It's another day in the life for Ace Rimmer, otherdimensional hero extraordinaire, as he fights a platoon of Nazis, surfs through the air on a crocodile, saves the beautiful Princess Beryl Bonjella, and escapes on a flying motorcycle.
What a guy.
... what, this episode's not all about Ace? Damn.
Back with Starbug, Lister's using the AR machine to get sexed again, this time dragging an unwilling and embarrassed Kryten along as he seduces the Queen of Camelot by cheating in a jousting match. His ill-gotten fun is interrupted by the AR machine going on the blink, as Starbug goes to hell. The already beaten-up ship's systems are being played with by something jumping into existence nearby. So, they're in trouble and doomed. Pretty normal morning for them.
Fortunately, it's just Ace showing up to say "hi". Rimmer is not enthusiastic about seeing his much better, handsome, cleverer counterpart reappearing, and has to be guilted into spending time with him by the others. Once they're alone, Ace collapses onto the nearest bed. See, one of them Nazis got in a lucky shot, and besides ruining his best top, also hit his light bee. Ace is dying, with about twenty-four hours left. And he wants Rimmer to be his successor.
Yeah. Rimmer as the next Ace. Ol' Ironbutt isn't exactly on-board with this either, and is dubious about it being his "destiny". He storms off. Later, Rimmer fills in Lister on a few things. For starters, the reason for the light bee. This Ace isn't the Ace he met all those years ago. That Ace tragically caught the wrong end of a neutron tank in another dimension, but he trained a successor, who trained another successor, and another... and now it's Arnie's turn to be the hero. Problem is, he's Arnold Judas Rimmer. Lister goes to have a talk with Rimmer, and by "talk" we mean "The Reason You Suck" Speech, calling him a "gormless, brainless, directionless, neurotic, cowardly pile of smeg", who could never be remotely heroic.
That successfully motivates Rimmer into getting off his behind and attempting to become Ace. But training doesn't go well. All the inspiring words about becoming the unfettered cougar can't make Rimmer what he isn't, and Ace is getting too weak to really do much else. So, in desperation, he uses his own light bee remote to make Rimmer look like him. If he can fool the others into thinking he is Ace, that'll be a start.
It kind of works, though Kryten does notice "Ace" is suddenly sounding much more weasel-y than before. As Rimmer walks about the ship, he encounters a knight from the AR program, having somehow become real and gone looking for revenge on Sir Lister of Smeg for that whole thing with the queen. Acting quickly, and avoiding the knight's sword, Rimmer grabs a bazookoid and blows the knight away. Elated at his success at doing something slightly badass, he rushes back to Ace's room. And then the knight gets up, revealing himself to be Lister, who'd swapped out the bazookoid's ammo with blanks.
On reaching Ace, Rimmer gets there just in time for him to go up to the officer's mess in the sky, followed shortly by the rest of the Boys coming in. With a little misleading from Lister, they're led to believe it's Rimmer who died, thanks to a knight from the AR program, and "Ace" stopped him. Later, Lister and Rimmer have a talk in the engine room. Rimmer's still not convinced he can be a hero of any kind. Lister shows Rimmer the casket Ace provided, which has been fitted with a homing beacon what will take the light bee to its final resting place. Ace told Lister to follow the beacon, should Rimmer need help changing his mind.
A short time later, and a fake funeral is held for Alexander the Great's former eunuch. Even Rachel "attends", being the closest thing Rimmer has to a widow. As a mark of respect, Lister places a small medal on the small casket to honor First Officer Rimmer, then sends it off through the waste disposal unit. The homing device activated, Starbug follows the tiny casket across space, on and on, and on... until the little casket reaches its destination.
Thousands upon thousands of similar little caskets, all forming a massive planetary ring, a memorial to all the Aces who've come before. As an awed Rimmer looks at them, Lister asks if he's really going to be the one to break the chain.
Having decided he isn't, Rimmer, now trying to be Ace, makes his goodbyes and boards Ace's ship. He still hasn't completely got it, though, first flubbing up Ace's catchphrase, and then ejecting himself by mistake.
What a smeghead.
Tropes in this episode include:
- Action Prologue: The first few minutes are an utterly over-the-top action sequence of Ace being just all-round brilliant and magnificent, fighting and effortlessly killing Nazis with dislocated shoulders. Was für ein Kerl!
- Anachronism Stew: For whatever reason, an apparent WW2 base has a flying motorbike.
- Attending Your Own Funeral: Ace Rimmer dies and Rimmer leaves the crew to become Ace. Lister claims that Rimmer, not Ace, was killed and Rimmer, acting as Ace, attends Ace's funeral which the crew think is for Rimmer.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: The Nazi commander tells his underling to take Ace to the hold of the cargo plane they're in, explain all their plans to him, and then throw him out of the plane.
- Brick Joke:
- Casting Gag: Ken Morley who played Captain Voorhese also played General Flockenstuffen in 'Allo 'Allo!.
- Clothing-Concealed Injury: Ace Rimmer reveals that he is a hard-light hologram and has been hiding an energy leak coming from his damaged projector under his jacket.
- Continuity Nod:
- Lister uses the AR machine to have sex, as he did back in "Gunmen of the Apocalypse".
- Rimmer continues to insultingly call Ace effeminate.
- Lister calls Rimmer "Alexander the Great's eunuch", a nod to a conversation they had back in "Marooned".
- Ace's appearance causes Starbug's red and blue alerts to go off, along with the never before mentioned green alerts, at the same time. Presumably Starbug's beef-up means they no longer need to change the bulbs.
- Distressed Damsel: The comely and imperiled Princess Beryl Bonjella. Ace saves her, naturally.
- Due to the Dead: Kryten and the Cat, while they still think Rimmer is (or was) a smeeeheee, do sound slightly respectful towards him at his faked funeral. Likewise, Lister embellishes his skills at repairing chicken soup vending machines because, what the smeg, it's his funeral. Lister also gives Rimmer credit for keeping him sane. (As he said back in Series 2, "driving Rimmer nuts is what keeps me going".)
- Famous Last Words:
- "Smoke me a kipper, I'll-" Ace doesn't finish before he dies.
- Also from one of the Nazis: "That was Ace Rimmer! We're lucky to be alive!"
- Groin Attack: The king of Camelot in the AR simulation tells his knight to bring him Lister of Smeg's manhood "on a silver platter". Lister is understandably alarmed to hear this.King: My knight, bring me this knave's manhood on a silver platter!Lister: 'ey, steady on!King: And feed his innards to the crows!(crowd cheers)
- Head Desk: Rimmer does this when Ace's face appears onscreen.
- I Meant to Do That: Rimmer covers his accidental ejection before launching by saying that he needed to say one more goodbye before he left.
- Incredibly Lame Fun: Among Rimmer's recent exploits include examining the definitive history of pockets. Rock on.
- Legacy of the Chosen: All those Aces. Untold thousands of Arnold Rimmers who managed to overcome their pasts and become respected heroes. It's one of the few moments of the series where sentiment is played utterly straight.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe. Guess who? One of the last Nazis standing remarks that he and his comrade were lucky to still be alive after fighting Ace Rimmer. About that...
- My Favorite Shirt: "This is my best top, dammit!"
- Off with His Head!: How Lister defeats his opponent in the AR joust. After turning his horse into a tiny little pony first, though.
- Phrase Catcher: "What a guy!", as always, follows Ace Rimmer's deeds.
- Put on a Bus: Rimmer becomes Ace, and leaves to become an interdimensional adventurer, never to be seen again. The out-of-universe explanation is that Chris Barrie wanted to do other things, and only came back for a few episodes. But what a way to go. Of course, Barrie would return in series VIII, playing a different copy of Rimmer.
- Rescue Sex: Ace saves Princess Bonjella from being shot and..Ace: Princess Bonjella? Ace Rimmer, there will be time for explanations later... and hopefully, some sex.
Bonjella: What a guy!
- Retcon: The AR simulator machines look different than they did in "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", being loungers the Boyz sit in, with their faces covered by mechanically lowered masks.
- Right-Hand Cat: Parodied. It's a right hand crocodile. And it's blatantly made of rubber.
- Sequel Episode: To "Dimension Jump".
- Skewed Priorities: Ace Rimmer takes a shot from one soldier, and rather than be concerned about the eventually-fatal wound, simply complains they ruined his best top.
- Special Guest: Brian Cox as the King of Camelot.
- Tempting Fate: Just after one of them remarks they're lucky to still be alive, the two Nazis soldiers are crushed by a falling crocodile.
- Variable Terminal Velocity: Ace airsurfs on Snappy the crocodile down to the parachute-using villain. And as previously noted, Snappy takes a long time to finally reach the ground.
- Virtual Reality Warper: Lister is so desperate for sex that he resorts to cheating in an Arthurian-themed VR game just so he can win a marathon shagging session with Queen Guinevere, using codes to turn his opponent's horse into a pony for an easy win and cause Guinevere's chastity belt to spontaneously disengage in mid-step.
- Worthy Opponent: Ace's captor at the start of the episode remarks as such when he thinks he's successfully killed him.Goodbye, Ace Rimmer! You were a most worthy adversary!