DVD Extras (included with season 2):
The main world offers a stark contrast and is just plain weird for many, many beats - all of which is decently written and played well by the actors. While the Sliders are still finding their feet on this world, we are introduced to the character of Gomez Calhoun for the first time, played by William Sasso with some enjoyable humorous touches. We'll be seeing more of his doubles on future worlds.....
Another nice bit is the casting of Dean Haglund, essential member of the Lone Gunmen trio on the X-Files, here to play the stock boy who is going mad with a combination of conspiracy worship and proximity to pseudo-celebrities. It's a difficult role that could easily fall flat in the wrong hands, but Haglund nails it beautifully and makes it both believable and very creepy at the same time. Kudos.
Also returning from the pilot is our favourite taxi driver of Russian descent: Pavel Kurlienko, played by actor Alex Bruhanski. It's great that Sliders can travel to completely separate parallel worlds and situations, yet also build itself a cozy familiar recurring cast at the same time. Season One is particularly brilliant at milking that concept.
Our regular Quinn gets better screen time with what is probably supposed to be the two most important guest star characters, who work in the medical establishment. A longer, more developed story-line might have made such an angle worthwhile, but what we get in the episode is so light, it really isn't worth going through the motions. And the motions are painfully run-of-the-mill during a penultimate action sequence in which the director doesn't find the time to block things out well enough to make the moves remotely believable.
Wade is not at her best in this story either, for more obvious reasons. Although she has a moment where she hints at future character revelations, she's really just out of it for the adventure, reduced to a device to motivate the others. Rembrandt is at his most serious yet on the series, once the gravity of the situation has hit home, displaying his stronger side that will become so much more important later on.
But this is Arturo's show. He has somehow managed to become the keeper and operator of the timer throughout the many slides that occur this episode, but more importantly, he is the sole hero of the narrative. It is he who comes up with the solution to this world's problems, and it is he who takes the risk of testing it. He has upstaged our regular Quinn character quite completely in this adventure.
On the whole, Arturo's main challenge for this adventure seems like a good science fiction problem, but turns out to be more of a science hole instead. Science fiction fans will still probably be satisfied, even if the sliding aspect and its technology are the only real sci-fi elements in the show.
The coda is worth mentioning for two reasons. Most obviously, it's a fun bit, the kind of thing that gave the series its charm. But notice also the things Quinn says in the aftermath, subtly shifting the credit for saving a world from Arturo to the act of sliding itself, which of course is what he can take credit for. Sly bugger, just like William Hartnell's Doctor at the end of The Web Planet" (Doctor Who story no. 13), and he nearly gets away with it too. At least it's clear that the heroic bug has bitten Quinn by this point. He just has to get better at delivering the heroics himself. A lot better.
This story has become available on DVD. Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:
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