THE ONE WHERE A misaligned rejuvenation shower sends the boyz from the Dwarf back in time for a rendezvous with Jesus.
VERDICT In a case of self-fulfilling prophecy, this episode turns out to be a bit of a lemon. Maybe that’s a little harsh, but after the marvellous return to form with the first two episodes of Red Dwarf X, “Lemons” never really gets out of second gear. Which is all the more astonishing considering it features the promisingly outrageous idea of the crew meeting Jesus (sort of). And also because this is the series that once came up with the classic line about a missing page of the Bible bearing the line, “All characters portrayed within this book are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.” You’d have though this would be rich pickings for the show.
Though the plot of the episode bares some passing resemblance to Life Of Brian, and Doug Naylor has some fun with the 10 Commandments (they were written in a rush), the episode is hardly biting satire. It doesn’t even pretend it wants to be. Sadly, though, the usual Red Dwarf screwball comedy that takes its place isn’t quite as sharp and clever as we’ve come to expect. There are some great one-liners and a couple of laugh-out-loud moments (especially when Cat realises he’s eaten Lister’s organs, and the idea of a flatpacked Rejuvenation Shower) but too many gags seem telegraphed. Hands up who knew Jesus would introduce bags to the world? And that Jesus’s twin brother Judas would turn up at some point?. The running Shakespeare joke simply fizzles without a punchline.
Rimmer’s monologue about the Church Of Judas feels like The Seventh Day Advent Hoppists take 2 (only more rambling). And that isn’t the only occasion the episode feels like it’s going through the motions: the whole Rejuvenation Shower idea feels like the latest in a long line of devices that go wrong with hilarious consequences. Hell, it didn’t even have a better introduction than, “You’ll never guess what I found!”
“Lemons” has its moments, and the four main stars are on top form again (especially Chris Barrie who could make comedy gold out of Rimmer reading 50 Shades Of Grey out loud) but overall the episode feels a little formulaic and a missed opportunity. But again, it may have felt that way because we’ve been spoilt so far.
NITPICKY Okay, Red Dwarf is a comedy, so you have to make some allowances, but surely Kryten has an attachment of some sort that could have powered up the remote control, so that the crew didn’t have to traipse all the way to India to find some lemons? We’re sure Doug Naylor could have have come up with some funny excuse why he didn’t.
REFERENCESRed Dwarf becomes the latest sci-fi show to do a Last Supper skit (see two more below). But isn’t that the real Jesus on the far left? (Or his twin brother Judas at least?) Ligger.
KOCHANSKI Hmm… another pointed mention of Lister’s mum/girlfriend (don’t think about it). This must be building to something!
SMEG! Anyone else notice that after 10 series the show has finally apparently confirmed (in the Kryten cleaning scene) that smeg is not just an expletive, but a shortened version of the noun for a certain bodily fluid. Good grief, what has Lister been doing in the control room…?
BEST LINES Cat: “With just an Allen key and a Phillips screwdriver, assembly should take less than three hours.” Rimmer: “That’s Swedish for a week.”
Rimmer: “He’s got a skullet.” Lister: “A skull what?” Rimmer: “A bald mullet. A skullet. Bald at the front, mullet at the back. You wouldn’t want to go out in public with this guy.”
New episode of Red Dwarf X air on Dave every Thursday at 9pm