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Recap / Red Dwarf Season IVDNA

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No vacuum cleaner should give a human being a double polaroid!
When Red Dwarf discovers a strange, alien-looking vessel in its wanderings, naturally the boys can't resist boarding it and taking a look. They come to regret their decision when they unwisely play with the experimental genetic alteration engine housed aboard the derelict.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Arc Words: "I am what I am." Although the jury appears to be out on whether Descartes or Popeye deserves the credit for that insight.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Lister winds up being turned into first a chicken and then a hamster, whilst Kryten ends up being turned into a human.
  • Body Horror: The ancient corpse of a mutated crewman, a triple-headed monstrosity.
  • Call-Back: Whilst facing the Mutton Vindaloo Beast, the crew reference the Polymorph and the time it disguised itself as one of Lister's shami kebabs.
  • Category Traitor: Lister regards himself as this because he once went into a wine bar, which in his eyes was a gross act of class betrayal. He considers himself extremely lucky not to have ended up being sucked into the middle class as a result.
    Lister:I could have been on that slippery slope: hand-crafted pine kitchens, sleeping on futons, eating tapas... who knows where it could have led? I could have started having relationships with people instead of going out with them. Got married. Got on the property ladder. God Almighty, who knows where it could have ended? Next thing you know, I'm playing squash every Tuesday night with a bloke called Gerald!
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  • Eating the Enemy: Robo-Lister notes the Vindaloo monster is really good, and asks if anyone has a poppadom the size of Lake Michigan.
  • Gag Penis: When Kryten is temporarily turned human, he apparently took pictures to see if everything was normal. In particular, why he got a "double-polaroid" from looking at kitchen utensils?!
  • Gone Horribly Right: Rather than risk testing the gene-engineering machine on any of them the second go around, they try to perform a simple experiment; if they can turn Lister's mutton vindaloo into a chicken one, then Holly can successfully use the machine. Instead, she botches it so badly she creates a howling, hideously deformed monster that tries to kill them all.
  • Humans Are Special: Kryten has longed to be human for a long time. Deconstructed as he learns there's a lot more to it than he expected, and it ended up with him hurting those closest to him and learning real emotions for once. Lister helps pointing out that being human is not all it's cracked up to be, in his own words.
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  • Informed Flaw: Rimmer describes Cat as being a coward. Of all the Cat's flaws, being a coward isn't one of them.
  • Insult Backfire: When the Boyz first start preparing to explore the bio-engineering ship, Rimmer refuses to be teamed up with Cat because, in his words, Cat is "totally egocentric, vain, selfish, narcissistic, and self-obsessed", and he "only looks after number one" and "flees at the first sign of trouble". Cat promptly retorts that Rimmer just listed all of his best features.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Kryten reports to Lister about the three-headed skeleton and that it fell through Rimmer as they opened the lift door. Kryten believes then that Rimmer has discovered the purpose of shirttails.
    Rimmer: Alright, Kryten, you don't have to make me sound like a gimboid git. I'm fine now.
    Rimmer: Is that thing still on?
  • Kryptonite Factor: Lager, the only thing that can kill a vindaloo, and therefore the "logical" weakness of a vindaloo monster.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Subverted, basically just by being about what happens after the magical transformation. Kryten is turned into a human and it's his dream come true at first. Lister tells him humanity is just another state of being with its own set of ups and downs, not some kind of perfect ultimate evolution, and after realizing the truth of what he said Kryten eventually changes back to a robot.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The botanical garden story Lister tells Cat and Rimmer was a nod to Silent Running.
    • When running from the Mutton Vindaloo creature, Lister quotes John McClane's complaint from Die Hard 2 ("how can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?")
    • Lister's "Man-Plus" getup is a parody of RoboCop.
    • This episode has several (subtle) references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. D.N.A. are the initials of Douglas Noel Adams. It is episode 2 of series 4, which could be written as episode 4.2 - leave out the dot and you get 42. The skeleton with additional heads could be be a reference to Zaphod Beeblebrox.
  • Take That!: In the early part of the episode, after successfully docking with the "alien" vessel, Rimmer is disgusted by the notion that the aliens aboard have come to return Glenn Miller, proceeding to open communications so he can express his opinion on the matter...
    Rimmer: We don't want him! Go away! You took him, you can keep the smegger!
  • You Can Panic Now: Moments after being caught in the ready-to-activate DNA modifier and assuring the others that, as a mechanoid, he's immune to its effects, Kryten remembers one crucial detail...
    Kryten: ...Oh. Wait a minute. No. My brain is part organic, and therefore it is entirely possible for the machine to transmogrify my physical condition. Engaging panic circuits. Panic circuits engaged. BWA-HA!

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