|“||You had a group hallucination! Brought on by the ink from the Despair Squid. You were about to commit suicide, just like the crew of the Esperanto, until the mood-stabilizer saved you.||„|
|~ Holly to the Boys|
The Despair Squid is the main antagonist from Red Dwarf episode Back to Reality and appears as the greater scope villain in the mini-series Back to Earth. It is a gigantic sea squid-like whose ink has hallucinatory and despair- (males) or joy-inducing (females) properties which usually force a victim to commit a suicide.
Back to Reality
The Despair Squid is created by the crew of the ocean seeding ship, SSS Esperanto. The crew's mission is to find a potential Earth-like planet covered by ocean, introduce primitive life-forms to it and finally speed up their evolutionary process. They do so and even manage to get 5 million years of evolution in 3 solar years. However, when they crashed onto the ocean floor, one of their sea creations, the Despair Squid, attacked them. It shoots out hallucinogenic ink which gets into SSS Esperanto. It causes despair-inducing hallucinations to the entire crew who then all commit suicides.
In next years, the Despair Squid successfully wipe out all fish and other sea creatures. It ate all of them or its ink cause them to end it all by voluntarily closing their own gills.
Many years later, the Boys from the Dwarf find SSS Esperanto. Much to their horror, it is full of corpses of people and fish that all committed suicides. When they discover the deaths were caused by hallucinogenic ink from the Despair Squid, they quickly leave the ship to their Starbug. Unfortunately, the Despair Squid notices them and hits their craft with its ink. In order to flee from the Squid, Starbug crashes and explodes.
The ink causes the Boys to suddenly wake up in an arcade room. They discover they have been playing Red Dwarf - The Total Immersion Video Game for four years. Recognizing their new identities ends very bad: Lister is a fascist dictator, Rimmer can't no longer blame his failures on others, the Cat loses his charm and Kryten kills a human. They are about to commit a suicide when Holly manages to awaken them. She then revealed the Starbug crash and the fascist world were just hallucinations caused by the Despair Squid's ink. She also killed the Squid with limpet mines.
Back to Earth
It is revealed that before the Boys leave the ocean planet where the Despair Squid lives, the Cat takes its baby to eat it. However, the baby squid then escapes and hides in the water tank. The Cat doesn't tell his friends anything and eventually forgets about it.
Many years later, the Squid grows up and attacks the Cat. The Boys go down into the tank in a diving bell to face it, except Rimmer who controls the diving bell. Suddenly, they are attacked by the Squid which makes a hole in the bell's hull and gets its tentacles inside. As the Boys struggle, Rimmer ignores their shouts, as he is reading a car magazine and listening to loud music. Luckily, he then realizes what is going on and brings them back up. When the completely soaked Boys come out of bell, Lister is holding one of the Squid's tentacles he carved off.
However, the Boys are already inked by the Squid and have hallucinations where they meet a human hologram Katerina Bartokovsky. She teleports them to Earth, only for them to learn they are actually characters from TV sitcom Red Dwarf. After meeting and accidentally killing their creator, they realize it is all just a hallucination caused by the Despair Squid. The Cat, Kryten and Rimmer manage to return back to reality and Lister follows them while later. Kryten then explains them that this Despair Squid is actually a female whose ink causes joy, not despair (as only males do). The Boys then decide to drop the Squid off at the next ocean planet.