and paranoiA

\ Summary | Highlights | Review | Commentary highlights | Other comments | Fanbase opinions /


Still obsessed with seeing Kochanski again, Lister visits her quarters only to discover later that it hadn't been decontaminated yet, and falls ill with a mutated version of pneumonia. What he hallucinates in his sleep is made 'solid,' culminating with physical incarnations of his confidence and paranoia who, naturally, try to boost his self-esteem and damage it, respectively.

Confidence assists Lister in finding the hidden hologram discs, but things take a sinister turn when Confidence murders Paranoia, though Confidence is hoist by his petard and enters the vacuum of space without a helmet. It then turns out that Rimmer had swapped the personality discs into the wrong boxes, and thus Kochanski's disc loads up a duplicate of Rimmer, to Lister's intense dismay.


LISTER: I'm gonna go inside now, it's a little bit hot - I'm gettin' claustrophobic in these space suits.
CONFIDENCE: Take your helmet off.
LISTER: What?!
CONFIDENCE: You're hot, take your helmet off.
LISTER: I'll die!
LISTER: There's no oxygen out here!
CONFIDENCE: Hey, oxygen's for losers! C'mon!
LISTER: But I need oxygen!
CONFIDENCE: You don't need anything, king, you're the king!
LISTER: You're crazy!
CONFIDENCE: Who told you you needed oxygen, huh? Some loser who's tryin' to make you feel small. C'mon, I'll prove it to you! I'll take mine off first. We'll see who the crazy one is around here!
CONFIDENCE: [explodes]


An interesting episode with a very intriguing concept which sadly isn't used to its full extent. There are some decent gags, but given the strong episodes this series has been composed of so far, it doesn't seem to work as well as it could. A decent watch, but not the best there is.

Holly gets a great way to start the episode, interrupting Lister's movie to complain that he's read every book and piece of literature in existence, and doesn't know what to do next. It prompts an amusing running gag for the episode and just allows the character to get some entertaining moments, though, naturally, it kinda makes me wonder about a few things - with an IQ of 6000, why doesn't he just write more stuff? I mean, he's read every book ever, he's clearly a computer that can learn, so...? Him querying everything after having his memory erased is, on paper, a rather cheap joke, but on screen it's somehow brilliant, all thanks to Norman Lovett's brilliant performance.

Likewise, the Cat has little input towards the episode's plot (he more or less entirely disappears when Confidence and Paranoia enter the scene) but totally steals the show most of the time, such as finding Lister unconscious ("S-E-X, I think I found it...!" and "If you weren't my friend, I'd steal yourshoes."), playing with his food, faux-following Rimmer, cleaning his clothes with his tongue and interjecting his own answers to Rimmer's questions. Danny John Jules was clearly on the A game.

The concept of the episode, of a simple illness like pneumonia mutating into something bizarre and outlandish that it crafts the sufferer's hallucinations into reality, is an awesome idea, and you could theoretically explore the mutation of illnesses further if there was time and reason to do so. The scene with the fish raining from the ceiling is wonderfully bizarre, and the fact you don't see where exactly they're coming from (besides "the sky," hurf) just makes it that much more crazy. It's almost got a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy vibe about it, the sheer absurdity of the idea.

It is kind of hilarious that the Cat ate an entire mound of fish and was still smiling, yet was practically dying just after six fish in Balance Of Power. Look, I've been writing needlessly long reviews on the episodes so far. It's practically mandatory for me to remember mundane crap like that.

Confidence and Paranoia are fun characters: Confidence is loud and bombastic, the chummiest chum who ever chummed from Chumley, yet he still has this sinister vibe about him; his glares at Rimmer during the discussion when the medi-comp is destroyed are wonderfully psychotic, and the frighteningly white eyes and teeth only add to the effect. Paranoia has some great scenes and his demeanour is played perfectly; it's just a pity he doesn't get as much time in the spotlight as Confidence, as not long after we see a bit more of his odd character, he's killed off-screen.

Lister does seem to have rather exaggerated reactions to what Confidence and Paranoia have to say say, which was one of my personal nags about the story - it's as if he's no longer a person with his own thoughts and now just a rope being tugged between the two. Rimmer insults him but he never takes it to heart, he just shrugs it off without a second thought, but given the fact the newcomers are physical extensions of his psyche and the matter of him still being sick, it can be easily justified.

The scene where he deduces where the personality discs are is interesting, as it shows that all he really needs is another 'intelligent' individual to bounce ideas off and support him for him to really get going places. Instead he's got Rimmer who hates him, the Cat who doesn't respect him, and Holly who's often too wrapped up in his senility problems to be of use.

To go on a brief tangent, I love how Rimmer's reaction to the newcomers on board isn't anything bureaucratic or legal, but to just stab them to death with a Skutter.

The spacewalk scene with Confidence and Lister outside the ship makes for an amusing climax, though it seems to be all too eager to axe the two emotions out of the story very quickly and with little to no regard for how believable it is. Of course, we're talking about an episode where fish has rained from the ceiling, a Polish authority figure exploded, and an entire mound of fish was consumed without repercussions, but still! When Confidence and Paranoia entered the scene despite the odd reason for their creation, the events were still pretty sensible and realistic, and now suddenly Paranoia is revealed to have been fed into a waste disposal unit, ground into bits and flushed into space.

I could argue that, well, how could Confidence have done that without anyone knowing? But given the fact the ship is five miles long and Holly never seems to be monitoring everything all the time (and too engrossed in his Agatha Christie books), I could let it slip. Then Confidence, after a brief scuffle with Lister, proclaims "oxygen is for losers!" and takes off his helmet, causing him to explode. Not just his head exploding or asphyxiating or anything simple like that, but he blows up like he was hit by a tank after he just ate a few samples of nitro. It is amusing in its sheer silliness, and a more proper ending with him dying after fifteen seconds and drifting into space would be kind of subdued, especially after the events so far, so as always, I applaud of the inclusion of explosions.

The ending is a great twist, though given the fact it's Rimmer we're dealing with it shouldn't be a surprise, and makes for a great lead-in to the next episode. Most comedies have little to no continuity, and later series of Red Dwarf would have a more episodic nature, so a final joke like that would be completely forgotten about by the next episode - but I'm glad it actually followed up on it, as the very concept of two Rimmers is just hilarious, but the next episode deals with it in a splendid manner.

Commentary highlightS

[coming soon!]

Fanbase opinionS

The Japanese poll ranks it at number four, and most English polls do the same; although it has its fans, mostly for the bombastic performance of Confidence, general consensus seems to be that it's just... meh. I enjoy it, probably because I'm hopelessly optimistic and positive about everything in the early series, but I will admit that the concept could have been used to a better extent, and the fact it takes half the episode for the story to start shows.