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Recap / Red Dwarf Season III Timeslides

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"Ignore him! He's a complete and total nutter, and he's only got one testicle!"

Lister is in a bad state at the start of this episode. He's fed up with all the insane, pointless ways he's gone through to pass the time as the last human being alive, from table golf to unicycle jousting, and he's sick of it. He vents while popping the bubbles on a "tension sheet", and Rimmer complains because it's just a piece of bubble-wrap painted red — which was "invented" by a schoolmate of his who became ridiculously wealthy as a result.

Meanwhile, Kryten is developing photographs and discovers that the fluid has mutated: the photographs not only move, but act as windows into history. They can't step outside the frame, but they can talk to and interact with the people inside. After a few experiments (including Lister getting into a fist-fight with Hitler) Lister decides to change history by giving his younger self the idea for the Tension Sheet, thereby sidestepping Red Dwarf entirely. The crew visits young Lister (played by Emile Charles, Craig Charles' brother) who dismisses them as "crypto-fascist," but when they return to Red Dwarf, the change goes through. Lister vanishes, followed by Kryten and Cat. This leaves Rimmer, alone on a spaceship with Holly, for eternity.


Rimmer decides "nobly" to rescue Lister from his disgustingly rich and famous lifestyle, but fails to convince him (as Lister has never met Rimmer). So Rimmer decides to try fixing history in his own favor. He visits his old school and gives his younger self detailed instructions, instructions which are overheard by another boy who keeps interrupting. And when he returns... everyone comes back. Nothing is changed. All Rimmer has done is put things back to how they were. But with one exception: he's no longer a hologram.

Rimmer exults, delighting in touch and food, while the others shuffle off (because they don't know that anything is different). With one last triumphant cry of "I! AM! ALIVE!" Rimmer brings his fists down on two crates. Which are marked "Explosives." And dies.

  • Adolf Hitlarious: Lister gatecrashes a Nuremburg rally and heckles Hitler before getting into a fight with him and stealing his briefcase.
    Lister: Ignore him! He's a complete and total nutter! And he's only got one testicle!
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  • Big Fancy House: Lister's mansion. The driveway is made up of the ground-up bricks of Buckingham Palace.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The contents of Adolf Hitler's diary:
    Kryten: [reads diary] Things to remember: stop milk, pay papers, invade Czechoslovakia.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Lister finds a parcel in Hitler's briefcase signed "To Adolf, love and hugs, Staff Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg", and Rimmer recalls that von Stauffenberg is famous for something. Oh, yes, that's it, he tried to assassinate Hitler by putting a bomb in his briefcase...
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: The timeslides were never mentioned again in the show but would have been used in the unmade episode Dad to let Lister go back and have a pint with his father.
  • Funny Flashback Haircut: Young Lister has an Afro.
  • Gasshole: Rimmer claims his schoolmate Thickie Holden would blow off the bed-covers every time he had cauliflower cheese.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: One of the more mundane examples where both Lister and Rimmer give repurposed bubble-wrap to their past selves.
  • Hand Wave: The only explanation given for how the photos come to life is Holly noting that the developing fluid "must have mutated".
  • Historical Figures in Archival Media: Adolf Hitler appear in archive footage, which Lister is inserted into. This leads to a humorous opening with "Tonight's Special Guest Star: Adolf Hitler As Himself.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Lister winds up in a photo of Hitler giving a speech and Nuremberg. He proceeds to shout that Hitler is a nutter, gets into a fistfight with him, and nicks his briefcase on the way out — which he then hurls back in with haste once they realize it has Stauffenberg's bomb in it.
  • Hope Spot: Rimmer states that his life is made up of these. Every time he gets any chance at a break, it blows up in his face. It's then revealed that due to the changes in the timeline, he's alive again. To hammer it home, when he frolics around the cargo decks he slams down on two boxes of explosives and promptly dies again.
  • I am a Humanitarian: Lister's most famous schoolmate was a man who ate his wife.
  • I Hate Past Me: Young Lister is decked out in incredibly gawdy "sham-glam", claims to hate money and possessions, and dismisses everything he dislikes as "crypto-fascist." Lister quickly gets fed up.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Rimmer tries to give his younger self the idea for the Tension Sheet, but Thickie Holden, the original inventor, overhears and beats him to it.
    • Somehow Rimmer's meddling does result in him no longer being a hologram. But he dies immediately when he hits some explosives.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: The crew go back in time and meet a young Lister, who's trying to become a singer. The Cat finds his outfit hilarious.
    Lister: It's what everyone was wearing. It was called sham-glam.
    Cat: Look at that collar! You could go hang-gliding!
  • If I Were a Rich Man: Rimmer attempting to get his past self to "invent" the tension sheet. Bonus points for singing the trope namer in anticipation of his presumed success.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: "I nicked his briefcase!"
  • Modern Stasis: The scenes on Earth are set hundreds of years in the future but don't seem any different from modern day.
  • Noodle Implements: Do we ... even want to know what the handcuffs in Hitler's briefcase were for?
  • Portal Picture: Once the pictures (brought to life with mutated developing fluid) were projected on a screen, they were big enough to step into, for Time Travel fun — though you couldn't go outside the frame.
  • Ret-Gone: Kryten is presumably still around, but trying to "care" for the dead crew of the Nova 5. Cat ceases to exist because with Lister having never joined the Red Dwarf crew, his species never evolved.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Evidently people who remain behind recall history before it was changed, judging by Rimmer and Holly.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Rimmer decides that he has to "rescue" Lister from his life of wealth, luxury, and sex with a famous supermodel, with no attempt to disguise the selfish act that it is. But in the end, all he does is put things back to mostly how they were.
  • Snooty Sports: One of the indicators of how extremely posh Sabrina Mulholland-jjones's family is is that her father's hobbies include clay pigeon shooting.
  • Stable Time Loop: Rimmer went back in time to tell his younger self about tension sheets. His roommate Thickie, the original inventor of them overhears him and 'invents' them before Rimmer does.
  • Take That!: When Kryten says that the crew could potentially prevent major disasters, Lister suggests persuading Dustin Hoffman not to make Ishtar.
  • Time and Relative Dimensions in Space: They can only travel into the place and time the photographs were taken. Trying to leave the area brings them back to the future.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Emile Charles as teenage Lister and Simon Gaffney as young Rimmer.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Lister and Rimmer use time travel to make themselves the inventors of the tension sheet. Lister succeeds for a time. Rimmer fails.