"Can of Worms" is the sixty-seventh Red Dwarf episode overall.
The episode begin with Kryten and Rimmer discussing a machine which can change a person's personality. Rimmer decides he wants to test it, and sits in the machine. The Cat then arrives. Kryten offers to remove most of Rimmer's enormous cowardice, but discusses the need of a needle, amongst other sharp items. Before he has the chance to do so, however, Rimmer has sprinted off, and Kryten discusses how he has broken the speed of light with the Cat.
The next shot shows Lister in the navigation room onboard Starbug. He is asleep, but the ship is on red alert. The other members of the crew immediately bundle in, waking him up. Together, they sort out the mess. According to Rimmer, Lister dozing off means the crew are now 5,000 clicks off course. Lister suggests taking a shortcut through an asteroid belt. Rimmer realises it is GELF country. Kryten starts to explain which particular tribe inhabit that area of space, but then sits on a screwdriver. He finally explains that the tribe are the Nakhi Ninkas, a vampire GELF tribe that only feast on the blood of virgins. As both Lister and Rimmer have had sex, and Kryten is an android, they are all safe. However, the Cat is a virgin, despite the way he tries to disguise it by pretending he has two female felis sapiens on Z deck. Lister says he will take Starbug into the belt, but the Cat makes vehement protests. Kryten tells the crew that the Nakhi Ninkas smell the virgins from the non virgins, as the virgins "smell" of fear, due to a hormone that virgins produce. Lister and Rimmer then proceed to make fun of the Cat.
The crew then pick up a ship. Lister wants to go aboard, and the rest of the crew agree, with the usual exception of Rimmer. The crew on board the ship comprises of one mercenoid and a prisoner. The trio of the Cat, Kryten and Lister see the mercenoid, and with some trickery, manage to disable it. They find the prisoner, who is a felis sapien, much to the Cat's amazement and excitement. They free her, and head back to Red Dwarf. On board, the Cat and the female arrange to have a date, involving strings, at eight o'clock.
Kryten, however, finds something deeply disturbing in the science room. The prisoner was not a Felis Sapien, but in fact a female Polymorph, carrying eggs. Lister, Rimmer and Kryten end up watching a gruesome scene depicting the process a Polymorph goes through to deposit their eggs inside a body. Unfortunately, they are too late to save the Cat, as it is already eight. When they eventually track down the Cat, he is in a giddy mood, twirling around whilst eating. The crew explain to the Cat that the woman was, in fact a Poymorph, to which he replies with the fact that it still counts as having sex. They go off to kill the Polymorph, but she is already dead.
The Cat is pregnant with a staggering EIGHT polymorphs, each of which will explode out of his body when ready to hatch. The crew deliberate on what to do, as the Cat starts to have convulsions. Rimmer runs away, as per usual. Lister and Kryten decide the best thing to is let the Cat have a Caesarian. Unfortunately for them, the Polymorphs have changed into tumors. If Kryten kills them with a laser, they kill the Cat. The crew come to the conclusion that the best thing is to let the Polymorphs be born in the "normal" way, but make sure they all come out of one hole.
The eight come out after a period of gestation, and immediately change shape. The crew decide to flush them out into space. As they reach the airlock, the Polymorphs morph into adorable animals, including two Dalmatians, a kitten and a hat wearing hedgehog. The Cat explains to the crew that he will flush them out, and instructs the crew to leave the corridor. The crew find out he s taking ages, look, and see that he has left through the lift.
They decide to use the personality machine to alter Lister's personality, removing any emotion, so the Polymorphs will be easy to kill. They head down, and two versions of the Cat jump out. Lister kills them both, and doesn't care if they were really him or not. Kryten and Rimmer realize they have altered Lister into a sort of Polymorph, no emotion, but without the shape shifting effect. the crew turn on each other, wondering if they are Polymorphs or not. Two more versions do the same. They all get into the lift, and as it opens, the Cat kills the other six Polymorph in the lift, explaining that a mother knows her babies.
The episode ends with Lister entering the Cat's quarters to have a conversation about him being a virgin. The Cat says he isn't, and then tells Lister to leave. As he leaves, two female felis sapiens emerge from the Cat's bed, and bemoan Lister's annoying habits. The Cat asks if this is a dream, and the two woman nod.
- Craig Charles as Dave Lister
- Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer
- Danny John-Jules as The Cat
- Robert Llewellyn as Kryten
- Bently Kalu as Mercenoid
- Dominique Moore as Ankita
- Daniel Barker as Alien Natural History Presenter
- Maria Yarjah as Cat Lady 1
- Shanice Stewart-Jones as Cat Lady 2
to be completed
- Despite being billed as the long awaited Cat episode, the episode instead switches to being a third Polymorph story, following on from the original "Polymorph" in Series III and "Emohawk: Polymorph II" from Series VI. The last time the creature was mentioned was as a casual aside in Back to Earth. The visual effect used for the morphlings changing shape is closer to how they were presented in the original Polymorph episode than the CGI effect used in Emohawk.
- The idea of the Cat meeting and seducing a lady Cat is reminiscent of the lost episode of Series VII titled "Identity Within", while the Cat's pregnancy is somewhat similar to material touched in the lost Series III episode "Dad" as well as the cliffhanger ending of Series II "Parallel Universe".
- In a rare moment of self-parody, Kryten sits on a screwdriver while trying to pronounce the GELF race name Neki-Nenkas. This causes him to go into a cacophony of "ech-ech" noises, much like those uttered by the crew when dealing with GELFs in Series VII.
- Some sources have claimed the Mercenoid costume was previously used in the Doctor Who episode The Rings of Akhaten.
- Lister: 'Woah, what's going on here, who's the joker in charge of navigation?''
Kryten: 'You are, sir!'
- Cat: 'Smell 'em! What the hell does a virgin smell of?'
Lister: 'Desperation, normally.'
- Cat: 'I've had my share, let me tell you! More than my share! Plus I've had full blown love affairs too!'
Rimmer: 'Well, yes. Mirror in the bathroom, mirror in the hall. I'd forgotten about those.'
to be completed