Red Dwarf: S07E06: Beyond a Joke

This episode opens with a treat from Kryten. He has decided to splash out and prepare a Lobster dinner for the crew to celebrate the day that Lister rescued him from the stricken ship, Esperanto.

Fresh lobsterWhile Kryten excitedly prepares the final touches to the meal, Kochanski and Cat enter. They are waiting for Lister to join them in the Artificial Reality Suite to play the VR game ‘Jane Austin World’ that was ‘recovered’ from the SS Centauri.

Kryten is mortified. It would mean that they would miss out of his special treat. They are about to play the module entitled, ‘Pride and Prejudice World’ and Cat is especially excited, “Five sisters! And they’re all hotter than a Mustang’s exhaust!

Kryten refuses to accept that the game is more important than the meal he has prepared, but Cat, Lister and Kochanski apologise and leave to play. Kryten is annoyed!

In the VR game, Kochanski tells of the time when she was in Cyber-school, she spent much of her spare time there. Probably while the rest of us would have been in Bikini World or Meat Loaf World Cat complains that his costume is ‘Nadger Restrictive’ (no ball-room) as Kochanski turns a control to introduce five young sisters and their mother.

In the gameThe six VR people begin their Dickensian type dialogue and Lister and Cat look on bemused. Cat and Lister are asked if they would like to come to tea. Cat wrongly assumes this is a come-on and confidently remarks, “they are so hot, they’re steaming!(Aahhh, the innocence of Jane Austin – that’s bollocks by the way, I reckon we only ever saw the children’s version of Pride and Prejudice, The lost adult version was probably called ‘Tea and Crumpet’).

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Kryten is still steaming about the ruined supper. He enters the VR simulation as himself, but with a slight alteration, he comes dressed with a Tank! Surfacing from the quaint setting by the lake, Kryten fires a shell directly at the tea party and completely obliterates the tea party uttering, “Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear, I said: Supper is ready!

Krytens head blows upCat, Kochanski and Lister return to Real life and begin the Lobster supper that Kryten has prepared. He is still piqued and when Lister asks for some brown ketchup to spice up the food, Kryten completely blows his top – literally, his head explodes.

Lister and Kochanski attempt to replace Kryten’s head, but that too blows up! As does the next and the next! “Look at it,” says Lister, wiring up the last spare head, “have you ever seen so many blackheads outside the staff room of a fried chicken franchise?” The last one blows up too!

They all decide that the only thing to do is return to the Simulant space ship, the Centauri, and attempt to acquire some spare heads. Lister logs on-to the mainframe and checks the inventory. He finds the heads he is looking for and the Starbug embarks on its new covert head hunting mission.

They manage to steel some spare heads but still need to find some primers. The only solution is to pose as GELF’s. The rather dodgy Simulant trader gives them the primers but when they returned to Starbug, they find that their ship has been ransacked.

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GELF costumesOn the Centauri, the Simulant Captain talks to his simpleton Mechanoid called Able. He commands him to fix Kryten. Able is a droid of similar construction to Kryten but this one is addicted to a substance called Otrazone. It seems as though he has suffered greatly from the substance, which has turned him into a sort of droid airhead! Able reluctantly does as he is told.

Kryten is revived and he and Able chat. Kryten discovers that Able is the same make and model, though somewhat more ‘together’ because of Able’s degenerative condition resulting from his addiction to Otrazone.

The Simulant CaptainMeanwhile Lister, Kochanski and Cat manage to fool the Centauri into following them, but cunningly turning in the opposite direction and speeding away at maximum thrust. The Simulant Captain, sensing that they may have hidden a bomb on his ship, returns to negotiate a deal.

The Simulant shows his determination and intelligence, by telling Kryten to access as file that he has never before been able to access. It contains information about him and his creator, Dr Mammet. The Simulant gives Kryten the password and Kryten discovers that he was created as a joke, a comic reproduction of her ex-lover, with all the characteristics of his most negative personality traits.

Able saves the dayHowever, Lister suddenly and uncharacteristically (and successfully!) manages to fight and incapacitates the Simulant Captain and his GELF sidekick! He takes Able and Kryten and the leave quickly, hoping to escape detection by the Simulant once it revives.

Later, Kryten tells Lister of his NegaDrive. It is a special drive that contains all his most negative emotions. The reason that Kryten blew his top, was that his NegaDrive had reached capacity, there was no-where else for his NegaDrive emotions to go.

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Trying to escapeAble manages to accidentally give the whereabouts of Starbug to the Simulant Captain and is mortified to have done so. Things are looking pretty bad for the crew of the Starbug. The Centauri is more powerful. Able takes it upon himself to take a transport and fire the NegaDrive energy by re-routing it through the ships thrusters at the Simulant ship!

The Simulant Captain, who is of course, part mechanoid, is affected by this energy and purposefully destroys his ship and the unfortunate but heroic Able. Kryten sadly recovers the body and performs last rights. Lister offers to help, but Kryten says with pride, “He ain’t heavy….. he’s my brother!”

The hot curryThe show ends with a VR simulation of the Starbug Crew enjoying a VERY hot curry with members of the characters from Pride and Prejudice World. The Jane Austin characters think the curry is simply ‘scrumptious’ whereas Lister, Kochanski and Cat notice that the dish is FAR too spicy.

And there the show ended. It seemed to explain why Kryten had become so insufferable in the last few episodes. He seemed to settle down in some of the future episodes, but his jealousy of Kochanski is still there.

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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
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Rob Grant & Doug Naylor.  All rights reserved.

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