The usual wormhole scene follows, and at first tempts one to believe that the effect will be done on the cheap. Not so, as Rembrandt makes one of the best and most spectacular on-screen exits from the effect that the show has ever boasted - a moment that the scene clearly plays to and derives excellent entertainment value from. Sweet.
The main premise quickly sets in.... What would happen to these four characters if the "Gilligan's Island Syndrome" story-arc came to a close, and they actually got home? The story indulges in exploring the possibilities, and the results are fascinating, providing something far different than the usual episode would normally give us. As good as many of the character bits were in the previous story "In Dino Veritas", this story delivers at least twice as much character gold, and of a more emotionally powerful, effective calibre, partly by keeping such moments in context instead of in clinically detached dialogue. Indeed, Jerry O'Connell and Sabrina Lloyd deliver some of their very best performances ever on the show here in this story, miles ahead of what they achieved on the original pilot episode, and I think this story finally out-does the pilot.
Recurring guest stars include Don MacKay as Rembrandt's manager Artie, who gets his greatest character expansion here and makes the most of it. Superb. The pilot is, I think, the only other episode he features in.
The story also gives Deanne Henry her biggest opportunity to play Quinn's mother. It certainly worked for me when I first saw it, since it was my first impression of his mother ever. Henry has a good take on the role, satisfying all but those who may fixate on the other actress who originally played Quinn's mom in the pilot.
The appearance of Wade's family is most curious - they are constantly mentioned in dialogue, yet still have next to no presence on screen to date. A pair of uncredited extras are hired to make a nearly silent appearance at the end as her parents, sadly remaining total strangers to the viewers. We still have to wait for season three for the definitive word on Wade's family.
There is a bit of a hole here in terms of "Sliders" problematic long-term set-up though. If we remember back to "Summer of Love" (story no. 2) when the whole premise of the series of countdowns to the windows to the next world was set up, we are reminded that this crazy arrangement was simply the best patch-up on the timer that the Sliders could manage outside of Quinn's laboratory. And unlike the alternate basement they found in "Last Days" (story no. 5), Quinn's double on this world was just as successful at sliding and has a practically identical set-up here. Surely the timer can be properly repaired here, possibly returned back to its original functionality. If not, the script should give us a reason. Of course, what the Sliders would want, the script writers don't want. They still believed they needed the endless journeying to continue a successful show....
The story is good for Quinn in pretty much the same way that "Galaxy Four" (Doctor Who story no. 18) was good for William Hartnell's Doctor. He gets a heroic contribution to make, but this is really just one thing spread over the course of the story, without any real final fix he can call his own. Even then, it's not anywhere near as grand as "Galaxy Four", or what he himself achieved back in "The Good, the Bad, and the Wealthy" (story no. 16).
In many ways, Arturo steals the show once again at the conclusion. Considering what this particular story is about, I think the choices made for concluding this episode the way the writer and producers did was correct, and works very well for creating a bit of a conundrum, laced of course with traditional "Sliders"-style humour. Excellent!
There is much debate in fandom on whether Arturo or his double actually continued on with the other Sliders, and fans pretty much back their preference I think. Me, I prefer to think original Arturo goes on, all things considered. Even if this episode can tantalize us with giving Arturo a better exit from the show than what was later managed, it's just too soon. There are too many good and essential adventures in store for Arturo, and they make more sense with original Arturo than with his Azure double. Besides, it's easy enough to imagine other alternate exits for his character anyway.
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