Red Dwarf Review: Series 1, Episode 5: Confidence and Paranoia

Airdate: 14 March 1988

“Now, how can I beat Jimmy Fallon’s replacement?”

Synopsis (SPOILERS): Lister snoops through Kochanski’s quarters, which have not been decontaminated yet. He winds up falling ill. The pneumonia he contracts is a mutated strain and, while delirious, he has hallucinations which become solid—fish rain in his sleeping quarters, the Mayor of Warsaw from 1546 catches fire, and two guests materialize in the drive room. These guests are Lister’s Confidence, a tall, tanned, flashily-dressed game show host type who calls Lister “the King”, and Lister’s Paranoia, a stooped, pallid, black suit-clad little man who often sides with Rimmer.

Despite Rimmer’s warnings that the two guests are symptoms of Lister’s disease and therefore dangerous, Lister begins spending a lot of time with his Confidence, who helps him figure out where Rimmer has hidden Kochanski’s hologram disc: in the solar panels outside their sleeping quarters. Rimmer is proven correct, however, when Confidence murders Paranoia and pressures Lister to perform suicidal acts of over-confidence, namely removing his helmet during the spacewalk. To prove that “Oxygen is for losers!” Confidence removes his own helmet. Three guesses and no prizes as to what happens next. Lister, having successfully retrieved the disc, nervously rehearses his first words to Kochanski. When he switches on the program, however, we meet a copy of a familiar face….

Review: This episode is another underrated one, although not as much as “Waiting for God”.

There is a lot to admire about this episode, of course. Personally, I believe that Craig Ferguson is a comedic genius. Every line that he delivers here is hysterical. We learn how obsessed with Kochanski Lister is, willing to get sick just to get to her. Every line feels more natural than it did in “Balance of Power”. The Cat also has the desire to claim everything as his own, and yet again, proves himself to be a selfish wacko who seems not to care about the well-being of everybody else. We also see that Rimmer seems to care for Lister’s well being… sort of. Maybe.

Paranoia depresses me, though, and not exactly in a good way. Also, was Confidence’s American Accent really necessary? I feel that Ferguson’s natural Scottish accent would work well, also. And again, this episode is (outside of anything with Confidence) a bit dry.
 
Favorite Scene: The Cat plays with his food. Just comedic gold! Also, “Oxygen is for losers!”

Score: 7

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