Red Dwarf: S03E04: Bodyswap
In the opening scene we see a cute little Skutter going completely crazy. In the Drive Room Rimmer and Kryten are re-routing circuit boards. The crazy Skutter cause 2000 wiring faults and turned the ship into a gigantic booby trap!
Lister joins them. He wasn’t aware of the Skutter problem and was looking forward to a nice game of poker. Rimmer warns him not to touch anything and to go and tell the Cat. He leaves disappointed – it took him ages to mark the cards.
He meets up with Cat and tells him not to touch any electrical gizmo because of the Skutter’s wiring fit. Cat is slightly confused and Lister explains it to him as he gets himself a chocolate bar and milkshake from the food machine. The food machine obliges by telling Lister that the Self-Distruct Sequence has now been initiated. Cat and Lister run back to the Drive Room.
A rather stern Rimmer does and ‘I told you so’ routine and they contemplate what they should do. Holly unfairly in my opinion, gets the brunt of their frustration for not being able to work out how to get out of the problem. They have 8 minutes.
“Well, the way I see it,” she says elegantly, “…. We have three realistic alternatives. 1. We sit here and get blown up. 2. We stand here and get blown up or 3. Jump up and down, shout at me for not being able to think of anything and then get blown up!” Good points, well put!
Kryten suggests a mind swap. It was a technique he developed while on the Nova 5. A recording of Lister’s mind is taken and stored on a disk. Then, the holo-recording of a senior officer is played back into his mind. He is then able to cancel the self-distruct sequence.
They couldn’t unfortunately find the mind of the captain, but they did find a rather surprised female executive officer called Carol Brown. After her initial surprise at being revived in a mans body, she issues an order for the self-distruct mechanism to stop. It fails 5 seconds before the ship is due to explode.
Holly tells them that there was no bomb after all. She had gotten rid of it ‘ages ago’. She didn’t tell anyone because they ‘didn’t ask’. There is a collective sigh of relief and Lister’s mind is returned to his body.
Later, in his quarters, Rimmer suggests the idea that Lister could allow him to use his body. Rimmer would give it an overhaul and get him fit again and Rimmer would be able to exercise and eat properly and return it too him after only two weeks.
Rimmer exchanges bodies with Lister. It’s comical to see Rimmer’s personality in Lister’s body and vice versa. However, it soon becomes apparent that the two are eminently dissatisfied. Rimmer gives Lister’s body thorough washing and he also chops off his hair locks. Lister gets the ever sweet Holly to change his uniform from ‘Captain Emerald’ to something more appropriate, a sort of space bikers garb.
Rimmer immediately reneges on the deal. He gorges himself on as much rich food and cigars as he can. Lister asks for his body back but Rimmer is having non-of it. He does a runner, taking Starbug and a crate of doughnuts. Lister, Cat and Kryten catch up with him in the small transporter. Rimmer threatens to shoot Lister’s body but ends up crashing Starbug on a nearby moon. Starbug gets smashed up yet again. This craft is miraculous!
“Whoops!” he says.
“Are you alright?” Asks Lister, concerned for his body.
“You’re gonna go absolutely spare!” Exclaims Rimmer with a half smile and revealing a missing left arm!
“My arm!” Lister exclaims, “You’ve lost my arm!”
“I’ve lost your watch too.” Replies Rimmer smiling (wadda great line!).
“You bastard!” Says Lister rather academically.
“No,” says Rimmer, “You’re right, my hands are up – well my hand is up.” He begins to laugh uncontrollably.
“You think it’s funny!” Lister says angrily.
“No,” says Rimmer lifting the hidden arm and flicking two finders at him, “But this is!” He waves his arms and collapses.
Back on the ship Lister is back in his body and recovering from Rimmer’s crash. Suddenly Rimmer walks in and exclaims in Cat’s voice that Kryten chloroformed him and next he’s in Rimmer’s body. Rimmer walks in a little later carrying a plate of sausages and mashed potato. “I’ll give it back tomorrow, honest. Well, maybe Thursday.” He smiles and sinks his whole head into the food.
And there the show ends. It made a change for Rimmer to get one over on his fellow crewmembers for a change. His character is developing nicely. Though he is just the sort of person we all love to hate, it seems clear that this is because of his upbringing and other circumstances outside his control (or that he refused to control). Grant and Naylor have developed Rimmer’s character very well, he is like he is for a reason, and sometimes we can respect this and laugh with him rather than just at his misfortune.
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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
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