Red Dwarf Review: Series 1, Episode 4, "Waiting for God"

Airdate: 7 March 1988

“And on the 7th day, the cats said ‘We’re going to go to Fuchal, the Promised Land, and make hot dogs and donuts!’ God saw, and said ‘Why did I create the Earth again?'”

Plot:  An Unidentified Object is brought aboard the ship. Rimmer believes that it is the capsule of an alien race, and convinces himself that this alien species can give Rimmer a new body. After a closer inspection, Lister discovers that the capsule is actually nothing more than a jettisoned Red Dwarf garbage pod. Meanwhile, Lister learns more about the Cat people’s god, “Cloister the Stupid” who was “frozen in time” to save the cat race. Lister informs the openly skeptical Cat that he is their God, only to subsequently become depressed when he learns that the entire Cat race destroyed itself in holy wars over minor details (like whether the hats on the shop should have been red or blue: Lister states that they should have been green) of ‘Fuchal’- the Cat heaven, really based on Lister’s plans to open a hot dog and doughnut shop on Fiji-, and that they lived their lives according to five sacred laws (of which Lister himself has broken four). 

Later, the Cat, who is known to go “investigating”, goes off on one of his excursions, and Lister follows him, deep into the cargo hold. There Lister discovers an old blind cat priest, the only one of their race left other than Cat, who is dying and proclaims that he has lost his faith, feeling that he has wasted his life following Cloister. Lister shows up and convinces the priist that he has led an admirable life and has served Cloister well, and as such will reach ‘Fuchal’.  The Cat Priest joyously exclaims that this is the happiest day of his life….. and promptly dies. Back in the observation room, the quarantine period for the pod is over. Lister opens the pod and pulls out a decaying chicken carcass. Rimmer eventually figures out the truth. “It’s a smeggin garbage pod!”

Review: I am amazed at how underrated this episode is. It was ranked as the worst episode of series I in the recent Silver Survey Poll on the Ganymede and Titan site. What a shame. This episode gives great character development to the Cat, showing just how insanely selfish he is, and helps flesh out the race of the Cats in hilarious detail. The subplot involving the garbage pod is classic Rimmer, showing how neurotic and insane he is. And Lister is his old slobbish self, which is wonderfully funny. Most of the jokes connect. Oh, and the captain’s remarks about Lister and Rimmer? Hilarious.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of Talkie Toaster, although he gets much funnier in a series IV episode. And the pacing does seem a bit slower then later RD episodes, although this is a blanket criticism for Series I and II.

Overall, this is a fantastic episode.

Favorite Scene: The meeting with the Cat Priest. It helps showcase how much of a selfish idiot the Cat is. Second place is a tie, and it goes to Rimmer’s realization about the garbage pod and the Captain’s remarks.

Side note: Remember when Lister took the chef’s exam last episode? He actually failed.

Score: 8

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