Andrew Jero continues his Red Dwarf Top Ten Countdown. We've reached number 4, from 1999 it's Cassandra.
The fourth episode of series VIII is without a doubt one of the most brilliant and well-written scripts in the entire series. 'Cassandra' features lots of witty dialogue and what feels like a joke a second, this episode really is one of the best.
The first scene sees Holly tell Lister how to serve his 2-year prison sentence in just fourteen weeks by becoming a dog in a procedure called a Roverostamy. Holly then shows Lister picture of a bloke who's supposed to have had it done, but it's just a dog on the front page of a magazine. Lister remarks "That's a dog", Holly replies "See how convincing it is? Even you're fooled."
The next scene is undoubtedly one of my favorites of the episode and takes Red Dwarf to a more adult style of humor with some of the jokes.
Lister, due to a misunderstanding, signs the gang up for "the Canaries",
a group of expendables who go first into dangerous situations—not, as
Lister thought, the prison choir. When the crew attend their first Canary session, Rimmer steps up and proceeds to lead them in the beginning of the song, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”. The reactions from both Knot and Mr. Ackerman are priceless. Knot reminds Rimmer what it means to be a man, “A man, sir. Yes, sir, a man. A man?” Another one of the brilliant uses of the characters that are only here for one episode, is when Killcrazy (probably my favorite Canary) scares the hell out of the crew when he’s waving his gun around expressing his excitement about being able to kill something.
The first scene where they meet Cassandra is one of the best written scenes in the show with a brilliant concept of a computer that predicts the future, this allows for several beautiful gags - Listers’ death, Rimmer’s death, all truly well constructed and well acted moments. But the best is when Kryten shares his theory with the crew...
The end of the episode is one of my favorites, with Rimmer learning that he dies when Lister catches him making love to Kochanski in the old laundry room and shoots him through the head with a harpoon gun - Rimmer's reaction makes this moment priceless. Then when Lister walks in, Rimmer remarks, “In 20 seconds you would’ve been on top and I could’ve used you as a human shield!”
My favorite moment in the episode is when Rimmer is talking with Kochanski about what will happen and she says there is no way she’ll get out of her clothes. Rimmer turns a water nozzle and water accidentally shoots out at Kochanski and soaks her clothes. “My clothes are soaking wet!”. Rimmer’s reply is without a doubt my favorite moment from this episode - “Why don’t you take them off…” .
After first hearing that he’s going to die, Rimmer is trying to figure out a way to get out. The Cat expresses more sadness than the others because, “You dying’s the last thing we want, especially me. Hell, I’ll probably have to help dig the hole.”
The ending of the episode is fantastic, Kryten figures out that Lister kills Cassandra and Lister goes and tells her that he isn’t going to do it. He sets his gum on the wall, which falls off onto a lamp, which turns on a fan, which blows it into his glass of brandy, which drops onto the plug Cassandra is plugged into, killing her. Before she dies she gives Lister an amusing, “I told you so” look.
Next week we reach the Top 3.
8. Tikka To Ride
5. Fathers and Sons
The World loves a bastard!
A look at Kryten 2X4B-523P
Five fantastic moments with the Cat
Dave Lister: The man who fathered himself
Top Ten Episodes: The one's that just missed the mark
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.