by Catriona Mills

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Seventy-Four

Posted 16 July 2009 in by Catriona

While discussing the foolish advice that people give on Internet forums (with a segue into the dangers of misplaced modifiers):

NICK: Well, it’s all very easy when you’re sitting in your chair connected to the Internet.
ME: Your chair is connected to the Internet? What’s it doing? Streaming live pictures of your bottom?
NICK: You better believe it!
ME: Why would I want to believe that?
NICK: This conversation is going nowhere.

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Seventy-Three

Posted 16 July 2009 in by Catriona

In which Nick explains why he couldn’t answer my urgent, bread-related phone call this morning, because he’s finally found a rare situation into which he is unwilling to take his iPhone:

ME: Ew. Seriously. Ew.
NICK: Just the usual.
ME: This is why I keep falling in love with fictional characters, you know. Nobody ever goes to the toilet in fiction. Let alone tells their girlfriend all about it. Well, except in some specialised kinds of porn.
NICK: Yeah, that’s true. It’s one of those subject areas that are left to the imagination.
ME: I have better uses for my imagination, I can assure you.
ME: Hang on. Did you mean the toilet? Or the porn?
NICK: Um, I thought the toilet?
ME: Me, too. But I thought I’d best check before I got too specific about what I use my imagination for.
NICK: OK, fair enough.

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Seventy-Two

Posted 14 July 2009 in by Catriona

NICK: I wish I knew where my tracksuit pants are, because that would be awesome.
ME: I think they’re on the floor in the bedroom, just inside the door.
NICK: That makes perfect sense.
ME: It really doesn’t.
NICK: It makes perfect sense to me, and that’s all that matters.

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Seventy-One

Posted 14 July 2009 in by Catriona

ME: I’ve already replied to the dinner invitation.
NICK: You should have cc’d me in!
ME: Why?
NICK: In case I spontaneously decided to reply.
ME: You would never have done that.
NICK: You don’t know that.
ME: I do.
NICK: You don’t know it. I mean, you can be fairly sure, but you don’t know for certain.

Conversation With My Mother

Posted 14 July 2009 in by Catriona

Yes, all these happened in a single phone conversation.

ME: Hi, Mam, It’s me!
MY MOTHER: (hangs up)
ME: Fair enough, then.

On a second attempt:

ME: Well, you’ve never hung up on me before, so I thought “Is this accidental, or is there something going on here I don’t know about?”
MY MOTHER: Well, there was a pause and no one said anything, so I thought it was a telemarketer and hung up.
ME: You might want to upgrade the length of time you consider a “pause,” there.
MY MOTHER: Possibly.

My mother doesn’t believe phone conversations should be limited to actually talking to someone, and tends to wander:

MY MOTHER: Oh, the koi is lying on the bottom of the pond. I wonder if it’s dead? But it would probably float to the top. I suppose it’s just cold.
ME: I don’t think the cold would kill it. It gets quite cold in Japan. Doesn’t it snow there?
MY MOTHER: Well, that depends on the season.

And, finally, hammering out the logistics of a coming visit.

MY MOTHER: Your father is going to be bringing his computer.
ME: Why?
MY MOTHER: He always does. When we come to visit Nick, we bring the computer.
ME: He might want to start thinking about it as “visiting his daughter,” instead.
MY MOTHER: No, he doesn’t see it that way.

ME: Well, Nick wants to see the exhibition, as well. So you’d want to come over a weekend.
MY MOTHER: What exhibition?
ME: The Impressionists.
MY MOTHER: Oh, is there an Impressionists exhibition?
ME: Mam, that’s the reason you were coming to visit, remember?
MY MOTHER: Really?

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Seventy

Posted 13 July 2009 in by Catriona

The first conversation for the day, after a disturbed night:

NICK: Go back to bed, sweetie. You look like hell.
ME: Thank you.
NICK: I am trying to be supportive.
ME: For the record, there is no way to say “You look like hell” supportively.

Live-blogging Doctor Who, Season Two: The Satan Pit

Posted 13 July 2009 in by Catriona

And, once again, I nearly wrote that as “The Stan Pit.” Which would be amusing, admittedly, but might skew my Google results.

(Though, on that note, I had to be very careful moderating the blog and checking the visitor logs during the recent airing of the Torchwood specials. Many, many people were coming across my season-one Torchwood blogging while searching for things that were, to someone living in Australia, absolute spoilers. I don’t want to be spoiled on my own blog!)

According to the ABC voiceover chap, this is a battle to save the universe.


(Yes, I’ve seen it before. I’m cultivating a deliberate and charming naivety.)

And we’re starting the recap of last week’s episode with a lovely CGI shot of the sanctuary base. I do wonder why they’re digging down to find the power source that keeps the planet in stable geo-stationary orbit, though. What if they accidentally turn it off? Of course, waking Satan is second on my list of “why this is a bad idea,” so let’s see how that turns out, shall we?

We come back where we ended, with the menacing Ood approaching Rose and the base staff (who open fire on them). Rose’s only concern is to contact the Doctor. Danny turns up, hysterical, and tells them that the Ood are using the interface device as a weapon—just in time for them to get the door open and kill the man-at-arms.

The Captain is also being menaced by the Ood, and has no weaponry.

Rose has just enough time to freak out about the Doctor’s silence, before the Doctor pops back on the comm and tells her he’s fine, but was just a little distracted. I don’t really blame her for being thoroughly annoyed by that.

Rose demands to know whether the beast is Satan. She asks the Doctor to tell her that there’s no such thing as Satan, but he won’t.

The Captain demands that the Doctor and Ida return to the base so that he can implement strategy nine. We don’t know what that is, yet. He also points out that the planet is shifting, and that they’re at risk of falling into the black hole.

The Doctor and Ida, though, want to go down the pit. Ida wants to know why the beast hasn’t risen from the pit, but the Doctor says they may have opened the prison but not the cell.

The Doctor has a lovely monologue here about the human impulse to throw themselves over the brink, but he says, finally, that they’re going to retreat this time. (He’s getting old, he says.)

Jefferson wants to shoot Toby, but Rose stops him—she says Toby is clean now. Toby does look well freaked out now.

Ida says that strategy nine is to open the airlocks and flush the Ood out into space. The Doctor’s not thrilled about that, but he climbs into the lift anyway—which doesn’t really matter, since the lift isn’t working.

The Ood start monologuing through the monitors (Torchwood reference! Drink!), but it’s not them talking: it’s the beast.

And the Doctor responds, wanting to know which beast it is who is speaking. But the beast says he is all devils to all religions.

DOCTOR: What does “before time” mean?

Yeah, you know he’s going to have trouble with that concept. He’s already off balance because the beast calls him “the killer of his own kind.” (He also challenges all the others, telling the Captain that he’s scared, that Jefferson is haunted by the eyes of his wife, Danny is the boy who lied, Ida is still running from her father, Toby is the virgin (And?), and Rose is the lost girl who will die in battle.)

They’re all freaked out by this, and the Doctor heads into one of his “humans are brilliant” monologues—which they are, but I don’t have time to transcribe it—before the cable snaps and the capsule is destroyed.

They have air for an hour, Ida and the Doctor, but they’re ten miles down and there’s no way for the others on the base to reach them.

Meanwhile, on the sanctuary base, the Ood are cutting through the doors. The Captain might last a little longer than the others because he has a security door. He also has access to base controls, which allows him remote control to the rocket—he can channel the rocket’s power into the base, which helps them.

Rose is all in control in this scene—I’m a little surprised that people are listening to her (though I suppose part of it is channeling the Doctor’s authority by proxy) but I do like her when she’s being proactive.

Ten miles down, the Doctor and Ida are squabbling about who is going to go down into the pit. Of course, the Doctor wants to go down—and I have a feeling Ida is not going to win this argument.

Well, of course there’s a series of maintenance tunnels honeycombing the base. Have we learned nothing from Aliens? But they need to get to Ood Habitation, so that they can broadcast a “flare” from the central monitor and cause a “brainstorm” in the Ood, taking them out.

Ida and the Doctor have a discussion about where the human urge to drop over the brink comes from, and then the Doctor throws himself into the pit. Of course, he’s attached to the cable from the elevator, so there is that.

Everyone else jumps into the maintenance tunnels, where there’s plenty of time to banter about what a cute bottom Rose has. (And she does.) Just to make things more perilous, the Captain has to feed air into each section of tunnel at a time.

So they need to sit for a little time, bantering and generally freaking out—but the Ood are in the tunnels, scrambling along. Yes, whose idea was it not to register the Ood as proper lifeforms on the computer? That seems stupid.

The Captain can’t cut off the Ood’s air without cutting off everyone’s air. So Jefeerson says he’ll take “defensive position,” which requires staying behind while the Captain aerates and opens the next section of passage. If Jefferson can’t get past the junction though, the Captain can’t aerate and open the next section.

And, in fact, Jefferson can’t get to the doorway in time. The Captain says he can’t open the doorway without killing everyone else. All Jefferson can do is choose how he dies—and he doesn’t want to be killed by the Ood, so he convinces the Captain to blow all of the air out of his section.

And when the final door is opened, there are red-eyed Ood waiting just on the other side. The three still alive have to push up through a hatch into a corridor. Toby struggles to get out in time, so it’s convenient that the beast is still within him—his eyes flash red, and he indicates that the Ood should shush.

But they get to Ood Habitation, and Danny broadcasts the pulse that is designed to kill all the Ood.

Back in the pit, there’s a lovely shot of the Doctor being slowly lowered through pitch blackness, while delivering himself of a scholarly discourse on whether or not there is an “original” devil, which would explain the similarity of imagery across the cosmos.

Then they run out of cable, and the Doctor wonder how much depth is left. Could he survive a fall? What if it’s only thirty feet? Ida doesn’t want to die on her own, she says, but the Doctor—while acknowledging this—still starts unbuckling his harness. While he’s doing this, he and Ida talk about their religious beliefs. I always thought that Gallifrey was a largely secular society, but I could be wrong on that one.

I don’t for a minute believe that the Doctor keeps travelling “to be proved wrong,” though. That doesn’t sound like my Doctor.

The Doctor tries to give a message to Ida for Rose, but he can’t articulate it.

And he falls backwards into pitch blackness.

IDA: He fell. Into the pit. And we don’t know how deep it is: miles and miles and miles.

So Ida is left to die alone, after all. The Captain says they have to abandon the base—and abandon Ida, as well. He’s declaring the mission unsafe.

The Captain says they’re leaving in the rocket—but Rose says she’s not going. She’s waiting for the Doctor, just like he’d wait for her. She’s going to stay, because he’s not dead. And, she says, even if he was dead, how could she leave him, all alone down there?


But the Captain has Danny and Toby restrain her (he won’t lose another person) and has her sedated. As they rush to the rocket, the Ood are starting to stir.

The Doctor wakes in the remains of his helmet, but there’s an air cushion to support the fall, and he can breathe.

Rose wakes in the rocket and freaks. She has the Captain’s bolt gun, and threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t take her back to the planet. The Captain calls her bluff, though. And Rose isn’t a killer.

The Doctor, meanwhile, is telling Ida (who almost certainly can’t hear him) what the paintings on the wall mean. He does this for some time before he notices the enormous devil chained directly in front of him.

Toby, in the rocket, is chuckling manically to himself.

Now, the beast is tugging at its chains while the Doctor is demanding it tell him why he’s been given a safe landing. But the beast won’t talk—or, the Doctor hypothesises, it can’t talk. And he wonders where its intelligence has gone, because now it’s just a beast, the physical form of the creature, while the intelligence has gone.

Cut to Toby chuckling manically in the rocket, again.

The Doctor’s realising that only the beast’s body is contained by the cell—the beast also has a non-corporeal form, in that it is also an idea. And the Doctor realises that he can destroy the prison and destroy the beast’s body—the destruction of the beast’s body will also kill its mind.

But then, if he destroys the prison, the gravity field will collapse, and the rocket will be dragged into the black hole.

DOCTOR: I’ll have to sacrifice Rose.
NIKC: Well, and all those other people.

The rocket is almost beyond the reach of the black hole. And the Doctor is on to what must be his fifth soliloquy of the episode. This is the Hamlet of Doctor Who episodes! This time, he explains that he believes in Rose—and smashes the vases protecting the prison.

He and the beast will fall into the black hole together. And at that, Toby reveals that the beast is still riding within him—and now he’s breathing fire. At least, he is before Rose shoots out the windshield and he’s sucked out into space.

The rocket is still falling into the black hole, though.

The planet is falling into the black hole, and the Ood are huddling together. Ida runs out of oxygen and lies down—just as the Doctor stumbles backwards into the TARDIS.

Well, if anything fits the term “deus ex machina” it’s the Doctor and the TARDIS.

And just as the rocket is about to fall into the black hole, the TARDIS grabs it—the Time Lords practically invented black holes. He’s managed to grab Ida, as well, but he only had time for one trip, and he couldn’t save the Ood as well as Ida.

Then we have a running and hugging reunion between Rose and the Doctor, while the sanctuary-base staff talk about what the TARDIS actually was.

The Doctor does consider telling them not to go sticking their noses into things any more, but decides that would be futile.

Rose is still worrying about the fact that the beast told her she would die in battle, but the Doctor says it lied.

IDA: But, Doctor, you never really said. You two . . . who are you?
DOCTOR: Oh, the stuff of legend.

And we end with the Captain’s voice fading out as he records the various Ood, “deceased, with honours.”

Next week, “Love and Monsters.” Put your commenting hats on for that one!

Talking About The Hottest 100 Of All Time

Posted 13 July 2009 in by Catriona

I’ve given a cursory glimpse at my reaction to the Hottest 100 Of All Time here.

But for a much cleverer engagement that looks at the overwhelming absence of women vocalists—two women? Both guest vocalists on Massive Attack songs? Not a single band with a permanent female vocalist?—head over to The Memes of Production right here, where there’s a fascinating post and quite the discussion building.

Tweeting Triple J's Hottest 100 Of All Time

Posted 12 July 2009 in by Catriona

Why, yes: I am lazily copying content from one site to another. But what happened for (much of) my immediate social group and extended Twitter network was a flurry of tweets on the this weekend’s Hottest 100 Of All Time on Triple J. I didn’t contribute yesterday, particularly, but I did tweet extensively today while streaming the radio over the Internet, and I’m not keen on letting all that material disappear into the ether—or, at least, not my selected tweets.

So if you follow me on Twitter, you might just want to skip this post. But at the very least, it gives you the chance to mock my taste in music.

(For the record, I’m running them in chronological order, starting with the earliest.)

First positive love song Axel wrote? Well, as an adult woman, I don’t care to called a child, but then I’m not the only woman in the world.

Smashing Pumpkins allowed me to strip my bed linen. Spend your early 20s exclusively socialising with guys, & you get over Smashing Pumpkins.

Does anyone else feel compelled to shout, “Run, Rorschach! Run!” while listening to “All Along the Watchtower”?

I will remain silent on the subject of Radiohead for fear of virtual lynching. (“Burst into tears straight afterwards”? Snort.)

Dangling modifier! Hunters and Collectors were never “quietly released as a single,” in the ’80s or otherwise.

If I had my way, Madonna would never sing anything ever, and certainly nothing that Liz Fraser could sing instead.

So number 20 is by a band I’ve never consciously listened to? This is it: I am officially old.

Now this is seriously one (hee!) of my favourite songs. Who is up for a bit of synchronised head-banging?

Ah, Kirk Hammett. I’d tell you I love you, but you’re not actually, you know, within earshot right now.

Now we’re with Muse? Well, guess I’d better be getting my Twilight novels out, then.

I thought I was listening to Muse, but this seems to be Queen’s Flash Gordon soundtrack, here . . .

Radiohead? Wake me up when this is over.

“The feeling of life sucking or being pointless is not the same as the feeling of listening to ‘Bittersweet Symphony’.” Hee!

Come now—the early ’90s were all about self-loathing. It was our schtick.

Hee! [Nick] is playing air-guitar to Radiohead, and don’t let him tell you otherwise.

Oasis? OASIS?! Well, all right then. As long as I can think vicious thoughts about Liam Gallagher while it plays.

Still, Oasis is a good chance to walk around. Bits of me have gone a little “number 53 on the countdown” by this point.

“And no religion, too”? “And no religion, either,” I would have thought. But I suppose that doesn’t scan. Fair enough, John.

I’m sorry, Led Zeppelin, but I’m inclined to be highly alarmed by bustling in my hedgerow.

Foo Fighters? Well, I have to admit that I didn’t see this coming. This is becoming the Dave Grohl Hottest 100 of all time.

D’you, I’m genuinely surprised to see “Under the Bridge” up here. It’s of my youth, of course, but I thought we were over it.

“You sit around doing heroin or cocaine, you’re really going to hurt yourself”? Quelle surprise!

Well, [Nick] managed to kill the stream for the entire duration of that song. He needs to stop touching things.

I have nothing else to say about Radiohead. But I might be the only one.

Why, however, am I listening to Wil Anderson on the topic of Rage Against The Machine? Please, no.

I can sympathise with Daniel Johns on the pain of growing up in the era of Warrant.

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Sixty-Nine

Posted 11 July 2009 in by Catriona

Sometimes, you just make a foolish Facebook update:

ME: Stabs!
NICK: Pardon?
ME: It’s “from hell’s heart, I stab at thee.”
ME: Well, on my status, I wrote, “from hell’s heart, I spit at thee.”
NICK: Maybe it was more of a spitting occasion?
ME: Yes, but it makes me look as though I can’t recite Wrath of Khan from memory.

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Sixty-Eight

Posted 11 July 2009 in by Catriona

ME: So, will my tweet about Torchwood show up in the Twitter feed? Even though I didn’t explicitly tag it?
NICK: Well, there is a text-based search that indexes all the content.
ME: Right.
NICK: Tagging isn’t necessary. It just makes it easier for third-party tools that use it.
ME: There are a lot of third-party tools using Twitter, aren’t there?

Some Random Thoughts About Captain Jack Harkness (No Spoilers!)

Posted 10 July 2009 in by Catriona

Well, I say no spoilers. I’ll qualify that: nothing here counts as a spoiler if you’ve seen the Doctor Who episodes that have thus far aired on Australian television—which is to say, all of them.

1. If Torchwood were actually a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, Captain Jack would definitely be a rogue. Say you’re fighting the boss. Do you think Captain Jack would be standing next to you? Or is he more likely to pop up behind the enemy and stab him in the back for twenty-five points of damage? Sure, my base comparison there is more Puzzle Quest than Dungeons and Dragons, but the analogy still holds.

(If you prefer to play Fallout 3, I don’t think you’d have any trouble seeing Jack as the Mysterious Stranger. As Nick says when he’s playing Fallout 3, the Mysterious Stranger isn’t the most useful bonus you could enable, but when he turns up, it’s always awesome.)

2. And still on a Dungeons and Dragons theme, not only would Captain Jack be a rogue, he would absolutely be Chaotic Good. He’s the sort of character who has a basic good alignment, but is entirely unpredictable in how he manifests that.

As Nick points out, the Doctor is basically Chaotic Good, as well. Lawful Good is always by the book, like The Middleman. (And if you’re not reading that, or haven’t managed to see the excellent television series—now sadly axed—what are you waiting for? Who doesn’t want to watch something in which the hero says to his sidekick, “It’s bad apples like you that put J. Edgar Hoover in a dress”?)

But Chaotic Good has more of a mischievous side. And we’ve seen more of this with the Doctor in the last season or so—I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the blog that I’ve been disturbed on more than one occasion by the glee that the Doctor takes in chaos and disaster.

He hasn’t always been that way: I would argue that the fifth Doctor, for example, had far more of a Lawful Good alignment.

The touchstone episode, for me, is increasingly becoming “Warriors of the Deep.” I don’t know when this started, but more and more over the last season or two of Doctor Who, I’ve been drawing comparisons in my mind with that story and particularly with that last shot of the fifth Doctor and that last line: “There had to be a better way.” It doesn’t seem to me that the Doctor always looks for that other way, these days.

And Captain Jack doesn’t, either. Watch season two of Torchwood and tell me that he’s always looking for the better way. (Or, for that matter, let’s just think about the time he fed Ianto’s ex-girlfriend to a pterodactyl, shall we?)

3. And that brings me to my final point: Captain Jack is now basically the Doctor. Don’t mistake me on this: I think that’s fabulous. And now that Torchwood is increasingly—in Nick’s words—“grown up” television rather than simply being “adult” television, now that it has found its feet, we’re seeing this more.

True, Captain Jack is a fixed point in time, something that the Doctor fears rather than something that the Doctor is. But he’s directly analogous to a Time Lord, these days: though his regenerations come faster and always bring him back to the same body, he has the same distance from humanity now that the Doctor has always had. Like the Doctor, he will not age or die—at least, not by any means measurable by or conceivable to the human mind.

Captain Jack is the Doctor without a TARDIS.

He’s the Doctor trapped in a single location.

He’s the Doctor who can’t just leave after he’s reduced another planet to chaos.

He’s the Doctor, in short, who has to stay and clean up his own messes.

Poor man.

(Please, feel free to shred my Torchwood/Dungeons and Dragons analogy in the comments, but keep them spoiler free.)

Live-blogging Torchwood Season One: "Cyberwoman"

Posted 10 July 2009 in by Catriona

I’ll be honest at the beginning of this post: I seriously hated this episode last time I saw it. I thought it was frankly ridiculous.

Plus, I’m exhausted. My neighbours, for reasons best known only to themselves, have taken to standing out in their front garden—directly under our bedroom windows—at 3 a.m., taking flash photographs of themselves, and laughing loudly about them.

And by “have taken to,” I mean last night wasn’t the first time they did this.

Though, apparently, today is Silence Day, so if they do it again tonight, I’m definitely going to lean out of the window and deliver myself of a brief discourse on the followers of Meher Baba.

Also? Everyone should be watching Being Human. That’s my public-service announcement for the day.

Tonight’s episode of Torchwood contains violence. Just for a change.

We open on Ianto, walking down into the Hub—where there’s a great deal of screaming, as everyone plays a friendly game of basketball while the pterodactyl wheels above.

As everyone else leaves for drinks, Ianto orders two pizzas and a tub of coleslaw—as a mysterious gentleman wanders into the Hub. Ianto greets him cheerfully, and takes him deep into the complex. He unlocks a mysterious door, while telling the man that “I did all I could. I really did.”

In the mysterious room, we see reams of medical equipment, all attached to a woman who—as her bed is slowly raised—we see is partway converted to a Cyberman.

Ianto kisses the woman, and—as the mysterious man says, “My god, it’s impossible! One of them survived!”—says, “This is Lisa.”

I’m pleased to see that the Cybermen were protective enough of her modesty to put her in that fetching silver bikini, even though they never finished the conversion.

The man is delighted: he never thought he’d have a chance to work with “something like this.”

“Someone,” says Ianto firmly.

He says Lisa was working for Torchwood London and that at the end of the Battle of Canary Wharf, the Cybermen, desperate for new soldiers, starting converting whole bodies, instead of just transplanting brains. Lisa was halfway through the process when the machine shut down and Ianto dragged her out of there.

The man—Dr Miyazaki, an expert in cybernetics—asks Ianto how he knew to convert the Cybermen technology to keep Lisa alive, and Lisa wakes up to tell him that she told Ianto how to do it.

So she’s awake and sentient, but in constant pain.

Ianto wants Dr Miyazaki to make Lisa human again, but he has to wean her from the Cyberman technology, starting with the respirator. Ianto is terrified that Lisa is too weak to make it through the process.

But no: she starts breathing on her own. That Cyber-brassiere is distinctly distracting from that camera angle.

At this point, Ianto sees the team members coming back to the Hub. He has to hide Lisa and the doctor, but Lisa is still quite weak, though she’s delighted to be free of the machinery.

The Doctor and Lisa clank through the centre of the Hub as the others head down through the main entrance. Ianto dashes back up as staff are settling down to work, and straightens his tie in an effort to seems normal.

Lisa, meanwhile, is strangling Dr Miyazaki. Guess she’s not so weak, after all.


Now Dr Miyazaki is attached to the former Cybertechnology—Lisa, her voice all Cybermanny, tells him that she can make him strong, and starts the conversion.


The conversion drains a heavy amount of power, but Ianto dashes in before Jack can order a diagnostic. He says they’ve been having cabling problems all night, and promises to check on it himself.

He’s in time to see Dr Miyazaki on the floor, dead and mangled.

IANTO: What happened?
LISA: His upgrade failed.
IANTO: Was it an accident?

Ianto, you moron. But he’s heartbroken—all the work they put in to keep her alive, and now she’s ruined it all.

IANTO: This can’t happen again, Lisa.

So she gets one free dead body? Or has she done this before?

Ianto needs to hide the body (and, dear me, that’s revolting), but he’s also breaking down at the thought that he caused this problem.


The staff are back at work, talking to aliens, but this sub-plot isn’t either very interesting nor very important.

Meanwhile, there’s another power drain. Jack asks Ianto to check into it (“Ianto, I need to hear those beautiful Welsh vowels”) but Ianto’s too busy dragging a dead body through the corridors to hear. Jack assumes they’re under attack—that the Hub has been breached. He says they’re going to battle mode, and assumes Ianto has been the first casualty.

Ianto’s too busy apologising to the corpse of Dr Miyazaki to pay too much attention to the comms.

Gwen and Owen are down at the store-room where Lisa is—in Futurama terms—jacking on. (In a more delicate phrasing, she’s abusing electricity.) Jack and Tosh, meanwhile, can see the security footage of Ianto letting Dr Miyazaki into the Hub.

Owen tries to see through the door grill, but he can’t see well enough, and unlocks the door. He and Gwen kick the door open, and see the Cybertechnology—there’s no sign of Lisa. Owen recognises it, and is horrified. He tells Gwen about the fall of Torchwood One and about what the machinery is.

The comms come back on, and Owen (who sounds seriously spooked) tells Jack about the powered-up Cyber conversion unit, just as Lisa appears behind them.

Gwen tells Jack what’s happening, and Jack dashes down to help, leaving Tosh as the last line of defense, to stop the Cyberman getting to the outside world.

Lisa grabs Gwen and throws her into the conversion uni, which she powers up.


Ianto appears and tackles Jack, who shouts, “You’re attacking the wrong man!” With the Cyber conversion unit powering up, the only way to save Gwen is to shut down all power in the base (“No! Shut down all the garbage compacters on the detention level!”), which puts the Hub into lockdown. Since Lisa has escaped, this now means that they have a Cyberman on the loose and can’t themselves get into the outside world.

With Jack carrying an unconscious Owen over his shoulder, they start back to the Hub. When Ianto is relieved to see Lisa alive, Jack draws his gun on Ianto.

Back in the Hub, Ianto is on his knees with his hands on his hand. But when Jack challenges him, Ianto explodes. “Why would you care? I clean up your shit, and that’s how you like it. But when was the last time you asked me about my life?”

Ianto still thinks that Lisa can be cured, but Jack says no: that Cybermen (and those like them) spread by exploiting human weakness.

Ianto says he can’t give up on Lisa, that he loves her.

JACK: You need to figure out whose side you’re on. Because if you don’t know, you’re not going to get out of here.

Lisa appears in the Hub.


Lisa claims to be “Human.2,” so Jack asks, “Why do you still look like Human.1?” Seeing herself in a reflective surface for the first time, Lisa realises that her upgrade is incomplete. Ianto’s still trying to talk to her, but she declares that they’re not compatible, and throws him to one side.


In the conference room, Jack sends Tosh out to reception (CYBER BIKINI!) to (technobabble). Owen and Gwen are to find weapons. Jack is “buying them some time,” largely by taunting Lisa.


Taunting doesn’t work out so well, and Lisa electrocutes Jack, just as Tosh manages to get the gate open with alien technology. Jack comes back to life and is electrocuted again. Lisa goes after Tosh, but she’s managed to lock the door behind her—though that doesn’t stop Lisa slamming her fist through it.

With Jack down and Tosh gone, that leaves Gwen and Owen (CYBER BIKINI!) who hide—on top of each other—in the medical centre.

NICK: Oh, lord. Cyber high heels, as well.

Then everything kind of goes snoggy for a while there: Owen and Gwen are snogging in their hiding place, and Jack is snogging Ianto for a reason that may have escaped me while I was typing.

And then Gwen’s mobile phone goes off: it’s Rhys, asking her to video Wife Swap.

Owen manages to—he thinks—kill Lisa (before he and Gwen have a frustrating snogging-related conversation that I’m not going to transcribe here), but Lisa’s not that easy to kill. Ianto still wants Jack to save Lisa, but instead Jack drenches her in “a kind of barbeque sauce that helps it identify its food.”

Helps what, you ask?

Well, that would be the pterodactyl.

Yes, we now have Ianto being forced (until the lift starts working) to watch his partially converted girlfriend being eaten by a pterodactyl. No, I am not making this up. I promise.

Ianto punches Jack in the face. And I can’t say I blame him.

Oh, but Tosh points out that the power is coming back on—just in time for the pizza delivery girl to turn up. Turns out, Cyberwoman aren’t so easy to kill.

Ianto’s dashing back down with a gun to save Lisa, but he’s not really prepared to kill anyone, and Jack easily disarms him. He demands that if Ianto wants to go back in, he has to execute Lisa if she’s still alive. He gives Ianto a gun and ten minutes, and says they’re all coming in after that time.

Ianto heads in, and sees the blood everywhere before he notices that the power is being drained again. But Lisa’s dead on the floor of the Cyber conversion chamber, covered in blood. Ianto’s keening over her body when the pizza delivery girl steps out from behind a door, with a cut straight across her forehead, insisting that she’s Lisa. She says she’s human again—that Ianto fought so hard for her, that she had to fight for him, so she took the pizza girl’s body and transplanted her own brain into it.

Ianto looks like he doesn’t know whether to cry or to vomit, so he’s sort of doing both at the same time. Lisa asks him to hold her, and he does—but then draws his gun on her.

Lisa says he wouldn’t shoot her, that she did this for him. And, in fact, Ianto can’t do it. He walks away, as Lisa says they can be upgraded together—just as the remaining members of the team turn up and shoot her.

Ianto sinks to the ground between both of Lisa’s corpses.

No one’s terribly pleased to see him when he comes to work the next day. He seems to still have a job, though—he’s picking up the rubbish from the previous day’s activities. (Which is to say, his ex-girlfriend’s brutal death.)

Well, that was bloody depressing. Next week: the P. J. Hammond episode, “Small Worlds.”

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Sixty-Seven

Posted 10 July 2009 in by Catriona

NICK: Well, you might want to make notes while you’re writing.
ME: You know, you’d think that. But it’s not working that way—I’m just keeping the ideas on my head, sitting down, and just writing.
NICK: I’ve always thought you had an instinct for narrative.
ME: I have an instinct for melodrama and self-dramatisation, as well. Doesn’t mean I should be a playwright.
NICK: Well, I don’t know.

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Sixty-Six

Posted 10 July 2009 in by Catriona

When you suspect your partner isn’t actually listening to you:

ME: So, I actually own two different trilogies both set in vampire boarding schools.
NICK: Yes, you do.
ME: I rock.
NICK: Yes, you do.



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