Thursday, October 25, 2012

Red Dwarf--"Entangled"

Red Dwarf is back in fine form after last week’s often uncomfortable religious satire. The gags come fast and furious as the Dwarfers find themselves in one of their usual odd predicaments. Some fans may think the jokes rely too much on old stand bys--Lister’s incompetence, Rimmer’s rule quoting, Kryten’s info dumps, and Cat’s vanity--but I think the classic shtick is welcome after a decade long hiatus.

Lister flies of to check on some life signs in the hopes of finding Kochansky, but winds up finding a tribe of GEL instead. He plays poker with them all night, eventually losing both Starbug and Rimmer. To ensure Lister makes good on his payment, the GELF attach a groin exploder set to go off in 24 hours. Meanwhile, Kryten and cat discover they can cause coincidences to occur when experiencing high emotions together. The ability comes in handy when the GELF die before they can explain how to remove the groin exploder.

The newfound coincidence ability leads the Dwarfers to a research station where the groin exploer was created. The station was an experiment in bringing together people who are frequently wrong--referees, weathermen, and TV critics, et al--re-rain them in the sciences, an hope two wrongs make a right. The project failed big time. The scientist the Dwarfers need is in stasis and evolved back into an ape thanks to a blunder. She is restored and saves lister’s ’love spus’ by convincing Kryten to input the exact opposite of the deactivation code she says is correct. Because she is always wrong, you see. She winds up falling out an airlock before she can sleep with rimmer. Poor guy.

The last act of ’Entangled” had to be rewritten days before filming because union rules forbid the actor in the ape costume to work long enough hours to play the role as originally written. The scientist character was hastily added, as were practically all the jokes from her introduction until the end. It shows. The episode does peter out. The inputting the exact opposite of what she says gag got old by the second code. It is downright painful by the fifth.

But the rest of the stuff is great. The jokes are not particularly fresh, but old school fans will like the nostalgia. If there is any bonus, it is that Cat gets a lot of good laugh lines. He has so far been the weakest character this series, so there is a welcome change. The jokes come at you so rapid ire, you do not have time to over think them. “Entangled’ is the silliest episode thus far, but it may be the most entertaining.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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