Perhaps though, there is a downside. In the short term, the episode seems to be offering a lot of routine sci-fi nuts and bolts, some of which may come with a groan.
But where this story excels is in its care and feeding of the longer-term arcs of the show. All of the things I thought the last episode was negligent in bringing up, this episode deals with properly. Quinn is clearly seen taking time to use the info in Colin's keepsake to program co-ordinates for their new parents' homeworld, and the whole concept of what the "Slidecage" is springs from that, along with one of the most intriguing extra bits of information yet from the new father played by John Walcutt. The presence of the Kromaggs is purely logical as well. Suddenly, this rather run-of-the-mill plot structure has unmissable clues sprinkled all through it. Which ones are important and which not? Well, only future episodes can answer that.
Quinn and Colin's thread of the story is probably the one that needs the most work. Their interaction with the human group is too antagonistic and curtailed to produce worthwhile scenes. With the distrust level so high, it makes little sense that these people would lock our heroes in a room full of computers where they can proceed to tinker to their hearts' content. More co-operative and populated scenes would have been more logical and more entertaining, I think.
Maggie's ejection from this group and into the hole in the wall with Thomas also strains credulity as is. Thomas and the dynamics we get with him aren't bad, but aren't outstanding either. Ho hum. We'll take it, without getting excited about it.
Rembrandt definitely gets to hang out with the most interesting of the local characters - but again we're doing backflips and somersaults with logic just to keep the antagonism down to levels where the characters can have interesting interaction. Rembrandt has a secret that even he doesn't know about, and the Kromagg commander will have it. Good. Kromagg mental power is showcased here once again, and we get an explanation for why Rembrandt was found in as good a shape as he was back in "Genesis" (story no. 47).
Part of the appeal with the Kromaggs for me was the potential for dwelling on high-tech devices and a long-term focus for the stories. Here in "Slidecage", the environment is one big high-tech device, which is good, but the local characters in it are definitely very primitive, both in being low-tech (where are the lasers and manta-ships?) and in their philosophy of life (antagonistic deadlock). The episode may have successfully grown beyond the WWII German anthropomorphizing of the Kromaggs, but still hasn't quite totally gone the right way with them.
And another question is exactly why our Sliders land inside the cage, as opposed to outside in the toxic wilderness. Are the local characters that we see in this episode the few lucky ones who slid into the complex, while most others end up choking to death outside just after landing here? Is the wilderness littered with flying Manta-ships that can't leave the world? Are their crews still alive and well inside? Getting answers to these questions would be a better way to spend our time than obsessing over corridor survival story beats, for sure.
Perhaps most importantly, if the Sliders are going to make it to Quinn's new parents' homeworld, they're going to have to figure out a new idea for getting there. Interesting.....
Sadly, the writers here show off their penchant for neglecting to clean up their stories properly. Why does Rembrandt promise Jules that he will come back? The writers seem to think nothing of incurring more narrative debts that will eventually be left unpaid. Rack up another one.
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