Timestamp #TW4: Cyberwoman

Torchwood: Cyberwoman
(1 episode, s01e04, 2006)

 

The fallout of Canary Wharf.

It’s another normal day at Torchwood Three, and that means multi-level basketball with the pterodactyl and drinks after work. Ianto is left behind, and he orders pizza before welcoming Doctor Tanizaki to the Hub. They head down to a holding cell where Ianto reveals his secret: A partially-converted Cyberman – Lisa, his girlfriend from Torchwood One – and a deep desire to save her from her metallic purgatory.

Doctor Tanizaki is a cybernetics expert from Japan, and he is over the moon about the opportunity to work with Cyberman technology. They take Lisa up to the autopsy lab and let her breathe on her own, but the team returns with news of a UFO sighting. Ianto leaves the doctor to take Lisa back to her cell while Ianto prepares for the team’s arrival. Unfortunately, the Cyberman programming takes hold and the good doctor is queued up for conversion. The power drain is noticed by the team – Ianto covers in a less than convincing manner – and the upgrade procedure fails. Ianto finds the mutilated body, but after he leaves to hide the corpse, Lisa begins to drain more power.

The team identifies the UFO as an Arcan leisure crawler, but the power drain redirects them to the holding cell with guns in hand. Owen and Gwen approach the cell while Jack and Tosh discover the video evidence that Ianto tried to delete.  Owen recognizes the Cyberman conversion unit from Torchwood One and alerts Jack. The Cyberman ambushes Owen and attempts to convert Gwen while Jack runs to the rescue. Jack tries to shoot the Cyberman but Ianto stops him. The conversion circuits have been transferred to a secure circuit, so Jack orders Tosh to cut all power to the base, resulting in a lockdown.

The team works their way back to the control hub, finding the Cyberman along the way. Once they get to safety, Jack orders Gwen and Tosh to find a way into the weapons locker while he deals with Ianto. Ianto explains that Jack doesn’t care about his life, and since Torchwood exists to end alien threats, he couldn’t trust Jack not to kill Lisa instead of curing her. Jack retorts that there is no cure and that the Cybermen are not to be taken lightly. Ianto refuses to give up on Lisa and asks to reason with her before Jack attacks again.

The Cyberman arrives in the Hub and Ianto fails to reach the human within. The Cyberman attacks the team and they run to the conference room. Jack orders Tosh to go to reception so they can open the weapons locker while Gwen and Owen look for alternative weapons in the base. The Cyberman confronts Jack, who is deleted twice much to the astonishment of Gwen and Owen, before chasing Tosh. When Tosh escapes, it targets Gwen and Owen, who hide in a morgue locker.

Jack revives and pulls Ianto out of the water. Meanwhile, Owen and Gwen share a quick kiss before her mobile rings and gives them away. Owen stabs the Cyberman with a scalpel – he also shares a few words with Gwen about his feelings for her – but the automaton doesn’t die. Jack douses it in a lure for the pterodactyl, and the dinosaur attacks while the team escapes via the water tower lift. As Tosh catches up with the team, Ianto confronts Jack. The power is restored within moments, but the pizza delivery arrives and the Cyberman feasts on the delivery girl. Ianto tries to stop the team and Jack tries to negotiate with him at gunpoint. He gives Ianto ten minutes to make the situation right before they come in guns blazing.

Ianto finds the delivery girl with a large cut across her forehead. The Cyberman is dead in the holding cell, but Lisa’s brain is in the delivery girl, and that woman tries to appeal to Ianto as she claims to be human once again. Heartbroken, Ianto holds his love one last time before pulling his gun on her. She isn’t human anymore as she offers to upgrade them together. Ianto turns away as the Torchwood team opens fire, ending the Cyberman threat in their house. Ianto mourns over both bodies.

The next day, Ianto returns for work. Jack and Gwen talk about how Ianto couldn’t bear to live without Lisa. Jack evades the question about whether or not he would actually shoot Ianto and whether or not he’s ever loved anyone to that degree. Together, they watch Ianto silently pick up the Hub.

 

As a Cyberman story, this is not a good one. As a character development story, it is fantastic. While the Captain Jack Harkness mystery remains at its status quo, we get an uneasy yet lustful admission from Owen… and Gwen didn’t seem to protest much at all. But most of all, we got to finally see who Ianto Jones is, and it is both tragic and well done. While quietly picking up empty soda cans and discarded pizza boxes, he was frantically trying to save the woman he loved even though it meant bringing an enemy to Torchwood’s gates. Had he been straightforward and placed all of his cards on the table, maybe the team would have been willing to work with him, but he believed that the team was unworthy of his trust. He’s nothing more than Torchwood waitstaff, and this incident told Jack in no uncertain terms that he had more to offer.

I’m very eager to see how Ianto evolves over the rest of the season.

 

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

 

 

UP NEXT – Torchwood: Small Worlds

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

 

 

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