Lister and Kryten are running an experiment with the matter paddle device used back in "Meltdown" which can produce two duplicates of whatever its beam is projected on. While testing it out on a strawberry, though, they find the duplicates aren't quite the same as the original: one is delicious and the other infested with maggots. Trying to tinker with the device inadvertently causes a chain reaction that results in Red Dwarf exploding minutes after the crew make an emergency evacuation in Starbug.
As they're scanning the wreckage for salvageable material the boys are in for a surprise: nearby are two other Red Dwarves, produced by the malfunction with the matter paddle. Although initially excited at having not only their ship back but one that should be even better than the original, Lister points out they still haven't perfected the process and the duplicates would fade away after about an hour. They board the "high" ship to find the device and use it to reintegrate the two copies into the original Red Dwarf.
They soon find that not has the ship been copied, but so have the crew themselves: the "high" versions of the crew are monk-like individuals who devote their time toward philosophy, poetry and the arts. Kryten finds the matter paddle of the high ship but only half of it; the rest must be on the other "low" ship.
In the dilapidated wreck that is the other ship the "high" crew are picked off by the sleazy, degenerate "low" versions of the crew. The real ones are separated in the chaos and Lister is fixed with an implant that lets the "lows" control his movements. He kills the high versions of himself and Rimmer before going after the real crew but is stopped short when Cat kicks him in the groin. They manage to recombine the two versions of Red Dwarf into the original, but Lister accidentally sits on the implant again, with Cat asking for just one week of him as a remote-controlled plaything.
The episode contains examples of:
- Bondage Is Bad: Lister runs into a deranged Enemy Without version of Rimmer who combines the Creepy Crossdresser, Depraved Homosexual, and Bondage Is Bad tropes all in one. He's dressed in some sort of "Dominatrix Dr. Frankenfurter" outfit while he attacks Lister with a whip before promising to torture and rape him.
- Bring My Brown Pants: When the Cat finds Rimmer cowering in the Low cargo bay, he declares Rimmer was "using his pants as an emergency latrine".
- Continuity Nod:
- Lister recites some of the improbable things he's done while eating the pot noodle; seen time going backwards, giving birth to twins, and playing pool with planets.
- Also, the fact that Lister utterly hates pot noodles was previously established in "Marooned" where he decided a can of dog food was a better alternative.
- When the Lows make Lister do what they want, he reacts with horror when they make him go toward a tarantula. "Terrorform" established Lister's not overly fond of spiders, as a species.note
- Crystal Spires and Togas: The general aesthetic of the High ship.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The Cat kicks Lister very hard in the crotch for ruining his neckline.
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Apparently having all negative traits removed from your being makes you incapable of recognizing evil and reacting to threats in any sensible way. Even though they clearly know what guns are, the "High" crew can only act as if it was an accident when they're shot multiple times.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Played as a negative. The "High" crew have no ability to recognize ill intentions and do things like apologize for getting their blood on their killer's knife.
- Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?:
- Take That!: The ultimate test of the High Red Dwarf's replicator is that it makes an edible pot noodle.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Highs. Not recognising being shot isn't an accident is one thing, failing to recognise a live grenade...
- What the Fu Are You Doing?: Whilst exploring the Low ship, Rimmer attempts to leap around the corner in a karate move and hurts his leg. Don't think about it.