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:
Ain’t nothing wrong with this neighborhood. Nor is there anything wrong with vortex porn:
There is, however, something wrong with this interdimensional game of Dogpile goin’ on:
Arturo feels his dignity is diminished. The others ignore him and instead make quips about their surroundings. Quoth Quinn: “Nice Park Job”:
And of course, because this is Sliders and everyone has to be making out ALL THE TIME, we see this:
Seriously, what IS it with this show? But also, what is it with this World! It’s all cray cray:
You know it’s crazy when a business man is riding on the back of a motorcycle:
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:
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:
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.”
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.
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!
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:
He instead roams the streets of chaos, and some ultimate-90s dudes almost smack him with a car:
They’ve stolen a woman from a hospital (what?) and now she is getting naked:
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:
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.
A dude drives a motorcycle…
…through the deli table.
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 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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
And even though he gives it all he’s got, Captain, it done blows up:
So Quinn & Wade instead make dinner for two days straight!
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.”
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:
Yep, erryone making out. Well, technically this happens first:
And then Make Out Two is interrupted by Arturo:
Yep, Arturo is Cockblockin’ Quinn & Wade in the name of the fate of Humanity. Ugh, WHATEVER MAX.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
So the episode ends with Bennish rocking out and spinning a globe, plotting his world domination.
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.