Red Dwarf: S05E02: The Inquisitor
The show opens with a figure dressed like the Grim Reaper entering the sleeping quarters of some geezer. Not any particular sort of geezer, just a geezer! “Thomas Almond.” It says, “Thomas Almond, you have been found unworthy of ever having existed.“
The geezer wakes up, “Is that you mother?” He says.
“Your life will be wiped from history and the time you occupied in this void of reality will be given to a person who was never given the gift of life. May they spend their time more wisely!” The Grim Reaper like character fires a sort of laser beam at the poor bloke and he disappears without trace and indeed, without ever having existed. He is substituted for some other geezer.
On Starbug, Lister, Rimmer and Kryten debate the implausibility of the legend of the The Trojan Horse. Lister correctly pints out that this legend was the source of the phrase, ‘Beware Greeks bearing gifts’ Whereas it would have been far more appropriate to have a phrase, ‘Beware of Trojans, They’re complete Smegheads.’
Suddenly there is a loud bang and the ship is forced to change course. Holly reports that there is a tractor beam of some kind pulling them back to Red Dwarf. A voice takes over Lister’s body. It tells them that it is the Inquisitor and that it will take them back to Red Dwarf where they will go on trial to see if they have been worthy of their existence. If they are found guilty, they will be deleted.
Kryten tells them that he has heard or the Inquisitor in legend. It tells of a self-sustaining droid that survives to the edge of eternity. After millions of years alone, it reaches the conclusion that there is no God. It comes to the conclusion that all living beings should therefore live a worthwhile life. It constructs a time machine and goes through the universe searching for people who have led worthless lives, deletes them and replaces them with people who have never had a chance at life.
“He prunes away the waste, expunges the wretched and deletes the worthless!” Kryten explains.
Rimmer concludes, “We’re in trouble.”
Lister disagrees. “Who’s to say what is worthless?”
“Oh please,” says Cat. “Take a look in the mirror. Read your entry in whose no-body!”
“I mean it,” continues Lister, “whose to judge, who’s to says what’s worthwhile?”
“Lets face it Lister,” Rimmer adds, “Lying in your bunk reading What Bike and eating Sugar Puff (A cereal breakfast food) sandwiches for eight hours every day is unlikely to qualify.”
“So just because I haven’t written any symphonies or painted the Sistine Chapel, that makes me prunable?” Asks Lister.
“No.” chips in the lovely Holly, “Being a totally unwashed, worthless Space Bum. That’s what makes you prunable.”
“Precisely,” concludes Kryten, “the object isn’t fame, it’s simply to have lived a worthwhile life!”
As soon as they get onboard Red Dwarf, the Inquisitor appears bathed in light. Lister, Rimmer, the Cat and Kryten shield their eyes as he tells them that their trial has begun. He chooses Rimmer to be first.
In a darkened room lit only by candles the Inquisitor begins, “You have been given the greatest gift. The gift of life. Tell me, what have you done to deserve this superlative good fortune?”
Rimmer respectfully requests what right the Inquisitor has to judge him. How will he know that he gets a fair trial. The inquisitor lifts his visor to reveal Rimmer! In the interests of fairness, Rimmer is to be judged by himself. The Inquisitor points out that it’s the only fair way.
Rimmer, after a shaky start, tells the Inquisitor, “What else could I have been. My father was a half crazed military failure, My mother a bitch Queen from hell. My brothers had all the looks and talent, and what did I have. Unmanageable hair and in growing toenails. Yes, I admit I’m nothing, but from what I started with, nothing is up.”
Rimmer then disappears and the Cat arrives. “Hi buddy!” he says
The Inquisitor tells him to justify himself and Cat does so confidently, “I have given pleasure to the world because I have such a beautiful ass!”
“That’s true.” Says the Inquisitor.
“Can I go now?” Asks the Cat.
“That’s your case?” Returns the Inquisitor.
“You need more?” says Cat surprised.
“Some might say that’s a pretty shallow argument!” Adds the Inquisitor.
“Some might say I’m a pretty shallow guy. But I’m a shallow guy with a great ass!”
“Sometimes you astonish even me!” Says the Inquisitor with a smile.
“Thankyou.” Says Cat as Kryten arrives for his Trial.
Kryten is unsure that he is able to justify his life since he is programmed to live unselfishly. “I execute a series of binary commands that I am forced to obey.” He adds.
“Your argument invites deletion.” Says the Inquisitor.
“The rules are yours not mine.” Replies Kryten.
“Do you wish to be erased?” Asks the Inquisitor.
“I am programmed not to wish for anything, I serve.”
“In humans, this behaviour may be considered stubborn.” Says the Inquisitor without emotion.
“But I am not human,” replies Kryten, “and neither are you. It is not our place to judge them, and I wonder why you do.” He concludes eloquently.
The Inquisitor avoids and answer and makes Kryten disappear, replacing him with Lister.
“Well,” says the Lister Inquisitor, “get out of this one Smeghead!”
“What are you talking about?” Says Lister stalling for time.
“You know what you could have made of your life if you tried. …… You’ve got brains man, brains you’ve never used….. So justify yourself.”
“Spin on it.” Says Lister, obviously not coming up with a plan.
The Inqusitor closes his visor and announces that the Inquisition is over. His verdict is that Lister and Kryten have lived without merit and have therefore not lived at all. He fires a laser at Lister and Kryten. Suddenly a copy of Kryten appears behind the Inquisitor. He chops off the Inquisitors firing arms and throws it to Lister and Kryten. They make their escape while the Inquisitor kills the Kryten from the future.
Unfortunately, the Inquisitor erased them both from time and as a result, neither Lister or Kryten now exist they are in a sort of time limbo. Holly does therefore not recognise them and refuses to let them operate the doors on the ship. Worse still, they meet Rimmer and Cat who don’t recognise them either. Just as Lister persuades Rimmer and Cat that they are genuine and that they are worthy of their help, the new Rimmer and Lister appear. Confused? You will be!
They are about to be thrown in the brig, when the Inquisitor appears and tries to shoot them. He kills the new Lister. The old Lister picks up his hand and uses it to get through the ships door security. They manage to get to Starbug and Kryten manages to work out how to use the gauntlet.
Lister and the Inquisitor battle it out in the corridor. Kryten manages to distract the Inquisitor for long enough to allow Lister to fire a disablement bean at the Inquisitor. In the end, he manages to trick the Inquisitor into shooting himself by making him believe that he is shooting and destroying Lister.
As the Inquisitor shoots and obliterates himself from the space-time Continuum he therefore never existed in the first place. Time eventually returns back to normal. Erm… and I guess the Inquisitor (nor even the threat of the Inquisitor…) never existed and erm…. is just as it was before… I think.
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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
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