Red Dwarf – Give and Take (Series 11 Episode 3)
Finally…Red Dwarf is back to its best! ‘Twentica’ got us started, ‘Samsara’ gave us some great nostalgia and was entertaining. But, ‘Give And Take’ I will go as far to say it is probably the best episode of Red Dwarf for over 20 years! We get a classic-esque storyline which features some great one-off characters, an extremely funny premise and one of the creepiest foes the crew has ever been up against.
Starting off with Rimmer basically not getting his own way (I know, similar to the previous week. But just wait!) as he argues with an elevator, we then get classic Lister who is apparently nursing a two-day hangover. The crew are then shortly heading to an abandoned space station which really brings the classic feel back (The squabbles from the crew and Kryten’s file for Rimmer being called “Captain Bollocks” was bloody brilliant). The station is said to hold Asclepius, a robot who is a medical genius, and no longer insane like many believed him to be…apparently. The robot then kidnaps Listen and The Cat for his own operations. Then we get the robot which Kryten and Rimmer believe to be Asclepius, but you need to watch it to really get the most of it. There is just so much, and as usual, Rimmer does seem to mess up the day during his and Kryten’s rescue of their crewmates.
Even though it’s not exactly a ‘Bodysnatchers’ script, there are a couple elements when you see Lister having his kidneys taken by the insane robot! The interactions with the cast with the one-off additions really does set a great tone. The jokes about the robots are great, the interactions with the usual foursome is top notch throughout the episode. The mix of smart and funny was indeed pulled off well. The way that the show winds itself back to the beginning of the episode and fill some of the gaps from the opening minutes was indeed entertaining. I could talk about every single thing that made this episode brilliant, but it would stretch to maybe 5000 words on this review. ‘Give And Take’ is indeed a callback to the classic episodes of the 90’s, the story is indeed written so well and the comedy from the usual guys and the “enemy of the week” was so creepy and well made it certainly felt perfectly in place in the Dwarf universe (and I would be happy to see Asclepius come back to antagonise them again!).
Overall, I loved this episode. Red Dwarf may not beat this peak, and I may be a bit generous on my final rating, but I laughed a lot and the jokes about FIFA and Rimmer being dubbed Captain Bollocks was proof for me that Doug Naylor will still write truly great pieces for the fans. Please keep sending scripts out like this! Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn finally all get to have a great equal amount of time to shine, the location shooting blends in perfectly with the studio recordings and I know I will be re-watching this episode many times over. I will still be laughing hard for a long time to come!
Final Rating: 9.5/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove