Red Dwarf: S05E04: Quarantine

This was another fine episode.  It opened with the Starbug landing on an icy planet. The crew were there to investigate an abandoned laboratory.  They believe that there is one sole survivor, a geniusStarbug lands on an icy planet hologram doctor.

Kryten issues the order to launch the scout ship. Rimmer is most upset by this and halts the activity so that he can issue the order himself. He is, after all, the person responsible for security and surveillance on board. He tries, but is ignored, to his embarrassment, by Cat and Lister.

The scout is launches and scouts around. They find that to rescue the good doctor, Rimmer’s light drive will need to be commandeered. They all tentatively approach him, his pride still injured, “Clearly I am superfluous to this entire operation,” begins Rimmer, “Ably commanded as it is, by a droid who was created purely to clean lavatories. SO I really don’t know why you are telling me all this Captain Bog-Bot!

I’m afraid we are going to have to commandeer your remote projection Unit in order to commandeer her (Dr. Hildegard Langstrome) sir.” Says Kryten.

Oh, I see,” continues Rimmer, “First of all I’m deemed unsuitable to issue the command, Launch Scout Pod! But now I’m being bundled into an escape pod and relieved of my duties by Commander U-Bend.

Lister and Kryten explain that it is only possible to get the hologram back to Red Dwarf with the projection Unit. Rimmer points out smiling, that Red Dwarf can only sustain one hologram. It immediately becomes clear to Rimmer, that they understood this too well. Rimmer becomes immediately defensive and tells them that he is not some sort of time-share.

Kryten reminds Rimmer of his obligations, “Sir, might I remind you that Space Corps Directive 169 quite clearly states that …..

Holly, prepare me an escape pod,” says Rimmer resigning himself to loosing the argument while so many of his crew-members are so adamant, “anything to save me from another Space Corps Directive……Has anyone ever seen this legendary Space Corps Directive manual?

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Kryten asks the stunningly beautiful Holly to furnish Rimmer with a hologramatic copy for his perusal.  Kryten resents the implication that Space Corps Directives are used only against Rimmer and he hopes that Rimmer will soon understand that they are designed for the complete well-being of the ships crew.

You’ve changed, do you know that,Rimmer accuses Kryten, “They may not see it, but I do. I know what’s going on. You’ve become a really nasty piece of work. You are merely a mechanoid, that’s all you are merely…. Don’t ever forget it!” He leaves to prepare his escape pod.

Meanwhile, Kryten, Lister and the Cat venture onto the planet’s surface. They explore an abandoned scientific laboratory to discover that it was hit badly by a virus. Kryten supposes that the hologram of the Doctor might too be infected. He also notices some vials of fluid which he finds of interest. He takes them, securely placing them in his satchel.

The mad and dead Dr. LangstromSure enough, the crew finds that Dr. Langstrom is quite mad. In fact, it’s worse than that, she’s a raving lunatic with hexvision, a sort of hologram psychic vision and kinetic ability. They discover her cryogenic chamber as the lid lifts to reveal the salivating female genius-psychic nutter.

Life has no meaning without pain…. Gentlemen, I wish to give your lives meaning.” She says. Her eyes blaze red and the Cat, Lister and Kryten make their escape.

Lister tries to contact Rimmer but not before the crazy doctor captures the communicator from Lister and Kryten and communicates with Rimmer, “Hello,” she says rather innocently, “My name is Dr. Hildegard Langstrom and I am quite, quite mad!

Rimmer is pleased to find that the other crewmembers are in trouble. I think he realises that they will get out of trouble, but he relishes the feeling that he can observe from a distance, “Are you really,” he says, How Absolutely splendid!

I have a riddle for you.” Says the Doctor, “What’s dead, and dead, and dead all over?

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I give in doctor fruit-loop, do tell me.” Asks Rimmer.

You-hoo!” shouts the mad doctor, and with that, the communications console on Starbug is destroyed. Rimmer is not too impressed and decides not to hang around No surprise there! Rimmer, still miffed, leaves to go back to Red Dwarf.

The mad doctor is capable of firing lasers from her eyes and she chases the three heroes round the station. Finally, her life support system blows up and she is no more.

The lucky cardtrick!Kryten decides to look into Dr. Langstroms work in more detail. He manages to work out what the vials of liquid contain. Apparently she was able to separate negative viruses such as flu and positive viruses such a sexual attraction and luck! He took a few of these vials containing the positive viruses with him.  He demonstrates the luck virus on Lister who then goes on to draw four aces from a pack of cards at a probability of 270,725 to one!

All the crew are feeling pretty lucky with their new find, until that is, the delectable Holly tells them that their returning Starbug has been diverted to the Quarantine Deck!  The smiling face of Rimmer appears, “…much as I trust a viral screening conducted by an automated toilet attendant, I really must draw you attention to Space Corps Directive 595. I have no intention of contracting the hologrammatic equivalent of Foaming Dog Fever. So gentlemen, if you’d all like to proceed to quarantine room 152 where you’ll be spending the next three months!

Sure enough, Rimmer has decided to make their life hell. He couldn’t have done a better job. To enclose three friends I the same room for three months would drive them all mad. After only five days, Lister has a black eye, Cat has a broken nose and Kryten’s head had been pummelled. The three were in a desperate state. They consider what they can do to persuade Rimmer to let them go.Gingham Rimmer

To their horror however, they soon notice that Rimmer has contracted the deadly Hologram virus.  Apparently it happened when the mad Dr. Langstrom communicated with Rimmer over the walkie-talkie.

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Rimmer appears in a red and white checked gingham dress and his hair is tied in bobbles at each side of his head.  He accuses them of plotting and decides that the only punishment is to turn off the oxygen supply.

Kryten, Cat and Lister have only minutes to escape. Kryten suggests that the remaining ‘Luck’ virus could be administered to Lister and that he would then be able to take a lucky guess at breaking the door security keypad.

Gingham Rimmer's red eyesThe plan worked. Unfortunately,the mad Rimmer is after them. He now has all the powers that Dr. Langstrom developed and is able to fire lasers from his eyes and follow their every movement using Hexvision.

Kryten tells the fleeing Cat and Lister that he could construct a gadget that would disable the virus if they were lucky enough to find the parts lying around as they fled. Lister still has the ‘Luck’ virus and manages to acquire the right pieces at the right time by simply stumbling across them.

Payback Time!Kryten hastily constructs the gizmo and uses it on Rimmer immediately. Rimmer is rendered unconscious and his clothes change back from the gingham dress to the red Captain Scarlet uniform he usually wears. Apparently he is back to normal.

We all breathe a collective sigh of relief as we watch Rimmer awake in the Quarantine room. Behind a glass panel we see Kryten, Cat and Lister dressed in gingham dresses with their hair tied up, “Don’t worry, we’re here to entertain you!” they say screaming and dancing maniacally.

Rimmer looks on in horror 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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