Red Dwarf: 10.2 “Fathers And Suns” Review
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.
This week the popular sci-fi show took a step back to the somewhat unpopular series VII, with a nod towards the ‘Ouroboros’ episode, which depicts how Lister becomes his own father. This is often a topic that a lot of Red Dwarf fans aren’t too amazed about, but it was addressed fairly well in Father & Suns. In all this was a more inconsistent episode to season opener Trojan that had some good laughs and a decent enough story to keep us entertained.
First of there was the topic of Father’s Day and Lister’s tradition of getting so hammered on Gelf hooch he forgets what message he writes inside the following year’s Father’s Day card. What was best about this whole situation was the stand off between the Lister and his recorded message – this was classic dwarf, very well written and full of laughs. This was a much better run out for Lister than last week’s stuck-on-hold routine, let’s not forget he is technically the show’s main character so it’s good to see him getting more screen time.
Meanwhile, the rest of the crew were occupied by a combination of a new ‘predicting ‘computer and an ironic game of Chinese whispers. The addition of the foreseeing female CPU Pree, was a really sharp element of the episode, one that could have been the whole premise for this week’s edition of the show. Her control and domination of the ship and its characters echoed a combination of the infamous Holly-devised Queeg and the future predicting Cassandra from season 8. If the show was going to take a look back at it’s past then this would have been a much-preferred way to do it.
The Chinese whisper game was a very poor attempt at a third sub-plot, very ill-judged and poorly delivered by over stereotypical accented vending machines. From the offset this was clearly a predictable joke that had no real pay off at the end. The only positive thing about this scenario was the expansion of characters and devices on board the ship, minus the Chinese food dispenser of course. Even so it was a bit of waste of the other characters and the time could have been spent concentrating on more of Pree’s overly accurate predictions.
Overall, a mixed bag of plot elements made this episode lack in fluidity compared to Trojan. Lister’s leading story was a great attempt at re-addressing the topic of his parenthood and somewhat redeemed the whole situation. Rimmer and Cat were somewhat underused in the story but overall this was still a good continuation of the re-birthed show.
Scene of the Episode: Father Vs Son – A great exchange between the two sides of Lister, climaxing with him having his guitar ejected from the air look. This was Lister’s best scene in not just this season but possibly since as far back as season VII.