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Red Dwarf

Season 5 Episode 6

Back To Reality

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Mar 26, 1992 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
89 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The crew investigate an alien vessel and are exposed to a hallucinogenic substance which induces extreme dispair. They wake up to find that they have been playing a computer game, called "Red Dwarf", and that Lister is actually a rich and successful businessman, Rimmer his ne'er do-well brother, Kryten is a cop, and Cat is actually the most uncool nerd in human history. Lister finds out, to his dismay, that he also is the chief of an organization which institutes mass murders to "purify democracy". Kryten inadvertently kills a cop while trying to protect a girl, they run from it, and are chased by the police. Holly's voice, meanwhile, is heard advising them that they are hallucinating, but they ignore it. Deciding that their lives are wretched and unacceptable, they each decide to commit suicide. Holly, meanwhile, induces Kryten to open a cannister of Lithium Carbonate (a mood stabilizer) thinking it is a fire extinguisher. They come to their senses just in time, and head back for the Red Dwarf.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • The crew come across a giant squid on a ocean world, making them have hallucinations, where they are in a facsist world, where they try to kill themselves. where only Holly can stop them. First time we see Duane Dibbley.moreless

    This is one of the best episodes of Red Dwarf, which is saying alot. Duane Dibbley has got to be in my top 5 favorite characters of all-time, hilarious. He inclusion in episode alone makes it a classic, but added with the usually red dwarf comedy, non-stop laughter. It is episodes like this which makes Red Dwarf a classic show, one of if not my favorite comedy of all-time. This is a must see episode for all the red dwarf fans and even people aren't fans of the show, if only to see Duane Dibbley, who is the Kat's alter ego.moreless
  • The crew encounter a giant squid on a ocean world, which causes them to hallucinate they are in real life, but they are actually in a facsist world, so they try to kill themselves. But Holly manages to stop them. First appearance of Duane Dibbley.moreless

    Great episode, hilarious, especially Duane Dibbley, the Cat's nerd alter-ego. I want to watch it over and over again(Not really, but you get the point, right?). Well, since I need to fill space, I'll just tell you a story. I was having breakfast at Caffe Latte on Wilshire, when I look out the window and I s ee a group of people riding segways, so I think that must be a small group of enthusiasts, but then I see a whole herd of peole on segways, just rolling and rolling, almost out of nowhere, but seeing I have the required number of words to fill this review, I would say good-bye, but then I would look like an inconsiderate, boorish, cowardly twit. Speaking of twits, how many of you like Rimmer?moreless
  • For the love of delusions


    The plot is just an excuse for a set of hilarious scenes that place the crew in a perceived jeapardy! Locations add a good deal of conviction to their plight as boyz from the dwarf wake up from their futuristic nightmare and jump from one crisis to another.

    Your basic it never happened plot, with a deadly twist in the form of the very real squid! If you are awake (not easy at 1am) youll probably guess the whole 2 1/2 acts are an effect of the squids ink.

    That aside, the actual illusionary journey that the guys go on to escape their predator is superb. The inside a virtual reality game is nicely done as they come back and crash on reality. Their illusionary alteregos are hilarious, especially the cats - Dwayne Dibley. :D As is Krytons Jake Bullet cop. The interesting setup of Rimmer and Lister as bros bring up more issues for the guys to deal with.

    A good start, leads to a a great middle but the ending tails off as the guys escape without really learning and showing us anything new!

    Still a great episode. One to watch.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Sebastian Doyle's car is in Bay 47, which is the same bay on Red Dwarf that the quarantine facility was in "Quarantine".

    • The Dwarfers have (supposedly, during their hallucination) been playing the Red Dwarf TIV for five years...why haven't their hair or nails grown? It's easy to guess that an attendant could trim their nails, but how would they cut the Dwarfers' hair whilst they were wearing helmets? Response: Given that this is a hallucination, such inconsistencies are not unexpected.

    • When Lister looks in on the New Dwarfer's game, the scene that they are playing is much too far in given that they have only been playing for about 20 minutes. Really Lister should have been watching their version of 'The End'. Response: Given that this is a hallucination designed to make the Dwarfers feel inadequate, this follows a reasonable "dream logic".

    • Andy says that it is an irony that Lister turns out to be God as he is an atheist, but in season 3's 'The Last Day' Lister says he is a pantheist.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Jake: (Whips out his badge) Bullet, Cybernautics.
      Cop: That's traffic control.

    • The crew stumble out of the AR Red Dwarf game.
      Lister: This is a very, very bad dream, right?!
      Rimmer: I'm not a hologram.
      Kryten: I'm half human!
      Cat: What the hell's happened to my teeth?! I can open beer bottles with my overbite!!

    • "Billy": This is a nightmare. I'm on the run from the fascist police with a murderer and a mass murderer and a man in a Bry-Nylon shirt. A flotsam, jetsam, human wreckage, sputum bag who smells like a yak latrine. And now my best flashy mac' is about to be splattered with an android's brain. I'm after you with the gun.

    • "Billy": William Doyle. "William Doyle." Good ol' Bill Doyle. You know, that sounds like a hell of a good name to me! Probably connected with the Boston Doyles. Old money, blue chip stock. You know, I think it's all starting to come back to me now.
      "Sebastian": What puzzles me slightly is what a man of such undoubted good breeding would be doing wearing a coat that smells like an elderly male yak has taken a leak in both the pockets.
      "Billy": Well, isn't it obvious?
      "Jake": No, it isn't.
      "Billy": Oh my god! My name's Billy Doyle and my cologne is "Eau de Yak Urine."

    • "Jake": Jake Bullet, Cybernautic Detective. I like that! That sounds like the kind of hard-living flat foot who gets the job done by cutting corners and bucking authority. And if those pen-pushers up at City Hall don't like it, well, they can park their over-payed, fat ass's on this mid-digit and swivel till they squeal like pigs on a honeymoon.
      "Billy": On the other hand, "Mr. Bullet", perhaps the Cybernautics division is in charge of traffic control. You just happen to have a rather silly macho name.

    • Rimmer: This venom -- are we safe in here?
      Lister: It penetrated the hull of a Class D Space Corps seeding ship. In comparison we're a sardine tin.

    • Lister: There are only three alternatives. It thinks we're either a threat, food, or a mate. It's gonna either kill us, eat us, or hump us. We can either persuade it that we are not that sort of oceanic salvage vessel or we scarper pronto.
      Cat: To be diddled by a giant squid on the first date? Think how we'd feel in the morning!

  • NOTES (3)

    • In Australia at least, all of the episodes of Season V were produced on video in backwards order, meaning the season starts with Back to Reality and ends with Holoship.

    • In 1998, this episode was voted by the British public as the best Red Dwarf episode ever. This is also Stephen Hawkings' favourite episode.

    • At the conclusion to this episode and the season, we say farewell to Hattie Hayridge whose character of Holly is written out of the show for the next two seasons. Holly is revived in the season 7 finale, but played by the original actor, Norman Lovett.


    • Cat: This is like Saturday night at the Wailing Wall.
      The Wailing Wall is a temple ruin in Jerusalem, a sacred site of mourning, pilgrimage and prayer for Jewish people. One way to offer prayer is to speak them aloud or 'wail' at the wall.