The Biggest Sale in the History of Discount Electronics (Last Days).

Hey, we’re all going to die someday. That’s how it works. We could all be in terrible plane crashes, we could get hit by cars, we could have heart attacks and drop dead. It happens.

To say that it could happen slightly more often to a group of interdimensional travelers would probably be an understatement. Already in the show thus far, the sliders have been infected with a plague, almost put to death for treason, almost gunned down in epic shootouts with Russians. It’s a dangerous job, but there’s always been a way out.

Until now. DUH DUH DUH.

But first— life in the NICE LANE:

Shit's mad idyllic, yo.

Ain’t nothing wrong with this neighborhood. Nor is there anything wrong with vortex porn:

Interdimensional Money Shot

There is, however, something wrong with this interdimensional game of Dogpile goin’ on:

Ladies & Gentlemen, Once Again... Wade's Pants.

Arturo feels his dignity is diminished. The others ignore him and instead make quips about their surroundings. Quoth Quinn: “Nice Park Job”:

Big Budget=Fire Hydrants.

And of course, because this is Sliders and everyone has to be making out ALL THE TIME, we see this:

Return of the Son of Monster Make-Out.

Seriously, what IS it with this show? But also, what is it with this World! It’s all cray cray:

i AM the Law.

You know it’s crazy when a business man is riding on the back of a motorcycle:

Mixed Bizness.

Ha ha, that’s funny, I guess. Hey, look! It’s Moonatic Electronics! Remember that store from “Summer of Love?” Hey, me neither, really, but here’s ol’ Mace Moon, makin’ deals:

Rippin' it.

The Sliders are like, “Hey, we love electronics, let’s hang out with this total stranger.” I guess the actor who plays Quinn & Wade’s boss at the Computer Store was booked this week? Anyways, Moon is like, “why aren’t you guys freakin’ out like erryone else” and the Sliders are like “Yes, we do live under a rock.” And Mace is like, watch my television:

Television Man is Crazy!

Then he’s like “also everybody is going to die because a huge fucking asteroid is about to smack the Earth in two days.” And the Sliders are like “HA HA HA! GOOD THING WE SLIDE IN …three days.”

LEONARD BERNSTEIN!

First off, I think it’s really cute how at first they’re thinking “hey, maybe this is home!” It’s so charming that they would be so optimistic. Though I suppose that’s me looking through the goggles of “Man, I know you guys aren’t home yet,” but still. TV could use more optimistic heroes!

They manage to keep that optimism pretty steady throughout the entire episode. They’re going to die! Nothing can stop that! In fact, it’s the way that they begin to lose that plucky optimism that makes this episode so interesting. And yes, this is nothing if not an interesting episode. No, I’m lying. This episode is really good! There are times when this show stretches the concept of the show in what should be an uncomfortable way, but somehow it works. An asteroid flying towards Earth doesn’t have anything to do with alternate dimensions. But at this point, we’ve hung out with these guys long enough to have a stake in whatever they do. We (hopefully) enjoy hanging out with them! We don’t want them to die.

Okay, maybe Rembrandt...

Of course, they don’t want to die either. This episode splits the group into three: Arturo goes off to try to use Science to Stop The End Of The World, Quinn & Wade go off To Make Dinner, and Rembrandt just Wants To Party.

Let’s take Remmy first. Like I said, Rembrandt wants to party. But first he wants to Church!

I feel like there would be more people here.

Rembrandt, being a man of faith (I guess? I can only base that on the fact he sang Amazing Grace in the pilot), tries to connect with his lapsed Godliness. But all the priest can offer is Churchwork. Remmy is not enthused by the prospect:

No Dice, Father.

He instead roams the streets of chaos, and some ultimate-90s dudes almost smack him with a car:

"Whacha doin' with that TV?" "I'm going to JACKET."

They’ve stolen a woman from a hospital (what?) and now she is getting naked:

...woo?

So that’s weird. But Rembrandt is focused on being as far away from the Church as humanly possible, so he drives off with these crazy lunatics. They end up at a WILD RAGER:

So wild... so ragin'

Rembrandt ends up singing “Sugarpie Honeybunch,” which is awesome, but also makes a sticky music-rights situation and makes this episode unavailable on Hulu or Netflix, forcing me to download a torrent—I mean watch my Dual-Dimension Edition DVDs.

Woman in red has heard better.

A dude drives a motorcycle…

YYYEAAAHHHH!

…through the deli table.

NOOOOOOO!

Rembrandt meets the couple who own the party-haus. Their relationship is full of tension and sleaziness and competition over who gets the sleazier dance partner:

I am stunned they do not make out.

I guess the husband wins on that one. Yuck! Anyways, Remmy and The Wife (I am not bothered to learn her name) hit it off, I guess, and she takes him to the Back Room, where something shady is going on:

Cryin' Man is Not Amused.

Ruh-Roh! They’re about to play Russian Roulette! And the husband is like “YEAH LEMME GO FIRST” and then when his wife protests, he’s like “BABY U LUV ME PULL MY TRIGGER.” Rembrandt is like “Umm, so let’s leave, yeah?” And they leave.

Raise High the Rembrandts.

Rembrandt didn’t want to go party because he wanted to drink himself to death, or eschew humanity and revert to a feral state of animalistic behavior (no, I don’t go to many parties. But they’re all basically just people reverting to a feral state of animalistic behavior, right?). Rembrandt wanted to be around a bunch of fellow humans, and live. He wanted to laugh! Enjoy himself! Use his singing voice to make people happy! So when he sees people who’ve truly given up, who have lost their sense of respect for live, he’s disgusted. That is the essential truth of Rembrandt: he might be a Cryin’ Man, but really, he’s cryin’ tears of Joy to the World. Which, of course, leads right back to CHURCHWORK:

Okay, maybe Some Dice, Father.

Quinn & Wade’s storyline begins with Wade’s desire to find their double’s families and try to spend time with them. Quinn, being a man of Science and also a Man of Not Giving A Fuck About Other People’s Feelings, takes this as an excuse to go searching in his double’s basement:

The Basement Tapes.

He’s looking for Sliding equipment! Somehow he can fiddle with his dope-ass cellphone and …get …better …reception? And they can slide home. But they don’t find Sliding equipment at first, they find DINOSAURS:

DINOSAURZ

Nerd. Anyways, the Alt-Quinn here was really into Dinosaurs, and thought that he was trying to invent time travel (a great moment comes when Our Quinn dismisses Alt-Quinn’s theories with a terse “I don’t even think Time Travel is possible.” Could that be a dig at all the people who think the show is about Time Travel? Probably. This show is mean.) But anyways, even though he finds the donut of Sliding:

Jelly-filled Sliders.

And even though he gives it all he’s got, Captain, it done blows up:

Quinn really... BLEW IT.

So Quinn & Wade instead make dinner for two days straight!

And by dinner I mean 'drinking.'

I’m pretty much serious. I’m not going to get into it, because I don’t really care to watch the show as closely as some people do, but one of the things the show nearly always manages to screw up is day/night editing and how long they’re supposed to be on that planet. If you watch this episode, it’s really more like they were making dinner for, like, five days. Anyways, when they finally get around to eating dinner, the scene is almost really sweet and cute and you kind of think “wow, maybe they would have made a cute couple.”

Serious Moonlight.

I say “almost” because there’s this bizarre soundtrack in the background. It’s literally a porno soundtrack. Like, really, a porno track. Like, I don’t know what Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO was thinking. The whole dinner and dancing scene is just like this:

I mean, minus the gross sex and the fact that it’s being shown in a movie theater at midnight with a crowd of people singing along. But anyways, talk comes up short when you’ve got MAKING OUT TO DO:

Making Out is Hard To Do

Yep, erryone making out. Well, technically this happens first:

CANDLEBLOCKED.

And then Make Out Two is interrupted by Arturo:

SCIENCEBLOCKED.

Yep, Arturo is Cockblockin’ Quinn & Wade in the name of the fate of Humanity. Ugh, WHATEVER MAX.

Making Out is Slightly Easier To Do.

Yes. So much making out on this show. Was that a rule in 1995? You had to make out all the time in every episode? I guess so. But like I said, Arturo is cockblockin’ for a good purpose— he’s been having a hell of a time hanging out with the ONE the ONLY: CONRAD BENNISH JR.

HANDS OFF MY PLANT HOLDER!

YEAAAHH!HHHHH!H!H!H! Anyways, Arturo goes to the like, Science HQ and watches a really bummer video about Asteroids. There is such a grumpy scientist talking:

DON'T TELL ME THAT WAS A PLANT HOLDER!

He looks like this dude that comes into the Coffee Shop I work at who is SO GRUFF when he orders his Tuna Salad. One day we were opening late and he tried the door and it was locked and he shouted “FUCK” and walked away.

But anyways, Bennish busts in and he’s like “NUCLEAR WEAPONS, BRO!” And the Grumpo-Scientist is like “ain’t no such thing.” And Aturo is like WHAAA.

A very muted "whaaa."

So then, we get the surprise alternate history of this world:

•Einstein purposefully bungles the creation of the Atom Bomb.

•WWII goes on for another five years.

•Energy is more expensive.

•Ostensibly, the movie “Red Dawn” was never made.

The last bit is a joke, but that does get me thinking about the changes to popular culture and the zeitgeist in general without the threat of Nuclear War hanging over the world’s heads. There wouldn’t have been a cold war!

Sadly, the episode doesn’t go there (that’s almost enough for an entire season of ideas, really). It instead goes for the adventure of Aturo and Bennish inventing the atom bomb. Arturo, being …a nerd, I guess? remembers how to make it exactly. Because memorizing the schematics for Fat Man is just something you do with your time. But I digress.

Arturo, this is no time to check your Friendster!

The show isn’t gung-ho about this invention of Atomics. Arturo is always worried that they’re doing the wrong thing, and Bennish is appropriately confused as to why Arturo would be worried. Nuclear Energy would be awesome, he says! Aturo warns him of nuclear waste. The scenes of their back and forth on the dangers of the Atom are pure gold. Proof that the show was smart when it had to be, but never pushy about it.

Jelly Bean BOOM!

Needless to say, Arturo is successful. The sliders regroup and watch the missile blow up and asteroid. (Like, completely? There’s no debris? I guess after they slide, the world is still fucked, but no biggie, they did their job.) Arturo, terrified at the prospect of Bennish destroying the world with the Nuclear Genie, steals a crucial part of the plans. But in Arturo’s revelry (and by revelry I mean standing in place smiling), they somehow fall out of his jacket.

That is a pretty big hole in your pocket, bro.

So the episode ends with Bennish rocking out and spinning a globe, plotting his world domination.

GUN FINGAHHZ

I always think about potential episodes where the sliders would travel back to worlds they’ve already seen. This one would be funny, as it would be a nuclear wasteland with, like, mutated marijuana plants growing everywhere. Or whatever.

Anyways, in the spirit of summation (and since we’re halfway though Season One!), so far the show has been uneven, but interesting. Thrilling but oddly hesitant. It’s still unsure of the kind of show it wants to be, and so far that’s led to both great bits and some sour bits, often in the same episode (PENICILLIN vs. Science Room in “Fever,” Rembrandt Jr. vs. Wade’s Chair in “Summer of Love,” etc.).

But, and just so you guys get really, really excited— the rest of this season is where this questioning, this searching, this wondering what the fuck this show is— it just works. Perfectly. Or about as perfectly as a super-flawed show from the 90s about theoretical physics can be.

Coming up, we’ve got the two smartest episodes, the funniest episode, and then the best episode. Whoa.

Ugh.

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A Fascist Tool of Immuno-Oppression (Fever).

So where are we now? It’s either episode four, or two, depending on which order you’re viewing in. There’s an argument inherent to this episode as to whether or not the original running order or FOX’s revised running order was the better bet. It’s hard to say, really, so we’ll have to take the episode on it’s own merits.

And what’s this episode about? OIL! and NEWSPAPERS!

Stop the presses! No, really. Please stop.

Can we say that this ‘spinning paper’ joke is total nonsense? The typical time a show/movie should use the ‘spinning paper’ joke is when you want to indicate time is passing and big things are happenin’ in the rest of the world. Here, we’ve just met this parallel world. We don’t really care about time passing or big things yet. “Spinning paper” is just an easy way to pad out the episode. Don’t bode well.

Arturo, however, disagrees.

M.O. Huge. Pun Intended.

YEAHHH! Finally Arturo gets some. The Sliders think that it’s pretty crazy for anyone to kiss Arturo:

Aren't they used to all this making out?

Quinn also gets some good news. There’s an oil well in his backyard! He’s rich! Everyone is rich on this world! Here’s the alternate history:

•There’s oil in different places.

ALRIGHHHT! The Sliders are rich! How long do they have on this world to soak up the dollaz? Quoth Arturo: “’bout a minute.”

Leave now? But I haven't even gotten to Make Out with Strangers yet!

LOL. Guess they better slide. Check out the dope graffito here:

Rembrandt later got "greed is $exy" tattooed on his @$$.

Ha ha ha. Yeaaah! Except it seems like the San Fran Oil Boom is brand new to that morning, which means that it only took half an hour for someone to tag that alley. Way to go, street artists.

Anyways, we slide. Wade had crazy inertia up in that wormhole and is thrown into a truck.

The pants. So tight.

But ANGELO from RUMBLE IN THE BRONX saves her.

You're gonna die-eee!

Okay, I guess making Rumble in the Bronx jokes might be too obscure. Rest assured, watching this episode the same day I watched Rumble made this dude saving Wade, like, really funny.

In any case, she kisses Angelo, and Angelo’s like “that was dumb.” Arturo is so pissed that someone wouldn’t want Wade to kiss them. I agree with him, but I’m willing to give Angelo the benefit of the doubt. Also, why was he yellow?

Whatever. Rembrandt is like “YO BURGER JOINT.” Arturo is like “DOPE BEEF WELLINGTON,” because obviously that’s what you get at burger joints? When they walk through the door they’re like, cyber-wanded?

Is there a clause in her contract about tight pants? Girlfriend can't be too comfy in those.

The shot of them being Cyber-Wanded is really too long. This episode is so slow! It’s still the teaser! ALL THEY’VE DONE IS GONE TO A DINER. But it’s a pretty weird diner.

WRAPPIN'

That’s weird. Look at this dude:

COUGHIN'

Rembrandt is upset about his weird burger! He is so upset that he barfs it up:

BARFIN'

But Rembrandt, perking his attention not unlike a curious dog (sorry, Remmy, but it’s true!), he sees a weird poster:

MUGGIN'

As Rembrandt says, “oh no!”

Master of "Uh-oh" face.

Now that’s a teaser! Okay, it’s not really the best teaser. There was maybe too much walking around and trying to eat (and more snogging- what is it with this show?). But thinking of it outside the realm of “I’m watching a Television show, does it makes sense as nothing more than a Television show,” it’s a little better. I think I’ve said before, but I’ll certainly say it again— when this show takes time to show the Sliders sliding, I’m really into it. Any great show, even/especially those that don’t concern themselves with serialization, are vastly benefitted by the sense that there’s a larger world outside what we’re watching. The world doesn’t stop because we aren’t looking at it. Sliders might not do that much in the way of huge-ass world-building, but when an episode starts mid-slide, I’m automatically more engaged with what’s going on. When the actors go along with this idea, I’m even more involved.

So when Rembrandt looks at that wanted poster of Quinn, his face is pretty much perfect. In the last ten minutes he’s gone from Excited to Disappointed to Worried to Relieved to Disgusted. And now he’s faced with the realization that he didn’t even know how bad his day was about to get.

In any case, these Sliders have got to book. HYGENE POLICE ARE HERE:

Hi, Gene!

Not really. They’re also not here to bust Quinn. Just the coughin’ truckin’ man. Which strikes me as a little silly that no one would recognize Quinn IMMEDIATELY if his face is printed on hella posters. But whatever. Wade starts feeling funny, so the team’s gotta split up. Remmy and Wade head to the motel, where Will Sasso is a nerd:

A dude in a 7-11 really did this to me once.

Rembrandt claims Wade is hungover. Wade, taking him too seriously, passes out.

Lack of bloodflow from those tight pants.

Arturo & Quinn go to the pharmacist, which is actually an apothecary, I guess:

Legal herbs, mom. Legal herbs.

Arturo tries to get some Aspirin, and the dude doesn’t know what he’s talking about! That’s weird! Is there a conspiracy to give everyone a headache? Let’s ask The Lone Gunmen:

'Sup, Ringo.

Huh. I was kidding, but sure, let’s ask Langly. He’s like “Yeah, there’s a conspiracy. Quinn, you are so cool.” He is so calm when he reports Quinn to the CHC:

Calm face.

Arturo goes back to the hotel, because Quinn got shot with a dart and is now in custody, or something. More on him later. First we look at something that is both awesome and kind of terrible at the same time.

WAY CRAY CRAY

So here we have a sequence when Wade starts trippin’ heavy on the Q (that’s the disease that Alt-Quinn supposedly gave the world). Her scene in the hotel is pretty fantastic, with her imagining that Arturo and Rembrandt are hideous beasts:

Hideous.

Kinky.

They even do the “scary arms grabbing from the bed” but, but the episode is edited well enough that it’s not dumb.

Dudes, it's the pants! Just get the pants off! They're too tight!

But here’s what is dumb. So far in the show, her character’s done such wonderful things like “sitting on pillows” and “getting hit on by a Prince.” Now, here, she’s reduced to staring wide-eyed at her friends while tripping. Later, she’s reduced to dreaming about Quinn calling her “angel” and “love of his life” or some bull. I’m not asking for much, but seriously? This is all they can come up with for Wade? Uffff.

With friends like these...

Wade ends up tripping herself into the San Fran chapter of the Q Continuum, and of course Alt-Quinn is there, because rule number one of sliding in “coincidence rules all”:

Mullets of the world unite.

They basically throw Wade into a bed and forget she’s on the show. Arturo and Rembrandt are more or less accepted into the Q-Continuum, and it must be said, their scenes here are the meat of this episode.

NUNNIN'

Alt-Quinn (Q-Quinn, I guess? Q-uinn? Whatever) is a pretty fantastic character here, and Jerry O’Connell really seals the deal with his double-playing here. In the pilot, that alt-Quinn was basically just Jerry O’Connell with extra smarm. Here, Q-Quinn is another person, sharing some mutual experiences that still makes him clearly “Quinn Mallory,” but still a different person— harder, more determined, but still resigned to a fate.

He lets Arturo know that nothing can cure the Q. Arturo is like “whoa, even antibiotics? PENICILLIN?” And Q-Quinn is like “BUHH?”

BUH-WHU?

To which Arturo makes an equally BUH-face:

BUH-WUH-HUH?

Now the show takes it to a ridiculous place. And by ridiculous I mean ridiculously AWESOME. Because Arturo then takes it upon himself to go through a trash can and INVENT PENICILLIN.

MOLDIN'

Now, yes, that’s so silly. But it’s also something that makes Arturo an incredible character. Like, literally as soon as he finds out there’s no PENICILLIN, he immediately goes to invent it. And it’s not even that he’s got the Q, and so do his friends, and doesn’t want to die (though that’s certainly a fire up his ass), it’s just that it’s nothing more than the right thing to do. Which is amazing. It’s also amazing that he runs around yelling PENICILLIN so much. Seriously, he’s always yelling PENICILLIN.

PENICILLIN

Anyways, they invent PENICILLIN. It looks like pee, but no biggie. I suppose I should mention Quinn’s story line in this episode, which is pretty terrible:

All placed up, no dress to go.

It’s pretty clear that this entire segment was dreamed up because they had to meet a quota of “action-adventure,” because all the scientific PENICILLIN nonsense was wayyy to brainy for TV.

A room of SCIENCE.

There’s a brief question of “oh man Quinn’s double made the Q,” but pretty much as soon as we meet Alt-Quinn here, we know he’s innocent. Also the doctor who seems to be in charge of the entire CHC is so cartoonishly evil it would be ridiculous not to assume he’s behind something. Alt-Quinn spells it out for us later, that said cartoonish dude gave him the Q and threw him into society. Later the cartoon man says to a cab driver (Pay-vell, no less!) “I’ll make sure you get the Q!” Then he twirls his enormous moustache:

Moustache implied.

There’s a scant brushing of a romance plot, too. But basically it’s just the first in what will turn out to be a very, very long list of blondes who have an interdimensional thing for Quinn. Anyways, she dies:

You dead.

It’s funny that during that scene, Rembrandt is watching Quinn cradle a dying woman, and he’s just like “Quinn drop that dead body and run towards me!” He’s so chill about it:

Downtown Brown, at it again.

But anyways, they escape. Everyone escapes. PENICILLIN works!

Piss soup is ON.

Alt-Quinn is like “eat a dick cartoon man!”

GOOOOOOAL

And they slide out.

So which was the better choice of lead-off, post-pilot episode? As much as I’m loathe to say it, especially since the decision was based mostly on how well “Outbreak” did at the box office (no, seriously), I think “Fever” is the better episode. And not even just because it’s more fun (which it is, undoubtedly). It just does more for the characters, it does more to let us know who these people are, and how they work as a team. It’s hopeful, and we learn why Sliding is good instead of just fun. I don’t know, “Summer of Love” might be a more interesting piece of television, but “Fever” is much more satisfying.

In any case, Wade awakes from what seems like a dream, and Quinn is really proud of himself for inventing PENICILLIN. Which he didn’t, but no biggie. Arturo comes in and he’s like “did you tell her about the cannibals?” Then they talk about chicken nuggets and prepare to be eaten:

COMEDY DREAM TEAM

They wake up Wade, who’s head is removed and thrown into a green fishbowl. They open up her brain and attach some weird electronic components to it. She ends up being a vessel of psychic power used by a race of interdimensional tyrants. JUST KIDDING THAT COMES LATER.

Next week: It’s the end of the world as they know it (and they feel slightly less fine about it).

Will you be my Queen? (Prince of Wails)

Remember, guys, that we’re supposed to be watching this after “Summer of Love,” not before, as FOX would have you think. If you recall at the end of “Love,” a huge tidal wave (or actually what appears to be a miniature tidal wave magnified to the Uggh-th degree) was about to destroy the Sliders.

Anyways, here they are! Not dead! Hanging on to something! Rembrandt is making lots of seafood references (stopping just short of sticking his tongue out with a mouthful of food)! He also says that Quinn can’t “control his vortex,” which probably hits too close to the bone for Quinn. He hasn’t gotten to make out with anyone yet! Wade and Rembrandt have both gotten laid!

Interdimensional sexuality aside, this is happening:

Don't forget, we're in San Francisco.

So, even though that shit-ass tidal wave was like, ten seconds to squashing them, they manage to get to the very top of that building, then get outside, then climb to the very top, then wait out the tidal wave (which somehow didn’t just knock that building RIGHT OVER), then manage to hang on for hours until it was broad daylight [it’s pretty clear it wasn’t like, 5AM when they slid out of Hippie World, so how could it already be like, 1PM on Tidal World])?

I feel you, Max.

Regardless of how inane this all is, at least we’re striving for continuity. That was a joke. Also a joke is this ‘shark’:

Jeff Koons voices the Shark in Gus Van Sant's adaptation of this episode.

There’s your teaser! The rest of the episode is waiting for 35 minutes until the next window opens!

Just kidding. Instead, the rest of the episode is just the Pilot, Part Three.

Not really just kidding on that one, but we’ll return to it in a little bit.

Yeah, so obviously they make it out off the building. With absolutely zero tension, they manage to make it off of the top of the building, avoiding the shark. Oh god, the shark. It’s moments like these that make me wonder what the hell this show is trying to do. I can’t speak for viewers in 1995, but was that shark still not the worse shark ever? Even though it’s not implied anywhere by any of the writers or staff, etc, the shark still lets the audience imply, by dint of its abnormal size and all around un-shark-ness, that it’s just another way the world they’re on is. The show, with that fucking shark, is actively asking the audience to say “it’s a parallel world, who cares?” That phrase will stick around to haunt us all, I promise.

But still, I have to applaud at least the commitment on the writers at this point to include these ‘bookending’ worlds. It’s just tough when bookender worlds are obviously written the writers have a ‘big concept world’ and need an extra five minutes to pad the rest out. Again, that problem will come back to haunt us all.

But for now, they escape the shark and all that it implies. They make it into a fountain in broad daylight:

Rembrandt: still big on dignity.

No one apparently is flummoxed by the fact a huge vortex opened up and dispensed four wet hippies into a fountain. But they are too busy bowing to …them?

Cool suit, bro. Cool dog, bro.

After Wade almost gets hit by a car because she llllooooovvessss gossip rags, the Sliders discover that Arturo seems to be some kind of a bigwig. Or an axe murderer, since this ”hotel manager” dude is absolutely terrified of Arturo taking his head off?

Crime and PUN-ishment.

Anyways, they get to check into a hotel for free! And get to dress up nice! Nice, I should add though, is sort of relative. To what, I don’t know. What is Wade wearing!?

Whoaaaa, slow down with that celery, girl!

Honey, please. You are not a secretary. Though I guess everyone is dressed like one, too. Wade keeps reading about this “Prince Harold” who keeps having orgies with old women. That’s gross. Quinn’s like “england is weird I don’t like england” and Arturo says something to the effect of “they’re waiting for a precocious college kid to show them the error of their ways.” Translation: “FORESHADOWING JACKHAMMER.” But then, on the television, is trouble:

ALT-TURO 2: THE MAXENING

Well, dang. So much for “no involvement!” They steal some cash (no, really), food, and a car, and are feeling pretty solid about it:

The persuasive powers of Wade's mullet.

And now we introduce what is my favorite element of early episodes of Sliders: Arturo reading a “World Almanac” sort of thing and learning everything about this parallel universe, in an easy to understand manner.

Brainy Specs!

So we learn that on this world:

•George Washington died. But like, earlier than on our world.

•Due to this dying thing, the Founding Fathers never founded shit.

•Because of the American Revolution being a non-starter, no other countries rallied behind our good example.

•The world is now ruled by a small amount of monarchies.

•Blah blah blah The King’s Dead blah blah blah Prince Harold’s next in line blah blah blah Alt-Turo is regent in his stead.

—So you see, here we have the alternate world that inspired the whole show. If you recall, it was an article about G.Wash having a brush with death with the brits that got Ol’ Tormé thinking about how cool alternate history is, and here we are.

It might be a little easy for Arturo to seemingly read all of that in an almanac, but he’s a smart guy. I’m sure he’s just putting the pieces together. In any case, it’s so far the most fleshed-out alternate history we’ve had yet, and I must say it’s pretty cool.

Not cool, though, is automotive troubles:

Once they switch to Hummers in Season 3, this never happens again.

The funniest part of this scene of course is that Arturo stays in the car while the others push it through the woods. Also funny is that these woods are where Oakland is in real life. Sucks to be Oakland! They’re still (okay, Arturo is) pontificating about what would have allowed monarchy to continue on a world when the Army shows up:

The whole army.

Eyepatch-double-of-Quinn-&-Wade’s-Computer-Store-Boss is like “oh what’s up you wanna watch us totally smoke this dude?” and the sliders are like “no dude we aren’t really into smoking a dude.” Then they leave, and Arturo’s like “dawgs let’s bounce” but Quinn’s like “non-involvement SHMYON SHMYNVOLVEMENT let’s help this dude they’re about to smoke,” and erryone else is like “totally.”

So they go to help this dude, and since Wade <3’s gossip rags so much, she recognizes him immediately. It’s the Prince! Of AMERICA!

Touch, if you will, my stomach...

Wah-wah. I bet that rankles, Arturo. Your double on this world was plotting to kill the Prince. I wonder why. Anyways, they go back to their car which is totally stripped, and are promptly captured by the Raiders. The Oakland Raiders.

Downtown Oakland, indeed.

Quinn, being a genius, and also a man who doesn’t want a snotty british woman to stab him in the face, offers up Arturo and The Prince as hostages.

Take, if you will, my prisoners.

This sounds smart. Go have fun with your new idiot friends, idiot Quinn. We’re going to hang out with the Sheriff of San Fran himself!

And his hair was... perfect.

Look at that guy! He’s smarmy! He’s an asshole! He’s self-centered! He wrote this book:

This was my desktop picture for, like, years.

He’s also ruthless, obsessed with public opinion, but hates the public. He only wants power! And he’ll stop at nothing to get it! Including, it would seem, ordering a ‘hunting accident’ on the Prince so he can become THE KING OF AMERICA.

His character is written in broad strokes. You can tell the writers were imagining him to, like, twirl a moustache or something. But John Rhys-Davies, being the best, adds a whole slew of tics and little moments that give the guy, if not some humanity, then at least some weight (har har), some realism. Which is to say, he does his job as an actor.

The idea of “doubles” is one of the more interesting bits of Sliders, when played right. It feeds right into the “not only is anything possible historically, also anything is possible in my life” idea. The notion that if you wanted to change your life, in another world, it is changed. There are only a couple of episodes that adequately tap into that, though. Most of the time doubles are used for comic relief (here, mostly), bait-and-switchers (Greatfellas, Double Cross, The King is Back, Pilot), or ridiculous enemies (The Other Slide of Darkness) (also my god how bad some of these episode titles are). Sheriff Arturo here isn’t really the ‘anything is possible’ kind of double, he’s a comedic-adversary mix. But because Rhys-Davies has fun with it (and that brings up the other fact that having “doubles” on a show is a real treat for actors who give a shit), he sells it.

Why not wear that badge on your JACKET instead of your VEST? I feel like that'd be more comfortable.

But there’s a problem with Alt-Turo, too. The problem is that he’s exactly the same Alt-Turo that we saw in the Pilot. He has the same position! Now, we never meet Soviet-Arturo, but it isn’t hard to imagine that they’d act much the same. Now all we need is for Quinn to start spouting Robin Hood rhetoric and lead the Oakland Raiders on a revolution.

Rob from... everyone! Give to the... ourselves!

Oh. In case you can’t tell, that’s a picture of Quinn spouting Robin Hood rhetoric and leading the Oakland Raiders to a revolution. To this dope-ass rock jjaamm (by Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO, of course!), Quinn leads the Raiders to glory!

And your coat. Yes, I know it's cold. Deal.

Or, he leads a bunch of scruffy jerks to steal cars from Old Women.

So now we’ve got a real problem. The Sliders have slid onto a world where another country’s government has been grafted onto their own. They don’t like it, so they more or less lead a revolution that in theory could have global consequences. Sure, fine, whatever, I thought the first episode was fine.

BUT THIS IS THE THIRD EPISODE OF THE SERIES AND WE ARE ALREADY POINT BLANK RIPPING OFF THE PILOT.

Is it really that hard to think of ideas for a show about parallel universes? Apparently it is. It’s also endemic of that classic sci-fi show trope where the government of what city they land on in the capital of THE WORLD. Like on Star Trek, they’re always beaming down and talking to one dude about the WHOLE PLANET. I don’t care how utopian you think yourself to be, it will never work like that.

Likewise, why would the seat of ALL British authority be located in San Francisco? Why wouldn’t it be in ENGLAND?

The answer is, sadly, that we shouldn’t be thinking or caring about that, we should be thinking about this guy:

No, HIS hair was ...perfect.

The Prince, unlike PRINCE, is not a sexy man. Nor is he good with the ladies. A good chunk of the episode is given to him hitting on Wade. His only real line is like “dang grl u hot,” though in his defense, he gives a pretty good cringe after that one. Wade, for some reason, doesn’t just punch him. She goes on about how life is “complicated” and that her “mullet needs time to dry” or something. There is gold in the fact that the Prince says “you’re in love with Quinn” to her, which freezes her for long enough for us, the ‘shippers’ to know that “YES YES SHE DOES” but she says out loud “NO NO I DON’T.” Or something. Blah blah.

Equally blah blah is the main plot, which amounts to “Quinn’s captured let’s rescue him and also INVENT DEMOCRACY.” Which, as played for laughs, is pretty golden.

Also golden is Arturo’s ‘revolution’ hat:

Everything I say is right.

Actually, this is the point where “Prince of Wails” actually improves upon the Pilot. Prince Harold begins the episode as an ignorant ninny, unknowing that people suffer in his country, or anywhere, really. He realizes his ignorance in a world full of people like Alt-Turo, who would go so far as to kill to achieve what they want. He learns something, is what I mean. No one really learned anything in the Pilot. The America vs. Russia rebels learned that if they had enough bazookas, they could blow up at least one guard tower. They’ll probably all be killed in a week.

Here, it’s different. I’m not implying that they’ll be successful in introducing Democracy (like you do) into a country. I’m sure that will fail. But it will be a spectacular failure, one that will make the whole world think. People will discover documents about the dead old Americans who would’ve been the founding fathers. They’ll try again. More people will learn. A difference was made without anybody dying. (Though I imagine they’re definitely going to Hang Alt-Turo.)

Of course, there’s always the question: did this world really need “saving?” I mean, obviously, at this point, Quinn ended up more leading the Raiders because it was either make his “Robin Hood” speech or watch the Raiders slaughter Arturo, but still. Once he got Arturo free, couldn’t he have just taken the Sliders to some hotel and waited it out? Maybe.

There’s nothing really, other than Alt-Turo, that’s visibly wrong with this Universe. Sure, there’s a slum, but it’s small, and just because there’s a grouping of like, 15 hobos doesn’t mean the entire world’s government is fucked and needs changing.

But that’s the kind of thinking that you’d do if you actually stopped to, y’know, think. Instead of snog:

In the name of Democracy!

In the name of... something...

Quinn’s had it with the history lesson. He’s outta here!

BYE GRRRRLLLLZ!

Yes, the lead Oakland Raider has the hottz for Q-Ball, and Prince Harold asks Wade to be his Queen. Arturo is already long gone, and will hear about all this snogging later and be totes jelly. Rembrandt changes the shape of British World’s future by telling them James Brown is the Godfather of Soul. Unsurprisingly, they do not know who James Brown is. And why would he suddenly get to be the Godfather of Soul, anyways!?

And his hair was... less perfect.

As they both know, Englebert Humperdinck is forever the Godfather of Soul. THUNDERBOLT! Episode over!

AND NEXT WEEK: Coldplay is born…

Same Planet, Different Dimension (Season One Intro).

It seems like these days, as our attention spans dwindle, television shows have less and less intro credits sequences. Attention spans aren’t the only part of it. As commercials have to fill more and more space, scripts have to form differently, use their acts in different ways. Also, Television is becoming more open to serialization. Shows actually want to use the whole 45-51 minutes they’re given. So to maximize the storytelling space, the ‘credit intro sequence’ falls by the wayside. A lot of shows these days have intros that last ten seconds tops. You could say that it’s tragic, but most of the time, the intro makes way for better television.

Back in the day, credit sequences were where it’s at! The pull of the show! Gone are the days of the ‘TV theme song,’ the time when Quantum Leap could have an intro that went on & on & on & on and had like, key-changes, and middle-eights, and like, structure. Star Trek shows, where there’d be some charging military march (horn orgy) while we watched a starship hit up comets for two minutes. “Three’s Company!” “Hey Sandy!” “Thank You For Being A Friend!” The list goes on.

Sliders, I feel, is often unremembered (this is an understatement). But, a lot of times, if people have any memory of it, part of it comes from the credits sequence. It’s got a lot going for it, that’s for sure.

Witness here, the beginning:

In this moment, Tool knew they'd found their visual aesthetic.

We see our Earth from space. But then we pull our space-camera out to see another Earth. Then another, and another, and another. Soon there’s a whole spiral of Earths, showing us that indeed, anything is possible. A young man’s voice narrates:

What if you could find brand new Worlds right here on Earth?

Where anything is possible?

Same planet, different dimension.

I found the gateway!

Light at the end of the multiverse.

A vortex appears, swallowing the multiverse in its infinite possibilities:

Flushing it.

A light overtakes us, and we are RAVING. BAM! BAM BAM BAMBAM! Actually, the theme song for Season One (something that Sliders could never decide on was a theme song. One of its critical weaknesses, surely) is pretty goofy. It’s a pulsing techno beat, screaming to all the 18-39 year old males to RAVE AND ALSO DONT CHANGE THE CHANNEL. Something I have also just noticed is that it pays not a small similarity to this song:

Though, obviously, much less obscene. (PS, Mark Mothersbaugh of popular band DEVO wrote this song, and much of the incidental music for Season One. Which is, of course, AWESOME, but I’ll talk a little more about that next week.)

But that obscenity sort of makes sense when the first face you see is this smarmy face:

Jerry O'Smarmell

The reason I’m going through the intro as if it was a character, btw, is because as the intro changes so dramatically from season to season, it becomes a barometer to what the show is trying to be. In Season One, it’s not quite sure what it wants to be, so it keeps the narration vague. It doesn’t show much in the way of alternate worlds, so it tries to keep our imaginations up. But the music is really pumpin’, so it wants us to believe it’s going to be fun. Also interesting are the choices for the shots of actors. Jerry up there is way in the ‘cute leading man’ vein, but how do the others fare?

What? Oh, "The Crying Game." What do you mean "it's a dude?"

Wade is …eating popcorn and looking surprised. Well, sure. I mean, she’s Quinn’s “bud,” right? Buds eat popcorn. Actually I’m realizing that Season One’s credits, were it not for a cyber-font and techno beat, could be for any show. It’s so unspecific to genre, it could just be like, a buddy-buddy-rom-dram or something. Which I guess it sort of is…

Downtown Brown: perennially getting laid.

Rembrandt looks so cute! He also looks nothing like the sort of broad comic relief kind of character he actually is. Instead, the comic relief throne goes to…

NOM NOM NOM

Arturo is eating a chicken leg and looking surprised. What is it with all the food in this show? Now I’m wondering if the show actually is about hamburgers! It might as well be. I always think it’s funny when shows say “and ______ as ‘_____,'” as if we would care about whatever character they were playing before seeing the movie/show.

Anyways, we cut to the Sliders running in silhouette, then black. And THEN:

CG letters, final exam: graded with a "D."

We pass THROUGH the show’s title, which then explodes a little bit:

Over-bevelled.

During that, we finally get some sort of ‘iconic’ action: the title of the show is whispered. No really, that’s it. That’s as close as any image or moment on Sliders ever got to being “iconic.” It’s the word “Sliders” whispered. It’s more of a joke than anything else. You can use it as a punchline at parties and people will look at you funny. And that’s what people remember more than most anything else about the show. That, or a world where the sky was purple. It’s a lack of a unified vision that kept the show from breaking through into wide appeal. I’m not saying that it needed a huge audience to be good, but it certainly needed a huge audience to not be cancelled, and to keep its budget in a non-laughably small supply. It also could have used a bigger audience as a starter, a way for more people to see what was good about the show. Sliders certainly has a cult audience, but it’s small. It could have been bigger. But it wasn’t. I’m warning you now, this show isn’t going to ever have a moment like Locutus of Borg. Actually, it has one of those, but that’s not for a bit.

Lookin' good. More or less.

In any case, the Season One Intro just isn’t sure of itself. Every single season, whether by necessity or by wild flailing, will try something different. It’s going to be interesting to see (again, for me) if the show finds any sort of confidence in itself via Credits Sequence.

Coming up next: a world without James Brown.

I thought it was a plant holder (Summer of Love).

If you’re following at home (ha ha), then you’re confused. “Summer of Love? I thought ‘Fever’ was next!” Well, in one sense, you are right. Sliders attempted serialization in its first season. Much like Tom Baker’s first season on Doctor Who (see what I’m doing here? proving myself a nerd in many subjects), we were going to be following Quinn and the gang from world to world, and most episodes were going to lead straight from one into the other.

FOX, however, wasn’t keen on this idea. It didn’t help for syndication, for starters. It also didn’t help for creating viewers. They thought (perhaps correctly) that starting a new show with “Summer of Love” wasn’t the best way to get a huge audience. They didn’t want the show to start on a slow burn and work its way to ‘big action’ episodes. One of the concepts that Sliders has going for it is that for every “Big Concept” parallel universe (Soviet World being an example of those), there would be sort of “Lesser Concept” worlds, worlds that were only a slight deviation of our own. The “Lesser Concept” would end up being the total downfall of the series, but here in its early form, it’s just another way of throwing the sliders into a place that’s almost home, but cruelly is not.

What I’m saying is, FOX changed the original running order of the show. Not only that, but they did so in such a way as to make some scenes totally irrelevant (and thus deleted). Their choice of ordering showed that they barely payed attention to the episodes. Thus, “The Prince of Wails,” which begins with the sliders wearing the clothes they bought in “Summer of Love,” (not to mention that it’s the resolution of a cliffhanger) airs before “Summer of Love.” If you’re paying attention, it’s pretty funny. But if you’re not, you’re just wondering why these dopes are at the top of some waterlogged tower in hippie clothes.

I’m also going to try something a little different with this one. There’ll be some of the photo/caption/joke/photo/joke that was the last two entires, but there’ll also be more of the “thinking too hard about the show” stuff, too. In any event, you should be watching the show along with me. Really.

Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself. “Summer of Love” begins with this dude:

He may not even be wearing pants under that oversized shirt.

It’s Conrad Bennish, jr., our friendly pothead from Quinn’s class in the pilot! He was straight chillin’, playin’ with a Rubick’s Cube, like you do, when someone knocks on his door:

This show is too obsessed with Narcs.

It’s the FBI! Bennish is totally worried that they are about to bust him for marijuana (which is what the FBI spend their time doing, of course), but they aren’t really interested in that. They just want to steal him from his apartment (can they do that?) and throw him down Quinn’s basement stairs (not really). Bennish has tesla coil envy, because Quinn’s are so big:

I am making a joke about something being "that big."

He is not really that excited about tesla coils. He is excited by Quinn’s weird Energy Donut:

Matter Donuts, Anti-Matter Holes.

But the FBI isn’t really into that (not yet, at least). They want to know where these chumps have gone:

Smoke weed erryday.

In California, they re-use Mug Shots for ID Photos.

Still stoked about getting those Braces off.

We learn that Wade is studying “extemporaneous Poetry & Prose,” which sounds like a made up Major to me. Bennish is into that, saying he digs a “chick with a poetic lick,” which is both disgusting and a non-sequitur at the same time.

Also missing, Rembrandt Brown, the “Cooking Man:”

Cooking Man cries from mass Onion slaughter.

So the real mystery of this episode is “why can’t the FBI get a photocopy of Rembrandt’s Drivers License.” No it’s not, but the FBI know about the Einstein-Rosen Bridge (or if you ask Thor, the “Rainbow Bridge”)! The FBI are going to follow the Sliders into the Vortex, I AM SO SURE OF IT. All they’d need to maintain quantum coherence over a macroscopic region of time & space!

But they’d also need to keep their dope-ass cellphone in a padded envelope, which is surely what Quinn wishes he’d done now:

More like NOPE-ass cellphone.

We’re back with the Sliders, who’ve had a bumpy ride, and who appear to be wearing the same clothes as they had at the end of the pilot (see? serialization! [Also, Rembrandt seems to have stolen someone’s coat]):

Pavement: 1, Sliders: 0

Rembrandt thinks they might be home, but seeing how the entire city appears to be deserted (funny how they see, like, two blocks of it, and make a huge assumption like that.) Also, I would like to draw attention to Wade’s mullet:

Business in front, Multiverse in back.

Anyways, that bummer landing totally busted Quinn’s dope-ass cellphone:

There's an App for that.

Quinn proposes that they chillout, take a nap, hit a bowl (okay he doesn’t propose the last one), but then an intercom (which I assume to be world-wide, all at once, regardless of timezone) announces “THREE MINUTES TO ZERO. THE SWARM IS APPROACHING.” And I have a total nerd-boner, because counting down to “zero,” as if zero is a thing and not just the obvious end of a countdown, is total sci-fi salsa. Hot salsa. And I love hot salsa. Also, Swarms are cool, too.

Anyways, that’s the teaser! Whoa, it’s the first episode with a teaser! As far as pre-credits teasers go, it’s not bad. It’s certainly got a hook! Let’s see how that hook resolves:

Moonatic Electronics and the Infinite Sadness.

It resolves with the Sliders watching television. The TV is telling them that on this world, the following occurred:

•South American Spiderwasp invented.

•Entire world destroyed.

So I guess San Fran is about to be eaten by these dudes:

If this were Season 3...

They eat through walls, and also through people. Let’s take a moment to dwell on how silly it is for a place to keep a television running with what looks like a recording of a live news broadcast giving a play-by-play of the Spiderwasps invasion of North America. Why would that television be on! What would be powering it! The only reason I can think of is that they keep it on to taunt soon-to-be eaten alive ‘happy wanderers’ like the sliders.

In any case, this is happening:

HA HA HA HA

That’s silly. Quinn is still adamant about ‘chilling,’ but Wade uses her mullet-power to convince him to turn on his broke-ass cellphone. Remmy and Wade jump through, but then the Vortex closes!

Performance anxiety.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the Quinn & Arturo are not eaten, and make it through the vortex. But they’re alone! Separated throughout the interdimension! Wade & Remmy are trapped in a world with… BARRY PEPPER:

Occasionally excludes "Battlefield: Earth" from his resumé, in order to make room for this.

Lookin’ good, Barry. Anyways, Quinn & Arturo are trapped in a world of Mud:

MUD WRASSLIN'

It’s worth noting that a few Spiderwasps come through the vortex with Q&A. This episode doesn’t deal with it, but I’m just going to put the fact out there that they probably just condemned this world to the same fate as the last, no? There, go write your fanfiction. Or don’t. Actually, please don’t.

I’m just going to go ahead and spoil it for you (you’d only have to wait, like, ten more minutes anyways): they’re actually in the same dimension! But they’re having much different adventures than one another. Wade & Remmy are trapped in a hippie commune and are worshipped like the Returned Gods of Myth that they are(n’t):

The vortex chooses the most visually pleasing places to open, no?

So here we are, the second episode, and we’re fixing the show (whether they know it or not) with some of the tropes that they’ll stay with for pretty much the entire show. Dividing the team up between Wade/Remmy and Quinn/Arturo. When this happens, we’ll see that the plots pretty much stay the same: one group gets an ‘introspective’ kind of ‘this world is reflecting my life someway’ plot, and the other group gets an ‘action/this world is trying to kick my ass’ plot. There’s exceptions, sure, but they’re slim.

And when the show is kickin’ it in high gear, there’s nothing actually wrong with that. Those two plots, sometimes, also intertwine cleverly. Which, more or less, is how it goes in “Summer of Love.”

Wade’s plot in this episode is pretty much negligible though, sadly. We’re supposed to be learning new insights on a new character! But we just learn that she’s a kind of spiritual airhead. Okay, okay, that’s harsh— Wade never comes off negatively in the episode, but basically all she does in the episode is sit on some pillows:

Wahh, hippies are feeding me grapes! I hate sliding!

Especially when Rembrandt gets a real powerhouse of a storyline, Wade’s slighting is all the more awkward.

Man, this show's knack for depicting minorities with dignity is... yeah.

Rembrandt goes driving, ostensibly looking for Quinn & Arturo. Most likely realizing that there’s a really, really, slight chance he would ever find two people in a city as big and twisty as Vancouver/San Fran, he instead goes for a detour. He looks up a house he used to live in.

What? No, this isn't being creepy. Why do you ask?

Rembrandt is stuck on a journey he didn’t want to go on in the first place. That, more than “comic relief,” more than “I’m the explainer,” more than anything else— this is his role in the story. He’s the only one who didn’t sign up for this. He’s spent less time thinking about parallel dimensions than even Wade has. He’s not in this for adventure, it’s not really a part of his mission. So when he gets what probably is the first free time he’s had since they started sliding, he doesn’t go to a library and figure out what the history of this world was (Which, by the way, has something to do with a War in Australia, Oliver North being the president, and other things that lead to this world being a thinly-veiled-yet-still-vague Vietnam analogy).

Rembrandt goes driving by a house he used to live in.

He’s checking up on his past, on a world he doesn’t even know if he exists in yet. Rembrandt’s already been faced with the concept of doubles, but he’s yet to meet a double of himself— the concept is still foreign to him. Having a double of a ‘shyster lawyer’ tell you you’re supposed to be dead is different than walking into a house you used to live in and seeing your own memorial take place.

Which is exactly what happens:

RIP COOKING MAN

So it turns out, in this world, Rembrandt’s in the military, and he’s dead. He’s also married to a woman that never gave him the time of day in our world. So here he is, granted with everyone’s wish to see your life as it could have turned out.

"Home Cooking" apparently translates to "rubbing painfully with clothes on."

The next morning, Rembrandt gets a true sense of how life would have really turned out. He’s got a son! Rembrandt, jr., of course! He’s had rampant sex all night! He is so bow-legged! Rembrandt though, learns a brutal truth from his son: he is actually totally… well, it’s hard to describe. The show here is rooting itself firmly in sort of ‘traditional’ female/male roles, by which I mean ‘kind of sexist,’ with Remmy’s wife being a raging dentata and Alt-Remmy being, shall we say whilst cringing, ‘whipped.’ Wah-wah! It’s troubling, sure, but Cleavant Derricks plays it pretty well:

NUMBER ONE DAD

Rembrandt is forced to escape his double’s house while his raging alt-wife fires a shotgun at him. Man, love ’em and leave ’em, amirite?

slideTOKYOslideDRIFTslide

I’m being critical of this, but it’s still crucial to understanding the more human, personable elements of Rembrandt that he would not only seek out his double’s life, but also instantly try to graft himself to it. In this way, it’s smart of the show for Remmy to learn why that isn’t a good idea in a totally over-the-top way. He needs to learn the lesson that he isn’t home, no matter how hard he tries to tell himself otherwise.

WHERE ARE YOUR TEARS NOW COOKING MAN?

On the other side of the episode, Quinn & Arturo engage in some hijinks while trying to find a place to A) live, B) fix the broke-ass cellphone, C) not be Narc’d to death by the Alt-FBI. There are some shenanigans where they run into Bennish, but he has short hair and loves republicans:

In this world, it really was a plant holder.

They manage to find a place to live, owned by this nutter:

Catchin' rubber mice in my mousetrap like a pro.

Her name is literally Mrs. Tweak. She is tweakin’ on Republicanism, and are causing Quinn & Arturo to also be tweakin’:

"Hot summers of one's promiscuous youth" indeed...

Anyways, their apartment comes with a giant whiteboard (like all giant cash-up-front warehouse apartments run by insane old women who hold dead rats are), so they get to working on fixing the timer.

3BR 2 1/2 BATH HEAT, WHITEBOARD INCLUDED, 1500 PLUS DEPOSIT

There’s a moment when Quinn solves the equation they’re working on really quickly and Arturo gazes on it with awe and a little bit of jealousy, but they’re soon distracted by alt-narcs:

Dudes in the back pointin' guns at the lady in front.

Hey, those FBI dudes from the teaser really did mean something to the plot as a whole! Anyways, in keeping with the ‘wrapping up our plot threads’ spirit, while being interrogated by the Alt-narcs (including a great bit where John Rhys-Davies clearly says “pipe-bam” before correcting himself), Quinn hears Remmy singing… one of his own songs? Okay, Remmy, if singing a song you wrote yourself is how you keep your mind from unravelling, then go for it. Anyways, Quinn tries to yell Cryin’ Man, but the Narcs are not having it. Then Arturo learns Kung Fu:

...or something.

And Quinn runs for Remmy’s car:

On this world, even the dudes are cheerleaders!

Followed swiftly by the first of many embarrassing moments for Arturo:

GUN RUNNIN'

Escape! Followed by friends reunited! Which turns out to be Arturo admonishing Wade for teaching the hippies the lyrics to “All You Need Is Love.” The alt-narcs show up at the hippie compound, and have a final standoff that is totally devoid of tension as the dope-ass cellphone counts down.

Wait, since when did the dope-ass cellphone …count down again? Quinn was clearly turning it on whenever he wanted to in the teaser. Let me put on my nerd goggles and tell you: due to “Summer of Love” being shuffled around in the running order, a scene had to be cut out that explained in pretty surprisingly easy to understand terms how the dope-ass cellphone better earns its name of “the timer.”

Apparently there’s some kind of ‘helix spiral’ that creates a ‘window of opportunity’ for the sliders to use the timer in. If they miss that ‘window of opportunity,’ they’re stuck in a universe for 29.7 years. Once again, I am totally flummoxed by the idea that Quinn could program all of that into a cellphone. Sure, it’s got like, numbers on it. But seriously? Also, if you’re stuck on a world for 29.7 years, wouldn’t that mean that they could slide into a world where the window’s already passed?

Good thing he kept the "end" button on that thing. Y'know, so he can ...hang up... on reality?

Anyways, what that means is that they now have a narrative device to drive every single episode ever for the rest of the show. Instead of “Summer of Love”‘s sort of languid, let’s-just-chill-for-a-bit vibe, the show will now always be a ‘race against time.’ One episode in, and we’re already limiting ourselves.

But to be honest, that’s probably a good thing. As long as the trope of ‘will we miss the slide?’ doesn’t become the focal point of nearly every episode. If that happens, they might as well also start ‘losing the timer.’

…oh.

Anyways, they slide off of hippie world and end up on another desolate, empty world:

No one is paying attention closely enough for this to be noteworthy.

They poke around for a bit, then hear a rumbling sound in the distance. Going to investigate, they are greeted a sight that makes the Spiderwasps a little less scary (if we are defining scary in terms of ‘how bad the special effects are’:

And to think this episode is still one considered of the 'good ones.'

Rembrandt lets us know that he cannot swim. And then everybody dies. The end. Of the show.

A sudden premonition of "Kangaroo Jack."

Not really. See you next week!