(SPOILER WARNING: The following is an in-depth critical analysis. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, you may want to before reading this review)
There has been a grand total of 61 episodes of Red Dwarf (so far) and each has something unique to offer. But in my opinion, there has never been another episode that has reached the intellectual and entertaining heights of this episode. The Inquisitor.
The Dwarfers are taken prisoner by the Inquisitor. A self repairing robot that had managed to survive until the end of time itself. Having come to the conclusion that there’s no God or afterlife, and that the only purpose of existence is to live a worthwhile life, he constructs a time machine and travels throughout time and space to judge every single person in the universe as to whether they’re deserving of the life they’ve been given. If they fail, they’re deleted from history and replaced with an alternative version.
So yeah. The Dwarfers are most probably shitting themselves.
Well for starters, what a brilliant concept! The legend of the Inquisitor is fascinating and the build up is fantastic. The character looks menacing and Jack Docherty gives a wonderful performance, imbuing the character with a real sense of menace.
It’s also a great opportunity to take an introspective look into the characters. The reveal that everyone is judged by themselves is incredibly well done. Rimmer talks about how it’s not possible for him to have lived a worthwhile life given the abusive environment he was raised in, the Cat talks about the pleasure he’s given to the world with his beautiful arse, Kryten questions the Inquisitor’s motivations and Lister effectively tells the Inquisitor to go fuck himself. At first glance you’d think Rimmer and the Cat would be up for deletion, so I thought it was a good twist that it was Lister and Kryten instead. Whereas Rimmer and the Cat had no potential to begin with and thus just did the best they could with what they have, both Lister and Kryten had the potential to be greater than they turned out to be.
Like with Thanks For The Memory, while The Inquisitor does have its funny moments (like when Lister uses the other Lister’s severed hand to open the door and Kryten starts hitting him in disgust, using the severed Inquisitor hand he himself had just cut off less than 10 minutes ago), it’s not really intended to be a funny episode. This is a very dark and tense story. You can practically cut the atmosphere with a knife. The scene where Lister and Kryten are running through the claustrophobic corridors of Red Dwarf had me on the edge of my seat. (This is aided by the brilliant mood lighting and Howard Goodall’s music which sounds like an electronic heartbeat). You’re genuinely in fear for the characters’ lives. Then later on when Rimmer and the Cat are mercilessly gunned down by the Inquisitor, it’s legitimately horrifying to watch.
My favourite scene is in Starbug when Lister is trying to break the chains and expresses anger and frustration and guilt over their predicament. Initially it seems kind of unusual that the Inquisitor would choose to judge Kryten, a robot. I mean why not Holly, or the Toaster or the skutters? Of course the answer is simple. Kryten has truly come alive at this point. He’s not a simple robot anymore. He can lie, he has feelings, he’s a living person. If wasn’t for Lister, Kryten wouldn’t be in the Inquisitor’s crosshairs. As he puts it, he gave Kryten a life to lose. It’s an incredibly powerful scene and Craig Charles really sells the emotions. Same goes for the scene where he threatens to kill the Inquisitor. Robert Llewelyn isn’t a slouch when it comes to the dramatics neither. His scene with the Inquisitor, describing how it’s impossible for a robot to justify themselves and questions why the Inquisitor thinks he’s worthy enough to judge someone, is also very affecting.
This is a wonderful episode for Lister and Kryten as it demonstrates just how far they’ve been grown throughout the course of the show. The ultimate irony is that the Inquisitor wants to erase them for being unworthy of life, but in the course of fighting him the characters actually end up proving themselves worthy of life. Kryten sacrifices himself to protect Lister not because he’s programmed to do so but because he genuinely cares for Lister’s safety, and Lister uses his brain for once in his life, concocting a scheme to use the Inquisitor’s gauntlet against him, erasing him from history and reversing everything that transpired.
The Inquisitor represents the very best Red Dwarf has to offer. It’s a great idea that’s well thought out and beautifully executed. It explores the characters in great depth and offers many moments both funny and touching in equal measure. The Inquisitor is, in my opinion, the most perfect Red Dwarf episode ever made.
Hubble Spots an Irregular Island in a Sea of Space
NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.
Aug. 26, 2016
This image, courtesy of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), captures the glow of distant stars within NGC 5264, a dwarf galaxy located just over 15 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra (The Sea Serpent).
Dwarf galaxies like NGC 5264 typically possess around a billion stars — just 1 percent of the number of stars found within the Milky Way. They are usually found orbiting other larger galaxies such as our own, and are thought to form from the material left over from the messy formation of their larger cosmic relatives.
NGC 5264 clearly possesses an irregular shape — unlike the more common spiral or elliptical galaxies — with knots of blue star formation. Astronomers believe that this is due to the gravitational interactions between NGC 5264 and other galaxies nearby. These past flirtations sparked the formation of new generations of stars, which now glow in bright shades of blue.
For more information about the Hubble Space Telescope, visit: