Rimmer, Lister, and the Cat are wasting time in their quarters as usual: Lister is taking a quiz in a woman's magazine that rates the reader's sexiness, Cat is rocking out to a corrupted tape of Robert Hardy reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and Rimmer is cheating at checkers with a skutter. Holly interrupts, but can't remember why until a meteorite hits the ship—he was going to tell them that a meteorite is about to hit the ship.
When Rimmer starts to malfunction, Holly's directions for repair nearly blow Lister up, and a new face appears on the screen: Queeg 500, the backup computer. He boots Holly out, citing his senility and the fact that his IQ is really 6 rather than 6000. After a few days of tyranny, the crew decides to bring Holly back.
Holly challenges Queeg to a chess game... and promptly loses, not surprising when he persistently calls pieces "horsey" and "prawn." Holly is deleted permanently. Queeg appears onscreen to cement his reign over the ship... and says "what's happening, dudes?"
Holly reappears, crowing over his jape of the decade — we are talking April, May, June, July and August Fool's — and remarking on how easily the crew believed 'Queeg's' claims of Holly's incompetence. He finishes out by delivering the moral of the story: to appreciate what you've got. Because basically, he's fantastic.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In this case, Holly isn't turning evil, he's going senile. (Or so he'd have you believe.)
- Antagonist Title
- Captain Obvious: The Cat's contribution to Holly's chessmatch with Queeg, telling Holly that every time he moves, Queeg does as well.
- Casting Gag: The actor playing Queeg, Charles Augins, was originally brought in to do the choreography for the "Tongue Tied" video. Word of God is that Queeg's Drill Sergeant Nasty persona was an exaggeration of how the non-dancer cast-members saw him.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Although not a drill sergeant, Queeg is exactly this sort of character.
- Everyone Has Standards: On losing his hard-earned pea, Lister declares no matter where it's gone in the room, or what's happened to it, he'll eat it, even if it's covered with fluff and dust. Then Rimmer tells him it's in his dirty socks. Lister gives up immediately.
- Flowery Insults:
- Rimmer calls Holly as useful as a condom machine in the Vatican.
- Subverted when Rimmer calls him a "total, total... a word has yet to be invented to describe what you are, but you are one! And a total, total one at that!"
- Gilligan Cut: Used when Queeg forces everyone to work in order to get food.Queeg: From now on, everybody works.
Cat: Nuh-uh, not this kitty!
(Cut to Lister and The Cat scrubbing floors)
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Holly says that he's sharp and kicking bottom.
- Grand Theft Me: Queeg takes control of Rimmer's body to force him to exercise, forcing him to go on a three-mile run even after he faints.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Rimmer's legs wander away from him.
- Head Desk: Lister bangs his head on the table when he finds out that all he got for dinner is burnt toast and one pea. His head goes down when he loses his pea.
- Hypocritical Humor: Rimmer is delighted with Queeg, until Queeg starts putting him through his paces.
- I Am the Trope: "The company is paying for your hologrammatic survival, and out here, I am the company."
- Insult to Rocks: Holly declares an IQ of six is bad for a glass of water.
- Late to the Punchline: Played with. Lister tells Rimmer a long and involved story about a rogue AI that's really just a set-up for a weak pun. Rimmer fails to recognise the joke, and spends a minute reflecting on the story before realisation dawns about something unrelated to the punchline, which he still hasn't got.
- Lazy Bum: And it's not Lister, but Rimmer, who has an "arrangement" with Holly where being woken up at seven in the morning for exercise actually meant being woken up at ten with a full breakfast.
- Loophole Abuse: Rimmer is left with exactly one checker, surrounded by the skutter's kinged pieces, with his only move being a losing one. So he's spinning out his turn until the skutter has to return to duty and forfeit.
- Meaningful Echo: "Holly and I had an understanding." First used by Rimmer in a failed attempt to get out of stomach crunches, then by Lister when he gets the wrong end of the Queeg stick.
- Misplaced a Decimal Point: Queeg "insults" Holly's IQ in this manner.Queeg: It has a six in it, but it's not six thousand.Lister: Well what is it?Queeg: Six.
- Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: Lister tells Rimmer a long rambling story about why it's cruel to give machines personalities. He tells about how his friend Peterson had a pair of "Smart Shoes" that could always get you home no matter how drunk you were. But Peterson woke up hundreds of miles away because the shoes wanted to see the world. He tried to get rid of them but they'd show back up. In the end the shoes stole a car and wound up driving it into a canal because they couldn't steer properly. Peterson was upset, but a priest consoled him that the shoes were happy and in heaven now. You see, it turns out shoes have soles.
- Scary Black Man: Queeg 500, the back-up computer who seizes control of the ship. Just one look at him tells you that he's not going to put up with any of your crap.
- Screen Shake: Along with flashing lights when the meteorite hits.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story:
- Lister tells Rimmer a story that at first seems to be a serious example of why it is cruel to give machines personalities. He discusses a pair of artificially intelligent shoes that are discontented with their existence and try to escape it by stealing a car. They then accidentally drive it into a canal and "die". A priest, however, comforted the shoes owner by telling him that the shoes had gone to heaven. Turns out the entire lecture was just an excuse for Lister to deliver the Incredibly Lame Pun "Shoes have soles". Rimmer, however, doesn't get it.
- The main plot counts as well.
- Shaped Like Itself: The damage report monitor gets damaged.
- Queeg is named after the captain in The Caine Mutiny. Especially when Holly says "This is mutiny, Mr. Queeg."
- From the same line, "I'll see you hang from the highest yardarm in..." is from Mutiny on the Bounty.
- When they're scrubbing the floor, Lister and the Cat whistle the theme tune for The Great Escape.
- As Holly heads for his showdown with Queeg, the theme song from High Noon plays, covered by Howard Goodall.
- Holly singing as he gets erased was inspired by HAL's death in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Smart People Play Chess: Holly challenges Queeg to a duel, winner takes all. Queeg chooses chess and sticks to his choice. Turns out Holly doesn't know much about playing it. Then it turns out Holly is playing everyone, so it's played straight in the long run.
- Spoof Aesop: "Appreciate what you've got, because basically, I'm fantastic."
- T-Word Euphemism: Cats do not do the W-Word. (Work.)
- Take That!: Holly uses Tottenham Hotspur as a euphemism for shit.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Queeg 500, the "backup computer", is a humorless, hard-driving taskmaster.
- Vocal Dissonance: Queeg saying "what's happenin' dudes?" in Holly's voice. Then when he changes back to Holly and explains what he'd done, the others exclaim "It was you all along?" and he says "That's right, suckas!" in Queeg's voice.