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!
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.
YEAHHH! Finally Arturo gets some. The Sliders think that it’s pretty crazy for anyone to kiss Arturo:
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.”
LOL. Guess they better slide. Check out the dope graffito here:
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.
But ANGELO from RUMBLE IN THE BRONX saves her.
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?
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.
That’s weird. Look at this dude:
Rembrandt is upset about his weird burger! He is so upset that he barfs it up:
But Rembrandt, perking his attention not unlike a curious dog (sorry, Remmy, but it’s true!), he sees a weird poster:
As Rembrandt says, “oh no!”
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:
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:
Rembrandt claims Wade is hungover. Wade, taking him too seriously, passes out.
Arturo & Quinn go to the pharmacist, which is actually an apothecary, I guess:
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:
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:
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.
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:
They even do the “scary arms grabbing from the bed” but, but the episode is edited well enough that it’s not dumb.
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.
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”:
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.
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?”
To which Arturo makes an equally BUH-face:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
But anyways, they escape. Everyone escapes. PENICILLIN works!
Alt-Quinn is like “eat a dick cartoon man!”
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:
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).