Let’s Talk About Can of Worms (on UKTV Play)

It’s hard to believe that we’re entering into the final phase of Red Dwarf XI but here we are with the imminent release of Can of Worms. At the time of writing we’re in the last few minutes before the assumed release, so make sure you do a good job of avoiding spoilers until you’re able to click on the link that will so helpfully be placed below this paragraph.

CLICK HERE TO OPEN A CAN OF WORMS

It’ll be business as usual here on G&T over the next gew days, with the archive version of last night’s Live DwarfCast appearing around lunchtime, and Talking Points for Can of Worms following later tonight, with a full written review appearing in the days thereafter.

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136 Responses to Let’s Talk About Can of Worms (on UKTV Play)

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  1. Just wanted to say that G&T have added a great deal to this whole experience and you’ve dealt wonderfully with the clusterfuck that has been UKTV Play. So thanks and I look forward to endlessly examining this final episode of XI with you all!

  2. It’s on the UKTV Play website, guys. Watching now.

    Immediate reaction: Kryten looks the most like Kryten he has all series. The mask looks far better this ep.

  3. Immediate response: Another great, funny episode. Despite the good track record of this series so far, I was still slightly apprehensive about what we would get because I remembered that I think Andrew Ellard described this episode as “divisive” (unless I got it mixed up with another episode?), but I really enjoyed it. Great performance from Danny.

  4. Well, I enjoyed that. The “tuck” machine stuff felt a little tacked-on (and unnecessary, really, since Lister having no emotions played no role in them rescuing the Cat) but I have to say, I really enjoyed the Cat’s early interactions with the female and him being completely oblivious to what a “normal” sexual encounter entails as he describes his impregnation was hilarious.

    As has been the theme with XI, this had a LOT of similar themes/scenes from previous eps (Polymorph, Emohawk and Mind Swap to name three) but there was plenty in there unlike anything we’ve seen before in RD that I think they can just about get away with it.

    So overall, a good ep but I think they should have scrapped the “tuck” machine plot entirely and maybe fleshed out Cat’s reaction to being pregnant with an extra scene or two.

    I’m glad to say but I really enjoyed the Cat getting more material and I think this was probably the strongest character-based episode of the series. Bring on 12!

  5. Not to fond of the potrayal of the cat this episode, probably because i miss when cat was pure Cool and he just seemed more pathetic all the way through this episode, rather then thinking he was gods gift to women he is crying because he is a virgin and for anyone who says he isn’t dumb anymore… he is still dumb, infact probably more so this episode.

    overall impression… i dunno, alot was going on in this episode, perhaps too much in a 30 minute period and its hard to say whether enough was done with everything they had, the stuff with the polymorphs at the end was amusing but overall there wasn’t really any threat there, it felt like just stuff happening, lister getting that emotion operation ended up going no where so why was that set up even there.

    i think when it came to the overall pay off i dunno if i was satisfied with it.

  6. Tears of laughter in my eyes. Easily the funniest episode this series.

    Overall on par with Give & Take as the best episode this series.

    And it had an ending! A good ending!

  7. A great story to end the series on. Loads of laughs, Danny killed it in this ep!

  8. Tears of laughter in my eyes. Easily the funniest episode this series.

    Overall on par with Give & Take as the best episode this series.
    And it had an ending! A good ending!

    I really want to say it’s my favourite episode of the series (and it’s definitely my favourite performance, from Danny) but that whole useless “tuck machine” plot just hurts it a little too much, so I’d have to stick with Give & Take.

    The “tuck machine” plot was an unreality pocket.

  9. Utter insipid shit. Nothing more. The only part that felt like Red Dwarf to me was the corridor scene at about 22 mins in where Rimmer coaxes Lister into using the (obvious Bodyswap reference) personality machine. In fact, this was so bad that I don’t even have the drive, patience, or time to invest in this to spell out why I feel that way.

    But, as this is the last episode of the series, here are my ‘ratings’:

    Twentica – 5/10
    Samsara – 7.5/10
    Give & Take – 8/10
    Officer Rimmer – 2.5/10
    Krysis – 3/10
    Can of Worms – 2/10

    I actually preferred X to this series on the whole. I don’t imagine I’ll be buying the blu ray.

  10. Solid episode – I enjoyed it! “It still counts” got the biggest chuckle out of me.

    Although all 6 eps are still relatively fresh I have to say my overall impression of XI…lovely stuff. Save for 2 absolute duff moments (The Archimedes scene from Samsara and the ending to Officer Rimmer) I’ve had a cracking time with this series.

  11. there some bits that didn’t make much sense, its like the plot was so messy that alot just seemed pointless, the emotion machine went no where, the cat showing up while the crew were having their 3 way stand off then leaving only to appear again at the lift to shoot the polymorphs

  12. How ironic actually that the mention of gelf vampires that feast on virgins at the start of the episode wasn’t actually the direction doug went with the episode, but instead we get polymorph 3.

  13. I just want to say – that dictaphone bit, where it went wrong and revealed Rimmer’s innermost thoughts in front of that droid dude…

    Possibly the biggest laugh for me this series. Utter, *utter* gold.

  14. Haha yeah I did enjoy the dicaphone bit. Also, Kryten’s “I just sat on a screw” or whatever it was whilst pronouncing the name of the GELF species was a nice subversion.

  15. Has there ever been mention of Rimmer making self-help tapes on the show, before? It feels familiar but I can’t think of any particular scenes, unless it was something from the books.

  16. Can we mention that one-year-old RHLSTP now?

  17. >Can we mention that one-year-old RHLSTP now?

    Yeah. While he didn’t reveal specifically, Ian Boldsworth (previously Ray Peacock) did kind of hint half a year back that a Polymorph was back as he spoke about asking the audience if they know what one is and getting no reply.

  18. I’d actually forgotten about it til that shot in the titles with the pineapple, which I’d have worked it out from anyway. But I was a bit narked when I first watched that. In hindsight I realise it would have been blown anyway.

    I haven’t even seen the episode yet, you know, I just want to say the word “Polymorph” very loudly in polite company.

  19. Watched it again and its not gonna be one of my favorites, i ain’t usually that bothered about the cat being dumb since its within character but this felt like he was all dumb, covered in more dumb and then sprinkled with a hint of dumb with some silly on top.

    Its a shame because the cat was my favorite character as a kid.

  20. I basically enjoyed the episode and certainly laughed which is surely the prime objective.

    It did seem like a medley of previous episodes. Consider
    – Rimmer’s personality and a machine to store or alter it – Psirens
    – Rimmer’s cowardice in the face of a procedure – Lister in Fathers and Sons (I think)
    – An asteroid field – take your pick
    – The way around vs the shortcut was reminiscent of Out of Time
    – Looking for a life-form and meeting a simulant – Justice/Quarantine/others
    – The back-firing dictophone was reminiscent of the time gauntlet in The Inquisitor
    – An alluring GELF – Camille
    – Male impregnation – Parallel Universe
    – Surgery – Epideme / Lemons
    – Lister’s personality being affected as he fights the Polymorph – Polymorph
    – Polymorph – Polymorph / Emohawk
    – The Polymorph taking the shape of a crew member – Psirens

    I suspect that, were I to watch it again then other examples would present too.

  21. I really enjoyed that. Funny, with an enjoyable plot that builds on previous ideas without feeling like too much of a retread.

    I loved the Cute Baby Polymorphs (the whole birth sequence was pretty funny) and all the Cat stuff (including the mindless interplay between the two of them, “that’s mine” and all), and Rimmer’s explanation for why it had to be Lister who went in the personality machine – but I think the biggest laugh for me might be the “I haven’t started yet”/”Sorry Kryten, I was miles away” gag. Yes, it’s a really obvious joke, but the performances sold it perfectly (especially given that Lister’s face seemed to be intentionally reprising the ‘Bodyswap’ mind-removal face).

    I did get a bit confused when they said they were going to use the personality-removal-device on Lister so that he could move undetected among the Polymorphs, and then they all went down to hunt the Polymorphs anyway – but then I enjoyed the way that sequence built up to the absurd three-trios so much that I kind of forgot about it and it didn’t feel like it really mattered.

    (Also, I guess we can assume Lister gets his personality put back in afterwards – this is a good example one of those omissions that doesn’t feel like a “plot hole” because it can be easily inferred from the rest of the story.)

    But it had lots of laughs, some good character moments, and a proper ending, which makes it one of the best of the series for me. A decent second to Give & Take, probably equal with Officer Rimmer.

  22. Watched it again and its not gonna be one of my favorites, i ain’t usually that bothered about the cat being dumb since its within character but this felt like he was all dumb, covered in more dumb and then sprinkled with a hint of dumb with some silly on top.

    Its a shame because the cat was my favorite character as a kid.

    I really didn’t see Cat as dumb in this episode at all, or at least any more than within his established character traits. Apart from anything else, he escaped his Polymorph captors and saved the rest of the crew. I don’t think him running away and then re-appearing at the lift was odd because I took it as being part of a plan. They were heading to the x-ray suite so he allowed them into the confined space of the lift, went and got guns and then cornered them when they arrived.

    I didn’t take the bit about him misunderstanding what happens during sex to just be stupidity, either (despite the cries of “you moron!”), rather inexperience.

  23. I don’t think him running away and then re-appearing at the lift was odd because I took it as being part of a plan. They were heading to the x-ray suite so he allowed them into the confined space of the lift, went and got guns and then cornered them when they arrived.

    So he played dumb so he could let them get into the lift? everything would have to go so well according to plan for that to work.

    I didn’t take the bit about him misunderstanding what happens during sex to just be stupidity, either (despite the cries of “you moron!”), rather inexperience.

    In early seasons you probably can find loads of moments where the cat has talked about sex including justice so this is gonna be one of those extra dumbing down moments.

  24. So he played dumb so he could let them get into the lift? everything would have to go so well according to plan for that to work.

    They’d already stated that they were going to the X-Ray suite, all Cat had to do was not interfere (ie the “I’ll leave you to it” before he ran off) and get there first.

    In early seasons you probably can find loads of moments where the cat has talked about sex including justice so this is gonna be one of those extra dumbing down moments.

    Also, in Justice, Lister ribs him for having not even met a real woman before (which wasn’t true, as it happens). All I’m saying is, for a character who had expressed embarrassment at being a virgin at the start of the episode, he’d obviously want to appear “cool” by bragging about his sexual encounter regardless of whatever actually happened, so you can put his blissful ignorance down to a number of things including an eagerness to impress/gloat or inexperience. Stupidity is probably on there but it’s more complex than that.

  25. That was fantastic. I’ve not laughed so much at a Red Dwarf episode in years. The plot was pretty coherent, and ran through without anything too erroneous. The little niggles like why use the personality machine on Lister and all go down together can be forgiven because each scene worked and was funny. And that’s what I liked most about this episode, it was funny from beginning to end, every line was written to generate a laugh.

    I also really liked how it lead us to believe it was going to go one way, and then went another. That was a pleasant surprise, although it does make me wonder whether Doug has a GELF vampire story up his sleeve.

    Characterisation was on point too. Even the Cat was on point. Sure it’s not series 1-2 Cat but I think it’s pretty consistent with the Cat that has grown since then.

    Best gag for me is probably Kryten sat on a screwdriver. As much as I liked last weeks merrrrg gag, this one just worked better for me and made me laugh.

    A couple of points. The room the personality machine is in identifies Starbug as “Starbug 19” – that’s a nice little touch, although I think we’ve only ever seen 3 at most before, at the end of series 8.

    Also, another asteroid storm … that’s 5/6 I believe and yet more asteroid levels in the game, should we ever seen episode 2 be released!

  26. Also, in Justice, Lister ribs him for having not even met a real woman before (which wasn’t true, as it happens). All I’m saying is, for a character who had expressed embarrassment at being a virgin at the start of the episode, he’d obviously want to appear “cool” by bragging about his sexual encounter regardless of whatever actually happened, so you can put his blissful ignorance down to a number of things including an eagerness to impress/gloat or inexperience. Stupidity is probably on there but it’s more complex than that.

    That doesn’t change the fact he probably should know what sex is, there has been enough jokes in the series to imply he would get the basic idea of sex.

    its a similar joke to what was in the Dumb and Dumber sequel ironically.

  27. Well, I’ve not seen that movie but I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  28. >That doesn’t change the fact he probably should know what sex is, there has been enough jokes in the series to imply he would get the basic idea of sex.

    What about in Terrorform when Rimmer is a virgin despite having had sex two episodes earlier. Or in Marooned when he has to lie about losing his virginity despite it being confirmed in Thanks for the Memory that he had slept with Yvonne McGruder.

    I blame an unreality bubble.

  29. One detail I really liked was that they stuck with the ultra-simple quick-cut way of showing the Polymorphs changing shape, rather than applying fancy morph effects. It was a subtle thing but it made it really reminiscent of the original Series III episode.

  30. As I’m sure everyone in existence had already predicted, this was essentially Polymorph III.

    I was amused by the cute Polymorphs scene, and Cat’s enthusiastic misunderstanding of what constitutes a normal sexual encounter was great – some good performances throughout.

    It was still overloaded with competing ideas, with no clear focus on what it wanted to say. There were a few moments that felt like scenes had been cut (What caused Kryten to suddenly decide Lister was a Polymorph) and nothing whatsoever was made of the de-humanised Lister subplot – I checked how long was left when the Polymorph hunt began and realised there was about 4 minutes remaining to try and tie everything up in a satisfying, engaging and funny way, but once again, the climactic ‘battle’ felt rushed, hamfisted and complained witless. (That said, Polymorph itself has a pretty abrupt climax (the fact it’s paid off by something set-up earlier in the episode just about saves it.)

    Several episodes this series feel like Doug’s reached the end, realised he’s used up the run-time and just writes the quickest ‘out’ he can think of.

    Cats gun-toting, dishevelled appearance in the lift would probably have worked better without the previous, “Hey guys,” encounter during the trio of trio Mexican standoffs in the bowels of the ship, the inclusion of which didn’t achieve anything as far as I can tell from a single viewing.

  31. The ‘Cat misunderstanding sex scene’ is something I put down to arrogance and naievety rather than stupidity. He basically knows what sex is, but when all these extra things start happening, he’s choosing to view them as signs that he’s doing something *very* right and interprets the fact that he is making a woman react in this visceral way, as a confirmation of his own natural sexual prowess. In that way, it ties in with his own narcissistic self-perception.

  32. The birth sequence and cute babies had me in pain with laughter, absolutely brilliant stuff.
    I was impressed with the twist in the episode, even though I’m not sure we actually needed another Polymorph episode. Most of the episode descriptions have been somewhat misleading, which I’m really happy about as they’ve made the episodes themselves seem more fresh and surprising.
    Still, they did some interesting and funny stuff with the Polymorph stuff, so not too many complaints. It obviously feels like a legacy show at this point, referencing different aspects of its own universe, rather than something completely new every week. Now I’m using to that it surprisingly doesn’t bother me at all.
    Overall I thought it was great, very funny, some good character stuff, a pretty solid plot (the tuck machine was underused [or, conversely, overused] but didn’t bother me much) and just really entertaining.

    I had very strong opinions on just how much I liked the first three episodes, but the last three have all been of similar quality to me – very good, not classic but thoroughly entertaining and just incredibly Red Dwarfish.

  33. A series of two halves. First half was getting better and better each week but it started to fall down halfway through Officer Rimmer. I didn’t like Krysis but it was a coherent story for the most part but this was bad. It didn’t feel honed, too many ideas, it was shallow, and what meat there was was mostly lost in a sea of pointlessness gravy.

    Cat is more Dibbley than he is himself now.

    The only redeeming features of this episode were the Starbug midsection, some nice monitor watching acting in the science room, and Cat’s “she looked better last night” gag.

    Leaving the series feeling really disappointed, more so because it started so damn well.

    Saying that, still the best Dave era Red Dwarf by miles.

  34. Having watched Polymorph III, I mean, Can Of Worms, I’ve now read the Radio Times article. I can see why Doug put out a warning about it.

    The episode was not what I was expecting. Bringing back the Polymorph was a nice twist and made the episode more interesting. It took Cat’s character to places it’s never been before. It felt like a series closer, and I enjoyed it.

    Can’t wait for Series XII.

  35. Cat is more Dibbley than he is himself.

    Yes for this episode certainly

  36. My fave episode of the series! I was worried about it but it made me laugh all the way through. Very going sciency stuff, Starbug Midsection and a nice ending! :)

  37. Cat is more Dibbley than he is himself.

    Yes for this episode certainly

    To me it plays more like ‘characters playing comic relief’ versions of themselves, especially Cat at the minute, whose character has now gone beyond regression and into realms of self parody, in a way, like some of the others. The frustrating thing is that there are moments which are bang on, but they’re too few to keep me engaged.

  38. P.S. I really don’t get the old, melancholic-drudge music cues over the sparkly, Doctor Who-like sets this series. Just doesn’t work for me.

  39. My fave episode of the series! I was worried about it but it made me laugh all the way through. Very going sciency stuff, Starbug Midsection and a nice ending! :)

    Was that meant to be the midsection? I just took it for a random room somewhere else in the ship

  40. A very enjoyable episode, and did something nice and new with the Polymorph idea, which i don’t think Emohawk did. The birth scene was laugh out loud funny, and some other good laugh out loud moments in there. Great directing in the multiple crews pointing guns at each other scene.

    I understand what others have said about Cat’s character becoming a bit pathetic, especially having seen how cool he is in the early series. But I can live with that by interpreting that he has always been full of fake bravado, and then when his character is actually tested with the whole virgin sucking vampire thing, he becomes himself a bit more. Having said that, we certainly saw more of the cool Cat character at the end. But I do admit there was a certain Series 8 feel about Cat’s character.

    I’m glad they avoided a cliffhanger.

    The series as a whole has been really high quality. But I don’t know, it didn’t feel as much of a big deal to me as Series X. It might be because of the whole split Dave/UKTV Play thing perhaps. I didn’t feel each episode as much of an event. To be honest i haven’t even listened to the live Dwarfcasts. I really hope they skip the split broadcast/UKTV Play for next series.

  41. You can certainly put some of that down to a divided audience, but this is also the first time in RD history that we’ve ended a series knowing another is completed so, in a way, it feels like an extended mid-season break more than anything.

  42. Everyone is focusing on Cat, but what no-one is really discussing is the female cat / polymorph.

    I thought she was a pretty bad “cat”, really over playing it, where as when Danny does it well, he is nuanced even if it is a played big and bold and over the top. It kinda felt like she came in, watched Danny for half an hour and copied him without thinking about it or creating her own character. Granted she was only on screen a short amount of time, but for me it’s not hard to say she was probably the worst guest actor that’s been on the show this series.

    Discuss.

  43. It felt like a female version of Series I Cat, which was fine for me (given that we’re meant to think at that point that it might be a cat-person who might not have been ‘domesticated’ in the way that our Cat has been over the years).

  44. Everyone is focusing on Cat, but what no-one is really discussing is the female cat / polymorph.

    I thought she was a pretty bad “cat”, really over playing it, where as when Danny does it well, he is nuanced even if it is a played big and bold and over the top. It kinda felt like she came in, watched Danny for half an hour and copied him without thinking about it or creating her own character. Granted she was only on screen a short amount of time, but for me it’s not hard to say she was probably the worst guest actor that’s been on the show this series.
    Discuss.

    I mentioned in my post that I really enjoyed their interaction. I thought she was over-egging it when they found her in the cell and was a bit worried, but I think as soon as she was out of there, she played it perfectly. I can understand why you’d have that view, though.

  45. Was that meant to be the midsection? I just took it for a random room somewhere else in the ship

    I thought it was a different room on Starbug as well until you see the large green cockpit door. Very pleased that Starbug has a midsection but disappointed that it appeared so much different to previous incarnations. Perhaps they made a point of showing the Starbug 19 sign to imply this is a different model of Starbug with a different interior to what we’ve seen in previous series?

  46. Everyone is focusing on Cat, but what no-one is really discussing is the female cat / polymorph.

    I thought she was a pretty bad “cat”, really over playing it, where as when Danny does it well, he is nuanced even if it is a played big and bold and over the top. It kinda felt like she came in, watched Danny for half an hour and copied him without thinking about it or creating her own character. Granted she was only on screen a short amount of time, but for me it’s not hard to say she was probably the worst guest actor that’s been on the show this series.
    Discuss.
    I mentioned in my post that I really enjoyed their interaction. I thought she was over-egging it when they found her in the cell and was a bit worried, but I think as soon as she was out of there, she played it perfectly. I can understand why you’d have that view, though.

    Oh sorry, missed that. I liked her interaction with Danny, and wish there was a little more of it, but it was definitely a bit too strong for my liking.

  47. I’m not convinced by the ‘early series cat was totally cool’ comments. For me, the character has always played with one of the more amusing traits about cats generally – and essentially why they’ve become beloved by the Internet – their overinflated self perception of coolness and general pride.

    While they’re very graceful and lithe, cats also spectacularly misjudge things all the time and refuse to admit their mistakes – anyone who’s seen a cat fall then pretend nothing’s happened knows what I mean.

    I’m of the opinion that wandering around declaring how cool you believe yourself to be is pretty antithetical to actually genuinely being cool. If he didn’t try so hard, Cat would be effortlessly cool, but his own pride ultimately undermines this.

    Similarly, his generally childlike, immature priorities have always undercut the genuine coolness of his character – just look at the novel version of Better than Life for Cat’s warped perception of style and relationships. It’s finding humour in the gaps between his self-perception and the garish, tacky reality that such excess would actually generate.

    Is this cool? Is this cool? Is this cool? Is it? Is it? Is it?

  48. Loved it!

    I was very apprehensive about this episode after accidentally hearing this week that there would be a “returning character”. I thought this would either be Duane Dibbley (being a Cat-centric episode), Kill Crazy (after Jake Wood requesting to return) or the polymorph (after the pineapple shot in the title sequenced). Out of the three, it was the polymorph one I was hoping for the least because we’ve had that story told twice and I didn’t think there was anywhere new to take that idea. Are polymorphs the most popular species in the universe besides humans?

    However, as soon as the polymorph was introduced in the episode, I really didn’t mind. I thought the idea was introduced in a brand new way and they did something different with them. For starters, we don’t see them stealing anyone’s emotions. Secondly, the humour doesn’t come from the inanimate objects they’re turning into.

    Ankita was great. Even though she wasn’t a real felisapien, I enjoyed the callbacks to what Cat was like in Series I. It also makes you wonder if the cat species is out there somewhere for the polymorph to know what one looks like.

    There’s more split screen this episode – the third this series – and again it looks brilliant. The music was fab too. Some new pieces (I think) and many callbacks to previous music cues, although that bloody flyby theme tune again!!!!

    The only bit I really didn’t like was the “A mamma always knows her kids”. It just seemed very un-Cat-like.

    I haven’t decided on my overall order for Series XI yet, but overall I couldn’t be more overjoyed. It is so much better than I ever anticipated.

  49. Just watched it a second time and I think it may rise to the top of my XI favourites after all. Currently I’d list it as:

    Give & Take – 9/10
    Can of Worms – 8/10
    Twentica – 7/10
    Officer Rimmer – 7/10
    Krysis – 6/10
    Samsara – 5/10

    Overall, a pretty solid series. The only thing holding it back is that the best episodes are flawed in ways that the “classics” aren’t (particularly the endings), but I can easily place the best of XI alongside the best of V/VI.

  50. Cat is more Dibbley than he is himself.

    Yes for this episode certainly
    To me it plays more like ‘characters playing comic relief’ versions of themselves, especially Cat at the minute, whose character has now gone beyond regression and into realms of self parody, in a way, like some of the others. The frustrating thing is that there are moments which are bang on, but they’re too few to keep me engaged.

    You could take Cat out and replace him with Duane Dibbley and honestly it wouldn’t take much rewriting at all, maybe take out the dance move cat does and all the OOOWWWWW’s and it could easily have been Duane Dibbley

    And the cat is meant to be the complete opposite to Duane Dibbley as he is meant to be everything Duane Dibbley isn’t

    He did feel abit out of character at times in order dumb him down and make the story work and if thats what is required to do a cat story then perhaps its better to keep him as the character who throws in the one liners.

  51. I thought she was a pretty bad “cat”, really over playing it, where as when Danny does it well, he is nuanced even if it is a played big and bold and over the top. It kinda felt like she came in, watched Danny for half an hour and copied him without thinking about it or creating her own character. Granted she was only on screen a short amount of time, but for me it’s not hard to say she was probably the worst guest actor that’s been on the show this series.
    Discuss.

    Its probably difficult when she is not actually meant to be a cat so its just trying to convince the audience she is a cat in a short amount of time.

    Personally i wonder if there was a missed opportunity to have explored having another cat around for another episode rather then turning it into polymorph 3

  52. >And the cat is meant to be the complete opposite to Duane Dibbley as he is meant to be everything Duane Dibbley isn’t

    Well, no, Duane Dibbley is what a computer simulation creates in Cat’s mind as the worst possible person he could be. It doesn’t mean he’s his complete opposite: if anything, he’s an even more convincing threat to the Cat’s sanity if he’s not that far removed from what the Cat could be if you removed his braggadocious sense of cool.

    There’s nothing that really says he’s a “complete opposite”. Especially seeing as it only takes the removal of one aspect of Cat’s personality in Emohawk for him to become a simulacrum of DD.

  53. > Well, no, Duane Dibbley is what a computer simulation creates in Cat’s mind as the worst possible person he could be. It doesn’t mean he’s his complete opposite: if anything, he’s an even more convincing threat to the Cat’s sanity if he’s not that far removed from what the Cat could be if you removed his braggadocious sense of cool.
    There’s nothing that really says he’s a “complete opposite”. Especially seeing as it only takes the removal of one aspect of Cat’s personality in Emohawk for him to become a simulacrum of DD.

    “It’s stolen my cool, it’s taken all my style”

  54. One of the very rare occasions we saw Cat encounter a real woman in the first six series was in Stasis Leak, and his response was to awkwardly stand and stare at her. That’s a total Dibbley thing to do. Duane Dibbley is the person Cat is most terrified of being, and thus it’s unsurprising that when aspects of him that might be Dibbley-esque are uncovered (like his virginity), he becomes nervous and scared, as he did in this episode. He bumbles around because he’s terrified people will find out he’s not actually as cool as he makes himself out to be.

  55. One of the very rare occasions we saw Cat encounter a real woman in the first six series was in Stasis Leak, and his response was to awkwardly stand and stare at her. That’s a total Dibbley thing to do. Duane Dibbley is the person Cat is most terrified of being, and thus it’s unsurprising that when aspects of him that might be Dibbley-esque are uncovered (like his virginity), he becomes nervous and scared, as he did in this episode. He bumbles around because he’s terrified people will find out he’s not actually as cool as he makes himself out to be.

    Well to be fair in stasis leak him staring at her wasn’t awkward it was the cat was looking at her as he would a piece of meat, just like him looking at himself in the mirror, its all lust.

    I think if we decided that cat was actually an insecure guy who just pretended to be cool it would really undermine his character for the sake of this episode

  56. Even worse Lister didn’t mention curry once. Just like Krysis. Horrible characterisation. How are we supposed to take the character seriously as the character of old when he has all these non-Curry eating habits. It really undermines the character for the sake of the episode.

  57. Okay, Can Of Worms is brilliant. Krysis slightly edges it for me personally but I think Can Of Worms is objectively the best in just how insanely tight and slick it was as a piece of TV.

    Nerdypoints:

    1. Official new Main Cast Member (TM) Daniel Barker has now been in 4 RD episodes, which puts him even with Clare Grogan and Graham McTavish, making him the joint 10th most-capped Red Dwarf actor ever (after Tony Hawks and the eight main regulars). In terms of most *consecutive* appearances in Red Dwarf, he’s joint 8th most-capped alongside Mac McDonald. And 22 days ago he’d never been in it.

    2. Some ancient (but welcome) music cues being dragged out in this one! In fact, other than the piece accompanying the Mexican standoffs I think the whole episode was tracked from the BBC stuff like Samsara was.

    3. Lots of BIG laughs in this one (laugh for laugh it was right up there with *any* RD ep) but a weirdly muted audience response like it’s As Time Goes By or something. I miss the rowdier audiences of VIII and X, which I didn’t think I would. The audience on XI has sounded downright petulant in places.

    4. Isn’t it odd that the episodes widely speculated to become the most and least popular haven’t worked out like that on broadcast, compared to X where all the predictions were spot on? Lots of reasons why that could be.

    5. My final XI rankings:
    Krysis
    Can Of Worms
    Officer Rimmer
    Give And Take
    1st half of Samsara
    Twentica
    2nd half of Samsara
    Last 30 seconds of Officer Rimmer

    (If we’re talking in VHS terms, then XI Byte Two is better than either volume of X, and XI Byte One is better than neither.)

    6. My preferred rejigged broadcast order:
    1. Give And Take
    2. Krysis
    3. Twentica
    4. Officer Rimmer
    5. Samsara
    6. Can Of Worms

    7. I hope they don’t still have the dream recorder aboard.

  58. Even worse Lister didn’t mention curry once. Just like Krysis. Horrible characterisation. How are we supposed to take the character seriously as the character of old when he has all these non-Curry eating habits. It really undermines the character for the sake of the episode.

    Well lister did pick the beer over the champaign in krysis, oh and he had a beer milkshake, so don’t worry Doug hasn’t forgotten listers love of beer ;p

  59. I only like it when Lister says he likes curry.

  60. I think it’s fair to say that my laughter is what makes the episode.

  61. Dunno where to start with this one. A messy, frustrating episode but funny and mostly really enjoyable. Need to see it again but the last few minutes felt rushed and chaotic, from when they decided to delete Lister’s emotions onwards. Should this have been a two-parter maybe?

    The personality tuck machine was an unnecessary element. Nothing came of that other than Lister killing two of the Polymorphs so there’d be six remaining to go with the real Lister, Rimmer and Kryten for the trio of trios, which they could have done anyway if there’d only been six polymorphs in the first place rather than eight. Then Kryten said something about Lister being a polymorph, which completely threw me. Had they deleted a polymorph’s emotions instead of Lister’s? Kryten also said the Cat’s emotions would return to him as the others killed the polymorphs, and I wondered whether we were gonna see the Cat with different combinations of emotions missing, and emotions returning to him one by one, but nothing seemed to come of that either.

    I liked the female cat’s characterisation and thought the performance was decent. She was fine in a much smaller role than probably most of us were expecting.

    I wasn’t too keen on anything to do with the personality tuck machine. Surely Rimmer, as a hologram (albeit hardlight) couldn’t be operated on in that way, because he hasn’t got an actual, physical brain to be lasered?

    David Attenborough narrating the nature documentary irritated me. Felt very un-Dwarfy. Are we supposed to assume it was a distant descendant of his or something? (Btw I didn’t have a problem with the universe sounding like Morgan Freeman last week!)

    Despite these and a few other niggles I liked a lot of this episode. Polymorph III is fine by me because, as pendo86 has pointed out, something different was done with the idea. I liked the birth scene a lot, and Rimmer pacing outside the room, but the funniest thing in the episode for me was the polymorphs as cute animals, especially the hedgehog. Lister cooing over them really sold it. I also loved Kryten reassuring the Cat and then “Oh my god!” as he looked at the scan.

    > Kryten looks the most like Kryten he has all series. The mask looks far better this ep.

    Yep, I thought so too.

  62. New poster, so be relatively gentle. Really enjoyed this episode and XI.

    I think XI, overall, has been a huge improvement over X. It’s been funnier, more imaginative, far fewer misses (No out of character comedic riffs on the seduction techniques of the Jacobean era…)

    Of course it’s never going to ascend to the heights of I to VI. But to fully do that, I believe would require multiple factors, many of which outside Doug Naylor’s control.

    It’s not perfect. For me, there are occasional flaws in the performances. At times it feels like Craig Charles is performing a dress rehearsal. Chris Barrie, for some reason, seems to think that explosive outbursts are funnier when produced from the back of the throat. I could do without the odd riffs that never seem to go anywhere comedically (Hostage negotiator, Archimedes, etc)

    But, despite the odd spot of “recycling”, I’ve liked most of the stories. It looks amazing, the scene in Krysis where they interact with The Universe looked spectacular. A lot of the jokes landed (The shot of Rimmer smugly waving as he floats along his corridor is possibly the funniest sight I have ever witnessed.) And, overall, it’s just been fun.

    I find it hard to be overly critical of new Red Dwarf, I just enjoy spending time with these characters, even if it isn’t quite the same.

    If I had to order the fuckers, it would be thusly:
    1. Give & Take
    2. Twentica
    3. Can of Worms
    4. Krysis
    5. Officer Rimmer
    6. Samsara

  63. > Lister didn’t mention curry once

    He did. He said something like the polymorphs trying to get out of Cat through the nearest available orifice “sounds like me after an egg bhuna.”

  64. I think it’s fair to say that my laughter is what makes the episode.

    Oh that was you?

  65. I was hugely disappointed with that episode. Maybe my expectations were heightened by it being chosen as the XI series finale, I’m not sure. I’ve only watched it the once and Sky kept fucking about with the download, so I’m hoping when I watch it again, I’ll feel a little more positively towards it.

    What was that whole emotion tuck thing about? It was utterly pointless. They removed Lister’s emotions so that he could walk freely among the freshly hatched baby Polymorphs without being sensed… and then they went down there with him, rendering the whole process pointless. If Lister had no emotions, he’d have just shot Kryten and Rimmer, because why not… he was quite happy to just potentially shoot Cat, he has no emotions, why would he care?
    So really you could have removed that whole emotion tuck storyline and have lost nothing… but maybe gained some more Cat/Cat interaction – we’ve waited so long for Cat to meet another felis sapien (and yes, I know it’s a Polymorph and not a real Cat), or some Cat-based emotional character development. I feel a bit short-changed.

    Things I liked:
    Cute baby Polymorphs
    Cat’s interactions with female Cat.

    I need to watch it again, but currently I’m feeling a bit deflated about it, which is not how I wanted to end the series really. :(

  66. The personality tuck machine was an unnecessary element. Nothing came of that other than Lister killing two of the Polymorphs so there’d be six remaining to go with the real Lister, Rimmer and Kryten for the trio of trios, which they could have done anyway if there’d only been six polymorphs in the first place rather than eight. Then Kryten said something about Lister being a polymorph, which completely threw me. Had they deleted a polymorph’s emotions instead of Lister’s? Kryten also said the Cat’s emotions would return to him as the others killed the polymorphs, and I wondered whether we were gonna see the Cat with different combinations of emotions missing, and emotions returning to him one by one, but nothing seemed to come of that either..

    There was actually quite a few things this episode that didn’t add up and i think thats because there was so much going on that some of the logic didn’t have time to add up

    They did say the cat had his emotions drained and that he would get them back as they killed the polymorphs so they took 2 down and cat seemed fine after that somehow, infact i also found it odd that the cat was encouraged by the pheromones to not flush the polymorphs into space but didn’t effect him after.

    then of course the whole lister emotion tuck thing was indeed pointless.

    Really perhaps doug should not be writing and directing at the same time

    but currently I’m feeling a bit deflated about it, which is not how I wanted to end the series really. :(

    Me too.

  67. I’m glad they avoided a cliffhanger.

    Really? Because given that they already had XII signed off, this would have been the perfect place for a cliffhanger.

  68. I do think it needed a proper scene with Danny and Dominique Moore. She’s very good and she was a bit wasted in this.

    I’d even go as far as to suggest that they could have got away with a musical number. Minority of one on that probably, but yeah.

    (The comment above about the appropriateness/inappropriateness of the Attenborough impression has genuinely fuelled even further my longheld desire to write an article about how Red Dwarf is actually a variety show. If anything, XI has reillustrated a lot of my points for me!)

  69. What was that whole emotion tuck thing about? It was utterly pointless. . :(

    More was made of this at the recording, there was a whole scene “testing” emotionless Lister, of which two versions were recorded. One version included a very un-Dwarf joke that got a huge response from the audience.

  70. I think it’s fair to say that my laughter is what makes the episode.

    Oh that was you?

    *takes bow*

  71. I’m not picking on you, Dax101, haha, but there were explanations for a few things you mentioned.

    They did say the cat had his emotions drained and that he would get them back as they killed the polymorphs so they took 2 down and cat seemed fine after that somehow

    Define ‘fine’? He was rather un-cat like (as someone has already commented) when he appeared at the door with his disheveled hair and robotic shooting.

    infact i also found it odd that the cat was encouraged by the pheromones to not flush the polymorphs into space but didn’t effect him after.

    Kryten said that the pheromones would affect him until they reached maturity, which he then also commented happened sooner than expected, in the next scene.

    then of course the whole lister emotion tuck thing was indeed pointless.

    No defense of that one!

  72. There wouldn’t have been a cliffhanger because wasn’t this the second or third episode recorded? I also doubt any of these adventures will be remembered in XII because I thought Doug wasn’t sure whether the filming order was even going to be one series at a time.

  73. BLOODY HELL.

    That was all over the place. Alien, The Thing, two discarded lost episodes and a reprise of another two. If it had an original thought to its name, I might be more keen. Lots of surprises, and completely split down the middle on the ones I liked and the ones I found pretty ghastly. Every time a decent moment turned up, another one arrived to kick the episode to the curb.

    I loved the bit where the two other trios of Rimmer, Lister and Kryten appeared. I didn’t love much else, sadly.

  74. There wouldn’t have been a cliffhanger because wasn’t this the second or third episode recorded? I also doubt any of these adventures will be remembered in XII because I thought Doug wasn’t sure whether the filming order was even going to be one series at a time.

    Yeah, I’m not saying *this* specific episode, just that knowing there was definitely a series 12, it would have been the perfect opportunity for a cliffhanger – knowing that it would definitely be resolved.

  75. Define ‘fine’? He was rather un-cat like (as someone has already commented) when he appeared at the door with his disheveled hair and robotic shooting.

    Yeah but we see him during the stand off and he was back to being cat like and when he was at the door being robotic it is just before and after he shot the polymorphs which means he should have changed after killing them right?

    Kryten said that the pheromones would affect him until they reached maturity, which he then also commented happened sooner than expected, in the next scene.

    Ah i must have missed that one

  76. Right. Watched. Laughed.

    It was, as a great many had already guessed, a Polymorph episode. But I’m so glad it was different, not just a generic ,Polymorph III’. The fact that there was none of the usual plip/growl/plop/suck gubbins onscreen, that the transformations and emotion harvesting were unseen made a nice change, and the impregnation of the eggs was a chance for…well, a different story. And no Duane Dibbley.

    I’ve not as many immediate thoughts as I’ve had in previous weeks, for some reason. I think in a way, I was slightly underwhelmed – not disappointed exactly, but I’ve read a lot of Tweets today praising it, and calling it the best episode of the series, and for me, it really wasn’t. It was the same with Twentica – everyone was raving, and expectations were so high, that it was a bit of an anticlimax, really. And so, a bit of the same here.

    But definitely some great stuff here, the Starbug mid-section (‘Starbug 19’?) looked pretty, and once again, some lovely split-screen work. Top performances from all involved, and no easy get-outs to story elements. It would have been easy to have them on the trail of half a dozen evil killer PolyCats, which I feared might be the case.

    But half a dozen iddy biddy baby ‘morphs…awww.

    And, if anyone’s interested, my season ratings (subject to change) are:
    1) Give & Take
    2) Officer Rimmer
    3) Krysis
    4) Samsara
    5) Can of Worms
    6) Twentica

    So…yeah. Going back to read everyone else’s comments now, see what I’ve forgotten about/got wrong.

  77. Loved this episode. Really nice to see DJJ get to do something a bit more interesting than usual.

    A few points:
    – The intro sequence with the personality machine really made me think we were going to get Ace Rimmer, so it was a pleasant surprise to get a different reprisal altogether.
    – I’m impressed and relieved that this one had a proper, satisfying comic ending.
    – Where was Snacky?

    Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this season but while the production values are higher and the plots more ambitious, I also feel it’s lost something along the way. It’s funny but maybe not in the way I expect Red Dwarf to be funny. At times it felt like a reboot, with a different tone of its own. As such I find series X much more appealing as, for me, it feels much more like classic Red Dwarf, especially in its portrayal of the characters. But then one of the things I love most about RD is how it changes and evolves, so it’s all good really. I just hope series XII is a little more grounded and has time to explore the characters at a slower pace.

  78. This might change as I’ve only watched 1-5 twice and COW once. (But probably won’t knowing me)

    1. Give & Take – 8/10
    On a par with the upper tiers of I-VI, if not quite the very best.

    2. Officer Rimmer – 7/10
    On a par with the worst of I-VI, which is pretty good company.

    3. Krysis – 6/10
    On a par with the best of VII and X (Tikka, Stoke, Trojan, The Beginning) so occasionally dodgy but not bad.

    4. Twentica – 6/10
    Ditto.

    5. Can of Worms – 5/10
    On a par with, I dunno, Cassandra?

    6. Samasra – 3/10
    On a par with… the dregs (BTE, Entangled)

    Give & Take really did knock it out the park for me and made me all warm and fuzzy. Have problems with Officer Rimmer and Krysis, but generally enjoyed them. Understand why people liked Twentica, although I feel the second half is not quite as strong as the first.

    Can of Worms is…uh…complicated. I think I need to make notes watching that one again, as I veered from hating it to liking it in the space of seconds…repeated endlessly.At least it didn’t bore me and occasionally made me laugh…

    unlike Samsara which is SHIT.

  79. > you could have removed that whole emotion tuck storyline and have lost nothing… but maybe gained some more Cat/Cat interaction – we’ve waited so long for Cat to meet another felis sapien (and yes, I know it’s a Polymorph and not a real Cat), or some Cat-based emotional character development

    Agree completely with this. Even without the personality tuck stuff I think it could warrant being a two-part episode. More of Cat and Ankita in part one, perhaps make it more of a love story instead of Cat just wanting to get his end away. And in part two make more of Cat’s pregnancy, how vain he is, maybe see some empathy with Lister who has been there himself.

    > The comment above about the appropriateness/inappropriateness of the Attenborough impression has genuinely fuelled even further my longheld desire to write an article about how Red Dwarf is actually a variety show

    Happy to have fuelled your desire, Darrell!

  80. > I just hope series XII is a little more grounded

    Judging by the set reports, it really isn’t.

  81. I think the whole ‘packing about three episodes’ worth of stuff into one episode’ thing has been a theme this series.

    The emotion tucking stuff didn’t actually bother me that much, it gave Rimmer and Kryten an opportunity to run away from Lister, and also Lister to quickly kill off two Polymorphs to allow the 3×3 setup. I’m not surprised there was more stuff cut out though, as it definitely felt more prominent than the payoff. But I wasn’t too fussed.

  82. Splitting up was kinda stupid when you think about it, they are polymorphs who can turn into any one of them

  83. I was glad they didn’t do a cliffhanger because Dwarf has never done a good two parter, and while the Series 6 cliffhanger was epic, it had a terrible resolution. Plus with the low episode count, i’d rather more separate stories than one two parter linking the two series.

  84. Series 11 has the Royal seal of approval and the monarchy views are as follows.

    “superb” – King Dave
    “Superb” – King John
    “Superb” – King James
    “superb” – King Henry

    It’s official series 11 is 4 King superb.

  85. Ended the series on a total flop, for me. The series peaked at Give & Take, then went a bit wobbly, then crashed and burned with this. All that Game On style virgin stuff might have been funny when I was 12. And I’m not convinced it would have. But it felt like a real waste of an otherwise decent idea. Danny’s performance was TOO BIG, and he was missing his trademark excoriating put downs. He was scared, though, so perhaps fair enough. But I don’t think that his fear was explored as much as I’d have liked.
    His ignorance about sex (phwoar! Eh.) was quite funny but it wasn’t really enough to sacrifice his whole character for the episode. (Nudge nudge!)
    There’s another thing. People who say it was a great character ep for Cat. But he wasn’t much like Cat. I’d like to have seen Cat pregnant and being operated on. Instead it seemed like character A was pregnant and being operated on. Nothingy.

    Why write a line telling an audience that with each death, the emotional grip that the Polymorph has over its host lessens – unless you intend to show an example of that happening.

    Lots of people negging the tuck machine. (The tuck box?) If you remove the tuck machine you remove the majority of what I liked in this one.

    It’s been mentioned before but are they trying to save on their electric bill? It’s dark as arseholes in that spaceship.

    Here’s something else I thought was a bit odd. What was going on with the female Cat? Was the Polymorph a fan of of Series I and II, or what?

    I also felt it was a wasted opportunity not to have a cliffhanger…
    There were some good bits but I didn’t like it very much as a whole.
    I don’t want to be too negative because as someone said earlier it is nice to have them back… I liked the prisonbot or whatever it was. Good scene. I liked the City on Fire type stand off in triplicate. Funny. And I liked the idea of the cute Polymorph babies.

  86. Also, a shame that the final scene was revealed to be a̶n̶ ̶u̶n̶r̶e̶a̶l̶i̶t̶y̶ ̶b̶u̶b̶b̶l̶e̶ a dream. It would have been a really fun thought that The Z Deck Kits™ really did exist all along.

  87. At first I liked the twist that they existed, then I had a horrible fear that this would really be too much of a continuity fucker, that Cat’s actually been hiding two others on Z Deck this entire time. Not keen on that. Then I got annoyed that it was a dream, thinking they’d never done a dream sequence before (without it being viewed from a dream recorder). Then I remembered Blue and all was ok again.

  88. The emotion tucking stuff didn’t actually bother me that much, it gave Rimmer and Kryten an opportunity to run away from Lister, and also Lister to quickly kill off two Polymorphs to allow the 3×3 setup.

    Or just write that there are six baby Polymorphs rather than the seemingly arbitrarily chosen eight?

  89. A fantastic end to a really strong series. On first viewing I think Can of Worms may even be my favourite episode of XI. It was by far the funniest for me. The birthing scene had me in hysterics, especially the way Kryten and Lister were trying to fish the polymorphs out with a little net. It was just a really well put together sequence that will be one the things I will remember series XI for. While the polymorph is a well-worn idea for Dwarf now I think the reuse of it can be justified given the new and interesting things they did with it, namely the Cat being impregnated, the cuteness defence mechanism and the Mexican standoff. The resolution was a little too quick, but the Z deck callback ending made up for it.

    I think Cat’s characterisation in this episode can be justified in that this is the first proper episode where he’s the one who’s in the sticky situation. It’s easy enough for him to stay cool and make quips when Lister, Rimmer or Kryten are having something weird happen to them, but when he’s the one in trouble it’s entirely reasonable that he may lose his cool.

    My provisional series XI rankings are:
    1) Can of Worms
    2) Officer Rimmer
    3) Give & Take
    4) Twentica
    5) Krysis
    6) Samsara

    I enjoyed them all and overall I think it has been a very successful series and easily the best of the Dave era. Series X was a good series constrained by production issues, whereas in XI Doug has been able to work with the shackles off and produce something that feels like the closest to the holy grail of series I-VI that Red Dwarf has achieved since Rob Grant’s departure.

  90. I do think the droid holding the polymorph inprisoned was a cool menacing character, the voice and costume were great.

  91. It was a fun episode. Like cat’s belly, it was full of ideas, and some of them kept changing, and some plots just had to go out a big hole in the end.

    I just didn’t really emotionally buy it a lot of the time. Dont know if the cast’s energy or delivery was a bit off, and not just the writing this time with this one, but the episode felt like the actors going “right which bit of plot are we doing next?” moving on, blah blah blah. rather than feeling the characters in situations. Some of the directing and staging too. We sort of get two montages dont we, a “three men and a little pineapple” birth montage, and “reservoir polymorphs” mexican stand off montage. It sort of leap frogged around a lot as a episode rather than really getting to grips with any of it’s aspects. So i didnt laugh at some situations I think were suppossed to be funny, and the jepoardy was ok, just a little too similar to give and take, and they really blew that gag of rimmers miss use of the scanner, in using it in adverts meaning we had to sit through a longer version of gag we already knew was coming.

    I enjoyed it, I laughed, Danny carried it well, and there were a few nice lady cats (even if they werent real), which is nice to see done on the UK Red Dwarf show, but the usa pilot still has done this better, We get to see cats dream version bedroom at least.

    I really dont buy the cat looking bedraggled like that, even if most of it is caused by the ploymorph. Yes he would have to wear maternity clothes etc, but the cat would still bling those up. But doug skips over it, just like listers pregnancy incase it get offensive I think.

    Weirdly it reminded me just a tiny amount of “Nasty” the young ones episode.

    I kind of like the creativity of not trying to over spend money on polymorph model execution etc. loved the hedgehog. My mum collects hedgehogs, I will have to show her now.

    Bit of a damp squib end episode, but by no means as bad as the worst of Dear Dave was from the last series. Over all a series packed full of great gag, well executed, bigger and bolder than X.

    Twentica 9
    Give and Take 8
    Officer Rimmer 8
    Krysis 7
    Can of Worms 5
    Samsara 4

  92. Lots of people negging the tuck machine. (The tuck box?)

    “negging”? That makes no fucking sense, unless we’re a bunch of MRAs trying to fuck the emotion tuck machine (and to be clear, I’m not), but regardless, that term can get in the fucking sun and burn for all eternity.

    If you remove the tuck machine you remove the majority of what I liked in this one.

    Which is what?
    I can’t personally see what the emotion/personality tuck thing brought to the story. The Rimmer bit at the start was only there to introduce the machine, there was nothing that couldn’t be lost there. The machine was then pointlessly used on Lister, to hide him from the baby polymorphs, but since he was accompanied by Kryten and Rimmer, they needn’t have bothered. Lister shoots 2 “Cats”, not caring if they are Cat or not to bring the total to 6 (they could have cut this bit and just started with 6, since there was no reason for it to be 8 in the first place). Then moments later, once they are joined by the 6 Polymorphs, Lister’s dithering about whether to shoot Rimmer and Kryten… but he has no emotions, so this makes no sense.

    I’d be genuinely interested to hear why you liked it, because the more I think about it the worse it gets for me. I’d like to find a positive.

    Or just write that there are six baby Polymorphs rather than the seemingly arbitrarily chosen eight?

    This.

  93. Yes negging isn’t a word in my usual lexicon. Have since looked up its meaning. Sheesh. Dunno where it came from. I meant “being negative about.”
    But come on. Let’s use this opportunity to reappropriate the fucker. Actually, nah.
    >>If you remove the tuck machine you remove the majority of what I liked in this one.
    >Which is what?

    The jokes in that bit. Made me laugh.

  94. I enjoyed Lister’s sensitive phrase “raddled with polymorphs”.

    While I know the female cat wasn’t a real cat, her reveal after all this time felt a tad cavalier. Should have been more special and momentous. Would have made the polymorph revelation more of a suckerpunch too.

  95. Deflated.

    Much like XI felt in fact. I thought we started strongly and then those last 3 eps happened. Perhaps having to write 12 instead of 6 took a toll. This series was a massive ball of potential and I’ve come away thinking that half of it went unrealised.

    It’s also shown me that I must want a different Dwarf from most. Seriously, give me the Archimedes stuff over the unimaginative ‘Maah’ stuff any day.

    (OK, neither are great but I myself am lost when one gets so much love whereas the other doesn’t)

    As for this episode, one of the gags got a laugh out of me. I loved, “It still counts!”

    Then we got, “Why doesn’t it count? I’m still counting it etc etc.” The same gag four times in a row. Then there’s the tuckachine that I didn’t care for, only for it to look like it would have a purpose. Removing Lister’s emotions except… That had no point in the end.

    Bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

    So, I’d rate the episodes thus –

    Give & Take
    Twentica
    Samsara
    Can of Worms
    Krysis
    Officer Rimmer

  96. That no-one can agree on what they love or hate about XI probably goes to show that we’re at heart an impossible fanbase to please, and that everybody seems to have loved (or at least liked) something means there might be mileage in the ‘box of chocolates’ approach.

    XI might be the first series of Red Dwarf ever that doesn’t feel like half a dozen (or so) servings of a single whole, and that’s got to be a factor in how completely insanely divisive the whole run has been. I don’t think there are two people that agree on anything to do with this series. That’s sort of amazing, isn’t it? It’s not like tribes or two or three opinion groups, it’s a complete free-for-all. We’ve got 46 weeks to think about it anyway.

  97. That no-one can agree on what they love or hate about XI probably goes to show that we’re at heart an impossible fanbase to please.

    Make a consistent series with performances and storylines in the style of III-VI, or I-II, or IV-V. Pick one. That should do the trick.

  98. That’s the point though – everyone thinks their favourite series/episodes of Red Dwarf represent the ‘true’ style/tone/creative intent of the show. But everybody and nobody is correct. This is a show without a formula, as much as we try and imagine there is one.

    I’ve mentioned before that I met a lovely bloke earlier this year at work, *proper* fan, who’s favourite series was VIII, and his favourite episode was Back In The Red Part 3. I saw a tweet last week about Krysis calling it “the best episode since Emohawk”. These are not invalid opinions, as disagreeable as I may personally find them. There are episodes I really love to heart that are divisive or downright unpopular (Waiting For God, Beyond A Joke, Nanarchy, Krytie TV, Back To Earth, Dear Dave), and episodes I don’t get on with that are frequent top-tenners (Justice, The Inquisitor, Terrorform). I personally didn’t really get on with Twentica, and yet it’s still top of some people’s lists, whereas I loved Krysis which a lot of people were very against.

    I just think it’s dangerous territory to objectively declare something correct/incorrect Red Dwarf. The fact that XI has worked hard to try and shake things up in order to represent the vast diversity of tone that the show’s entire back catalogue now stands for, that’s worth celebrating even if you found nothing else to like, surely. Myself, I find it way less consistent than X, but much more interesting, and what it’s undeniably lost in uniformity of tone it’s more than made up for in crunchiness. And crunchiness is as much what Red Dwarf’s about than anything else. We’ll be rewatching and talking about these six episodes *forever*, for whatever reasons, and that’s half the point too.

  99. Yes, X felt very safe in comparison. It served a very particular purpose: bringing the show back to something that resembled ‘classic’ Red Dwarf, setting a new status quo for the programme. It felt very streamlined in production style, and relatively unsurprising in terms of plot. XI now feels like Doug’s trying to do something new with the show (even if he is referencing the past a lot), so although there are obvious tonal similarities in certain episodes, or at least parts of episodes, I don’t think it needs comparing to older series. Overall, it feels like they crew are travelling into much weirder territory (and this looks set to go further next year), and that’s obviously what Doug wants the show to be at this point. Yes, it needs tidying up in the edit (script, final and/or both), but I honestly don’t think doing something in the style of an older series is what the show needs, or what Doug wants to do – or is even capable of doing.

    There are a reasonable number of people who feel the show was awful after II, or III. I’ve spoken to someone who thinks that VII is the best series after the first two as it captures the loneliness more. Some people even prefer VIII to the Dave era stuff. No matter what you think the show ‘should’ be, there’s someone who thinks the polar opposite. For all the flaws of XI, I don’t think ‘it wasn’t like series [insert number here]’ is a fair one.

  100. Indeed. But if you were to count a majority I think you’d find that, generally, most people would be happy with episodes in the style and tone of series I-VI as opposed to VII-BTE. I don’t hear that many voices crying out for series VIII style episodes (on here, or anywhere else). Now, you can try and rationalise it and draw in the divisiveness, etc. but, for me, I simply do not agree, and I feel like the argument drifts into apologetics (and I’m not saying that it is, that’s just how it comes across when reading the above), just as what happened with series VIII — people are going to love the idea of ‘just having new RD’, beyond objectivity. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. But, for me, this series failed to deliver (for the most part), and ended up bringing about some of the worst episodes I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I’m not even that interested in series I-VI style episodes if you want to get to the core of it. I just ‘want it to be good’. Apply that to charactisation, performances, story, plot, tone, and editing. It doesn’t have to be consistently logical (RD never was). But it has to stay true to its own established characters and rules. When it starts to feel like a hokey, eye rolling runaround with comic relief style characters, then I’m out.

  101. But if you were to count a majority I think you’d find that, generally, most people would be happy with episodes in the style and tone of series I-VI as opposed to VII-BTE. I don’t hear that many voices crying out for series VIII style episodes (on here, or anywhere else).

    A majority on here, possibly. Outside of active fandom, there’s literally millions of other people who watch Red Dwarf. I mean, judging purely from the BARB ratings of VIII and Back To Earth, that *is* what they like to see. The ‘casual’ RD audience is thousands of times bigger than active fandom is, we’re in a frighteningly tiny bubble here. I know Doug/GNP do take a genuine interest in what the hardcore think but we’re still a tiny minority.

  102. Isnt the personality tucker from the better than life novel?

    Rimmers wife uses it?

    Despite being a weak plot thread, I can’t really get round the idea of a hologramme being operated on.
    If they are the same as humans in hard light mode down to every simulated fiber,
    But still almost indestructible, the i can’t see the machine working
    And reprogramming is the way to change hologramatic personality.

    I could head cannon that with out holy they are having trouble
    Managing programming rimmer beyond his current settings, but none of that is in the episode.

  103. It’s the same as Rimmer being absorbed into the Rimmer Monster, I think Doug’s idea of a hardlight hologram is being stretched a little this series.

  104. I wondered why Kryten and Rimmer joined emotionless Lister too… but then Rimmer makes a statement that explains things. “Let’s send him in…” I got the impression that they were travelling with Lister to the section where they thought the polymorphs were. When they reached it, they would deploy him. But then their plan was scuppered because the polymorphs had already found them, as demonstrated when the Cat morph turns up.

    Overall, I liked this episode a lot. I wasn’t keen on the Cat lady’s introduction. She did a weird sideways grin that looked unnatural, a pure “hey audience, I have fangs! I’m a cat, get it?” I know she isn’t meant to be a subtle character but that was a bit much. She looked the part though.

    That reference to a new kind of vampiric gelf that lived in that asteroid belt was interesting. While part of me was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see them, I actually think that bit of misdirection served the episode. From the synopsis and speculation I guessed the female cat would likely be something else. I thought she might turn outto be one of those vampire gelfs out to prey on the Cat. But that would require that species to have shape-shifting or illusions powers and since we have polymorphs, psirens and pleasure gelfs with those capabilities, yet another kind would be a bit much, and a re-tread of past episodes.

    We did get other polymorph episode, but different enough from the others that it worked very well.

    Before we got to that, we got an interesting new droid in the mercanoid. (I understand the costume is actually from a Doctor Who episode? I wonder if it was augmented at all?) I loved the scary voice and Lister’s method of dealing with him was a cool moment, as well as a funny gag at Rimmer’s expense.

    So that’s two potential threats, one of which we never met, and one which was dealt with quickly. And that was before we even got to the real threat of the episode. I don’t mention this as a criticism. It’s a good thing to be misdirected.

    Unfortunately, I saw the female Cat twist coming, but as her role was also very small, yet very pivotal, there was still another threat and plenty of comedy to come. Much of the morphlings section was very silly, but in a good way. It would have been nice if Kryten’s plan to use remove Lister’s emotions amounted to more. I guess it could be argued that normal Lister would not have blasted the Cat-morph so quickly, which might have saved them, but even so. In the end they’d covered quite a bit of territory in the episode and with the time limit, they had to wrap things up.

    I’m not sure of the resolution with the Cat turning up and instinctively just knowing which beings were the polymorphs, but it was kinda cool nonetheless.

    Overall, a good episode, that took some old concepts and did new things with them. A good mixture of sci-fi ideas, monsters, comedy, and character moments.

    Here’s the real pertinent question though…*

    Where did they get those small guns from?

    It doesn’t matter. They’ve spent plenty of time salvaging stuff from derelicts and possibly Red Dwarf has an armoury of more weapons than bazookoids. Maybe they figured bazookoids would be overkill for morphling hunting, or alternatively to unwieldy to take out a number of critters at once.

    They were a cool design.

    *Not really

  105. I’m not sure of the resolution with the Cat turning up and instinctively just knowing which beings were the polymorphs, but it was kinda cool nonetheless.

    That falls into the same camp as killing a vindaloo beast with lager for me – doesn’t hold up very well on closer inspection, but amusing enough to work.

  106. Now, you can try and rationalise it and draw in the divisiveness, etc. but, for me, I simply do not agree, and I feel like the argument drifts into apologetics (and I’m not saying that it is, that’s just how it comes across when reading the above), just as what happened with series VIII — people are going to love the idea of ‘just having new RD’, beyond objectivity. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. But, for me, this series failed to deliver (for the most part), and ended up bringing about some of the worst episodes I’ve ever seen.

    There are important things to consider when reacting to new episodes and comparing them to old ones. Namely that – as you say – you can find yourself overlooking flaws out of appreciation for the fact that new RD is on the telly, but also that you can find the new episodes falling short in comparison to the “classic” era because you’re not taking into account the nostalgia effect those old eps have. I especially found the former to be true with X, as it hasn’t held up as well to subsequent re-watches.

    So with that in mind, I can honestly say that at least 3 of these 6 new episodes feel of an equal or pretty-damned-close quality to my favourite era of the show. I found Doug’s writing to be much more confident (mostly in that he can just write dialogue now without overloading it with jokes, ala VIII), the show looked and sounded bloody gorgeous and – while they were not always wrapped up as well as they should have been – it felt very plot-rich.

    Obviously that’s not to say it didn’t have some severe problems that need addressing for XII. Namely that, in strengthening one area of his writing, Doug seems to have exposed an entirely new weakness in the poor endings, there were far too many establishing shots of Red Dwarf and – probably my biggest complaint of the series – I don’t feel that Lister was particular Lister-y (whereas X did a great job with him in Fathers & Suns).

    But, taking that all into account, the fact is I found myself really enjoying the majority of the series (and this includes the poorly-planned “tuck machine” plot, just because I love that ep so much) and I consider it as a huge step towards the “classic” era quality and which gives me a great deal of hope for XII.

    Obviously that’s entirely subjective, but then that’s the point.

  107. the reason they go with lister is if they don’t go the polymorph might be just camoflaged. the second time this series rimmer is used as bait for lister to finish the monster off.

  108. the reason they go with lister is if they don’t go the polymorph might be just camoflaged. the second time this series rimmer is used as bait for lister to finish the monster off.

    Come to think of it, that kind of makes sense….. they go down with Lister to draw out the Polymorphs (after all they’re confined to an entire deck so not easily cornered), but the Polymorphs can’t sense Lister so they have a tactical advantage.

  109. Only a very minor advantage though surely, one that deleting Lister’s emotions seems like a very drastic step to take in order to achieve. I’m yet to see the episode a second time but tbh I’m unsure about this business of the Polymorphs not being able to sense Lister. They feed on emotions, yes, but they don’t only sense them. I mean they can also, y’know, see and hear can’t they?

  110. Only a very minor advantage though surely, one that deleting Lister’s emotions seems like a very drastic step to take in order to achieve. I’m yet to see the episode a second time but tbh I’m unsure about this business of the Polymorphs not being able to sense Lister. They feed on emotions, yes, but they don’t only sense them. I mean they can also, y’know, see and hear can’t they?

    I’m not sold on it as necessary to the plot at all, but it makes me happier if I can connect an internal logic to the plan. Really, it’s a good tactic in terms of sending Lister away whilst Rimmer and Kryten draw the Polymorphs to a central point so that he can sneak up on them and have the element of surprise…… the problem (and much the same problem that Officer Rimmer’s finale had) was that the end point was simply shooting them, which you don’t need to sneak up to do. It would have been better if, say, Rimmer and Kryten were luring the Polymorphs into a section which Lister could then close off from behind without them sensing his approach.

  111. It makes *some* sense. With no emotions, Lister has nothing for the polymorphs to feed on, which makes him safer. Unfortunately, this also makes him a bit dangerous, making Rimmer and Kryten run from it. It also makes him more likely to shoot either Rimmer or Kryten if he thinks they’re dangerous.

    Also, it was stated that for each polymorph destroyed, bits of the Cat’s personality would return to him, but until then, he was in an emotionless state. Seems he got a couple bits of himself back with those two destroyed, enabling him to escape, but maybe they could’ve clarified his feline cunning was amplified, so he was leading them into a trap.

    I’m pulling this out of my recharge socket, in case you couldn’t tell.

  112. Hi Jo TORDFC. Apologies for my brief (and shit) explanation of what I liked about the tuck machine. I was in a rush this morning but wanted to answer your question. This is a longer (and shitter) explanation.
    I didn’t need to be there at all, and its inclusion was to some degree maddening, but I actually liked the slightly clunky opening and slightly naff, Psirens style jokes at the expense of Rimmer’s brain. And I liked the mind swap joke at Lister’s expense near the end. They were performed well, I thought. Two of the few comedic highlights within the episode. Along with the others I mentioned above.
    I felt the laughs were thin on the ground in this one, and that removing the scenes would have lost some of the better jokes. Ideally I’d have liked some of the Polymorph and Cats stuff to be replaced with things related to the personality adjustment stuff.
    I don’t think for a moment this will alter your opinion, just an answer to your question.

  113. Series as whole, for me, has been a huge step down from X. I’ve just re-watched most of X to be sure. XI, for me, has been too messy, not as funny and just overall lacking something that X had. Feel free to flame me for it.

    Also, am I right in thinking there’s been no mention of Kochanski at all?

  114. Also, am I right in thinking there’s been no mention of Kochanski at all?

    i think that ship has sailed.. unless it is being saved for series XII, the problem is if she is ever re-introduced into the show what will she have to do afterwards??

    i thought she might get a mention when they mentioned the ship in Can of Worms having a prisoner… but lister says it may be Human… and not Kochanski .. which is odd… considering he is supposedly the last Human,

  115. I’m thinking Lister’s accepted she’s probably dead and moved on. And we should probably, too. Otherwise he wouldn’t have suggested stasis in ‘Krysis’.

  116. Captain Hollister is also supposedly still out there, somewhere, with whoever else evacuated the ship at the end of VIII. Maybe they could bring Kochanski back by having some kind of story where she met up with that surviving crew, who eventually encounter our Dwarfers, and then she opts to stay with Hollister. That way you could wrap her story up in an episode or two and move on.

    Personally, I don’t really need any follow-up on Hollister but it feels weird to just forget about Kochanski, given how significant a role her character (and her current situation) played in BtE.

  117. Doug hasn’t forgotten about Kochanski, its just he obviously wrote her out for a reason so you don’t wanna spend 2 series walking around eggshells on the kochanski thing just to have her continue to not show up.

    But yeah doug is bringing her back at some point when he feels its the right time.

    Its like has doug forgotten holly? well if you listen to norman in a recent interview it doesn’t sound like he has.

  118. Its like has doug forgotten holly? well if you listen to norman in a recent interview it doesn’t sound like he has.

    Ssssssssssssh. Spoilers. Don’t get us onto the clapper board.

  119. I’m quite sure that Doug will do a ‘final episode’ at some point – and it’s likely it’ll involve them flying off into the black in an open ended way. If something like that does happen, I wouldn’t be surprised if it involved rescuing Kochanski and her rejoining the crew at last.

  120. I have no problem with the idea of the search for Kochanski being over and her presumably being dead, but it still needs addressing on-screen. From Back To Earth part 1 through to Entangled it was as big a part of the story as the search for Starbug was in VI-VII. You just can’t abandon and imply offscreen resolution of a plot that you didn’t want to resolve but only created in the first place in order to paper over abandoning and implying an offscreen resolution of a *different* plot that you created and didn’t want to resolve. Parallel Universe got the scrolling text, Only The Good got those gags… that was enough that it didn’t feel like an insult and the story was jettisoned on good terms with the audience. It’s all getting a bit “SQUIRREL!”

    It’d still work even if we find out that she *is* dead/stranded/found her original crew/blown up by space ghosts/eaten by Ainsley Harriot, and after the fact, but at the same time the crew do, and it’s told in flashback. You know, like Samsara, but good. Besides, what *are* gold Kryten, middle-class Lister and surly Cat up to these days?

    I mean for all the talk of disposable female characters in the Dave era, Chloe Annett’s Kochanski is Patient Zero. It needs mending.

  121. I have no problem with the idea of the search for Kochanski being over and her presumably being dead, but it still needs addressing on-screen. From Back To Earth part 1 through to Entangled it was as big a part of the story as the search for Starbug was in VI-VII. .

    BTE tells us that BTE was set just after Series X doesn’t it? And also says that Kryten lied and told Lister that Kochanski died to spare his feelings because she left.

    Haven’t seen it in a while but I believe that’s right? So he thinks she’s dead.

  122. Hi Jo TORDFC. Apologies for my brief (and shit) explanation of what I liked about the tuck machine. I was in a rush this morning but wanted to answer your question. This is a longer (and shitter) explanation.

    I didn’t need to be there at all, and its inclusion was to some degree maddening, but I actually liked the slightly clunky opening and slightly naff, Psirens style jokes at the expense of Rimmer’s brain. And I liked the mind swap joke at Lister’s expense near the end. They were performed well, I thought. Two of the few comedic highlights within the episode. Along with the others I mentioned above.
    I felt the laughs were thin on the ground in this one, and that removing the scenes would have lost some of the better jokes. Ideally I’d have liked some of the Polymorph and Cats stuff to be replaced with things related to the personality adjustment stuff.
    I don’t think for a moment this will alter your opinion, just an answer to your question.

    Hi! That’s ok, it wasn’t really changing of my opinion that I was after… maybe just softening. I’ll keep these comments in mind when I rewatch. Thanks!

  123. BTE tells us that BTE was set just after Series X doesn’t it? And also says that Kryten lied and told Lister that Kochanski died to spare his feelings because she left.
    Haven’t seen it in a while but I believe that’s right? So he thinks she’s dead.

    In the hallucinatory world of BtE it’s after series X, but not ‘our’ series X. During our X he’s aware that she’s alive and wants to find her.

  124. More was made of this at the recording, there was a whole scene “testing” emotionless Lister, of which two versions were recorded. One version included a very un-Dwarf joke that got a huge response from the audience.

    Without spoiling here, is this included on the Special Features that have leaked, deleted scenes etc?

    If not then please free to spoil the shit out of it here.

  125. Lister is a bit harsh on the cat for bonking a polymorph and swallowing its eggs, considering he bonked himself and got himself pregnant, l kissed, inseminated & married his mum, bonked rimmers mum as a polymorph all be it while missing an emotion, snogged a psiren, a virus infected corpse, married a gelf and cheat coded countless computer pixels for a sex life, i suppose we are at least lucky he didnt call the cat a slag.

  126. Really don’t like the cats maternity costume the character tone is rather all over the place towards the end of the EP
    And the costume doesn’t help this even if its story specific look and even if its deliberately dressing down for comfort as a character, doesn’t quite work. Where as the tramp in poly 1 worked.

  127. l kissed, inseminated & married his mum

    Fucking hell, you kept that quiet.

  128. Lister is a bit harsh on the cat for bonking a polymorph and swallowing its eggs, considering he bonked himself and got himself pregnant, l kissed, inseminated & married his mum, bonked rimmers mum as a polymorph all be it while missing an emotion, snogged a psiren, a virus infected corpse, married a gelf and cheat coded countless computer pixels for a sex life, i suppose we are at least lucky he didnt call the cat a slag.

    Nope even after all that stuff The Cat was still the much greater Moron.

    But then he was very much Duane Dibbley Cat for Can of Worms.

  129. But then he was very much Duane Dibbley Cat for Can of Worms.

    Good point that, i guess we can think that the polymorph was taking cats emotions during foreplay altering him a bit.

  130. l kissed, inseminated & married his mum

    Fucking hell, you kept that quiet.

    A Freudian slip spelt out in alphabetti spaghetti

  131. l kissed, inseminated & married his mum

    Fucking hell, you kept that quiet.

    A Freudian slip spelt out in alphabetti spaghetti

    “Slip”. Sure.
    Also, I needed an excuse to triple-blockquote someone.
    Wait, does the edit function actually work on this website now?

  132. Nope. It’s always been broken on the forum and always worked for me on the main site.

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