RDXI EP 6 - CAN OF WORMS - DISCUSSION THREAD

Discussion in 'RED DWARF XI / XII' started by Seb, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Decembers

    Decembers Deck Sergeant

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    Ok after multiple viewings, 2 things I still don't get.

    1. The Dictaphone thing, how did it kill the Mercenoid?

    2. How did Cat go from 'Hey guys they tied me up but I got away', (owwwww yeahhhhhh, chirpy, happy) to killing his 'kids' in cold blood minutes later?
     
  2. Slainmonkey

    Slainmonkey Deck Sergeant

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    My guess is they rigged it up to set off a nasty electric change, you can see them triggering it to set if off. Not how it was rigged up to do that....so your guess is as good as mine.

    My guess is that Cat finally had some deep down feeling of responsibility after he took off and not flushing them.....but honestly it would have worked better had we not seen him during the Mexican standoff!
     
  3. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    And anything involving the emotion tuck machine
     
  4. UltraDevotee

    UltraDevotee Catering Officer

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    I see that most of people have either liked or really enjoyed this episode so that is really pleasing to see. While it was perhaps a slightly missed opportunity maybe not to do an actual Cat race episode I didn't mind in fact it being another polymorph one. I love both Polymorph and Emohawk - Polymorph II (IMHO much better than just a fan service episode - a good story) before this anyway.

    In terms of the story after Officer Rimmer and Krysis which were slightly more comedy than sci-fi in content, this is a return to the more cerebral Red Dwarf again. It is welcome in my opinion but I just wonder whether the story was slightly too convoluted with too many misleads as I really feel I will definitely have to re-watch it a few times to really follow it better. For example, as Pembers has implied I thought it should have been made a bit more clearer how the mercenoid was destroyed by the dictaphone. Though on the other hand the poster who replied's explanation will do fine for me though I still feel it could have been made a bit more obvious.

    Another thing I noticed with the plot was really that personality machine at the start did have a role in a way but a minimised one as Lister's removed emotions does lead him to at least take out a couple of the polymorphs. If Lister had just taken out all the polymorphs dead easy than that would have been a poor, flat conclusion obviously. Really the bit with the Mexican stand off is to add some more depth to the event leading to the pay off with the Cat firing at will at the other polymorphs. I wondered whether the Cat eventually fired at his "kids" because they had taken away his emotions though I would have to watch again to see whether he is there in the scene in the cargo decks before that. If that was the case that he showed no feeling towards the polymorphs the second time around because they had removed his feelings then it is quite a clever pay off IMHO and works. But to be honest not just was this a pretty cerebral episode with quite a lot of exposition/misleads I will have to definitely watch again to make full sense of it because on Thursday night I wasn't following it totally well.

    But anyway I thought the episode had a good end - not too simplistic and it wasn't rushed IMHO as long as I understand fully how the pay-off worked upon rewatches. I also really appreciated the additional scene at the very end with the female cats in Cat's dream - such a nifty twist. In fact I thought the guest actors playing the female cats were fine in their roles.

    In terms of the rest of the story I do agree with another poster it was certainly "weird" with the dead polymorph with its phallic mouth, the Cat being pregnant and giving birth but somehow when I was watching I did think Doug had just about pulled it off with it still being funny without it looking too odd. In fact as others have mentioned as well as the callback to the earlier polymorph episodes there are also back references to Psirens (the start), Bodyswap, series 1 ("this is mine, that's mine") and also obviously Parallel Universe with this time the Cat being impregnated. These callbacks help give this finale a bit of a feel good undercurrent to an otherwise pretty dark episode IMHO.

    In terms of the humour it was again pretty funny throughout but I would say this is perhaps a RD episode that is a bit more concentrated on plot and misleads than the comedy. Still as others have said there are other episodes in the RD cannon that are like this and anyway it is like I said still rather funny. But in fact I would say that my favourite parts of the humour were the more basic things like the scene on Starbug at the start, the Cat being called an idiot repeatedly and the cute polymorphs scene.

    To be honest, when I watched this episode on Thursday night I wasn't in such a good mood so it will definitely require several rewatches to be sure of my final opinion of it but immediately after I finished watching the episode I thought it was an eight out of ten which is a very good sign. It is pretty cerebral - and that is no bad thing given that was on my wish list for series 11 before it was commissioned - so it will take a few more viewings to fully appreciate it. For now though, I think it is a very good but perhaps like the Radio Times said (I read their review after I had watched due to being warned about the spoiler) it is not quite on the same level as the series three original Polymorph episode. But still like I said I will have to give it a few more watches to fully judge and appreciate it and anyway eight out of ten is quite a high score for a first watch when maybe I wasn't following it so good. It's just perhaps it did not quite meet my expectations totally that I had when I saw nine out of ten in one media review. But still it is very strong, had a decent pay-off/ending IMHO and might well go up further in my estimation when the blu-ray is out. Should there be more new Red Dwarf after next year's series 12? On the strength of these new episodes I should think so.

    8 out of 10.
     
  5. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    They also stated that Cat would have those maternal feelings while the polymorphs were young. By the time he turned up as pussy gunslinger they were adults. He was also missing a bunch of emotions.

    As for the Dictaphone thing, I thought it obvious they had rigged it. I'm not sure how Lister managed it in such a short period of time but I thought it a funny, cool sequence.
     
  6. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    This is a plot issue for me. The Polymorphs explode with one shot, so what was all the fuss about.

    And the Polymorph could have just as easily appeared as a female human for Lister, right? Was it just that Cat walked in first?
     
  7. Slainmonkey

    Slainmonkey Deck Sergeant

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    I have a few theories on the Mercenoid thing, firstly maybe she was a lot stronger then her babies as maybe they weren't upto full strength. Secondly maybe the circumstances were a bit like in Psirens when it turned into Professor Mamet, maybe the Polymorph would assume the form of the Mercenoid's creator when ever it tried to kill her!
     
  8. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Yes, I did.

    I found it to be a bit of a mix. Not in a bad way, not lol funny like Officer Rimmer or Krysis were for me.

    I enjoyed the throwback to series 1 with the cats saying, 'That's mine....' Without going back to check, but it seems Danny got the articulation spot on so that if you close your eyes you could imagine watching the other scene.

    I wish I hadn't watched Dave's trailer now, as that spoiled the pay off for the gag when they're in the ship with Rimmer back on Starbug talking them through it. I think that could have been funny. Hey ho.

    Why did Cat start wearing a pink tracksuit when pregnant? Did he lose his sense of style?

    Overall, a decent episode.

    7/10

    The first series I think not to feature a guitar, and, I think unless someone proves otherwise, the first series not to mention the word smeg??? :?
     
  9. Slainmonkey

    Slainmonkey Deck Sergeant

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    I think it was a matter of not having clothes that was stretchy enough, I mean it's not like Cat was planning on getting pregnant and has clothes on stand by just incase.

    Also I wanted to point out that is it just me, or did it seem like the "Sorry, I sat on a screwdriver" bit was Doug making a hilarious dig at his own terrible Gelf language joke in Ouroboros?
     
  10. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Also, I was rather hoping for a well-crafted cliffhanger. An ideal opportunity wasted I feel. HHP&D :-)
     
  11. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    If unknown people placed the mercanoid on the ship intentionally to deal with the polymorph, maybe they did it to kill two birds with one stone.

    Gelf chief: Mr. Mercanoid, you must stop your attempted suicide bombings in the marketplace. I have a proposition, for you: we've captured a dangerous customer. Why don't you fly it into that nice black hole? That way you'll achieve your wish of upgrades in silicon heaven and do us a favour too.

    Mercanoid: Suits me scuzzball.

    Actually the craft didn't look like a gelf ship, but I'm sure you get the picture.

    Alternatively maybe the mercanoid wasn't intentionally placed there. He might have encountered the craft adrift and figured he'd take the morph with him. Why bother shooting it if it's a)contained and b) he plans on killing himself in the process anyway?
     
  12. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    Alot about what made the cat... well the cat was forgotten about this episode, just swap him with duane dibbley and you wouldn't even notice.
     
  13. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    I think you give doug too much credit there for remembering details like that.

    Chances are it was just an average joke doug came up with.
     
  14. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    I broadly agree, I enjoyed it but it, it was a good episode but not a really great one IMO.

    I'm pretty sure there are are more than a few Smegs this series (In fact I'm pretty certain Ganymede and Titan have counted them as part of their reviews).

    Going against the popular consensus again, but the Mexican stand-off at the end didn't work particularly well for me.
     
  15. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    The stand off was actually something i liked, it made sense since they already said the polymorphs would kill each other and the idea that even the polymorphs didn't know who was who is quite funny.

    Although you would have to ignore the whole darn emotion tuck thing as that just ruins it.
     
  16. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Ignore this buffoon. Just rewatched it at the weekend and it's markedly different. Maybe the way she and he say it once or twice, but overall... no :roll:

    Move on. Nothing to see ;-)
     
  17. Slainmonkey

    Slainmonkey Deck Sergeant

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    There is a parallel with both the scene in this episode, and back in Confidence and Paranoia. In both instances Cat was intending to have sex with something after proclaiming things to be his, in this episode a Polymorph and in Confidence and Paranoia nearly an unconscious Lister.
     
  18. djmcbell

    djmcbell Supply Officer

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    Alrighty then, not quite the last on my re-watch (I'll do the special features too), what did I think of Can Of Worms? It's good. Not very good, in my opinion, but, well, good.

    The plot is a tad contrived in places. We're first introduced to the Personality Tuck machine, which is then promptly forgotten about while the crew go on the scavenge and rescue what they believe to be a female Cat, who then turns out to be a Polymorph. What's a Polymorph? Well, you should know that, and I'll get into that a bit later. In any case, Polymorph is dead, Cat is preggers with its babies, and in the end they have to hunt down the shapeshifting babies with the offscreen help of the Personality Tuck machine.

    But what is a Polymorph? I know what it is, and you probably know what it is, but think about someone who is new to the show, or just not seen Polymorph (or the inferior sequel). It is never explained. Yes, the audience had a groan (a well-meaning groan) when it was announced, but surely we could have done with a quick "one of those emotion-stealing, shape-shifting mutants?" line so everyone gets the general gist. It is great though that Red Dwarf keeps the same type of evil critter for whenever it needs a shape-shifting emotion-stealing critter, unlike various other TV shows which would just introduce a new alien species every other week.

    In terms of plot though, this is reasonably good. I still want some plots with more focus though, especially after Krysis. There's more or less three parts here, I feel:

    1 - the part on Starbug, and getting the "female Cat". I quite liked this, it felt like Red Dwarf of olde. This was great - a decent Starbug scene, and I still wonder if Starbug has replaced the bunkroom scenes as a way to get all 4 characters interacting, and also a vehicle to more adventure. Some good jokes too, and the Cat's whole virgin thing works well. Also enjoyed the "I'll just go get the- where'd he go?" bit from Kryten when Rimmer legs it, and Lister falling asleep having had a roast dinner with all the trimmings (amongst other things).

    2 - the Polymorph being revealed, and the birth of the morphlings. I must admit that I cheated with this episode and read about a Polymorph being involved somehow beforehand, but didn't know exactly how. It was still a pleasant surprise, and worked well. The morphlings turning into tumours was a pretty good detail, and them turning into various objects during the birth and afterward to try to be adorable worked very well on initial viewing, but unfortunately doesn't really work on re-watches.

    3 - we're off to kill the morphlings, after off-screen help from the Personality Tuck machine. Which was really just a visual gag with copies of the Dwarfers, and over far too quickly and easily. Not bad, but not especially good.

    So why do I still like this episode? There's a lot to digest here, and a lot of it works. And more to the point, I can't really say there's nothing that doesn't work. If I could make just two suggestions, it would be to quickly hint at what a Polymorph is (as explained above, and whilst I'm remembering I'll point out that I quite liked the disgust that the Polymorph documentary evoked), and to reduce the best joke of possibly series XI - or keep it short. This was, in my opinion, the "life reading" gag from the trailer, and this was extended a bit with the whole "they should have mentioned that in the manual - oh wait they did" bit which felt a tad superfluous.

    Also, special mention to Kryten and his quick "now we'll just- where'd he go" at the Personality Tuck machine, and trying to comfort Cat before quickly saying "oh my God" in the same sentence.

    The episode was good, and it all worked well together, but I can't honestly say it was great. It worked very well amongst the other episodes, and is among the strongest 3 of them in my opinion (those being Can Of Worms, Give & Take, and Officer Rimmer in my opinion). But compared to older episodes, I still feel like newer episodes of Dwarf lack some focus.

    I feel like I have to give an obligatory "what do I think of RDXI as a whole" here, and so I shall do an abridged version. As good as RDX was, XI is better in every single way. There is more focus here on a single plot per episode, or more rather getting all the crew in on the same plot rather than branching off (like how Lister seemed to be doing something separate than the others in Trojan and Fathers & Suns). We may have different plots, but everyone's on the same branch. There are some genuinely good jokes, some stuff that should be up there with the best of Dwarf, and I am hopeful for series XII. More of the same would be very good indeed.
     
  19. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    TBH i always felt before XI that a Polymorph 3 episode would be a cool idea because it would be like the alien movies in a way... but i have to say in retrospect the episode is abit of a mess.

    I wasn't fond of The Cat being pathetic about being a virgin and the crew making jokes about it as if its a teen based comedy because i always thought the show was above that.

    Obviously The Cat being an idiot... moving on.

    Personality Tuck machine... why is it even there?

    The whole meeting a female cat idea is a good one but it being a polymorph does undermine the idea of hey look another Cat!

    The audience groan during the Polymorph reveal was funny though, yes we are at that point with this series lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  20. UltraDevotee

    UltraDevotee Catering Officer

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    Can of Worms or could be aka Polymorph 3? Despite the groan from one audience member when it is revealed that the female Cat is in fact a polymorph I do not mind Doug deploying this type of GELF again as after all series 3's original Polymorph episode is so fantastically iconic that it deserves a trilogy of episodes.

    But anyhow in terms of this actual series 11 episode itself I might be being a little controversial here in my opinion but I have to say I think Can of Worms might well be the weakest of the trilogy IMHO. I actually have always loved series 6's Emohawk - there may be a bit of fan service there but come on with Rob Grant co-writing the plot and comedy are razor sharp!

    The problem I have with Can of Worms is the plot. It is a bit of a mess ultimately as like another poster said this is where Doug has tried to cram too much into it. The Personality Tuck machine is ultimately pointless and more there for the opening scene's gags that hark back to Psirens etc. Did Doug just include it to stretch the polymorph story out as it did not fill out the entire 28 minute length? But anyway not just does the personality tuck machine have no role when they face the Mexican standoff with the morphlings during the climax but I feel it overcomplicates the resolution too. I am all for "heavy science" episodes but unlike the other clever episodes in series 11 this feels a bit too complicated to follow as you try and work out what role does that personality machine have in the pay off. I am all for cerebral Red Dwarf but series 5 for example had episodes e.g. Inquisitor full of cleverness but at the same time it was not overdone and instead accessible.

    But anyway the personality tuck machine has no role and I suppose if you ultimately interpret it as a misdirect used for a funny callback to earlier classic Dwarf gags at the start then I suppose the episode is just about pretty strong and Doug can just about get away with it despite it being the series' only example of naff writing.

    The bottom line is I like most of the climax despite it being like you say over very fast as after all I suppose you could say enough of the Cat's emotions return from two of the morphlings being killed by one of the other morphlings but not enough to prevent him destroying them all ruthlessly in the lift and also he had lost his "maternal" feelings for them as they had got older. Also Rimmer says that the Cat without all emotion is the same in intellect as usual as he is so simple anyway so that perhaps explains how he has the idea to leave the lower deck and surprise the morphlings when they arrive upstairs in the lift. I don't mind this, I think it is quite good in fact but the personality tuck machine is just not worth including and is leads to an excessively packed plot really.

    But anyway there are lots of examples of great comedy in this episode and the rest of the plot while weird is actually just about pretty strong. The gag about the life reading is definitely one of the funniest of series 11.

    Overall, I do think Can of Worms is the only slightly naff episode of last year's run but it just about makes it into the pretty decent bracket and is significantly better than series 10's weakest link Dear Dave. But I do think all the other five episodes are of superior quality and really you have to see the personality tuck machine as a deliberate misdirect - which perhaps it might well be - for it to work properly.
     

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