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Recap / Red Dwarf Season V "Holoship"

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Underneath all that neurotic mess is someone nice trying to get out. Someone who deserves a chance to grow.
After a sappy film that leaves Lister chewing his hair in sadness, Rimmer goes on a rant about how unrealistic it is for any man to give up his career just because he loved a woman (and calls Jesus' life of healing the poor similarly absurd). Then a bunch of weird lights surround Rimmer and whisk him away.

It turns out they've been found by the holoship Enlightenment, sent to the stars long ago to explore, and crewed entirely by hyperintelligent holograms. Rimmer is shown around by Commander Nirvanah Crane (Jane Horrocks) and immediately wants to join, though the chances of a failed engineer whose main skill is unblocking vending machines are low. Since sex is a completely casual activity aboard the holoship, Crane invites him to her quarters. The experience turns out more emotional than she expects.

The captain informs Rimmer that the only way aboard is through dead man's boots—he'll have to challenge an existing crew member in a contest of intelligence. Desperate, Rimmer has Kryten give him a "mind-patch" with another, smarter crew member's holodisc. He gets his IQ boost (at the cost of any semblence of a normal personality), but it falls apart halfway through. Even so, he wins... because his opponent was Crane, who took herself out so that he could have his dream. After an unmoving speech to Lister, Kryten, and Cat, Rimmer departs.

Rimmer is shocked when he finds out what happened, and despite being the self-centered, ambitious smeghead he is, he decides that he can't stay aboard the ship knowing that a woman he loved gave up everything for him. The captain is incredulous, since not only is Rimmer giving up a new life, he won't even be with Crane. But that's all right, because they won't be apart... they just won't be together.

Tropes include:

  • Absurdly Exclusive Recruiting Standards: The eponymous ship has had a full crew complement since it was launched, so applicants can only be accepted via dead man's boots: they have to defeat an existing crewmember in a test of their intellect and skills. Trouble is, everyone on the ship is a genius-level intellect with years of experience in the Space Corps, and there's no lesser positions, as all non-officer roles seem to be filled by the ship's computer (since holograms don't eat, a holoship would have no need for, say, a low-ranking technician whose main job is to repair the soup vending-machine). As such, Rimmer has to cheat via a mind-patch just to get through the first few minutes of the test... and the mind-patch was composed of the two best minds aboard Red Dwarf, indicating that even the intellectual cream of the ship pre-radiation leak would have found the test insanely difficult on their own.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The last joke in the exchange where Lister and Kryten are trying to convince Rimmer that people aren't defined by their job. It starts out sounding like Kryten's about to mention Jesus, but he actually mentions a guy who started the largest pizza franchise in history.
  • Coming of Age Story: Rimmer seems to realize that he doesn't want to be an officer. He wants someone who will love him. Hence why he's not super-excited when he becomes one, and he immediately gives it up when he realizes the woman he loves can't be with him.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Rimmer's farewell speech to Lister, Kryten and the Cat barely even qualifies as praise.
    Rimmer: Look, I'm not much good at big speeches, and I know I haven't always been an easy guy to get on with. And I know that, given the choice, I probably wouldn't have chosen you as friends. But, I just want to say... that over the years I have come to regard you as... people... I met.
  • Deconstruction: The crew of the Enlightenment are this to Star Trek and specifically Starfleet. Instead of being inspiring figures who have long learned to move past much of humanity's flaws while meeting others in the name of peace, the Enlightenment crew are incredibly arrogant and overconfident in their abilities who looked down on the Red Dwarf crew as being primitives.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: All crewmembers of the Enlightenment are required to have sex at least twice a day to relieve stress. Since they're all holograms, the risks of pregnancy and STDs are non-existent and they have come to regard sex as a purely recreational activity.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Played for Laughs. The hologram crewmembers the others interview while Rimmer's away have this opinion of life on the Red Dwarf, so much so she'd rather go back to being dead.
    The Cat: But you're dead!
    Crewmember: And meeting you guys has really made me appreciate it a whole lot more.
  • Free-Love Future: The holograms, since they can't get pregnant or contract STDs, view sex to be as necessary as calisthenics and with no more emotional commitment.
  • Freudian Excuse: Discussed between Nirvanna and Rimmer, who mentions parents were outlawed in the 25th century after everyone realized all their neuroses and hang-ups were their parents' fault. Rimmer, naturally, is happy to find out he was right to blame his parents.
  • Hidden First Act Parallel: At the start, the crew watches a romantic film, with Rimmer criticizing the film for its idea that a man would abandon his dreams for a woman they love. Over the course of the rest of the episode, Rimmer proceeds to fall in love with a fellow Hologram from another ship but gives up his chances of having a career on that ship upon learning that if he did, it would lead to her being switched off. Essentially, it means that he's giving up his dreams for the woman he loves.
  • Ironic Echo: The sappy film ends with the lead saying "We'll still be together, we'll just... be apart," a line Rimmer regards as barf-worthy. At the end of the episode, he tells the holoship's captain "We won't be apart, we just... won't be together." And then pulls a face.
  • Insufferable Genius: The holograms in general, but particularly the officer who beams over to Starbug and reports on what he finds in a bored, condescending tone, talking about the crew as though they're unable to comprehend him. He books it when Lister claims to have a holo-whip.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Crane forfeits the test so that Rimmer can have a place aboard the Enlightenment, even though it means she'll be deactivated. When Rimmer learns this, he leaves so that she can have her life back.
  • Glurge: The Casablanca knock-off the crew watches at the start, at least by Rimmer's estimation.
  • Klingon Promotion: As the Enlightenment has a full crew, the only way for Rimmer to join is "dead man's boots" by defeating another crew member in an intellectual contest. His opponent turns out to be Crane, who has fallen in love with him; she resigns to give him his dream, effectively committing suicide. When he finds out, he promptly resigns from the ship and returned to Red Dwarf in order to bring her back to life.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: Rimmer has all the knowledge and experience of two officers of the ship transferred into his own mind so as to pass an exam. Kryten warns him, however, that it could "reduce him to a gibbering wreck". It doesn't, and the result is slightly unnerving.
  • No Antagonist: This is one of the few episodes where there's no villain or Negative Space Wedgie to deal with.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jane Horrocks based her performance of Cdr. Nirvanah Crane on Joanna Lumley.
  • People Zoo: Binks notes that he would recommend Last of His Kind human Lister for a zoo exhibit, if he weren't so unnecessarily ugly.
  • Projected Man: The entire crew of the eponymous Enlignment is composed of holograms of the best the space academy had to offer. They're also more advanced holograms than Rimmer, denoted by a circle around the "H" on their foreheads. The captain even expresses surprise when first meeting Rimmer, since he didn't know "class 1" holograms were still around.
  • Proud Scholar Race: The holograms, essentially. They're immortal, were chosen for their advanced intelligence, and roam the galaxy in pursuit of knowledge. They're also monumentally arrogant.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: The mind patched Rimmer dons specs purely to visually show off he's smarter.
  • Ranked by I.Q.: The crew members of the holoship state their IQ along with their name and rank, and there seems to be a positive correlation between IQ and rank. Rimmer introduces himself with "IQ unknown".
  • Rapid-Fire Typing The mind patched Rimmer does this on two computers during the contest before the mind patch wears off.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Lister's reaction to the smug, superior Binks is to threaten to kick his arse with a holo-whip. Binks beats a hasty retreat back to Enlightenment rather than risk finding out whether they actually have said holo-whip.
  • Sex Goddess: Rimmer regards Crane as an extremely skilled lover, likely thanks to her living in a Free-Love Future environment, meaning she's had loads of practice. Also, of course, Rimmer doesn't have much to compare it to.
    Rimmer: [when referencing to their sex as exercise] It's just... I've never worked out with such fantastic gym equipment.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Rimmer has a few of these when talking to Crane:
    Rimmer: Well, thank you, commander, for a most fascinating afternoon. It's been most ... fascinating.

    Rimmer: [When talking about Crane] I'm trying to say that you are incredibly... incredible.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The reason why Crane falls for Rimmer, despite living on a ship with a "superhuman" crew. But the crew of the Holoship is notoriously arrogant and all speak very coldly and professionally, even about sex. Rimmer's passion for joining the crew and his honest desire to better himself end up making him the most attractive man in the universe in her eyes.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Rimmer wields a pair of glasses when his intelligence is boosted to extremely high levels with the help of a mind patch, only taking them off when the patch wears off and he returns to his normal intelligence.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: The "Binks to Enlightenment" scene, once Lister gets fed up with Binks's smug derision.
    Binks: [referring to Lister] What have we here? A human being — or a very close approximation. Chronological age, mid-twenties; physical age, 47. Grossly overweight, unnecessarily ugly — otherwise, would recommend it for the museum. Apart from that, no value or interest.
    [a pissed Lister begins imitating Binks while using a cigarette packet as an aerial]
    Lister: Lister to Red Dwarf. We have in our midst a complete smeg pot. Brains in the anal region. Chin absent — presumed missing. Genitalia: small and inoffensive. Of no value or interest.
    Binks: Binks to Enlightenment. Evidence of primitive humour. The human has knowledge of irony, satire, and imitation. With patient tuition could, maybe, master simple tasks.
    Lister: Lister to Red Dwarf. Displays evidence of spoiling for a rumble. Seems unable to grasp simple threats. With careful pummelling, could possibly be sucking tomorrow's lunch through a straw.
    Binks: Binks to Enlightenment. The human seems to be under the delusion that he is somehow capable of bestowing physical violence to a hologram.
    Lister: Lister to Red Dwarf. The intruder seems blissfully unaware that we have a fairly sturdy holo-whip in the Munitions cabinet, and unless he wants his derriere minced like burger meat, he'd better be history in two seconds flat!
    Binks: [visibly scared] Binks to Enlightenment. Re-con mission complete, transmit. [Lister sheds his jacket, eats the cigarette he was pretending was an aerial, and is now approaching as though to punch him] With speed, Enlightenment, quickly please!
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Rimmer and Nirvana Crane end up falling in love, but she ends up being picked as his opponent for his entrance exam to the Enlightenment and she withdraws from the contest so that Rimmer can fulfill his dreams. Once he knows this, Rimmer resigns from Enlightenment and returns to Red Dwarf so that Nirvana can be resurrected, even though there is no possibility that he will ever see her again.
  • Status Quo Is God: Rimmer has the chance to leave Red Dwarf for a holoship where he can have sex with loads of attractive women on a regular basis, but eventually declines this opportunity.
  • Strange Salute: The salute used on Enlightenment is the "rock on"/"hook 'em" horns hand gesture, held to the right of the gesturer's head.
  • Take That!: Kryten illustrates how much an intelligence boosted Rimmer is above Lister by saying "to him, we are the mental equivalent of domestic science teachers".
  • Talking in Bed: Crane tells Rimmer the crewmembers usually discuss work post sex and is confused when they have an emotional discussion instead.
    Crane: You know ... we usually talk.
    Rimmer: What do you talk about?
    Crane: Oh, research, new theories, mission profiles.
    Rimmer: I'm sorry. I must have seemed very ignorant. I hardly said anything apart from, "Geronimo".
  • Totally Radical: The holoship officers make devil-horns as a salute. Or is it supposed to be the top half of an ‘H’?
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: The Enlightenment holocrew are very dismissive at the notion that you might "fall in love" and sideline your own agenda for the benefit of someone else and think themselves above such things. Predictably, this is exactly what Crane does when she resigns and lets Rimmer wins his entrance exam. The captain is extra puzzled when Rimmer then resigns just to bring her back.
  • With a Foot on the Bus: Rimmer was about to leave Red Dwarf to become part of the crew of the Enlightenment. However, he returns once he finds that his presence on the ship would mean sacrificing the existence of Nirvannah.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Rimmer finally has everything he wants. Command, respect, sex with an entire shipful of attractive women... and then when he finds out that the one woman he's fallen in love with won't be able to be there because she sacrificed herself for him to get it, he gives it all up to save her.


Video Example(s):


Holoship's Personnel

Rimmer learns that all of the Holoship's crew are ranked according to their IQ.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / RankedByIQ

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