Two extra planets in the sky beside the moon? Way cool! A completely different artificially enhanced landscape? Awesome! This is all fascinating stuff to explore, if only the A-plot would focus on exploring it. It doesn't do too badly early on, but Wade's portions of the story soon turn very one-dimensional. Sure, it's okay to have weird degenerated creatures acting like animals underground, but the constant combat and chase routine with these acrobatic dancers becomes VERY tiresome after it is chucked in the viewers face so often. Less is more.
Early on, Quinn theorizes that the two extra planets in the sky are in "syzygy" with the Earth. A nice theory, but still just a theory. We know that Quinn's map may not necessarily reflect the territory. Which planets are they, and what are their sizes and masses? They do seem to be Earth-like for a start. All this the episode leaves open and taunts us with, before ignoring it all to bring us something far more boring.
I think Rembrandt gets the best of this adventure - if we include the flashback, he gets at least one good conversation with each of his co-stars, plus he gets to move around to every location and set. Nice. This is only the third episode so far to bring up the subject of Arturo's vague unnamed illness. As before, there's really nowhere worth anticipating that this arc can go, but if anything is going to trigger the heartfelt conversation between Rembrandt and Arturo over secrecy between friends, we may as well use this.
Quinn and Wade also get a weird little moment discussing babies. This might be interesting if it added to a continuing romantic arc between them, but it actually feels more like an island unto itself that has little to do with any of the surrounding episodes this season. I guess we have to have these little moments to flesh out a story when there is so little of interest going on in the main plot.
Which brings us to another observation. As with "Rules of the Game" by this same writer, the roster of guest characters is a little small. Here we only have two young men, no doubt each designed to champion opposite sides of a single argument. Sure, there are many other people and creatures here, but none of them get any lines or get explored to any great degree.
I do really like the set-up of this world, and wish we could have seen the Sliders dig out more info on its backstory. This place is nearly as mysterious as the island in "Lost", particularly where our regulars discover a hatch in the forbidden zone of the forest, and decide to venture down into it. If you've seen anything of "Lost", you get an idea of how much mileage can be gotten out of a good idea like that. Sadly Sliders only managed one fairly thin episode.
The 1972 plaque on the underground pillar that Quinn discovers is one of my favourite tidbits, hinting at the larger mysteries of the place that we have yet to discover. This just seems like the obvious direction for the energy of the story to move in; I can't believe we didn't get to explore more of that side of things.
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