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Recap / Red Dwarf Season V Terrorform

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The episode begins with Kryten badly damaged, amidst the wreck of a shuttle. He can't recall what's happened, because the nearby engines are warping his short-term memory. Also, his short-term memory is damaged, due to the engines, which combined with his lack of short-term memory, has him a little disorientated. With only fifty-seven minutes before the remains go "boom", Kryten cuts off his hand and has it go back to Red Dwarf for help. After a little mishap involving Lister and the Cat mistaking the hand for a very big tarantula, Kryten is found and (mostly) repaired.

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With his memory fixed, Kryten can recall what happened: He and Rimmer had found a moon on a scouting expedition, and Rimmer had claimed it for the Space Corps. As they were celebrating via singing the Space Core anthem, the planet sprang to life, attacked them, and abducted Rimmer. Y'see, the moon is in fact a "Psi-Moon", which reshapes itself based on the minds of those who land there. So naturally Rimmer's neurotic toilet bowl of a mind has turned it into utter hell. All directed at Arnold, who is vulnerable to all this thanks to the moon rendering him solid.

As for Old Ironbutt, he's been dragged off by shadowy, hooded sorts to a temple, where he is to sacrificed to the Unspeakable One. This sacrifice, by the by, involves Rimmer being rendered shirtless and covered in oil by two beautiful, scantily-clad women. The Unspeakable One likes his victims oiled. So much better for conducting electricity, after all.

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Now, as much as they may dislike Rimmer, the others aren't going to let him die in horrible, horrible agony, so they trek through the horrific miasma that is Rimmer's psyche, passing through a swamp filled with leeches that look like Rimmer's mom, and a graveyard devoted to all of Rimmer's long deceased positive traits, until they find the temple, and save Rimmer from a poker in unspeakable places. By the time they get back to Starbug, however, Rimmer's self-loathing has returned, which bogs the ship down, giving the Unspeakable One a chance to send his hooded legions after the guys. Kryten quickly determines the only possible chance of escape: Since the moon's awfulness is generated by Rimmer's feelings, they have to make him feel better about himself.

Despite the herculean task this involves, the others put on a brave face and tell Rimmer that actually, they think he's okay. A real great guy. This momentary boost to Rimmer's confidence allows his positive traits to momentarily rise from their graves and fight off the hooded hordes, and Starbug manages to get free. Sussing things out, Rimmer asks if they really do think he's a good guy to get along with.

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Their answer: "No."

This episode contains examples of:

  • Break the Cutie: The crew find several tombstones established to various good traits of Rimmer's, most of which "died" before he was out of his teens. One's even mentioned as having died at the age of nine.
    • "Charm" has a tiny grave suggesting a stillbirth, and there was an open grave prepared for "Hope"...
  • Eldritch Location: The psi-moon, which uses telepathy to scan the mind of a viable host and then psychokinetically resculpts its entire surface, complete with generating life-forms, as a living metaphor for the psyche of its host organism. It wouldn't ordinarily be an Eldritch Location, but since the mind it's using is Rimmer's...
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The hooded minions of the Unspeakable One.
  • Fanservice: Rimmer chained to a pillar in a loincloth and the two girls in skimpy costumes who cover him in oil.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The self-loathing creature has a very long appendage which could just be a tail but Rimmer apparently thinks otherwise...
  • Hypocritical Humor: "There's an old android saying which I believe is peculiarly appropriate here. In binary language it goes something like this:" (everyone else wisely leaves the lair of the Unspeakable One as Kryten talks obliviously) "001100111011000111100, which roughly translated means, 'Don't stand around jabbering when you're in mortal danger!'"
  • Long List: Kryten's list of reasons Rimmer has to hate himself. He only gets halfway down before Lister says they get the point.
  • Meat Grinder Surgery: Lister's plan for rescuing Kryten from under the stanchion pinning him down is to saw him in half and then put him back together. Kryten is not overly enthused with this plan.
    Kryten: Sir, a couple of brief points. Firstly, you are not a qualified service engineer and consequently sawing me in two will invalidate my guarantee. Secondly, I wouldn't trust you to open a can of sardines that was already open!
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never see the Unspeakable One on screen, only its limbs and shadow, plus a brief glimpse of its face when it first appears. Which, given the puppet was a monster rejected by Doctor Who, notorious for their tendency to Special Effect Failure, for being too bad to use, is probably for the best.
  • Organ Autonomy: Due to his damaged state, Kryten is forced to cobble together a drone to alert Lister and the Cat based on his own severed hand outfitted with a gouged-out eyeball. The "taranshula" drone is actually surprisingly effective.
  • The Power of Friendship: Manifested by the Psi-Moon. Since the landscape is determined by Rimmer's mind, if the others make him feel good about himself his inner darkness weakens and they're able to fend off the seemingly unstoppable beast representing his self-hatred. In the end it makes his positive personality traits come back to life as swordsmen who slaughter his entire army of negative traits.
  • Second Verse Curse: One of the last things Kryten remembers before the Psi-Moon became active was him and Rimmer singing all twenty-three verses of the Space Corps national anthem. And that, after a few verses, the moon coming alive and trying to kill them was something of a relief.
  • Shirtless Scene: Invoked. Chris Barrie read through the script and his reaction upon finding that he was gonna be shirtless in this episode basically rounds up to "Well, I'm hitting the gym so I can look good."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The montage of Kryten's interface POV shots during Lister's rescue of him recalls the montage of RoboCop being built.
    • A computer adventure game the crew evidently plays features a character named Gandalf the Master Wizard.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Lister, Cat and Kryten may all think rather poorly of Rimmer, and get it innumerable zings against him throughout the episode, but deep down, they do care, as seen by the fact that they choose to charge into battle against the Unspeakable One with bazookoids blazing to rescue him. It's Rimmer's surge of hope at hearing them confirm that of course they'll save him, as they consider him one of the crew, that gives them their first real victory against the personification of his self-loathing.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Lister has a fear of tarantulas. The mere thought of one being around makes him very nervous. And as for one being on top of him...
    Holly: You're not big on tarantulas, are you?
    Lister: Tarantulas? W-what do you mean?
    Holly: I mean, you've never been overly fond of them, as a species. And the thought of one clambering over your clammy, naked, defenceless body has always filled you with a sort of... cold dread.
    Lister: (now very nervous) What are you trying to say, Hol?
    Holly: I'm saying... it might not be your night.
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