The crew of Red Dwarf obtains a Swedish Rejuvenating Shower,which can restore your body to its physical prime. When testing it, they find themselves transported back to 23 AD. The return remote’s out of batteries, so the only course of action is for the gang to make the long journey to India to obtain lemons and make a primitive battery. Not long after arriving in India, the crew finds themselves caught up in the troubles of one Mr. Jesus.
“Lemons” is packed with great jokes from beginning to end. I enjoyed Rimmer and Lister debating Shakespeare’s influence on the English language and how awful his haircut was. The do-it-yourself shower assembly was, of course, another in the long line of Ikea jokes, but it’s still at least mildly amusing. It’s certainly helped by the fact that the final product looked wonderfully haphazard and rickety.
The shift from sci-fi to Life of Brian style Biblical humor works surprisingly well, and they don’t hit you over the head with it immediately. As the crew was sitting in the ancient restaurant and Rimmer mutters “Jesus!” to himself, one of the patrons turns around and replies, “Yes?” I thought for sure it was just a throwaway joke, but it ended up becoming the focal point of the episode.
Jesus being taken back to the future and his reaction to it was just hilarious. All the computery advanced technology in the world didn’t faze him in the least. No, it was shopping bags that utterly fascinated the man. Carrying multiple objects within another! Truly astounding.
Jesus complains of pain in his back that’s been happening on and off for the last two weeks. Kryten deduces that it’s a kidney stone and they’ll have to perform surgery to remove it. When asked if he’s up to the task, Kryten reveals he’d been practicing surgery on Lister unbeknownst to him, and storing the organs in the freezer outside his quarters……which Cat and Lister had been helping themselves to “pork” from.
By the time we actually go into surgery and we had our regulars arguing over who has to hold Jesus’ dick while the sound/camera is inserted, I was nearly in tears. It’s been a long time since a Red Dwarf episode made my sides hurt this much.
I understand that more religious viewers may take offense to this sort of thing, like the scene above or a bit near the end with Jesus running around the marketplace picking logical holes in the Ten Commandments. Being a godless heathen, I thought it was great fun indeed, but if this is the type of thing that bothers you, you’ve been warned.
The end reveal that the Jesus we’ve been following wasn’t Jesus of Nazareth at all, but some other hapless schmuck is just the icing on the cake. It’s apparently a very popular name in the ancient world. Of course, just as the Red Dwarf crew is about to leave, they overhear someone else who might, just might be the real thing.
“Lemons” is the best episode of the season so far, and it crams a hell of a lot into 30 minutes. One smaller problem spiraling out of control is always a good recipe for comedy, and it’s well used here indeed. It’s a testament to Red Dwarf‘s willingness to do just about any story you could dream up when putting together a rejuvenation shower snowballs into chasing Jesus around ancient India. It’s an extremely fun, time-travelly romp you’d be a smeghead to miss.