Talking Points: Give & Take

With the presence of that ampersand in the title card, it’s a wonder that there’s anything left to discuss, other than the fact that there is now officially an episode of Red Dwarf with the same initials as this website. While that may cause some confusion later down the line, the issue remains of what kind of episode we’ve lent our name to. Based on just the one viewing (and a bit of a skim through to clarify some of the finer details of the plot), here are the big six (count ’em) talking points from the episode.

One thing to note, if you’ve somehow managed to miss all the spoiler warnings: this episode benefits from the element of surprise, and deserves to be viewed without preconceptions. If you’ve stumbled across this article without having watched the episode yet, read no further.

The Big Fuck Off Medical Robot Fish Thing

Finally, the wait is over. The most striking and intriguing image from the prelaunch publicity has now been made flesh. Not only that, it has a name – Asclepius. Based on its prominence in the trailers, we were all expecting it to play a major role in the episode. Not so. And what’s more, there are bits from the trailer that we assumed were from this episode, but aren’t. We’ve been sold a dummy, but how happy are you with the price negotiated? Did you want to see more from this undoubtedly impressive character, or were you happy with the role that he performed in kick-starting the plot, which (as we’ll get on to later) was also expectation-confounding?

Cheeeeeese? Petril.

You wait all week for a new robot to turn up, and then two come along at once. This one was a total surprise to me; there was a photo of the crew with Snacky in the SFX feature, but I’d a) mistaken it for a computer, rather than a robot; and b) forgotten all about it. But no, it’s a walking, talking, fully sentient snack dispenser, with a personality and a little-robot-that-could mentality. He’s also presumably the fifth regular member of the crew now, as he’s one of the rare guest stars who survived his stay on the ship. We were also introduced to the latest member of Red Dwarf’s on-board AI-enabled machinery – a talking lift, the likes of which also featured in Stasis Leak, funnily enough…

Daddy Issues

It’s notable that this was the first episode from Series XI to go in front of the cameras. For a start, it explains why Cat’s hair is notably worse in episode three than it is in one and two. Most tellingly, this was the first episode to be recorded following the revelations about Rimmer’s father in The Beginning, and it tackles those issues head on in a scene that lays the current state of Rimmer’s character bare. Elsewhere, the episode also provides a further exploration of Cat and Lister’s relationship status, with a handful of interactions that tell us a lot more about the characters than Samsara managed, with what feels like a lot less screen time.

A leak, right, in stasis.

So yeah, a nice straightforward plot with nice robots and bad robots is trundling along nicely, when boom – timey-wimey stuff happens, and we’re seeing a completely different story than the one we were expecting. For the second episode in a row, a twist is revealed via the reuse of technology from the classic series; although Stasis Leak is not cited here, using stasis booths to create a magic door to the past is strikingly familiar. And for the second episode in a row, the opening scene takes on a whole new context on a second viewing, with the knowledge of the revelations to come. With Rimmer’s kidnap in Twentica‘s opening scenes in a similar vein, all three episodes thus far reward repeated viewing.

Whose Kidney Is It Anyway?

It’s the type of time travel twist that always lends itself well to theorising and plot hole picking. Your mileage may vary as to whether that’s a good or bad thing, but I’m always delighted to come away from a new episode with something to really get my talking teeth into. So here’s the thing with this plot twist: whose kidneys did Rimmer destroy? We now know that “our” crew removed both of “past” Lister’s kidneys and fitted him with a special chip to keep him alive. So Asclepius couldn’t have stolen Lister’s kidneys, as there were no kidneys to steal. When Kryten rescued him, he discovered that his kidneys were missing, unaware that he would later be the one to steal them. I think this a bootstrap paradox, but cleverer people than me should probably clarify that.

But anyway, several further issues here, many of which are being thrashed about in the initial discussion thread. Whose kidneys did Rimmer destroy? Did Asclepius even do anything to Lister and Cat, other than knock them out? Was he in fact trying to help, having detected that Lister was kidney-less, and was actually about to implement Kryten’s later plan of taking a kidney from the Cat and messing with the DNA so it would match? When Kryten put the special chip in Lister, shouldn’t he have already had one in? Oh, and also, what was that thing with Snacky mentioning Rimmer’s former colleague all about?

Is it shit or is it good?

And so we come full circle to the original question – what kind of episode is this? We’ve long since given up looking for any kind of consensus when it comes to new episodes of Red Dwarf, but Series XI seems to be proving especially divisive. This is certainly a jam-packed episode; in addition to the above, we’ve not mentioned Captain Bollocks, the exploding space station effects, Kryten’s topical reference to FIFA, the first re-appearance of the Skutters, or the plummeting lift finale. Add it all together, and what do you make of the episode?

Let us know your thoughts on the above points, and your comment may be used in our Live DwarfCast for Give & Take, at 10pm on Thursday 6th October. And look out for our in-depth written review in the coming days.

Tags: ,

68 Responses to Talking Points: Give & Take

Jump to bottom

  1. >When Kryten put the special chip in Lister, shouldn’t he have already had one in?

    I’d need to double check how long is stated, but I’m sure there’s a line that mentions the limited life of an MTK chip. If it’s around two days (and if it can be assume that they just, I dunno, dissolve into the bloodstream or something when finished), then there’s your answer: the one Kryten planted two days earlier disappeared just as Lister was waking up and heading over to the station.

  2. G&T Admin

    In which case… he’d die at that point.

  3. Not necessarily: there’s a window between “not having kidneys” and “dying” – the same window in which Kryten was able to get the kidney-less Lister off the station and back onto Red Dwarf.

  4. In fact, it could even have dissolved/disappeared while he was lying on the operating table, just to shorten that window even further.

  5. G&T Admin

    It would’ve worked if Kryten had an exact idea of how long the MTK chip would last so it could timed to perfection when they go back to steal the kidneys.

  6. Asclepius removes the original MTK chip that was put on straight after Kryten removes Lister’s kidneys and then Kryten puts on a second one when they get back from the station.

    The kidneys were ones created/taken out of storage by Asclepius to fix Lister.

    Cat got knocked out by Asclepius so he could fix his eyebrows.

  7. Cat got knocked out by Asclepius so he could fix his eyebrows.

    Starring Danny John-Jules As A Plate Of Iron Filings.

  8. >When Kryten put the special chip in Lister, shouldn’t he have already had one in?

    I’d need to double check how long is stated, but I’m sure there’s a line that mentions the limited life of an MTK chip. If it’s around two days (and if it can be assume that they just, I dunno, dissolve into the bloodstream or something when finished), then there’s your answer: the one Kryten planted two days earlier disappeared just as Lister was waking up and heading over to the station.

    This is what I assumed too – it’s presumably why they made a big deal (and a good joke) about how quickly it would stop being effective.

  9. Overall I very much enjoyed this episode. I was hoping to see Dr. Robonkers a bit more, but I do think it was cool to use a villain like that as a catalyst to set off the story rather than be at all the focus of the story. As other people have said, this episode practically has three arcs to it, all part of the same story. Almost reminded me of that Simpsons style of starting out a plot that only serves to set up the actual entirely different plot.

    I liked Rimmer’s therapy session. As someone who often breaks down just like that in similar situations, I just really identified with him. We don’t get to see him in such a vulnerable emotional state often.

    I’ll probably come back with more specific comments when I watch it a second time. The first time I watch I’m always too hyped up from the fact that I’m watching brand new Red Dwarf.

  10. The thing about the 3 arc story is that it feels like it’s trying to be abit too clever which was also a thing in series X and often it just makes it more complicated than clever.

    I can’t think of many to any episodes in 1 to 7 that tried to do a story that went in several direction in like a 3 mini story episode and they may possibly have been better for it.

  11. It reminds me of Quarantine most of all – a weird villain showdown at the beginning, which ends up putting some of the characters in a bit of a pickle that feels like a fairly standard sitcom plot, before a weird twist sends things in a completely different and more fantastical direction again for the final stretch.

  12. Indeed, my partner – though she really enjoyed it – said that it felt like a chopped down feature length episode or ‘the best bits of a two parter’.

  13. It reminds me of Quarantine most of all – a weird villain showdown at the beginning, which ends up putting some of the characters in a bit of a pickle that feels like a fairly standard sitcom plot, before a weird twist sends things in a completely different and more fantastical direction again for the final stretch.

    The climax of quarantine is probably less complex when you think about Give and Take going from talky to a new time travel plot device pretty quickly.

    Part of me thinks perhaps the time travel stuff should have become a thing straight away after they got back to the dwarf rather than that whole cat and lister stuff but then it probably would be basically stasis leak again.

  14. The Big Fuck Off Medical Robot Fish Thing – I like, and was kind of expecting, Asclepius to have a smaller role in this. The ‘life signs’ stuff I imagined to be from Can of Worms, before they meet the other cat. Overall I liked the character, I thought there was a lot of menace in it, plus a touch of humour. Definitely the most threatening guest in the show since VI, which is enjoyably ironic given that it almost certainly had no bad intentions. The under-use of the character reminded me of IV in some ways, where you’d have something like the curry monster only for a few minutes – something to throw a bit of action into the story without it actually being ‘monster of the week’. The thrust of the story here was still character-based.

    Cheeeeeese? Petril – I liked Snacky. His design was almost too much for me to take the show seriously, but it just about worked. As a character I thought he was great, his nervousness in telling them they’d got him mistaken was very endearing, and his change to being a bit arrogant at the end was pretty funny.

    Daddy Issues – it was nice to see the absurdities of Rimmer’s increasingly complex backstory mentioned, and I think the scene was decent. A couple of people have mentioned that this could have been the first episode, and I’d agree – Rimmer’s realisation that you can do anything if you put your mind to it is something that would have foreshadowed Twentica (and Samsara, in a vague way), and it could have been an interesting way to tie this plot strand together with The Beginning. Cat and Lister were good together, with their relationship as good mates played out without Cat losing any of his Cat-ness.

    A leak, right, in stasis – I didn’t really think of Stasis Leak at first. I’m not particularly fond of repeating themes, and this one didn’t bother me. It’s something that can happen, in-universe, so it makes sense that someone would be trying to hack it to make it happen. Different enough not to bother me. The opening lift scene seemed very specific, so I noted it down as something to look out for a return to, but I actually didn’t see this coming at all, until they got to the lift later on. A very well structured episode in a satisfying way.

    Whose Kidney Is It Anyway? – I’m with the group who think that Asclepius was actually trying to help the kidney-free Lister. The talk of donors definitely points towards this. The episode definitely rewards repeat viewing, but I actually think a “Kryten figured it out, did he?” moment would have worked here, as I can imagine Lister being particularly smegged off that he temporarily lost his kidneys and went through two operations for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Where Samsara suffered a little from over-explanation, this is one where an explanation could have been satisfying and hilarious.
    The reference to one of Rimmer’s colleagues was annoyingly intriguing and I hope it’s something that’s brought back. It seems like such an oddly specific line – unlike the map in The Beginning, which at least served a purpose – that I can’t imagine it getting through the edit without being brought back.

    IS it shit or is it good? – the only joke in the whole episode I didn’t like was the FIFA one (partially because I have no interest in football and thus don’t really know/care about what he means). Otherwise I thought it was incredibly funny, the characterisation and performances spot-on, the plot intriguingly complex and surprising without falling apart (just!). I’m enjoying XI more with each episode that goes on, and this is by far the closest to an episode I can imagine slotting into the classic run that we’ve ever had, post-Doug.
    Also, Captain Bollocks was incredibly funny. It’s such a wonderfully crude nickname that I can genuinely believe them having for him.

  15. Part of me thinks perhaps the time travel stuff should have become a thing straight away after they got back to the dwarf rather than that whole cat and lister stuff but then it probably would be basically stasis leak again.

    Maybe just the story of the guy killing his future self, which was amusing in itself. Then the actual use of the stasis booth / time machine could have been a callback, much like the luck virus being brought back out to use at the end of Quarantine.

  16. This was the first episode to feature Bazookoids since series VII……something that doesn’t seem to be getting talked about!

  17. REALLY liked this episode. Leaps and bounds above Samsara, better than Twentica no question. The vast majority of the jokes hit their mark, and the plot bounced along at a decent pace, with even the opening paying off later.

    I think this may be my favourite episode since 1993. A very nice surprise.

  18. i miss cruel and selfish cat, i notice for last 2 episode he is abit wingey, he doesn’t seem to give other characters attitude anymore.

    its funny because actually there was a talk on here about cat changing for series 6 but actually he has become more child like since 7

  19. After laughing heartily at the first half of SAMSARA, this episode left me absolutely cold. Aside from “Captain Bollocks” nothing raised a titter. Massive let down, were huge swathes of no laughs, was like the worst bits of VII all over again.

    Like SAMSARA, the episode seemed to just stop. What’s going on with a decently paced and edited climax?

    Good bits: the location filming, model work, and the deranged doctor droid design (say that 10 times fast).

    One massive thing: if Lister in the past had no kidneys, what were the two kidneys in the dish that the droid removed?? This makes absolutely no sense. Are we due another LAST HUMAN style retcon where we find out that as well as having two appendices Lister also happened to have four kidneys?!?

  20. I think we can assume they were not listers kidneys in the jar, well unless it’s a plot hole of course but I am assuming it’s the dead skeleton guys kidneys just well preserved since he seemed to be the only other one there that couldn’t say he had any kidneys ;p

  21. I’ve enjoyed every episode so far!! I’m so glad Doug and the boys have Ironed out the issues. The performances were awesome! Jokes were funny and the model shots were gorgeous! The lighting in Red Dwarf itself is great! That gloomy red it gained in the IV & V series is a great choice

  22. >Give and Take

    Give *&* Take!

  23. I really enjoyed this one. Definitely the best one of all 3 so far. Twentica was cool and ambitious and everything, but this one was on par with that and had a classic setting, making for a great Dwarf adventure. My only problem was the jarring falling lift finale. It was cut so abruptly as if someone was going QUICK FINISH THE EPISODE NOW. It left me baffled for a moment. To be honest, every episode so far has had a bit of a jerky ending. Aside from that I was suitably impressed. Miles better than Samsara.

  24. One massive thing: if Lister in the past had no kidneys, what were the two kidneys in the dish that the droid removed?? This makes absolutely no sense.

    It’s never confirmed that they are Lister’s kidneys, that’s just something that Rimmer and Kryten assumed. A daft assumption which led to them finding a way to time-travel in order to remove the kidneys from Lister in the first place to give him them back – despite that, if they hadn’t made the assumption, none of it would have had to happen. It’s a time-travel predestination farce.
    But it would have been funny, and useful, if Kryten had figured that out at the end, much to Lister’s annoyance.

  25. One massive thing: if Lister in the past had no kidneys, what were the two kidneys in the dish that the droid removed?? This makes absolutely no sense.

    It’s never confirmed that they are Lister’s kidneys, that’s just something that Rimmer and Kryten assumed.

    This seems a pretty safe assumption given that they were out on display next to the guy being sewn up! The episode never offers any solution as to where else they came from – we might surmise that they’re from the dead crew but that leaves we as fans having to plug holes that the story leaves out. Maybe there was originally a line of dialogue that explained this which was cut for time or something. Either way its not very satisfactory.

  26. Rimmer extending his hand to Lister made him look so much like Robert Bathurst to mine eye in that moment.

    This series seems to be, while not necessarily doing so by design, channelling older episodes a lot:
    -Twentica felt like Tikka with a mood closer to Back to Reality
    -Samsara did its Justice nod while the choking scene reminded me of the taranshula; the skeletons of Kryten; Cat/Lister’s lead-up to the knighthood was VII’s ugly pitbull and claustrophobia exchanges
    -Give & Take and its stasis leak (plus other stuff I can’t remember cause I’ve only watched that one the once so far)

    My brain wasn’t, for example, screaming that Pree was Cassandra and/or Queeg in series X.

  27. One thing about it rewarding repeated viewing, you can briefly spot bandages across Lister’s belly in his first scene, didn’t notice that first time around.

  28. Is anyone on G&T a nephrologist? Drop some knowledge on us about how long you could survive without kidneys. From a cursory Google search, I’ve found a post from someone who’s relative has had both kidneys removed and has to have dialysis 3 times a week. So for 96 hours a week she’d have no kidneys and no kidney function. So I’m willing to believe Lister had at least 12 hours or so, assuming an MTK chip is equivalent to one session of dialysis.

    Anyway, it’s Red Dwarf not House MD, wouldn’t be very entertaining watching Lister swell up from water retention, get sepsis and snuff it.

  29. One massive thing: if Lister in the past had no kidneys, what were the two kidneys in the dish that the droid removed?? This makes absolutely no sense.

    Maybe he was just opening Lister up for whatever reason, realized he had no kidneys and decided to get some out and sew them into him? The droid did think he was a doctor, and I imagine donor organs would be stored in stasis for permanent safe-keeping.

    I’m a little surprised they included that detail without fully explaining it, but it doesn’t really bother me. I’m happy with my explanation.

  30. Chris Barrie’s exit talking to the skutter, reminds me of dog owners waiting slightly impatiently for a Jack Russel to finish having a shit.

  31. Sorry Snacky Fans. I’ve worked it out. He was last mentioned as fixing some new technology to the lift. So he could still be in the shaft tweaking it, and the final shot is the lift coming down at speed.

    Doug just cut the episode ending early cus he new you all couldn’t take another ending like Entangled.

  32. I hated that FIFA joke. It was very “Don’t see Run for Your Wife” with the added insult of being 20 years later and SATIRE! without subtlety.
    But glad it got a bit of love.

    I actually look forward to seeing this again. SNACKY was great. The running joke about the 4 buttons could have easily been overdone but was just right for me. Not too little, not too much.

  33. It’s not inconceivable (and, in fact, downright likely) that FIFA will continue to be plagued by corruption to the next 200 years.

    Or maybe I just really hate FIFA and really like this episode, that I’m giving it a pass.

  34. I really do like the Starbug set. Btw I don’t know if this goes into spoiler territory but is there a Starbug Mid section?

  35. There is definitely a Starbug mid-section.

    Just not sure if there’s a Starbug mid-section set.

  36. I really do like the Starbug set. Btw I don’t know if this goes into spoiler territory but is there a Starbug Mid section?

    I’m certain I’ve seen a picture on one of production’s twitter accounts or instagram or something where you can see a bit of it through the slightly open door, seems to lean towards series III Starbug than later Starbug.

    Is this a spoiler? Soz if so.

  37. I could be totally wrong, but my memory is of reading somewhere that there is in one show
    But I get the impression that it was a build for that ep and so wasnt behind that cockpit set door
    On all recordings. But I could be talking complete captain.

  38. It’s not inconceivable (and, in fact, downright likely) that FIFA will continue to be plagued by corruption to the next 200 years.

    Yes, genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if that joke holds up longer than Dwarf itself.
    Was expecting more people to be moaning about that actually. On a football/topical related note, I bet if the joke about remaking Casablanca with Peter Beardsley had never existed and was done now but with Wayne Rooney mentioned instead people would shit all over that, even though it’s essentially the same thing (a slightly odd looking footballer who doesn’t seem like they could act their way out of a paper bag)

  39. G&T Admin

    Football: It’s A Funny Old Game by Gary Neville.

  40. THE BIG FUCK OFF MEDICAL FISH THING – Asclepius was absolutely fantastic and horrifying. He could have stuck around longer for sure because he hit just the right note. He’s such a cool idea, one you could base a whole episode around instead of just one act. The fact that he appears in the first act and not as a final act boss is totally cool with me though. Reminds me of Rimmerworld where they face the Simulant in the creaky Simulant ship remains and have to escape before it collapses. The thing I’m starting to take away from XI judging from Give and Take and Samsara is the mixture of different series’ tones within a single episode. Case in point: The first act is a genuinely scary Series V-esque horror encounter, but then it switches in act two to the Cat kidney stuff which is more of a Series I-II vibe. Similarly, Samsara pivoted rather nicely from legitimate old-school bunkroom scene to Series IV-V derelict exploration. Instead of splitting the difference (like III sometimes did), XI seems to be balancing the old-school character stuff with the middle-series adventure and exploration by switching from one to the other in the span of a single episode. I’m all for that.

    CHEEEESE? PETRIL. Snacky the robot worked fine for me. He was just the right note of self-aware. Even his unspoken reactions were well-handled, like when he backed away when Rimmer started asking him for psychiatric services. Loved him as a character, hope he comes back. For a clunky retro robot, his comedic timing and deadpan were excellent.

    DADDY ISSUES: This episode definitely felt the most Series X-like of XI so far, and knowing that it was the first recorded definitely explains it. The Rimmer therapy montage was hilarious particularly because he was bouncing off Snacky, who had no reaction. It was a very “modern” sort of montage, but it worked for me in execution and didn’t outstay its welcome. The fact that Rimmer’s takeaway of being a hero was utilized later in part to help Snacky realize his own abilities was just well-done, I thought. Also, the character stuff between Lister and Cat was excellent. Cat being selfish and Lister being deceptive were great character moments. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen all the Dwarfers be bastards. They’ve grown, of course, but it’s good to know they still can be smeggers. Also, the dialogue was excellent (except for the Kryten stuttering, which I didn’t really care for). Lister’s giving Cat “a hole” which is “my gift to you,” was just great writing and one of my favorite Craig/Lister moments, just well-played. Also, Danny/Cat was excellent at Cat’s genuine hurt and offense that Lister thinking the Cat would do the right thing meant that Lister didn’t really know him at all, was just a great Cat beat.

    A LEAK, RIGHT, IN STASIS: I thought the concept of the time portal was excellent, and the way it was used didn’t feel derivative of Stasis Leak for me. I loved Snacky’s deadpan delivery of the story of the guy stabbing himself. I do like the plotting this series and the way multiple viewings is required. It’s very Doctor Who in a good way. I’ve seen this episode twice now. On first viewing, I thought it was a bit rubbish, but on second viewing, I liked it a whole lot more. The time loop stuff is very nicely done and the whole episode comes full circle in a satisfying way. I’m a fan of this timey-wimey storytelling.

    WHOSE KIDNEY IS IT ANYWAY?: Best guess, Asclepius, realizing Lister needed Kidneys, retrieved some already in storage and/or used his DNA abilities. I think they came from the ship, not from any Dwarfers, and were intended to be used on Lister. Also, I wonder if, not long after Romero stabbed himself, Asclepius harvested the body for organs, so they could be Romero’s. It doesn’t matter.

    IS IT SHIT OR IS IT GOOD? On first viewing, I thought it was rubbish. I think I was thrown by expectations. On second viewing, I’d say yes, it is good. Easily the most Series X-esque episode of this run, but better than anything in X save for Lemons or the Beginning. The episodes in XI so far are still settling in my head when it comes to my personal rankings, but everything in XI so far I’m finding to be at least on par with the best of X (Lemons/Beginning), which different episodes winning out depending on my mood, so it’s a close race. I’d say generally, Twentica, Samsara, and Give and Take are all good in different ways and all at a tie in my personal rankings, all probably edging slightly ahead of X episodes somewhere in the bottom quadrant of the top 36. Put simply, yes, it’s good, but I only appreciated it really once I realized what kind of episode it was and was trying to be.

  41. I actually thought that this was the best episode of the series (so far). Chris Barrie has definitely got back into his Rimmer character.

  42. I’ve just posted this on ToS, but I thought the points were so good they were worth posting twice… ;-)

    IS IT SHIT, OR IS IT GOOD?
    While I loved Twentica for its witty science jokes (“How dense do you think I am?” being the favourite) I absolutely adored ‘Give & Take’ for its overall freshness yet sumptuous splattering of nostalgia.

    ASCLEPIUS
    I definitely would’ve liked to have seen more of Asclepius, but, as many have pointed out, villains have been used several times in Dwarf to set up a plot, only to quickly disappear; and that’s fine; the balance between sci-fi and comedy was (and continues to be) Red Dwarf’s strength.

    SNACKY
    Okay, Snacky was a little silly but I actually liked him. And I like the fact that he (presumably) survives at the end.

    Though, if I were to nitpick… his credentials were revealed too early to the audience. Would it not have been better to reveal his true identity after his psychotherapy session with Rimmer – after his ‘bell’ sounds would have been perfect, no?

    I don’t think it would’ve taken away from the comedy of that scene because, for me, Chris Barrie’s performance completely sold it.

    DADDY ISSUES
    Chris Barrie was spectacular here, particularly given this was the first recording of the series. I’m assuming that this scene was played in as a VT on the night? It would’ve been a delight for him to share this live with the audience. I hope there are oodles of deleted snippets here to enjoy on the blu-ray release.

    I don’t think re-ordering the episodes makes this any less impactful; core fans recall the events of the Beginning, so having them in episode three versus episode one doesn’t particular do the reference any disservice.

    TIMEY-WIMEY
    Anything timey-wimey (particularly when it actually all makes sense) goes right up my flagpole. Huge kudos to Doug for making this work.

    I have no issue with bootstrap paradoxes…

    I always take Chloe Annett’s Crime Traveller for guidance here. I know, I know(!)
    But the rules Anthony Horowitz wove into that series just really click with me – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_Traveller#Rules_of_time_travel.

    In this case, rule 3, for me, is perfectly rational.

    Put simply: events in time are fixed and always happened, regardless of how you move through time and experience them; everything that has happened or will happen has already been determined (though, I stress, not in a ‘fate’ kind of way – freewill still exists). The Dwarfers were always the ones to steal Lister’s kidney; it doesn’t matter that they only decided to do this as a result of the kidney being stolen because every event in time has already been laid down – like on a big long piece of tape. Similar to the ‘hold the door’ events in Game of Thrones.

    Capiche? Have I made something complicated sound… really, really complicated? Were you with me all the way up to ‘simply’? ;-)

    Oh, forget it(!) Moving on…

    ADDITIONAL 001

    – SOUNDSTRACK
    Howard Goodall’s music cues during the escape and final ‘going back in time’ scenes feel more epic, fun and fresh than ever before. Several tweets indicate that others don’t, but I think it’s awesome that he has the opportunity to try new things – even if it did delve into Doctor Who territory (that’s not a bad thing).

    – SPLIT SCREEN
    I’ve always found split screen in Red Dwarf incredible. This episode is no exception. I completely failed to notice it upon 1st viewing – it was just so wonderfully seamless.

    – M PEOPLE ANYONE…?
    Anyone else think there was an M People joke in there somewhere each time Rimmer said ‘find the hero inside myself’?
    “Search for the secrets you hide, Snacky!” Or is that just a step too far?

    – CLOSING SCENE
    Rimmer’s scream should have bled into the credits more. There is something slightly jarring at the end, no? I think a more gradual fade (and echo) would have helped here (maybe that’s just me?).

    – CAPTAIN BOLLOCKS
    “Captain Bollocks”… felt a bit too mean (compare Kryten in ‘Give & Take’ to ‘Out of Time’ when he discovers he’s made a mistake about Lister being a droid – much more subtle and apologetic).

  43. On a football/topical related note, I bet if the joke about remaking Casablanca with Peter Beardsley had never existed and was done now but with Wayne Rooney mentioned instead people would shit all over that, even though it’s essentially the same thing (a slightly odd looking footballer who doesn’t seem like they could act their way out of a paper bag)

    For the Remastered, they wanted to get Craig Charles to redub it as “Peter Beesley”, even though Peter Beardsley was still a Premiership footballer at the time. It’s difficult to know in quite which direction to be apoplectic at that idea from first.

    Anyone else think there was an M People joke in there somewhere each time Rimmer said ‘find the hero inside myself’?
    “Search for the secrets you hide, Snacky!” Or is that just a step too far?

    I thought that too, but maybe it would have been too similar to “…a real big spender!” – which is still the biggest laugh I’ve got from XI to date.

  44. THE BIG FUCK OFF MEDICAL FISH THING – Asscleanpenis was brilliant. Great performance from both actors, brilliantly staged and more brilliantly shot then hudsen 10 or simulant in justice, etc the most bad ass scary droid we’ve had in Red Dwarf. Still advanced for us in 2016 but chillingly close to our fears over current computer and tech aided surgery. Reminiscient for me of pink Floyd brick in the wall video where design elements from notable cartoonist gerald scarfe are used to demonise a headmaster, here some aspects of the head and the long arms suitable for surgery are creepy and reaching equally the stuff of edward scissor hands and freddy krugger like exaggerated horror grip.

    CHEEEESE? PETRIL. – Snacky was so brilliantly not revealed to me, in any of the promotion or title sequence stuff. So when waiting for a bad-ass robot to turn up, the shot of him was just awesome gag, and that set him off on a great arc. It’s my belief he wont be back though. I think he was in the lift shift working at the end of the episode and broke rimmmers fall. That’s my head cannon unless he turns up/is referenced again.

    Poor old bob (or whoever) the skutter to end up being 4th most important out of 4 mechanicals in the episode on your first return since BTE 7 years ago in on screen appearances, First time in real front of camera since the 90’s and no one wants to make you a talking point really. I’d like to see Kryten teaching the skutters to lie and rebel more. lol.

    DADDY ISSUES:

    Love the line about his Father not being his father, and his mother sadly being his mother, and then mentioning his brother. This simultaneously answers whether Rimmer is character progressed from The Beginning and Trojan reveals. The answer being, he’s now mixed up about not just his childhood, but by recent events into the bargain. The montage that follows was like the brilliant “Loading neuroses” scene from Psirens now given a voice.

    A LEAK, RIGHT, IN STASIS: – The stasis thing which harkens to both The End and Stasis Leak, all that’s fine. It’s really not a massive point to the episode except in how best not to kill Lister in the episode with out going to a slushy Cat becomes generous.

    WHOSE KIDNEY IS IT ANYWAY?:

    Was a talking point. But what ever was intended, there are two theories that pretty much tie it up, and give Asscleanpenis more depth of character, that sound about right to me.

    IS IT SHIT OR IS IT GOOD? – It’s brilliant, it’s fun. it’s funny, it’s clever enough, it’s entertaining, joyous, sweet cool looking, and takes very little shit, except that this is an aging show that gets harder and harder to live up to originality or uniqueness within it’s own cannon, it doesnt quite get there in those steaks. As television comedy scifi in 2016 it’s gold.

  45. Ronald Littlewood. Should be a talking point. Is that line there because…

    a) Doug Promised someone he would put their name in Red Dwarf
    b) Because it will be followed up on
    c) Just because it establishes that Snacky has a very good memory, which pays off later when he knows everything about the stasis booth engineer and his technology experiments.
    d) It’s a tribute to someone from something Doug has seen/read
    e) It links to a deleted scene/line
    f) Any other theories

  46. Ronald Littlewood. When we know that Snacky is about to name a colleague of RImmer’s, the audience are expecting it to be someone important, or that we’re familiar with – Todhunter, Yvonne McGruder, McIntyre even. When it’s not, and it’s just some random body of no importance who we’ve never heard of..that’s the joke. There’s a Kryten gag in the USA pilot along the same kind of line, where (if I remember rightly) he asks Lister if he knows another particular human by name.

  47. Oh, like Jan Vogels?

    It’s like Call My Bluff working out this fucking joke.

  48. >– CAPTAIN BOLLOCKS
    >“Captain Bollocks”… felt a bit too mean (compare Kryten in ‘Give & Take’ to ‘Out of Time’ when he discovers he’s made a >mistake about Lister being a droid – much more subtle and apologetic).

    Well yeah, but…y’know, Kryten actually likes Lister. Rimmer, he just about tolerates.

  49. .There’s a Kryten gag in the USA pilot along the same kind of line, where (if I remember rightly) he asks Lister if he knows another particular human by name.

    That did cross my mind, but that joke doesnt work if you are telling someone you knew their friend, it only works if you enquire if they knew your friend, as the humour is in the idea that the place you might have met them is small, when we know it’s fucking massive or highly populated etc. Thats not the case when this robot’s past we dont know about and its deep space. So i dont personally think it’s directly related to that. Unless we are just supposed to feel “wow small universe” about it, in a hitch hikers improbability kind of way.

    But your other theory might hold water. you think it was an audience tease. It could have maybe done with a pause if thats the case.

  50. The suggestion that Snacky’s true nature should have been withheld until later is an interesting one, but as soon as the other droid shows up we would have realised that something was up, and would have been confused over (or second-guessing) who Snacky really was anyway. Getting the reveal in early makes the joke more surprising, and means that when the real Asscleapits shows up, we’re fully focused on him and what he’s doing, rather than going “hang on then, if *this* is the medical droid, then who is Robbie The Robot?”

  51. I’ve been thinking over this for a while now and so far as I can see the only way for it all to make sense is for Asclepious to genetically engineer kidneys for Lister using the Cat’s as they plan to do later. The kidneys that are destroyed are the ones intended to help Lister. Sorry if this has already been covered but I just had a a formica moment and wanted to share.

  52. Here’s a thing. I really liked the Autechre style music when Lister and Cat are on the slab, and Rimmer and Kryten walk through to rescue them. Unusual music for Red Dwarf but echoed the setting nicely.

  53. The trailers and synopses kind of spoiled us really, because I wish I’d been able to meet Snacky without thinking ‘that’s not the right robot!’
    See also: toaster destruction in Twentica.

  54. If anyone didn’t notice it either in the credits or being spoilered in DWM, by the way, Asclepius’ body (not his voice) was the same guy who played The Veil/Colony Sarff.

  55. I genuinely thought the voice of Snacky was James Buckley. Was surprised not to see his name in the end credits.

  56. Did anyone else notice the minor continuity glitch? When Lister is lying on Rimmer’s bunk at the start of the episode, Rimmer’s timetable from The Beginning is pinned to the wall under Lister’s feet. When the Future Crew place the unconscious Lister back on the bunk at the end, the timetable is now next to Lister’s left arm.

  57. THE BIG FUCK OFF MEDICAL FISH THING
    The scenes on the space station are the best directed Red Dwarf has ever been. Bar none. Jury was out on Asclepius from the pic…but he was great. Going “scary” could have gone tits up, but it worked.

    DADDY ISSUES
    Loved this. I hugely dislike the idea of Mr Rimmer not being Rimmer’s dad as it seems like an utterly unnecessary bit of backstory (much like that stupid chip nonsense in Last Human), but this at least papered over the cracks by reassuring us that Rimmer is still an emotional wreck. And to have Snacky lingering in shot behind? Wonderful. I love Snacky and I don’t care who knows it.

    WHOSE KIDNEY IS IT ANYWAY?:
    Artificial kidneys or belonging to someone else. Either way It was there to make us assume (as Kryten did) that Asclepius had taken it out of Lister. It’s serving a purpose; to sell us into the idea that Lister’s kidneys had been stolen from someone other than himself. Absolutely not a plot hole. They’re there for a reason.

    IS IT SHIT OR IS IT GOOD?
    It’s fucking great. It’s Red Dwarf firing on all cylinders. It’s funny and it’s packed full of ideas. And it’s FAST. I don’t think Doug is able to give us another Marooned anytime soon, and efforts to emulate those long scenes of characters swapping anecdotes never really convince me (from Duct Soup to Samasara). But here’s an episode that moves a mile a minute, and the dialogue is great. There’s no waffle, there’s no “comedy routines”, it’s just a tightly-plotted story and characters bouncing off that. This is absolutely what Red Dwarf needs to be now. I enjoyed Trojan and The Beginning, but I had a list of problems with both of them. I can’t think of anything I’d change in Give & Take aside from Danny’s wig.

  58. Did anyone else notice the minor continuity glitch? When Lister is lying on Rimmer’s bunk at the start of the episode, Rimmer’s timetable from The Beginning is pinned to the wall under Lister’s feet. When the Future Crew place the unconscious Lister back on the bunk at the end, the timetable is now next to Lister’s left arm.

    Not really an irreconcilable glitch – Lister lies there for two days after they put him there. It’s entirely possible Rimmer wanted to rearrange his stuff during those two days and decided to just do it anyway regardless of Lister’s presence. Hell, knowing Rimmer he was probably hoping it’d disturb Lister enough to get him the smeg off his bunk! Can just imagine his peeved expression when he realises Lister’s slept through the whole thing, haha. XD

    (Or, for a more boring hypothesis – Lister kicked it off the wall in his sleep, and Kryten/Rimmer put it back up in a place where it was less likely to get kicked off again.)

    On a side note, I’ve just realised this means the Rimmer/lift scene at the start must take place two days before the rest of the episode, something that isn’t really that obvious until a second watch. Interesting.

    …As for the episode itself – great stuff. Aside from the weird hair/eyebrows on Cat, I don’t think there was anything I disliked about this one. Some great laughs and an interesting plot which has a few unexpected left turns throughout, but all the elements come together maginficently by the end of the episode. More like this, please! = )

  59. Haven’t thrown my two cents in yet…. I’m absolutely loving XI. This episode was fantastic. The previous two were fantastic. Argue over the semantics all you like but this is proper Red Dwarf – old school Red Dwarf – for the first time since 1993. I hope the remaining 9 episodes of this block keep it up.

  60. I really enjoyed that.
    Add me to the pile that assumes Asclepius had in fact been trying to help Lister. That would have worked with a later reveal of Snackys identity as well.

  61. Absolutely loved Snacky. That’s a character that could’ve gone so incredibly wrong, like the Medi-Bot in ‘Fathers and Suns’ or Professor Irene. Instead, he was understated, pleasant and very loveable.

    Also loving Rimmer’s characterization in XI. He’s still the pompous arse we all know and love, but he seems a tad more helpful than usual. He took the time to learn the Expanoids’ plan, he suggested Lister stay on Alternate Earth – until his own safety was threatened – , he helped “save” Lister and Cat from Asclepius, and he gave Snacky that awesome Dare to be Badass speech.

    Of course, I suspect that “Officer Rimmer” will cock all that up and he’ll be an utter twat, but I’m liking it so far.

  62. The Big Fuck Off Medical Robot Fish Thing: Happy with the role he / it played. Testament to the confidence and artistry of the show that such a well-designed, creepy villain is used in a fairly throwaway manner. As stated variously elsewhere, it’s a Lanstrom-style plot kicker offer and had to be fucking scary for the purpose of the plot. And it served its role mighty finely.

    Cheeeeeese? Petril: Talking lift was great, Snacky was wonderful. I think the initial reveal of it after Kryten had so bigged it up elicited the biggest laugh from me. Slightly stretched credibility that the massive identity-confirming text on his back was never spotted by Rimmer or Kryten…but I’ll give that a pass. Voice performance was very good, stopped short of “wacky robot” and gave him some pathos. Would be happy to see more of him in the future.

    Daddy Issues: Obviously planned as the first episode and it should have remained so. Strongest of the three thus far.

    A leak, right, in stasis: Great second-time watch, though the other two also improved on repeat viewings. One wonders if the Dwarfers might be tempted to harness Snacky’s stasis-manipulating expertise in the future…though that might end up being a straight retread of Stasis Leak.
    It would be nice to at least see Lister considering using it in a similar way. Doug seems to be giving him a potential get-out of far-future deep space isolation card in pretty much every episode, which should probably be addressed.

    Whose Kidney Is It Anyway?: I stand by the conclusion that it’s Lister’s kidneys and the time-travel logic is just a bit messed up. Asclepius is clearly seen sewing Lister up before his encounter with Kryten and Rimmer.
    All the “Ah, Mrs Robinson…the donor has arrived” chat was just him being a mentalist.

    Is it shit or is it good?: Good. Very good. This is what I’ve been waiting for – confident, acerbic, well paced, well acted, FUNNY.

    Personal highlights: Captain Bollocks, “I’ve got lifts queuing up to transport me up and down their shaft” “No Longer Insane”, Cat “tuck-tucky-tuck”ing in Lister (don’t know why that’s so amusing), Catholic Church / Science gag.

    Over all, awesome. More like this, please.

  63. Cat “tuck-tucky-tuck”ing in Lister (don’t know why that’s so amusing)

    Found this bit amusing mainly because it reminded me of how cats knead blankets etc. before sitting down on them – I almost expected him to sit on Lister once he was finished! = P

    I’ve only had cats for the last year or so myself, but now that I’m used to their little routines and behaviours I have to admit Cat sometimes holds an extra level of humour for me than previously – admittedly mostly in Series I and II, where he acted a lot more overtly cat-like. A lot of his behaviours in those episodes are hilariously accurate when compared with my two cats at home. XD

  64. Is it shit or is it good?

    This was almost certainly my favourite episode of the whole Dave era, which by extension makes it my favourite episode since series VII… perhaps even since Tikka to Ride?

    There have been episodes in X and XI with funnier individual moments or scenes, but they’ve all come in episodes that were let down in other areas. This one had the most consistently good balance between humour, peril, atmosphere, characterisation, pacing, and story.

    The Big Fuck Off Medical Robot Fish Thing

    With his talk of robotic insanity and being certified sane, and his stabby appendages, he reminded me of Roberto and Clamps from Futurama:

    During the station explosion, there was lots of cutting back to what he was doing during their escape and after Starbug took off. When we see a villain left to certain death, seeing them again is normally an indication that we’re going to see one of two things: either how they die, or how they escape. Neither happened, which by action movie convention means he definitely survived, right?

    And considering how many bazookoid shots he shrugged off, he’s a pretty damn durable Medibot! (Designed for battlefields, perhaps?)

    A leak, right, in stasis.

    When the present crew were wheeling the two Listers around, I guessed they were going to run into Past!Kryten, who would help them in some way, which would necessitate him erasing those events from his memory, and tie into the memory deletion jokes from earlier..

    Whose Kidney Is It Anyway?

    If it had been specified that Lister’s temporary artificial kidney replacement had resembled real kidneys, then it would have made perfect sense: Asclepius removed the artificial ones, and those are what we saw in the jar. Unfortunately that didn’t happen so we’re left to ponder this dilemma.

  65. When the present crew were wheeling the two Listers around, I guessed they were going to run into Past!Kryten, who would help them in some way, which would necessitate him erasing those events from his memory, and tie into the memory deletion jokes from earlier…

    Oh, that’s brilliant. Why wasn’t that there? I wonder if it’ll be a deleted scene.

  66. Maybe Doug toyed with the idea but just couldn’t fit it in, yet the memory deletion gag stayed?

Jump to top / Jump to 'Recent Comments'

Leave a Reply