Thursday, 9 April 2015
Cyberwoman written Chris Chibnall and directed by James Strong
This story in a nutshell: Chris Chibnall, redefining bad television in the first season of Torchwood. I keep thinking of that critical youth on Junior Points of View slagging off Trial of a Time Lord. I wonder if he was watching the rushes of Cyberwoman and that memory popped into his head...
Ianto’s idea of a good night in is to order in a pizza and share it with his half converted Cyber-girlfriend. I would hate to see what his idea of a party is - resurrecting the dead and serving them vol-au-vents. Until this point Ianto has been a nobody, a bland background smell but here we get to find out about his sordid shenanigans. We were better off not knowing. He blubbers uncontrollably throughout and once he manages to sneak the Doctor in he gets in to examine his pet and the guy is slaughtered Ianto has the audacity to scream ‘its all my fault!’ as if there was ever any doubt. When asked to account for himself Ianto goes on a tirade about clearing up their shit and nobody asking anything about his life – what the hell?This is how you get some attention? Despite trying to murder all of his friends Ianto still tries to reason with Lisa, he holds a gun on his friends and tries to save her! None of this makes any sense! Why is it that if Ianto thinks Jack is such a monster and worse than anything they have banged up in Torchwood that he ends up shagging him in three episodes time? Did they have readthroughs and writers conferences? By the end of this episode you really want Ianto to die horribly because all he does is shriek and blubber like a baby, that’s not development. Why do they let Ianto keep working with them after his girlfriend that he sneaked into their workplace besieged them all? Not one second rings true.
Owen is casually sexist, Jack is a bully, Gwen cheats on her husband and Tosh is entirely vacant of personality. No wonder I considered dropping this show halfway through the first season. They’re all horrible and I couldn’t give a damn if any of them survived. This episode features Barrowman at his campest, shouting, over emphasising all of his dialogue and crushing the tension. Owen and Gwen dry hump and snog in the autopsy bay and Jack takes the opportunity to plant one on Ianto’s lips…this is the Torchwood way of dealing with a crisis! It is banal sexuality; the sort of thing a horny ten year old (and James Herbert) would drop in a story that is completely unnecessary. ‘I was on top of you, I could feel your hard on!’ – as low as television sinks.
The Good Stuff: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
The Torchwood crew play basketball in their underground base whilst a Pterodactyl swoops in – who precisely is this show supposed to appeal to? The basketball dinosaur crew? How on Earth did Ianto manage to secrete Lisa into Torchwood without Jack, Tosh and Owen finding out she was down there? It makes them look very stupid. The Cyberwoman costume is horrifically designed...who ever thought it was a good idea to give her a metal bra? It isn't practical, scary or sexy, it's just dreadfully embarrassing to watch the actress lumbering about in it. Are we supposed to feel a connection between Ianto and Lisa? They have no chemistry, their relationship is implausible and the performances are shockingly bad. A word to the wise for any director, if you are trying to direct an intense scene where a partically converted woman is attacking and killing the Doctor who has come to help her then don't have such an obsession with her Cyber-knickers. ‘By removing the weaknesses of humanity!’ – several b movie script editors rejected this dialogue for being too corny. There is a graphically unpleasant moment when the Doctor has metal sticking from his disfigured face. So you can add coarsely graphic to my list of complaints. I actually wrote during this scene in my notebook I don’t want to be watching this toss. Has the NuWho Cyberman backstory taken over from the classic series one? The Torchwood crew have never been made to look more inept, trapped in their own base and menaced by one ridiculous looking robot. The scenes of the Pterodactyl making mincemeat out of Cyberbitch with Ianto screaming ‘have some fucking mercy!’ is the worst moment of every show you have ever watched times a million, it's dreadful beyond words. It redefines the bad moment so every other bad moment can be judged in relation to it. Just when you think it cannot get any worse the Cyberbabe performs major brain surgery on the pizza delivery girl. This is obscenely stupid writing and so out of the realms of believability and good taste. ‘When we woke up in the morning a dog was pissing on our tent!’ – that’s the memory Lisa chooses to convince Ianto that she is his girlfriend. The conclusion consists of the Torchwood team tearing an innocent bystander to pieces with bullets, which shows the level of mentality here.
The Shallow Bit: I have never known a show with such an attractive cast that are made to seem so ugly due entirely to such loathsome characterisation.
Result: Contrasting the first season of Torchwood and the first season of Sarah Jane is very worthwhile because one show is amateurishly childish whilst pretending to be adult and the other is surprisingly mature when it is trying to appeal to children. Cyberwoman demonstrates all my worst imaginings about Torchwood in 45 of the most painful minutes of television I have ever seen. It’s a stupid, illogical, violent, embarrassing, sleaze fest of an episode with no restraint at any point. The script feels as though it has been written by a teenage horny illiterate geek, there is no moment of sophistication or charm or relief. As far as I know this is the only time I will ever give this mark: 0/10