Sunday, December 11, 2011

Red Dwarf--"Only the Good"

“Only the Good,” up until 2009, was the final episode of Red Dwarf. It is notorious for suffering numerous rewrites and reshoots. The final products shows. The story is poorly structured, with a rushed ending, and too many random joke sequences that do not lead anywhere. It serves as not much of a series finale, but less the ending of the show as a whole. At least that got rectified, no?

The episode begins with an escape pod carrying the lone survivor, talia, from a ship that was eaten away by a microbe. The microbe is brought along inadvertently on the pod, as well. Meanwhile, Lister plays a prank on Kryten when he does not understand what Kochansky meant by her “wrong time of the month” and subsequently embarrasses himself and her. In revenge, Kryten stashes jugs of illegal moonshine in lister and Rimmer’s cell. They are forced to drink it all before a cell inspection. The two wind up in the infirmary as a result.

Rimmrr, depressed his criminal record will prevent him from becoming an officer, suggests escaping. Kryten, Kochansky, and cat all find ways to be in the infirmary as well so they can join in. Unfortunately, the microbe has eating so severely through Red Dwarf, the ship must be abandoned. There are not enough Starbugs and Blue Midgets, so the Dwarfers are left behind. Now having the run of the ship, they devise a plan to visit a mirror universe and find a cure for the microbe.

Rimmer travels to the other side alone. He discovers he is the captain here, and it is everything he has ever wanted. Nevertheless, he seeks out a scientist, who is the mirror univere’s Cat, to formulate a cure. When he returns to our universe, the Dwarfers are gone., the formula actually creates the microbe in our universe, and Death comes for Rimmer. Rimmer knees him in the groin and runs off. The end.

The end? Yep. For ten years. But that is a discussion for tomorrow.

“Only the Good’ has some funny elements, but is a very disappointing finale. The scene in which kryten throws a party for Kochansky’s ’time of the month” complete with a gift wrapped tampon is a well known gag in both senses of the word, but it does not carry the episode. The reqrites are obvious as the Dwarfers intentions to escape are dropped abruptly for the story of them being abandoned altogether. The mirror universe bit is out of the blue and is dealth with too quickly. Originally Ace Rimmer was to return and save the day, but that idea was jettisoned in favor of Death. Meh. I do not know which would have been better.

There was an alternate ending filmed, presumably because the weakness of the actual ending was obvious, in which the microbe cure worked. With the Dwarfers back in charge of Red Dwarf, they refuse to slow down for the crew to return to the ship and continue on their way back to Earth. It sounds like a better ending, but we have what we have, and it is a mediocre send off.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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