Cat: That's what they say, but they'll never hold out after they meet you.
A very unusual society had developed among its inhabitants, where audacious self-expression was encouraged, complete ineptitude was to be tolerated, and all forms of criticism were outlawed.
SS Enconium was washed up three million years into the future by a Time Wave. The boys from the Dwarf soon encountered it seemingly on a collision course with Planet Rimmer, which would ignite the Helium-7 on Planet Rimmer, killing them all. The Enconium was unresponsive to all the attempts of Starbug at communication. Arnold Rimmer was terrified that his Planet Rimmer may be harmed; Dave Lister was excited to meet other humans again. The Dwarfers decided to use dock Starbug with Enconium and investigate.
Behind the Scenes
- The name of the ship is similar to the Latin word "encomium", which means "high praise". The name is fitting given the nature of the society aboard the spaceship, where only encouragement and praise are allowed, and criticism outlawed.
- Kryten claims that SS Enconium originated from 24th century Earth. However, when Rimmer is in the Criticism Extraction Room, Rimmer claims that it is a "damned cheap Minervan machine". 93 Minerva is a large, bright asteroid in Earth's Solar System, unique for having its own twin smaller satellite asteroids.
- It appears that Rimmer was referring to the bottling machine, and not the ship itself.
- The "negative energy bottling machine" of the ship, in the Criticism Extraction Room, presumably works on a similar principle to Kryten's Nega-Drive ("Beyond a Joke") and the resentment drain previously used on Arnold Rimmer when he met his brother Howard. ("Trojan")
- There was no clear command structure aboard SS Enconium, presumably since all the officers were doing unimportant work - as suggested when the chief lawmaker Ziggy Briceman claims that the hairdressers were operating the communication systems, the elevators were being serviced by the catering department, the lift people were working in the hospital, and the engineers were not in the engine room. The Crit Cop mentions that the crew were constantly choosing new captains before the introduction of the anti-criticism law. The ship, however, was overseen over by a legal "high chamber", as also mentioned by Ziggy, although Ziggy had authority over them also.
- Ziggy Briceman evidently acted in the role of captain, even if unstated. Ziggy acted as a spokesman for the crew, operated the Criticism Extractor, had power over the law enforcement officers and the ship prison, and was in enough authority to declare and nullify laws on a whim.
- Whilst not stated in the episode, it is revealed in the DVD special features by actor Jamie Chapman that his character Ziggy Briceman was indeed written in the script as being the captain of SS Enconium. This explains how Ziggy was able to give orders on a ship where there no apparent command structure.
- The ultimate fate of SS Enconium is left unstated in the episode.
- One possibility is that the Time Wave washed it back into the 24th century as the Time Wave returned to its source, as Kryten said it was likely to when explaining the phenomena.
- If SS Enconium escaped the second Time Wave and remained in the distant future then it is entirely possible, if not likely, that the ship underwent a massive failure or crash at some point, given how inept the crew were.
Behind the Scenes
- The brightly-lit, psychedelically-painted and garish corridors of SS Enconium was a redressed set of the dark and moody SS Samsara from the previous series. It was writer Doug Naylor's idea to have the colour scheme resemble "lava lamps".
- Production Designer Keith Dunne has claimed that the SS Enconium scenes were the most deliberately "camp thing I have ever done".
- Menus were produced for the 1950s-style diner aboard SS Enconium, which included meals and drinks that are satirical of "hipster" and "millennial" diets. These menus are easier to discern in the DVD special features than they are in episode itself.
- The meals include, among others; sprouts, oats and artichoke breakfasts; celery and turnip pancakes; French toast with frog's legs (and heads); and horseradish chilli (served cold). Drinks include liquefied spam and egg whites; raspberry and bone marrow; and avocado, kale and chocolate shakes.