The show continues from the last episode with Kryten strumming Lister’s guitar while Lister plays the fret-board. Lister resignes himself, “Look on the bright side,” he says, “at least now I’m only half crap!“
The crew try to cheer up about the loss of his arm. Lister becomes more and more depressed. Kochanski notices that Lister is relying too much on Kryten’s assistance. She argues with the droid, telling it that the only way Lister can come out of his depression is by encouraging his to rely on his own. Kryten changes his approach. He now tries to help Lister by fixing him up with an artificial limb.
Kochanski mentions Kryten’s self repair system. He has a group of tiny molecular machines called nanobots, which can be programmed by his CPU to repair any part of the robot’s mechanisms. Kochanski suggests that these nanobots may be able to repair Lister’s arm!
The idea is a good one except for the fact that Kryten’s nanobots deserted him some time ago. He can’t remember when. Lister sees an opportunity to get his arm back. They determine that the last repair was carried out after their visit to the SS Esperanto after their altercation with the Despair Squid. Lister insists that they set a course for the SS Esperanto and the crew return to cryo-sleep for the journey.
When they awake, they find that the computer brought them out of cryo-sleep early. It had something to do with the small planetoid in front of them. Kryten discovers that the planetoid is Red Dwarf.
“Dave, before you lost your arm,” she says, “I thought you were a no-good, disgusting bum! I still do. So, no, none at all. Loosing an arm isn’t going to make any difference to anyone who cares about you, ok?”
“What about sex?” asks Lister.
“Not here, it’s too sandy.” Replies Kochanski. I have to assume that this remark was not indicative of a Freudian slip by Kochanski, that she was suggesting that they might have sex if it were in more comfortable conditions. She was referring I think, to Lister’s question of about sex in general – ie. Women wouldn’t want sex in a wind swept dilapidated buggy. (I’m gonna have to clean my car).
They all return with some items from the surface. Most are useless, excepting a small gadget that looks like a wristwatch. It turns out to be Holly (the male one) who explains how the nanobots left him stranded on the planetoid.
Kryten says, “From one machine to another, welcome back Holly!”
“And you are?” Asks Holly, already forgetting Kryten.
Lister smiles, “Unbelievable, dumped on a planet in the middle of an electro-storm, and left to rot for hundreds of years. They guy has lost nothing!”
Later they all discuss the nanobot situation. Kryten thinks that the nanobots mutinied during the escapade on the SS Esperanto because there was nothing in Kryten’s body, left to explore. But Red Dwarf itself was far too big. Kochanski continues by suggesting that the nanobots built a subatomic version of Red Dwarf and discarded the rest of the ship as a planetoid for safekeeping.
“So what were we following for all those months?” Asks Cat, “What was producing that vapour trail?”
Kryten tells him that they were chasing the Nano-Red Dwarf, that’s why the readings were so minute and hard to follow. Holly tells them that the reason they may have lost track of the nanobots was because the ships scanners are programmed to scan on the outside. To escape, the nano-Red Dwarf simply had to stop! Kochanski asks if that means that the Nano-Red Dwarf is actually in Starbug?
It seems that it was. They eventually find it in Lister’s Laundry basket!!!! The story is absolutely and totally implausible – so far-fetched that it is mindblowingly ludicrous!!! A fact not missed at all by the writers. They even decided to make the point themselves with the classic line from Holly!
“The little scamps!” exclaims Holly, “It’s the oldest trick in the book, Capture your ship, turn it into a planet, the explore a macro-universe in a laundry basket. How could you fall for an old scam like that?”
Kryten captures the nanobots in a little jar with the help of a scanner. He taps the little jar and screams at the nanobots, “Can you here me you pesky little critters!? We want our ship back and we want a new arm for Mr. Lister. Are you receiving me?” He taps his pencil on the jar again.
The nanobots respond by re-building Red Dwarf and Lister’s body. Lister is turned into a he-man and screams. He is now a muscle clad geezer – and he certainly doesn’t want to be. Things are made even worse when they discover that Red Dwarf is at least a thousand times bigger than they left it.
Nano technology is pretty exciting stuff. But if you were able to have ten thousand million nanobots all working for hundreds of years, they would still only manage to build a tiny grain of sand. Nevertheless, the introduction of nanotechnology into the shows hoopy scientific concepts, shows an eagerness by the writers to embrace ‘difficult to dream of science’ in an interesting and comical way.
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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
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