From The TV IV
Psirens is the first episode of the sixth season of Red Dwarf, and the thirty-first episode overall.
Guest Stars: Clare Grogan (Kochanski), Jenny Agutter (Professor Mamet), Samantha Robson (Pete Tranter's Sister), Anita Dobson (Captain Tau), Richard Ridings (Crazed Astro), Zoe Hilson (Temptress), Liz Anson (Temptress)
A bearded, hairy creature, Lister, gets out of bed with fingernails and toenails that are as long as his fingers themselves! He can't remember who he is. Kryten has been tending to the ship for over 200 years, while everyone else was in "deep sleep". Lister's memory eventually returns when Kryten brings Rimmer back on-line: "Oh, that Rimmer."
When everyone has had a chance to wake up and make themselves presentable, Kryten tells them that this is their first chance in over 200 years to catch up with Red Dwarf, but to do so they will have to take a shortcut through an asteroid field. We also learn a number of other things:
- They are on Starbug.
- Somehow Red Dwarf has been stolen.
- Rimmer's hologram generator is on battery backup.
- They have only three months of oxygen and two weeks of water.
When they enter the asteroid field, there are derelict ships everywhere. It is nothing less than a spaceship graveyard. They launch a scouter to investigate one of the crashed ships, where they find a message written in blood: "PSIRENS." Reviewing the ship's black box reveals that the asteroid field is infested with Psirens, a type of GELF, that use their powers of illusion to prey on humans (and suck their brains out through a straw).
The Psirens make several attempts to trick them into landing: the Cat gets a distress call from two beautiful tempresses, Lister gets a distress call from Kochanski, and an illusory fireball comes at the ship.
When a second fireball comes at the ship, Rimmer takes charge, insisting that they stay on course. The fireball, a real fireball this time, hits the ship causing it to crash on an asteroid, and embedding the landing stanchion into the asteroid.
Lister goes outside to free the landing stanchion, and soon several Psirens are vying for the chance to eat his brain. The first takes the form a woman he lusted after in his youth. It almost has him, but Kryten kills it before it can eat his brain. The begin to walk away, but when Kryten calls him Dave, Lister blasts him with a bazookoid -- Kryten never calls him "Dave". It was another Psiren.
As he tries to get back inside, he even sees the Channel 27 weather girl inticing him with her "pointy" stick. After Lister is aboard, a second Lister claims that he is the real Lister. They both claim that the other is a Psiren.
Kryten lets both of them aboard, and devises tests to determine which one is the real Lister. Kryten tosses them each an apple. They both catch them in their right hands. When asked to trim their toenails, they both start chewing their toenails. The final test is the guitar. The first Lister to play the guitar, plays it perfectly, which brings down a volley of weapons fire from Kryten and the Cat. The Psiren read Lister's mind, but Lister only thinks he can play guitar.
Down in Starbug's engine room, the cornered Psiren appears to Kryten as Professor Mamet, his creator. He cannot harm her or disobey her. She orders him into the trash compactor, and then orders him to engage the crusher.
Meanwhile Rimmer's battery runs out, leaving only a thirsty Cat and Lister to wonder why there is a new vending machine in the engine room. Before they can react, the Psiren (the vending machine) knocks their heads together, rendering them unconscious.
Meanwhile Kryten has survived the compactor, but he is changed. He is a cube: three feet on a side with his face in the middle ... and legs. As he gets out of the trash compactor, he says to himself crossly, "I'm almost annoyed!"
As the Psiren is preparing to feast on Lister and the Cat, Kryten jumps/falls on it from overhead, killing it.
- Over 200 years have elapsed since the end of the previous series.
- Somehow Red Dwarf has been lost or stolen.
- Lister parked it around a blue-green planetoid, and it hasn't been seen since.
- Kryten believes that it was stolen.
- Now is their first chance in over 200 years to catch up with Red Dwarf.
- At the end of the episode, they follow Red Dwarf into a gas nebula.
- The Cat seems to have become an accomplished pilot with a nose that can smell trouble across the void of space.
- The Psirens try to intice Lister with images of Kochanski.
- A Psiren appears to Lister as the Channel 27 weather girl.
- If Lister wants to play his guitar, he has to put on a space suit and do it in outer space. That's the deal he made with the Cat (and presumably the others as well).
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- Lister wrongly describes Ulysses as part of a Turkish legend.
- When Kryten is re-booting him, Rimmer gets lots of arrogance and neuroses, but only a miniscule portion of charisma.
- When Lister is outside freeing the landing stanchion, he is confronted by Pete Tranter's sister, a woman he lusted after in his youth. He finds her irresistable, and they are soon kissing passionately. Then we see what is really happening: Lister is passionately kissing the Psiren's insect-like mouthpart, and not Pete Tranter's sister!
- Later when testing the two Listers to see which one is a Psiren, Kryten hands one of them his guitar, and asks him to play. Surprised, Lister asks, "Here? Inside?" Rimmer insists. Lister begins to play. He plays fantastically well: a brilliant performance. As the last notes fade, Kryten and the Cat unleash a withering volley of bazookoid fire on him. Luckily it was the Psiren, but Lister demands to know just how they knew it wasn't him. The Cat responds, "'Cause that dude could play."
- As Kryten is thawing out Rimmer's light bee, Lister still can't remember who he is ...
- Lister: Rimmer, he's my best mate, isn't he?
- Kryten: Sir, you are sick!
- (Kryten then gives Lister a synaptic enhancer)
- Not five seconds after being warned about Psirens, the Cat receives a distress call from two beautiful temptresses ...
- Temptress 1: Please help us. Our settlement is almost extinct. There are only women left.
- Temptress 2: Barely 3000 of us.
- Temptress 1: If we are to survive, we need males to spread their seed amongst our number. We beg you, make love to us.
- Temptress 2: Make love to all of us.
- The transmission cuts off, and the Cat heads to the cockpit to change course. He stops to wonder aloud to the others, if possibly those two could be Psirens.
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