Here we are with episode three and here we see the return of yet another Red Dwarf mainstay, the gone rogue robot that is now clearly insane.
The story of this episode is that the team discover an old and soon to be destroyed space station in the middle of nowhere. Exploring the vessel Kryten and Rimmer find a robot which they think is an advanced medical droid that is in reality a walking snack dispenser while Cat and Lister find the actual medical droid, which has since gone completely mad and manages to render them unconscious. While the former two crewmembers manage to save the others they are too late to save Lister’s kidneys, which the android had removed. After initially trying to trick the Cat into giving up one of his kidneys in a plan that is scuppered due to them finding out that instead of a surgeon they rescued a snack machine they manage to go back in time via stasis, steal an earlier version of Lister’s kidneys and then give them to the current version of Lister. This somehow goes well but later ends badly for Rimmer as an earlier argument and firing of a lift comes back to haunt him.
The inspiration from earlier episodes of the show in this episode is fairly clear with the reintroduction of psychotic droids and statis time travel, both having been seen before throughout the years. Much like in last week’s show, with the start being effected by unseen events already, the viewer first finds Rimmer arguing with a delayed lift, which entails poor use of words to imply he thinks of lifts in a sexual manner, not realising later events are what causes it to be late and that the two day bender we find Lister waking from was in fact surgery to remove his kidney. This makes me wonder just where the kidneys the deranged robot had came from. I do also like the running joke of the obviously crap robot being seen as a brilliant medical marvel simply because it’s anachronistic looking, appearing as something straight out of a 40s/50s sci-fi show, but later turns out to be a whizz at juryrigging stasis booths due to being used by gossipy crew members.
Outside of this much of the characterisation is again the usual kind, with Lister being portrayed as a waster, immediately using ‘it wasn’t me guv’ routines when waking from being drugged, and the cat as selfish dick, stealing Lister’s medication and food but suddenly nice when he’s tricked into believing he’s the one who needs a kidney. Kryten being terrible at lying also makes a brief reappearance, this time his tell being stuttering as opposed to being unable to get past the first syllable of a word.
While the first two episodes suffered from the fact they didn’t really have an ending this one thankfully does, with the last act being the team scurrying about a couple of days prior to nick Lister’s kidneys and then Rimmer getting trapped in a vengeful lift that can travel at near lightspeed because he forgot to ‘promote’ it. If anything the only real weakness of this episode was a couple of bad jokes, such as a line about FIFAs dishonesty, which don’t get much of a laugh and are a bit too referency, thereby dating the show.
Overall though the episode is another good one. While it’s in no way a standout classic of the show it’s a reasonably good one, filled with some good laughs and usual banter between the team, and has a time travel plot that doesn’t fall down at the first plot hole.