Red Dwarf: S07E04: Duct Soup

This was a moany, wishy-washy episode that tried to establish Kochanski as a creditable character – but it missed out all the parts of the Red Dwarf Saga that we had come to know and love. Chloe Annett is a wonderful actor that has been introduced to play a major part in a hugely successful cult sci-fi show. Her awe-inspiring performance was wonderful, but oh my god! I’m starting to miss Bob Grant!

In bed with kochanskiThe show opens with a distraught Kochanski trying to get some sleep. Her quarters are next to the plumbing pipes. Her perfectionist personality has made her write down the noises that the pipes make and the intervals at which they’re made. She checks them out with a sort of grim satisfaction. When the noises appear out of sequence, she goes slightly loopy!

Kochanski can’t take it any more. She gets up and goes to the living quarters dressed in her underclothing, a blanket and a pair of black earmuffs. She arrives as Kryten is darning a pair of Lister’s socks. “Oh my goodness,” he says, “It’s Princess Lia!

Kochanski complains and bitches about her quarters and even the fridge. Kryten warms to her distress and asks, “What would you say to a nice glass of drinking chocolate?

Kochanski replies through clenched teeth, “Glass of drinking chocolate, get me out of here!” Poor Kochanski needs a bath and cottage cheese with pineapples. She cries a river of woe on Kryten’s shoulder. “I mean, I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to fit in! I even tried to learn what off-side was!

Kochanski talks about how her life started off so promisingly, rich parents, good school, pony named Trumper. “How did I end up like this, where the forth favourite pastime is going down to the laundry and watching my knickers spin-dry!

Bath timeWow!” says Cat in the laundry room with Lister, “This is the best load yet!Lister tries to say that he isn’t there to watch Kochanski’s knickers going round and round. He tells the Cat that he is more mature. Cat tells Lister that this is a ploy to make ‘officer bud-babe’ fancy him again.

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Lister goes off to speak to Kochanski. He too can’t sleep, the heating system has ‘gone bonkers’. He listens to her talk about her past. She was brought up in the trendiest part of Glasgow, the Gorbals {actually that’s not as funny as you might think. The Gorbals is a lot better than it used to be, and so for that matter is Glasgow!} She spent eleven years in the trendiest Cyber School with the trendiest friends and teachers. And now she can’t even have a bath!

Lister tells her to follow him, he want’s to show her something {Aye aye!}. He takes her to his cabin and… and …. Shows her a bath that he’s rigged up. The cabin has been cleaned up and he offers her his quarters for the night. He also found some makeup and a rather fetching red dress.

Mr & Mrs ListerWhen Kryten finds out that Kochanski will spend the night in Lister’s quarters and assumes that they will resume their affair. He feels that he will be marginalized and unwelcome.

He leaves disgruntled and then suddenly the power generator goes. The doors are automatically closed and locked and the lights and heat go off. They need to re-set it quickly. Kryten and Cat decide that the best course of action would be to go through the air vent duct to the engine room and re-set the power. All four of our intrepid hero’s crawl through the air vent to begin their journey.

Soon after they begin their journey, Lister begins to experience claustrophobia. Apparently only Kochanski knew this. Kryten and Cat go off to see if they can find a ceiling hatch and drop down into the ship somewhere. Kochanski stays to talk with Lister. She tells him that Alternative Lister was gay! And that they were only just good friends. She opens up to him and demonstrates that she is a caring and thoughtful person. Lister quickly realises that she was lying about Alternate Lister and that he wasn’t actually gay. She just said that to make him feel better and take his mind off his claustrophobia.

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frantic stuff!Kryten returns with Cat. He leaves Cat and takes Kochanski to see if her smaller hands can undo the fastening bolts of a ceiling vent. Cat stays with Lister and they talk about a completely different topic. “Boy is it cramped,” he says, “I tell you, if I as dead, you could most certainly NOT swing me around in here!…. oh sorry, were, not supposed to talk about that are we……. So how come you’re claustrophobic anyway? Is it because you’re born like that or because you’re kinda sissy?Lister tells Cat how he became claustrophobic.

Meanwhile, Kochanski and Kryten talk about Lister’s claustrophobia and how Kryten didn’t know about it. She tells him that he doesn’t know about everything about him. Kryten tells her that he does. “What everything,” she says worried, “…..about the rusty gate!?

Oh yes, …. We all had a good laugh about that!” confesses Kryten.

You mean he told you about that, he told you that I make a sound like a rusty gate when I’m making love!?” She exclaims.

Duct SoupErm.. no… He told us that his grandmother once had a rusty gate and that he once helped fix it……” Says Kryten, moderately embarrassed. “…..allow me a second ma’am. I’m just cross-filing that story under a for anecdote and b for blackmail, under category S for ‘so funny you will laugh until you’re sick!

They argue about the way Lister looks at her and Kryten accuses her of looking at him in the same way, “like a pot of cottage cheese with pineapple chunks in.”

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How could you say that,” says Kochanski, “….. maybe as plain cottage cheese, but NEVER with pineapple chunks in!” she confesses. “Never. NEVER…. Have I?

Lister and Cat have a narrow escape when the ducts are backwashed with recyc water. A few minutes later they escape a hot air dryer activated after the water has cleaned the air vents. Kryten and Kochanski catch up with them later and Kryten gives Lister a sedative. Kryten confesses that he purposefully typed in the over-ride code on the access panel and caused the shutdown of the generator. “…. I, I didn’t want miss Kochanski to have a bath. I knew it would be one of those no-clothes affairs and that Mr Lister would scrub your back…. I didn’t want to be on my own again.” Whines Kryten.

Kryten's about to 'Get it!'Lister has an idea of how they can get out of their predicament. He constructs a makeshift raft (out of nothing) and when the next backwash comes, they surf their way back to the general facility of Lister’s quarters. But not after being nearly drowned in the process.

Kryten tells them that the doors weren’t locked after all. Lister is not happy! He tells Kryten that they should discuss the intense discomfort that he’d been put through over a “cup of coffee and a hot branding iron!

And there the show 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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