Villordsutch reviews Red Dwarf XI Episode 2 – ‘Samsara’…
Rimmer – Do you know what the difference is between you and me?
Lister – I can’t store hand-luggage in me nostrils!
Rimmer – I am cursed. I remember the day it happened. I was nine years old and this busker claimed he was an Alien and he wanted to sell me some lucky space dust. Even at nine I was no fool, I knew he was real. But all I had was my hover fare to get me home from baton twirling practice. And as I walked off he cursed me for life and I’ve never had any luck since.
After a welcome return to Red Dwarf with our chaps wandering around space within Starbug in ‘Twentica’ [read our review here], you will all be glad to read that our posse of space jetsam are safely back in the good ship Red Dwarf for episode two of Red Dwarf XI.
Beginning some two million years back (two-thirds of Lister’s stasis) we watch a ship ditch into a watery grave, but not before an escape pod jettisons into the planet’s orbit. Rapidly we shoot forward in time and arrive at Lister and Rimmer’s quarters as they’re playing Mine-Opoly for some extraordinary deals. It soon becomes apparent that something isn’t overly right as Rimmer begins to roll the dice and the numbers two and one show up constantly.
With Kryten and Cat bringing on board the escape pod, which has been trapped in the orbit of the planet for two million years, they soon discover that beneath the surface of the ocean lies the ship S.S. Samsara. As the chaps arrive on the Samsara we see – via inter-linked flashbacks – that an illicit love affair led to the downfall of the ship. And, at the core of this ship sits a Karma drive, which deals out bad times for anyone that has bad thoughts or does a bad thing.
‘Samsara’ is truly an excellent slice of Red Dwarf, and this really should have been the opening episode. We not only have some rather excellent science-fiction elements thrown in from Doug Naylor’s writing with the Karma drive, but we also have the title giving us a subtle hint what the episode is about, and along with this we have the crew all interacting with each other that just ticks all the boxes for sheer brilliance. From Lister and Rimmer’s Mine-Opoly scene to Cat and Lister talking about how gravy was invented with glo-sticks crammed into a dead crew member’s face and a man screaming, “Formica!”… really excellent Dwarf moments.
Credit also has to be given for the effects used throughout the show, as the opening shots of the Samsara jettisoning the escape pod and ditching in the water was fantastic; again this adds fuel to the sci-fi element of Red Dwarf.
Samsara is a brilliant episode of Red Dwarf. If the show stays on this track then Red Dwarf XI is going to be amazing!
Red Dwarf – Samsara is available to watch now on UKTVPlay.co.uk, and will air on Dave come the 29th September 2016 at 9pm.