RDXII EPISODE 6 - SKIPPER - DISCUSSION THREAD

Discussion in 'RED DWARF XI / XII' started by Seb, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    The fact that this episode references Timewave is both depressing and illuminating. I was waiting for Rimmer to blurt out "PLANET RIMMER!?" when Lister mentioned the Helium 7.

    However, I will be okay with Timewave's very existence if this does in fact confirm that the boys are literally "on the outer reaches of the solar system" or whatever Timewave suggested. Earth (or what's left of it after M-Corp) is surely not far from reach now.
     
  2. 2X4B-523P

    2X4B-523P Third Technician

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    The classic era of the long-running comedy show Red Dwarf – Series III to VI – had Time Holes, White Holes, Psi Moons, Reality Bubbles, Rimmer transformed into a James Bond-style hero, and even a meeting with the crew’s future selves gone bad. The final episode of Series XII, Skipper takes some of these traditions of the series of the universe going wrong and the crew in the middle receiving the surreal consequences.

    After a number of funny scenes where it’s best to say the reverse of what you want – something Cat fails to understand with hilarious effect – it’s revealed that Kryten has been tinkering in the science bay, and as usual in this show, something has gone wrong and reality has been fractured, causing different possibilities to be played out. Last time this was the plot, Rimmer was shown his heroic alter ego Ace Rimmer – much to his jealous annoyance – but this time, things might be different…

    Lister and Cat and Kryten have finally settled on their fate of being trapped on a battered old spaceship, but not that for old Arnold J. Rimmer has never liked his life – before and after he died – and has always thought he never got the breaks (but let’s be fair, he never put the work in). So with a convenient piece of tech, Rimmer gets the chance to leap around the multiverse, intent on finding a better reality than the one he disappointedly finds himself with every morning.

    This is not a new concept for science fiction comedy, in fact animated shows “Family Guy” and “Rick and Morty” went there first, with alternative decisions regularly explored in the latter. This episode of Red Dwarf however hints at more dark and reversed dimensions, with Rimmer being sacrificed by the crew as cult druids, or unseen goings on with elephant sound effects.

    Things then settle down into more of a nostalgic multiverse trip, and this is where the fan in me was made very happy. There are little moments of joy, as we are given a tour around the early days of the series, with the return of several old favourites. This has happened before – specifically in Series VIII – but it’s done so much better here. Returning characters are given much better lines than their original comebacks in the late Nineties. This is the series treading old ground, but doing it really well.

    Though very much a Rimmer-centric episode, Craig Charles gets to shine too as he appears in several different versions of Lister. Cat too has a makeover as the visually hilarious Mr Rat. Only Kryten is left out of the multiverse concept, and though we were treated to a mechanoid mash-up a few episodes back, I would have liked to seen what other realities had in store for him.

    The call-backs and the return of the bunk room were very nicely played; only for me, it appeared to be the set from Series VIII, not Series I, so that was a missed opportunity. The only thing the episode particularly lacked was a great punchline. I kept waiting for a last minute twist – such as Rimmer accepting a new reality, but turning out to be amongst a ship full of polymorphs, or being with his own evil twin – but no. Thinking the real ending through, Rimmer’s acceptance that he doesn’t have it so bad is similar to his discovery of his true parentage in series 10; for a moment he is content, but knowing Arnold it won’t last.

    If Series XII is the last we see of Red Dwarf, then this is going out on a high. Given that writer and co-creator Doug Naylor seems to have hit on a formula that very nearly reaches the comic heights of the show’s classic era, I hope there’s an alternative universe where the show ends, so in this universe we can look forward to Season XIII and more.
     
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  3. emmiepoptastic

    emmiepoptastic Skutter

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    I found this to be a fun, little addition to detail. When Rimmer is fiddling with his box of wires, I can just about make out this written on the side and near the bottom of it: Unauthorised openings of this box and removal of it's contents is a violation of space corps directive - the rest is too blurred for me to see, but it's clearly a number.
     
  4. RainbowGazelle

    RainbowGazelle Second Technician

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    I'm okay with some clapping on a particularly hilarious joke, but laughing or cheering when there's nothing remotely funny is really irritating. Although it could just be something I don't think is funny, is funny to many others. Eg. Kryten just staring at the start of Mechocracy, and the audience kept laughing. What was funny?!
     
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  5. Presuming Ken

    Presuming Ken Deck Sergeant

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    Just watched it. That was brillant!

    I literally loudy laughed throughout the whole Mr Rat scene. Yeah!

    Great stuff. Best of both series XI and XII. Bravo and more!!!!!!!!! :-D
     
  6. jaybo1973

    jaybo1973 Catering Officer

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    Just given it a second viewing. I have been very critical over the years since the end of the classic era, but I truly did enjoy this. The first act; not dissimilar from episodes like white hole, then a trip to nostalgia in the second half. They had a blast at this in series 8 that didn't work. It's obvious that Doug has taken on board the criticism from the weaker series.
     
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  7. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    Well apart from Hollister
     
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  8. djmcbell

    djmcbell Supply Officer

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    That was good. Good for so many reasons, though I will say straight away that it felt like a total fangasm without going full hog. Thankfully we were spared a resurrection of Ace Rimmer and Dwayne Dibbley.

    I really don't know where to begin. Obviously the meat of the episode is that it was callback city, with Norman appearing and, thankfully, he doesn't take over the episode. He has a few minutes, then it's on to the next bit. But what a great few minutes that was! Definitely some of the best Holly we've had, condensed into a few minutes. I can almost forgive the fact that he's not a genius because the joke for it works so well. Likewise, Hollister isn't as serious as he should be, but I'll let it slide because we get to see the original sleeping quarters, the captain's office...

    And the new stuff! Good jokes! The "decisions" bit did get a bit old, but had some brilliant reactions as Cat said he wouldn't polish Lister's boots, then is doing so with gusto. The "crew should proceed to quarters to count survivors" message. Mr Rat! Holy hell that thing worked and channelled Donkey on so many levels! I had to ask myself at the start if some of that was CGI! Lister, Cat and Kryten bizarrely over Rimmer in hoods about to sacrifice him. Nobody's dead Arnold!

    And finally the realisation. Rimmer gets everything he wants. An officer and a gentleman, he commands respect, has kids, a sex life, is back at Earth and has achieved all his dreams.

    But Lister is still more successful.

    That says a lot about Rimmer - even when he catches a break, unless it's perfect he won't take it.

    This, for me, is not quite the best of the uneven series 12. It is about level with M-Corp, but for different reasons, and was pitched perfectly. There were so many competing things that could have taken over the episode (Holly, the accident, Hollister, Mr Rat) but didn't and were sensibly limited. And once again, I am in awe of how much they fit into a 27-minute episode.

    Though I do have a question in passing - but about the episode, but in the intro of RDXII there is a shot of Starbug flying over a spinning asteroid (or other rocky surface). Where's that from? Don't recall it from Cured.
     
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  9. jaybo1973

    jaybo1973 Catering Officer

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    Yeah. Pity it was the bafoon version.
     
  10. Jarvio

    Jarvio Second Technician

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    He's always been a bafoon though IMO. I mean, how can anyone assess the series 1/2 version when we see so little of him?
     
  11. jaybo1973

    jaybo1973 Catering Officer

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    I know. I did think series 8 for a moment though when I saw him. I don't like being reminded about series 8 lol
     
  12. wavesd

    wavesd Third Technician

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    Could I add to something, I think a few people have touched upon, the call back jokes in this episode (and indeed the series) work well because the performances and direction are spot on - it is not not like the characters doing a lap of honour, they are bringing us back to some earlier scenes, but not doing so in a meta way, we are not taken out of the story that we are actually watching.

    Which brings me on to a broader point, I think that there needs to be a round of applause (or internet equivalent) for the each of our main performers and the writer/director; they have each put in a great piece of work; there is a lot of subtlety behind the humour and in each of the characters, which is not a case of turn up, read your lines and have a laugh; I am sure they can have a smile when they are shooting, but each of these guys needs to get into character and the crew needs to put the show onto our screen - and I think they have done a truly wonderful job.

    I love Red Dwarf, and I have done for many (many) years, and the cast and crew that have worked on this series have produced something really great. Top draw work in acting, editing, photography, art, effects, makeup...a TV show can be made and it will be OK, I get the feeling that the Dave incarnation of Red Dwarf is lovingly crafted.
     
  13. talkie3000

    talkie3000 Deck Sergeant

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    Series 8 hollister is basically Stasis leak hollister but slightly exaggerated
     
  14. Rageofangels

    Rageofangels First Technician

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    I think you're right. They seem to have put a lot of effort in to getting it right.
     
  15. Jarvio

    Jarvio Second Technician

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    Who's the woman who salutes Rimmer? Is she an established character, or brand new? If established, I don't remember her.

    Also, was Rat played and voiced by Danny John Jules?
     
  16. DAN_JMC

    DAN_JMC Catering Officer

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    Rewatched this a few times, and have to say it's one of my favourite episodes in recent years and hands down best of the season.

    The scene with Cat and Lister where cat is doing Lister's bidding and then trying to do the opposite is one of the funniest best written scenes not only in recent years but it's up there with the best Cat/Lister moments. Eeven after watching it several times it's still making me smile.

    I also love Lister as the captain, absolutely brilliant. Not to mention several other nice bits.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  17. DAN_JMC

    DAN_JMC Catering Officer

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    The problem I have with the call backs is I feel they work better if used sparingly. I'm glad Ace didn't appear but for example, if he did appear it would be cool for a lot of people - Talkie Toaster was cool, so was Captain Hollister - but it wouldn't be cool if they made an appearence every episode. Call backs are cool but don't milk it.

    Also Doug has pretty much reused the same JOKE, not just a nod to the past. Them all looking at the captain's notes on Lister and Rimmer is very very much like in series one, but at least the reports were different and served a purpose to set up the premise of the show. Still a bit lazy though. But in Mechocracy with Talkie Toaster we had basically the same gag of Lister reading of a huge list of bread products to which talkie answer "ah you a ..... man!" all he did was change the individual bread products. Ok I can even go with that if it's just the once, but then in M Corp we have the exact dialogue from the first episode with Lister singing and playing his cheeks. Ok..... but that's not all, we then get the everybody's dead Dave scene rewritten in the next episode. I kind of liked it but after so many other call backs that were really just reusing old scripts like a standup comedian slightly tweaking his classic old jokes from 30 years ago, it just lost it's power a bit
     
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  18. wavesd

    wavesd Third Technician

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    I do agree...but then comics do reuse gags, in the same way that bands play their greatest hits. Of course a little less legit with comics, because something new is expected. I think the way Doug has used the gags from the past has been good; I alluded to that in my previous post before about appealing to old fans and new, Doug seems to have tread a fine line quite well - not too much, not too little - and for me that is why this last series has been so good. when you are driving a classic property, a few of the greatest hits in a different key are acceptable.

    I have been enjoying talking about Red Dwarf (and Zapped - which to me has been a happy Thursday evening comedy marriage) to people who have just watched the last few episodes.....and I have not felt the need to say how good things were in 1990...we have just talked about these episodes.....errr......well I may have signed off by saying"Well if you liked that..."
     
  19. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    I got a lot of deja vu from this episode, and it wasn't just because of the recreation of old dialogue and sets. The guys reading Hollister's confidential comments about Red Dwarf's personnel was very Waiting For God, and the multiple universes created by decisions was done in Dimension Jump. I was enjoying Rimmer's travel through the multiple universes until we got to the Rat bit, which I felt was going way too far into season VIII silliness and suddenly brought to mind the mirror universe awfulness of Only the Good. Besides the Rat and one or two other poor moments (I didn't like that Cat/Rimmer moment at the start), this was pretty good stuff with my highlight being the reappearance of Holly and Hollister.

    Various thoughts:
    • There are now more episodes not written by Rob Grant than episodes written by him (37 to 36).
    • With all the deja vu going on, I half expected Rimmer's goodbye speech to be: "I have come to regard you as people I met."
    • Lister being Red Dwarf captain in the final universe was so completely predictable.
    • Norman had his best lines since season II. Why wasn't his dialogue in season VIII this good? And how great and unexpected was it to see Mac McDonald?
    • Nice altered version of The End's 'Everybody's dead, Dave' dialogue. That's the second successive episode that's alluded to lines from The End.
    • The recreated season I bunkroom was lovely.
    Funniest line:
    Rimmer: "Holly, when is this? Where am I?"
    Holly: "It's Monday, and you're in a corridor."

    Overall:
    Despite a few bad points, this was one of the funniest episodes in quite a while and had plenty of pleasing moments for us fans.

    Rating: 7.5/10
     
  20. Jarvio

    Jarvio Second Technician

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    Did Danny John Jules voice the rat?
     

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