Friday, 19 February 2010

Torchwood: Cyberwoman

“I’ll hide the body. Everything’s going to be ok.”

At last Ianto gets to come out of the background and show himself, and the results are… rather embarrassing.

It all starts out intriguingly enough- Ianto is hiding something in the hub, and rather impressively he speaks Japanese. But the revelation that he’s been hiding his half-cybernised girlfriend somewhere in the hub is impossible to take seriously. Admittedly a lot of this is to do with the costume- what were they thinking with the metal bra and high heels?- but there are all sorts of problems. At first I was thinking there was a continuity error, as it’s been established that the alternate universe Cybermen simply transpose brains into metal bodies. But this is explained, if not too convincingly; Lisa was one of the last to be cybernised, where whole bodies were used out of desperation. Worse than this is the suggestion that Ianto could somehow manage to hide her from the rest of Torchwood for all these months, which just won’t wash.

Unsurprisingly, Lisa goes bad, and there’s some rather gruesome body horror with those nasty looking cybernisation machines from Rise of the Cybermen. Gareth David Lloyd is impressive playing Ianto’s conflicted reaction to finding the Japanese doctor’s body, but the character doesn’t feel quite convincing at any point, and I suspect this is down to the script.

I like Owen’s reaction to the Cyber-tech, but as soon as the place goes into lockdown it’s clear that the whole thing’s going to be a boringly formulaic base under siege story. Ianto and Jack pulling guns on each other doesn’t work either, failing at every point to generate any real drama; you don’t believe at any point that either of them is going to shoot. And why on Earth is Ianto not sacked after what he’s done? Allowing him to stay completely undermines the seriousness of his actions and is completely implausible.

Still, at least the pterodactyl gets something to do. And this snog between Owen and Gwen suggests consequences…

An implausible plot, unconvincing characterisation, an episode so bad that it comes alarmingly close to permanently damaging the viability of the characters and the show… it has to be a 1/5, and I don’t give out many of those. And for the second story in a row we have an uber-serious Jack.

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