Red Dwarf Review, Series III, Episode 1, "Backwards"

Airdate: 14 November. 1989

Nodnol ni tca ydemoc tseb eht!
Synopsis (Spoilers): A super-speedy prologue explains what happened between series II and III.
  • Lister gave birth to twin boys, Jim and Bexley. However, because they were conceived in a different universe, they are 18 years old within 3 days of their birth. Realizing that they would only last a fortnight, Jim and Bexley went back to their universe of origin to live a normal life… at least, as normal as possible.
  • Kryten was found crashed on a planet. Lister was able to repair him, but his rebellious personality was reset. Also, he now sports a Canadian accent. Nevertheless, he is now a permanent member of the crew.
  • Holly had fallen so far in love with Hilly from the Parallel Universe that he gave himself a head sex change operation, becoming a long-haired, youthful blonde female, yet still a bit peculiar.
  • And now the saga continuums.
  • Red Dwarf III. The Same Generation. Nearly.

Rimmer takes Kryten on a flight test in Starbug. During the flight test, Rimmer and Kryten happen to come across an elusive time hole. They wind up landing on Earth, circa 1993… but running backwards. Cars drive backwards, food is uneaten, robbers suck bullets out of cops and force banks to accept money, tables are dirtied, ect. Holly explains that this is due to the “big crunch”, with the universe shrinking. With Starbug wrecked, the two must find a job in Nodnol until the others find them. They take up a job as “Srehtorb Esrever Lanoitasnes Eht”, or, in frontwards, “The Sensational Reverse Brothers.”

Lister and the Cat, meanwhile, take another Starbug and manage to pass through the time hole. Lister arrives on earth with a sore back, cracked ribs, and a black eye. After seeing a sign for “Srehtorb Esrever Lanoitasnes Eht” and a sign for “Nodnol, 871 Selim”, the two come to the only logical conclusion… they must be in Bulgaria! After getting confused as to why bikes are in reverse, they get a ride to downtown Nodnol and wind up at a bar where Rimmer and Kryten are performing. They eventually realize that they ARE in a backwards world, and try to get Rimmer and Kryten to come back. However, Rimmer and Kryten argue that life is much better in this universe, as death does not come and crime (to them) does not exist. Lister argues that, in this universe, Santa Claus is a robber and puberty occurs backwards.

Their conversation is interrupted when the two are told that they are fired for a fight, which did not happen. As Kryten and Rimmer try and defend themselves, Lister and the Cat manage to get themselves in a fight… the one that Kryten and Rimmer got sacked for. Lister declares a “barroom tidy”, and Lister’s body is returned to normal as the bar is cleaned up. Kryten and Rimmer decide to abandon their act and return back to the Dwarf.

Review: This is the first episode to use the new style for Red Dwarf. I will keep this brief. This episode makes no sense. At all. Why would Kryten and Rimmer get fired and then do a last show? The timeline in this episode makes no sense!

However, that does not stop it from being funny. Red Dwarf IS a comedy, after all. There is tons of comedy gold in this episode, such as the bike scene, the diner scene, the “Red Dwarf Shuffle”, and the barroom tidy. UN-RUMBLE! The characters are well done, and Kryten gets some slight character development, in his meekness being similar to the one in “Kryten”. However, Kryten is now treated as an equal to his new companions. His development does not kick in until “Polymorph”, but it is a step in the right direction.

This episode is the birth of the more energetic Red Dwarf, and it is pretty damn good!

Oh, and the first conversation of the new and improved Red Dwarf? Lister and the Cat debate the attractiveness of Wilma Flinstone.

Favorite Scene: The Bar-room tidy!

Score: 8.5


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