where this episode was going at all. They actually surprised me. At first I thought that Jack and co. were going to find Lisa and destroy her while Ianto desperately tried to convince them of her humanity. They would only realise their mistake when it was too late and there would be remorse all round.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Lisa is about to kill Tanizaki and we cut back to the Hub. Oh dear, they had a shot of Lisa from the back and those ‘metallic’ panties look tres ridiculous. Anyway, Gwen is working her magic on the phone and Ianto thinks he’s busted when Jack yells out to him. Jack just wants some coffee, however. Alright guys, we’re getting the Boy Friday thing. Leave it be.

In the basement that time and everybody else forgot, Lisa has strapped Tanizaki into her life support frame which, since it was cobbled together from Cybermen technology, must have some upgrading capabilities or something.
“Lisa, let me go,” begs Tanizaki.
“I can help you,” says Lisa. Her voice is Cyberfied. She says that humans are weak but that she can make them strong. So, was Lisa just acting before when she was pretending to be human? Or is this a side-effect of being unplugged from the machine? Or is this a struggle for her body between the Cybermen and the human parts? At this point, I actually opted for the latter and expected an episode with her switching back and forth between Lisa and Cyberlisa until they had to make a choice to kill her despite the fact that part of her was still human. So they fooled me again. Either way, human Lisa doesn’t appear again and we still wait in vain for an explanation.

Lisa activates the power on the machine and electrical volts run through Tanizaki’s body. He screams as cyber machinery drops from a hole in the ceiling and starts to do its work. You’d think Ianto would twig something wasn’t quite right when she had him install those.

Another shot of Lisa’s truly ludicrous outfit from the back as the camera exits the basement and the door magically closes by itself. Why? It was in the script of course. Don’t question it. Doors do this in dramatic moments all the time. It’s just that moments in your life aren’t dramatic enough. Wait till the aliens have landed and you’ll see. Doors will be closing right at the crescendo of the soundtrack all the time. One did it in my house just this afternoon as I was preparing to vacuum the living room. Trust me, as far as I’m concerned, that it is a truly momentous occasion and possibly means that I’m possessed and/or cloned.

Up in the Hub, the gang is noticing a severe internal power drain. Jack says it would take something big to drain that amount of power. He asks Tosh to run a system diagnostic. Ianto twigs that something’s going on with his girlfriend and he totally lies about having generator problems all evening. They’re on a generator? No wonder their lighting doesn’t work properly. I guess mains power isn't available to people who are right smack in the middle of Cardiff.

Really wobbly camera work as Ianto chokes out his lie. Jack sends Ianto downstairs to check the generator and Gwen asks him if he needs help. He declines as he runs downstairs to find out what’s going on.
“You’ve got to shut down the power,” yells Ianto as he opens the basement door and runs into the room. Oh, that’s why the director had them close the door. Lucky Lisa’s latent telekinetic ability came to the fore to shut it or he’d have been able to see what was going on from down the corridor and all the suspense would have been ruined.

Ianto runs around trying to shut down the power. Wires are shooting sparks everywhere, the camera’s all wobbly and the soundtrack’s loud. Oh my God, something momentous is about to happen!!

Disbelievingly, he comes across Tanizaki’s body and can’t comprehend what’s happened.
“His upgrade failed,” says cyber girlfriend.
“Was it an accident?” asks Ianto and it’s not that he hasn’t worked it out; it’s that he can’t believe it.
“Tell me you didn’t do this,” he says suddenly, disbelievingly. Lisa says she “wanted to repay him for helping me, by removing the weaknesses of his humanity”.
“What have you done,” cries Ianto, “you’ve killed an innocent man.”
“It’s alright,” says Lisa and Ianto so can’t cope.
“It’s not alright,” he yells and he can suddenly see how this all goes down. They find him, they kill her. “I can deal with them,” says Lisa and actually she’s probably right. Ianto realises this too because he yells that she’s not to go near them.

He turns around, takes a deep breath and heads straight back to denial land, where the air is balmy, the sea is calm and the sky is a deep, deep blue.
“You didn’t mean to do this,” he says, “something’s happened to your mind, some kind of side-effect from this whole process, it’s post-traumatic, you didn’t mean…” He’s gasping for breath and failing to convince even himself. He can certainly tell he’s not convincing her.
“You’ve ruined everything now,” he yells.

Another deep breath and he tries another tack. “How hard have we had to work to keep you alive?” He starts crying. “Now you do this.” He places his head against hers and tells her to stay in the basement and rest. He’s emotional but she is not and he’s failed to notice how appraising she is of his emotions. He tells her it can’t happen again and if it does…he can’t finish the sentence and she calls him on it, asking him what he’ll do. Nothing, he realises. He’s not in control here anymore.

Instead of confusion, he chooses action and decides to dispose of the body. He tells her everything is going to be ok. Poor deluded bastard. He closes and bolts the door on his way out.

We’re back in the Hub and Jack is asking Tosh to send a polite message to their alien visitors, an Arkan leisure cruiser, to please leave because they’re spooking the locals. Hee. Gwen wants to know why they’re not apprehending the ship and interrogating the inhabitants. Gee, you’re a bit gung ho tonight, aren’t you? Jack says they’re not interrogating them because they’re so boring and questioning them would take too long.

Power loss! Power is down 23%, or perhaps down to 23%. Not sure. Either way, Jack wants Ianto to report but Ianto is a bit busy lugging a dead Japanese doctor with non-functional cybernetic implants in his head through the corridors. Is it ironic that a cybernetics expert excited about getting his hands on Cybermen technology is killed by the technology he found so fascinating? Um, I think it is.

The lights are flickering like anything and we cut back to the basement where Lisa is in her apparatus life-support thing and is draining power from the Hub. She looks exultant. I’m not sure what she’s doing here, maybe powering up in some way? Does she need to do this?

Anyway, Tosh says that the power is draining to the storeroom at the bottom of the building. She tracks it down to Lisa’s room and scans for life signs. Of course, she finds two (Tanazaki being dead). Jack decides they’re under attack. He says security’s been breached and they’re to “assume battle protocols”. Tosh says it’s impossible for their security to be breached and Jack says the system needs to be upgraded. Regular readers will know what I think about Torchwood’s “security” so we don’t need to flog this poor dead horse again.

They whack out the guns and Owen announces he’s going after Ianto. Gwen says she’s coming with and Owen asks Jack if he’s ok with that. Is that because she’s so bleeding incompetent or because they’ve worked out that Gwen is the teacher’s pet?

Anyhoo, Jack tells them to keep comms open at all times, to shoot first and that their priority is to find Ianto. Cross to Ianto and he has stashed the body somewhere, maybe in the cells. He covers up the Doc and apologises to him.

Meanwhile, Owen and Gwen are walking down the corridor toward the basement and the interference from Lisa’s ‘very special Cyberfying machine’ is disrupting communications. Power is now down 50%. Jack can’t make contact with Gwen and Owen and it’s starting to make him tetchy.

Toshiko ‘CCTV’ Sato has gone back through the CCTV footage and has noticed that entries are deleted. She manages to recreate one however, and we see Tanazaki arrive earlier in the evening and Ianto come to meet him. Jack is now officially pissed.

Back down in the corridor, which must be unbelievably lengthy considering how long these two have been walking down it, Gwen and Owen are preparing to check out the still-closed basement door. They can see a flickering blue light behind it. Oh dear God, they’re still discussing the fact that comms are down. How stupid are these people. No question mark, ‘cause that’s rhetorical.

Owen looks through the little grimy window at the flickering light, says he can’t see properly, thinks there may be someone in there and asks Gwen what’s going on in there. You know how you can find out, Owen, go in and look. I know this is supposed to be tense, but the Cyberwoman is more silly than scary so it’s just laboured.

Finally they unbolt the door and burst in. They look around for a second before Owen’s gaze alights upon the frame, now empty.
“Oh no, no, no, no,” says Owen, obviously recognising the technology.
“What the hell is it?” asks Gwen.
“It’s wrong, it’s beyond wrong, it shouldn’t be here,” says Owen and he yells at Gwen to turn it off.

Upstairs, power is restored although Tosh and Jack are a little confused as to how it happened. Comms are still down so Jack can’t get through. Owen is explaining that “these things” brought down Torchwood One.
“They were all destroyed,” he says, “why is there one in our bloody basement.” Gwen asks what it is.
“It’s the remnants of a conversion unit,” he expositions, “this thing turns humans into Cybermen.”

Jack in the Hub asks Owen and Gwen to please report. Oh, comms aren’t down anymore it’s just that Gwen and Owen were too shocked to call in. And again, re these people’s professionalism. You know the tune by now, you can just sing it yourself. Jack points out that he’d like a report sometime soon and Gwen tells him they’re ok. Jack asks about Ianto and Owen says they haven’t found him but that they have “parts of a cyber-conversion unit, fully powered up and working.”

Jack asks Owen not to dick around and Owen says he’s deadly serious.
“I don’t know why it’s here or how it got here but that’s what’s draining our power.”
You know, I can’t stand the character of Owen, but at least Burn Gorman acts. The other always just look like they’re going through the motions.

Owen starts to say that they still haven’t found Ianto when there’s a thump. I don’t know what caused this thump but Gwen spins around and comes face to face with cyber girlfriend. Instead of going completely to pieces, Gwen actually calls a “Code 0 incursion” and announces that they’re under attack. Well done, Gwen. I’m impressed.

Jack tells Tosh that he’s going downstairs and that if she doesn’t hear from him in 15 minutes she should shut down the Hub and escape. He says that if there’s a Cyberman in the building, he needs a last line of defence and that it must not be allowed to get to the outside world.

Gwen has her gun aimed on Cybergirl who’s still appraising the situation, trying to work out what’s happening and what she should do. It is strange Cybermen behaviour. Maybe her core Cybermen programming is trying to cope with the remnants of her human personality? In Doctor Who, if a Cyberman’s emotions are restored they go insane so maybe this is what’s happening here? If so, wouldn’t she have gone insane before this? So maybe disconnecting her from life support implemented some sort of Cyber program that’s trying to run in tandem with human emotions? I can’t believe I just spent about 100 words trying to make logical sense of a Torchwood episode.

Ok, half-naked girl clomps around killing people. There we are.

Gwen tries the “I don’t mean you any harm” routine, which would work if a Cyberman ever believed they were invading and killing people. Unfortunately, since they were humans in the first place, they tend to believe they’re doing people a favour. Like the Daleks, Doctor Who writers created the Cybermen as a kind of comment on the emotional attraction of fascism, something we’re still dealing with today. Wouldn’t the world be better, happier and more peaceful if everyone was all the same? No race, no religion, no nations, no class, no illness, no poverty. Of course, in theory this could only be a good thing, but the Cyberman represent those people who believe we can only combat these evils by everyone being identical. Of course, if we were, then we would lose our humanity. ‘Doomsday’ was actually a thinly-veiled dig at the British National Party, although we could insert One Nation if we wanted our own perspective.

That was too philosophical. On with the show.

Cybergirl kicks the gun out of Gwen’s hand and grabs her by the throat, manoeuvring her to the cyber-conversion unit.
“Do not struggle,” says Cybergirl, “you will be like me.” She straps Gwen into the unit and turns it on. Where’s Owen? He fell down before, was he knocked out?

Jack appears at the end of the corridor and starts to run down it, all the time yelling at Cybergirl to step away from the unit and put her hands up. She turns around and Jack is shocked that she’s half woman. Gwen, on the machine, yells out for Owen or Jack. Jack goes to shoot but Ianto comes out of nowhere and pushes him against the wall. They struggle and Jack pushes him away yelling at him.

Inside the room, the roof opens and the operating equipment comes down. Gwen starts screaming and both Jack and Ianto run into the room to save her. They can’t shut down the machine so Jack asks Tosh to shut off all power. Tosh says this will lock down the base and they’ll be stuck inside but Jack tells her to do it anyway. Wow, that roof machinery is taking its time. It’s just sort of whirring and looking menacing.

Tosh shuts down power, the doors lock and the lights go out. Jacks checks on Owen who is unconscious. How did that happen? Gwen asks Jack to let her out. She’s bathed in a pale red light, which I guess is the emergency lighting. It’s not much brighter than the normal lighting.

Gwen asks where Cybergirl is and that’s a damn good question. I certainly didn’t see her leave. Ianto starts apologising over and over.
“What for?” asks Gwen but Jack just looks pissed. He knows Ianto had something to do with this.
“Let’s just get out of here,” says Jack and he sets her free.

Dark corridors, emergency lighting, Gwen, Ianto and Jack are making their way back to the Hub with Owen across Jack’s shoulders. Cybergirl appears and Gwen asks Jack who she is. Jack says she’s “some form of Cyberman” and expositions about Cybermen: us upgraded, humans with their emotions removed, in metal bodies, from a parallel world.

“What are we going to do,” asks Gwen and Jack says he doesn’t know. Cybergirl moves away and Ianto says she’s gone. This reminds Jack that Ianto’s there and he puts his gun to Ianto’s head and tells Ianto to direct them back to the Hub. I guess she didn’t attack because Ianto was there and Jack’s worked this out.

Back in the Hub, Jack asks Tosh to get all the weapons she can from the weapons room. She says it’s locked down and there’s no manual override. Really? They’ve got a completely automated system with no redundancy at all? Man, these people deserve to die.

Tosh goes off to find a way in to the weapons locker and Jack tells Ianto to get down on his knees and put his hands above his head. Tosh is shocked at his behaviour but Jack tells her to get going and to take Gwen with her. “Did you know that thing was down there?” asks Jack.
“I put her there,” is Ianto’s response. Tosh and Gwen haven’t gone far and are slightly absorbed by the interrogation. Gwen moves back to Jack’s side as he puts his gun right in Ianto’s face and demands an answer. He’s far angrier that Ianto didn’t tell him about Cybergirl, than that she was there.

“What else are you keeping from us,” he demands.
“Like you care,” says Ianto, “I clean up your shit, no questions asked and that’s the way you like it. When did you last ask me anything about my life?” Ianto’s lost his RPE and is very obviously Welsh. Nice acting choice that, the façade is down and the person inside is revealed.

Ianto reveals that Cybergirl’s name is Lisa and she’s his girlfriend. Gwen asks why he didn’t tell them since they could have helped and Ianto points out that they tend to exterminate things first and ask questions later.
“Why would I tell you about her,” he asks and Owen who is apparently conscious again says it’s a question of loyalty.
“My loyalty’s to her,” says Ianto, “she worked for Torchwood, she was caught up in battle, I owe it to Lisa to find a cure.”

Jack to his credit is moved by this and tells Ianto that there is no cure, conversion is a one-way process and Lisa will not be the exception. At this stage, I half expected him to stroke his ‘hand in a jar’, clench his jaw and say “there’s only one man who may have helped you…and he’s not here!”

Jack tells Ianto that Cybermen work by using human weakness to find a way in, setting up a base and “before you know it, the Cyber race is spreading out across the universe, erasing worlds, assimilating populations, all because of the tiny beginnings here. We need to stop her, together.”

Rousing speech, but flashbacks to Ianto by torchlight show that he’s not convinced. He stands up, looks Jack into the eye and says, “you’re not listening to me, the conversion was never completed.”

Jack notes that Lisa already tried to kill Gwen and is unlikely to stop there.
“I’m not giving up on her,” insists Ianto, “I love her.” He then makes the worst mistake by implying that Jack can’t understand because he’s never loved anybody. Jack steels himself against Ianto’s pain and tells him he needs to choose sides or else he’s not going to come out alive.

He turns away but Owen and Tosh stop him to tell him that the weapons store is never going to open and that it’s going to take six hours for the power to come back online. Ianto begs them to let him talk to her, he’s convinced he can still save everyone, including Lisa.
“She’s no monster,” he begs and Cybergirl chooses that moment to make an appearance. God, that outfit is truly absurd.

The gang fan out but Ianto tries to reason with her.
“Lisa,” he says, “it’s me”. He’s still so hopeful.
“The army will be rebuilt from here”, says Lisa, “this building is suitable.”
Jack asks her who she is and she answers “Human 0.2”.
“No,” Ianto cries and Jack asks her why she looks like Human 0.1. She says she doesn’t understand and Jack asks her to look at her reflection. As she does, Ianto begs her to remember who she is. She says the upgrade isn’t complete and she sounds surprised so I guess disconnecting her must have tripped something because she was aware of her appearance before.

Ianto says she’s human and she says she’s disgusting: wrong. It’s kind of ‘Dalek’, unfortunately without Chris Eccleston. In fact, Chris Eccleston without a shirt on. Umm…sorry, got a bit distracted. I’m back.

Ianto says they can help her, but Cybergirl says she must start again and upgrade properly. Ianto tries to remind her that he brought her to Torchwood to heal her so that they could be together. She interprets this literally and tells him she can transplant her brain into his body, making them a single complete person.
“Isn’t that what love is?” she asks and Ianto nearly breaks down as he says,
“Then we are not compatible,” she says and throws him across the Hub.

Jack pulls out his gun (it kind of looks like his `compact laser deluxe’, hee) and fires but Cybergirl fires back knocking the gun out of his hand. Jack barks out an order and everyone fans out, except Gwen of course who just stands there like a big scared lump waiting to die.

At the last minute, Owen draws Cybergirl’s attention to himself and everyone runs upstairs. Cybergirl starts coming after them. Gwen says, oh God she’s so thick, “she’s coming after us”. Owen points out that that’s hardly unexpected and Gwen turns on him and asks if he can be any less helpful. Um, pot, go look in the mirror before yelling at kettle please? He just saved your life for God’s sake.

Jack tells the bickering children to be quiet and starts a pep talk about it being a fight to the death. I don’t know where they are, geographically. I thought they were on the landing at the top of the stairs but now they appear to be in the briefing room. Anyway, Jack says Cybergirl is not human, no matter what Ianto said and that they have to do anything they can to destroy her.

Jack pulls out a device he grabbed from the console before he ran upstairs and hands it to Tosh. He says it can open locks in 45 seconds, but it actually looks like the scanner Tosh was using in the first episode. He orders Tosh to go up the emergency stairs to reception. They argue about it and Jack lays down the law.

We have a shot of Cybergirl, presumably coming after them and oh God, this is so funny. She looks like she’s on a catwalk. She’s wearing 2-inch heels and her so-called ‘cybernetic implants’ are flopping around beside her legs as though they’re just attached by some silver material to her knickers, which of course they are.

Back to Jack who’s giving Tosh a set of power rods to patch into the power systems. Once main power is back on they can escape. Jack tells Gwen and Owen to find a weapon and they head off to the autopsy room. Jack is going to buy everyone time. The soundtrack is all loud power-chords now, trying to ratchet up the tension.

Jack calls Lisa into the briefing room and starts his ‘I’m trying to distract you’ banter. He says he can handle her hiding in his basement and draining his power but that he’s not going to let her hurt his friends. He runs and she goes after him.
“This building belongs to me now,” she says, “you will all be deleted”. Jack says no, basically, and she tries to delete him. Of course this won’t work, him being immortal and all, but it doesn’t stop Gwen from running back in to try and save him, even though she’s the only one who knows that he can’t die. ‘Nough said.

Jack drops and Cybergirl turns towards Tosh who has finally got the first door open. Gwen and Owen have stopped and are just sitting there watching. What happened to the plan, guys? He just got zapped to buy you time and you’re sitting there watching. Run, for Pete’s sake.

Behind Cybergirl, Jack stands up again and Owen wonders how he could have survived the blast. Jack says he’s not so easily deleted and Cybergirl zaps him again. Owen finally twigs that they should get on with it and he legs it with Gwen behind him. Jack is lying on the ground beside Ianto, who’s still unconscious. Cybergirl goes after Tosh, but she makes it through the rolly door and lives.

In the autopsy room, Owen is fumbling around but Gwen is outside the room waving and yelling so the Cybergirl can find them and kill them. Funnily enough, Cybergirl sees Gwen and starts moving toward her. Owen opens up a locker (what are those body lockers called in an autopsy room?) and says “get in”. Well, apparently imminent death is not enough to make Gwen climb into an enclosed space with Owen. Owen quite rightly points out that there’re not too many options left.

As Cybergirl makes her way to the autopsy room, Gwen’s lying on top of Owen in the locker and Jack is waking up. Jack suddenly notices that Ianto is lying face down in water and is drowning.

Oh my God, they’re all going to die! What are they going to do? Hey, let’s all…make out! Yeah! You know, I’ve never had to give mouth-to-mouth before. I must remember that it requires tongue. So, we’re all just taking a moment from our forthcoming demise to get some. Jack is making out with Ianto, despite the face that Ianto’s unconscious (I think that’s technically assault) and Owen and Gwen are sucking face. You know, Gwen, you should really look up fidelity in the dictionary, ‘cause I don’t think it means what you think it means. At least the others are all single and Ianto’s insensible.

Cybergirl starts checking lockers and Ianto has started breathing again. I guess his oesophageal tract was cleared of water by Jack’s tongue. Jack shooshes Ianto and in the autopsy room Gwen’s phone starts ringing. Oh no, what will our intrepid heroes do now?

Owen and Gwen run out of the locker one step ahead of Cybergirl who’s about as intelligent as Gwen is. Rhys is leaving a message on her phone that he’s a few too many beers and could she tape ‘Wife Swap’ for him. Is this supposed to be a comment on Rhys’ cluelessness about the dangers of her life or is it saying that his ignorance is going to start to endanger her life? Or is it supposed to be comic relief? Ha ha.

Gwen’s backed up against a wall in the autopsy room. Owen’s all heroic now he thinks there’s a chance he’s gonna get his leg over so he yells “don’t you touch her,” and plunges an autopsy instrument into Cybergirl’s human stomach.

Ianto hears her scream and runs in. Gwen and Owen take this moment of downtime to have an incredibly important conversation about Owen kissing her. He says he doesn’t fancy her and notes that she didn’t exactly struggle. Ianto’s kneeling by Cybergirl and Owen says it was ‘kill or be killed’. Cybergirl’s just injured, however, and Ianto jumps back as she opens her eyes and gets back up.

They all run out of the room with Cybergirl behind them. They form a group behind Jack who explains his continued existence by saying that he’s “too stubborn to die”. He has a welding torch and a bottle of something. I originally thought this was some kind of accelerant and that he was going to set her on fire. That was a great idea. Unfortunately, it’s apparently barbecue sauce that they use to mark the pterodactyl’s food. Where the hell did this plot device come from? If they’d introduced this a week or two ago, maybe, but this is out of the blue. And what’s the blow-torch got to do with it? I don’t think a Cyberman is going to find a blow torch that scary.

Ianto still wants to give Cybergirl a chance to surrender and to try and reverse the upgrade. Jack reminds him they’re well past that stage now. He tells Owen and Gwen to get Ianto out of there and then sprays the barbeque sauce on Cybergirl. The pterodactyl comes down to feed,

Tosh succeeds in getting the power back on and the gang escape. When they reach the surface, Tosh joins them all ecstatic that they’re alive but Ianto’s seething. He punches Jack (go Ianto! Can you take out Gwen too?) and starts yelling that they could have saved her. I have a friend at work who hates Gwen’s character so much that everytime the gang’s in peril she starts rooting for Gwen to die. She’s always disappointed.

Ianto says that one day he’ll have the chance to save Jack and instead will watch him suffer and die. Jack yells that there was no other way to stop her. Tosh, who I think is trying to help, tells everyone that she tripped the lock down timer and they’ll be able to get back inside the Hub in a few minutes. Ianto of course runs off to the reception room to try and save Lisa.

At reception, pizza-delivery girl is there asking to be let in. Remember the pizza order from the beginning of the episode? This must be the slowest delivery in the known Universe. What has it been? Three hours? Four? Pizza girl’s being watched on the security system and Cybergirl lets her in. I sense a victim coming on. Down in the Hub, pizza girl’s looking for Ianto. She’s seen too much and will now definitely die.

Up above, Ianto’s pelting toward the reception and Jack’s blaming everything on Tosh, which is oh so slightly incredibly unfair. Ianto grabs a gun and says he’s going back inside to save Lisa and will shoot anyone who tries to stop him. Jack knocks the gun out of his hand and puts his own gun to Ianto’s head. I wonder what gun that is. It’s kind of skinny.

Jack says that Ianto will have to obey him or Jack’ll shoot him and that if Ianto goes in it’s to finish the job and execute her. Jack says it’s all Ianto’s fault because Ianto hid himself from them. Another pot versus kettle moment for Captain ‘Time Agent from the 51st century who cannot die after being brought back to life 200,000 years in the future by a human girl with the time vortex running through her and who now lives in 21st century Cardiff while he waits for a 1000-year-old alien with a dimensionally-transcendental time machine’ Harkness. No, you’re totally open and honest about yourself, Jack. Criticise away.

Jack says Ianto’s girlfriend is dead and that if he doesn’t kill her, Jack’s going to kill them both. Ianto calls him on his shit and says he’s the biggest monster of them all. Jack gives him ten minutes and Ianto runs down into the Hub.

Down in the Hub, Ianto is running through the corridors trying to find Lisa, still convinced he can save her from herself and the others too. Instead he finds her body, down in the basement. She’s covered in blood and it looks as though the pterodactyl killed her. Of course, we know that’s not true. He holds her head and sobs. Gareth David-Lloyd has really done well in this episode, btw. Ianto is still up there as my favourite character.

Out of the shadows comes the pizza delivery girl with a lurid, blood-smeared scar across her forehead. “Ianto,” she says and he jumps up and points the gun at her. She says she’s Lisa and that she transplanted her brain into pizza delivery girl’s head. (OK, WTF? She transplanted her own brain into someone else's head? So she laid herself down and cut open her own head and then disconnected her brain from her brainstem and...WTF?)

“You’re not Lisa,” cries Ianto and she heartbreakingly says that Ianto never loved her because of how she looked. She starts to tell him ordinary tales of their life together.
“Hold me, Ianto,” she says, “I need you to hold me. I need you to tell me it’s alright.”

Ianto grabs her and sobs, knowing this will never be alright. She murdered someone and took their body and it will never be ok. He pulls back and points the gun at her, steeling himself to kill her as he knows he must. She’s confused; all those human emotions she can’t quite understand. He stands there crying with the gun pointed at her but he just can’t shoot her. It’s not in his nature. He turns away as she starts to tell him that they can be upgraded together.

Two gun shots appear in her stomach, as Jack shoots her from behind. Ianto looks around at him and it’s hard to know what he’s feeling. Mostly shock, I think.

Wow, that was a poorly-timed ad break.

Sad music plays in Cardiff at night, as Ianto walks into the Hub. He looks up at Jack on the next level and they just nod to each other and Ianto goes to get on with his work.

For some reason, this episode is now about Gwen and Jack’s relationship. Gwen wants to know if Jack would have shot Ianto and if he would have shot her if she’d sided with him instead of Jack. Jack points out that she didn’t do that.
“All that deception,” says Gwen, “because he couldn’t bear to be without her.”

She asks if Jack has ever loved anyone that much and admits that for a second she thought that he could die after all. Jack says he thought the same thing and just for one moment felt truly alive. We finish up with Ianto cleaning up their shit as usual.

Next week: fairies. Oh I can’t, it’s just too easy a shot. See you in episode 5.

No comments: