Red Dwarf: S05E01: Holoship

Yes this was that fateful episode where Rimmer got laid!  The show opened with the screening of a mushy film in the cinema area on Starbug.  At the end, the hero of the film gave everything up for a girl he would never meet again,  Lister’s reaction was tearful, Cat had fallen asleep, Kryten was enthralled and Rimmer was annoyed at having to sit through such a long show of mindless drivel.  This causes an argument between Lister and Rimmer.

The stunningly beautiful Holly interrupts to tell the crew that there is a ‘blip’ on the monitor. The argument continues as Lister tells Rimmer that he has no soul.  He can’t understand why Rimmer is not moved by the idea of a man giving everything up for love. “As if!” is Rimmer’s simple reply.

Kryten tells the crew that they are headed on a collision course for the ‘blip’. They take evasive action and Cat suggests that they put up the defensive shields.

A superlative suggestion,” begins Kryten, “with only two minor flaws. one, we don’t have any defensive shields and two, we don’t have any defensive shields.  Now I realise that technically speaking that’s only one flaw, but I thought that it was such a big one, it was worth mentioning twice!

The holoshipAs they try to avoid the rapidly approaching ship, a beam of light zooms through the cockpit window and into the cargo room.  It splits into lots of little bright balls and circles the room rather beautifully.  Rimmer is taken aback by this and follows. The balls then zoom out again and head off into space.  Then they suddenly materialize as a ship, not just any old ship you understand, but a holoship, a ship made of light.  Suddenly Rimmer disappears.

Quick lets get out of here before he comes back” exclaims Cat.

On the Holoship, a startled Rimmer is greeted by a very lovely Hologram! She introduces herself as Nirvana Crane and shakes his hand. Rimmer is very pleasantly surprised, not only to meet such a beautiful woman, but that he can erm.. touch her. They shake hands. She explains that the entire ship is computer generated. The crew number approximately 2000 (all ‘top flight’ crewmembers).

Rimmer finds that life on the Holoship is full of wonders, for instance, floor 3125 is the sports and sexual recreation room. It is the ships regulation that each member of the crew have sex at least twice a day! (sod Rimmer TAKE ME!!.)  It is also considered the height of bad manners to refuse sexual coupling. Nirvana Crane goes on to tell him that the notions of family, of love and relationships of any kind are outmoded. on the Holoship, they only believe in sex, constant, guilt free, sex! (Jonathan Agar emailed me to tell me that the lovely hologram is Jane Horrocks, also known as Bubbles in Absolutely Fababulous, and has been in Little Voice, and other shows).

The ship is well run by lots of beautiful people in pleasant ordered surroundings. The crewmembers seem a little snooty, but Rimmer puts this down to efficiency. He rapidly determines that this is the ship of his dreams and almost immediately, decides that he wants to stay.

On Starbug, Kryten is concerned for the safety of Rimmer. Cat suggests that they break out the laser cannons. Kryten begins, “An Adroit suggestion with only two slight drawbacks….” The Cat doesn’t let him finish.

Suddenly a geezer from the holoship appears. He has a communicator with him and is communicating the value of his visit with the Holoship.  It appears he is looking for items worth salvaging. The Hologram visitor wanders round the deck, “I have arrived on the ‘derelict’, …. Have confirmed initial speculation that there is absolutely nothing of any value or interest here…… crew: three. {Moves over to Kryten} one series 4000 Mechanoid – almost burnt out.  Give it maybe three years, nothing of salvageable value….. {moves over to Cat}… Ahhh, filisapiens, bread from the domestic cat with about half the intelligence… no value in the future study of this species… {moves over to Lister}…Ahh, what have we here. A human being, or a very close approximation….. chronological age, mid-twenties, physical age 47… grossly overweight, unnecessarily ugly… would recommend it for the museum. Other than that, of no value or interest.

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Lister is mildly upset by the arrogance of the visiting hologram and gets out a packet of cigarettes. He takes one of the cigarettes half out of the packet so as to make the packet look like a communicator. “Lister to Red Dwarf. We have in our midst a complete SmegPot!… Brains in the anal region…. Chin absent, presumed missing…. Genitalia, small and inoffensive… Of no value or interest.

The hologeezer, spoiling for a rumbleThe visitor looks at Lister quizzically, “Bridge to Enlightenment.  Evidence of primitive humour. The human has knowledge of irony, satire and imitation….. With basic tuition… could, maybe master simple tasks.

Lister smiles at the Hologram, “Lister to Red Dwarf. Displays evidence of spoiling for a rumble! Seems to be incapable of understanding simple threats. With careful pummelling, could possibly be sucking tomorrows lunch through a straw!

Bridge to Enlightenment,” replies the confident holovisitor, “The human is somehow under the delusion that he is able to bestow physical violence to a hologram.

Lister to Red Dwarf…. The intruder seems to be blissfully unaware that we have a rather sturdy holowhip in the munitions cabinet. Unless he wants his derriere minced like burger meat. He’d better be history in ten seconds flat!Lister bites the end off his unlit cigarette and takes his jacket off.

Bridge to Enlightenment,” replies the less confident holovisitor, “Re-con mission complete…. Transmit…. With speed… Quickly please.” Then he disappears.

On-board the holoship, Rimmer’s sexy companion introduces him to Captain Air-cool Platini, IQ 212. This guy is another arrogant type, though he is somewhat warmer to the hologram of Rimmer. The rest of the crewmembers on the bridge introduce themselves (and their IQ’s. It seems that rank on this ship is based on crewmembers IQ). “Second technician Arnold Rimmer, IQ unknown.” Says Rimmer impotently.

He tells ‘Air-cool’ that he would like to become a member of the crew. The Captain explains that he is not an officer and that it would therefore be impossible. Rimmer, thinking quickly on his feet, retorts, “Captain, I’ve been in effective command of Red Dwarf now for nearly four years, I’ve guided that raga-muffin, rag-tailed crew of whacked-out crazies and hippie peacenicks through hell and back. If I gave the order, those guys would crawl on their bellies through broken glass with their flies unzipped. So don’t tell me I’m not an officer Captain, just because in deep space there is no Academy around to award me my pips.

The Captain explains that the ship has a full complement of crewmembers. There would be a test where he would have to pit his intellectual strength against an opposing crewmember. If Rimmer should win, the loosing crewmember’s life force would be turned off and he would assume their place. An opponent is chosen and Rimmer is given 24 hours to prepare.

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The lovely light figure of Nirvana shows him to his quarters and casually offers him a sexual liaison. Rimmer veritably jumps at the chance and the two go to her apartment. Afterwards, the two are lying on her bed. Nirvana isn’t exactly disappointed, more like surprised. Rimmer asks if he was ok. “It’s never been like that before.” She says, “It was…. different.” The way she said it was complementary. “You make love like a Japanese meal, small portions but soooo many courses!

Nirvana, in bed with Rimmer!!!Rimmer is unsure if this is complementary or insulting. He chooses the former, which is, I think, what was intended. Rimmer tries to explain that hi cares for her, but he is quickly reminded that holograms are not allowed feelings. She tells Rimmer that they usually talk about research, mission profiles etc. Rimmer apologises, “I’m sorry, I must have seemed very ignorant. I hardly said anything apart from, Geronimo!

Nirvana smiles at him sweetly and says, “Thankyou…. for the workout.

Rimmer returns to the ship as Nirvana learns that it is she who is due to meet Rimmer in the intellectual duel. Rimmer asks Kryten for a Mind Patch. This is very immoral and illegal and can result in Rimmer loosing his mind. “A small price to pay!” adds Cat.

Rimmer argues that this is his big chance to make something of himself, to change from the miserable person they see before them to an person of some worth on a research ship exploring the cosmos.

Lister and Cat reluctantly agree, but Kryten has one final argument up his sleeve, “Sir, I beg you to re-consider. If not for your sanity, you haven’t even considered the moral implications of your decision. I mean, you will be joining a society where you will be compelled to have sex with beautiful, brilliant women, twice daily, on-demand. Now, am I the only one here who finds that just a little bit tacky!?

Rimmer becomes smartHe certainly was!

Eventually Rimmer is given the intellectual boost he needs. The minds of two of Red Dwarf’s ex-crewmembers are ‘inserted’ into Rimmer’s mind.  He will have their brilliance, but his own personality will have control. At least that’s the theory! Unfortunately his personality wasn’t strong enough. Rimmer turns into a geek. No ordinary geek, Rimmer has become the King of Geeks!

He is beamed into the holoship and the examination room. Rimmer starts his test and immediately begins to score points – BIG TIME.  His opponent, the lovely Nirvana is also doing well, but she really hasn’t a hope of keeping up. Suddenly, Rimmer experiences a problem.  It’s as if his intelligence is draining out of him. He rushes off back to Starbug.

Meanwhile, the Cat, Lister and Kryten are interviewing holograms of ex-crewmembers to replace Rimmer. one in particular, a quite attractive young female officer, seems to be impressing the them quite nicely. Then she asks a question, “I just want to get one thing clear in my mind. This is an opportunity to be revived as a hologram and become a part of the crew, and the crew is you three. You spend your time salvaging derelict spaceships, playing poker, and eating curries……. No. I think I’m better of dead! ….. And meeting you guys has really made me appreciate it a whole lot more.

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As the lovely candidate voluntarily disappears, Rimmer burst into the room and demands another mind patch. Kryten tells him that the other mind patch was rejected and that it is impossible for him to get another. Rimmer returns to the ship dejected. He is congratulated by other holo-crewmembers and one is so impressed that she offers herself for sex later next week (Wadda ship!) Rimmer refuses, “I can’t make it next week, I’m killing myself!” he says, still depressed.

Moments later he is joined by Nirvana. “Arny, where have you been?” She greets him. “To hell and back,” he says, “I’ve withdrawn from the challenge….. I was using a mind patch.

A mind patch!” Exclaims Nirvana, “Are you insane?

I’d have done anything to get on this ship.” Says Rimmer. “Every time I look in the mirror I see this {pointing at the ‘H’ on his head}. only to me, it doesn’t mean Hologram, it means half-wit, hopeless, hideous failure. This was a chance to be somebody, somebody I liked.

Nirvana pouts attractively, “I’ve never met anyone like you before.” She says. “Everyone says that!” blurts Rimmer.

Nirvana grabs Rimmer’s chin, “Listen to me Mister! Underneath all that neurotic mess is somebody nice trying to get out. Someone who deserves a chance to grow. So you won’t give up, ok….. OK? ….You’re going to in Arny, you’re going to get your dream…. I promise you.” Nirvana then kisses her finger and touches Rimmer’s mouth. She really is very sweet! I really think.” She says. Then she leaves.

Later, Rimmer walks into Lister’s quarters where Cat and he are playing poker. His face looks stern, “I won.” He says, “My opponent withdrew!…. I leaveNo thanks mate, I'll stay wi'mi'pals tonight

Later that night, Rimmer leaves and joins the holoship crew. He finds out immediately that Nirvana Crane was his opponent and realises that she withdrew so that he might live (erm..) his dream. Rimmer is not happy with this and speaks to the Captain. He resigns his commission stating that Commander Crane took leave of her senses and withdrew from the challenge because she was in love with him.

The Captain dismisses the notion but grants Rimmer’s request. Rimmer hands the Captain a note to give to Nirvana. The Captain points out that his leaving solves nothing, they will, after all, still be apart. As Rimmer leaves, he turns back to the Captain and says, “You’re wrong. We won’t be apart, we just wont be together.” His face turns to a grimace, “I cannot believe I just said that!

The holoship leaves without RimmerAnd with that almost-romantic-typical-black-and-white-movie-mushy-ending,  Rimmer re-joins his crewmembers aboard Red Dwarf and the episode ends.

It was great to see Rimmer’s character challenged in this episode. We all know what a git he can be.  But as we and Nirvana suspected, he may be something more than a complete Smeghead!

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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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