Red Dwarf Review: Series V, Episode 3: "Terrorform"

Airdate: 5 March, 1992

Ah, waltzing around on a swamp planet that’s literally powered by the brain. How bad could this be? Well…

Synopsis: Rimmer and Kryten wind up trapped on a psy-moon, a moon created by the psyche of any person, analyzing his subconscious and adapting it’s terrain and it’s inhabitants to fit said subconscious… up to and including the worst demons. Rimmer is kidnapped by the inhabitants, Kryten manages to use his eye and hand to get back to Cat and Lister (who think it’s a tarantula at first), and the three try and get Rimmer (now with a physical presence) back.

Recap (Synopsis): This episode was… not very good.

It’s not a total write-off by any means. The plot of this episode, as well as the concept of the psy-moon, had so much damn potential. The visual effects, for a BBC sitcom in the mid-90s, still hold up very, very well. There is a lot of humour involving the interactions between the Cat and Lister, Kryten’s actions, Rimmer being prepared to get eaten by his psyche (it makes sense in context), Cat’s idea of putting on the “jet-powered rocket pants” and going to “Junior Birdman the hell outta here” (which seemed to be the last one to feature the “X is excellent, except X and Y” gag), and tons of subtle visual humour.

Subtle, though, is not this episode’s strong point when it comes to characterisation.

This episode is another “Rimmer is a neurotic smeghead” episode. And, unlike “Dimension Jump”, “Better Than Life”, and “Meltdown”, where we get to see this through his actions and past, this episode is as obvious as possible with it. The only way it could’ve been more obvious if it flashed RIMMER IS A NEUROTIC SMEGHEAD across the screen for the last 15 minutes of the episode. It’s also not subtle with how much the others hate Rimmer, especially with the last three minutes.

Oh, and what the smeg was with the sword fight at the end? It just screams “we don’t know how to end this obvious episode, so here are some beings representing Rimmer WHO IS STILL A NEUROTIC SMEGHEAD fighting each other!”

Again, the concept of the psy-moon is excellent. If it had been applied to the Cat, or Lister, it would have made for excellent character comedy. Instead, it’s done with Rimmer. The situation is obvious, and the episode falls a bit flat.

Favorite Moment: Gotta be the “Tarantula” scene. Brilliant character comedy. To add to that, no words are spoken.

Least Favorite Moment: Again, the stupid swordfight. Worst. Dwarf. Ending. Ever.

Score: 6.5.

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