"Samsara" is the sixty-third Red Dwarf episode overall.
Half of the episode takes the form of flashbacks, to tell the story of the crew of the Samsara three million years earlier, running simultaneous to the present-day ordeal of the Dwarfers.
The episode starts with an escape pod being jettisoned from the spaceship SS Samsara, and then the Samsara crashes into an ocean moon and sinks to the bottom. Three million years later, Red Dwarf comes across the same ocean moon.
Rimmer and Lister are in their sleeping quarters; Lister is drinking Leopard Lager and Rimmer is throwing dice. They are playing mine-opoly, the JMC version of monopoly, with stakes. Rimmer explains to Lister about his unbeaten run from his time in the Space Scouts and his nickname, 'Minotaur' - the creature you can never pass. If Rimmer loses for the first time, then he can't complain at all to or about Lister for a whole week, or even complain about not being able to complain. If Lister loses, he has to wear a evening gown, day and night, until he can play James Last polka songs on the bagpipes. Lister cheats at the game with cards hidden up his sleeve, and Rimmer loses as he rolls 7 2 and 1 on the dice which is 62million/1 odds - which is the same odds as being killed by a tangerine.
In the Science Room, Kryten and the Cat locate the escape pod from the SS Samsara and get a signal from one of the two survivors who have just come out of stasis - Professor Rachel Barker - but as she is about to give the Dwarfers a warning, the interior of the pod is vaporised by a massive flash of heat. Kryten remote pilots the pod into Red Dwarf to find that the two survivors, Barker and Colonel Jim Green, are now piles of dust. Rimmer runs in to introduce himself before realising. Kryten says that after studying their black box, he has learned that Barker and Green were married, but not to each other. Cat says that it is a shame, since they look like a good match.
The Dwarfers detect the underwater wreck of the SS Samsara, which is still intact and has power, and decide to take a Starbug down to the ocean moon to investigate. After docking with the wreck of the SS Samsara, the Dwarfers begin to investigate. Kryten is perplexed by his Psi-Scan readings, since the Samsara was a state-of-the-art ship with self-repairing engine parts, and crashing should have been out of the question. They find the skeletal remains of the Samsara captain, Tom Kadri, apparently strangled from behind at his station. Kryten explains the gibberish on his computer by briefly choking Lister; the noises Lister makes are written out on the computer by voice dictation. Lister sarcastically thanks Kryten for such a dramatic demonstration.
When the Dwarfers get to the former dining area on the SS Samsara, they find skeletal remains who appear to have died in the middle of a rampant sex orgy. Kryten deduces that they were all killed instantly by a massive flash of extreme heat. Cat thinks that they all died playing a game of twister, which he states they were all playing wrong. Cat says that they should not have all just "waded in" since it is a three player game only. Lister says that it is worse than his freshers week at the art college he once attended.
Lister and Cat become distracted by a one armed bandit, not realising that Kryten and Rimmer have already moved onto the next hub, and that the door has sealed behind them trapping Lister and Cat in the cafeteria. Cat steals some DollarPounds from an "astronomical orphan fund" donation box, and goes on to win the jackpot on the one armed bandit machine using the stolen money. After this bout of good luck, Lister and Cat are subjected to numerous acts of bad luck. Lister puts the Cat's winnings back in the orphan fund, but then he feels something drip on his head. Turning to look upwards, his dreadlocks become painfully trapped in a food disposal machine. Cat saves Lister by pulling a knife out of the back of one of the skeletons, and with it he cuts off Lister's dreadlocks. However, Cat throws the knife into the disposal machine - the machine then shoots the knife out and strait through the Cat's foot. Their luck gradually gets worse after Lister helps Cat by pulling the knife out, as the lights begins to falter plunging them into darkness, and the Samsara begins slowly slipping towards a deep sea trench.
Realising they are trapped, Lister struggles not to panic, and he is driven to the brink of madness by conversation with the Cat. Cat changes history as he tells Lister about a special investor whose name begins with an 'R' - Archimedes - who was hit by a bath from a tree, shouted "Formica" (instead of "Eureka") and invents gravy, and that he got a special hat to cover the bruising. Lister tells the Cat that he is wrong - that it was Isaac Newton who was underneath a tree and he discovered gravity when an apple fell on him, and he got a knighthood, not that special hat. As Cat continues, Lister begins to shout louder and louder for Kryten.
While trying to locate Lister and Cat, Kryten and Rimmer discover the Karma Drive - which is familiar to them both since it is based on the Justice Field that the Dwarfers had encountered years earlier in Justice World. However, there was a major difference with this machine - not only a "punishment" setting for being "bad", but also a "reward" setting for being "good". At first, Rimmer and Kryten think they need to be nice to one another to get out of their predicament, but Rimmer gets an electric shock even though he was forcing himself to be "nice" to Kryten. The quantum motherboard begins to heat up to heat-flash everybody to death, but stops when Rimmer becomes insulting and says that Kryten has a head shaped like something from a geriatrics's pottery class.
Kryten works out that Professor Rachel Barker reversed the protocol on the Karma Drive, as Barker and Colonel Jim Green were having an extramarital affair (as mentioned with the flashbacks from before all the events happened) and they stated they wanted to spend time together away from the Karma Drive, which was giving them a very hard time due to the punishment of their immoral affair. After reversing the protocol, Barker and Green had initially survived since they had done something immoral by taking the only working escape pod from the Samsara. However, that is also why their escape pod eventually flash-killed them - since Barker and Green were doing something "good" by trying to warn the Dwarfers, and their pod was still in the field of influence of the working Karma Drive. Rimmer is relieved by this revelation, since there is no way he could "genuinely" nice to the others.
Soon, power is restored to full. Kryten breaks the news to Lister when he rescues him - that they have to be nasty to each other in order to escape - by repeatedly punching Lister and mocking his "1970s cover band haircut". The Dwarfers begin making their way back to the shuttle, now with the knowledge of how not to upset the Karma Drive. The episode finishes with Cat finding that Lister cheated at mine-opoly earlier, when he finds Lister has mine-opoly cards in his pocket, and Lister runs away and Rimmer gives his the look of resent.
- Craig Charles as Dave Lister
- Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer
- Danny John-Jules as The Cat
- Robert Llewellyn as Kryten
- Eddie Bagayawa as Captain Tom Kadri
- Maggie Service as Professor Rachel Barker
- Dan Tetsell as Colonel Jim Green
- As the Cat asks what the SS Samsara is, Rimmer checks out its ident details. Apparently, it was a Mega Core-owned research and development station, and they were carrying out experiments on a team of human volunteers transferred from M-32, one of Andromeda's most notorious prisons. Lister remembers M-32 as being the place that won't take you unless you've committed at least 10 murders. Kryten agrees, saying that M-32 was not interested in dabblers, and that those who have only committed a handful of murders wouldn't even get a second interview.
- Aboard the Samsara, Kryten uses the Psi-Scan on some of the skeletal remains. When Cat asks who it was that stabbed the one who strangled the captain, Kryten says that it was one of the dinner ladies, Mrs Dorine Lamington. Lister supposes her killing spree was instigated by wanting to move from the mash potato and stew of the day to the apple pie and custard section.
- This episode is the "bottle episode" of Series XI; much like how Marooned was the bottle episode of Series III, or Duct Soup was the bottle episode of Series VII.
- Reference is made to Justice World- last seen in the episode "Justice" of Series IV - with the Karma Drive demonstrated in this episode being an adaptation of the technology used to create the Justice Zone.
- The skeleton sex orgy is reminiscent of the "lost episode" of Series VIII entitled "Phwoaarr".
- Eddie Bagayawa, a fan of Red Dwarf, originally auditioned for the role of Colonel Green, but after discussion with Doug Naylor was offered the role of Captain Kadri instead and accepted.
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- Rimmer: You know what the difference is between you and me?
Lister: I can't store hand luggage in my nostrils?
- Lister: Smeg happens. You just roll with it.
Rimmer: I've been rolling in smeg my whole damn life, Lister. Don't lecture me about smeg rolling.
- Lister: I'm alone in Deep Space with *you*. How much of a "charmed life" is that?
Rimmer: The crew got wiped out, you survived. That's charmed.
Lister: I survived to live the rest of my life with you. Not charmed!
Rimmer: I'm dead. How unlucky is that?
Lister: You're dead but you're still talking. For me, how unlucky is that?
- Rimmer: I threw a two and a one seven times in a row. What are the odds of that?
Kryten: Sixty-two million to one, sir - about the same odds as being killed by a tangerine.
- Rimmer: I've never been beaten at mine-opoly, Lister. Undefeated since birth. In Space Scouts my gameplay was so legendary, they called me Minotaur.
Lister: Is that 'cause you were half a man, who was full of bull?
- Lister: [After entering the SS Samsara] Look at all this dust!
Kryten: I love dust. After fluff, it is my all time favourite type of dirt.
- Cat: [Lister & Cat are standing in a dark room] Give my eyes a minute to adjust. Wow!
Lister: What, they're readjusting? What do you see?
Cat: That it's really dark. Can't you see that?
Lister: Of course I can see that, ya smegger! But you can see in the dark, right? With your super-see-ey cats eyes?
Cat: And you can swing from trees, right? With your super swingy monkey arms, right?
Lister: We evolved!
Cat: So did we!
Lister: Who'd evolve so they can't see in the dark?
Cat: Who'd evolve so you can't swing from trees? You'd never be late for anything!
- Professor Rachel Barker: [After being reprimanded by her Captain for having an affair] Captain, the Colonel and I, we are in love.
Captain Tom Kadri: When you signed up for this tour of duty, you both agreed to abide by the moral code selected for this ship.
Barker: So, we're all supposed to live the Mega Core dream. Where the married stay married, sons call their fathers "Sir", and everyone eats lots of homemade apple pie?
Kadri: You got it. So start squirting your whipped cream on apple pie, and not on one another's body parts!
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- ↑ Series XI DVD documentary
to be completed