Friday, August 26, 2016

Red Dwarf X Episode 4: "Entangled"

Cat and Kryten get quantum entangled and Lister has a bomb strapped to his groin. Despite its hastily-rewritten ending, I really like "Entangled" by and large, reminding me as it does of a more light-hearted Series V or VI episode. Rimmer's health and safety forms are very suitable for his character, and the idea of Lister betting Rimmer in a poker game seems like something that would have happened in the old days. This all sets up one of the best lines in the episode (but not the best), Lister's "I haven't got time to be twatting about with that," as he dumps the huge sheaf of documents onto the console.

The best part of the "monster kebab" prop gag is probably Kryten's offscreen "good luck, sir", which doesn't get the reaction it deserves, although in general I like how it presents the impossibility of eating those kinds of meals without ingredients exploding everywhere. Rimmer and Lister's discussion of the accident that wiped out the crew feels a little bit like the retread of the trial scene from "Justice", and I think in this section it's a little easy to overlook Lister spotting the life signs on the scanner which explains why he's visiting the BEGGs later in the episode.

Kryten's miming to Lister as he returns in a space suit is funny, as is Kryten's quick realisation of what's happened to Starbug. The scenes with Cat and Kryten speaking in synchronicity are well done, and are perfectly capped off later in the episode when Rimmer says "That's getting really annoying." The joke "You lost me in a poker game like I'm a thing to be lost in a poker game?" is a bit weak; he could have made a different comparison. Cat gets some good jokes in that scene, however, including "A guy about your height and your colouring who goes by the name of 'you'," and "We're all really sorry, bud, apart from me and him and him."

The effects work with the journey to the BEGGs' planet and the tent of the BEGGS is well realised, as is the ERRA institute, despite a very small number of sets; the model is very nice, and if you watch the Series X documentary you can see how lucky they were to acquire those good quality models, fairly late in the day as I understand it. I like Kryten's simple "No," when Cat asks him if the ERRA project worked, and the idea of the "fabled Spoon of Destiny" is funny: "He who hath the Spoon controls all things. No object hath such power." Cutting off Cat's hair to get him emotional is a funny moment, and I really like the way Danny John-Jules delivers the line "Have you ever heard the expression 'as cool as a cat'?"

The final sequence with Professor Edgington leaves something to be desired. Besides the fact that the code for deactivating the groinal exploder is a little too elaborate to be funny, the hasty introduction of what seems like a "dumb blonde" character is a bit of a crap addition. The "she's naked" bit reminds me unpleasantly of Series VIII adolescent humour (although at least Lister chivalrously moves to hand her his jacket while Rimmer and Cat just stand there perving) and the way she's abruptly killed off is pretty nasty. Of course, the way Craig Charles says "Have you got a pen?" at the end largely redeems this, being a perfectly-uttered line to wrap up the episode and the health and safety gags from earlier. It's also a bit odd that she's a human woman, yet no one seems to find this noteworthy given that Lister's meant to be the last human being alive. She could have been a hologram (although this might have been too similar to Dr Lanstrom from "Quarantine") or an android (although simulants are already used twice in the series). It seems like Doug Naylor was in a pretty difficult position when it turned out that the ape actor could only perform within extremely limiting restrictions. Nonetheless, this slightly cobbled-together finale aside, "Entangled" is in my opinion another very entertaining episode of Series X.

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