Red Dwarf XI Episode V “Krysis” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Kryten is wondering why he’s bothering to clean above eye level when the universe will one day come to end.
- Lister realises that Kryten’s having a midlife crisis.
- It’s a theory that’s borne out when Kryten pimps himself into the mech equivalent of a red sports car and starts bungee jumping.
- Lister comes up with a plan; find another mech who hasn’t broken his programming to make Kryten realise that his life has had it achievements.
- Unfortunately the mech they find, Butler, turns out to be a polymath – an artistic prodigy, a scientific genius and an all-round Renaissance droid.
- Butler helps fix a fault on Starbug, then leaves to help out a gelf chief’s dying father.
- But on the return journey to Red Dwarf Starbug starts badly malfunctioning, much to Kryten’s delight: it proves that Butler isn’t flawless.
- Starbug makes an emergency stop on a deserted space station. It turns out to be a project to try to communicate with the universe. The scientists that created it are long dead but the computers have been continuing their work and…
- …The universe has called up but has been put on hold. (Classic!)
- Rimmer answers the call and the Dwarfers have a chat with the universe (although Rimmer remains sceptical about its real identity).
- Kryten then mentions to the universe that it will die one day, and the universe has a midlife crisis too.
- But Kryten pulls the universe back from depression by pointing out that it’s also responsible for creating love… Awwwww, sweet.
- On the way back to Red Dwarf Kryten calls Butler to boast about their encounter, only to find that Butler has the universe on speed dial, and that he deliberately sabotaged Starbug so that the Dwarfers would discover the space station. D’oh!
Mid-life, the universe and everything! While a little slow to get going, from the moment Kryten appears in his shiny, new, sports-car-scarlet racing suit (with twin exhausts… the mind boggles) this episode moves up a few gears and claims its place amongst the Red Dwarf classics. Hell, if Kryten having a mid-life crisis weren’t a brilliant enough conceit to make the episode memorable we also get the Dwarfers giving the universe an existential crisis. Plus we’re introduced to the amusingly smug Butler whose lesson in gelf pronunciation is one of the most brilliantly bonkers moments of aural nonsense the show has ever produced.
The episode works like a well-oiled mech. It’s not simply a montage of funny scenes and lines; they all fit together plot-wise and thematically to produce a throughly satisfying whole. It’s interesting that this is the first episode to actually acknowledge that the crew is ageing. Refreshingly there are also fewer lines where the characters are just being mean to each other. There is a bit of point-scoring, but it feels less vindictive than usual. Hell, even Rimmer doesn’t suggest dumping Kryten for Butler as he might have in the past, saying instead that they should keep Kryten for the cleaning. You can’t help wondering if there’s a teensy bit of real feeling of camaraderie fuelling that notion after all these years.
Instead Rimmer’s main function in the episode is to be all Richard Dawkins when it comes to the universe’s real identity. It’s a role he plays well; he “Says you!” is the best delivered come-backs of the episode. You have to wonder; is he right? It wouldn’t be beyond Butler to set the whole thing up.
- Krtyten’s pimped-up new suit.
- Cat’s new suit – not as funny a Kryten, but Cat looks mighty fine in it.
- Cat and Kryten’s little dance.
- The stupidly childish Gelf pronunciation lesson might be as lowbrow as this show has ever plunged… but it’s impossible NOT to laugh out loud, especially at Robert Llwellyn’s facial expressions.
- Butler is brilliant – you want to hate him but he’s too much fun: “I painted the paintings. It gives me a break from the concertos I put on to entertain the vending machines.”
- The universe on hold – love it!
- “If everything in the universe is going to end, including time itself, what is the point in cleaning above eye level?”
- “That’s how you have a midlife crisis in the north, Kryts. Bish, bosh, done.”
- “The universe – so some scientists believe – is a living entity.”
“So they built a space station to communicate with it?”
“No doubt armed with Rizlas the length of ski bags.”
- “It’s not Mr Universe, Rimmer. That’s some geezer with pecs and a posing pouch.”
- “I am the universe. I am everything. I am the entire contents of space. I am all matter and energy. I am time. I am the totality of all existence.”
- There are some gorgeous FX in this episode too. The spacelab, obviously, but this shot below, when the Dwarfers are in stasis, is beautiful.
- Kryten’s speech to the universe about love is a little cheesy; you wait for a typical Red Dwarf gag to undermine it, but it never comes.
- The reaction shots when the Dwarfers first encounter the Gelf are really corny.
- Talking to the universe? Surely that’s a season finale moment? How come this is only episode five?
And The Random:
- Amusingly the Gelf chief is only credited as “Gelf chied”, presumably because whoever was putting the credits together didn’t know how the hell to spell Ekwahecktay (and neither do we… we’re just guessing).
- Did you spot that the “cloche” covering Lister’s non-existent breakfast is actually a Jupiter Mining Corp safety helmet.
- Butler’s paintings looks very Dali-esque.
- Is the universe supposed to sound like a Samuel L Jackson/Morgan Freeman hybrid?
- The corridors on the Nova 3 are identical to the corridors used in last week’s episode as the “Officers’ corridors”.