Red Dwarf: S03E05: Timeslides
This was another wonderful episode where the crew of Red Dwarf dabble with time. The show opens with Cat and Lister playing Table Golf! Lister is depressed because life on board Red Dwarf has been reduced to wasting time by playing child’s games like Table Golf and Junior Angler.
“This is worse than Prison,” he says, “At least when you are in Prison you can look forward to getting out. I want live, I want to get out, I want to meet people, I want to meet girls, I want to make love!” He moans.
“Well Junior Angler is the best yer gonna get out of me buddy!” Says Cat quickly. Lister goes off on his own to sulk.
Meanwhile, Kryten is dancing to some music and developing some photographs when he notices that the photos are alive! Well, not exactly alive. More like real life. Instead of capturing still life, the developed pictures have captured live life!
Kryten face, on the monitor, interrupts Arnold Rimmer listening to Lister’s depressing outpourings while he plays with a Tension Sheet. Rimmer tells him that he used to go to school with ‘Thicky Holden’ who invented the Tension sheet and made a fortune. He is deeply jealous of Thicky (probably because they seemed to come from the same background and Rimmer had done considerably worse for himself) but Lister points out that a tension sheet is simply some bubble wrapping paper painted red and marked Tension Sheet. He adds that the only person he went to school with who was famous was Charles Keegan – “He ate his wife!” Kryten mentions that there is something ‘strange’ happening in the photo lab.
They go off to join him and find that the developing fluid has mutated. Kryten has developed a series of slides and magazine copies. Lister is able to ‘jump’ into the photographs but appears only to be able to stay in the field of vision. He ‘jumps’ into a picture of Rimmer’s brothers wedding and a picture of a skiing holiday and is even able to jump into a picture of Adolph Hitler making a speech. “Don’t Lister,” shouts Lister from the same platform as Hitler. “He’s a total nutter! And he’s only got one testicle!” Lister ‘jumps’ back with Hitler’s briefcase and discovers that it has a bomb in it. He throws it back, just in time.
They decide that they can go anywhere they want provided they had a picture of it. Rimmer is convinced that they should go to nudist beach (he has a picture) or Kryten’s suggestion, The ‘Grassy Knoll’ in November 1963 and shout “duck!” (he apologises saying “I’m sorry, I must have bypassed my ‘Good Taste’ chip.“)
Holly points out that if they are capable of changing time and that this is dangerous. Lister says that they only want to change enough of time so that they don’t get marooned in space. Lister resolved to go back in time to when he was 17 and persuade himself not to join the space corps. He takes back a Tension Sheet with him.
The picture he uses is of he and his band, “Smeg and the Heads” They enter a rather awful looking pub and listen to Lister’s first song called Omm. It’s quite catchy – NOT– and it goes like this, “Omm, Omm, Omm, Omm, Omm .” etc. Get the picture!
Kryten and the Cat are introduced to their first ‘pub’. “Ahh,” says Kryten, “A pub. A meeting place where people attempt to achieve advanced states of mental incompetence by the repeated consumption of fermented vegetable drinks.”
Lister takes them to meet his younger self, a rather precocious teenager completely opposed to anything which is crypto Neo-fascist. We get the impression that doesn’t actually know what the phrase means, it just sounds cool. Lister the older persuades Lister the younger to take the Tension Sheet and patent it. If he does, he will become rich. Lister the younger reluctantly agrees (I think he is concerned about becoming a Crypto fascist or whatever the phrase was)
Lister, the older gets annoyed, “Will you stop saying everything is crypto-fasist!? You make me sound like I was a complete Git!” They leave Lister the younger and return to Red Dwarf to see if it has worked. Sure enough, Lister disappears and so does Cat and, for that matter, so does Kryten.
Holly explains to a rather depressed and lonely looking Rimmer that Lister is now a multi-millionaire, the Cat race never existed because Lister never brought a pregnant Cat aboard Red Dwarf, and Kryten was never rescued. Rimmer finds Lister in a news report about Lister. He did invent the Tension Sheet and unfortunately died in a plane crash at aged 98 while making love to his 14th wife and lost control.
Rimmer, realising that it would be a terrible thing to bring Lister back from such a pleasant lifestyle resolves… “I’m going in to rescue him…. It’s my duty! My duty as a complete and utter Bastard!”
Rimmer develops a slide of Lister’s Mansion and we see that Lister is indeed wealthy. He’s still a Smeg Head, but now he’s a wealthy Smeg Head. Rimmer joins Lister and his girlfriend the lovely Sabrina Mullholland J-Jones in the dining room (played by the exquisite Koo Stark). He begins a short statement, trying to persuade Lister to return to Red Dwarf, “You call this happiness? Surrounded by toadying lackeys and paid sycophants, living with a love-goddess-model-sex-bomb megastar. You call this contentment? You know, I stand here now and look at the two of us and I ask myself one simple question. Who is the rich man? You, with your 58 houses and your private house in the Bahamas with your multi-billion pound business empire. Or me, with …….. what I’ve got?” He pauses to consider what he’s just said and adds, “It’s you isn’t it? …… I should have thought harder about that speech really.” He then leaves, escorted by Lister’s paid lackey butler.
He returns to Red Dwarf. He then decides to return back in time to his boarding school. He persuades an 8-year-old version of himself to patent the Tension Sheet. The conversation is overheard by Thicky Holden who seems to take more notice than the young Rimmer.
He returns back to Red Dwarf and finds that his younger self didn’t actually patent the Tension Sheet. Apparently he was pipped to the post by Holden who managed to get to the patent office before the young Rimmer (who had to do extra rugby practice the next morning). Rimmer watches Lister and Cat and Kryten return and sees that he wont return to Earth as a millionaire or have to have constant sex with ‘that J-Jones woman’. He goes into a minor fit of depression until the lovely Holly points out that he is NOT a Hologram anymore. Apparently due to some strange quirk in the time space continuum, he is alive!
Rimmer is over the moon and runs screaming from the projection room. “I’m alive.” He shouts. Unfortunately a bomb goes off and we assume that he is killed – only to be brought back as a Hologram again.
And there the show ends. This playing with time stuff soon becomes a key feature of the Red Dwarf series, and although the science behind it can be a little ropy, you have to be impressed by the writers understanding – and their comic genius of course.
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