The Other Slide of Darkness

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 41, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Nan Hagan and Scott Smith Miller
  • directed by Jeff Woolnough
  • music by Stephen Graziano
  • produced by Mychelle Deschamps & Richard Compton
  • Production # K1802
Story: The Sliders track Rickman to a world where a mysteriously localized poisonous fog separates a country hick town from a jungle full of superstitious spear-toting natives. Is Wade correct that the young Tarot-card-reading blind woman will be their best help in preventing more deaths in the town? Why do the cards make Rembrandt so bitterly upset? And what dark side of Quinn's past will consume him if he dares to cross the deadly fog?

DVD Extras include:

  • Season 3 Gag Reel (5 minutes)

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 to the season instead.

Yes! Good! Now this is a story that finally uses the drive of the Rickman arc properly, has an interesting world, keeps the characters on form, and has an ending that both holds up a decent structure and delivers some very tantalizing surprises. It finally feels like we're getting an episode of our well-loved show again, rather than a remake of another bad movie. In fact, this story takes care of so many things needed in the series at this point, we will recommend pulling it forward ahead of "The Breeder" in our ideal viewing sequence.

The first order of business in this story seems to be all about our new team of four regulars, and whether or not they are a cohesive team. This actually turns out to be the best Maggie-acceptance sequence we've got in any post-Exodus story yet, with all of our characters acting like themselves, and the whole Maggie question just sneaking up on them naturally while they discuss the problems of the day. If we were to keep this story in its original broadcast order, the issue would seem old by this stage. Indeed, in a pinch, we could go straight from "The Exodus" to this story and skip both "Sole Survivors" and "The Breeder" altogether. At least "The Breeder" is a bit more tolerable when seen after this episode instead of before. At any rate, the Maggie-acceptance thing has now been done well, and should not need to crop up again in further stories if it is to remotely remain welcome. Credence is also given to the differing properties of human lungs between Maggie's world and that of the other regular Sliders as well. Nice.

This story also uses the Rickman drive well, and actually features Rickman as a fully present and influential character. All good. If there's anything bizarre going on, it is that Rickman has now been recast as Neil Dickson. Dickson does well with the role, and I don't mind either him or Roger Daltrey playing the character. I just find it bizarre that the writers/producers/execs weren't thinking very far ahead during the initial casting to get one actor to play such a time-limited role. Well, all those weird morphing effects from "The Exodus" now earn their keep in making Rickman's transformation a little more credible. Rickman proves here to be the first villain to actually recur on the show, but only by about 20 minutes or so.....

There's a nice subplot going on here between Wade and Rembrandt and where their beliefs are in sync and where they clash. It's nice to see Wade's character shine again here, and nice that the piece of Rembrandt's past that this story digs up is believable and has more to do with his musician side than the doubtful military one that cropped up out of nowhere in previous episodes. Composer Stephen Graziano creates a very exotically beautiful and moving piece of music for Wade and Remmy's scene at the still, which I enjoy listening to over and over.

There is also a nice bit of mystery built up as well, as we continue to wonder what is on the other side of that ultra-bizarre band of fog in the forest. Our guest star's visions cleverly plant the red herring that Quinn will somehow go in and turn native later in the story, yet it isn't until he goes in at the end and comes face to face with the crux of this episode that we realize how we've been had.

Jerry O'Connell succeeds in playing the most powerful and creepy character in the episode, and indeed the creepiest that we've seen on this show in a long, long time. Not only is he face to face with his own double, but it is a double that we saw before in the pilot - the same guy that unnecessarily created huge rifts in Quinn's relationship with his computer store boss Hurley and with Professor Arturo, and apparently he's been creating many more rifts since. Dark Quinn has now also beaten the Kromaggs and Logan St. Clair to recurring villain status on the show. It's at this point that the episode feels like it's got its finger on every important long-term thread that the show ever had, from its inception in the pilot, to the Rickman arc, to the Kromagg saga, and revelations about all of it are coming out thick and fast. The atmosphere of the story at this point is really rich.

And the character study is fascinating here. Dark Quinn knows he's made mistakes, and wants to make up for it, but still pursues a mistaken idea about where character strength comes from, and is too blind to see beyond it. This is one whacked out and scary dude! The lower cadence of O'Connell's voice is a nice touch also, helping to differentiate the two characters as he basically talks to himself, and making Dark Quinn a shade more creepy.

Can we trust what Dark Quinn says about the Kromaggs? Consider first that, given the nature of the premise of "Sliders", there MUST be many different versions of Kromagg Dynasty out there, and at various stages of technological development. I'll believe Dark Quinn gave sliding technology to some version that didn't yet have it, then perhaps witnessed another version that was already much more well-versed with its application. At any rate, we should also expect some skewing of the facts due to insanity in Dark Quinn's psyche. What's scary is that his calm lucid demeanour makes his ideas sound so rational on the surface.

We see justice done to plenty of wormhole effects in this story, and rightly so as the sight is meant to fuel many of the beliefs of the locals. The fog is also a cool visual, and matches up with generally good cinematography on location.

If there's anything a little "off" here, it's the way Maggie is conveniently put on display for the audience again at the end of the show. This is clearly a move by execs and producers trying to boost the male audience mindlessly rather than anything that properly belongs in the story. Oh well. At least it beats all the bossy alien barfing stuff from "The Breeder" by a long shot.

In the end, I'm liking this one for a lot of reasons, but especially for Jerry O'Connell as Dark Quinn. This is a story that makes me glad I'm watching Sliders all over again, and makes me hungry for more of the series' major stories in the seasons to come.....

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

Season 3 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
Season 3 DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the U.K.

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Breeder"

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