Airdate: 12 December 1989
Synopsis: Kryten discovers that the development fluid on Red Dwarf can bring pictures to life, and can cause the crew to walk in the images. After changing the events of an attempted assassination of Hitler, Lister realizes that they have a time machine, and decides to change events to prevent himself from going on Red Dwarf. Using the Tension Sheet invented by Rimmer’s old classmate (Fred “Thicky” Holden), Lister goes back to an old concert that occurred when he was in a band, Smeg and the Heads. Lister manages to change events to convince young Lister to invent the Tension Sheet.
However, due to Lister not entering Red Dwarf, the Cat was not brought aboard, and Kryten was never rescued. Therefore, Rimmer is all alone with Holly. Holly finds a TV special on Lister’s new life as an uber-rich rockstar and inventor. (To clarify, he moved his HOUSE to get away from the neighbors, brought Buckingham Palace and had it ground down to line his drive, and brought three million copies of his song to send it to number 1.) Rimmer wants none of it, because, well, he’s a smeghead. Rimmer tries to bring Lister back, but fails to do so. Therefore, he goes back to try and get his younger self to invent the tension sheet while in boarding school. Not spoiling what happens here, but you can all take a lucky guess.
Review: I have to say, this is the weakest episode of the entire season. Still a good episode, but some things just don’t line up. How come in one scene, Rimmer can’t move outside the confines of the photograph, yet in another scene, Rimmer suddenly pops up outside of the photographic barriers (although another photograph may have been used off screen). Also, how does Rimmer still remain a hologram when Lister doesn’t join Red Dwarf? Remember, Rimmer was brought back specifically to keep Lister company.
However, ignore those complaints (easy: rule of funny), and you have a fun episode. The scene with “Sham Glam” Lister is hysterical. The episode contains many funny scenes (such as Lister going back in time to Hitler’s assassination attempt). This episode also reveals that Lister can and IS sick of being trapped on a spaceship three million years in the future, which is some good character development. Plus, Rimmer’s jerkass behavior in this episode is hilariously cruel.
Favorite Scene: A few. I actually can’t choose, so I’ll list them.
- First off, Rimmer learns about the circumstances of Listers Tension-Sheet Timeline death. He died aged 98 in a plane crash. Why a plane crash? He was making love to his 14th wife and lost control of the plane. Rimmer asks for photos of Lister’s new timeline. Thinking that Rimmer is talking about the plane crash, Holly gives a “What the Smeg” look.
- Second off, Lister’s song. Simply put, “Om”. It’s quite creative, actually. The fact that, in an alternate timeline, Lister made it so “Om” went to the top of the charts is also hilarious.
- Last, but not least, Rimmer explains why he is going to rescue Lister from wealth and fame. “It’s my duty. My duty as a complete and utter bastard!”
Not-So-Fun Fact: Graham Chapman, from Monty Python, was originally selected to play the TV host Blaize from the scene featuring the Lifestyles of the Disgustingly Rich and Famous. However, he died before filming began. (To add more irony, he died on the 20th anniversary of Python). Ruby Wax, a comedienne and the wife of Red Dwarf director Ed Bye, played Blaize instead.