Cyberwoman: First Glance

So, Cyberwoman – an hour of spot the gaff/contradiction? While I can appreciate you can love someone an awful lot, how could Ianto turn from dutiful assistant into weeping wreck willing to kill everyone for his cybernetically altered girlfriend?

Mind, Ianto’s girlfriend went through a complete sea change of personality – from the desperate woman at the beginning to murderous cyber-beast 10 minutes in. How so? Perhaps if the story had shown some visible evidence of the encrouching cyber-conversion, nanite like modification to cells or bloodstream. I’m thinking of the Borg conversions from Star Trek, where you can see physical manifestations of conversion through – or on – the skin of the individual. Here – you could see nothing more than a violent swing from one personality to another, without must explanation as to the why of it.

While the principle of the episode worked – the team against the monster in the locked confines of the Torchwood base – so much didn’t and couldn’t. The storytelling of the episode lay riddled with holes – rather like the cyberwoman 10 minutes from the end. How did Jack, who doesn’t sleep and pretty much lives in the Torchwood base, not know about the thing hidden in the basement? How come, after they shut down the power, Jack could make the cyber-conversion table swing down to release Gwen? Exactly how could Ianto’s terribly damaged cyber-girlfriend complete a brain transplant in a matter of minutes, alone and with a single cyber-conversion table? How – given in the first episode Ianto had to activate the secret door for Gwen to take the pizzas into Torchwood – did the secret door open all by itself when the pizza girl arrived near the end of the episode? Why – once she’d transferred her brain to a human body – did Ianto’s girlfriend continue to speak with a cyber-voice, given she had been quite capable to speaking normally in her cyber-body at the start of the episode? Surely the cyber-voice originated from cyber-modifications to the throat of her old body, which should not have effected the pizza girl’s voice!

And fan-geek continuity gaff! How come the alien technology Toshiko used in Episode One to scan a book by attaching it to the cover suddenly become an alien lockpicking device in Episode Four – capable of defeating any lock in 45 seconds or less? A spot of multi-functionality – or just a spot of laziness in finding another shiny piece of LED-flickering metal to use instead…

Torchwood continues to let itself down with stories that lack attention to detail and characters that lack depth. I’m not convinced the show can survive – an in the US it would probably have been cancelled already. Something like Firefly – which managed only a handful of episodes – showed so much more promise, so much more love and attention to characterisation. Russell T and his team need to do so much better to have any hope of seeing the show through to a second season…






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