Red Dwarf/The End

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The End
Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate February 15, 1988
Writer(s) Rob Grant,
Doug Naylor
Director(s) Ed Bye
← 1x01
The End
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Future Echoes
Red DwarfSeason One

The End is the first episode of the first season of Red Dwarf, and the first episode overall.

Guest Stars:


Plot Overview

Dave Lister is a Third Technician aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf. The lowest-ranking crewmember aboard, he and his immediate superior, Second Technician Arnold Rimmer, are responsible for menial tasks like cleaning clogged soup dispenser nozzles. Lister, an amiable slob, is content to do the jobs considered too dirty for the service robots, occasionally flirting with his unrequited crush, Console Officer Kristine Kochanski. Lister has a half-baked dream of returning to earth and buying a farm on Fiji, where he will breed horses. The obsessively neat Rimmer, meanwhile, dreams of passing his engineering exam and becoming an officer.

Lister points out to Rimmer that he has failed the exam eleven times; in fact, the last time, he panicked so badly that he wrote "I Am A Fish" four hundred times and fainted. This time, though, Rimmer is taking no chances; he is copying the textbook onto his body. However, when he arrives at the exam, he has sweated so badly that his body is unreadable, and he passes out again.

Lister is summoned to see Captain Hollister, who accuses him of bringing a cat aboard, in violation of health regulations. Lister denies it, but the Captain shows him a picture Lister took of himself with the cat, which he then sent to be developed in the ship's lab. Worse, the cat, Frankenstein, is pregnant. Lister is given a choice; he can either surrender the cat, who will be dissected and tested for diseases, or go into stasis for eighteen months, forfeiting all his pay for that period. Lister chooses stasis.

On the way to the stasis booth, First Officer Todhunter explains the concept; essentially, he will be frozen in time, becoming what Todhunter calls "a non-event mass with a quantum probability of zero." Mere seconds will have passed for him, but it will be eighteen months later. After being given one last chance to surrender Frankenstein, Lister is locked into stasis and frozen in time.

When Lister emerges, he finds the corridors empty except for small piles of white powder. Holly, the ship's superintelligent computer, tells Lister that an improperly repaired drive plate resulted in a lethal radiation leak that killed the crew, and that he couldn't be released from stasis until the radiation reached a safe background level. Lister demands to know how long he was in stasis.

"Three million years," replies Holly.

Lister is stunned. "I've still got that library book."

Lister is not only the last person on the ship, he is now the last human being alive. But he is not entirely alone; to keep him sane, Holly has recreated Rimmer as a hologram. Rimmer is typically bitter about being dead, and being a hologram he is unable to touch anything. He blames Lister for his death, since if Lister hadn't been in stasis, he would have been able to help Rimmer repair the drive plate.

As they argue, they encounter what looks like another human: a black man in a sharp pink suit, dancing and singing down the corridor. Holly tells them that Lister's cat Frankenstein survived the accident and gave birth to kittens, who, over three million years, evolved into the humanlike being they see before them.

Lister, Rimmer, Holly, and the Cat ponder what to do now. Lister decides that they will return to earth. Rimmer thinks this is a horrible idea, pointing out that they will look like the slime that crawled out of the ocean, but Lister still has his dream of Fiji. "Look out earth," he declares, "the slime's coming home!"


Arc Advancement


  • The entire crew of Red Dwarf are killed by a radiation leak.



  • Captain Hollister makes a reference to the Oregon, a ship which apparently had a notorious accident caused by escaped rabbits.


The Show

  • A 14B is a fuzzy, wire, pipe cleaner. A 14F is a nearly identical pipe cleaner of slightly different size.
  • Rimmer reports Lister to Todhunter for 123 counts of insulting a superior technician, 39 counts of dereliction of duty, 84 counts of general insubordination, and one count of mutiny!
  • George McIntyre was the crewmember who died and was brought back as a hologram.
  • Todhunter reminds Rimmer that there are 169 people aboard the ship.
  • Lister is saving up money to buy a farm on Fiji. He save money by not buying deodorant, soap, socks, etc.
  • Lister got Franekstein on Titan.
  • A big, black, tom cat on Titan got Frankenstein pregnant.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • Lister's cat is named Franekstein.
  • George McIntyre's funeral song was: See You Later, Alligator
  • Lister watches George's ash cannister float away into space exclaiming, "There goes McIntyre ..." Rimmer snaps at him, "Really? I thought it was Mary, Queen of Scots."
  • Rimmer says of himself, that he is "dead as a can of spam."

Memorable Moments

  • Just after Lister gets out of stasis, Holly must explain to Dave how everyone is dead ... over and over and over.
  • Only momemnts after Lister learns that everyone is dead, he notices piles of white dust everywhere. He begins taste-testing the little piles here and there to try to figure out what it is. This goes on for a few moments. Finally, unable to work it out for himself, Lister asks Holly about the dust and finds out that it is the remains of the crew.


  • As the show opens ...
    Rimmer: Lister, have you ever been hit over the head with a welding mallet?
    Lister: (shaking his head "no")
    Rimmer: No? ... Then shut up!
  • Captain Hollister confronts Lister with evidence of his cat:
    Captain Hollister: Lister, not only are you so stupid you bring aboard an unquarantined animal and jeopardise every man and woman on this ship....not only that....but you take a photograph of yourself with the cat and send it to be processed in the ship's lab. Now, I'm going to ask you again, do you have a cat?
    (The Captain holds up a photo of Lister and Frankenstein and asks again)
    Captain Hollister: Have you got a cat?
  • Rimmer points out that three million years have passed on Earth ...
    Rimmer: Can you imagine what humankind has evolved into? To them, you'll be the equivalent of the slime that first crawled out of the oceans.
    Lister: I could smarten meself up a bit.


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