In fact, with this being the second dinosaur episode on "Sliders", there will be easy comparison between this story and "In Dino Veritas" from season two, and for my money "Dinoslide" is more satisfying in nearly every way. First of all, the dinosaurs are fully present. We never get the feeling here that dinosaur shots are missing for lack of time or money. Plus, these dinosaurs are pretty much the best CGI creatures we've got yet on season three.
Next improvement over "In Dino Veritas" - Quinn is also fully present in the entire story, and taking a very active and very heroic role. All good.
Another improvement: the story itself is multilayered and multi-faceted, avoiding the overly simplistic "stuck in a cave for 30 minutes" killer of audience anticipation that made "In Dino Veritas" feel dull even while it was delivering decent material.
Most importantly of all, our Sliders aren't stuck with merely backing away from confrontations and running away in their vortex. Here they're eagerly jumping into their challenges and facing them head on. Much better.
Some fans like the paternal side of Rembrandt while he was pregnant in "The Prince of Slides". Me, I'll much prefer him here in his longer term relationship with Malcolm ANY DAY, where he can be both heartwarming and masculine about it. This is a good episode for Remmy. Plus, the simple fact that the Sliders can return to a world they've been to before, and interact with not the double of characters they've met before but actually the same versions of those characters, this starts to give this show the deeper tapestry and ability to hold the audience's long term attention that it has so badly needed. "Dinoslide" is breaking new ground in this respect, and it gets two thumbs up from me for it.
Another good bonus is in the Wade-Maggie conflict. In the beginning, Wade is shown to have something akin to an addiction for this rut that she ends up in almost without realizing, and is actually enjoying it to an extent with attempts at humour. But by the end of the show, the two ladies are bonding. Finally! This should have happened two episodes after "The Exodus", but we'll gladly take it at five or six, if it means we can pull the team back together. "Dinoslide" makes the best use of the Wade-Maggie dynamic that we ever get on this show.
Quinn and Maggie also get nicely contrasted in this one. Though they're both equally capable as action hero material goes, Maggie doesn't seem to care if she slips over to the dark side to get the job done. Quinn manages to carve out a unique bit of territory for himself as the hero who will be the keeper of the good philosophical flame. I'm liking it. This Quinn has developed well beyond the wimp who ran from so many season one and two challenges and needed rescuing so often. Season three is finally getting some things very right. Nice.
Finally, there's Rickman. He is actually making a very logical move by returning to the evacuees' world, twice, and once more he works well to drive the plot. But though we might have been able to explain away prior examples of the face-morphing effect as something that he was internally feeling rather than something that was actually visible for others to see, this story shatters that theory by showing how he uses the alternate identity to elude his pursuers. The credibility of brain fluid injections being able to give him such a power is just not convincing however. Someone really wasn't thinking when the injections give Rickman the power to take on not only the face of a gypsy, but the man's headgear as well! Too ridiculous. We probably get to a low-point when we hear Maggie talking about him "not being able to hold the morph". Great - now the terminology is all about the post-production video effect instead of an actual physical cause, which really shatters whatever is left of the illusion. At any rate, the Sliders have a foe who can cross dimensions just like them, and that's what was needed most at this time on the show. Rickman delivers that well at least. And I'm liking it.
The dinosaur plot concludes excellently. Rickman has the final word, and it does feel a bit tacked on, but it still works excellently to build good tension and drive. Unfortunately, the gun play in front of a vortex idea is getting a bit old, and we're running out of ways to get out of these believably without anyone buying the farm. This episode doesn't do too badly, but won't win any great points for originality there.
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