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RD: Psirens

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EPISODE
Psirens
Series VI
1psirens
Written By Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Director Andy de Emmony
Guest Star(s) Jenny Agutter, Samantha Robson, Anita Dobson, Clare Grogan, Zoe Hilson, Elizabeth Anson
Episode Chronology
Episode 31
Previous Episode: Back to Reality
Next Episode: Legion

Psirens is the first episode in Series VI of Red Dwarf.

It is the thirty-first episode overall.

OverviewEdit

Discovering that they have lost Red Dwarf, the Starbug crew have to negotiate a dangerous asteroid belt filled with carnivorous, telepathic GELFs.

SummaryEdit

1 0

Lister emerges from two centuries in Deep Sleep

Lister awakens with amnesia, half-frozen with long hair and fingernails, which he cuts with a pencil sharpener. Kryten explains that he's been in Deep Sleep aboard Starbug for the past 200 years. When Rimmer and Cat both recover from their hibernation, Kryten updates them on the situation: Red Dwarf itself had been stolen by an unknown party and the original crew had been chasing the ship's vapour trail ever since. Red Dwarf has currently been forced to circumnavigate an asteroid belt, giving the crew the opportunity to reach the ship by shortcutting through the belt.

Graveyard1981

Having lost Red Dwarf, Starbug follows it into an asteroid belt that is a spaceship graveyard

Casting psirens

The illusionary Captain Tau and Lister's girlfriend

However, the belt turns out to be a spaceship graveyard. The Stabug scouter blasts its way into one of the wrecks, finding the Black Box which shows the last moments of a Crazed Astro and causing Rimmer to faint with fear. The asteroid belt is inhabited by Psirens, telepathic GELFs who lure unwary travelers to them and suck out their brains. Cat is almost lured by two attractive women and Lister sees Kochanski, who tells him that she has two children, Jim and Bexley, that are his. A flaming meteor then appears hurling towards the ship, but Kryten deduces it to be an illusion as Starbug's sensors do not detect it. Unfortunately, Rimmer is left in charge and assumes another flaming meteor to be fake; the illusion this time, is the lack of response from the ship's sensors.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 8.45.43 PM

Psirens fighting over Lister's brains

Starbug is struck and crashes onto an asteroid. Lister exits the ship to blast the front landing gear out. Outside he encounters a lustful figure from his adolescence (the sister of one Pete Tranter). Lister snogs with the woman not knowing it is actually a hideous Psiren. He is ironically saved by another Psiren disguised as Kryten, whom murders the first one in order to steal its victim and is in turn killed when it exposes itself to Lister by calling him 'Dave', something the real Kryten would never do. Another tries to seduce him as the weathergirl from Groovy Channel 27.

Lister manages to get back on board Starbug safely, only for a second Lister to arrive claiming he is the real article. With no-way to know which is which, the second Lister is allowed to board. After a series of tests to determine which is the false Lister, the crew ask them to play guitar. The first Lister they give the guitar plays it extremely well, and the crew don't hesitate in blasting the Psiren away. Kryten explains that when the Psiren read it Lister's mind it believed Lister's delusion that he is guitar god and therefore could play very well, and the real Lister's attempts to prove that he can also play the guitar nearly get him shot as well. During the distraction, the Psiren escapes to the decks below.

A trail of yellow Psiren blood leads to the engine room. Lister and Cat stay behind to deal with a meteor shower, while Rimmer declines the offer to help, leaving Kryten to follow the psiren blood trail alone. When Kryten finds the Psiren it changes into Professor Mamet, his creator. With no choice but to obey her commands, he climbs into the waste compactor and starts it up. Lister, Cat and Rimmer quickly appear to find Kryten's Psi-Scan and bazookoid, abandoned on the floor. Rimmer suddenly fades out as his hologramatic light bee battery runs flat. Now just the two of them, Lister and Cat walk up to the Psiren disguised as a vending machine. As the Psiren decides which to eat first, Kryten, now cube shaped from his experience in the waste compactor, waddles over to the edge of the walkway from the deck above and crashes down on top of it, knocking it out cold, and then he presumably flushes it into space through the airlock which they were planning to do. The threat ended, the crew continue onward, as the still cuboid Kryten offers his services to the crew to act as a table and a dice before repairing himself.

When clear of the asteroid belt, Starbug detects the vapor trail of Red Dwarf heading a gas nebula, and they go in to see what's in there...

Deleted scenesEdit

As available for viewing on the Series VI DVD

  • A couple of trimmed gags, including an improvised celebration by the cast. They were not asked to repeat it for take two. Among these are Kryten discussing photographs of Lister's ex-girlfriends dressed up as nurses, which he hides a book on Aristotelian metaphysics; and the crew doing the "Boys from the Dwarf" hand-shuffle when they destroy the asteroid with the high-impact garbage cannon.
  • An extended scene with the Crazed Astro discussing his mutilated crewmates.
  • Two cuts regarding the deviousness of the Psirens. As with most edits, these were made to keep the episode running time to the designated half-hour. These include the Cat's disappointment over the Temptresses wanting "seed-spreaders" being an illusion.
  • Pete Tranter's Sister gets a little more screen time, during which it is said that a teenage Lister made a 'special hole in his pocket' for her, and the "Albanian shepherd" joke was originally about "Welsh sheep"...
  • Rimmer quotes Space Corps Directives 5796 - that Kryten corrects him is about no officer above the rank of mess sergeant is allowed in combat with pierced nipples.
  • Extended scene with Rimmer trying to ascertain who is the real Lister and who is the Psiren Lister by asking them personal questions. During this it emerges that Lister has a tattoo on his right buttock; it is a heart with a arrow through it, and underneath dripping in curry sauce, "I love vindaloos". He got it on planet leave on Ganymede, when Olaf Petersen spiked his cocktail with four-star petrol. He awoke with the tattoo, and to learn that he had enrolled as a novice monk in Ganymedian monastery. Lister discovered the tattoo when he handed in his habit.
  • An unused FX shot available on the "raw FX footage" section of the Series VI DVD contains a scene wherein the Starbug crew would have been seen in the cockpit from the outside of Starbug.

NotesEdit

  • This is the first episode to have an open-ended conclusion, directly leading into the next episode.
  • Clare Grogan appears as Kochanski for the first time since Stasis Leak in Series II, and for the final time; this is also the last appearance of the original version of the character introduced in Series I. When Kochanski next appears in Series VII, she will be played by another actress and be, effectively, a completely new character.
  • When discussing Lister's desire to find Kochanski and what he would do if he did, Kryten states that human sex is "curious" and that he would prefer playing partnership whist.
  • The name of the illusionary captain of the ill-fated SCS Pioneer in this episode, Captain Tau, was also the name of Red Dwarf's captain from the failed American Red Dwarf pilot.

Noteworthy DialogueEdit

  • Kryten: The poor devil scrawled it in his death throes, using a combination of his own blood and even some lengths of his own intestines.
    Rimmer: Who would do that?
    Lister: Someone who badly needed a pen.
    Cat: What I don't understand is why he went to the trouble of using his kidney as a full stop.
    Rimmer: I don't think he meant to do that. It probably just plopped out.

Background InformationEdit

Guest StarsEdit

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, ErrorsEdit

  • If everyone bar Kryten has been in stasis for 200 years, what rubbish would he have to throw out at the start of the episode?
    Possibly burned out ship parts, waste organic matter, things of that sort to finish off cleaning the ship prior to awakening the crew.
  • Why does Starbug have two stasis pods when previously stated that Red Dwarf in a whole has only two?
    They are Deep Sleep units, which only slow time down rather than stop it completely (80%-95%), in Out of Time, Kryten established a temporary "Stasis seal" on the Deep Sleep units.
  • We never see Cat coming out of stasis.
    Not a continuity error as it is established numerous times after this that Starbug has two such Deep Sleep units, in both bunks. (RD: Out of Time) (RD: Nanarchy) Cat was simply not seen emerging, coming out after Lister. A shame, since is was a missed opportunity to have seen the Cat emerge with long hair and fingernails like Lister; essentially it would have been Cat's wild, feral, unkempt look.
  • It's never explained how Starbug is able to sustain itself and a crew - even with the living crew in deep sleep for 200 years -when Demons & Angels established it could only stay away from Red Dwarf for a few hours.
    In previous instances, Starbug had left Red Dwarf only planning for short forays, or in hurry. In Demons and Angels they left without getting supplies or back-up power because the ship was about to explode.
    When Starbug last left Red Dwarf it was planning for a long voyage, including being underwater for a long time, when investigating the SSS Esperanto in Back to Reality. Lister probably would have brought curry and lager for such a trip, and Kryten would have brought extra fuel on board for such a trip, and extra batteries for Rimmer's light-bee. Throughout Series VI and VII, they are seen looting space corps derelicts for supplies and fuel, and even scraping moss off asteroids for food. (Rimmerworld) They recycle water every day, and they gain an engine which doesn't need fuel. (RD: Ouroboros)
  • In this episode Kryten says his brain is entirely synthetic but in DNA it is said to be part organic.
    Kryten's brain used cloned organic material from John Warburton (RD: Beyond a Joke) but it was still not a "living brain" as such and was still synthetic, mostly plastic and wiring still. Such a brain would almost certainly be useless to Psirens as they would likely require 100% organic brains to eat.
  • At the end of Series VII, it found out that Red Dwarf has been turned into a planetoid and it was a microscopic Red Dwarf which they were chasing. However, in this episode it is explained that Red Dwarf must avoid the asteroid field due to being top large, but if it isn't, why did it avoid the asteroids?
    It didn't. Don't forget, at this stage the crew didn't know they were chasing a microscopic Red Dwarf so assumed that the full-sized ship would be going around the asteroids. The nanobots were hiding in Lister's sock drawer the whole time, and deliberately led the crew on a merry goose chase around the galaxy to avoid detection. The micro-Dwarf was merely a distraction.


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