5 December 2018: It Takes You Away review added.
26 November 2018: The Witchfinders review added.
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We know we have to review this. But to be honest, we’re just sitting here with our heads in our hands.
Cyberwoman is so bottom-scrapingly terrible that reviewing it comes dangerously close to giving it too much dignity. And when something is so uniformly bad, what else is there to say?
It’s awful. It’s horrific. It seriously, seriously sucks.
The single nice thing we can find to say is that the concept had potential. Not the Ianto manages to thief off with humungous amounts of machinery, hurf it all the way to Cardiff and install it without anyone noticing part, obviously. Or the Cyberbikini. Or the ludicrously transparent plot-server that the Cybermen suddenly switched, in an emergency yet, to the complex tech of changing bodies instead of scooping out brains. But the idea of rescuing a half-Cybed girlfriend and hoping to change her back might have worked. In another universe in which Chris Chibnall is a long-distance lorry driver instead of a writer.
We thought the cliché quotient was fully complying with EU standards before. But dear God, this is so much worse. Sometimes in order to save the thing we love, we risk losing it. Let me do my work! But I can’t just leave you all here! I’m not giving up on her! I’ve nothing left to lose! Hold me, Ianto! I felt so alive!
And when the lines aren’t gold-plated clichés, they’re just so wrong. In Chibnall World, “We’re a secret organisation hunting alien technology from an underground base, and you want a driving rota” constitutes sparkling banter and Unresolved Sexual Tension consists of Gwen accusing Owen of having an erection. It’s got the subtlety and quicksilver wit of a rhino with a toothache.
Then there’s the sheer stupidity of it all. Why wouldn’t Ianto tell them about Barbarella when all he wants is to uncyberfy her? How come she’s skipping around one minute with her original personality exulting in being alive and the next is all with the upgrading? And how come she can switch the Cybervoice on and off at will? (She must have one of those voice-changers the kids are all after.) And how does she transplant her brain while she‘s using it? Although on this last we must bow to the writer’s expertise, since he clearly had his own brain transplanted some time ago.
This is clearly supposed to be Ianto’s Episode: how sad for Gareth David-Lloyd that it’s a textbook poisoned chalice. From threatening the scientist (“If she dies because of you…”) when he’s agreed to what the scientist’s doing, he moves into Dope Mode as he refuses to accept that his girlfriend’s now an irretrievably homicidal tin can despite all the evidence. From there it’s straight into Kevin the Teenager with “Like you care! When did you last ask anything about my life? It’s sooooo unfair!” Okay, we added the last part, but you get the idea. And from there? Mr Sobby. Oh, yeah. We know his sweetie’s about to die a horrific death, but honestly, what a girl. If he’d been any moister he would have been sprouting fungus.
Eventually, Jack sets him a test of loyalty: kill the girlfriend or you won’t be allowed to play with us any more. Naturally, Ianto’s boo-hooing far too much to accurately target the pizza girl and therefore fails the test miserably, throwing in, into the bargain, the threat that he won’t save Jack if he has the opportunity. The next day, is he wandering through a Waitrose somewhere post-amnesia pill, wondering why he’s strangely attracted to the can openers? No chance. He and bin bag are all present and correct at Torchwood HQ. So what the hell was the point?
And the others? Gah. Jack, normally the most interesting, is hobbled by the dreadful script and way too much shouting. For highly trained personnel, the rest of them seem to do a lot of standing round staring at the enemy with their mouths hanging open. Gwen and Owen’s little snog springs from nowhere character-wise and what’s more, is the definition of gratuitous - yeah, with a hearing-enhanced Cyberman standing inches away from you you’re going to take the opportunity to engage in a little tonsil hockey – and Jack’s kissing Ianto to bring him round, given that the love of Ianto’s life’s in the process of carking it, is so inappropriate it’s just baffling. What, have we strayed into a panto of Sleeping Beauty by mistake? At least that might have been more entertaining.
And Tosh? No wonder they take every opportunity to get her offscreen, because as a character she’s as colourless as she is pointless.
Utter, utter dreck.
FLIPPING THE BIRD
That whole Cyberchick v pterodactyl thing was apparently supposed to be funny. Wrong-o.
MY BRAIN HURTS
Transferring Lisa’s brain into Ianto’s body is what love is? Maybe this was meant to be some sort of searing social comment, but all we can say is: WTF?