"Cured" is the sixty-eighth Red Dwarf episode overall.
The Dwarfers search for some tech to fix Starbug's faulty steering. They come across a Scientific Research Centre where several figures from history are recreated in the present and 'cured' of evil. Or are they?
Lister, Cat, and Rimmer gather in the sleeping quarters to play a game of Poker, with the Cat dealing and Kryten watching. After only dealing out cards to himself with the logic that then only he can win, Lister takes it upon himself to make sure the game is played fairly. After the Cat immediately gives away the strength of his hand, Lister also decides to teach him how to make a Poker face, with mixed results. Kryten then interrupts their game to report that the ship is reporting an "SSL", a space station located warning. The crew move to Starbug, which is now plagued with an elaborately broken startup sequence and a faulty thruster that only allows it to make left turns, and make their way towards the station.
Kryten then explains that it is a United America scientific research station. At the end of the 23rd century America attempted to bring peace to the world by asking every nation on Earth to sign a peace treaty, invading those that refused. This initiated the "War against War", with all of the factions under the treaty becoming known as United America. Upon landing on the moon base a sand storm moves in, trapping the Dwarfers. Kryten discovers that the station was created to test a cure for evil, with the crew running into several cryobooths claiming to contain the cured forms of various controversial historical figures, such as Messalina, Vlad the Impaler, Stalin, and Hitler. They also discover the empty cyrobooth for one Professor Shaul Telford, who appears behind them.
He states that all of the booths were automatically triggered to release mode upon their arrival, and invites them to lunch with him and his now "cured" evil companions. The Dwarfers find them all to be jovial and relaxed persons, with Hitler in particular feeling especially buoyant at the prospect of making new friends. They all explain that the station was attacked many years ago by a special task force meant to eliminate the experiment, fearing the effects that a cure for evil would have on global power structures and the economy, leaving them marooned with no hope of getting back to Earth. They also happily invite the Dwarfers to make use of their engineering department in order to fix up Starbug, with Hitler taking a flamboyant Selfie to honour the occasion.
As the Dwarfers get to work, Hitler tries to engage Lister in casual conversation, complimenting his jacket and talking about their shared experiences with art school. He also mentions that he has taken up playing the guitar, and invites Lister to jam with him. After some reluctance Lister eventually agrees, with the two of them playing "The Happy Wanderer" together. Messalina also brings a glass of milk to the Cat, apologizing for not being able to talk much at lunch, which the Cat takes as being a sexual advance, although Messalina herself claims to have no such interest in him. This baffles and hurts the Cat, knowing her past reputation as a serial adulterer, and also goes to demonstrate the Cat's own inflated sense of self-importance.
Later the Dwarfers hold a conference on Starbug where Kryten explains that a proto-planet is going to collide with the planet in less than ten hours, and that they must leave as soon as the sand storm clears. Rimmer and the Cat are insistent that they should leave the "evils" behind, with Kryten and especially Lister being aghast at the plan, arguing that leaving them behind would make them just as evil as they were. Before they can do anything though all four of them find themselves to have either been drugged or otherwise incapacitated, with Lister and the Cat passing out and Rimmer and Kryten being shut down. They each wake to discover themselves in a unique predicament, with Rimmer being trapped in the waste disposal, Lister being strapped to a table meant for automatic laser castrations, Cat being shut in a water tank to drown, and Kryten's head being impaled on a mop handle.
Lister manages to cut himself free using a knife hidden in his boot, and goes on to rescues the others. They discover Telford apparently unconscious with a blow to the head, and run into the rest of the "evils" again. The Dwarfers accuse one or more of them of still being evil, a claim they all deny. Eventually it is decided that they should all be tested using the station's pyschopathy scanner. They discover that there are indeed at least two psychopaths still among them. One of them is the Cat, who only takes exception to the fact that the machine forgot to mention that one of his traits was handsome. The other is Professor Telford, who by this point has risen from his wheel chair and reveals to them all that he has been faking it the entire time.
Telford explains that he was once the head of research for United America who brain hacked entire populations to make them attack themselves. He was the only real patient, with the rest of the "evils" only being android neural scientists meant to perform experiments on him. Telford had merely altered their appearance and changed their programming. After incapacitating the Dwarfers he had hoped to make his escape on Starbug, but due to the ships eccentricities was unable to figure out how to get it to start. He announces that he needs one of them alive to show him how to leave, and that he will kill the others. Claiming that cats show no fidelity to anyone but themselves, he tries to convince the Cat to join him and abandon his crewmates, which the Cat appears happy to do.
After a prolonged back and forth where the Cat switches sides depending on who was making the most attractive offer, Telford eventually decides he is just going to shoot his crewmates to demonstrate to the Cat that he is serious. The Cat says he is fine with the plan, but wants to do the deed himself. Telford is dubious, but the Cat eventually convinces him that he is now firmly on his side, pointing to the fact that the scan showed them both to be psychopaths. Telford hands him a gun, which the Cat takes before casually shooting Telford in the head. "How was that for a pokey face, huh?" Cat asks, much to Lister's chagrin. "I only have to know how to do it, not say it" Cat adds, before triumphantly blowing on the barrel of his gun and chuckling.
- Craig Charles as Dave Lister
- Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer
- Danny John-Jules as The Cat
- Robert Llewellyn as Kryten
- Adrian Lukis as Professor Telford
- Ryan Gage as Adolf Hitler
- Chloe Hawkins as Messalina
- Callum Coates as Joseph Stalin
- Philippe Spall as Vlad the Impaler
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- This episode marks the third time Lister has interacted with Hitler (or, at least, a facsimile of him), the previous two times being Timeslides (which is the only time Lister has met the genuine article, albiet in black and white film) and Meltdown (where he encountered the wax-droid version).
- A wax-droid version of Messalina was mentioned in Meltdown, although never shown, and the general idea of caricatured versions of historical figures is similar.
- Lister's socializing with who he believes to be Hitler is an ironic parallel to his future self in Out of Time.
- When Lister brings up the fact that Hitler died without children, Rimmer mentions a conspiracy theory he read once that Hitler actually killed his wife and his body double before relocating to Argentina with various stolen works of art.
- When tests are carried out to identify the psychopath among the gathered group, tests indicate that the Cat is a psychopath due to his egotistical nature, but Lister dismisses the idea that the Cat is the kind of psychopath that kills.
- The laser castration machine that Lister was bound to is similar to that which James Bond was threatened with in the movie Goldfinger.
- When Hitler said that he tried to go to Art School, but wasn't accepted, Lister said that he "probably didn't fail enough exams", this was first mentioned in Kryten, although Lister only lasted 97 minutes.
- This is the first episode that Lister has been able to play the guitar since he lost his in Father & Suns. Though his mention that his guitar is back on Red Dwarf contradicts this, as well as the subsequent episode where his guitar is rediscovered. That is unless he meant his makeshift guitar built from a colander.
- Since Hitler was a devout non-smoker, the reason he owns a zippo lighter remains a mystery.
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