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Discussion in 'RED DWARF XI / XII' started by Seb, Sep 23, 2016.
Maybe he actually enjoyed it.
I think it's safe to assume that, when she was tinkering with the karma drive, Barker unexpectedly cocked something up - causing the levels to go a bit haywire. Maybe, as well as flipping the logic, she accidentally "turned it up to eleven".
After all - before the switch, it was hardly a non-stop orgy of good deeds, to fend off mass extermination. The entire staff didn't get "flash heated" for Green and Barker's affair. We can assume that a karma drive, properly configured, would never kill the whole crew for scattered or minor violations. The normal effect is apparently quite subtle.
So it's not just the direction of the moral compass that changed. The whole thing went a bit mental. That's not really surprising, if a non-specialist tried to reconfigure it (I know Barker was a computer scientist, but it might be like a car mechanic mucking around with a harrier jump jet).
We never got a flash-back to show what happened after the meddling. I imagine the drive started going haywire, and she admitted what she'd done. Once they knew the rules had been reversed, they behaved badly to save themselves. However, because the drive was going nuts, they couldn't keep up. Either it was unhappy with the standard of depravity, or overreacted to some minor good deed that was done without thinking. Either works for me, and results in a flash heating.
Why did one flash-heat leave skeletons but the other flash-heat turned them to dust?
A) There is a separate flash-heater aboard the escape pod remotely controlled by the karma-drive, which is more powerful than the one on the Samsara, for some reason
How did the karma-drive flash-heat the couple when they weren't in the Samsara?
A) There is a separate flash-heater aboard the escape pod remotely controlled by the karma-drive
B) The flash-heat was a targeted strike fired from the bottom of the ocean up to the escape pod that Red Dwarf didn't notice
Why did the flash-heater take a long time to warm up on the Samsara, but it flash-heated the couple in the escape pod mid-sentence?
A) There is a separate flash-heater aboard the escape pod remotely controlled by the karma-drive, and the Samsara one was drained from its previous firing three million years ago whereas the escape pod one had never fired.
Why didn't the adulterous couple know there was a karma-drive onboard?
A) They don't really care about their jobs and don't pay attention.
But the man's job was Mission Director!
A) He's a smeg Mission Director
Why did she warn Red Dwarf knowing the karma-drive would punish her?
A) she forgot
B) she didn't know its range extended outside the Samsara
C) she was self-sacrificing to warn strangers
D) she thought it would be off by now
E) she didn't think her punishment would be that bad
I thought she was in stasis?
A) the escape pod was programmed to wake her up if a ship came past
Why did the karma-drive flash-heat the man when only the woman warned Red Dwarf?
A) the flash-heater kills everyone and the karma-drive doesn't care if it makes sense or not
I have a possible solution: Killing is not always immoral.
Person A is strangling the captain. Person B kills Person A with a knife to save the captain. If you kill an attacker to save their victim's life, then this is a moral thing to do. The karma drive judges this as moral, and punishes it.
This raises the question of why it flash-heats everyone because of one person's actions, but below flash-heating the punishment is localised.
Good point. Adultery only resulted in a chipped tooth and a bad hairdo for the perpetrators - a minor, individualised punishment. The flash heat function would have perhaps been have reserved for emergencies, e.g. if the crew mutinied, but is certainly now being misused by the karma drive (yes, probably after Barker's tinkering - not for the reason I gave in my post. I was thinking of how the drive reacted to Kryten and Rimmer, but obviously it was already unstable 3 million years ago).
So if flash heating can be triggered by one person's actions (Barker's in the escape pod and Rimmer's in the karma drive chamber) then I think jmc2000 was right - the annihilation of the crew was probably caused by those two oblivious people having a civilised dinner in the rec room!
Several good points here.
I don't remember the episode 100%, but I'm not sure there's any such thing as a "flash-heater"?
The drive works indirectly, manipulating good or bad luck. It doesn't have an arsenal of weapons like a tooth-chipping machine, a food-poisoning machine, etc., etc.. It just creates a field where the medibot and chef bot make mistakes when people have misbehaved.
We don't imagine that the karma drive has, at its disposal, a disc-herniating ray. It just shapes reality so bad things happen to transgressors.
In that case, to flash-heat the crew, it would have made something malfunction. For instance - if the story took place on Red Dwarf, it could have make the drive plate fail, à la The End.
With that in mind, the difference between skeletons/dust could be proximity to the ship's engine. An escape pod is tiny, so they were right on top of the "flash". On Samsara, the effect wasn't as intense - because heat was released more widely?
See above. I believe that, on the Samsara, it made something malfunction with fatal consequences, and it simply did the same to the escape pod which was still within range.
It could be two different malfunctions. E.g., on the Samsara, something began to over-heat, and couldn't be contained indefinitely. On the escape pod, a different component failed, resulting in an instant (unannounced) release of heat.
I think this is a genuine plot error! Surely the drive only works if you know it's there.
However, MegaCorps (sp?) seems big on wholesome family values. Maybe the CEO was quite a quirky character, and wanted to catch/punish rather than merely deter bad behaviour. Once Green and Barker know about the karma drive, maybe they keep it under their hats for fear of reprisals.
Any of these work, so I don't regard it as a plot hole.
Yes, I assumed so.
Yes, I assumed that too. It's not just had the logic reversed. It's - gooooooone - maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!
On reflection, I think it must be cruder than that.
When Cat helped himself to coins, he knew that the charity (and its intended recipients) were long gone. Lister knew it too. It was just a bit of banter when he chastised Cat. But Cat got rewarded for his "sin" anyway, despite the lack of any real malice.
Also, it was an act of mere sentiment when Lister put the jackpot in the collection. Three million years into deep space, the coins are worthless and will sit there forever. But he still got punished for doing it.
In this case, it's hard to imagine "moral intent" either way. So I guess the drive just has a lot of straightforward rules, based on actions. "Taking money from charity is bad". "Giving money to charity is good".
Also, the karma drive wasn't designed for purely moral reasons. It was meant to make life more bearable, when people were stuck together on a spaceship. Insincere good behaviour would do the job just as well - so why complicate things?
Regarding "flash-heating", the use of the term "flash-heating", which we've never heard before, made me think it was a specific technology rather than a new word for "generally vapourised by some sort of malfunction". Kryten observed "The ship's quantum motherboards are power loading to flash-heat the ship". But for "flash-heater" we could read "whatever flash-heats them". In which case, your explanation works (though it's unclear what it would be in an escape pod). Here I was thinking it was a continuity error so Lister could sneeze on some ashes.
I want to know what caused the crash, because I'm confused about the sequence of events. Kryten says "while the crew survived by acting immorally, Green and Barker realised they could escape". But at the beginning of the episode we see the escape pod eject seconds before the flaming Samsara hits the water. So surely they escaped mainly because it was crashing!
I also want to know why Kryten wasn't punished for rescuing the escape pod, since that's moral.
Thanks for digging up the quote. I guess this could be analogous to, "The ship's nuclear reactor is going critical to radiate the ship," or something.
I think it probably was but I like trying to venture fixes.
- The crew were keeping extinction at bay with bad behaviour
- Green and Barker thought, "Hang on... if we steal the escape pod, we can escape"
- It took x amount of time for them to put their plan into action
- While they were getting into the pod, the situation took a turn for the worst, and they escaped just in time to avoid disaster
A bit like... while everyone's praying to the volcano god - to stop the volcano erupting - you realise you can make a raft to escape the island.
By the time you're on the raft paddling away, the volcano god runs out of patience and the volcano explodes behind you. And you think, "Phew - just in time."
That's fine, but if the crew were already acting immorally then why did the ship crash. I guess that's when the karma drive decided they weren't immoral enough. Many of the crew survived the crash and had orgies and killed each other at the bottom of the ocean. But the karma-drive still wasn't satisfied and flash-heated them eventually.
Suspects for the flash-heat:
Two skeletons eating in the cafeteria, which is morally neutral.
Captain's skeleton sitting by himself dicating. He may have been trying to send an SoS, which is moral.
Another skeleton stabbing the skeleton strangling the captain. This may have been to save the captain, which is moral.
Did they? I didn't get that - but, again, I don't have the episode in front of me to review (and I'd need to boot into Windows to view it on UKTV Play).
Whatever the "flash-heating" was, it left the furniture and interior of the ship intact. So I'm not sure it would have been visible in an exterior shot of the Samsara.
Couldn't it have caused the crash, by turning the crew to skeletons at a critical juncture?
EDIT: If we want to know exactly what triggered the flash-heating - and I'm happy to shrug it off, because the Dwarfers had little knowledge - meaning it's a mystery for them too! - then my favourite contenders are a) the captain trying to send a warning, and b) someone else trying to save the captain when he was stabbed.
I admit to being confused about the sequence of events, but that's how it comes across to me.
The flash-heating couldn't have caused the crash, because the couple hadn't escaped yet and it would have flash-heated them. When the escape pod ejects, the Samsara is already on fire in freefall. Also, why would all the skeletons still be perfectly in place after crashing.
I wasn't particularly impressed at first viewing, nor unimpressed for that matter. I think that's because I'd stayed up and wasn't at my most alert state of being, let's say
Watching it again on Friday I found it a lot funnier. Although it is an odd episode in a way I can't quite put my finger on.
How did Kryten immediately know it was a karma drive?
But yeah, there's plenty to like here:
Rimmer 'undefeated since birth'; you know he's going to throw a 2 and a 1 but it's still funny - 'you try'... 'change seats'... (incidentally did they use loaded dice here, and was Lister throwing a 4 and a 3 then two sixes showing his positive outcomes to his cheating?)
The battleplan timetable from The Beginning making onto Rimmer's bunk decorations is nice, I hope it stays there.
Kryten saying, "I love dust," in that really sincere way of his is funny.
...and I thought the whole formica/gravy scene was excellent. It reminded me of Cat & Lister's 'don't think about them together' scene from Dear Dave. Cat's persistent stupidity and refusal to think any different makes good comedy fodder.
Overall = 6/10.
In that case, perhaps the crash *was* non-fatal (as you suggest) and they ended up at the bottom of the sea because they were too busy misbehaving to fly the ship or put out fires.
Otherwise, maybe the flash-heating happened while Green/Barker were in the escape pod, but before they'd launched it.
The escape pod would be designed to survive extremes of heat and cold in deep space. In that interpretation, it took a second flash-heating *inside the escape pod* to finish them off.
Also, if the disaster left furniture untouched, it might be like a microwave effect - rather than a furnace. The escape pod would need radiation shields, too, because of deadly cosmic rays.
In either case, they could have survived the flash-heating because they were inside the pod - but not actually off the ship yet.
EDIT: It might even be that the karma drive caused a flash-heating to kill everyone *except* the two who'd just climbed into the escape pod - to reward them for their selfish behaviour, and punish everyone else for cooperating and not taking the pod. Because of the twisted logic, it's sort of fitting, rather than contrived/coincidential.
Multiple options, really. The post-mortem nature of the episode - where the Dwarfers surmise what happened, from partial evidence - means we don't get a blow-by-blow account of exactly how it played out. They work out the broad thrust of what happened, but there isn't a black box or captain's log or anything, to nail down the exact sequence of events.
Still - I think we've got plenty of possibilities, so I don't regard it as a plot hole?
It's a plot hole if their skeletons didn't get jumbled all over the shop by freefalling into the ocean.
I love those moments when Kryten says something like 'well best guess...' then explains clearly and specifically exactly what is going on.
Very good point!!!
In that case, I accept your theory that the crash was non-fatal, and they ended up marooned (but still alive) on the bottom of the sea.
And I accept your theory that "flash-heating" is a new word for "the spaceship frying everyone in some way by overheating existing mechanisms, the effects of which will vary depending on the spaceship"! This presumably means that the Dwarfers were in danger of being "flash-heated" onboard Red Dwarf too. But thankfully it only made Rimmer roll a three, because it was rewarding Lister rather than punishing anyone.
It makes you wonder; if its top punishment was flash-heating, what was its top reward?
I still want to know why the karma-drive didn't punish Kryten for rescuing the escape pod. Okay, they were two neat piles of ash by the time he pulled it in, but surely the action was still moral.
Too many questions and plot holes if you ask me, just doesn't add up and feels messy.
Yeah, I think the idea was good but the execution wasn't.
It's a plot chasm that the pair didn't know there was a karma-drive on board. He was Mission Director, how long had he been there! I say axe the scene where the captain reprimands them and the Mission Director asks "there's a kama-drive on board?" like he didn't know. Instead we should have a scene where they say "we can't be together because of the karma-drive", and then they can't stand being apart so they reprogramme it. Or maybe they can't resist, then the bad things happen, and they know it's the karma-drive so they eventually reprogramme it. Rather than all this setup about the bad fish or whatever and they think it's all just bad luck. They would know it was the karma-drive, because the karma-drive isn't there to ambush them, it's there to make them behave. And why would the captain even care? If the karma-drive is punishing them for their immoral actions, then what's the difference to the captain. It's as if the captain was annoyed that the karma-drive wasn't deterring them, but how could it if they didn't know it was there.
I'd do the escape-pod bit differently. It's too awkward that one flash-heat leaves small piles of ash and the other flash-heat leaves full skeletons in their exact position, and we have to come up with reasons for the inconsistency. The part about the stasis niggles me - I can surmise that she had maybe programmed the escape pod to wake her if a ship came past, but I would have liked that clarified. And had the man woken up too or just the woman? Why were they so close to the Samsara, surely they'd want to get out of its karma field? Or does the escape pod not have an engine so they got stuck in orbit? That's how it looked to me, but if the excape pod doesn't have an engine, then what flash-heated them. I'd also clear up what exactly a flash-heat is. And I'd have something unfortunate happen to Kryten to punish him for his moral action.
I'd also clear up the sequence of events as to what caused the crash: whether it was the flash-heat, or if the crash was a lesser punishment for not being immoral enough, and they survived the crash and got flash-heated under the sea. And why it punished them when they were supposedly acting super-immoral like it wanted. "It went crazy" is a bit of an excuse for "It doesn't quite make sense, but go with it".