Vending machines, long lost letters and Lister’s ongoing loneliness form the basis of the fifth episode of Red Dwarf X. But while some older themes get a much-needed airing, does it come at the expense of one much-loved character?
When Lister (Craig Charles) begins to feel the weight of being the last of his species, his depression sees him begin to doubt his once legendary pulling power, much to Rimmer’s (Chris Barrie) amusement. But his lack of romantic prowess soon turns out to be the least of his worries, as an unexpected letter from a long-dead ex girlfriend brings him some rather exciting news.
While Red Dwarf became more famous for the exploits of the ship’s motley crew, the concept at the very heart of the show was that there was one human being left in the entire universe, a human being who loved curry, lager, partying and generally being a lazy oaf. While Lister’s shortfalls were often far too plainly obvious, the loneliness and vulnerability that comes with being the last surviving member of an extinct species was always present, but not often built upon.
However, this feeling of loss and loneliness has been almost perfectly realised in this episode, while maintaining an almost constant stream of one-liners, impossible situations with vending machines and an air of sexual frustration. But although this episode may be the strongest in the series yet, one has to wonder just what the writers are planning to do with Cat, who continues to be more of a supporting character who exists to add a bit of physical humour to the proceedings.
Needless to say, when it takes 12 minutes for one of the series’ main characters to make an appearance in an episode, and that same character brings very little to the proceedings, it’s time to wonder whether the series is building up to something, or if the writers are struggling to find the right place for them.
With the final episode coming up next week, as always, it is very, very difficult to predict what the Red Dwarf crew will face in their next adventure.
Aired at 9pm on Thursday 1 November 2012 on Dave.
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