Red Dwarf Review: Series V, Episode 1: "Holoship"

Airdate: 20 February, 1992

The eponymous Holoship.

Synopsis (Spoilers): Rimmer is skeptical of a film whose message comes off as “love triumphs career”. As he criticizes Lister for loving it, an energy force takes him away. (Cat: “Let’s get out of here before they bring him back.”) It turns out that Rimmer was kidnapped by a Holoship, the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment features the cream of the crop in terms of personnel, and casual sex is not just shrugged off… it’s mandatory. Rimmer’s piece of heaven, he realizes that he can get on… after a strenuous intellectual competition against another hologram. If Rimmer wins, said hologram is turned off. Rimmer also falls in love with Nirvanah Crane (Jane Horrocks), despite love having been long criticized on Enlightenment.

He tries to take the test with the help of a mind implant that would drastically increase his IQ (against Kryten’s wishes). However, the implant fails, as Rimmer’s mind will not mesh with the mind of anybody else. He gets a surprise mid test… although that makes him reconsider his decision to join Enlightenment.

Review (SPOILERS AHEAD): Well, this and “The Deep End” both have a connecting theme: personal desires over love. For Mabel, it was her epic summer romance versus the well being of a merman. For “Holoship”, it’s the advancement of career versus the well being of the others. Both Mabel and Rimmer are separated from their lovers for eternity, yet are separated for totally unselfish reasons on their part.

Never have I put the words “Rimmer” and “Unselfish” in the same sentence before. And that is why I had to labor over whether or not this episode should be considered the best Red Dwarf episode of the series. (Ultimately, it went to another episode). For the first time ever, Rimmer officially crosses from the “Jerkass” trope to the “Jerk with a Heart of Gold” trope. It really shows just how complex the writing is: for a comedy where jokes about vindaloo and the laddish culture rank high up, Red Dwarf is really a character study. Starting in Series I with the callous and uptight character, Series II and III really began peeling away, showing him as an insecure figure. Series IV emphasized his negative features a bit more, if only to remind us that, as much as Rimmer was a sympathetic character, he was still a smeghead. Now, Rimmer has made the greatest move he has made thus far, and one of the greatest moves he may have made in all ten series.

Of course, in 1992, this episode was voted as one of the weakest episode ever, simply because it focused too much on character, with unfavorable comparisons made to Star Trek (what RD was trying to avoid). However, “Holoship” did make many a nod to this pathos: in fact, Rimmer was critical of the “man puts love ahead of career” cliche in the beginning of the episode. Ah, irony.

Plus, this episode is so hysterical. Most of the jokes are quotable, and those that aren’t are still funny. Highlights include…

  • “They’ve taken Mr. Rimmer. Sir, they’ve taken Mr. Rimmer!” “Quick; let’s get out of here before they bring him back!”
  • Crane: “Perhaps, if you’re not in any great rush, Mr. Rimmer, we could retire to my quarters and have sex for a few hours.” (Smash cut to the two in bed).
  • “[Under a mind patch] You could be reduced to a gibbering simpleton!” “Reduced?”
  • And once Rimmer is under the mind Patch…
    • “Assuming of course we’re not dealing with five-dimensional objects in a basic Euclidean geometric universe and given the essential premise that all geo-mathematics is based on the hideously limiting notion that one plus one equals two, and not as {Astemeyer} correctly postulates that one and two are in fact the same thing observed from different precepts, the theoretical shape described by {Siddus} must therefore be a poly-dri-doc-deca-wee-hedron-a-hexa-sexa-hedro-adicon-a-di-bi-dolly-he-deca-dodron. Everything else is popycock. Isn’t that so?”
    • “I wrote a Palindromic Haiku this morning! Perhaps you would like to hear it?”
  • Just don’t get me started on the “Binks to Enlightment” scene.
It’s a fantastic episode, and required viewing for any Dwarfer!
Favorite Scene: The scene after Rimmer and Crane have sex. Not because it’s funny (although it is), but because the acting shows the love in Rimmer’s mind rather than tells you.
Least Favorite Scene: Honestly, the interviewing scene, while not bad, was tedious enough to drag this episode down a bit. It was this scene that kept the episode out of the spot of my favorite episode of the series.
Score: 9.

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