Meanwhile, on a Canary mission, the Cat, Kochanski and Kryten find a wand that lets them control time itself. While trying to use it to resurrect Pete, the deceased pet of fellow convict Birdman, they accidentally devolve the bird into a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Dave Lister and Arnold Rimmer are escorted to Captain Frank Hollister's office. Hollister is with Mr Ackerman, the Warden of The Tank, who they played a prank on. The prank in question was that they gave Ackerman a truth serum which ended with him "rushing onto the bridge this morning, apologised for being late saying he had been having "jiggy jiggy" with the science officer's wife and hadn't allowed enough time to change out of his Batman costume." Their punishment was that a team of their choice would play a game of basketball against Ackerman and the prison guards: Guards versus Cons.
After the first half, the crew are losing badly. Lister's team consists of him, Rimmer, the Cat, Kryten and Kristine Kochanski. Rimmer and Lister tell the others that they gave the opposing team a virility enhancement drug known as Boing, stolen for them by Bob the Skutter from the medi-lab. This is noticed in the next half as the crew win because the others are bending over so nobody saw their erections.
The next day, Rimmer and Lister are back in Hollister's office because Hollister drank some the drink with the Boing in it. They are given spud duty for the next two weeks. Spud duty involves peeling a mountain of potatoes. That evening, Rimmer finds out that Lister has been using Bob the skutter to sneak things in, such as curry and lager. (in exchange for having WD-40 sprayed on him) Rimmer asks Lister to get some decent potato peelers to help them with spud duty, but Lister has a better idea. The plan is to get Bob to fetch them a programmable virus from the ship's research laboratories on Z Deck, which they will then program to eat potato skins in order to do the job quickly and easily..
On the first day of spud duty, Bob delivers the virus to Lister. After programming it to just eat the skins off the potatoes, and spreading it around the mountain of spuds, nothing happens. Then Rimmer spots a peeled potato, followed by more which he passes to Lister: the virus is working. However Lister then notices that Rimmer's sleeve is missing, and Rimmer realises with horror that he's caught the virus which is eating his clothes. As Lister starts to laugh, Rimmer hopelessly tries to shake the virus off, as his clothes start to quickly disappear. Taking off his hat, he finds his hair is also being removed by the virus which Lister finds hysterical... until he realises the virus is eating his clothes and hair too. Before long, the two are marched to Hollister completely naked and bald. He warns the duo they will be given two months in The Hole, a form of solitary confinement, if they do anything wrong again. Unfortunately, Rimmer shakes his hand without having been decontaminated from the virus. As Hollister's hair and clothes start to vanish, he furiously orders them into the Hole. Thrown in The Hole, they meet it's two other occupants - Birdman and his pet sparrow Pete, their companions for the next two months.
Meanwhile, Red Dwarf comes an apparently unmanned spaceship, the SS Manny Celeste, and Captain Hollister orders the Canaries to investigate. When the first Canary battalion led by Mex doesn't radio back in, a second battalion is sent in, and the second battalion too goes missing. Eventually, a third battalion consisting of Kryten, Kochanski, the Holly Watch (Norman Lovett) and the Cat are sent in the third Canary shuttle to investigate the derelict too.
The gang find a Time Wand, a device capable of downloading and digitizing time and returning it whenever the user wishes, which had frozen the other Canaries in time when Mex messed around with it. Kryten practices using it and after a number of mishaps, such as regressing Cat and Kochanski into infants and back into adults, albeit with them wearing uniforms and hairstyles from their teenage years, Kryten figures out how to use the Time Wand. Kochanski hatches a plan to use the Time Wand to erase the memory of the other Canaries present so that only they know of it's existence, returning it to Red Dwarf and using it to hit the ship with a two-year download. As a result, they'll all be released from the Tank since everyone will think they've served their sentences.
They report finding nothing of note, and smuggle the Time Wand onto Red Dwarf through the security check inside Kryten's now-elongated head. Soon after, now back in The Tank, as the cons line up at the vending machines, Cat accidentally spills Baxter's soup, causing Baxter to break Cat's fingers and put Cat's head inside the vending machine dispenser, ordering hot Bovril to pour on Cat's head.
Soon after, in the prison canteen, Kryten fixes Cat's injuries with their concealed Time Wand. Cat asks Kryten to "fix" Baxter with the Time Wand, and Kryten has a little fun, zapping Baxter's chicken dinner and transforming it into a live, actual chicken. When one of Baxter's cronies laugh at him, Baxter knocks him unconscious with a left elbow. Baxter then leaps at the Cat, who is also laughing, but Kryten freezes Baxter in time, mid-leap. As Baxter's cronies begin scraping back their chairs, Kryten zaps them too, freezing them also. This also has the unexpected side-effect of freezing everybody else on-board Red Dwarf, crew and prisoners alike, except themselves and those in The Hole.
Bob the Skutter breaks Lister, Rimmer, Birdman and Pete out of The Hole, cutting a circular tunnel into the floor of The Hole. They walk along the corridors of crew, brought to a halt in time, and Lister plays a few pranks with some of them, such as Denton in the Games Room, removing things. They meet up with the others who are not frozen in one of the cargo bays where a banquet feast has been laid out by Kryten who uses the Time Wand to restore Lister and Rimmer's hair.
Soon though, the bird Pete dies (at the excitement of being free, according to Birdman), and Kryten attempts to use the Time Wand to revert Pete back to a prior state, resurrecting Birdman's pet to life. However in doing so, Kryten does bring the bird back to life, but also accidentally de-evolves Pete millions of years along it's line in the therapod family, turning Pete into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. They then begin running for their lives...
Available on the Series VIII DVD:
- There were a number of trims, for time and pacing reasons, from the "cons v guards" basketball match. Extended dialogue reveals that the regular characters were made to play other inmates of The Tank before playing the guards. The regular characters got to the finals by "cheating, bribery and on one occasion, chloroforming the opposition's defence" - so it wasn't just the guards who were playing dirty.
- In the broadcast episode, Kryten tells Kochanski to "pick up" a guard named Rice, and she retorts that she has arranged a date with Rice instead. The full dialogue reveals that Kochanski actually has a plan - to distract Rice from playing with flirtation.
- Kochanski bemoans the fact that she is one scoring all the points in the "cons v guards" basketball match. Kryten says that the last one didn't count, since there was a melee and Kochanski scored with Kryten's head.
- More of Captain Hollister berating Lister and Rimmer in his office after the basketball match, and further discussing the effects of Boing. After saying he stopped the lift doors from closing, the Captain says that he got the shuttle train to the all-night hospital, and had to pay two fares.
- In Lister and Rimmer's cell in The Tank, when Bob the Skutter appears from the ventilation shaft with Lister's contraband cigars, curry and poppadoms, Lister thanks Bob by spraying him with WD-40. The Skutter then lends his favourite book to Lister, which happens to be Lady Chatterley's Lover. Lister asks Bob if it's a good read, and Bob clicks his claw-head happily.
- Extended scene as Kryten, Kochanski and the Cat find the missing two Canary battalions aboard the SS Manny Celeste, and the first battalion leader trying to warn them about the Time Wand as he jumps between time streams. Cat says the ability to freeze time reminds him of one of Goal Post Head's anecdotes.
- As Cat and Kochanski's clothes are reverted to their teenage clothes by the Time Wand (and the Holly Watch says they look like the Turkish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest), Kochanski laughs at Cat. Cat then reminds Kochanski that she looks like "Lady Godiva let loose in an Oxfam shop".
- As Kochanski comes up with the plan of smuggling the Time Wand aboard Red Dwarf and using it to make their prison sentences pass in a nanosecond, Cat is more excited by it's other potential uses - such as eliminating the need for laundry.
- As the Canaries exit the Canary shuttle and enter the security check area of Red Dwarf, Kryten (clearly with the Time Wand inside his head) smugly skirts around the metal detector as Kochanski checks in. The previous Canary leader from before, Mex, then goes through it, but he is is clearly still showing the after effects of being zapped by the Time Wand. As he freezes and unfreezes repeatedly, the guard looks on confused, taking the attention off Kryten's suddenly enlarged head.
- After the incident with the programmable virus, and a naked and bald Lister and Rimmer are hauled before Captain Hollister, Rimmer repeatedly tries to blame Lister, saying that Lister is an uneducated man who has led him astray. Lister then seemingly confirms this when he (incorrectly) compares himself to Julius Caesar being betrayed by Mark Anthony, believing that Caesar's actual assassin Brutus was Caesar's aftershave.
- After being sentenced to The Hole, Rimmer says that he would have preferred the death penalty, since that would have been more merciful than two months cooped up with Lister. Lister suggests that they pass the time talking, but Rimmer says he has no interest in becoming an expert on how to play the rock classics with a kazoo lodged between his buttocks.
- The scene where Baxter bullies the Cat in the prison canteen was re-shot for the broadcast episode, and original scene is shown on the Series VIII DVD as a deleted scene. In the original scene, Baxter did not put Cat's head into the vending machine, since the Cat was much more apologetic, and gave Baxter his own dinner willingly. Cat then goes to order some more food from the vending machine, saying that he has lost his - and the vending machine replies "Yeah, it's the prawns. No one could keep the food down today". Kochanski tells the machine that Cat's meal was stolen by "that bicep with eyebrows", but the machine doesn't care, asking them to move down the line.
- After Kryten freezes Baxter in mid-air with the Time Wand, Cat takes an uneaten sandwich out of Baxter's mouth for himself. Cat then sits at Baxter's table (still with the live chicken on it) and starts eating the food around the chicken. Kryten pushes on Baxter, who spins around, mid-air, in circles. Kryten then unfreezes Baxter, who is now facing the opposite direction, and Baxter goes flying into his cronies, knocking them all down. For the first time ever, Baxter is scared of somebody else, telling Kryten that he doesn't "want any aggro", and offering them their food, and talking about "mutual respect". Ignoring these pleas, Kryten then zaps Baxter with the Time Wand again, and Baxter's Canary uniform is transformed into baby clothes from Baxter's infancy. Cat tells Baxter to hand him his food, and he will "burp" Baxter.
- More time in The Hole with Lister, Rimmer, Birdman and Pete. Lister tells them that the guitar solo from "Stairway to Heaven" should be played with two kazoos in the bum instead of one, to "recreate" Jimmy Page's double-headed guitar work, and so "extra clenching" is required. As Lister says this, Rimmer has a look of utter disgust and exasperation on his face. Lister picks up Pete's birdcage, humming the theme to Pete.
- As Bob the Skutter breaks them free from The Hole, Rimmer refuses to leave, since if they get caught escaping from The Hole, they "are finished". They others say fair enough, and go down through the opening in the floor. Rimmer says that he will stay there and will tidy up the cell, and write a nice poem about Captain Hollister. Rimmer then declares "Oh, smeg" and jumps down through the opening himself.
- The scene where Lister and Rimmer go though the ship and come across crewmembers frozen in time is extended. As Lister takes the ball from the pair playing ping pong, Rimmer notices that one of them is Denton, also known as "Mr Smoothie", an officer who has recently started dating Rimmer's old (and very brief) girlfriend Yvonne McGruder. Rimmer takes a pen out of the pocket in Denton's uniform, and begins drawing on Denton's face, humming to himself happily.
- Bob the Skutter is said in this episode to have a wife named Madge, but in "Parallel Universe" the Skutters aboard the parallel ship were all female, thus suggesting that the Skutters on the main Red Dwarf were male, presenting a continuity question.
It is actually possible, due to the atomic structure of the new ship, that that this is the same Skutter, taken off the parallel ship, but when the ship was rebuilt, it was made blue, to match the design of the regular Skutters.
Interesting, funny or relevant dialogue in the episode:
- Originally titled "Captain's Office", the episode was re-written as a two parter. Cut scenes from "Cassandra" were included in the episode, such as the flashback to Warden Ackerman and Mr Knot greeting the regular characters when they first enter The Tank - and during which Ackerman and Knot repeatedly beat up the Cat for talking. Knot had actually died at the end of "Cassandra", before the events of "Pete".
- The Pete dinosaur was created using computer generated software similar to the ones in Jurassic Park. The CG Pete dinosaur was combined with interactive animatronic parts; a huge foot and head were produced for close up shots.
- Mac McDonald appeared as Captain Frank Hollister
- Graham McTavish played Warden Ackerman
- Andrew Alston played Canary Mex
- Holly Earl as Young Kochanski
- Perri Michael as Young Cat
- Ricky Grover played Baxter
- Shend played Warden Knot
- Ian Masters as Birdman
- Jake Wood as Kill Crazy
- During the basketball game, the song "Stomp!" by The Brothers Johnson is played.
- Bob the Skutter whistles the tune from The Great Escape.
|Red Dwarf: Episode List|
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