THE ONE WHERE Lister gives some fatherly advice to his son, Lister, and Rimmer creates a monster in the form of the ship’s new computer.
VERDICT Phew. So last week wasn’t a case of Doug Naylor putting all his best gags in the first show. “Fathers And Suns” is every bit as good as “Trojan” though perhaps in different ways.
There are fewer belly laugh moments (though the cut-out guitar was brilliant!) but this episode feels more coherent and consistent, with some wonderfully crafted humour. There are fewer misfiring gags as well – though the occasional line still feels a little forced – and a more polished feel to the performances and direction; the timing and delivery is spot on.
It’s also satisfying to see how many of the best gags were actually sci-fi based, from Pree’s mindbending monologues about predicative behaviour to the whole Lister-as-his-own-dad plot thread. The scenes of him watching the video he made for himself is like “Blink” taken to ludicrous extremes, and the show manages to take a load of old sitcom clichés about father/son relationships and make them feel completely fresh with an SF twist.
Not that there’s a shortage of character-based humour either. Rimmer’s forceful suggestions for Pree’s vital statistics (though, tellingly, not her personality) is a vintage Arnold Judas moment.
The Chinese whispers running gag is a little laboured, and it’s a shame the punchline to it is somewhat lost in the frantic action at the end of the episode. The medi-bot is a tad annoying. And – if you want to get all nit-picky – the conclusion doesn’t make any sense because Pree would have known Lister had that plan up his sleeve and shut herself down on her own (though you could argue that Lister registered Lister Jr before she came on line, so maybe not) but what the hell? It’s still a great climax.
Some good FX too!
So, Red Dwarf. It’s still still got it.
CONTINUITY The episode in which it’s revealed that Lister was own father was episode three of season seven, “Ouroboros”. Kochanski was, of course, the mum.
ANYBODY ELSE? We were certain that when the medi-bot asked Lister to describe his son, and Lister responds, “In one word…?” he was going to say, “Me!”
ARC PLOT? Well, arc plot may be a little grand a term, but Doug Naylor does seem keen to keep mentioning Kochanski. If Lister does find her, we’re betting it won’t be a smooth reunion.
BEST GAG The fake guitar – it’s a Red Dwarf classic!
GREAT LINES Rimmer: “So now we don’t have that conversation and move straight onto the next conversation?” Pree: “Your next conversation is a conversation about not having the previous conversation, saying you were looking forward to the previous conversation, and now feel a bit lost not having had that conversation. You conclude that you will probably get used to hearing the results of your conversations and no longer having the conversations yourselves.”
Rimmer: “You knew that I was going to cock this up, so you cocked it up for me?”
New episode of Red Dwarf X air on Dave every Thursday at 9pm