The Dwarfers search for some tech to fix the faulty steering of Starbug. They come across a scientific research base on a moon, where several figures from history are recreated in the present and 'cured' of evil. Or are they?
Lister, Cat, and Rimmer gather in the sleeping quarters of Red Dwarf to play a game of poker, with Cat dealing and Kryten wearing an apron, baking a cake and looking on. After Cat only deals out cards to himself with the logic that then only he can win, Lister takes it upon himself to make sure the game is played fairly. After Cat immediately gives away the strength of his hand, Lister also decides to teach him how to make a poker face, although Cat fails to grasp the concept.
Kryten then interrupts their game to report that the ship is reporting an "SSL", a space station located warning. The crew move to Starbug 19 - seemingly their only shuttle left - which takes them some time to start up, since the start-up sequence requires both Lister and Cat performing a variety of complex actions in sequence, such as pumping the ignition various times and banging on the consoles. It is also plagued by a faulty thruster that only allows it to make left turns, which makes their journey down to the moon significantly longer.
Kryten then explains that it is a United America scientific research station on a nearby moon. At the end of the 23rd century, the USA attempted to bring peace to the world by asking every nation on Earth to sign a peace treaty, invading those that refused. This initiated the "War against War", with all of the factions under the treaty becoming known as United America. Upon landing on the moon base, a sand storm moves in with a force of Newton 18, trapping the Dwarfers.
Kryten discovers that the station is an "Evil Rehabilitation Base" - created to test a "cure" for evil itself. The crew run into several cryobooths claiming to contain the cured forms of various controversial historical figures, such as Messalina, Vlad the Impaler, Stalin, and Adolf Hitler. All claim to be "cured", except for Rupert Murdoch, who is "unresponsive to treatment". The Dwarfers also discover the empty cyrobooth for the base commander Professor Shaul Telford, who appears behind them in a wheelchair and greets them.
Dr. Telford states that all of the booths were automatically triggered to release mode upon their arrival, and invites them to lunch with him and his now "cured" evil companions. The Dwarfers find them all to be jovial and relaxed persons, with Hitler in particular feeling especially buoyant at the prospect of making new friends. They all explain that the station was attacked many years ago by a special task force meant to eliminate the experiment, fearing the effects that a cure for evil would have on global power structures and the economy, leaving them marooned with no hope of getting back to Earth. They also happily invite the Dwarfers to make use of their engineering department in order to fix up Starbug, with Hitler taking a flamboyant selfie to honour the occasion.
As the Dwarfers get to work, Hitler tries to engage Lister in casual conversation, complimenting his jacket and talking about their shared experiences with art school. He also mentions that he has taken up playing the guitar, and invites Lister to jam with him. After some reluctance Lister eventually agrees, with the two of them playing "The Happy Wanderer" together. Messalina also brings a glass of milk to Cat, apologizing for not being able to talk much at lunch, which Cat takes as being a sexual advance, although Messalina herself claims to have no such interest in him. This baffles and hurts Cat, knowing her past reputation as a serial adulterer, and also goes to demonstrate Cat's own inflated sense of self-importance.
Later the Dwarfers hold a conference on Starbug where Kryten explains that a proto-planet is going to collide with the planet in less than ten hours, and that they must leave as soon as the sand storm clears. Rimmer and Cat are insistent that they should leave the "evils" behind, with Kryten and especially Lister being aghast at the plan, arguing that leaving them behind would make them just as evil as they were. Before they can do anything though all four of them find themselves to have either been drugged or otherwise incapacitated, with Lister and Cat passing out, Kryten is remotely hacked and shut down, and Rimmer's light bee is deactivated causing his hologram disappear.
The Dwarfers each wake to discover themselves in a unique predicament, with Rimmer enduring his worst fear of being buried alive; Lister being strapped to a table meant for automatic laser castrations; Cat being shut in a water tank which is slowly filling to drown him; and Kryten's head is impaled on a mop handle. Rimmer finds a Zippo lighter to light his surroundings - engraved with "A.Hitler." - only to realise that he is in the waste disposal, and he accidentally sets the trash alight.
Lister manages to flip his boot off and catch it, he then takes out a hidden knife from his boot and cuts himself free, and goes on to rescues the others before they can be killed. They discover Telford apparently unconscious with a blow to the head, and run into the rest of the "evils" again. The Dwarfers accuse one or more of them of still being evil, a claim they all deny. Kryten accuses Vlad, since his head was impaled. Rimmer accuses Hitler, since the lighter he was buried with was engraved with his initials.
Eventually it is decided that they should all be tested using the station's psychopathy scanner. They discover that there are indeed at least two psychopaths still among them. One of them is Cat, who only takes exception to the fact that the machine forgot to mention that one of his traits was handsome. The other is Professor Telford, who by this point has risen from his wheelchair and reveals to them all that he has been faking his disability the entire time. He also pulls out a ray gun and holds the Dwarfers at gun point, then a remote control with which he "deactivates" the evils, revealing them to actually be droids.
Telford explains that he was once the head of research and psychological operations for United America, who "brain hacked" entire populations to make them attack themselves. He was eventually executed, although resurrected on the moon base for research purposes. Telford was the only real patient there, with the rest of the "evils" only being android neural scientists meant to perform experiments on him. "Hitler" had actually been an android likeness of Telford's former colleague, John Asquith, and Asquith's consciousness had been placed into the droid. Telford had managed to alter the programming of the droids to make them believe they were "evil" historical figures, to ultimately to aid in his ruse that he was the doctor and not the patient. After incapacitating the Dwarfers and setting up the "evils" as suspects, he had hoped to make his escape on Starbug, but due to the ships eccentricities was unable to figure out how to get it to start. He announces that he needs one of them alive to show him how to leave, and that he will kill the others. Claiming that cats show no fidelity to anyone but themselves, he tries to convince Cat to join him and abandon his crewmates, which Cat appears happy to do.
After a prolonged back and forth where Cat switches sides depending on who was making the most attractive offer, Telford eventually decides he is just going to shoot his crewmates to demonstrate to Cat that he is serious. Cat says he is fine with the plan, but wants to do the deed himself. Telford is dubious, but Cat eventually convinces him that he is now firmly on his side, pointing to the fact that the scan showed them both to be psychopaths. Telford hands him a gun, which Cat takes before casually shooting Telford in the head. "How was that for a pokey face, huh?" Cat asks, much to Lister's chagrin. "I only have to know how to do it, not say it" Cat adds, before triumphantly blowing on the barrel of his gun and chuckling.
- Craig Charles as Dave Lister
- Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer
- Danny John-Jules as Cat
- Robert Llewellyn as Kryten
- Adrian Lukis as Professor Shaul Telford
- Ryan Gage as Adolf Hitler / Professor John Asquith
- Chloe Hawkins as Messalina
- Callum Coates as Joseph Stalin
- Philippe Spall as Vlad the Impaler
Available on the Series XII DVD:
- The original descent of Starbug down to the Evil Rehabilitation Base on the moon, as shown in story-board form and narrated by Chris Barrie. This is how it was shown to the studio audience on the night of filming. The scene was originally intended to be slightly longer, and the base appears differently, being larger and taller.
- As the Dwarfers approach the entrance to the room with the cryobooths, Lister suggests that Kryten remove his finger to use his "little key that goes beep beep". Kryten instead suggests simply pressing the button that says "open".
- A significant extension to the introduction of Vlad the Impaler. After Cat asks if there is going to be a "Mrs. The Impaler" attending, Vlad chuckles and explains that it is his nickname, on account of his enemies, and the terrible things he did with stakes. Cat misunderstands, and says that he hates it when people overcook steaks. Vlad explains that he cut off thousands of people's heads and left them on stakes, Cat says that between that and the overcooking thing, that he will never be "Mr Popular".
- As Professor Telford attempts to upgrade the very old software on Starbug, Rimmer whispers to Kryten that he doesn't trust the professor. Wondering whether Telford is one of the "evils" too, he points out that he has a beard and wonders what he could be hiding. Kryten points out that not everybody who has a beard is evil, using the examples of Santa Claus and Jesus. Rimmer counters this with examples of Fu Manchu, Ming the Merciless, and General Zod, Hans Gruber from Die Hard, and Jafar from Aladdin - "all beards, all evil". Kryten points out that all his examples are fictitious, and Rimmer calls into question Kryten's own examples.
- This is the first episode in which Lister has played guitar since his was ejected into space during the episode "Father & Suns", two series earlier. He mentions that his own guitar is back on Red Dwarf which contradicts this, as well as the subsequent episode "Siliconia" where his guitar is recovered floating through space. That is, unless he was referring to his makeshift guitar built from a colander.
- This may be explained by the fact "Cured" was originally written to be set after "Siliconia", not before, and was also filmed after that episode.
- This episode marks the third time Lister has interacted with Adolf Hitler (or, at least, a facsimile of him), the previous two times being "Timeslides" (which is the only time Lister has met the genuine article, albeit in black-and-white timeslide) and "Meltdown" (where he encountered the wax-droid version of Hitler).
- A wax-droid version of Messalina was mentioned in "Meltdown", although never shown, and the general idea of caricatured versions of historical figures is similar.
- When Lister brings up the fact that Hitler died without children, Rimmer mentions a conspiracy theory he read once that Hitler actually killed his wife and his body double before relocating to Argentina with various stolen works of art.
- Lister's socializing with who he believes to be Hitler is a parallel to his future self in "Out of Time".
- When Hitler said that he tried to go to Art School, but wasn't accepted, Lister said that he "probably didn't fail enough exams". This was first mentioned in "Kryten", although Lister himself only lasted 97 minutes.
- Since Hitler was a strict non-smoker, the reason he owns a Zippo lighter engraved with his initials remains a mystery. This may actually be a deliberate clue to the fact he was not the real Hitler, but originally an android implanted with John Asquith's memories. (It is possible that Asquith was a smoker and continued the habit even when reprogrammed to believe he was Hitler, as an oversight by Dr. Telford).
- When tests are carried out to identify the psychopath among the gathered group, tests indicate that Cat is a psychopath due to his egotistical nature, but Lister dismisses the idea that Cat is the kind of psychopath that kills.
- The laser castration machine that Lister was bound to is similar to that which James Bond was threatened with in the 1964 movie Goldfinger.
- Rimmer refuses to bet his copies of Morris Dancer Monthly in the opening poker game, which have been mentioned numerous times.
- Whilst discussing the fate of the historical Hitler, Cat mentions a dislike for golf. This may be a reference to his inability to play golf in "Better Than Life". This is also presumably why he didn't join the others to play golf on Traga 16 some years later, in "Blue".
- The boys from the Dwarf perform their trademark group gesture with their hands shaking and facing down, for the first time in a number of series.
- Professor Telford says that "cats have no fidelity to others except themselves"; this may suggest that he has encountered Felis sapiens before, or is at least familiar with the species.
- The original title of this episode was "Here No Evil".
- Although the first episode in Series XII to be aired, "Cured" was actually the third episode to be filmed: "Siliconia" was the first episode to be filmed, and "Timewave" the second.
- Red Dwarf creator Doug Naylor has always been fascinated by the questions of "good and evil", and thought the idea of "curing" evil - and what peoiple's reaction to that would be - to be a thought-provoking concept.
- Doug Naylor was inspired to write this episode upon reading how a disproportionate amount of corporate CEOs, bankers and politicians have so little empathy, and to be so insincere and manipulative, as to be technically classed as psychopaths. This is a proven phenomenon, although there has been little in the way of explanation.
- Ryan Gage, the actor who portrays Hitler in this episode, got the part after watching Series X and then engaging in a discussion on Twitter with Richard Naylor (the son of Doug Naylor and a producer on Series XII) and during which Gage requested a part on Series XII.
- The cloned Hitler is eventually revealed to be an android, who has been programmed to believe that he is the real Hitler. In the original script, Dr. Telford was going to be revealed to be the cloned Hitler. This idea was abandoned fairly late in the production, since it was felt that having two Hitlers in the same episode was too much, although Telford does indeed remain the villain of the episode nonetheless.
- Over twenty different songs were considered for the scene where Lister and Hitler play "The Happy Wanderer" together on guitars. Most of the songs were not authorised to be used when the production informed the rights holders who would be portrayed as singing the song. The song which was used in the end was actually chosen by Lister's actor Craig Charles and Hitler's double, Henry Bauckham, since it was the song they both found easiest to play together, although they "rocked it up" somewhat.
- Lister: Hey, cryobooths... Look at this!
Rimmer: Vlad the Impaler, cured! Joseph Stalin, cured!
Cat: Messalina, cured.
Lister: Adolf Hitler, cured?
Kryten: Rupert Murdoch - not responding to treatment.
- Kryten: There's a long held belief that memories are indeed encoded into DNA and passed down the ancestral line, which explains why human have seemingly inexplicable phobias.
Kryten: Fear of rats, for example.
Rimmer: Fear of rats, descendants beware, they spread bubonic plague.
Cat: Fear of clowns?
Lister: Descendants beware of weird looking children's entertainers, they can be really dodgy?
- Cat: Hitler? Isn't he dead? I thought he died playing Golf.
Rimmer: He was in Berlin, you goit, in a bunker. He poisoned his partner and shot himself.
Cat: Golf can do that to you.
- "The 28 Years Later Affair", Series XII DVD making-of documentary