Red Dwarf XI, Episode 4 – Officer Rimmer

Red Dwarf Officer Rimmer

The Red Dwarf crew has faced many horrors: emotion-sucking GELFs, rogue simulants, despair squids, evil versions of themselves, and have even witnessed Winnie-the-Pooh being shot by firing squad, but this time they face possibly the worst horror of all: Rimmer with power.

Rimmer (Chris Barrie), along with Lister (Craig Charles), Cat (Danny John-Jules) and Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) are on Starbug when they get a distress called from a uranium-powered ship called the Nautlius, trapped on the other side of an asteroid field. The ship has a “bio-printer”, which prints off crew members whenever a mission arises, and the members disappear whenever they are no longer needed. Admittedly, there is the problem of paper jams meaning that in the case of the ship’s captain Edwin Herring (Stephen Critchlow) his printout has a stretched-out head that is always looking at the ceiling, but that’s something you can get used to.

As the Nautilus is powered by radioactive material, Rimmer decides to destroy the Nautilus with a missile. The missile doesn’t blow up the ship however, it just knocks it away to safety. For this amazing piece of good luck, Captain Herring decides to promote Rimmer to the rank of “Officer” and to visit Red Dwarf. With his new rank, Rimmer immediately starts to abuse his powers, segregating just about everything on ship: having his own beautifully crafted lifts and corridors while the rest of the crew are left with virtual wreckage. When Captain Herring boards Red Dwarf, his mission is complete and thus his print out disintegrates, meaning that there is no-one capable of demoting Rimmer back to Second Technician. Rimmer then takes the bio-printer and starts making duplicate copies of himself, all ranked below him so they will obey his commands without question, and creates his own Officer’s Club purely for “himselves”. Things become even worse however when the bio-printer jams when trying to print out multiple copies of the smeghead.

This is probably the best episode of Series XI so far. When it comes to Red Dwarf nothing is quite as good as when we delve into Rimmer’s disgusting attitudes, behaviour and… well, everything really. Rimmer’s already wonderfully horrible, so when his bitterness, pettiness and weasel-like behaviour goes to its most extreme limits, the results are always going to be a sight to see, and the end result is probably one of the most memorable monsters Red Dwarf has ever had.

There are also good performances from the other regulars. Another great scene is where Lister discovers he is on the bio-printer files because he once accidentally sold his genome. He asks Kryten to help him delete the record, but Kryten “refuses” to do so, by telling Lister how do it while saying while he himself does not carry out the final act.

If there is a flaw with this episode it is that the ending is very abrupt. You suspect that there ending was going to be longer but it had to be cut as the episode was running too long.

Red Dwarf is on Dave at Thursday nights at 21.00.