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||(Sliders Story No. 42, starring Jerry O'Connell)
- written by Eleah Horwitz
- directed by Paris Barclay
- music by Danny Lux
- produced by Mychelle Deschamps & Richard Compton
- Production # K1823
Story: Escaping from a hostile jungle to a
world with cryogenics and organ donor police,
Maggie appears to have an infection and is clearly
not herself as she causes a stir
in the new world's medical community. Why has she
become so obsessed with breeding? What will happen
to Quinn and Wade as they get forced into the
organ donor program? And will the Sliders' have to
split up or choose between jeopardizing this world
or the next one as time runs out?
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.
And now a temporary return to the "dumping ground".
Both logic and good taste seem to have been abandoned by the show's
creators here. Even though this episode starts out by both
looking good and toying with an interesting idea or two, it later proves
that the writers only seem keen to invest in those parts of the show
that are not working or well designed.
Firstly, the new drive that the show acquired in its quest to find
Rickman is given even less acknowledgement here than in
if that's possible - in other words none at all. The easy way to make this
more tolerable of course, is to be sure to watch
"The Other Slide of Darkness" first.
Moreover, the Sliders
shouldn't be all broken up at the thought of leaving Maggie on this world,
because once they find Rickman and take his timer, they can go back to
any world that timer has previously visited. They want it mostly to go back
home, but could also swing back to pick up Maggie if they wanted as well.
This looks like a plot hole from the way our regulars discuss it, however
the more pressing concern may be that the Doctor they encounter would
gladly kill Maggie to get the creature out of her, which makes it unlikely
that Maggie would still be alive when they return. Still, it's clear that
this story isn't written to pay any significant attention to the long term
Secondly, the obsession to do a small screen remake of another
horror B-movie idea seems to be the primary motivation here, which is not
impressive. While the opening sequence brings back memories of
season one finale "Operation: Annihilate!", the bulk of the
story takes a cue from the "Alien" series, most obviously with the
parasite trying to breed inside human beings, but also in the idea
of a corporate desire to turn a profit via the creature. It's not
particularly riveting or interesting this time around, and feels a bit
too off-the-point in what should be an exciting pursuit of Rickman
instead. The various effects for the creature are a bit hit and miss.
Some work really well, while others are so cheesy you just wish they
would go back to intelligent stories instead.
Finally, there are the character bits which are hit and miss as well.
This episode pulls some bizarre stunts with character backstory, not even
keeping integrity within its own 45-minute length. The first time
the main world's police arrest a donor and drag her away kicking and
struggling, we see Quinn and Rembrandt doing something Quinn has often
done throughout the show, especially season two. He jumps right in
prematurely, with almost no regard for the world's customs or the
possibility of the woman's guilt, and attempts to be the hero. Fine enough,
we've seen the precedents in "El Sid",
"As Time Goes By".
Now, what is with the
later scene where Rembrandt decides to say that Quinn doesn't care about
oppressed people? After all the oppression that we've seen Quinn
instinctively react against over the past three years,
including allegiances to more groups of underground resistance fighters
battling the establishment than we can count,
how does Rembrandt
get to accuse Quinn of only knowing oppression as a word in a textbook?
And how does he think his own happy-go-lucky musician's life prior to
sliding makes him more familiar with oppression? Unless he's playing
the old "I'm black, therefore I'm oppressed and discriminated against" card,
which I don't buy. Remmy started this journey in too high a spirit for
that to really resonate.
Even when the characters are in sharp focus, true to themselves,
they simply end up highlighting all the things that are wrong with the
long term goals of the show, as this same writer did so dangerously
and poignantly back in "Season's Greedings".
The journey is Quinn's fault, he is responsible, therefore he needs to get
the original quartet home - and he's already failed part of that.
On the plus side, they have made a positive impact on many worlds
and saved many lives - but after highlighting this, the story goes on
to prove that the Sliders ultimately unleash a horror on this world
and leave it loose to do untold damage. As much as the callous scientist
may deserve what she gets at the end, it doesn't end with her. This thing
proved it will be nasty with anyone it comes into contact with, and is
by definition a problem that will multiply over time if not defeated.
So our quartet gets a very low rating on the hero meter today. The choice
Rembrandt highlights for Quinn, and which the timer forces Quinn to
fall on the unheroic side of, reduces the show to its
"Gilligan's Island syndrome" goals again, where it's all about
the Sliders saving their own necks and not worrying about anything else,
like the "Marco Polo mistake" on Doctor Who.
I wouldn't even call it a controversial ending, because to have
controversy there need to be some redeeming qualities to both possibilities
to trigger debate. The ending here is too obviously the less
preferable one. It's bad.
And while we're on the subject of character, it is worth noting that
Maggie doesn't really have a presence in this episode, while Kari Wuhrer
spends her time expressing the "alien" creature's desires instead.
As long as the episode sits in its original broadcast position,
Maggie and her dynamics with the rest of the gang are too new and
too much of an unknown to not be getting proper screen time here,
ultimately another reason why I recommend holding it back until after
"The Other Slide of Darkness".
The story seems determined to reduce Wuhrer to a sex object instead,
and frankly not a very attractive one with all the icky alien effects
and bossy attitude crap going on instead. I could easily lose count of
the number of times she barfs or has something truly gross coming out of
her mouth. The Maggie that we will come to know and like in season four
is nowhere to be seen here. Disappointing.
After what seems a long absence, Lester Barrie is also back to play
Elston Diggs one more time. This has to rank as one of the blandest
versions of his character we've seen yet - his lines seem to have been
written in someone's sleep, as he cites the most predictable stuff you
could imagine for "helpful bartender", remembers exactly what the
regular characters would want him to, and spouts it on cue as though he
has memorized the needs of the entire script.
Add to that the choice to have him get up and abandon his half-finished
drink and his seat at his own table after he's finished giving plot
information, so that Wade and the Doctor can put the rest of the mystery
together without any interruptions from him, and it's just too much
illogical cookie-cutter formula for me. Although it's nice to see
Diggs here, he seems so much more 2-dimensional than normal.
Well, I'm not liking this one. The concept has potential, and could
be made to work,
but it would need a much more careful selection of what to explore,
based in part on where certain trains of thought triggered by the scenes
would naturally lead the audience.
If adjusted for that, it could turn out to be a much better story.
As it stands,
this one has some moments, but is mostly just a stinker getting in the way
of the Rickman arc, the good spirit of the three familiar regulars,
and - particularly in its original broadcast position - the acceptance of
Maggie within their ranks.
This story has become available on DVD.
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for pricing and availability:
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