It's the penultimate installment in Andrew Jero's Red Dwarf Top Ten Countdown. The runner up is...
My second favorite episode of Red Dwarf is Back To Reality, the final episode of Series V. It is a work of pure genius. There are too many funny moments to talk about in this story to just jump around by favorites order, so instead I’ll take you through what makes this episode number 2 on my list in chronological order.
From the first scene the episode is off to a great start with lines such as “Fish swim south for the winter?” “No, that’s birds, sir.” “Birds swim south for the winter?”, and the discovery of four suicide victims, one who shot himself, another hung, one who committed Seppuku and a fish that voluntarily closed his own gills. Lister, the Cat and Kryten become infected with weird secreted venom that causes despair, they begin to experience intense mood swings. When they go back onboard Starbug they see the Despair Squid approaching on a collision course and determine that it’ll eat them, kill them or hump them.
The Despair Squid causes Starbug to blow up and the crew dies. They then wake up, finding out what’s going on.
This scene contains one of the funniest lines ever, when the Cat begins to realize something new about himself.
From here on out we embark on the journey of Billy and Sebastian Doyle, Jake Bullet and Dwayne Dibbley (respectively Rimmer, Lister, Kryten and the Cat). They learn that they have been playing the Red Dwarf computer game and that they aren’t anyone they thought they were. The station operator asks them about various aspects of the game including the planet of the nymphomaniacs, to which Rimmer replies, “The planet of the what?”
They return to the recuperation lounge to wait for their memories to return and learn who they are. The Cat and Rimmer are in denial, they leave to return to their lives but are stopped by a government official. On the way they see a political poster which reads, "Be a Government Informer. Betray Your Family & Friends. Fabulous Prizes to be Won"? This leads us into my second favorite scene in all of Red Dwarf.
They decide to all commit suicide and ask Kryten for the gun when he’s done, but there’s only one bullet so the crew puts their heads together to allow the bullet to go down the line.
Holly, speaks to Kryten and tells them that they are hallucinating and were about to commit suicide. Kryten discusses why each member of the crew would’ve killed themselves - for Rimmer, he could no longer blame himself on his parents due to being Lister’s half brother. The Cat lost his cool and is mind meltingly shallow. Lister views himself as a kind man, and when he found out that he was a dictator in a totalitarian state he was driven to commit suicide, and Kryten himself, killed a human without the aid of lithium carbonate.
The crew leaves and Lister complains about the planet engineers screwing up in a big way by playing God and causing despair and destruction. Kryten delivers one of my favorite lines, “Hmm, that sounds rather reminiscent of a species sitting not a million miles away from me now. Ha ha ha! You probably have to be a mechanoid to fully appreciate that one.”
The one's that just missed the mark
8. Tikka To Ride
5. Fathers and Sons
Smegging Brilliant - The World loves a bastard! - A look at Kryten 2X4B-523P - Five fantastic moments with the Cat - Dave Lister: The man who fathered himself
Andrew Jero lives in Iowa and has a very strong love of both Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. He enjoys acting and writing plays, television scripts, and short stories. Follow Andrew on Twitter.