Red Dwarf

Season 4 Episode 6

Meltdown

1
Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Mar 21, 1991 on BBC Two
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
69 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Kryten uses a prototype "matter paddle" to teleport the crew to a nearby planet with an S3 (or Earth-like) atmosphere. They discover the planet has been visited by humans years previously, who populated the planet with "wax droids" - animated wax works of famous characters from Earth's history including Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Gandhi, Winnie the Pooh, Mother Teresa and Elvis Presley.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Is it a battle of good versus evil, or just..Rimmer against his ego?

    9.1
    Proof that Lister paid attention in history! A deeper insight into Rimmer's goals and dreams (however egotistical they may be), and an amusingly satirical look at famous historical figures.

    The scene between the Cat and Lister in the prison cell has to go down as a Red Dwarf classic- only they could witness Winnie the Pooh being shot by a firing squad!



    The battle scene itself is a little reminiscent of 'Blackadder Goes Forth'- but superbly finished with Rimmer's almost proud declaration that the war was won- though the troops were lost.



    And the dinosaurs? Well- it could only happen to the 'boys from the Dwarf'.moreless
  • Red dwarf in full flow

    9.0
    The best part of red dwarf is the way that the crew find themself facing situations that only they can. I think that being embroilled in a good V Evil war between various historical figures counts as thus, even if they are waxworks. It works for this show because of the way the motley nature of the good waxworks, and to a lesser extent the evil ones is a nice compliment to the main characters themselves. It also one of the best rimmer episodes, someone whose ego is inversly proportional to his ability to do anything at all without causing a catastrophe. This episode is a prime example of all (almost) that makes this show great.moreless
  • Great episode! Including all of the celebrities, facists, and world leaders! Like Elvis and Hitler

    10
    This episode really brought out the fighting spirit in Rimmer. Having a "daylight charge across the minefield" really WAS an effective battle strategy! But never the less, it was truly a great episode. Not much Lister and the Cat, but more Rimmer = more laughs! All of the famous people like: Gandhi, Santa Claus, Hitler Caligula, Lincoln, Elvis, and Winnie the Pooh made the show very enjoyable to watch! This was acually one of the very first ones that I've ever seen. Still, Rimmer acually must be incarnated from Alexander the Great's chief eunuch! Still, a very hilarious episode!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Numerous references have been made throughout all four series to Lister's education, or lack thereof. Yet he is easily able to recognise and point out to The Cat who all the bad wax droids are - e.g. Hitler Goering, Goebbels, Al Capone, Mussolini, Richard III, Napoleon, Caligula and Rasputin. Perhaps with the exception of James Last (who he recognises from Rimmer's record collection) and Winnie the Pooh, how would Lister know who they all were, let alone what they look like? One must derive from this that Lister is at worst a highly intelligent slacker, who has learned a lot of stuff despite his lack of education. This actually sort of fits with other elements of the character.

    • Rimmer seems to be able interact with solid objects. In the beginning scene he is able to move the chair he is sitting in. When he gets up out of the chair it clearly spins (perhaps it, too, is a hologram?). Later, on the planet, he is able to operate a motorcycle.

    • When Kryten and Rimmer are transported to the planet, despite both of them supposedly not being able to breath, they both can be seen breathing out.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Rimmer: Across that hill lies an army of darkness, the likes of which mankind has never seen before. The only thing standing between them and total victory is this pathetic little pocket of resistance; Without a plan, without a leader. Then, into this bleak arena steps a man, THE man for the moment.
      Kryten: Who?
      Rimmer: Me. Who did you think, Pat Boone?

    • Lister: Caligula was a famous roman emperor. He slept with his mother, both his sisters, and wound up eating his son.
      Cat: (To Caligula) Look buddy, we all feel peckish after making love, but most of us settle for pizza!

    • Kryten: Assisi, sir. St Francis of Assisi.
      Rimmer: (To St Francis) There's only two kinds from Assisi: Steers and queers. Which are you, boy?

    • Caligula: Do you think I'm insane?
      Cat: Shall we take a quick vote?

    • Lister: Like I said, I don't realy know.
      Caligula: Very well. Rasputin, bring hither the skin-diving suit with the bottom cut out, and unleash the rampant wildebeest.

    • Caligula: How does this work?
      Lister: Don't know. If I did I wouldn't be here.
      Caligula: Very well, if that's the way you want to play it! Rasputin! Bring in the bucket of soapy frogs and remove his trousers!

    • Lister: What about Arnie's army?
      Cat: Yeah, how many of them made it back?
      Rimmer: There are always casualties in war, gentlemen. Otherwise it wouldn't be war, just be a rather nasty argument with a lot of pushing and shoving.
      Lister: So how many survived?
      Rimmer: Well we haven't had time to make a full official estimate, but at a rough guess, and obviously this is subject to alteration pending information updates, roundabout none of them.
      Lister: So you wiped out the entire population of this planet.
      Rimmer: You make it sound so negative, Lister. Don't you see, the deranged menace that once threatened this world is vanquished!
      Lister: No it isn't, pal. You're still here.
      Rimmer: I brought about peace. Peace, freedom and democracy.
      Lister: Yeah, Rimmer. Right. Absolutely. Now all the corpses that litter that battlefield can just lie there safe under the knowledge that they snuffed it under a flag of peace and can now happily decompose in a land of freedom. Ya smeg head.
      Rimmer: There really is no pleasing some people, is there?

    • Lister: Can't you tell the story is not gripping me? I am in a state of non-gripness. I am completely smegging ungripp-ed!

    • Cat: Look, if it's torture, say it's torture. I can handle it!
      Lister: Okay, they may torture us.
      Cat: Waaah! Torture us!

    • Lister: Hang on. These guys aren't Nazis -- they're all wearing different period costumes. There's one looks like Al Capone, there's another like Mussolini, Richard III, Napoleon. Smeg, it's like all the worst people in history have been brought together in one place. Oh my God, there's James Last! I recognize him from Rimmer's record collection.
      Cat: What are they doing?.
      Lister: Well, just lining up in ... in some kind of firing squad. Woah Woah! Hang on, hang on. Someone's being brought out, they're tying him to a stake. It's Winnie the Pooh.
      Cat: What?
      Lister: Winnie the Pooh, I swear! He's refusing the blindfold.
      Cat: They're tying Winnie the Pooh to a stake?
      Sound FX of gun shots. Lister turns pale.
      Lister: That's something no one should ever have to see.

    • Cat: Those guys are fiends. They instantly know your weak spots. As soon as they see me they'll know they only have to force me into platform shoes and flared trousers and I'll sing like Tweetie Pie.

    • Lister: They're building something.
      Cat: What?
      Lister: Oh nothing, nothing. Just a sculpture, you know, a modern art job. The kind you get in shopping malls.
      Cat: What's it made of?
      Lister: Wood. It's a sort of inverted L shape in wood.
      Cat: Does it have a kind of rope motif?
      Lister: There's a noose-y theme to it, yeah.
      Cat: Its gallows, right? Look, if it's gallows, say it's gallows. I can take it.
      Lister: OK, it's gallows.
      Cat: Waaaaah! They're building a gallows! They're hanging us! Waaaaah!

    • Rimmer: Victory, gentlemen! The fascists have fallen! Rejoice! We conquer! Victory on Waxworld! It's VW day!

  • NOTES (6)

    • This episode was originally the first in the series - which is why Kryten cannot disobey Rimmer's deranged orders, despite being taught how to do so in Camille - but was not screened because it was during the 1991 Gulf War and it was considered in poor taste. The Gulf War ultimately ended in time for Meltdown to be shown at the end of the series, and the original order was never restored.

    • The stretching scene transition effect was created to replace the Red Dwarf model shots used to indicate a scene change, since the Dwarfers spend the majority of this episode away from Red Dwarf.

    • Clayton Mark proved such a hit as Elvis that a storyline was considered where the Dwarfers find out that Elvis Presley is indeed alive and living in outer space.

    • The prehistoric monsters that were less convincing than those you would find in a packet of Wheatie Flakes, were actually footage from the 1967 monster movie Daikyoju Gappa.

    • Tony Hawks' appearence as Caligula in this episode marks the final time he has appeared on Red Dwarf.

    • The credits of this episode feature Clayton Mark singing the theme song in his Elvis voice.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • visual: Historical figures -- Many historical people appear or are mentioned in this episode. Here is a list of them:

      Presley, Elvis: (1935-1977) The King of Rock and Roll!

      Pope Gregory: More than likely Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585) who was pope from 1572. His claim to fame is that he reformed our current "Gregorian calendar", which provides that a century year is not a leap year unless it is divisible by 400.

      Capone, Al: (1898-1947) Chicago gangster, head of a large criminal organisation which he had built up during the time of Prohibition. Capone was eventually arrested for tax evasion and spent 1931-1939 in prison. He eventually died of syphilis.

      Mussolini, Benito: (1883-1945) Italian dictator and founder of the Fascist Movement; ally of Hitler during World War II.

      Richard III: (1452-1485) King of England 1483-1485. Last Plantagenet king and last English king to die on the battlefield (defeated by Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field). Most famous for allegedly instigating the murder of his nephews (Edward V and his brother, Richard of York.

      Last, James: (1929- ) German-born cabaret/dance band leader and musician. Big success in Europe. Albums such as "Polka Party" and "Violins In Love" indicate both why Rimmer likes him so much and why he's on the evil side on Waxworld.

      Winnie-the-Pooh: A bear of very little brain. Teddy bear character created in 1926 by British writer A.A. Milne; Pooh and his adventures being based on the toys of Milne's son Christopher Robin.

      Sir Lancelot: Best fighting knight of the Round Table fellowship, in the legend of King Arthur.

      Joan of Arc: (c.1412-1431) French girl who, after inspiration from holy "voices", led the French army into battle against the English to free France from English domination. Eventually captured by the English, she was interrogated and tricked into admissions of witchcraft. Soon afterwards she was burned at the stake in Rouen. She was canonised in 1920.

      Day, Doris: (1924- ) American actress, singer and animal rights activist. Movies include "Lullaby Of Broadway" (1951), "Calamity Jane" (1953) and "The Pajama Game" (1957).

      Messalina: (c.22-48) Wife of Roman emperor Claudius I. Promiscuous and conniving, Messalina manipulated Claudius into executing poor unfortunates who had displeased her in some way. She eventually received her come-uppance when she made a secret second marriage while still married to Claudius (who naturally was not going to stand for this, and so executed Messalina).

      Caligula: (12-41) Gaius Caesar. Mentally unstable, cruel and depraved Emperor of Rome (37-41). Besides the "excesses" mentioned by Lister in this episode, Caligula ("Little Boots") also made a consul of his favourite horse Incitatus. Finally an officer of the guard could stand this sort of rot no longer, and so Caligula was assassinated.

      Boston Strangler: (1931-1973) Serial killer and rapist who murdered 13 women (aged 19-85) in Boston, Massachusetts, from June 1962 to January 1964. His name came from his leaving of bows tied around his victims' necks or legs. In 1965 Albert de Salvo was arrested for lesser sexual offences; he later confessed to being the Boston Strangler but due to a legal technicality was never tried for these murders. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for his lesser crimes, but died in jail of stab wounds at the age of 42.

      Rasputin, Grigory: (1871-1916) "Holy" man whose rather-too-well-heeded counsel to Tsarina Alexandra of Russia certainly did nothing to hinder the inevitability of the Russian Revolution. His debauchery and incredible political power could not be tolerated by the Russian nobles, a group of whom murdered Rasputin by poisoning him, shooting him, clubbing him on the head and then throwing him into the river where he finally drowned.

      Gandhi, Mohandas K. (Mahatma): (1869-1948) Pacifist Indian nationalist leader, pushing for Indian independence from Britain, in a non-violent way. He was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist after the partition of the country into India and Pakistan.

      Mother Teresa: (1910-1997) Albanian-born Catholic nun, founder of a Charity order dedicated to helping the poor and destitute of India. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and is currently being considered by the Catholic church for Sainthood.

      Dalai Lama: (1935- ) Self-exiled (as a protest against Chinese oppression) spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet.

      Queen Victoria: (1819-1901) Queen of Great Britain 1837-1901. Longest-reigning British monarch, and often called "Grandmother of Europe" by virtue of the marriages of her nine children and their descendants into the royal houses of Europe.

      Coward, Noel: (1899-1973) British playwright, director, actor, composer and producer. Well-known play -- "Private Lives" (1930).

      Goebbels, Paul Josef: (1897-1945) German Nazi leader and minister of propaganda from 1933. Poisoned himself when Berlin fell to the Allies.

    • Rimmer: There's two kinds from Assisi...

      Rimmers inspection and abuse of his troops as military ploys to "separate the men from the boys" can be seen in such war films as 1987's Full Metal Jacket and 1981's An Officer and a Gentleman. Rimmer's insult of St Francis ("There's only two kinds from Assisi - steers and queers. Which are you boy?") mimics a line from An Officer and a Gentleman.

    • Visual: Film Reference

      This episode's storyline is an apparent homage to the 1973 futuristic movie Westworld starring Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin. In the movie, the androids of a robot theme park go against their programming and run amok, killing the human guests.

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