Waiting for God
Red Dwarf - Series 1 - Episode 4

At the very start of this episode, Holly's SOS call makes it clear that Lister was lying about passing the chef's exam he took in Balance of Power - he failed.

Rimmer is busy being insulted by Holly and Lister is trying to read one of the Cat's books in the sleeping quarters. When Rimmer asks why Lister is reading with his nose, Lister tells him that Cat books use scents instead of printed words. Rimmer tells him that the idea is preposterous, and that Holly has spotted an Unidentified Object, which he has. Lister tells Rimmer not to get excited, because it's probably a rock. Rimmer goes off to check out the U.O., and sees that it's actually a pod of some kind.

In the meantime, the Cat has lent Lister the Holy Book of the Cats, which details the story of Cloister, the father of the Cat people. Lister tries to tell the Cat that The Book is just the story of himself and Frankenstein his pet cat. Lister asks Holly to translate the holy book for him, and goes off to see the pod. Having a closer look at it while Rimmer isn't looking, Lister discovers that it's actually one of Red Dwarf's own pods - a garbage pod, in fact.

Rimmer wakes up Lister early the next morning with some excitement, having convinced himself that the pod is in fact some kind of alien spacecraft. Holly informs Lister that he's finished the translation of the Holy Book, and tells Lister the story...

Morning, Dave. I've finished your translation.
Who's Cloister? Is it me?
Yes, Dave. The Cats have made you their God.
Hey! Working class kid makes good!

Lister's 5 Year Plan of setting up a farm and diner on Fiji has become the Cats' idea of Heaven, but for some reason they have corrupted his word: they believe that their Heaven is not called Fiji, but Fuchal. Unfortunately, most of the Cats were killed in holy wars, about whether or not the servers hats should be red or blue. Eventually those remaining made a truce, and flew off in two arks to find Fuchal. One of the arks flew into an asteroid, and the other one flew "ever onward, knowing that they were indeed righteous".

When Lister tries telling Lister the story, Rimmer loses his temper and shouts that he thinks that the aliens (whom he has christened Quagaars) will give him a new body. Offended, yet trying not to laugh, Lister leaves to try and find the Cat and ask him about the Holy story. He asks Holly where the Cat is, but he has lost him in the cargo hold. After crawling around for some time, Lister manages to find the Cat in an old, dirty and inconspicuous part of the hold. Cat has been hanging out with a geriatric, blind and lame Cat priest, who renounces his faith in Cloister just as Lister walks in.

The priest is overjoyed to know that Cloister exists, but feels that he has failed him, despite following the proper path of slovenliness. Lister asks why the priest didn't go on the arks with the other Cats, and the priest tells him that they left behind the sick and the lame. Lister tells the priest that he hasn't failed him, and that he is going to get his own special place in Fuchal. The sudden rush of excitement this causes kills the weak priest, and Lister sullenly returns to the observation room to watch Rimmer open the garbage pod.

Rimmer watches eagerly as Lister pulls out a roast chicken, and for a few moments, Rimmer actually believes that it is the remains of a Quagaar warrior. During the end credits, however, we hear him yelling angrily about how the Unidentified Object is actually just a "SMEGGING GARBAGE POD!"

Balance of Power (episode 3)
Confidence and Paranoia (episode 5)

Cat Religion in Red Dwarf (further reading)

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