For those who don’t know Arnold Judas Rimmer is a character from the show Red Dwarf. In the first episode he is killed in the same explosion that kills all the rest of the crew, bar one, but is brought back as a hologram.
The character of Rimmer, played by Chris Barrie, is as fellow crew member Dave Lister puts it a “you’re a gutless, spineless, gormless, direction-less, neurotic, underachieving, sniveling, cowardly pile of smeg. No offence, but get real, man; most eunuchs have got more balls than you.” A physical coward blaming his upbringing for the way he is.
But sometimes little things will break though that show he does have the potential to be a better person. He comes up with a plan that saves the crew at the end of series ten and he sacrifices his chance at a new life in order to save a woman he has just met even if he can’t believe it himself.
But never is it clearer what his potential could have been then with the appearance of Ace Rimmer, an Arnold Rimmer from another dimension. Brave, charismatic, smart and all round magnificent guy. And this Rimmer is so different due to one decision made in the past. Ace due to the embarrassment of being kept back a year ends up buckling down and fighting back to become the guy he is. This ties into my blog on being me about how different I myself may have been if something in my past changed and how it is our past that makes us who we are.
When Ace Rimmer first appeared on our screen I loved the character. After all who wouldn’t want to be like this guy? It’s not until a recent re-watch of Dimension Jump that brought back to my mind how I would have liked to have been like him and slight feelings of regret that I hadn’t. But like I’ve done with the heroes I’ve mentioned so far I looked deeper into the character. He’s smart but that’s because he’s studied. He’s brave because he’ll do what’s needed without thought for himself, putting others first. And he’s modest with his achievements bestowing praise on the people around him while playing down any credit to himself.
Well I can say that over my life I’ve studied. I’ve gone to college and university. And even away from them I’ve looked into things that interest me. My job at the moment isn’t exactly the ideal job but I spend my time learning everything I can about it. Five years ago I couldn’t imagine being the kind of person stuck inside a generator trying to work out how to fix it but that’s what I do. I may not be saving universes but I’m doing my best to get units ready to go out on hire. Ok I may be replaceable but I am still a valued member of the team.
And I’m one of those who also put others first no matter if it’s an inconvenience to me. Late night pickups, dropping everything at the drop of a hat to go out and help someone out. As for the modest bit, well that might be something I do have to work on.
So maybe I’m not so far removed from Ace Rimmer as I first thought. Ok I might not have the handsome dashing looks and sex appeal unfortunately but the basic character traits are there in some form. To look at the difference between the two Rimmers we can see what happens when one spends time simply blaming people and circumstances for the way they are but failing to do anything about it and when one sets out to be the best they can be. And the potential is always there.
Ace returns in to later episodes. Briefly when Arnold Rimmer gets all his bitterness and resentment sucked from him he ends up as Ace showing that it really is a case of overcoming the bad habits of a lifetime to achieve your potential.
In his final appearance Ace returns wounded. Not the original Ace but another one who has took on the mantle after the original Ace had been killed. He wants Arnold Rimmer to take over, to become the new Ace. Something which Rimmer believes himself to be incapable of but in the end, after some false starts he goes out into the universe to try his best.
It’s never too late to try and be the best person you can. To learn what is holding you back and overcoming it. Standing up when needed instead of running for the nearest escape pod. To be there for people when needed. To unleash the wild power that lurks inside you. To be the cougar running free and unfettered through the mountains.