Red Dwarf: S01E04: Waiting for God
In his opening, Holly admits that life on board Red Dwarf is a little mundane, “…The most interesting event that happened recently was that Lister pretended he’d passed his Chef’s exam, though really he failed. That gives you some idea of how truly exciting some days can be around here.”
The show opens with an order from Rimmer to access the personal records of Lister. Holly grudgingly informs Rimmer of all the details that Lister would most likely want kept secret. “… he has requested sick leave due to dioreah on no less that 500 different occasions. He left his previous job as a supermarket attendant after seven years because he didn’t want to get tied don to a career…. Promotion prospects – Zero!”
Rimmer then requests the captain’s personal comments about himself. Holly obliges, “…. Arnold Rimmer, technician, second class. Captains remarks; there’s a saying amongst the officers that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. If it’s not worth doing, give it to Rimmer…… He constantly fails the engineering exam…. Astoundingly Zealous, Possibly mad, probably has more teeth than brain cells. Promotion prospects – Comical.”
Rimmer of course, changes his mind about the Captains abilities as a leader of people and concludes that Captain Holister was indeed, a ‘puss-head’. Holly interrupts to mention that there is an unidentified object nearing the ship. Rimmer is too upset to deal with it and orders Holly to identify the object; “I probably have more teeth than brain cells remember!”. Holly agrees as soon as Rimmer is out of earshot.
Meanwhile, Lister is lazing on his bed. He’s been trying to read one of Cat’s books using only his sense of smell. (???) Cat believes this is just as good as reading with eyes. (!) He has managed to understand basic Jack and Jill books.
The Toaster interrupts Lister’s comments by asking if he’d like some Toast. Lister immediately replies, “No.” But the toaster is persistent (as usual) and mentions that it was precisely 18 days ago. It goes on to point out, “What’s the point of buying a toaster with artificial intelligence if you never want any toast?!” Lister just ignores its rant. The Toaster continues tearfully, “I toast therefore I am.”
Rimmer enters as Lister sniffs another sentence. Lister explains, but Rimmer looks somewhat down his nose. He tells Lister that there is an unidentified object. Lister however believes that it is probably some rock, as usual. Holly informs them both that the object is now in visual range. Rimmer goes off to investigate.
On the way, he meets Cat. Rimmer politely enquires what the Cat is up to. The Cat, not used to Rimmer’s politeness, assumes that he’s after his ‘shinny thing’ and tells Rimmer that if he tries to take it away, he’ll eat him. The Cat is certainly lacking intelligence. The shinny thing is, in fact a yo-yo. I reckon that if the Cat didn’t have a black complexion, he’d be Blonde. Rimmer simply calls him a ‘Modo’ whatever that is.
Rimmer enters the Drive Room and finds that the object is a pod. He orders Holly to bring it in.
Cat joins Lister for lunch. Lister puts some milk and rice crispies out for Cat and tells him how much he liked the book he leant him. “Forget that,” replies the Cat, “take a look at this, it’s the Holy Book, remember, the one you asked about.”
Lister notices the likeness of he and Cloister and the black cat and Frankenstein in the picture. He looks at another picture of Cloister in blue light, “What’s that?” he asks. Cat tells him that it’s Cloister, frozen in time.
“But he did that to save Frankenstein,” explains Cat.
“Frankenstein was my pet cat!” exclaims Lister. He then goes on to try and persuade Cat that he is God!
Cat looks at him with a quizzical but rather indifferent expression, “Ok,” he says, “If you’re God, turn this (the bowl of rice crispies) into a woman!”
Lister looks dejected. He tries to explain that he isn’t a god, but that his story is a logical one, and that the evolution of the Cat and his race, was not mythical but a fairly straightforward chain of events. He didn’t convince me! I’m still waiting for him to change the bowl of rice crispies into a woman.
The Cat looks at Lister and completely dismisses his logic. “I godda go,” he says, “but lets do lunch sometime. I’ll put it in my diary, 12.30: Lunch with God! And erm… formal dress, you know what I’m saying.” Wadda great line! Maybe the Cat isn’t so stupid after all.
The Cat leaves and Rimmer enters excitedly. He tells Lister that the object is a pod and that it’s safely in the hold. Lister runs off to see it.
In the Observation Room, we see a dusty old pod. Rimmer catches up with Lister and they discuss, what the pod might contain. Rimmer immediately concludes that it must be from an intelligent lifeform. He even believes that there may be such a lifeform inside. Lister asks what the markings mean, but Rimmer simply answers, “I don’t know, I don’t speak Alien, you gimboid!”
Lister goes into the observation room to the annoyance of Rimmer. “Don’t you know the reason why I’m your superior?” He asks. “Yes,” replies Lister, “it’s because I’ve been with the company for eight months and you have been working here for fifteen years.”
Rimmer disagrees, “No, it’s because I’m BETTER than you!” Lister wonders back into the Observation Room and mutters, “Rimmer, yer such a Smeghead.” He dusts off some of the writing on the side of the pod and notices that it the markings are words with some of the paint eroded away. He is able to make out that the markings spell, ‘Red Dwarf Garbage Pod.’ He smiles and looks up at Holly on the monitor. “Did Rimmer never work in Waste Disposal…. Why didn’t you tell him it as a Garbage Pod?”
“Well, it’s a laugh innit.” Explains Holly. Lister smudges the writing again and leaves the Observation Room as he found it.
Next day, Rimmer wakes Lister and talks excitedly about the possibility of finding Alien life. He’s excited because he believes that the aliens contained within will be able to give him a real body. Lister worries that Rimmer will be very disappointed – but not too much.
Later that morning Lister orders Chicken Vindaloo and Beer Milkshake for breakfast. He discusses the contents of the Cat’s Holy Book and reads an extract, “And Cloister spake, Low I shall lead you to Fushal and there we shall open a temple of food, wherein there shall be sausages and savoury doughnuts and all manner of bountiful things. Yay, even individual sashes of mustard. And those that serve will wear hats of great majesty. Yay, even though they be made of coloured cardboard and have humorous arrows through the top.”
Holly went on to explain what happened to the rest of the Cat race. Apparently there were thousands of years of war between factions who believed that the Hat should be red and those that believed that the hat should be Blue. This is all very fare fetched, everyone knows that the hat should be white!! Most of the cats were killed until finally they made a truce and built two arcs and went off in search of Fushal. They used a sacred script to glean directions; unfortunately, this turned out to be Lister’s laundry list! The Blue Hat brigade thought it was a star chart leading to the Promised Land. one of the Arcs flew into an asteroid and the other went off to find Fushal believing that they were righteous.
Lister is dismayed by this news. He concludes that The Cat race were using religion simply to be ‘crappy’ to each other. The Toaster chips in with, “So what else is new?”
Lister tries to explain the story to Rimmer in the Observation Room. But Rimmer is unimpressed, “Anyone who reads any old gobbledegook into anything is asking for it.”
Lister continues to rub Rimmer’s face in it. Rimmer is mildly miffed that he isn’t a God. Suddenly he jumps up and screams that the top of his voice for Lister to ‘Shut up!’ He is trying to do something more important, like determine the contents of the pod and make himself ready to communicate with the aliens that he is sure are contained within. He has even given them a name, the Quagaars. Lister smirks and wonders off to find the Cat.
Lister hunts out the Cat in a part of the ship which he seldomly visited before. He finds Cat with another Cat!! A blind old Cat priest who is dying and loosing his faith. He enters Supply pipe 28 and whiteness Cat burning the Sacred RED hat. The priest shouts out to his god, “You never really existed did you Cloister!?”
Lister suddenly opens the door and shouts, “It is I Cloister” Cat confirms Lister’s identity to the blind priest (under pain of grievous bodily harm) and Lister consoles the priest on his deathbed. He asks the old geezer where the rest of his subjects have gone. The Priest replies that they rest of the Cat race left cripples and the infirm behind. The Cat was born to a cripple and an idiot and he will soon be the sole survivor left on the ship. The priest then dies, happy to have met his God.
Later, Lister helps Rimmer open the pod. He finds that the pod is, “a smeging garbage pod!!”
This was a fun episode, memorable in that the concept is totally, totally whacky! I guess most of us had become hooked on the series by this episode – and boy, was it about to get better!
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