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Direction 9
Characterisation 10
Storyline 10
Acting 10
Fun/Sexy/Cool 10

Science, comedy, concept – all awesome. A near perfect score for a near perfect example of good science fiction comedy!

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Red Dwarf: S04E04: White Hole

The episode opens with a computer readout of the specifications of the talkie Toaster. It’s made by Crapola Inc. and has a recommended retail price of 19.95 dollar-pounds. It’s made in Taiwan and comes complete with an artificial intelligence chip (the K177). Kryten has just re-assembled it in the laboratory.  He wants to use it in an experiment.

Oh NO!!  Not the Toaster!Lister walks in dismayed to find that Kryten has re-assembled it after Lister carefully smashed it to bits following a protracted discussion concerning toast. He points out that the toaster is defective and insists that people have toast – it also greets you with how-de-doodlee-do!

Kryten bids that Lister trust him. His motives will become clear soon. He turns on the Toasters vocal circuits.

How-de-doodlee-do!” greets the Toaster, “Toastie Toaster’s the name and Toasting’s the game. Would anyone like any toast?
Lister sees red. “I don’t want any toast and he doesn’t want any toast. In fact no-one round here wants any toast, not now, not ever! No TOAST!
How about a muffin?” Asks the Toaster sensing a little hostility.
Or muffins,” continues Lister in a raised voice, “…. we want no muffins, no toast, no teacakes, no buns, baps, baguettes or bagels. No croissants, no crumpets, no pancakes, no potato cakes, and no hot-cross-buns, and definitely no smeggin’ flap-jacks!” He stands back defiantly.
Ahh, so you’re a waffle man.” Says the Toaster excitedly.
Lister gives up and Kryten tries to tell the Toaster not to offer any toasted bread products to any on of the crew. The toaster ignores him and asks if anyone would like some toast. The Toaster is programmed to offer toast – it has no option in the matter. “I am a Toaster, I toast therefore I am. If you didn’t want any toast why did you repair me?Lister begs the answer from Kryten.

Kryten tells Lister that the Toaster is part of an experiment in intelligence compression. “His AI (Artificial Intelligence) chips were very badly damaged in the accident.

That was no accident, that was first degree Toastercide!” exclaims the Toaster.

Look, just shut yer grill” Adds Lister bopping the Toaster on the head.

Kryten explains that he has managed to restore the Toasters AI chips using the Intelligence Compression technique but at the expense of reducing the Toasters operational lifetime. If this works with the Toaster, then it might also work with Holly and restoring her IQ of 6000. “She could be brilliant again!Kryten concludes.

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Later, Lister, Kryten and Cat debate the experiment. All are pleased at the prospect of returning Holly’s intelligence, “Just getting her to count without banging her head on the screen will be an improvement!” agrees Cat.

They start the process and Holly’s IQ raises gradually from 68 to a whopping 12,368. A 3d light picture of Holly appears. She tells the Toaster that she knows everything! – ask me a question?” The toaster rather predictably asks her if she would like some toast, then later, a crumpet. The elegant looking super-Holly declines.

The Toaster finally asks Holly why she has an IQ of 12,000 when she was only supposed to have an IQ of 6000. Holly tells him that there was an error in the calculation and though her intelligence has increased substantially, he life expectancy has been reduced exponentially. She works out that her life expectancy is down to only 3.41 minutes! She turns herself off to save her remaining run-time. All power is lost and the engines stop working.

Cat, Lister, Rimmer and Kryten meanwhile, are making their way back to the Science Laboratory. They notice that everything has stopped. They become concerned when they debate the reasons why and resolve that they get back to the science room as fast as possible. Unfortunately, there are 54 doors in their way. Cat suggests that they ‘laser’ their way through.

An excellent suggestion sir, with just two minor drawbacks. One, we don’t have a power source for the laser, and two, we don’t have any lasers in the first place!” They eventually resolve to use Kryten as a battering ram to break through all 54 doors.

When they finally get to the Science Room, they try to revive Holly but she keeps turning herself off. Eventually they over-ride her shutdown mechanism and Rimmer forces her to explain what has happened. Poor delectable Holly explains that her life expectancy is no down to 2.5 minutes because of an error in the experiments calculations. She adds that Rimmer is a total ‘Smeghead’ for forcing her to stay on and explain.

When the crew realise what has happened they quickly turn her off (sigh). “So where does this leave us?” asks Cat. “… It leaves us galloping up dioreah drive without a paddle!” answers a distressed Kryten. It further seems that Rimmer is a drain on the ships power. If his hologramatic life force was turned off, the remaining crew members life expectancy (power used for head and basic life support) would be increased to six months from the existing two months. Kryten points out that the Space Corps Directive 195, states that “in an emergency power situation, a Hologram crewmember must lay down his life in order that the living crew-members may survive. The Rimmer Directive 271 however clearly states, “no chance you metal bastard!.

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Kryten tries to persuade Rimmer to do the right thing by reminding him of great human sacrifices, such as Captain Oats on the Scots expedition to the Antarctic. “I may be some time.

Rimmer is unconvinced, he rather eloquently points out, “…… How do we know that Oats went out for this legendary walk, from the only surviving document, Scott’s Diary. He’s hardly likely to have written, ‘February the 1st: Bludgeoned Oats to death while he slept, then scoffed him down with the last packet of instant mash (mashed potato)’……. No, much better to say ‘:Oats made the supreme sacrifice’ while you’re dabbing up his gravy with the last piece of crusty bread

The crew attempt to live without the need of a computer to Wobbly space sustain them. They can’t cook and the heating is minimal. Their existence is miserable. Kryten and Rimmer have to travel for 5 days through 2000 floors to get to the cargo decks for supplies. It takes them five days. They are returning from such a trip when they suddenly explode and re-assemble! It seems that they have stumbled across a distortion in the space time continuum (to quote Star Trek). They find that they can step into and out of the anomaly. “It’s as though we are experiencing compressed time dilation in an amazingly compressed space” concludes Kryten.

Kryten decides that they should consult Holly. When they arrive in the Science Room, they turn Holly on and she produces a small computer simulation on a disk that can be read on-board Starbug.

Rimmer and Kryten return to explain the situation to Cat and Lister. He tells them that they are experiencing anomalies in time and space because they are headed directly for a White Hole.The galactic pool table

On Starbug they see a computer simulation of the White Hole and a number of planets. They see the simulation cause a chain reaction (started by a blast from Starbug) resulting in one of the planets being thrown into the White Hole, thereby blocking it up. Lister tells the others that the simulation is flawed. It will require a great deal of skill and he is the right man for the job. The rest of the crew stare at him in disbelief but Lister explains that the activity is exactly the same as a game of pool except in this case, the pool balls are planets.

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He eventually persuades the others to let him take the shot rather than rely on Holly’s skill (after all she only has an IQ of 12,000). He takes the shot after careful consideration and a couple of cans of strong lager. It turns out to be a complete fluke. Potted! Sure the planet goes into the White Hole, but as a result of luck rather than judgement. Lister takes the credit anyway.

The old (but still lovely) Holly appears. “Ere, woss goin on – what happened to that plan to make me brilliant again?” she tells a surprised crew.

Kryten explains, “Of course, blocking up the White Hole has eradicated its influence! The time it spewed into the Universe no longer exists. Basically, we occupy a redundant time line. Reviving the Toaster and making Holly a genius never happened!Kryten goes on to explain one of the most dramatically flawed scientific explanations I’ve ever herd, We will cease to be here but we will exist on Red Dwarf, before all this began, with of course, no memory of these events…… which of course, never happened. {the background begins to disappear} And as these events never happened, we will have no memory of them…..

In which case Mr. Rimmer sir, I should like to take this opportunity of saying that you are THE most obnoxious, trumped-up, farty little Smeghead that it has every been my misfortune to encounter!

The crew then disappear with nods of agreement from Cat and Lister, back (presumably) to Red Dwarf and the episode ends.

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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without  the authors express permission

The Red Dwarf names, characters and everything else associated with
the series are the property of The British Broadcasting Corporation,
Rob Grant & Doug Naylor.  All rights reserved.

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