An episode involving time travel and drugs-related shenanigans, as Dave Lister discovers a way of going in back in time three million years, to Red Dwarf just before the radiation leak which killed everybody else.
Lister goes back in time in an attempt to save his old crush Kris Kochanski from the accident, and also to unravel the mystery of an old photograph he has found of him marrying her, something which never happened.
However there is only one working stasis booth, and the dead hologram Rimmer tries to scupper Lister's plans so that he can get his human past self into the booth, preserving his physical form; but Rimmer's former human self is badly tripping out on drugs at the time.
While going through his old crush Kochanski's personal things, Lister finds a photographs of the two of them getting married, something which never happened in reality or outside of his plan. Remembering something Rimmer said three million years earlier, Lister goes through Rimmer's old diary, only reading "the best bits" to the Cat, such as Rimmer's old love letters to Carol McCauley.
The important entry, written three weeks before the accident, was when Rimmer thought he saw his own head pop up through the table and say that he came from the future to save his (Rimmer's) life which Rimmer himself (in the diary entry) took to be an hallucination. At the time Rimmer had put this down to the fact that Lister had spiked Rimmer with Titan Mushrooms, causing Rimmer to already assault two Officers and the Captain of Red Dwarf, Frank Hollister, and to eat a photograph of the captain's wife.
Following directions from the diary, the gang head down nearly 2,567 floors in an Xpress Lifts with it's own hostess, down to the old stasis booths on Floor 16. There they find a hidden stasis leak where the past has leaked into the room and which acts as a doorway to the past, to a little while before the crew all died. They go through, right into a man taking a shower. Going back to the occupied areas, Lister is thrilled to see an old friend again, Olaf Petersen, who is angered at Lister scaring off two women he was trying to pull.
Because they can't bring anybody back to their time, Lister and Rimmer fight over who they should convince to go into the only other working stasis booth (Lister himself being sent into the other). Lister wants to save Kochanski and Rimmer obviously wants himself. While Rimmer goes back to convince his former self, Lister and Cat go to Kochanski's quarters but only her roommate is there. Through her they track Kochanski to a luxury hotel on Ganymede, but Lister is devastated to see the room is a honeymoon suite meaning Kris has just got married. Kochanski then appears and invites them in and Lister discovers... Himself! A future version from 5 years in the future who has found another way to go back in time. Present Lister then realises that he doesn't have to try getting her into the other stasis booth, and leaves happily to go back to his own time knowing it is his destiny to find Kris again and marry her.
Rimmer attempts to convince himself to go into stasis, but his former self acts the same as he did before and believes it to be nothing more than a hallucination caused by the Titan Mushrooms. He ends up attacking Captain Hollister who had stopped by to try and make amends on his way to a fancy dress party as a chicken, Rimmer believing him to be another trip. Hollister then angrily orders Rimmer on extended Punishment Detail. The present Lister and Cat return tho their past quarters to collect the present Rimmer and meet up with a third group of Dwarfers - their future selves from the time where Lister and Kochanski are married. Overwhelmed by the arrival of these duplicates, the past Rimmer, still believing he is hallucinating, snaps and yells for them to go away.
- Additional dialogue regarding Holly's computer senility was cut for time. To try prove he is not feeble-minded, Holly attempts to impress the Boys from the Dwarf with his archaic knowledge of 20-century British football.
- The shower set was eventually replaced with location footage - in which nobody ever saw the extra's bottom when the Dwarfers appear in the past. The original shot can be seen on the DVD, which includes more mocking of the guy in the shower's manhood.
- Two extended dialogues - an extended version of Lister's 'already married' lament is followed by his excuse for being in a hotel corridor when discovered by Kochanski; that he is collecting room numbers in the same manner as a train spotter. Both dialogues were trimmed for broadcast.
- We learn that Red Dwarf has at least 2,500 decks, and it takes long enough for a lift to descend to Level 16 that it's treated similar to an airline flight, with an in-service meal, a showing of Gone With the Wind, and cyanide cyanide pills to take if the lift fails, which will result in certain death. Having so many levels makes it impractical for the ship to have only 169 crewmembers (per earlier episodes); later, the crew count will be retconned and increased tenfold to 1,169 in the Series IV episode "Justice".
- This is the final ever appearance of Lister's best friend Olaf Petersen, although Petersen is heavily mentioned in later series, especially Series VII, Series VIII, and Series X.
- This is the last appearance of the captain of Red Dwarf, Captain Frank Hollister in the earlier series, who is seen in the episode during a flashback. This would be the last appearance of Captain Hollister until he and the rest of the crew are resurrected in the flesh by the nanobots in the first episode of Series VIII.
- This is the first appearance of a pre-accident Red Dwarf since the Series I episode "Balance of Power". A pre-accident Red Dwarf would not be seen again until a flashback in the Series VII episode "Ouroboros".
- In the flashback scene to before the accident, Captain Hollister orders Lister to two weeks Punishment Detail painting the outside of the ship for giving Rimmer Titan Mushrooms - a pointless exercise in an absolute-zero vacuum. Lister is seen doing this in the opening to episodes in Series I and Series II.
- The events on the old Red Dwarf take place approximately three weeks before the radiation leak. Since no reference is made to Frankenstein, this suggests Lister obtained her after the "Titan Mushrooms" incident.
- Rimmer says he's been dead for 3 years at this point, indicating 3 years has passed since the events of "The End", and a year after the events of Kryten in which its indicated 2 years had passed.
- Despite setting up a follow-on storyline for a future series, the idea of Lister in five years marrying Kochanski was not mentioned again. Coincidentally, Lister and the Red Dwarf crew would have access to time-travel technology just prior to the five-year limit after finding the Time Drive in Series Six' Out of Time, making it possible for him to have gone back and married Kochanski. Although this may have been changed due to a time alteration (Timeslides) and a couple of major paradoxes (The Inquisitor, Out of Time). Certainly by the time Kochanski becomes a crewmember in Series VII there is no reference to them having been married.
- The episode strongly implies that, as Kochanski is fully aware of the Cat and the hologram Rimmer, that in all likelihood she did not die in the Red Dwarf radiation leak since it's unlikely she would have allowed herself to die. (This would not explain why Holly identifies one of the piles of ashes as being her in RD:The End, however, though it's possible he was asked to identify any old pile of ashes as hers.) It also means that Kochanski was already married to Lister when she and "young" Lister exchanged their final words prior to his being sentenced to go into stasis.
- In "Back to Earth", Craig Charles reacted to Lister in the same way that Rimmer reacted to his future hologramatic self, both thought it was a narcotic flashback, with Rimmer it was Titan Mushrooms, with Craig Charles it was Crack Cocaine.
- The scenes in the Ganymede Holiday Inn were filmed at the real-life Midland Holiday Inn, with actual hotel guests shown in the foyer, and the confrontation scene being filmed in the real Room 008.
- Before the final scene was filmed, Clare Grogan was accidentally told she had finished her scenes and left the studio, so the Kochanski who walks in with the future Lister is actually Dona DiStefano, an Assistant Floor Manager (in a very big hat) and Clare's lines were excised from the final shooting.
- In the original version of this episode, during Holly's opening spiel he says "we saw a moon shaped exactly like Felicity Kendal's bottom". In the Remastered version it is changed to "Marilyn Monroe's bottom".
- Rimmer's line "Excuse me!" is changed in the remastered version when he passes Lister and Rimmer in the past.
- Clare Grogan as Kristine Kochanski (original version)
- Mac McDonald as Captain Frank Hollister
- Mark Williams as Olaf Petersen
- Morwena Banks as Lift Hostess
- Sophie Doherty as Kochanski's roommate
- Richard Hainsworth as Medical Orderly
Noteworthy Dialogue Edit
- Holly: Three million years from Earth, the mining ship Red Dwarf. Its crew, Dave Lister, the last human alive; Arnold Rimmer, a hologram of his dead bunkmate; and a creature who evolved from the ship's cat. Message ends. Additional: on our journey back to Earth, we have encountered many strange and bizarre things. Only last month, we came across a moon shaped exactly like Felicity Kendal's bottom. <pause> We flew around that one a couple of times.
- Xpress Lift Hostess: Welcome to Xpress Lifts, descent to floor sixteen. You will be going down two thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven floors and, for a small extra charge, you can enjoy the in-lift movie "Gone With the Wind." If you look to your right and to your left, you will notice there are no exits. In the highly unlikely event of the lift having to make a crash-landing, death is certain. Under your seats you will find a cassette for recording your last will and testament, and from above your head a bag will drop containing sedatives and cyanide capsules.
- Holly: I'm the closest thing you can get to infullable.
Holly: (nodding) Exactly.
- Lister: Why do women always leave me for total smegheads? Why do they dump me for men who wear turtleneck sweaters and smoke a pipe? I mean, natural yoghurt eaters! Reliable, sensible, dependable, and lots of other words that end in "ible". I bet he's obsessed with house-prices, and spends half his life in antique fairs looking for bargains and drinking wine. It's never beer is it, its always wine! "What do you want on your cornflakes, darling?" "Oh, I'll have some wine, please!" Smeg!
Cat: You can tell all that just from a photograph?
- Holly: I was in love once. A Sinclair ZX81. They said no Holly, she's not for you. She's cheap, she's stupid and she wouldn't load. Well not for me anyway. I'm saying, Dave, is that it's better to have loved and to have lost, than to have listened to an album by Olivia Newton-John.
Cat: Why's that?
Holly: Anything's better than listening to an album by Olivia Newton-John .
- Past Rimmer: I know what you are.
Rimmer: You do?
Past Rimmer: You're a mushroom, aren't you.
- When Rimmer first comes out of the table and appears to his past self, he says "There, that wasn't too bad was it?" The second time he comes out of the table, he doesn't say this, even though the rest of the conversation is the same.
- When hologram Rimmer walks past the past Rimmer and Lister, he walks by them and turns back to look. However he does not look back in the black and white flashback section.
- Technically, when Lister discovers his future self with Kochanski, he could erase his future self from existence just by making sure he doesn't go back in time to Red Dwarf again.
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