Trojan is the first episode of Series X, and considered essentially a 'reboot' of the entire show in an attempt to be more like earlier series.
"Trojan" marks the fifty-sixth episode overall in the run of Red Dwarf.
The Dwarfers' mining ship is still creaking though the wastelands of uncharted Deep Space, but the posse soon stumble upon the mysteriously abandoned SS Trojan. As they inspect the ship Rimmer receives an SOS Distress Call from a doomed ship commanded by his all-conquering brother, Howard. But Rimmer can not bring himself to save Howard until he is on an equal footing career-wise. Meanwhile, Lister and Cat become hooked on an intergalactic shopping network.
The episode begins with Dave Lister (Craig Charles) and the Cat (Danny John-Jules) watching a pig race in the Drive Room; Lister has bet with a dispensing machine on one of the pigs to win, but soon loses 100 DollarPounds. Cat is annoyed by the whole thing, but his attention soon falls onto a book found in Olaf Petersen's old quarters, Stupid But True! - Volume 2. Lister then tells the Cat a fact about mooses from the book: they apparently caused 20% of Swedish car accidents in the late 20th century. In the sleeping quarters, Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie) is interrupted by Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) bringing in some internal mail, with Rimmer informing him that he has taken his astronavigation exam for the 10th time and these are the results. This time Rimmer has set himself up for a failure, thinking that if he expects to fail the exam he will not be devastated if he does (his new attitude derived from yet another book entitled Sometimes You Have To Learn How To Lose Before You Are Ready To Win). Rimmer scans the results page and then rips it up in rage as it reveals he has failed again, before beating it with a hammer.
Back in the cockpit, Lister and Cat come across an intergalactic shopping channel called The All Droid Station. They then proceed to joke about how ridiculous these shows are, but their views are suddenly changed when they find out that the average human who lives to their nineties and drinks six coffee's a day spends up to two weeks of their life stirring coffee. After hearing this revelation, they hastily grab the phone and ring them up, attempting to order two automatronic coffee stirrers. Kryten enters the cockpit and tells Lister and Cat that the scouters' have detected a derelict ship, news which they immediately react to. Kryten then picks up the book that contains the fact about mooses, and asks casually if they have read it. They crew enter the derelict ship, which turns out to be a Space Corps ship similar to the ships that Rimmers' brothers served on as Captains (the Super Infinity Fleet), called the SS Trojan. Rimmer discovers the ship's Quantum rod, the device that allows the ship to control the relationship and unity of space, energy, matter and time in order to travel, and inadvertently cause it to activate.
Soon after, they receive a distress call from Howard Rimmer (Mark Dexter), Arnold's brother, who tells them that the ship he is on, the Columbus 3, is stuck in a death dive and he needs their help. Arnold vows not to save Howard until he has passed his exam and become an officer, fearing being humiliated by his cruel yet all conquering older brother once again. While struggling to revise for the exam, he has a resentment attack after being the only one to fail a lateral thinking question involving certain Swedish car accidents, causing his hard drive to crash, leaving him helpless. After first the Cat turns the situation into an impromptu game of facial Pictionary with a stray bit of felt-tip, Kryten, Cat and Lister drain Rimmer's resentments, partly gained over years of being in the shadow of his more successful brothers, and restore him to full health. Now thinking more clearly, he decides that Howard would never be impressed by anything he could really do anyway, but, instead of deciding to come clean as himself as Lister suggests, he devises an elaborate plan to fool his brother by pretending to be the Captain of the then derelict Trojan, with Lister, Cat, and Kryten being his new crew.
After setting up the ruse and donning their elaborate uniforms and officer personae, Rimmer orders Kryten to bring Howard aboard, transporting over both Howard and the doomed ship's only other surviving occupant: a simulant servant named Sim Crawford (Susan Earl). After a series of awkward antics, including Lister faking being a telepath and the Cat's failure to remember his new name, Howard is finally convinced that his brother has finally achieved success, much to his own astonishment. Howard experiences a resentment attack of his own, and upon coming to after having his own resentment drained, reveals to Arnold that he had been lying about being a Captain and that he was in fact merely a vending machine repair man, same as Arnold. Before he can learn this truth however, Sim Crawford makes a revelation of her own: it was in fact she that killed the rest of the crew on Howard's old ship, and rather than going off to get medical help for Howard as she had claimed, she merely teleported two floors up to the munitions stores and now intends to kill all of them and steal the Trojan in order to start a larger simulant uprising.
At the same time, Lister, who had been kept on hold for most of the episode waiting first to place his order for the Stirmaster and now a complaint about all his troubles, is finally allowed through. Irritated by the fact that the phone is no longer within his reach, Lister antagonizes the simulant by disobeying her orders and diving for the phone. Howard sacrifices his life to save the rest of the crew from the killer simulant, while the Cat, who was waiting from behind, finally dispatches her by feeding her all of Howard's resentfulness that they had previously drained; only for Lister to find the phone line in the end to have hung up anyhow. Before finally succumbing to his wounds, Howard informs his brother about how much better it is to be honest about oneself, although Arnold refuses to take the lesson properly to heart. Once back on board Red Dwarf, Lister reconciles his lost opportunity for acquisition through the utilization of Crawford's disabled form, and the JMC On-Board Computer posthumously awards Howard the Platinum Star of Fortitude, the Space Corps highest military decoration, and even suggests that Red Dwarf be renamed the "SS Howard Rimmer" in his honour, driving Arnold into another resentment overload.
- Given the absence of the former computer of the ship, Holly, this episode establishes the JMC On-Board Computer as an (albeit silent, faceless) replacement.
The episode ran over the allotted time by six minutes. Numerous deleted scenes from the episode were included on the Series X bonus DVD. These include:
- More of Arnold Rimmer explaining why he would like to be "a leader, doing leadery things" to Kryten, and how he would love to boss everybody around. He starts bossing Kryten about, telling him to move rubbish around, and then put them back where they were in the first place.
- A shot of the boys from the Dwarf approaching the (relatively small) SS Trojan which is parked in once of the hangar bays of Red Dwarf after being brought on-board. The digital FX were never completed for this shot. In the broadcast episode, they instead tow the Trojan on a line behind Red Dwarf.
- More of Lister trying to get through to a useful droid on the All Droid telesales line. He complains about being told he is in a queue, since he is the last human alive there should be nobody on the other lines. Lister has to repeatedly give the same information out, since none of the droids talk to each other over privacy concerns.
- When Lister tells Rimmer that he was dyslexic in school, Rimmer gets the idea of getting a medical note from the Medi-Bot to obtain himself more time during his (repeatedly failed and once again upcoming) astro-navigation exams to become an Officer. Rimmer spends some time musing over what an "extra time" note could be used for, including taking a woman's bra off. When Rimmer goes to the the Medi-Bot, it sees through Rimmer's plan, humoring him at first then catching him out, saying "good guck on the exam" as Rimmer leaves, and Rimmer doesn't acquire the extra time note.
- More shots of the Trojan inside Red Dwarf. As Howard Rimmer says that he wants to see the rest of the Trojan, Arnold Rimmer says that he can only show him one side of the ship - since showing Howard the starboard of the ship may result in him seeing Red Dwarf hangar through the portholes, breaking their ruse. Arnold tells him that Kryten has just mopped all the floors on the starboard side, and "they are still really wet". Lister points the Rimmers to the correct, port (space-side) of the Trojan.
- After Howard dies to save Arnold, Arnold refuses to accept that his brother did anything brave and heroic (because that would mean admitting that Howard was better than Arnold after all), instead saying that what Howard did was an accident. He also says that Kryten can clean up Howard's light bee next time he mops the floor, after Lister says that they can't just leave the light bee there on the floor. Doug Naylor scrapped this scene because he felt it was too cold and nasty, even for Arnold Judas Rimmer.
- Lister: No the moose aren't in the cars, antlers out the sun roof! They're in the roads, mooseing about, crossing roads, causing accidents!
Cat: You mean they're not looking left and right?
Cat: Not using the pedestrian crossings?
Cat: Not paying attention as to whether it's a little green man or a little red man? Of course they're not, they're mooses!! Jeez... Swedes: they expect too much!
- Kryten: He’s completely helpless. What are we going to do?
Cat: I say we draw a moustache on him.
- Rimmer: Kryten, you have a real gift. You make things that are really, really complicated sound really, really complicated.
- Rimmer: Are you saying I am a resentful person? I really resent that!
- Rimmer: Captain Arnold J. Rimmer, holder of the Gold Oblong of Pluck, and proud member of the Space Corps Super Infinity Fleet.
Howard: But you were an utter TWAT! And how did you get into the Space Corps? Your brain's smaller than the salad section in a Scottish supermarket!
- Howard: And you rebuilt him - gave him something to live for.
Rimmer: No, we just hosed him down and gave him a hat
- Kryten: I think this is one of those hay-ho-pip and dandy moments, sir.
- At Dimension Jump 2011, comments by Doug Naylor suggested that he wanted Series X to focus on the character's family backgrounds. One idea that seemed to be hinted at was that an incarnation of Frank Rimmer would show up; in the end, this manifested as the inclusion of Howard Rimmer in "Trojan".
- The episode is dedicated to the memory of Jo Howard (Production Manager - Series VII, Line Producer - Series VIII, and Producer - Back to Earth).
- Initial ratings were 1.46 million: 6.3% share of the total UK television audience - not counting viewers on Dave Ja Vu, same-week repeats, and PVR viewings. This beat out BBC Four, BBC Three, ITV2 and Channel 4 in its time-slot, and made "Trojan" the second highest rated UKTV programme of all time, behind Back to Earth.
- The episode was dedicated to producer Jo Howard, who died shortly before filming began.
Critical reception for the episode was largely positive both in the media and among the fan community. Prominent community website Ganymede & Titan summed up the episode by saying "It may not be possible to summarise this messy collection of varied and probably contradicting opinions, but just in case it’s not clear, I loved Trojan, warts and all. The whole episode was infused with a great sense of fun and silliness, and that intoxicating atmosphere helps carry the show through various bumps and iffy moments. It’s not perfect, and it’s not even Red Dwarf at its best, but it’s left me with an overwhelming warm and fuzzy feeling." The official Red Dwarf website also concluded that the episode was a critical success, citing various press reviews, fan comments, and television ratings.
- Mark Dexter as Howard Rimmer
- Susan Earl as Sim Crawford
- Lucy Newman-Williams as All Droid Jayne (Shopping Channel Presenter) and Various (Voice)
- Bryan Bounds as All Droid Bob (Shopping Channel Presenter) and Various (Voice)
- Laurence Bouvard as Various (Voice)
- Rupert Degas as Various (Voice)
- The uniforms donned by the characters in this episode bear a striking resemblance to those used in the Star Trek franchise from First Contact to Nemesis and in the last three seasons of Deep Space Nine. A similar parody was shown in the Series V opener "Holoship" for the crew of the SS Enlightenment.
- Before the events of this episode, it has been mentioned that Rimmer had failed his astro-navigation exam 13 times, so he should have said this was his 14th attempt. Although, it is possible that he did not count some of the attempts, for various reasons.
- The way that the simulant in this episode was dealt with is similar to that which was used in "Beyond a Joke"; the only difference was the delivery method.
- In addition, the interactions between Arnold and Howard is not dissimilar to Kryten and Able, and in both instances the brother character sacrifices himself to save the crew. Howard's death, and resultant showing of his light bee, is also not dissimilar to the death of Ace Rimmer in "Stoke Me a Clipper".
- Although Red Dwarf's exterior is unchanged from previous series, a number of cosmetic changes have been made to the interior, most notably Lister and Rimmer's quarters, which share the same basic lines as earlier seasons, but now have a red finish. The ship is also now controlled from a smaller drive room not dissimilar to the control room of Starbug, rather than the more spacious bridge seen in the early seasons.
- Whilst Howard is nearing death after sacrificing himself, a somber, instrumental version of The Munchkin Song is played.
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