When Rimmer gets his hands on a Quantum Skipper, which allows the user to travel between parallel realities, he sets out looking for one where he's not such a loser.
Things... don't work out well. Aside from a myriad of worlds we don't get to see, Rimmer visits:
- A universe just before the radiation leak wipes out the Red Dwarf crew, where Captain Hollister tried to escape in an escape pod before the ship was rad-wiped, but failed.
- A universe where Lister is more cultured, but the ship has been taken over by the humanoid descendants of Lister's pet rat.
- A universe where there are multiple Listers inhabiting Red Dwarf.
- A universe where he's the Ship's Computer.
- A universe where he almost ends up being sacrificed by the other Dwarfers.
Finally, he ends up in a universe where he seems to have everything he's ever wanted; still alive, married, four sons, and a successful astronavigation officer. Only one problem: Lister's the Captain of Red Dwarf, having discovered and repaired the leaky drive plate, averting the catastrophe, trading his good deed into shares and becoming incredibly wealthy when Red Dwarf discovered a planet full of Helium-7, which he used to buy Red Dwarf as his own vessel.
Disgusted by the idea of having his perfect universe at the cost of obeying Lister, Rimmer returns to his original Red Dwarf.
This episode contains examples of:
- Agitated Item Stomping: How Rimmer destroys the Skipper at the end of the episode.
- The Bus Came Back: Norman Lovett and Mac McDonald have cameos as Holly and Captain Hollister, respectively.
- The original design for Red Dwarf returns in the Captain Lister universe.
- Continuity Nod: Rimmer gives up on the last universe he visits, the one where he has everything he could ever want, because that just can't make up for the fact that Lister is even more of a success than he is in that universe. This references Back to Reality, where it was established that part of the reason Rimmer was driven to despair was because he was confronted by the "truth" that he was inherently less successful than Lister.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Rimmer brings up The Multiverse theory to Captain Lister, who confuses it for a strip club on Venus he visited once. Okay, maybe more than once. Alright, alright, he's a lifetime member. And met his wife there.
- Drinking on Duty: Captain Lister drinks, smokes, and eats snacks in his quarters while on duty (as he puts it, the Captain of the ship is always on duty) and offers Rimmer to partake.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Inverted in a humourous callback to the first episode when Rimmer ends up in an Alternate Universe where the deadly radiation leak has not happened (yet):Rimmer: The crew are alive?
Holly: Yes, Arnold.
Rimmer: The original crew?
Holly: Yes, Arnold.
Rimmer: Captain Hollister?
Holly: Nobodys dead, Arnold.
Holly: Nobodys dead, Arnold.
Rimmer: Not even Petersen?
Rimmer: Nobodys dead? Not even Lister?
Holly: Gordon Bennett. Lister, Petersen, nobody. Nobody's dead. Nobody is dead, Arnold.
Rimmer: So hang on. Youre telling me nobody's dead.
Holly: I wish I'd never brought this up now.
- Foil: The Rats to the Cat. Whilst Cat has evolved to the point he looks and speaks like a dapper Afro-British man, and is the Last of His Kind, the Rats look like giant humanoid rodents, talk like stereotypical Afro-British street thugs, and have a thriving civilization that infests Red Dwarf, to the point that Lister and Kryten are more or less living there on the Rats' sufferage.
- Gilligan Cut: The space-time anomaly Kryten accidentally creates whilst trying to make the skipper is effectively this trope as a space-time phenomenon. Anything they decide to do causes the opposite to immediately occur.
- Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: While Kryten and Rimmer are trying to figure out what's going as they inadvertently start skipping through alternate universes depending on what choices they don't make, they compare the weirdness of the situation to the relative weirdness over time of Michael Jackson. Kryten thinks it's only moderately weird (1989 Michael Jackson) while Rimmer thinks it's a lot weirder (1993 Michael Jackson).
- Human Sacrifice: One of the few worlds seen in passing has Rimmer nearly being sacrificed by Lister, Kryten and Cat, all wearing black hooded robes and chanting "Om!" around a candle-lit altar.
- Interdimensional Travel Device: Kryten invents the Quantum Skipper, a dimension travel device based on information salvaged from a science lab they previously visited, which Rimmer then uses to find a universe where he thinks he'll be happier.
- Mythology Gag:
- The "reverse decision skips" that stem from the faulty Quantum Skipper call to mind the events of White Hole.
- The existence of the Rats is a nod to "Parallel Universe", where a dismayed Cat discovers his alternate universe counterpart is not the sexy female Cat he was hoping for, but a lowbrow, slobby and male Dog.
- It also might be a nod to the Red Dwarf roleplaying game, which posited in other universes there were humanoid cats, dogs, rats, mice, rabbits, iguanas and even real vindaloovians.
- Plot-Sensitive Button: Kryten informs Rimmer that the quantum skipper needs recharge time after each skip. However, this only applies for the first skip, and after that Rimmer sometimes spends as little as a few seconds in a reality before being able to use the button again.
- Rat Men: In the universe where Lister is more Rimmer-like, the ship has been populated by giant humanoid rats, who evolved from Lister's pet rat whilst he was in stasis.
- Series Fauxnale: An episode designed to serve as a potential finale in case they can't get the cast and crew back together for Series XIII, whilst also allowing things to pick up where they left off should more series be made.
- Show Stopper: The audience's reaction to the reveal of Holly had to be considerably edited down for the broadcast version.
- Take Our Word for It: We don't see what several of the universes Rimmer skips to contain, just his reaction.
- The Un-Reveal: Rimmer is married in his (almost) ideal life but the identity of his wife, and whether she is a pre-existing character like Yvonne McGruder, Sabrina Mulholland-Jjones or even Kochanski, is never revealed.