Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Red Dwarf VI Episode 4: "Emohawk: Polymorph II"

Almost certainly the weakest episode of the series, "Emohawk" probably most emphasises the show's behind-the-scenes writing difficulties, as Grant and Naylor are forced to retread three popular elements from previous stories in order to score some quick appreciation. We get a polymorph from Series III, Ace Rimmer from Series IV and Duayne Dibbley from Series V, and it wouldn't be the last time we'd see the two character variants either. The episode also rather emphasises the structural issues common to Series VI episodes, as the plot repeatedly changes direction. First it's about them getting attacked by a Space Corps enforcement probe, then they're trading with GELFs for a new oxygen generator, then Lister's getting married and finally they're hunting an emohawk around Starbug in a manner altogether similar to the last act of "Psirens".

The enforcement orb is a decent model let down by a bad special effect as it appears. There are some weak gags here too, including "dream on, metal trash." Rimmer's long rant about sensible haircuts gets a bit tedious as well; it'd be better if it just ended with "and wherever possible a sensible haircut." The best piece of Rimmer material is probably "Sorry, I was looking at the wrong panel." I've never understood why Kryten's amusing line "forced you at gunpoint to do my evil bidding" doesn't get a decent laugh. The model shot of Starbug crashing out of the GELF icon is pretty good too.

The GELF village looks good, although Kryten translating their language perhaps exhausts any necessity or humour fairly quickly. The comedy wedding ceremony seems like a bit of a cliché. The funniest parts are Rimmer catching the bouquet, the Kryten-GELF leg shake, and, of course, "Change of plan! Leg it!" accompanied by a number of comedy runs from the cast. The emohawk sequence itself contains a few funnies, but my favourite is probably Kryten's "It's the wall!" Rimmer as Ace surprisingly calls Lister "Davey Boy" rather than "Skipper". The line about Cat looking "so geeky he probably couldn't even get into a science fiction convention" is amusing, as is "suck my thermos", but the whole idea of emotions as a trading commodity seems like an underused element. It perhaps would have been more interesting if the characters swapped emotions or traits rather than just losing them and turning into their fan-pleasing alter egos.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.