Red Dwarf: S07E01: Tikka to Ride

The first episode opens with Lister picking up a small video unit and explaining how everyone managed to survive their death at the end of season 6. Almost immediately we noticed a different type of photography, the set looked a little different and the dialogue didn’t seem as snappy. If these were negative, the new intensified canned laughing was utterly diabolical. My first impression of the new series was very disappointing and I can’t honestly say that I recovered much. The famous Grant and Naylor partnership had split – and regrettably, it showed.

However, the characters and story were just as whopping as ever and this season would see the introduction of a new character and even crazier plots….. This first episode, in terms of wacky sci-fi, was terrific!

It opens with Lister explaining how they got out of the calamity of the previous seasons final episode… their future selves were far superior in terms of firepower, “….. They killed us, and destroyed everything on board ship including the time drive which meant that there was no time drive for them to have in the future to bring back into the past to destroy the future of their past selves in the present! Put simply, they killed themselves by killing us because once we were dead, it was impossible for us to become them in the future and return in time to kill ourselves in the past even though it was the present!{Well, he lost me after, ‘They killed us…’}

He also goes on to explain that their last time adventure was so complex that both their realities became unstable (they died in both of course) and anomalies have merged from both dimensions to cope with the paradox. Starbug is still damaged and there are time paradoxes and problems all over the ship. They are especially out of supplies.

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Worst still for Lister, is that all the Indian food on the ship has been destroyed! This is terrible news. And to add the final nail in the coffin, the only two beverages left are Czinzano Bianco and Advocaat! NO LAGER!

The crew decides to checkout the integrity of the ship. They discuss the problem of the time anomaly and conclude that the worst thing they could possibly do from now on would be to travel back and forth in time. This they all agree. Erm… except Lister.

Lister is convinced that they should go back to purchase some curries from old Earth. When everyone disagrees Lister carries out a plan to exchange Kryten’s head with a modified old one. He manages to swap Kryten’s heads while Kryten is getting some well-deserved downtime. He also manages to override Kryten’s Guilt Chip and disengage his behaviour protocols. When Kryten ‘wakes’ his personality has changed… slightly, “Just call me badass!” He says.

The rest of the crew notice something slightly different. They are particularly surprised by Kryten suggesting that they should use the Time Drive to return back to Earth and retrieve some Indian food supplies. “Causality, well Ok,” says Kryten uncharacteristically, “one even causes another, but sometimes you just godda say, the laws of time and space, who gives a smeg!”

They programme he time travel paddle for a tandoori restaurant in Liverpool {this all contradicts very sharply with the last episode! Such a break in continuity is can be really annoying!} Unfortunately Kryten accidentally programmes the paddle for November 22nd 1963. They are in the Texas Book Repository in Dallas and arrive just after the first shot has been fired on President Kennedy (Lee Harvey Oswald was knocked out of the building by Lister as they arrived). President Kennedy is only slightly wounded.

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They manage to escape the time period only to return again three years later. The whole of Dallas is deserted. Millions of people have fled all the major cities in America. It turns out that President Kennedy was impeached in 1864 because of an affair he had with Mafia boss Sam Giancana’s mistress. It was a helluva scandal and Kennedy was sentences to three years in an open prison .J. Edgar Hoover became president. Hoover was being blackmailed by the Mafia and also allowed the Cubans to let Russia install nuclear weapons in Cuba. This led to mass hysteria and all the major cities in America are now deserted. Worse still, they cannot return to Starbug because it does not now exist! The time line has changed so radically that the space race never happened and space travel took a completely different course.

This revelation causes Rimmer to question Kryten’s support for Lister in travelling back in time in the first pace. Lister admits that he changed Kryten’s head and disabled his guilt. Eventually they decide to try and go back to 1963 and NOT hinder Oswalds attempt to kill the president.

They decide to get Oswald to go to the sixth floor so that he won’t be interrupted by them arriving from another time. Unfortunately the higher altitude causes Oswalds aim to be incorrect and poor ol’ President Kennedy is just wounded again!

They can’t seem to go back and try again because they have used up all the floors, “We seem to have been copied more times,” says Cat, “than that tennis girl who scratches her butt!”

Lister suggests that there should be a second shot fired from a small hill further along the road. “You mean the grassy knoll?” Asks Kryten. No one is prepared to take the shot however and Lister gets them to Idlewild Airport in July 1865 to where Kennedy is being transported to the open prison.

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Lister beams aboard the prison van and confronts the ex-president, “Don’t be alarmed sir, but I have a very strange tale to tell.”

He explains to JFK the situation and tells him that the only way to restore the time line is to assassinate him. He explains all the wrongs that his ‘living’ has caused and tells him how the world will be put to rights if JFK himself was to assassinate erm…. the president!

This he eventually agrees to do. In the wackiest JFK plot ever! We see JFK dressed as a policeman, standing atop a grassy knoll in Dallas, shooting his previous self in the headwith a high powered rifle!

So that was how JFK died. I’m sure, like me, you’ve always wondered. After JFK kills himself, the rather redundant ex-president walks off into the future and fades, never to be seen again.

Lister, feeling a little bullish, suggests that they can now concentrate of helping himself get a curry. This is met with an uncharacteristically violent response from Kryten, Cat and Rimmer.

And there the show ended. Despite my comments, it was pretty good (read a bit more cerebral) but it was less light-hearted and there were fewer one-liners that we had come to love in the previous shows.


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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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