"Give & Take" is the sixty-fourth Red Dwarf episode overall.
The episode begins with Rimmer stalking the corridors of Red Dwarf with a Psi-Scan. He has been picking up numerous strange energy signatures on B Deck, and is trying to figure out what they may be. Rimmer calls an elevator, Shaft 14, which begins a conversation between Rimmer and the AI of the lift. The lift claims to be busy and occupied, which begins an argument between Rimmer and the Shaft 14 as Rimmer complains that it always too slow. Rimmer ends up getting so upset that he "fires" the lift, and instructs one of the passing skutters to replace it with another lift from another shaft.
After a quick establishing shot of a space station which Red Dwarf is nearing, the scene changes to Lister asleep in Rimmer's bunk in their shared sleeping quarters, with several empty lager cans and whiskey bottles strewn about the place. Lister, still feeling hungover after being in bed for two days, is awoken by Rimmer, who instructs him to get up so that they can investigate the approaching tech-rich abandoned station, which is about to be destroyed by an asteroid storm in five hours time.
They are joined by Kryten and the Cat on Starbug, where Kryten reveals that he had deleted some extraneous files that he considered frivolous and idiotic off of his hard drive that morning, including a folder marked as "Captain Bollocks", which contained all of his information on Rimmer. Rimmer demands that Kryten "undelete" the files since Kryten no longer recognises Rimmer. When Kryten remembers Rimmer, he begins to apologises profusely, reminding Rimmer repeatedly of the nickname they all have for him behind his back (albeit one of many). Kryten then happily tells Rimmer that he once again has pride of place between "Rimshot" and "Ringworm" in his files.
Starbug docks with the station, now identified by Kryten as a state-of-the-art research facility - and the posse split into two pairs in order to expedite their search. Rimmer and Kryten discover that the station is home to Asclepius, a highly advanced late 23rd century Medi-Bot who was said to have been able to perform any medical procedure, both physical and psychological. They enter Asclepius' medical suite and they try to convince it to join them on Red Dwarf, unaware that they were actually talking to Snacky, an automated snack dispenser. Lister and the Cat meanwhile discover the skeleton of Romero G. Gonzalez, a stasis booth engineer who mysteriously seems to have stabbed himself in the back, since his own DNA is on both the blade and handle.
Soon after, Lister and Cat are accosted by the real Asclepius, who in the intervening years has become completely mad - in spite of the fact that he has already given himself the all clear by writing "no longer insane" in blood on a piece of paper. Asclepius shoots two tranquiliser darts into the Cat and Lister as they attempt to escape, and prepares them for an operation, believing them to be two of his former patients.
Elsewhere, as impact tremors and ship-quakes wrack the station, Kryten and Rimmer realise that they were too generous in their estimates, and that the asteroid storm had arrived far sooner than expected. They go off in search of Lister and the Cat, finding them unconscious and the deranged medi-bot performing surgery on Lister and Cat. After meeting Snacky and believing him to be the real Asclepius, they believe this robot to nothing more than a malfunctioning droid patient of him. Rimmer uses Kryten as a shield against Asclepius, and although Kryten gets some tranquiliser darts shot into his head, they of course have no effect since he is a mechanoid. Rimmer shoots at Asclepius wildly with a bazookoid over Kryten's shoulder, and the deranged droid is knocked down; however in the volley of plasma fire, a glass jar of organs is destroyed.
Kryten and Rimmer begin to wheel the still unconscious Lister and Cat back to Starbug on their gurneys, as Asclepius recovers from the bazookoid fire and begins to give chase. However, the Dwarfers - along with Snacky - manage to get back to the 'bug and flee the station just in time, and Starbug flies off as a barrage of asteroids hits the station and it explodes to pieces. The real Asclepius is killed as the station disintegrates around him.
In the Science Room back onboard Red Dwarf, Kryten and Rimmer discover that Lister's kidneys had been stolen during the surgery; the only kidneys in evidence on the station were in the glass jar that Rimmer destroyed. Kryten wakes Lister up and informs him of the situation, and that he has installed a makeshift MTK chip into Lister's bloodstream - which acts similar to a liver dialysis machine of old - to keep Lister alive. However, the MTK chip only has a life-span of a few days.
Kryten devises a plan wherein the Cat would donate one of his kidneys to Lister, believing that the robot they just brought on board with them - Snacky, who they still believe is Asclepius - would be able to then genetically modify a kidney to make it compatible with Lister's own organs. Lister reminds Kryten how selfish the Cat is, but Kryten says that there is still hope since Lister has been like a surrogate father to the Cat, and also his species wouldn't even exist if it were not for Lister. Lister attempts to break the situation to the Cat, who is unscathed, but reacts badly, and not surprisingly refuses to give him his organ after taking Lister's vitamin booster and eating his soup and bread roll. Cat then wanders off, demanding that Kryten bring him some Himalayan sea salt for his meal.
Meanwhile, Rimmer corners Snacky still believing him to be Asclepius, and wanting a bit of therapy Rimmer forces Snacky to listen to his life story - under the impression that Snacky has advanced psychiatric skills. Rimmer breaks down, mentioning numerous petty childhood traumas. He also mentions his brothers, and his mother, whom he says was unfortunately his mother. He also brings up the fact that the man he believed was his father was not his father, but their family gardener (something Rimmer discovered from the holo-lamp in the final episode of the previous series). Snacky does not say anything, which prompts Rimmer to take that as meaning that only he himself can resolve his own problems. A bell chimes within Snacky, which Rimmer takes to mean that his therapy session is over, and Rimmer leaves the impromptu therapy session feeling "like a new man" and saying that he will look inside himself to find his inner hero. However, a digital display at the rear of Snacky reveals that the message was actually a warning that he is low on pretzels.
Since Lister has taught Kryten to lie in the past, Lister orders Kryten to lie to the Cat in order to make him under the misapprehension that he is the one that actually needs a new kidney. Kryten says that he can, since he is so good at lying now that he could work for FIFA. Cat reacts selfishly as they knew he would, and immediately starts sucking up to Lister, enthusiastically signing a consent form and making Lister swear that if their roles were reserved he would do the same for him. Kryten then lets the Cat know that Lister is still the one that needs a new kidney, and sedates him before he has a chance to argue. Rimmer and Kryten prepare to operate, but Snacky finally finds his voice and informs them that he is not who they think he is, and that he cannot rewrite the DNA of an organ to be compatible with anybody else, since he is just a snack dispenser.
Their plans now scuppered, the Dwarfers attempt to find a different solution. Lister remembers the skeleton that he and the Cat found on the now-destroyed space station, and wonders if Romero Gonzalez had been stabbed by his own clone, and if so, whether or not they can use the same technology to help him. Snacky interrupts, informing them that Gonzalez was not killed by his own clone, but was instead killed by his own self from thirty years in his past as part of a self-inflicted temporal loop. Snacky knew a lot about Gonzalez, and the stasis booths that he worked on, since Gonzalez had been overweight and spent years talking to Snacky as he indulged in his sweet tooth and got food from him. Gonzalez had been working on a project to hack the stasis booths to create a portal into the past, but when his future self arrived to warn him not to go back in time or he would be stabbed to death, but his past self refused to believe him and stabbed his future self. Snacky was witness to these events.
The Dwarfers realise that this stasis booth-initiated method of time travel is very similar to a stasis leak, something the Dwarfers had already encountered many years earlier. They then plan to use the same method to go back in time to take past Lister's kidneys and insert them into present day Lister, creating their own temporal loop. After some cajoling they are able to convince Snacky that he can be more than just a snack dispenser - Rimmer reminds Snacky that he made him feel like a "new man" without any programming in therapy - and get Snacky to use his extensive knowledge gleaned from overhearing from Romero when he was ordering snacks to modify one of the old Red Dwarf stasis booths on B Deck. Snacky does so and is very proud of himself, askming the others to refer to him as a stasis booth engineer now, and is annoyed at Lister when Lister asks for some twirly whirlers.
The Dwarfers arrive several days in the past, before they encountered Asclepius and his station, and take Shaft 14 down to the sleeping quarters, the same lift that Rimmer found to be occupied at the start of the episode. In the sleeping quarters they find the past version of Lister who is sat listening to Rastabilly Skank, drinking Leopard Lager, and reading an old JMC magazine about Titan. They sneak up on past Lister, and future Lister attempts to chloroform his past self which doesn't work until Kryten sedates him, with future Lister quipping that he is tough as old boots. They then take Shaft 14 to the Science Room, where Kryten performs the procedure to place the past Lister's kidneys into present Lister's body, also placing an MTK chip into past Lister to keep him alive, until his missing organs can be discovered.
Past Rimmer arrives outside and threatens to fire Shaft 14 for not being fast enough (from the beginning of the episode), while inside the lift future Rimmer promises to promote it and have it placed in the swanky glass shaft over on the Officer's Deck once he gets back to his own time. The lift agrees, thinking that that it sounds marvelous. The Dwarfers get back up to the sleeping quarters and deposit past Lister onto Rimmer's bunk, scattering empty lager cans and whiskey bottles in order to make it appear as though he had just gotten blind drunk, and then up to B Deck and return back to their own time.
Three weeks later, Rimmer calls down an elevator, Shaft 6, in a grungier part of the ship. It reveals itself to be Shaft 14, the same lift that Rimmer had promised to promote earlier, only to have it slip his mind, and the skutters had carried out his orders to have it demoted. Shaft 14 tells Rimmer that Snacky has continued to practice his engineering skills, and has installed a nuclear reactor to its counterbalance, allowing the lift to travel close to the speed of light. The episode ends with Rimmer panicking as the lift promises to take him on the ride of his life.
- Craig Charles as Dave Lister
- Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer
- Danny John-Jules as The Cat
- Robert Llewellyn as Kryten
- Mark Quartley as Snacky (Voice)
- Tobias Wilson as Snacky (Body)
- Oliver Mason as Asclepius (Voice)
- Jami Reid Quarrel as Asclepius (Body)
- Daniel Barker as Shaft 14 (credited as Lift)
- After the "Captain Bollocks" scene, Lister asks Kryten to check if he had also wiped the Asclepius Station ID files from his hard drive. Kryten reinstalls the files, and says that the station specialised in recycling old space junk to more useful items. Rimmer tells Kryten that he best be on his toes then.
- After Asclepius has stolen Lister's kidneys, and Lister is laid in bed in the Science Room aboard Red Dwarf, Cat makes more food demands of Kryten. Cat also tells Lister that he needs a "moobie" (male breast) reduction, since he is tired of staring at them, and asks Lister if he gets back trouble. Lister snaps, saying that plenty of women like him the size he is.
- Snacky says that his confidence is in absolute shreds after Lister says that he has seen more credible robots in Christmas crackers.
- The presence of the kidneys in the jar has been the subject of much fan debate, as they could not in fact be Lister's as Kryten had already stolen them from past Lister by this time, something which was later confirmed by Doug Naylor. This has lead to much speculation as to their origins. Some feel that Asclepius really was trying to save Lister by finding or creating him new kidneys, while others feel that they were just there on display, especially since they seem to be suspended in formaldehyde.
- Rimmer references his recent discovery that his father was not his father ("The Beginning") when talking with 'Asclepius' about his issues.
- This is not the first time that the Stasis Booth has resulted in time travel, although in "Stasis Leak", it was an accident and the transference process was comparatively more straightforward.
- While it seems Kryten will never say 'smeg-head' properly this episode reveals that he has actually come up with his own nickname, 'Captain Bollocks', to use to insult Rimmer behind his back.
- Despite being the third episode broadcast, Give & Take was the first episode filmed of the entire XI/XII block, making it the first time the cast had reprised their characters in front of a live audience in four years, following on from the production gap after Series X.
- Not long after this episode was aired Propstore sold the complete Asclepius costume for £2000, and it is now owned by Emily Gadd.
- Asclepius: There was a time where I was was a teensy tiny teeny weeny bit... MAD!
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