RDXI Ep 2 - SAMSARA - DISCUSSION THREAD

Discussion in 'RED DWARF XI / XII' started by Seb, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. UltraDevotee

    UltraDevotee Catering Officer

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    I'm quite late to this thread and everyone has pretty much said everything I intended to say but anyway here goes.

    Appearance shouldn't matter for RD as the low budget first 2 series showed but for a start it looks stunning in HD and anyway series 3 to 6 looked pretty easy on the eye anyway for the time so RD looking the best it has ever appeared is very welcome IMHO. The set of the SS Samsara is excellent too and better looking than the SS Trojan set from the last series. The lighting while I thought was good in series 10 has come on in leaps and bounds in this new series and is better toned and looks more spacey.

    The first episode, Twentica, I cannot judge properly until I have watched it several times when the blu-ray is released as I wasn't concentrating so well 2nd half but overall from what I have seen of both I thought Samsara was even better. The quite complex sci-fi mystery of the story felt like an early 90s episode and the callback to the justice field was welcome IMHO not just for nostalgia but also because it was advanced further in terms of concept. Several times throughout Samsara I thought they have got the old magic back, though I still feel series 10 is very good and was the base for this new material's upward trajectory in terms of quality. If the comedy in series 10 was funny, the comedy in this episode was very funny and I particularly enjoyed the scenes early on with the dice game and thank you very much for bringing back the bunk scenes and most importantly ones that worked really well too. I also felt Chris was more convincing and more Rimmer-like then he has been for a while in this episode. They all were great and very, very funny!

    In fact some people felt this was more like a series 7 episode but IMHO the only parts of the ep that were like that were the flashback scenes so that wasn't too much of it really and it was a new way of RD to be written so RD 11 has also not just been returning to the classic era but also has entered a bit of new territory too. However, while I thought the Cat-Lister scenes were rather funny I did feel they needed to be trimmed slightly to make the script a bit tighter in that part. As others have also said the end of the episode needed to a be a bit longer. The final scene of Samsara did not ruin the episode by any means but it was abrupt and they could have shown more of the escape ie a one liner/punchline from Rimmer about the card game too. More time for a better developed ending could have been taken from the slightly overlong Cat-Lister scene obviously.

    Another thing I would mention is I could sense the pay-off (the karma drive has been reversed and the Dwarfers must behave as badly as they always do) coming slightly early but the episode is still pretty excellent overall and has plenty of rewatch value now that you understand what is happening with the karma drive and how it affected the crew etc ie the mystery. Also linking back the early dice game scenes to the karma drive at the end was genius and like the RD glory years and likewise will be great to watch again.

    So overall for me Samsara was my favourite one of the first two of 11 - a really intriguing episode - and several times I thought this recaptures the old RD magic of the early 90s. It had a couple of faults ie the comedy needed to be a bit tighter in the Cat-Lister scene and the ending was quite fast but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed it and I might even like it even more when I have watched a few more times when the blu-ray is released and I have formed a full opinion.

    But anyway I would give it 8/10 which is quite high for a first watch. A very strong, intriguing pretty excellent episode - I was so excited by what I had just seen that it took me ages to get to sleep so yes I feel even better than series 10.:-)
     
  2. Santa Paws

    Santa Paws Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Couldn't stop laughing! :-D
     
  3. HO HO HO I'M JMC

    HO HO HO I'M JMC Deck Sergeant

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    Hmm... we've chewed over this one quite a bit - and, apart from the oddity of an undisclosed karma drive, I think these are all "passes"?

    I call it realism, rather than inconsistency!

    If the episode had two different explosions, you wouldn't expect exactly the same injuries. There are all kinds of variables, like the size of the blast and proximity to it. An explosion could give you a bloody nose, blow your hand off, kill you, or completely vaporise you. I'd expect it to be the same with a "flash-heating".

    If the flash-heating is what it sounds like - i.e., a sudden release of heat - then injuries would range from mild heat stroke to complete obliteration, depending on how close you were and how confined the heat was.

    Also, note that the first flash-heating didn't necessarily leave skeletons. It could have just killed them instantly. Time could account for the decomposition of soft tissue.

    Given that they don't bother to explain the jargon, I think we can assume it's exactly what it sounds like?

    I thought this was an obvious enough assumption, tbh. I don't even think she had to programme it. I'm guessing the whole point of an escape pod with stasis booths is that you hibernate until rescue is at hand.

    This is sci-fi technology - it could be anything! An orbiting escape pod would still use a lot of power, for life support if nothing else. I'm guessing stasis booths need quite a bit?

    Also, it could be that the pod had an engine, but wasn't powerful enough to escape the orbit of a planet. Escape velocity isn't trivial. A jumbo jet has powerful engines, which could obliterate you quite easily - but not fly off into deep space!

    No, not at all - "crazy" is a valid explanation. It could mean:

    - Barker broke the thing that measured the magnitude of a good or bad deed - leading to some randomness in the size of punishments

    - Barker inadvertently caused a variable to increase or decrease over time, meaning that the drive became more and more demanding of each individual until it was impossible to satisfy

    "Behaviour" isn't a binary state. You seem to suppose that, if they behaved badly, they should've been fine. In reality, it might have been a case of first offence, second offence, third offence, etc.. The crew would experience that as the karma drive becoming less and less forgiving as the balance tipped against them. Perhaps it decided to flash-heat them when the last crew member used up her very last "strike".

    It certainly seemed to me like they were able to buy time with bad behaviour, but couldn't keep up forever. Sort of like they were trying to suppress a reaction that kept trying to go critical, and couldn't be fought off indefinitely.

    Look at it this way. If I'm a cowboy, sneering "let's see you dance!" as I shoot around your feet, you might be able to survive for a while by dancing. But it's no big mystery if you get shot. Maybe you couldn't dance fast enough. Or maybe I was unimpressed by your efforts, and started shooting to kill. Either is plausible. You wouldn't say, "But this is a plot hole!! Why did I get shot when I was actually dancing?!" :-)

    As for the (legitimate!) plot hole of the undisclosed deterrent... personally, I'm going to assume, for the sake of the story, that this is a clue:

    The original idea of the karma drive was purely practical. As Kryten says, "they were intended to promote teamwork". The problem is, "anyone can implement the moral code of their choice, and then force others to live by it." This suggests the possibility of abuse, going above and beyond the need for a well-behaved, cooperative crew.

    Give that Mega Corps has a (faintly religious-sounding) commitment to conservative "family values", I can only assume it's a quirk on the company's part, where they misuse the karma drive to identify and punish "sinners" - rather than deterring antisocial or unhelpful behaviour, which was the intended use. To me at least, that chimes nicely with Kryten's warning, and the dialogue quoted above.

    I'm all for spotting plot holes and suggesting "fixes" - but, when lots of explanations spring to mind, I don't expect the show to spell out exactly which it was. If nothing else, for a story like this, it wouldn't be realistic. In Samsara, the heroes find evidence of a disaster, and manage to deduce what happened. They wouldn't know every forensic detail, and neither do we.

    Of course, YMMV :-)
     
  4. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Is it ever actually stated in the episode that Green and Barker were "flash-heated"? All I recall is Kryten saying they were "vaporised". And, unless I'm missing something here, I see no reason to assume that being flash-heated is the exact same thing as being vaporised.

    Obviously it's not fully explained in the episode but I had personally assumed/imagined "flash-heating" to be some kind of flash of flaming heat which burned their external matter and internal organs, leaving nothing but skeletons (like in the Terminator 2 dream sequence only faster). Whereas Green and Barker were vaporised into dust or powder by an entirely different devise in the escape pod.

    So for me it would make much less sense if Green and Barker died in the exact same way as the crew back on the ship. Because they were two different events, in two different locations, on two different time-scales. And maybe the escape pod didn't have the same tech that was used to "flash-heat" the crew, hence an alternative method being used. Or maybe it was just using a bit of creative diversity..

    I mean, lets face it, the so called "Karma Drive" is basically a pre-programmed robot with magical powers. Through some kind of unexplained process it makes things occur by using whatever objects happen to be around at the time. It doesn't have it's own weapons and there is no scientific logic to it's abilities. Subsequent to being reversed it appears to have gradually become more and more unstable, effectively acting like some kind of supernatural god, demon or robot overlord. So from that point of view it makes total 'sense' that it would kill Barker and Green for warning the Dwarfers of it's existence.

    Essentially this episode is another AI technofear/dystopian fantasy (which seems to be somewhat of a running theme for this series). And as such "it went a bit crazy" is probably about as logical an explanation as we're likely to get.

    That's my take on it anyway. :-)
     
  5. HO HO HO I'M JMC

    HO HO HO I'M JMC Deck Sergeant

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    You're quite right! Barker and Green are described as being "vaporised" - twice - rather than "flash-heated".

    I re-watched the episode, and it turns out flash-heating is described in reasonable detail:

    So - two different kinds of disaster after all.
     
  6. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Yes. And I agree that's a reasonable description. I may have previously missed the specific "extreme temperature" part but I'm glad we got that sorted. :-)

    Visually I'd imagine the flash-heating having more of a momentary wibbly-wobby sci-fi effect as opposed to physical flames. Always good to get these visualisations down. :-)
     
  7. Angelic_Storm

    Angelic_Storm Catering Officer

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    I watched this episode again last night, and for me at least, the Cat/Lister scene really comes into it's own the more times it's viewed. I laughed out loud 3 times during it last night, which is the most yet! Truly understanding Cat's total misinterpration of the events of the Archimedes tale makes it far more amusing. lol :-) I know a lot of people dont rate the scene, but I absolutely love it, it's wonderful stuff! :-)

    Overall, I'd place this episode just behind the awesome Give And Take, in terms of my Series XI favourites so far.
     
  8. Androidsandbeingasleep

    Androidsandbeingasleep Third Technician

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    Great episode! Really enjoyed this one, thought the early bunk scenes were very funny and liked how they linked in with the karma drive stuff later on which was a very clever call back to justice, one of my favourite episodes. Felt like a classic 90s episode in a lot of ways.
     
  9. Slainmonkey

    Slainmonkey Deck Sergeant

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    I really don't see the appeal in this one, it's just very drawn out and IMO not very well handled. I actually do think the episode was fine in the first half but afterward it becomes a chore when the rest of the episode felt padded out and it ba came more and more clear that the acting in the flashbacks are downright horrible! To be fair, and his episode is far stronger then something like Dear Dave....but it's the only episode this series I didn't really enjoy either!
     
  10. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    Samsara has been a grower for me. I wasn't very keen on it at first to be honest, but it's benefited from repeat viewings for me. Things that I found off putting at first, such as the flashback scenes to life aboard Samsara before the crash work well and aren't quite as jarring now as I found them on first viewing.

    I have to say I'm not terribly keen on the whole Karma field bit, on the whole it does seem like a bit of a rehash of Justice, but overall there was some good solid humour in there, a decent plot and good guest characters/actors. One minor gripe is that yet again we have new supporting characters that are just exterminated out of hand, not quite as harshly and indifferently as Irene E admittedly though.
     
  11. Slainmonkey

    Slainmonkey Deck Sergeant

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    It's sorta like Lister is fated to be the last human being alive, whenever they find another human in stasis they will soon die a horrible death.
     
  12. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    Except the planet full of Rimmers, Chloe's Kochanski or the entire crew of Red Dwarf whose fate/whereabouts currently remains unknown. ;-)
     
  13. Angelic_Storm

    Angelic_Storm Catering Officer

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    Although generally, I really liked the episode, I do agree with this point. I like the point of the flashback scenes, how they advance the plot, but their execution left quite a bit to be desired. lol That aspect is the main reason why it can't quite challenge Give And Take for episode of the series so far. Give And Take is the only ep so far to flow gracefully from start to finish.
     
  14. Decembers

    Decembers Deck Sergeant

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    Ok, here's a question.

    The Samsara crashed in the ocean of this planet. The escape pod with Green and Barker aboard jets off just before. We then see the caption '3 Million Years Later' and now the escape pod reaches Red Dwarf. Later on in the episode we learn that the Dwarf likely entered the 'Karma Field' of the Samsara at the beginning of the episode.

    So what is confusing me:

    Where was the Samsara? If it was 3 million years into deep space, how did it get there? Also what was the escape pod doing for 3 million years? Just circling around waiting for a ship? (I can just about buy that)

    If it wasn't 3 million years into deep space, how did the Dwarfers get to it so quickly? And how come the Dwarf entered the karma field?
     
  15. HO HO HO I'M JMC

    HO HO HO I'M JMC Deck Sergeant

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    I think it was in deep space. I think the Samsara was just from a fairly late phase of human history, when they'd explored quite a lot of space.

    We know that humans did get quite far. I note that, in Meltdown, Waxworld was only 200,000 light years away from Starbug's current position (by the way - I'm guessing that "three million years into deep space" is ~1.5 million light years from Earth).

    I think you're right that the escape pod was just hanging around. Since Samsara crashed into a planet, I'm guessing the pod went into orbit around it.
     
  16. Abe but more Christmassy and all

    Abe but more Christmassy and all Deck Sergeant

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    Yeah, if I remember right the pod's interior was in stasis. Also, it can be assumed that ships were faster and faster toward later stages of human development, such that the Samsara sort of leapfrogged RD, but then the question is, how did Red Dwarf never get found? Or did it, and they just let it go flying on its way because they thought it too dangerous to investigate?
     
  17. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    The Samsara was on the ocean floor and the escape pod was orbiting above for three million years, with Barker and Green inside. We have to assume they were in stasis and that the pod was programmed to wake them when a ship came past. This is never stated in the episode, but it's the only way it makes sense.

    "Three million years into space" means by Red Dwarf's speed, but who's to say there weren't significantly faster ships even before the radiation leak, let alone after. That's the only way it makes sense for anything manmade to be out this far - it was very fast or it went through a swirly thing. Red Dwarf has been in "human-space" for a long time. How the Samsara got there is no more of a mystery than how the Nova 5 got there way back in Series II - in fact it's less of a mystery because we can assume Red Dwarf must have covered some ground back to Earth by now. Given the Dwarfers are ostensibly looking for quicker ways back to Earth, it's a bit of a niggle that none of them have ever questioned the presence of manmade spaceships and manmade lifeforms so far out.

    With all the detours we've been on, we don't know if Red Dwarf is following the same trajectory back to Earth that it left from. So maybe the Samsara never encountered it on its way out.

    There are a lot of valid question marks hanging over Red Dwarf's original post-leak journey. Could Holly communicate with Earth, or were mailpods the only contact? Did no other ship ever approach Red Dwarf and ask what was going on? Why didn't Holly just turn around and go back to Earth in the first place?
     
  18. Decembers

    Decembers Deck Sergeant

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    I'm liking the answer to my query Deep Space, thanks.
     
  19. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    Let's say Samsara and Red Dwarf both left Earth in the same direction at the same speed. If Red Dwarf went out first, then Samsara would never have encountered it (though scanners are a fair question). In another thread we came up with a Series XI current year of circa 3006343. Subtract the "3 million years later" and this means Samsara crashed into the ocean circa 6343, over four thousand years after Red Dwarf left Earth, while Lister was an unknown distance ahead drifting in stasis. That works, except . . .

    If the Samsara was travelling at the same speed then that would mean the Samsara is at most about four thousand years (Red Dwarf speed) away from Earth. The Dwarfers haven't haven't covered 2,996,000 years, unless they've been going into stasis for dozens of millennia between episodes without telling us. Since BtE this is now unlikely since Kochanski is out there. And if they had covered 2,996,000 years then it'd be the year 5,998,077, meaning the Samsara crashed only four thousand years before Lister came out of stasis. I really don't think this is the interpretation meant by the "3 million years later" caption.

    The only way it makes sense is that Samsara was much faster than Red Dwarf or it went through a swirly thing. If it was much faster, maybe it was going in a different direction. Every spaceship they encounter must be either faster, or multi-generational, or the crew have been in stasis. So why don't the Dwarfers ever comment "this ship must be much faster than Red Dwarf since it's out here, I wonder if we can use it ourselves or salvage parts to get back to Earth"? Well, this is a variation on a general problem of Red Dwarf, which is that the crew show no interest in figuring out the overall premise. Are they still trying to get back to Earth, why are there so many human space-stations and space-ships and GELFs and robots but no actual humans?
     
  20. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    They did take an interest in a drive at the end of episode Legion, which literally flew away from them. I assumed the other crafts, generally being more advanced than Red Dwarf, had some kind of advanced technology, akin to warp drive, foldspace drive, etc or something just super fast which enabled the to cover the distance required. In Justice there was an entire penal station millions of years in deep space!

    As the craft tend to be derelicts, I assumed their systems too badly damaged or degraded for the Dwarfers to utilise, or the drives were incompatible with Red Dwarf ( being a massive ship), or Starbug/blue midget, which are pretty small.

    As for not encountering many humans I simply put that down to 'mostly extinct', with the exception of those like Lister who went into stasis or cryo-sleep, people we HAVE encountered. Alternatively, maybe they are still out there and there are undisclosed reasons we haven't met them.

    I know we often meet guest characters in Red Dwarf, and we need that to add variation. But we must remember, the universe is a massive place!
     

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