Red Dwarf Review, Series III, Episode 2: "Marooned"

Airdate: 21 November 1989

A smeghead and a slob. Trapped on an icy planet. Oh, boy.

Synopsis: Holly steers Red Dwarf into a black hole field, causing the crew to have to temporarily flee. Rimmer and Lister wind up taking Starbug, where Rimmer regales Lister about the former’s interests in the military and his previous life as Alexander the Great’s chief… eunuch. While the two are talking, Starbug is struck by a meteor, and crash lands on an ice planet. They have little hope of being found, low food, and no warmth. Rimmer can “live” because he is a hologram, but Lister can only hope for survival. The two wind up talking to each other and learning more about each other.

When it comes time to burn stuff for warmth, Lister is reluctant to let go of his Les Paul guitar, and Rimmer his military figurines. Lister, without Rimmer noticing, cuts a guitar-shaped hole out of Rimmer’s treasure chest. Thinking that it is Lister’s Les Paul, Rimmer decides to sacrifice his military figurines. Lister feels guilty that he made Rimmer burn something that meant so much to him, as the trunk provided the last link to Rimmer of his estranged father.

Kryten and the Cat find the two, and manages to bring them back. Holly then tells Rimmer that there was no black hole field; it was just five pieces of grit. Rimmer then realizes that Lister cut a hole out of his chest.

Review: A good Red Dwarf episode, for the most part, contains tons of laughs and constant comedy, alongside character development. While “Marooned” also contains this, there is also something else in this episode.

This episode (until series VII) is the most dramedy-focused episode in the history of the show, and some parts can bring you to tears.

It’s literally just Lister and Rimmer talking with each other for the most part. It’s an example of a “locked in a freezer” episode (a common TV cliche) that manages to pull off the aforementioned cliche well. The development Lister and Rimmer get is incredible. From the most minute details to great backstory reveal, it is quite rare to get the development in a comedy that Lister and Rimmer get.

In terms of tearjerker-ness, watching Rimmer burn something that meant so much to him, and then realizing why it meant so much to him, is among the most depressing things ever put in a sitcom. In my opinion, it is depressing almost to the level of Fry’s dog (prepares for flamers).

And Lister… god. He manages to be such a hilarious, and yet depressing, jerkass simultaneously. And yet he still feels bad for it. The look on Rimmer face when he finds out what Lister is done can only be described as pure anger. Put yourself in Rimmer’s shoes for a second. When he learns that Lister cut out a piece of his treasure chest, it goes beyond typical anger. Lister callously (yet, unbeknownst to Rimmer, unknowingly) ignored Rimmer’s feelings about his father just to save his own guitar which he can’t play for smeg.

And yet this episode is still hilarious. Lister and Rimmer talking about their first encounters with other women? Funny. Lister and Rimmer burning literature (not out of hatred, but for necessity)? Hilarious (especially when they have to say tootle-pipski to Shakespeare). The reveal about the grit on the screen? Hysterical.

This episode is just brilliant. It is one of the best in Red Dwarf‘s history. It ranked second on the Ganymede and Titan Silver Survey earlier this year, and it deserves it.

Favorite Scene: Do I have to choose? It has to be learning what the solders meant for Rimmer. It is, quite possibly, the most moving moment in the history of the show.

A VERY Close second place? Rimmer quotes Richard III

“Now….. something something something something.”

Score: 9.5


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