Red Dwarf

Season 5 Episode 2

The Inquisitor

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Feb 27, 1992 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
71 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The crew are flying along in Starbug when th ship suddenly fails to respond to the controls. Using Lister's body, something announces itself as 'The Inquisitor' and tells them that they will now return to Red Dwarf to face judgement. The Inquisitor as a self-repairing simulant who survived to the end of time, only to find no heaven or afterlife. Building a time machine, it now goes back and forth through time, judging everyone on whether they have lead a worthwhile life, deleting the ones who didn't and replacing them with "the sperm that never got a chance". Aboard Red Dwarf, the inquisition begins. Rimmer and Cat survive the trial because of their shallowness and low standards, but Lister and Kryten both feel they could have made much more of their lives and are removed from history. Just as they are about to be fully erased, another Kryten appears behind The Inquisitor with one of his own time gauntlets and takes him by surprise. Kryten throws them the gauntlet before getting killed by The Inquisitor. When they escape, Rimmer and Cat, due to their "erasure", don't recognise them, and a completely different Lister and Kryten exist. Suddenly The Inquisitor attacks, killing the "new" Lister and Kryten. The rest go to face him and Lister finally destroys The Inquisitor with the old "backfiring time-gauntlet trick" which erases The Inquisitor from history. With The Inquisitor's influence on the time-stream missing, everything returns to normal.moreless

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  • Watch or be replaced!!!

    A very good episode taking the crew on a journey of self-determination and preservation! The major source of conflict in this episode is the inquistor, an android existential judge that travels time and space to determine if individuals deserve to be erased from existence and to let those entities that may have been take their place.

    Full of the usual wit and gags this episode stand out in the clever way that Kryton saves the day and for the ironic finale that Lister conjures up to try to defeat the inquistor. There are some real gems of comedy in this episode that makes it stand out from the rest.

    A worthwhile episode to watch.moreless
  • The Inquisitor, a mechanoid that traverses time erasing frome existence those who have not led a fulfilling life, targets the crew members of Red Dwarf.

    A pretty good episode with a neat timetravel element and lots of action, but I feel that there are a few errors.

    Lister is able to suspend the Inquisitor over a railing. He then saves his life. Lister says this keeps him safe from erasure. The Inquisitor says he can still be erased because he would never be there to suspend him in the first place. Not so, the replacement Lister would have been there to do it. The Inquisitor is then destroyed as his own gauntlet backfires on him. Kryten, Rimmer, and the Cat then return from erasure. I don't understand why destroying the Inquisitor would bring them back ... unless of course this nullifies all of the Inquisitor's work throughout history.

    I love the scene when Cat is tried before the Inquisitor. It is a classic Cat moment. "I have given pleasure to the world because I have such a beautiful ass!" Marvelous.

    This episode is worth watching, but I don't think it is a fine example of this show.moreless
Jack Docherty

Jack Docherty

The Inquisitor

Guest Star

Jake Abraham

Jake Abraham

Alternative Lister

Guest Star

James Cormack

James Cormack

Thomas Allman

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • At the end of the episode, Lister and Kryten should technically have no memory of their plan because the Inquisitor has been erased from history.


    • Considering Rimmer is a hologram, and thus, not technically in possession of "the gift of life", why would the Inquisitor bother judging him? Wouldn't it have been more logical for it to go back and judge him when he was still alive?

    • The Inquisitor is supposed to judge everyone and give them a chance to justify their existence, but in the beginning of the episode, Thomas Allman didn't appear to have had a trial.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Kryten: (The Inquisitor is coming to judge the crew and delete the worthless. Rimmer is worried.) Sir, you don't have to be a great philanthropist, or a missionary worker, you simply have to seize the gift of life!
      Rimmer: Oh, God.
      Kryten: Make a contribution.
      Rimmer: Oh, God.
      Kryten: No matter how small.
      Rimmer: Oh, God.
      Kryten: You simply have to have lead a life that wasn't totally egocentric, vain and self-serving.
      Rimmer: You're doing this on purpose, aren't you?
      Kryten: I'm just trying to make you feel better, sir.
      Rimmer: Well, shut up then!

    • Lister: I'm gonna use my brains for the first time in my life.
      Kryten: Considering the circumstances, sir, do you really believe that's wise?

    • Rimmer: But how do I know I'll get a fair hearing?
      Inquisitor: Because, like all who are judged by the Inquisitor, your judge shall be... (lifts up his mask, revealing Rimmer's face) Yourself!
      Rimmer: Oh, smeg!
      Inquisitor (as Rimmer): "Oh, smeg!" indeed, matey!

    • Rimmer: So, Kryten, you've heard of this 'Inquisitor?'
      Kryten: Only as a myth; a dark fable; a horror tale, told across the flickering embers of a midnight fire, wherever hardened space dogs gather to drink fermented vegetable products and compete in tales of blood-chilling terror!
      Rimmer: A simple 'yes' would have sufficed...

    • Kryten: Sir, I am programmed to relinquish my life. That's why the Mechanoid 4000 series was voted "Android of the Year" five years running! I have as much interest in saving my own life as a chronically-depressed lemming.

    • Cat: I have given pleasure to the world because I have such a beautiful ass.

    • Inquisitor: The Inquisition begins. Prove to me you are worthy of the honour of life, or drink deeply from the well of nothingness for all eternity.
      Cat: I hate these either/or questions!

    • Inquisitor: Well! Get out of this one, smeghead!
      Lister: What're you talkin' about?
      Imquisitor: You know what you coulda made of your life, if you tried. What you coulda become.
      Lister: So?
      Inquisitor: You've got brains, man! Brains you've never used!
      Lister: So?
      Inquisitor: So, justify yourself!
      Lister: Spin on it!

    • Kryten: That is the Inquisitor -- he prunes away the wastrels, expunges the wretched, and deletes the worthless!
      Rimmer: We're in big trouble.
      Lister: Wait a minute! Who's to say what's worthless?
      Cat: Oh please! Take a look in the mirror! Read your entry in "Who's Nobody!"
      Lister: No, I mean it! Who's to judge? Who's to say what's worthwhile?
      Rimmer: Well, let's face it, Listy, lying on your bunk, reading "What Bike?" and eating sugar puff sandwiches for eight hours every day is unlikely to qualify.
      Lister: So just because I haven't writ any symphonies or painted the Sistine Chapel, that makes me prunable?
      Holly: No, being a totally worthless, unwashed space bum, that's what makes you prunable.

    • Lister: This wooden horse of Troy malarkey, I'm not buyin' that.
      Rimmer: It's one of the most famous military manoeuvres in history!
      Lister: I mean, the Greeks have been camped outside Troy, kerpowing, zapping, and kersplatting the Trojans for the best part of a decade, yeah?
      Rimmer: So?
      Lister: So all of a sudden they wake up one mornin' and the Greeks have gone. And there outside the city walls they've left this gift; this tribute to their valiant foes: a huge wooden horse, just large enough to happily contain 500 Greeks in full battle dress and still leave adequate room for toilet facilities? Are you telling me not one Trojan goes, "Hang on a minute, that's a bit of a funny prezzy. What's wrong with a couple hundred pairs of socks and some aftershave?" No, they don't -- they just wheel it in and all decide to go for an early night!
      People that stupid deserve to be kerpowed, zapped and kersplatted in their beds! You know what the big joke is? From this particular phase in history we derive the phrase, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts," when it would be much more logical to derive the phrase, "Beware of Trojans, they're complete smegheads!"

  • NOTES (1)

    • The deleted scenes from this episode (found on the series five DVD) would feature Cat and Rimmer trying to outwit The Inquisitor by whacking Lister on the head with a shovel while he was being used to communicate with them, then having the tables turned, an extension to Krytens "time trap" (which explains why The Inquisitor was clutching his face during that scene) and a different climax, showing the inquisitors organic face.


    • Rimmer: Well, thank you AJP Taylor!

      Rimmer refers to a famous and controversial 20th century historian who wrote The Origins of the Second World War.

    • Kryten: I have as much interest in saving my own life as a chronically-depressed lemming.

      This is an allusion to the notion, which is highly incorrect, that lemmings periodically become suicidal during periods of overpopulation and leap en masse off cliffs and into the ocean. This myth was widely popularized by the 1958 Disney nature film White Wilderness using staged footage.

    • Kryten: Ah, Virgil's Aeneid.

      Oh, the epic tale of Agamemnon's pursuit of Helen of Troy -- the most classic work by the greatest Latin poet who ever put quill to parchment!

      (The siege of Troy and the famous wooden horse ploy are described in the Homer's Greek epic "The Iliad", which is indeed "the most classic worK" In Virgil's Roman epic, "The Aeniad", Aeneas, during the sack of Troy , is told by his mother, Venus (Aphrodite) to go west with his son and his old father, to find a new home and to fulfill prophesies. These prophecies take their origin from stories hundreds of years old. In Book XX of the Iliad, the Trojan prince Aeneas, whose mother was the goddess Aphrodite, fights with Achilles; he is rescued from certain death by the god Poseidon because "it is destined that he shall be the survivor.")

    • Rimmer: (about Lister and kryten) They're chained together like Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis...

      These men are both well known American actors. Sidney Poitier is famous for his roles in Lillies of the Field (1963), Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967), and To Sir, With Love (1967). Tony Curtis is famous for Some Like It Hot (1959), Spartacus (1960), and The Great Race (1965). Rimmer's line refers to the 1958 film The Defiant Ones, where Poitier and Curtis play a black and white convict who escape while chained together and must not only deal with being on the run, but also issues of racism and their mutual dislike for each other.