Red Dwarf

Season 10 Episode 2

Fathers and Suns

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Oct 11, 2012 on BBC Two

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
30 votes
  • Still going strong!

    I apologise in advance for the long winded review, but I would honestly write a 25,000 word dissertation about this series if I thought anyone would actually read it. This episode was strong for a couple of reasons. First off, it draws on plot elements from past episodes and revisits one or two issues that have never really been addressed since their introduction.

    Lister's unique lineage is a plot element that was first referenced in the fourth series when the show's creators rebooted Red Dwarf in an effort to make it more similar to the tie in novels.

    It wasn't until the seventh series that it was flat out stated that Lister was his own father though and since then, this fact has never been revisited. The tenth series seems to be the series of fan service and if that's the case I'm pretty psyched. This episode is all about Lister dealing with issues that have dogged him throughout the show's run and it's nice to get a form of resolution regarding this.

    The second reason I enjoyed this episode so much is that it was an enjoyable Lister centric episode. Back to Earth placed a strong emphasis on the idea that Lister is Red Dwarfs central character. Bearing that in mind, it's odd that the first episode of series ten would focus on Rimmer (not that I'm complaining). That said, some of the more Lister centric episodes in recent memory have been pretty lacklustre. Back to Earth is a prime example of this along with one or two episodes from series seven and eight.

    This episode was very strong however and gives a great insight into Lister's character both for long time fans and viewers that are newer to the series. Lister's routine of getting drunk and sending himself a belated father's day card was a great concept and it was executed well. Craig Charles performance was particularly strong throughout the episode, but his best scenes were (oddly enough) his interactions with himself.

    The scene in which he opens a card hand delivered by Kryten and proceeds to sing his "son's" praises was brilliant. Furthermore, the scenes in which a drunken (pre recorded) Lister took on the oddly authoritative role of a disappointed dad and delivered tough love while his present self reacted like a moody and rebellious teenager were priceless. It reminded me that Red Dwarf is one of the few shows on TV that could successfully execute an idea such as this and made me realise how much I've truly missed the show.

    Lister's conversations with himself reminded me of his interactions with the Inquisitor and the same issues said episode raised. Lister, by his very nature, is a lazy slob and has accomplished very little in a conventional sense. The predictive programming of the ship's new computer also reminded me of Cassandra, but the reused idea has a somewhat more fresh take here. The actress who played Pree did well in conveying both the computer's mechanistic tone and more sinister aspects. She made a great villain and I like the idea of a computer taking it's predictive programming to such an extreme that it would "cock up" activities so that the senior crew members wouldn't have to. That said, I do miss Holly.

    Having Dave use the computer's own predictive logic against her seemed a little easy, but it worked in the context of the episode and served to highlight the fact that Lister has just as many strengths as he does flaws.

    This episode demonstrated that Lister will never really change. Being a slob is in his DNA and while he might wish for better things, he'll ultimately remain the man we all know and love. It's a fact of life. Some people stay the same no matter what they try to accomplish. This isn't a bad thing. Lister will never become an officer, but he can still save himself and his friends from a psychotic super computer when push comes to shove. For a man who was found abandoned under a pool table in his childhood, he's doing okay.

    Like the previous episode, Fathers and Suns failed to maintain strong subplots. Kryten and the Cat were given very little to do besides further the "Chinese Whispers" gag and act as sounding boards for Lister and Rimmer. Cat has never really been the focus of an entire episode before (I suppose this stems from the character's lack of emotional depth), but Robert Llewellyn has shown that he can carry an episode more than once and I hope to see a Kryten centric story in the near future.

    Rimmer, as always, was hilarious and was given some of the episode's best lines. His sense of apathy/conviction regarding Pree's physical appearance was classic Rimmer and hearing him call Pree a "mad goth" was another definite high point.

    Overall, this was a pretty decent episode. I've already watched it twice in the last 24 hours and I would definitely enjoy a third viewing. Fathers and Suns has certainly raised my hopes for the series' future. One strong episode could have been a fluke, but two strong episodes in a row is a welcome confirmation that Red Dwarf is getting back on form.

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