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

This GREAT show opened with Rimmer playing a Sam Spade character in an AR computer simulation game. Little did he know that later in the day, he would have to play a cowboy game to stay alive!

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Red Dwarf: S06E03: Gunmen of the Apocalypse

This GREAT show opened with Rimmer playing a Sam Spade character in an AR computer simulation game (he is rudely interrupted from kissing the obligatory ‘romantic interest’).  Lister is smitten by this female character, he’s not been ‘off’ the game in the last month! The only way Kryten can speak to him is to enter the game as a character. He tells Lister that they have wondered accidentally into a rogue Simulant hunting zone and that they should turn off all AR games immediately if they are to avoid detection.

A smitten ListerLister joins the rest of the crew in Starbugs drive room. Rimmer is not surprised to find that Lister had been using the AR Games Machine, “Everyone knows you only use that games console for sex, it’s pathetic watching you grind away on your own day after day, you’re like a dog that’s missing it’s masters leg! That groinal attachment is supposed to have a lifetimes guarantee. You wore it out three weeks ago…”

Lister is not impressed by such besmirching of his character, but finds it difficult to disagree. He joins the rest of the crew at the ships controls and they debate their impending fate at the hands of the Simulants.

'You've been bonking that machine again?!"Kryten explains the background, “..Biomachanical killers create for a war that never took place. Some of them escaped the dismantling process and now they prowl around deep space searching for a quarry worthy of their metal!”

Cat suddenly smells a Simulant battleship. Rimmer recommends complete and unequivocal surrender but Kryten tells them that surrender is the worst thing you can do. “Simulants despise humans and all forms of humanoid life, they believe you to be the vermin of the universe sir.”

“I didn’t know they’d already met him!” says Cat.

Suddenly the Captain of the Simulant ship appears on the screen. Lister stalls Rimmer’s response while he and Cat try to fool the Simulants. When he’s ready, we see a comical vision of Lister’s chin appear on the Simulant’s communications screen. The chin has one of Kryten’s eyes attached to the cleft. “I am Tarka Doll,” says Lister, “the ambassador to the Great Vinderloorian Empire.”

Tarka Doll

The Captains points out that his scanners picked up traces of humans aboard, and he beams himself aboard the Starbug while Lister and Cat continue to enact their deception. The Captain looks around. He sees that the crew and indeed the ship are ‘no sport’ at all.

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Rimmer surrenders, “I invoke the prisoners agreement, article number 39436175880932/B.”

“39436175880932/B. All nations attending the conference are allocated only one car parking space?” says a bemused Kryten. “Is that entirely relevant sir. I mean, here we are in mortal danger, and you’re worried about the Chinese delegate bringing two cars!”

“Can’t you let just ONE go?” pleads Rimmer, “I was talking about the right of POW’s to non-violent constraint.”

“But that’s 39436175880932/C sir.” Corrects Kryten.

“It’s embarrassing as much as anything else. Here you are totally humiliating me in front of this xenophobic genocide maniac!” Complains Rimmer, “No offence.” He adds quickly to the Simulant Captain.

But the damage has been done. The Simulant shoots them all – he hasn’t any choice!

Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryten awake three weeks later in a much improved Starbug. It has been upgraded with laser canon and has many other armaments and battleThe Simulant Ship features. The Captain of the rogue Simulant ship tells Lister that he has two minutes before they attack, maybe now that the ship has been upgraded, they will at least provide some small amount of sport.

Cat and Lister debate what to do. Cat suggests that this is a cat and mouse game and that they should avoid being the mouse, “unless you want to believe those lying cartoons.” He says. Lister agrees and they double back on the Simulant ship. With two carefully placed shots from the laser cannon, they destroy the Simulants ship!! That was a little too easy huh!? Well, the Simulant Captain, sensingThe doomed Simulants that they were going to be diss-assembled, transfers a killer computer virus aboard the Starbug. “See you in Silicone Hell.” He says as his ship blows up.

Kryten notices the virus immediately. It takes over the navigation console and will attempt to destroy them all by steering Starbug into a fiery lava covered moon.

Kryten hooks himself up to the navicom and attempts to interface with the virus in the hope that he can learn its characteristics and develop and antivirus before it can destroy the ship. He shuts his runtime down so that he can concentrate all his computing power on the problem.

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Lister and Cat hook Kryten up to the computer monitor so that they can see what Kryten is doing. It appears that Kryten is enacting a computer simulation game. The game is set in the Wild West and Kryten is a rather drunken Sheriff. Lister, Rimmer and the Cat watch in horror as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride up to the saloon. The Simulant Captain takes on the persona of Death, a fat geezer plays Famine and War and Pestilence are both there too. Kryten is told that he has one hour before they all return to kill him.

Lister wires up an Artificial Reality computer game to Kryten’s mind. Cat chooses the Riviera Kid character whose special skill is that he is a ‘Gunslinger’. Rimmer chooses Dangerous Dan Magrew whose special skill is ‘Bare-fist Fighting’ and Lister is left with Bret Riverboat a ‘Knife Thrower’. The three are all excited to be going and Rimmer checks to make sure that it is impossible for them to be hurt. Lister tells him that there is a special button on the inside of the glove which can stop the game whenever they want.

The three intrepid cowards join the drunken Kryten in the bar. They are shocked that Kryten cannot remember the purpose for which he is playing this role and they each manage to save Kryten from some of the more unsavoury members of the saloon.  Rimmer is able to demonstrate his fist fighting skills,  Lister throws a few knives, pinning down a baddie and Cat shoots the bullets of his assailant out of the air. All they need to do now is sober up Kryten and they will all be able to destroy the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.Rimmer beats up a thug

As they sober Kryten up, Lister notices that Kryten’s guns seems to be more symbolic than functional. They have doves placed on the handles and there is nowhere for bullets. Lister asks Kryten what the guns were intended for. He remembered Kryten’s words about creating a ‘dove program’ to destroy the virus.

Kryten gradually begins to remember who he is and the identities of his pals.  His memory has not completely returned by the time the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride back into town. Main Street is the showdown, win or lose our heroes are about to do battle with four badass apocalyptic geezers.About to do battle

Rimmer makes the first move. He saunters up to the horsemen and suggests s fight, one-on-one. Unbeknownst to him, the computer virus has reached the Artificial Intelligence machine and suddenly Rimmer finds himself facing the giant ‘War’ bloke who has a rather large piece of wood in his hands, “Ah, Mr War sir,” says Rimmer, “It would appear that due to circumstances beyond my control, there’s been a bit of a cock-up in the bravado department.”

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Mr War clobbers Rimmer on the head with the large piece of wood. He does it two or three times more for good measure as Rimmer claps his hands together trying to exit. Cat and Lister also try and exit. The Four Horsemen close in and are about to kill them all, when Lister manages to stop the AR simulation.

It’s now down to Kryten. The four Horsemen all turn to face our lonely metalclad hero. Kryten seems unperturbed by this twist in the plot however, Kryten wins the day“I’m not afraid Mr Death sir. I believe my friends have bought me enough time to complete the antidote programme. Now if you’ll forgive the rather confrontational imperative, ‘Go for yer guns, yer scum-suckin mollusc’s’!”

Kryten is shot repeatedly in he chest. He is unaffected by the bullets however and draws his weapons. The guns turn into doves and fly towards the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The baddies disappear and Kryten returns to Starbug in time to help the crew escape a fiery death on the rapidly approaching lava covered moon.

The ship pulls up just in time to the Yeeee-hhhaaa‘s of Kryten, Lister, Rimmer and Cat.

And there this terrific episode ended.

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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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