Well, what a surprise, Officer Rimmer is yet another example of an episode that has garnered somewhat split opinion since it was released online this morning, but the split may well be a lot more interesting than previous weeks by the very dint that this episode is undoubtedly unusual in many ways. Whether you like the places it goes is another matter entirely, but luckily we have our entire lives to debate to this one. In an episode crammed with points that require some talking, I’ve picked out some of the big ticket items.
It’s fair to say that Red Dwarf, while undoubtedly not a suitable for all ages sort of show, doesn’t often go too far when it comes to talking about sex and in hindsight this odd insight into the subconscious of Rimmer’s sex starved mind may not have had a comfortable home in this episode for some. While the symbolism used in Rimmer’s metaphor laden dreams would undoubtedly raise laughs for many, did the image of Rimmer prematurely ejaculating into his own hand just go a step too far?
Big Print Jobs
The main concept of the episode is introduced through the guest star of this week’s episode, as Captain Herring is created using a bio-printer. I think it’s fair to say Doug has had some recent printer problems (unsurprising given it wasn’t long since he delivered 12 scripts) as the process did not go smoothly, resulting in some of the most unpleasant and bizarre make-up the show’s ever seen. While we knew the bio-printer and a mysterious captain would be present this episode, I don’t think anyone was prepared for the horror of his visage, and the tone of this gag certainly sets the scene for what is to come.
Flight Lieutenant Rimmer
For what seems like then 10,000th time in the show’s history, Rimmer gets promoted. Twice. My knowledge of military ranks is admittedly shaky at best, but I wasn’t sure ‘Officer’ was as specific as it was used here, but it needn’t matter as that was soon upgraded to the lofty position of Flight Lieutenant. The promotion paved the way for an absolute tonne of character based shenanigans for Rimmer, with that famous vindictive and officious streak allowed to roam completely unfettered. If there was any doubt that Rimmer is just a few steps away from full on fascist dictator then the extreme class war measured here puts in place in relatively short order should clear those doubts up.
2nd Technicians Rimmer
Worries about similarities to Me2 might’ve been put at ease here, as not only does the episode address said episode in a brief exchange between Rimmer and Kryten, but the duplicated Rimmers are treated very differently in this episode, with Rimmer Prime keen to ensure he out-ranks them all. Apparently, though, this does not preclude him from literally serving them in the Officers Club. It’s a great opportunity for both Chris Barrie and the effects work to showcase themselves and I feel whether this concept works for you or not depends entirely on what you make of the execution and Barrie’s performance throughout, specifically during the notable ‘Quartet of Rimmers’ piece.
The Many Faced Rimmer
Ohhhh boy. This episode certainly went places that few would’ve guessed, and culmination of the slightly weird tone of the episode is most definitely this horrifying creation of melded, insane, Rimmers. Whatever you thought of the finished effect, seeing how they achieved this in the DVD documentary is sure to be a treat.
Whether you were laughing or wincing throughout, you would’ve almost certainly been blind sided by easily the most abrupt ending the show has ever had. While to me it felt entirely deliberate, the crash into the credits just as Lister and co open fire on the Rimmerbeast is undoubtedly jarring. Technically speaking everything was wrapped up at the end but this is perhaps an extreme example of the episode ending issues Doug’s been having this year.
Is it shit or is it good?
I feel like more than at any point this series, this is going to be a hot topic indeed. We’ve already seen wildly split opinions from the early watchers, and the previously infallible binary options of the Shit/Good scale might be insufficient here. What it will ultimately come down to is how well you thought Chris carried the episode, the quality of the effects, the strange tone throughout and how this positively or negatively affected the impact of the jokes, and just how important the abrupt closing to the episode was to the over all experience.
Let us know your thoughts on the above points, and your comment may be used in our Live DwarfCast for Officer Rimmer, at 10pm on Thursday 13th October. And look out for our in-depth written review in the coming days.