Red Dwarf: S06E01: Psirens

The first episode or the new series was a cracker! They had a lot to live up to after the perfection of the last episode of Season 5 and they really did a great job.  Sex (or at least the kiss of all kisses!), violence and some GREAT one-liners produced an episode that would live in our memories forever. The show opened with Lister waking from a cryogenic sleep.  His fingers and toenails had grown very long. Indeed they had 200 years growth.

As he is revived, Kryten tries to help Lister over a temporary bout of amnesia by showing him a picture of Kochanski.  It appears that Lister once ‘went out’ with Kochanskifor three weeks no less!  She ended the relationship. This is a new development!  In previous shows, the insinuation was that Lister and Kochanski had never been lovers.

Lister wakes from a DEEP sleep!Lister and Cat had gone into cryogenic sleep for 200 years following the loss of Red Dwarf. Rimmer is re-initiated and the four get together to discuss how they may recover the mother ship.

Rimmer accuses Lister of loosing the ship, he believes that Lister forgot which planetary orbit he left it parked.  Kryten believes however, that the ship was stolen and while the rest of the crew have been in cryogenic sleep, he has patiently followed Red Dwarf’s vapor trails. The Psiren Asteroid Belt They are now only a matter of hours away from the mothership and an opportunity has arisen where they can steer Starbug through an asteroid field to gain some time in catching up with Red Dwarf.

Rimmer objects sighting Space Corps Directive 1742. “No member of the crew should ever report for duty in a ginger toupee.” Says Kryten slightly surprised, “Well, thank you for reminding me of that regulation sir, but I can’t see how it’s pertinent to our situation.

Rimmer of course meant Space Corps Directive 1473, ‘No registered vessel should attempt to transverse an asteroid belt without deflectors.’ The rest of the crew ignore Rimmer’s objection believing that they now have the best chance of catching up with Red Dwarf.  Cat is chosen to pilot Starbug since his sense of smell and quick reflexes are ideal for identifying objects on a collision course sooner than the ships scanners.

A bullish Cat reminds Rimmer of an old Cat proverb, which states, “It’s better to live one hour as a tiger than a whole lifetime as a worm.

There’s an old Earth saying,” replies Rimmer, “Who ever heard of a worm skin rug!

A Brain eating Psiren

As they enter the centre of the asteroid belt, they notice a sort of graveyard for old ships. There are 12 derelict spaceships, and the crew decide to launch a scout to find out what happened. The scout ship reveals the terrible state of the derelict ships. They see the ankles of a dead man who wrote out the words ‘PSIRENS’ with his own blood and intestines! “Who would do such a thing.” Asks Rimmer.

Someone who badly needed a pen.” Concludes Lister. “… The scout has located the Black Box.” He adds sternly.

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The black box reveals the Captain of the ship telling whoever is likely to see his final recording that the Psirens. He tells them that the creatures are all over the ship and that it’s only a matter of time before….. Then suddenly we see a giant cockroach like creature closing in behind him, “Oh my god you’re beautiful..” he says, “I… I can’t resist you….. Be strong…. No you don’t want to love me, you want to suck out my brains with that straw like you did the rest of them……” The creature pushes him to the ground and some blood spurts across the screen, “No…No… Get that straw out of my ear!….. Ahhhheeuughhh!” he concludes as the creature raises it’s head covered in human entrails. This is all stirring stuff.  Rimmer too was impressed enough to faint.

Lister checks three of the other ships black boxes, “This asteroid belt is swarming with some kind of genetically engineered life form.” He explains to the others, “They can alter you perceptions telepathically. They’re called Psirens….. They use this power of illusion to lure you onto the asteroids. Then they strip the ship of whatever they can use….. Then they suck out your brains.

The crew decide that all they need to do is avoid any contact with ANYTHING. They wouldn’t land anywhere and the wouldn’t be taken in by any forms of communication with ANYONE! No matter how plausible they would be.Temptation nearly wins Cat

Cat rushes over to the communications monitor. A message appears from two very beautiful women, “Please help us, our settlement is almost extinct, there are only women left. Barely three thousand of us. If we are to survive, we need males to spread their seed amongst our number. We beg you, make love to us, make love to all of us.Cat along with half the viewing audience was convinced. But he was soon put right by Rimmer, Lister and Kryten.

Kryten points out that this message may not have seemed plausible enough to them because it was designed by the Psirens to entrap the Cat. The next message is aimed at Lister and it was considerably more sophisticated. An attractive woman appears on the screen, this time she is armed to the teeth and firing a bazookoid at an unseen foe. “This is Captain Tower of the SCS Pioneer, we are under attack, some form of scavengers, Psirens. They lured us onto this God forsaken asteroid and killed most of the crew.” Suddenly she is shot in the back. She falls.

Lister turns to Kryten and Rimmer, “Is this genuine?” He asks with concern. The screen then shows Kochanski! Weary from battle but looking magnificent (at least in Lister’s eyes).

Don’t try to help us, we’re finished,” she says, in that lovely Scottish accent of hers, “….. Dave is that you…There’s not time to explain, we’re over-run. Get out of the belt while you can. We’re ok, they will never take us alive. I’ve been keeping back three bullets…. one for me and one each for the two kids….. Your two sons Dave…. When you went into stasis on Red Dwarf, I broke into the sperm bank….. You’re a father….. Here they come. Jim, Bexley… come to mommy!

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The screen goes blank and Lister excitedly spews out orders to plot a course for the asteroid …… “Lister. Tune into sanity FM.” Says Rimmer unsympathetically.

What, you think that they were Psirens?” Asks Lister slightly confused.

Of course!” exclaims Rimmer, “It’s as plain as a Bulgarian pin-up!Cat then informs them all that there is a giant flaming meteorite. Kryten tells them all that there is nothing on the screen. He supposes that the meteorite is not real and that it is simply a Psiren illusion. “Cat, are you getting any scent from that meteorite?” He asks

I didn’t even know they had a duty free show!Cat replies. They decide to ignore the oncoming fireball and Kryten’s theory turns out to be correct. The meteorite simply passes through them. Kryten goes into smug mode, “I can’t stand around saving your necks all day, I guess I’ll go and make a start on that ironing.” He and Lister leave the cockpit as another fireball approaches. This time the illusion is of the ships instruments.

The crew realise that it is NOT an illusion too late and the fireball hits them and forces Starbug to crash land on an asteroid. There is only minor damage but it is left to Lister to go outside and free one of the ships legs by blasting it free from a rocky outcrop.  Lister is warned to be careful of psychotic Psirens, but he is confident that he can handle the danger.

Wadda Psiren!!He manages to free the ships leg and on his way back he sees a vision of his adolescent desire, Pete Trance’s sister. “Remember me Dave,” she says rather sexily.  She is dressed in a wonderful outfit that leaves little to the imagination. “.. You lusted after me, all through your puberty… At last, I can be yours…. You know what you want! You want to squeeze my buttocks together to make one giant juicy peach!{Well, I’m convinced!}

I get it,” replies Lister tentatively, “You’re trying to make me drown in my own drool!. Stay back Pete Trance’s sister!” He says unconvincingly.

How long has it been….. 3 Million Years!…..” she says, touching his forehead, “….since you made love to a woman….. Kiss me. Your death will be exquisite, I’ll take you to the peek of ecstasy, then I’ll blow your mind.” She kisses him. You Lister sucks on a Psiren can tell they are using tongues because when we see what she really looks like, we see Lister snogging a giant cockroach and saliva is dribbling down the Psiren’s tentacle and all over his face.

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Suddenly a large spear is pushed through the back of the Psiren. “Come on Dave. Let’s get out of here!” says Kryten. Lister begins to leave with Kryten when is suddenly realises that Kryten has never referred to him as ‘Dave’. Lister quickly turns and shoots the Psiren. He rushes off back to the ship.

Rimmer and Kryten try to find out what’s happening. Lister communicates with them through his radio link. “A couple of Psirens whacked each other out fighting over my brains…. Oh Smeg! It’s the TV weather girl from channel 27!…… You can’t see what she’s doing with her pointy stick!

Lister eventually manages to get back on –board and they are just about to leave when another Psiren enters the airlock as Lister. Rimmer, Cat and Kryten can’t tell the difference so they let both on board. The Psiren is eventually killed when the two Lister’s are given a guitar to play. The Psiren plays the guitar very well and is immediately shot. The reason being that Lister only believes that he can play the guitar – he is, actually, rubbish!

The Psiren lostThe wounded Psiren however manages to escape into the engine room. Kryten pursues the Psiren. He finds to his dismay that it’s changed into Professor Mammet, The lovely Professor Mammet Kryten’s creator {actually played by the super-lovely Jenny Aguter}. She reminds Kryten that she has complete control of him because he is programmed to carry out her every command. She makes him get into the refuse compactor and turn it on.

A little while later, Lister, Rimmer and Cat come looking for Kryten. Rimmer’s battery goes and Lister and Cat are left to fight the creature alone. They got to the drinks machine to get a drink {!!! Yep, I’m sure you would have done that too. I mean it’s not like they are in danger or anything huh?!}. The machine of course, turns back into the giant wounded cockroach and bashes Cat and Lister’s head together rendering them unconscious.

Kryten the Coffee Table

Kryten meanwhile, has been crushed into the shape of a cube. He is just about able to get out of the refuse compactor and drop himself off the gantry and onto the head of the creature just before it attempts to suck out the brains of Cat and Lister.

Kryten saves the day again and the crew gradually leave the Psiren asteroid belt. They head toward the nebula that is supposed to contain Red Dwarf.

And there this terrific episode ends. Wadda classic!

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“Psirens” 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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