Re-Dwarf: Queeg

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Queeg is the name of Red Dwarf’s backup computer, which comes on line automatically when some mysterious subroutine decides that Holly has endangered the crew through a series of errors which form the opening scenes to this episodes. Queeg’s name is taken from The Caine Mutiny, and Holly paraphrases Mutiny on the Bounty shortly after Queeg’s arrival; mutiny, you will gather, is kind of a theme here, whether that be the initial takeover by Queeg, or the mutiny against him which returns things to normal at the end.

The quality of the jokes in this episode varies, with Rimmer’s missing legs coming across a bit silly, but when his malfunction causes him to mimic the rest of the crew that’s easily forgotten. And I think I’ve just noticed that ‘What is it?’ has become a catchphrase of the Cat; I guess that’s the curiosity thing working then.

the moral of the story is: Appreciate what you’ve got, because basically, I’m fantastic!

Philosophically speaking, there is a brief glance at the idea that artificial intelligences have feelings too, but it only lasts long enough to make a cheap gag about intelligent shoes. But perhaps more importantly, there’s a goodbye scene just before Holly gets erased (oh, spoiler alert by the way!):

I hope you meet those aliens your looking for, who can give you a body, and you become an officer and you get a sex life, and all the other millions of things you feel you need to make you happy.

That’s Holly neatly summing up Rimmer’s rather shallow outlook on life – it seems like he has a pretty good grasp on it for an artifial intelligence with no feelings. I’ve commented before about Holly’s almost divine omnipotence meaning he actually does know what’s best for the crew, and he suggests as much himself here.

But, like intergalactic Israelites lost in the wilderness of space, the tribe of Red Dwarf don’t realise this, and forsake their benevolent protector for whatever alternative comes along. Unfortunately for them, Queeg lacks Holly’s grace (denying Rimmer his unnecessary four hour lie-in) and mercy (rigidly enforcing cleaning duties, despite their effect on Cat’s cuticles).


As the story plays out, we discover (after an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey) that Queeg was just Holly winding the boys up in order to show them that he’s not computer senile, he’s just a really good bloke.

And I suppose, from our human perspective, it sometimes appears that God has an IQ with a 6 in it (that isn’t 6,000), but maybe, like Holly, He’s just going easy on us at those times.

Most of the time, He just wants to be one of the crew for our journey home – sure, he’s the one ultimately in control, but He’ll allow us our little diversions, our four hour lie-ins and refusal to clean up after ourselves. Like Holly, God likes having us around, despite our flaws – but, like Holly, when we start to take advantage, or He finds our lack of faith disturbing, He’ll break out His hidden Queeg and bring us back into line the hard way.


The re-mastering here includes a lot of new sound effects, especially in the early scenes as everything starts going wrong, new visuals to accompany Rimmer’s malfunctioning, and a shortening of the chess game montage to keep the pace up at the end.

That’s about it really, apart from the odd decision to change the way Holly is erased towards the end, which sort of ruins the 2001 homage of the original version.

Watch this episode for Chris Barrie’s first real opportunity so show off his vocal talents in the show.


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