Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Torchwood: Cyberwoman

The Singing Stone Horizon Guide to Touchwood
written without any permission (or consent) by anyone who would sue me
by Ewen Campion Clarke

DISCLAIMER: This is an unauthorized program guide to the stupendously awful Doctor Who cash-in Angel-rip-off. Neither the guide nor the series is to be taken seriously. Or orally. And if rash occurs – and it probably will – consult the Doctor immediately.

"TOUCHWOOD... outside the government, beyond the police, fighting for the future on behalf of the human race. Just... not very well. The twenty-first century is when it all changes, and you’ve got to be ready for it. I’d be more specific but I don’t actually understand it. I just thought it sounded cool when a gibbering lunatic said to me before he blew his head off. It was awesome, dude. Awesome."

Episode 4: The Trouble With Lisa Is That She’s A Cyber-Woman

The little-known and oft-forgotten FIFTH member of Touchwood Three, Ianto Jones, discovers that since no one really pays attention to him that he can do pretty much whatever the damn hell he wants to with absolutely no comebacks whatsoever. Thus, he is able to bring a Japanese cybernetics expert named Tanizaki who he met on Facebook into the Hub right in front of the rest of the team without them noticing. In fact, they are so uninterested the team decides to go on a crime spree, leaving Ianto and Tanizaki to head to a holding cell
deep below the surface.

There, they find a partially cyber-converted woman is strapped to
a conversion unit surrounded by instruments keeping her alive; Ianto introduces her to Tanizaki as Lisa, his former lover when they both worked at Touchwood in canonical Doctor Who episodes. At first, Tanizaki assumes that Lisa was only partially converted during the Cyberman invasion, but Ianto awkwardly explains that this happened months later when a rather kinky sex game with cyber technology got completely out of hand. Since then, Ianto has rigged the equipment to keep her alive but in secret from the rest of Touchwood, who after all would simply make lots of unfunny jokes about "cybersex".

Ianto hopes that Dr. Tanizaki can undo the conversion and make her human again. They take her to the autopsy lab (or 'Owen Harper’s Palace of Pain' as he calls it) when Ianto learns that the rest of the team is on the way back to Touchwood to deal with a rogue barman who told them to get the fuck out of the pub or he’d use the Gallifreyan super weapon hung above the bar everyone assumed was just for show. As ever, the team pays no attention to Ianto and when Tanizaki takes Lisa back to the cell right in front of them, all Jack does is ask Ianto for coffee.

Even the brief power flickers and Tanizaki’s muffled screams of pain don’t register as the team discuss the possibility of a car pool and rugby match. Ianto quickly covers up by claiming that the generators have been acting up all day and offers to look into it, but they still don’t pay any attention to him. Returning to Lisa’s cell, Ianto finds that Lisa’s sadistic dominatrix personality has merged with her Cybernized body and for a quick thrill she shoved Tanizaki into the conversion unit to upgrade him. Since the thing works on scooping out people’s brains and putting them into Cyber-bodies and there were no Cyber-bodies there, all this does is kill Tanizaki and leave blood everywhere. Ianto is furious: he knows damn well that HE is going to have to be the one to clean all this up.

Finally, when Lisa reenters the cybernetic unit and begins to drain more power from Touchwood for a buzz, the team begin to notice something odd going on. Is it the sight of Ianto dragging a headless corpse to feed to the aliens in the cells? Is it the fact the coffee maker is unable to reach boiling point? Or is it the fact that all the lights have gone off and they’ve been sitting in the dark for ten minutes? In any event, Jack tells Owen and Gwen to head for the generators with shotguns and teach it who’s boss.

Randomly, they arrive at the holding cell where the power drain is occurring, believing it to be a generator room. Amazingly enough, both Gwen and Owen actually recognize what’s going on as, this week, the near total annihilation of humanity in the Dustbin/Cyberman war has NOT been forgotten, and the silver bondage girl with the jug-handles is recognized as a Cyberfreak! However, Lisa’s hydraulic wonderbra is enough to defeat the defective duo and Gwen is placed in the conversion unit to increase the number of cyborg Metropolis fetish girls.

Jack turns up, his amazing senses drawing him to orgasmatronic energy, and is so turned on by Lisa’s appearance he forgets to shoot her and she escapes. This means when Ianto tackles him, it’s kind of gratuitous and Jack demands to know who the hell does tuxedo boy think he is? Ianto is less than pleased when it becomes clear Jack honestly has forgotten who he is, and they release Gwen after about fifty-four minutes of her screaming to get her the hell out of the converter.

By the time they do this, the power of the Hub is drained further by Lisa in preparation to recreate a Cyberman army, and these Welsh-based perverts are prime raw material before, during and after. Jack demands that Ianto give him a reason not to give him "instant lead transfusion" and Ianto pleads that since he cleans up after Touchwood but never does anything remotely relevant to online synopsis or gets quotable dialogue, that just this once they get off their high horses and help him restore Lisa to the S&M nightmare he fell in love with. Jack retorts that this is a Cyberman, not a puny, whiny Borg – the process isn’t reversible with a costume change and group therapy!

Approaching Lisa, Ianto tries to remind her that she is still human, but she finds herself disgusted with the traces of humanity she still sees in her sex life. She offers to implant her brain into Ianto, believing this to be the ultimate sexual experience, but Ianto says he’s got a bit of a headache. Lisa declares him incompatible and throws him aside, knocking Ianto unconscious, and sending the rest of the team into mindless gibbering panic.

Tosh has the cunning plan of running away, fleeing the Hub and leaving everyone else to die. Gwen and Owen have the cunning plan of hiding in the autopsy room and having wild sex. Jack has the cunning plan of trying to use his Austin-Powers-like mojo on the Cyberwoman, but she just electrocutes him to death. Twice. Amazingly enough, this experience gets Jack’s sex-and-booze-addled brain working and he comes up with a plan so cunning I myself am in complete awe:

Jack sprays Lisa with barbecue sauce and whistles, summoning a pterodactyl out of absolutely nowhere! He then shouts, "Myffanwy! DINNER TIME!" and the flying dinosaur attacks Lisa and tears her to shreds!

Jack and the others then stroll out of the Hub as buckets of blood fly everywhere. Upon exiting, Jack asks for a high five for his brilliance, but Ianto just punches him repeatedly and marches back inside. Jack shouts after him that unless Ianto kills Lisa in ten minutes, he’s out of a job. And, in fact, Jack will go in there and kill both of them.

Unbeknown to the team, a pizza delivery girl has entered the secret underground base for some reason which escapes me. She finds the pterodactyl torn to pieces and the bloody skeletal form of zombie-cyber-hooker! By the time Ianto gets there, he finds Lisa has amazingly enough managed to use the conversion unit to cut out the girl’s brain, and swap it for her own. Ianto realizes his girlfriend is now white, acne ridden and with the top of her head stitched on like a bad Halloween costume. However, Lisa’s mind is now back to normal and she and Ianto can be together forever and get married and have babies...

The rest of the Touchwood team, arriving to hear that, fire several times at the girl and killing her, leaving Ianto to mourn over Lisa’s body. Jack tells him to clean up the mess and Ianto, being a spineless tool whose arc episode is over, does what he’s told like a bitch.

Trivia Questions
1. What did Tanizaki do for his day job?
2. What reason does Jack give for doubting the lockpick will work?

Great Moments -
I dunno, but there aren’t many shows on TV where a naked woman cyborg has a fist fight with a pterosaur.

Fashion Crimes -
Have you SEEN the eponymous title character???

Missing Adventures -
Jack notes he once had a Cyberwoman as a girlfriend, presumably Nicky Savage from the BBC webcast 'The Real Thing', given Jack immediately breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience to log on and watch it to see what his ex got up to with the Sixth Doctor before she was Faction-Paradoxed out of reality.

Technobabble -
The alien door unlocking mechanism looks remarkably similar to the prop used for the alien scanner that Tosh used to look up porn earlier.

Great Lines -

Jack: Ianto, you have to believe me, there is no cure, there never will be! Those who are converted STAY that way! Your girlfriend will NOT be the exception! THIS IS NOT STAR TREK FUCKING VOYAGER, OK?!?!

Owen: You should be dead.
Jack: I’m the stubborn type.
Owen: That’s not an excuse, you asshole.

Jack: You hid a Cyberman within Touchwood, and you didn’t TELL us?!
Ianto: Um. Yes I did. I gathered you all together and told you. Twice. And sent you a memo. Look. Your emails for today, five of them from me saying "TODAY WE DO THAT THING WITH THE CYBERMAN" and a red flag?
Jack: Oh. Yeah. So you did. And I did send a receipt. [to others] Kinda lost my righteous anger there, huh?

Gwen: What the hell was that?
Owen: What?
Gwen: Shagging me?
Owen: Last bonk for the dead man! It was embarrassing that we haven’t been killed. What? It’s not like I *fancy* you or anything.
Gwen: I was laying on top of you...
Owen: Exactly. I never respect ANYONE on top. It’s a rule. You didn’t exactly struggle did ya? I hate it when they don’t struggle...

Jack: What else are you keeping from us?
Ianto: Like you care. I clear up your shit. No questions asked and that’s the way you like it. When did you last ask me anything about my life?
Tosh: ...sorry, I forgot. WHO are you again?
Ianto: You see?!?

Tanizaki: What is the last thing you remember before coming here?
Lisa: Lust. I remember my body burning with lust.

Jack: You brought this down on us! You hid her! You hid YOURSELF from us! Now it’s time for YOU to stand as PART of a team!
Ianto: Fuck off. I don’t want to be in your stupid team.
Jack: The girl you loved has gone. Your loyalty is to US now!
Ianto: Fuck off. You can’t order me to do that.
Jack: You execute her, or I’ll execute you both!
Ianto: What part of "fuck off" isn’t being understood here?

Crap Lines -

Ianto: This can’t happen again, Lisa. If you harm anyone else I’ll--
Ianto: I’ll take very severe measures.
Lisa: LIKE?
Ianto: I’m going to ask you not too.
Lisa: ...LAME.
Ianto: [sighs] It always works for Tom Baker...

Jack: Is that all you got? I’m not so easily satisfied, baby!

Tosh: All I’m saying is that, once in awhile, I’d like to drive.
Owen: Yeah, well all I’m saying is no.
Tosh: Why not?
Owen: Because I’ve shared cars with women before and I know what’ll happen. There’ll be an emergency, all rearing to go and I jump in; what do I find? Seats in the wrong position, rear-view mirror is out of align and the steering wheel is in my crotch. The time it takes to sort it all out, aliens will have taken Newport.
Tosh: You HATE Newport.
Owen: ...good point. OK, Tosh, you have the car on Wednesdays.

Ianto: You like to think you’re a hero. But you’re the biggest wanker of them all! You’re worse than anything else in this show. One day, I’ll have the chance to save YOU and I’ll watch YOU suffer and die! [pause] Admittedly, you’ll just come back to life right away, but it’s the principle of the thing when you think about it...

Gwen: What about a rota? Different people on different days?
Jack: We’re a secret organisation hunting alien technology from an underground base. And YOU want a rota for sex sessions...
Gwen: Just tryin’ to help.
Jack: Did you hear something, Gwen?
Gwen: No. Why?
Jack: Nothing.

Ianto: Lisa, please, I hate Wife Swap! Can’t we watch something else?

Gwen: When she had a hold of you I thought, just for a moment I thought, maybe you could die after all.
Jack: Wanna know a secret?
Gwen: Yeah?
Jack: So did I. And, just for a second there I felt so alive.
Gwen: Oh, well, that’s easily sorted.
(She kills Jack with an electric cattle prod.)

Plot Oversights
- How does Gwen get a mobile signal in an underground base, inside a morgue locker? This is bollocks!
- What the hell is up with Lisa? Why to her eyes open with SFX from "Doom"? Why does her voice turn from normal to Nicholas Briggs and back again? If she is ‘possessed’ by Cyber-power, why doesn’t she upgrade Ianto, which her human half wanted to do anyway? Why does Lisa need violent electric charges to arouse her? How kinky is she? Why does she make the Cyber-Stomp in high-heels? And did her pizza delivery body REALLY require sixteen gunshot wounds to the face to die?
- Why is Toshiko replying to everything Jack tells her to do with "WhatEVAH!" in this episode?
- Why in the name of all that is holy is there a simple flip-switch that shuts off all power in the Hub and sends it into lock-down for six years? How often does that come in handy?
- How exactly does Jack molest Ianto back to life?
- Why does the Hub use an internal comms system that relies on stationary hardware? Why do all the monitors, PCs, and coffee machines still work during a total power drain? Is the only thing powered by the generator the mood lighting?
- What does Ianto mean when he tells Jack he’s the biggest virgin of them all? What does he know? Is he just talking crap?
- If Jack can regrow his entire skull, why is does he have a nose bleed for three days after Ianto kicks him in the face?
- Why, if there are other empty lockers, do Gwen and Owen have to get in the same one? Is it just more fun? And when Gwen is with Owen we hear her moaning in ecstasy but she is not visually doing so!

Viewers’ Quotes

"Great. An episode focussed on the guy whose job has been to point at doors and order pizza complete with some wicked tragedy rock music. Just what Touchwood needed. Giving more depth than all the other regulars put together into the least convincing, incredibly weak, irritating and unsympathic one that barely exists in the three previous episodes. And then Jack DOESN’T kill him. Weak."
- SnotaranShagger on Outpost Gallifrey (2006)

"Jings. I hope this particular brainless episode proves to be the nadir of the universally awful Touchwood trash - it really can’t get any worse than this, can it?"
- David Tennant (2006)

"Touchwood could actually be a very interesting show if it stops ripping off Angel and starts ripping off The Shield. Captain Jack could be another Vince Mackey, with the Touchwood team the Strike Team. Gwen could be Claudette. A melodramatic Grand Guignol."
- President of the Official Shield Fan Club (2038)

The Author Speaks
"Small decisions can become mass slaughter. This series gains a foothold by exploiting human weakness: violence, gore and bonking. That’s why all the characters randomly have wild sex without dramatic requirement or consequence instead of behaving like real people. My emotional maturity is not in question."

Trivia Answers
1. He ran the CyberTech Institute of Osaka, founded after the end of the 2006 season of Doctor Who to monitor the Cybermen, learn from their debris, and improve sex lives all over the globe.
2. It was built by Suzie Costello, who was out of her freaking mind.

Rumors and Facts -
Everyone except head writer Chris Chin-Balls denies having anything to with this episode, and RTD is on record as naively assuming that this "would appeal to those hetro freaks – it’s what turns them on, right?" in regards to Lisa the Cyber-Woman. He then took another vacation.

Ruminations –
The Trouble With Lisa Is That She’s A Cyber-Woman hitches itself to the coat-tails of a Doctor Who episode still warm in the memory and explored one peripheral aspect without having to bother about conducting a fresh Doctor Who adventure into the bargain.

Sweet Onion Chutney, this sucks.

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