Red Dwarf: S01E02: Future Echoes
Holly introduces the show and ads, “…. I am Holly, the ships computer. I have an IQ of 6000, the same IQ as 6000 PE (Physical Education) teachers.”
Dave Lister is riding around Red Dwarf on a motorised Trike. He arrives at a food machine (with a lisp). The machine generates a bucket instead of a mustard sandwich. Rimmer runs up behind, and comments on Lister’s beer belly.
Rimmer returns to his quarters and asks Holly to dress, shave and give him a hair cut. Holly objects, Red Dwarf is about to jump into light speed and he resents the rather menial request. Rimmer is annoyed by this and insists “… just do it….. you stupid jumped up filo-fax”. Rimmer is just asking for it and Holly gives it to him. Instead of giving Rimmer a Crew Cut, he receives a red hair tied up in a sort of bun. Rimmer doesn’t notice and walks out to continue some other meaningless task.
Later, Lister and the Cat are reviewing Lister’s photographs. After we see a picture of Lister’s grandmother (who rates as the ugliest women EVER!), the Cat is mortified to see a picture of a dog! “eww, What’s THAT!?”. Lister explains, but he Cat is adamant. If he sees one, he would just have to chase it!
The Cat storms out and Lister notices that one of his fish is dead! He takes it out of the tank and smashes its head against the shelf! The fish is of course, electronic and Lister was trying to get it working in the same way he would fix a faulty TV set. After finding that the fish didn’t respond to having it’s head smashed in, Lister fiddles with the wiring and presto! The fish is repaired (rather by luck than skill I think).
Lister enters the room and, after a few loud chuckles from Lister, he notices his hair. He demands that Holly restores it, but Holly responds with, “This is a recording, I’m afraid Holly is busy at the moment. If you’d like to leave a message after the bleep, he’ll get back to you………….bleep.”
Lister then tells him that he’s just off to stasis. The return trip to Earth will take 3 million years and so Lister will be revived upon his return. Rimmer is mortified! He doesn’t want to spend 3 million years on his own! The two argue. Rimmer believes that once they get back to Earth, he wouldn’t be required and his hologram would not therefore be turned back on.
This is a dangerous time for Rimmer. It’s not as though he can tempt Lister not to go into stasis because he is a good companion, or a friend. Good grief, what would you do! Anyway, like us, Rimmer’s argument fails to convince Lister and he finishes his preparations for stasis. We see Lister accidentally put deodorant on his face after first squirting shaving foam under his armpits. Then he scrapes the shaving foam from under his arm and grosses us all out by slapping it onto his face. Worse still, he sings and awful song – badly!
The toaster is siting patiently on the table listening to Lister’s racket when he can bare it no longer, “You can’t sing you know.” It says.
“And you can, can you?” Replies Lister, confidently.
“Oh, just because I’m a toaster, doesn’t mean I’m tone deaf!”
“Well, go on then!” Exclaims Lister.
The Toaster begins, “Fly me to the moon and let me….” The singing is almost as bad as Lister’s’. The Toaster is quieted when Lister walks over and bashes it on the head with his fist!! That wasn’t very nice! Blatant abuse of electrical machinery – Toasters have feeling too you know!
Suddenly the ship jumps into Light Speed with a bang! Lister, still shaving asks Holly if everyone is ok. “I can’t do it, I can’t cope, we’re goin’ at the speed o’light, me bottle’s gone!” The worried Holly replies.
“Holly, is everyone alright?” Lister asks again.
“No, I’m not! I thought I could navigate at the speed of light, but I just can’t get me head around it!” Holly looks to his left, “Gordon Bennett, that was a close one…… Look, we’re travelling at the speed of light, that means that once we see something, we’ve already passed through it! Even with an IQ of 6000, it’s still brown trousers time.” Holly adds (rather eloquently I thought).
Holly leaves to concentrate on his navigation and Lister continues to shave. He notices however, that there seems to be a delay in time between himself and his reflection. He calls for Rimmer (and cuts himself accidentally). When Rimmer arrives, Lister tries to explain. “Lister, have you been on the Marijuana Gin again?” he asks.
A little later, the Cat is taking a few essential items of cloths (11 racks full) into the stasis room. Lister tells Cat that he can take two suits only. Cat becomes agitated. He can’t bare the thought of leaving his precious clothes behind. He and asks, “If I cut off my leg and leave it behind, can I take three?”
Lister goes back to the flight control room to talk to Rimmer. He notices however that Rimmer is talking to himself – or so it seems. Lister concludes that Rimmer is talking in a different time plane. Rimmer tells him (the Lister in the different time plane that is) that he has decided not to be switched off when Lister and the Cat go into stasis. Then he leaves, just as the other Rimmer walks in from the other side!
He then has the very same words and walks out. Lister follows him and tries to explain the time problem. In the corridor, the Cat runs past shouting, “My tooth! My tooth, I think I’ve lost my tooth!”
Next we see the Cat at the fish tank. He is trying to catch one of the fish with a small net. “I’m gonna eat you little fishies.” He sings. Then Rimmer and Lister walk in and wonder how the Cat managed to get into the room. Rimmer takes the initiative and shouts for Holly to explain.
“Holly, what’s going on?”
Holly appears and resigns himself to some negative banter with Rimmer, “Look, I’m a tenth generation hologramic computer, I’m not yer mum….. wadda ya want this time, a hand with yer homework? Or would you like me to sew little name tags in your PE (Physical Education) kit?”
Rimmer and Lister ask again. “Oh that,” replies Holly, “You’re seeing future echoes, didn’t I explain? …… How simple do you want this (the explanation that is)?”
“So Lister can understand it.” Replies Rimmer.
“Oh dear…. Well we’re travelling faster than LS right.”
“What’s LS?” Asks Lister.
“Light Speed.” Chirps the Toaster.
Lister points at the Toaster accusingly, “Smart arse.”
Holly continues, “…. Consequently you’re catching up with things you’re about to do before you’ve actually done them.”
“So we are seeing bits of the future?” Asks Rimmer, remembering the earlier conversation with Lister. “Can they see us?”
“Of course not” answers the Toaster, “use you’re loaf!”
Rimmer suddenly notices that there is a photograph of Lister clutching two babies pinned next to his bed. They conclude that this is a view of the future. Lister wonders how he comes to have two babies.
Later, he is walking through the corridors when he meets two of the Skutters. They hand him a note. It reads, ‘Please don’t go into stasis and leave us with Rimmer!’ Lister tells them that he must. The dejected skutters begin banging their heads against the walls. Suddenly there is another loud bang.
Lister runs to the flight deck and asks Rimmer what the problem is. A worried Rimmer replies, “Brace yourself Lister because I just saw you die!” He goes on to explain that he saw Lister die in the most hideous way. Lister is understandably upset. Rimmer simply concludes, “yer bucket has been kicked buddy.”
Later an emergency occurs on the flight deck. “Emergency. Emergency, there’s an emergency going on!……. The navicom is overheating and I need you’re help in the drive room”
Lister recognises that this is HIS time. He resigns himself to his imminent death and slowly walks off to the Drive Room. He reached the faulty navicom unit and hooks it up to the Drive computer. And…. AND ….. AND…… nothing happens.
A jubilant Lister returns to his quarters with Rimmer to find an older version of himself lying in his bunk. Old Lister (aged 171) tells the young Lister that the two babies in his arms are called Bexley and Jim. It wasn’t Lister who Rimmer saw die in the Drive Room; it was his son Bexley. He tells Lister to get his camera and run to the Medical Unit. Lister runs off.
In the Medical Unit Rimmer and Lister whiteness a time anomaly. A future Lister (but not too far into the future) walks out of the Medical Unit carrying two screaming babies, “I can’t see you, but I know you can see me. I’d like you to meet your two sons Jim and Bexley.”
Lister in the present quickly takes a picture of the Lister in the Future and the final scene is of the Polaroid picture developing.
And there ends another episode. The characters are still developing and the show is still a bit green. But in this episode we were introduced to the complicated and hilarious consequences of the time anomaly, a recurrent theme throughout the Red Dwarf Saga.
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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
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