The final episode of the current series sees the return of one of Red Dwarf’s classic and scary creations.
Lister (Craig Charles) falls asleep at the wheel of Starbug when they enter an asteroid field, knocking the crew off-course. They then pick up a pair of life signs on board a ship and Lister decides to rescue them. In order to do so they can either go the long way around or cut through the asteroids, which Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) claims are inhabited by vampire GELFs. According to Rimmer (Chris Barrie) they only attack virgins – which results in one of the crew suddenly getting worried: The Cat (Danny John-Jules), who denies he is a virgin, even though he is the only Felis Sapiens known to be alive.
On board the ship, after tackling the first life sign on the ship which is a mercinoid guard, they find the second life sign – a female Cat (Dominique Moore). The crew release her and bring her back to Red Dwarf where the two felines have some fun. But then Kryten discovers someone terrifying. What they have brought on board is not another Felis Sapiens, but a shape-shifting emotion-sucking polymorph. To make matters worse, it is a female that is ready to deposit its eggs into a male host. By the time they rest of the crew learn about this, the Cat has already done their dirty deed and finds himself pregnant with eight polymorphs, all ready to come out of the nearest orifice.
The episode ends the series on a high. Firstly we again see the rise of Cat as a major character when he has previously often been on the side-lines. Secondly, we also get to relive the excitement on one of the most famous creatures in the series, but also done in a way that perhaps some people are not expecting. One scene for example sees Lister, Rimmer and Kryten watching a documentary about how the female polymorph deposits her eggs, which is clearly gross but you never see the footage, just the reaction of the characters.
We also get to some great gags. Probably the best is one in which Rimmer is telling the rest of the crew to get away from some threatening life signs. This is a joke I’ve seen repeated several times in the trailer for the series, but despite this it doesn’t feel old and still gets me laughing.
Most of the series has been good and certainly has been a lot better than certain other returning sitcoms I can think of.
Red Dwarf XI can be watched on UKTV Play. The series is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 14th November. Series XII is due to be broadcast next year.