Entangled continued Red Dwarf X’s strong run thus far and for this reviewer was the best episode of the series since the opener Trojan. As has been the norm in this series so far, Entangled starts off with a couple of setup scenes where the main cast pair off and bounce off each other for a few minutes before we launch into the episode’s actual plot. This time out, one of the scenes is a classic Lister/Rimmer moment with each man reminding us of one of their most endearing character traits. Lister is being especially slobby and putting out a kebab-induced fire with one of his beers, while Rimmer enters the room acting as officious as ever, pulls rank on Lister and demands he follows the ship’s safety procedures. This is truly like the Red Dwarf of old. This sequence also contained one of our favourite back and forths of the series so far:
Rimmer: What’s that smell. Has there been a fire in here?
Lister: Just a small one. I put it out with me beer.
Rimmer: For goodness sake, Lister, that’s terrible.
Lister: Don’t panic, I’ve got another one.
Meanwhile, Cat and Kryten become accidentally ‘quantum entangled’ and begin to speak and act in unison with some perfect comedy timing on show from both Robert Llewellyn and Danny John-Jules. This quantum entanglement also produces by a rapid increase in the occurrence of coincidences, a neat concept which keeps cropping up throughout the episode.
The episodes’ main plot revolves around Lister losing Rimmer in a game of cards with some garbage eating life-forms called BEGGS. The BEGGS are very reminiscent of the GELFs from Series 6 and in fact Steven Wickham, who here plays the BEGG chief, was actually Lister’s unwelcome bride way back in the Emohawk; Polymorph II episode. The BEGGs have attached an explosive device to Lister’s private parts in order to ensure they receive their payment but by pure coincidence, they all snuff it before they can reveal to the crew how to deactivate it. The Dwarfers embrace the concept of increased coincidence however and follow a trail of clues to a nearby space station where they believe the manufacturer of the device may live.
Once on the station, we are teased with a Kochanski reveal and, truth be told, I honestly thought she was on there for a second. However when Rimmer opens the door to the stasis chamber, a very different creature emerges in the shape of a chimp. It is explained that the Professor who works on the station and created the explosive device accidentally de-evolved themselves into this chimpanzee state. Luckily, Kryten finds the relevant gizmo and manages to re-evolve her back into human form. Professor Edgington turns out to be an attractive but fairly ditzy young lady who Rimmer immediately takes a shine to.
There then follows a tense climax where the crew attempt to decode the explosive device with the Professor’s help and thus save Lister from a rather nasty incident. For reasons far too complicated to explain here, the crew opt to go against whatever the Professor suggests, only to then gamble on Lister’s manhood and take her word for it on the final piece of the code. They do this thanks to the reveal that her first name is Irene, and that makes her Irene-E… Irony. The irony being she was actually right on the final number. As you can probably gather, it all got a little convoluted at this stage, but by this point it hardly seems to matter.
As well as the clever sci-fi fun and games, there’s also a great bit of physical humour early on in the episode as Kryten reveals his unique method of drying cutlery, namely by blowing hot air from his rectal socket. It’s simple but effective and it’s always nice to see another one of Kryten’s many attachments. The Cat also has some choice lines throughout the episode with Danny John-Jules yet again on top form. My personal favourite bit being when he consoles Rimmer over the news he may be sold into slavery by saying:
“We’re all acutely sorry, bud. Apart from me and him and him.”
Entangled was a nice mix of high-concept sci-fi and typical Red Dwarf silliness. The whole idea of having the crew go off on an adventure, meet strange life forms and at the last minute figure a way out of a tricky situation with some absurd logic, really gives the proceedings a classic Dwarf feel. It was another really funny outing in a series which thankfully shows no signs of dropping off anytime soon.