Red Dwarf XI: Review: Episode 2: Samsara

rd-11-2The crew get split up when they investigate a deserted ship…

This is very much a throwback to the days when episodes of Red Dwarf were filled with fun dialogue but still had plenty of time to breathe rather than racing through plot situations. The set up is remarkably simple but the pairing of the Cat and Lister provides some great Red Dwarf moments, and gives us some comparatively rare time with the Cat as a central character rather than someone who reacts to the others’ actions. The routine regarding the scientist beginning with R has some great lines, and Danny John Jules and Craig Charles pull every laugh from them they can. As, it must be said, do Robert Llewellyn and Chris Barrie in the Kryten/Rimmer bits, but they are very much left with the “plot” to carry.

Very unusually, there’s a whole side plot running, explaining how the ship the Dwarf crew are investigating got into the state it’s in. This is quite a bit weaker, and while it’s good to see Doug Naylor experimenting with the format, I’m not sure that it’s a success. Sure, some form of flashback was needed for Kryten to put the pieces together, but this took up more of the episode than it really warranted.

Verdict: Between the nicely played Mine-opoly scene between Lister and Rimmer at the top of the episode and the Cat/Lister scenes, there’s plenty to enjoy! 7/10

Paul Simpson

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