Production 8
Direction 8
Characterisation 7
Storyline 9
Acting 9
Fun/Sexy/Cool 9

For me, it took a while to get going, and many people have emailed me telling me that they don’t like the fully crewed Red Dwarf twist to the series, but the saga had to be updated and it is as funny and wacky as ever

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Red Dwarf: S08E03: Back in the Red (III)

Lister and Rimmer are in their cell (as with episode one). Rimmer complains of his trial and how stupid he was to have defended himself.

Then we jump back two days and see the whoppingly gorgeous Kochanski and that darned fetching uniform of hers … oh yeah, and the others too… erm.. in the Virtual Reality room acting out their virtual escape. Rimmer enters and begins to re-programme the simulator to take out all references to himself. This is a particularly dastardly trick. He should really have helped the get out of the simulator but instead, he tries to frame them.

The lovely flight controllerThe fab four have managed to virtually escape to the hangar deck where they attempt to steal a blue Transport Midget ship and leave Red Dwarf. They each take up their respective positions on the little ships flight deck and a beautiful flight clearance officer asks Cat for his clearance codes. Cat also notices her beauty and instead of becoming ‘Tongue Tied’ tells her that he is Major Tom and that he doesn’t have a code or his pilot number.

The banter between the flight control officer and the love sick Cat is wonderful and the resulting special effects were some of the best we have seen in the Red Dwarf saga. Without takeoff clearance, I can’t permit you to fly.” Says the officer.

I can handle this thing ok?” Says Cat still wearing his Dwayne Dibbly disguise. “I’m good, I’m better that good, I’m smooth with a capital smooo!

The officer smiles (as we all did, Cat attempting the word ‘smooo’ with his denture overbite was impressive)Well that’s as may be, but I need a little proof that you can fly that thing.

The Cat Dance TroopI can make this thing dance!Cat demonstrates with a wonderful dance duet with the long legged space transport. He tap-dances his way into the flight officers’ heart with the aid of some pretty miraculous programming of the controls, and for that matter the support dance troop of the other midgets Cool Catin the background. The sequence was well done and the flight officer was sufficiently impressed.

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Wow!” She says.

Are you free Saturday?” Asks Cat with an air of confidence.

I am now!” she replies. (Cat should have realised by now that this was virtual reality. This geezer NEVER gets a date!)

Cat is most surprised by her answer and tells the crew that there is only three days left before Saturday, and that he had better start getting ready. Lister however, grabs hold of the controls and the ship zooms into space.

The team lick their envelopes.Rimmer’s reprogramming causes some inconsistencies in the simulation and Kryten tells them that they are probably in some form of virtual reality to test their story. Lister remembers that they all had to lick the envelope when they signed the consent forms and that the psychotropic effects of the drug were probably induced at that point.

Cat is disappointed, he realises that all the people he has met, especially the ground controller, were not real, “You mean I still haven’t got a date?” He says with sadness, “Damn! Another year where I have to send a valentine card to my hand!

Rimmers dastardly deed

Rimmer attempts to re-programme the VR controls to show that the crew are all guilty. Lister and Kryten try to find the trapdoor so that they can escape the VR simulation and stop Rimmer doing his dastardly deed.

Cat finds what he thinks is the trapdoor button but they find themselves turned into plastacine characters and placed in a desolate icy wasteland. Cat then finds a tomato ketchup bottle in an igloo and presses the top.

This is the trapdoor button they were looking for, and they manage to escape from their simulation. They recover quickly and notice Rimmer tapping away at the VR console. “You back-stabbing weezly smegger!” Exclaims Lister eloquently. “You tried to frame us.

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Plastic cat with 'off switch'

Rimmer tries to explain his way out of it when suddenly the stunning Kochanski dresses to kill in her wonderful uniform….. with that great short skirt…. and she’s got great legs by the way!!! erm…. looks at Rimmer and says, “God he’s gorgeous, oh those nostrils, they’re driving me crazy, I’ve simply got to have him!” (God I wish I was Rimmer! What am I saying!)

She chases after the still hobbling Rimmer (the poor guy looked so pathetic) as the rest of the crew try to hold her back. Kochanski is driven wild with desire (and most of us blokes were pretty turned on too)I wanna have his babies!” She screams. But Lister tells Rimmer to take some of the Luck Hot KochanskiVirus which will restore them both back to normal (shame). This he does and the sex crazed Communications Officer returns back to being the normal Kochanski. “Oh god,” she says, “that’s so embarrassing.

They recover from the excitement and discuss their options. It’s decided that they should escape as originally planned and hunt for the nanobots. Rimmer is persuaded to join them by offering him his own seat in the cockpit and five buttons to press – he is needed because he has access to parts of the ship and has memorised the control codes.

They escape in the Midget Transport. During their easy escape Holly mentions that it was HE who managed to programme a separate series of nanobots that rebuilt the Red Dwarf crew!

The egg-head HollyThey also learn that they are STILL in the virtual reality simulation trial. Hollister and the Red Dwarf Holly determine that Lister’s story is true and that they are innocent. But they used classified information to achieve their own ends. Rimmer was given the psychotropic drug when he licked the envelope. Hollister had suspected that Rimmer was up to no good when he showed uncharacteristic intelligence.

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The sentence for un-orthorised use of classified information is two years in the Brig. Hollister goes to the VR room where Cat, Lister, Kryten, Rimmer and Kochanski have been arrested. He asks Rimmer where the viruses are. Rimmer hands the Luck virus Hollister but passes the Sexual Magnetism virus secretly to Lister. Looking like criminalsHe makes some excuse that it was used up. Hollister goes ballistic! He, like the rest of males all over the universe was particularly keen to recover that particular asset.

The show closes when our heroes are confined to the Brig. As Rimmer takes his place in the line up, next to a rather unsavoury bunch of convicts, Lister sneaks up behind him and empties the Sexual Magnetism virus on Rimmer’s shoulder. Suddenly the ugly rough looking dudes look at Rimmer with a new-found admiration. This is clearly the activity that caused Rimmer not to speak to Lister for two days right at the beginning ofListers revenge Episode one of the series.

And there the show closed. For me, it took a while to get going, and many people have emailed me telling me that they don’t like the fully crewed Red Dwarf twist to the series, but the saga had to be updated and it is as funny and wacky as ever.

Discuss this in the Red Dwarf Forum

“Back in the Red (III)” 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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