Kryten and Lister invent a machine that can create two copies of anything, one good and one bad. Through a freak accident they end up blowing up Red Dwarf and creating two entire copies of the ship and themselves.
Kryten and Lister test the Triplicator in the Science Room, a device adapted from the Matter Paddle (from the Series IV episode "Meltdown"), which splits the signal three ways to produce the original object and two identical copies. Rimmer is not impressed with the device, and as Lister tries the copies of the last strawberry in existence, he finds out that one copy has all the best elements of the original and the other has all of the worst (as one is fresh and tastes divine, but the other is rotten and has maggots in it).
The crew decide to see what happens when they reverse the process, but when they do so they cause several explosions around the Science Room. What initially seems like a random accident becomes more serious as Engine Core starts to approach critical mass, threatening to destroy Red Dwarf. Lister, Rimmer, Kryten, and Cat barely have enough time to get to a safe distance in Starbug. Holly, who has been damaged from all the explosions, cannot understand the "open door" or "manual override" commands, forcing the crew to fly Starbug through the still-closed hangar bay doors, but luckily the tough shuttle is not damaged. As the others worry Lister assures them that they're only there as a safety measure, certain that Red Dwarf's many fail-safes will stop the ship from actually being destroyed... at which point, Red Dwarf explodes in a massive fireball.
Kryten later informs the crew that the supply situation is bleak, as the nearest asteroid is six hours away while Starbug only has five hours worth of fuel. However this itself isn't a major problem as they only have seven minutes of oxygen. Rimmer, knowing he and Kryten don't need oxygen, suggests to the mechanoid that they flush Lister and Cat's dead bodies into space in the hope a weight reduction will help they reach the asteroid as he feels life (namely, his) should go on... however Kryten takes the wind out of Rimmer's sails by telling him his battery power will expire in four minutes. The crew then decide to search the wreckage for any surviving oxygen tanks or power packs. Whilst scanning, they suddenly find something they didn't expect; two identical copies of Red Dwarf. Kryten suddenly realises that when they reversed the Triplicator, they actually reversed the beam instead of the procedure and projected it outside the device instead of inside, and the power requirements to create the copies causes the sudden power drain that destroyed the original. This means, like the strawberries, one of the Red Dwarf's is superior to the original while the other is 'fish bait'. Unfortunately, simply relocating to the superior ship isn't an option as the copies only have a lifespan of an hour. Kryten however has a plan to get a working Triplicator from whichever ship is the superior, and recreate Red Dwarf by merging the two copies.
They first visit the "High" version of Red Dwarf, which has relaxing music, bright surroundings and purer air. It even has, to Lister's surprise, an edible Pot Noodle. They are also met by their "higher selves", white robe wearing versions of themselves which contain all the best of them, spending their time on philosophy and the performing arts (much to Rimmer's disgust). Together they find out that the Triplicator on this ship is lacking half of it's components, so they and the "High" crew are forced to go to the other ship.
The "Low" version of the ship is the very opposite of the "High" ship, it is dark, decayed and full of the worst of the ship, including the crew. The "Low" versions of the crew are full of all the evil within the originals, and they proceed to attack the party consisting of Lister, Rimmer, High Cat and High Kryten by firing at them with bazookoids and throwing a grenade at their "High" company. "High" Kryten believes the object to be a greeting gift which blows up, killing High Kryten and High Cat. While Rimmer hides, Lister runs from his Low self, a disgusting cowboy who sniggers a lot, a saber-toothed Low Cat with "tough-guy" attire and who eats raw meat, a defective oil-covered Low Kryten, a gothic Low Holly and a Low Rimmer (who is sadistic and dressed like something from Rocky Horror) who attacks Lister with a Holowhip, which subdues him.
As Kryten and Cat split into their own group, leaving "High" Lister and "High" Rimmer by themselves, the "Low" crew put a Spinal Implant in Lister with which they can control him remotely, and after having some sadistic pleasure with him and getting him to torture himself - including making him eat a tarantula - explain to him that he is part of their plan to get their vessel. Intending to kill the others, they gag his mouth to stop him warning the others. Cat and Kryten search the "Low" version of Lister and Rimmer's quarters, which is a "Shrine of everything low and base" (which includes gore movies and weapons print magazines), they find the Triplicator left there as if it has no use, so they head back to Starbug. Lister, controlled by the "Lows", meanwhile kills the "High" versions of himself and Rimmer.
Lister catches up with Rimmer, Kryten and Cat and, thanks to Cat removing the gag, warns them of what the "Lows" are trying to do, warning them of what he is being made to do, including which way to dodge the bazookoid fire. This allows Kryten to chloroform him. Kryten suggests that the decay of the Low ship is "contagious" since the magnetic coils of Starbug have de-polarised, meaning that they can't take off before the Low ship disintegrates. However they are able to access the back-up reserves and take off just in time.
The two Red Dwarf copies disappear, re-merging and re-materializing into the original one; not perfect, not rotten, but whole, bringing back Holly as well. As Starbug heads home, Lister sits on the Spinal Implant and is about to attack again. Sniggering is heard from the cupboard, and Cat blasts it with the bazookoid killing the Low Lister who had snuck on board. Kryten prepares to remove and destroy the implant, however Cat picks up the controller asking to leave it in for week. He then makes Lister slap himself. Cat and Rimmer snigger, knowing they're in for some fun.
Available on the Series V DVD:
- The opening scene was one of several later re-written and re-shot by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. The dialogue remains similar, although extended with a additional exposition on the Triplicator and a few extra jokes.
- A number of jokes removed for pace. As Starbug is about to crash into the Red Dwarf hangar bay doors, a disrupted Holly says that "cargo bay doors" is not in her lexicon, and that she is very "furry".
- After Red Dwarf has blown up, Lister takes charge of the situation ordering Kryten to scan the wreckage for anything useful, and turn Rimmer's hologram down to minimum power. Cat jokes that, if Lister had a different start in life, he could have been Flash Gordon.
- More time with the 'High' crew. High Cat discusses meditation and selflessness, which the ordinary Cat scoffs at. Lister asks the High Lister for a beer, to which High Lister says that it dulls the mind and alters perception of reality, and Lister says that he is counting on it.
- As the High crew do their play and "express themselves artistically", Cat says that he is going to flush himself out of an airlock. Rimmer says that he doesn't believe there is any part of him that wants to dance like the Highs.
- An extension of the arrival aboard the 'Low' Dwarf. There are piles of maggots in the cargo bay, but they remain unnoticed. The High Kryten spends a bit longer getting shot whilst blessing his assailants, and then he spends a little more time with High Cat discussing how pretty and wonderful the fuse is on the bomb that blows them up, saying that its sparkling gives them "hope for the future".
- Lister attacking the others whilst under the influence of the Lows was another section that was filmed again later to improve the feel of the scene ...and the bazookoid blasting.
- This is the only time on the entire television series (to date) in which we see Red Dwarf explode.
- Although the original Red Dwarf is reformed from the High and Low versions at the end of the episode, this episode marks the last time to show the interior of Red Dwarf until Series VIII. In the next episode after "Demons & Angels", "Back to Reality", the boys from the Dwarf are aboard Starbug, underwater and checking out the sunken SSS Esperanto. During this time, unbeknownst to the Dwarfers, Red Dwarf is stolen by the nanobots, and it will take them two series to figure it out. Red Dwarf is then reconstructed, even "bettered", by the nanobots, who also resurrect the dead crew for Series VIII.
- When Cat shoots the Low Lister, this marks one of the only occasions in the entire series that one of the main characters (intentionally) kills anyone.
- The episode also reveals that it's possible to disable, and indeed "kill", a hologram by destroying its Light Bee.
- When marvelling over the edible Pot Noodle, Lister references the events of several past episodes, including "Future Echoes", "Parallel Universe", "Backwards", and "White Hole". References to the latter stand out particularly, as everything that happened was erased from existence at the end of the episode.
- The title of the episode script, and the shooting title for the filming of the episode, was "Highs & Lows". It was decided to change the title to "Demons & Angels" at the last minute.
- A burnt-out wreck of a space bike was present in the sleeping quarters of the Low Red Dwarf. This had actually been found outside the Shepperton Studios where it was filmed.
- Prop maker Peter Wragg blew up his creation - the original model for Red Dwarf - for this episode. Extended takes on the model explosion can be seen in the bonus features on the Series V DVD. Further footage can be seen in the special features of The Bodysnatcher Collection and Blu Dwarf.
- This episode has no guest cast; like most alter-egos featured, the "Highs" and the "Lows" are played by the main cast.
- Holly: Rude Alert! Rude Alert! An electrical fire has damaged my voice recognition unicycle. Many Wurlitzers are missing from my database. Abandon shop! This is not a daffodil! Repeat, this is not a daffodil!
Rimmer: Well, thankfully Holly's unaffected.
- Cat: Hey, I think they're playing our tune. The Awooga Waltz. Anyone want to join me in a quickstep?
- Lister: The whole ship is full of fail-safes anyway. Coolant systems, containment panels, vacuum shields. The chances of it actually blowing are about one in...
(Red Dwarf explodes...)
- Lister: I'll tell you one thing. I've been to a parallel universe, seen time running backwards, played pool with planets and given birth to twins... but I never thought in my entire life I'd eat an edible Pot Noodle...
- Low Rimmer (to Lister): I'm going to thrash you to within an inch of your life. And then... I'm going to have you.
- High Lister: Have I told you today how much I love thee, brother? How much my heart glimmers like a new born star when I gaze upon thine beauteous countenance?
High Rimmer: Thy love refreshes and cleanses me like a babbling mountain stream, brother.
- High Rimmer: Thy love doth cleanse me like a babbling mountain stream!
(High Rimmer has his Light Bee crushed)
High Rimmer: Farewell brother! My brook is babbled.
- The presence of the Low Lister after the reintegration creates a continuity issue, as he should have disappeared along with the others.
- High Rimmer is missing the hologrammatic H on his forehead.
- When Lister mentions playing pool with planets in "White Hole", this should be an impossibility as the events of that episode were erased, thus Lister should not remember them.
- It is later seen that, despite the events of the former episode being erased, Talkie Toaster was also still reassembled. This would imply that Kryten was at least partially incorrect about all the events being erased, making it plausible that Lister's memory of them would remain.
|Red Dwarf: Episode List|
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- Series V DVD Collector's Booklet
- Series V DVD Collector's Booklet