The Good, the Bad, and the Wealthy

Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 16, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Scott Miller
  • directed by Oscar Costo
  • music by Anthony Marinelli
  • produced by Tim Iacofano (and Jon Povill, Tony Blake and Paul Jackson)
  • Production # K0805
Story: The Sliders find themselves in a San Francisco that is part of Greater Texas, where bizarre corporate laws have merged with the code of the west, allowing for the rise of gun-slinging "negotiators". Quinn's brash actions soon win him a reputation as a fast-draw champion, attracting corporate suitors, challengers, and locals begging for his help. Will Quinn continue to play hero as expected, in a shootout with Texas' finest at high noon?

DVD Extras include:

  • Photo Gallery Montage (1 minute)

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have already seen the program. To avoid the spoilers, read the Buyers' Guide version instead.

This story has become a favourite primarily due to the very effective way it showcases a "first" for Quinn's character development. To help prove this point, we've gone through not only all the episodes preceding it in broadcast order, but also all the episodes preceding it in what the production codes suggest as the production order. This really is the first ever story to give Quinn a heroic concluding moment that has nothing to do with escaping into the next episode, and it does so pretty much by taking him through the classic arc of the hero of a Western story, complete with the build-up to a "High Noon" style climax.

True to form, or as a pinch from the classic Western "Shane", Quinn's actions are all meant to be seen from the point of view of an impressionable young boy, including his entrance out of the wormhole. Though it looks at first as if the production is eager to do the effect on the cheap, missing out on the first three exits from the wormhole, it works this time by only showing us what the boy sees, and he only gets to see Quinn come out at the end before the hole closes up. Fair enough.

The initial exploration of the world is decent enough, postulating San Francisco as part of Greater Texas, and with radically different corporate laws. There are probably some logic holes somewhere in amongst everything that gets presented, but it's intriguing enough to pull the audience along for the ride.

Quinn's actions in the bar are helped by consistency with what we've seen him do in episodes like "El Sid" and "Greatfellas", only this time it's taken to an extreme, and Quinn will have to resolve it. For quite some time beginning here, the episode looks as though it has probably de-railed itself, with our would-be hero having done something atrociously unforgivable. As admirable as Quinn's expressions of grief are later on (including the ones reported by Wade), he can't quite claim the territory he truly wants to at this point, unlike William Hartnell's Doctor in "The Gunfighters" (Doctor Who story no. 25) who flawlessly and eloquently abided by principles far above the use of guns, even as a representative of the law in the wild west. This derailing is largely fixed later on, by a revealing twist about 1/3 of the way through. While this is immensely good, it still leaves at least two important questions. Exactly what was Quinn's intent upon firing the weapon? And if his bullet didn't kill Jed Dalton, exactly what ever did happen to it? (In other words, how bad a shot is he, and did he deliver a serious or fatal blow to Jed anyway after the decisive exchange?) I guess we'll never know.

Early on, the story looks as though it's stuffing Quinn into the prisoner dynamic, building anticipation of a routine episode. Thank goodness this is little more than a launching point to give Quinn a tour of the other important guest characters for the episode. Indeed the prisoner dynamic tables are turned pretty quickly and refreshingly, by having Quinn question the bizarre manner of his sudden release and virtually ask to remain prisoner.

Quinn's chaperone Billy Ray turns out to be an enjoyable character, helping to sustain large sections of the middle of the show with a stylish combination of wit, charm, and menace. Good one. This story has an underlying half-implied tension running all the way through it, making it a good example of the drama of a sinister organization that will remain friendly with you as long as you don't try to leave. We get a bit of that in the Charlie Sheen film "Wall Street", although Tom Cruise's "The Firm" is a more solid and classic example. Al Pacino's line from "The Godfather, Part III" sums the dynamic up well: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

Interestingly during this solidly Quinn-focused story, Arturo takes more of a back-seat in this adventure than in any other we've seen yet, which is also refreshing. Wade is quite vocal and makes a strong appearance in this one, but is really little more than a walking opinion all the way through.

Rembrandt at least gets a little side-plot to sink his teeth into during the third quarter of the episode. Quinn did really good stuff with the cards in "Greatfellas", but Rembrandt is even more enjoyable at poker in this story. In terms of having easily understood motivations, Rembrandt's plot is miles ahead, easily getting audience investment, and making it easy to root for him. The one pity with this sequence is that he isn't allowed to take it to conclusion (which would be the $1 million buy-in for the computer trade show) and there doesn't seem to be any good reason why the script should want to cut this bit short.

But the best is saved for last, and saved for Quinn. Time and again, the sliding quartet have the option to basically abandon the adventure and hide somewhere waiting for the time to slide, but they CHOOSE differently. Quinn leads the charge in choosing the heroic path, with support from the others and Arturo standing back like a proud mentor. Good. Quinn doesn't show up for the final confrontation in the square in order to jump through the wormhole. That could've happened anywhere. He shows up to help Priscilla Hardaway and set things right in the town. And he does it in ways that surprisingly showcase his greater values and philosophies, and set good examples for younger minds. He's like a stone dropped in a pond, causing ripples everywhere that even he probably did not expect. Neo and the Wachowski brothers can eat their hearts out; Quinn's got the ending of the third Matrix film soundly beat here. Awesome.

Of course, the hero's path would not be complete without a dramatic exit to set himself apart, and the standard wormhole effect certainly does help here. Curiously, the timer seems to fire twice to open it this time, once without the beam, and then once with. Baffling. The ending from "Shane" is perhaps paralleled a bit too literally here, and doesn't quite make the greatest possible emotional impact, but what the heck. It still works.

Well, this episode definitely does deliver some great stuff, including something that we've been awaiting for far too long, and for that it does deserve to sit amongst the season's best stories. However, it's still not quite at the top of that list, since some of the other adventures create and sustain cooler atmospheres all the way through, with equally respectable endings. Sadly, although Quinn is getting much better with his heroics, his effectiveness will still be sporadic for some time to come. This is a key story, helping prop his character up somewhat throughout his formative period, and it is a particularly enjoyable and successful adventure. Nice achievement.

This story has become available on DVD. Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the U.K.
Season 2 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC - new for 2012
for the North American market:
Canada 1
Canada 2

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "In Dino Veritas"

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