Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 56, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Bill Dial
  • directed by Michael Miller
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Edward Ledding, Jerry O'Connell, & Marc Scott Zicree
  • Production # K2813
Story: A severe concussion puts Quinn into a hospital, and Rembrandt, Maggie, and Colin pursue various avenues of getting him better treatment, leading to Rembrandt's most serious romance yet. But mysterious connections to a former Kromagg occupation drag a new dark cloud over this slide....

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.

Once past the action opening on a somewhat throwaway world, this looks like it is going to be a quieter, thoughtful, character-based episode.... and then slowly the drama sneaks up on you and before you know it, you've witnessed one of the most emotionally powerful and moving episodes Sliders has ever produced up to this point. The main philosophical caveat is a big one however, and if viewers aren't aware of it, what a shame, because they will be better people if they became aware.

"...And to those who give them comfort."

In many senses this is a Kromagg story, and yet they don't actually appear on screen in the present time, so in another sense it isn't. But for all intents and purposes, the Kromaggs simply seem to be filling in as placeholders for World War Two style enemies here. The typical "Sliders" alternate history devices kick in, and we explore concepts of collaboration with the setting of World War Two Europe now upgraded to a slightly more modern California. Philosophy is not much updated though, and seems to take its cue from wartime propaganda. Most of the emotional grappling points of the episode depend on the idea that there can be nothing redeeming about the entire Kromagg race (which in this series expands to the alternate versions of them that MUST also exist). For the episode to really rank well, someone absolutely must bring up this point and challenge this assumption. Colin doesn't seem up to it, and Quinn is out of it for the entire episode, giving Jerry O'Connell a bit of a holiday. I quite like the idea that Maggie and Rembrandt have such expanded roles in this one (it almost feels like a season five episode), but we're left without anyone acting as the keeper of the philosophical flame here, and it hurt this episode.

That said, let's give the drama its proper due. It feels incredibly real, more so than most other episodes of "Sliders". It is thought-provoking. It is moving. Rembrandt has had many flings before on this show, and they're always good for a laugh and a unique look into a bizarre side of a world, but none of his other relationships have the power that this one does. Emotional investment from the audience is easily quite high here. Part of that power comes from the writer's courage to just slow down and write scene after scene developing this relationship at a natural pace, often without cutting to parallel plot strands with the other regulars or making such things extremely short. Good job.

"We've always depended on Quinn to get us out of trouble. Now it's up to us."

Maggie also gets good material in this one, developing another believable relationship with the opposing perspective. And curiously, if there's comic relief to be had, it's here in her bits. Normally, the mention of things like a Japanese-Mexican restaurant would be one of those casual things thrown away in conversation, as it appears to be in Rembrandt's relationship. But that conversation was just a set-up to have us laugh when Maggie ends up there, and we get to really have fun with the concept. Nice! I love that place!

Colin gets a bit of a spotlight at the beginning of the story, enough to make one think the adventure might revolve around him at first. But he is quickly relegated to a supporting function, and a good but fairly quiet one. He gets his excellent moments in, but the script doesn't give him too many opportunities. If anything, previous adventures had him primarily forming his bond with his brother Quinn, but now in this story he has to examine and strengthen his bonds with his other two friends, which he seems to be doing slowly but surely. All good.

Of course, this episode is once more caught in the mindset of "Gilligan's Island Syndrome", where the characters just keep on sliding randomly whenever the timer tells them to. The previous episode "Slidecage" did its job of logically dealing with the characters' long-term goals, but what is their next move now? This episode doesn't really take time to answer this. It instead seems to point out how clueless the crew feels without Quinn's guidance. All good.... but the audience still deserves to know what the foursome believe their next move should be, in terms of any decision they may have made or postponed between the end of last episode and when the crisis precipitating this story kicks in. It seems unlikely that they would not have at least discussed things before the slide that must have happened in between. Are we waiting for the next truly technologically advanced world?

"You're a doctor, a healer. If you do this, you do it for you, not for me."

That was one of Rembrandt's best lines, pointing to one of the better philosophies showcased in this episode. We have to hand it to Bill Dial for filling this episode with a lot of good dialogue for everyone involved, and creating a lot of powerful scenes throughout. There are also a good number of purely visual moments throughout the episode, where Danny Lux's music can take over the audio track and shine as well. Nice. It's just too bad one important philosophy was missed, and the episode hinges on its absence.

There are always choices. They define the existence of the multiverse.

And yet Rembrandt believes he would feel better today if Grace hadn't had any choices during the war. Sorry, we ALWAYS have a choice, and I love that fact and celebrate it as much as possible. I can totally understand why Remmy makes the choice that he does at the end, and it's a fair call by the writer. Even so, it distances me a bit from the character. I have no desire to come down hard on Grace for what she did in the past, at least not based on anything I see in the episode. She's a doctor, a healer. It seems as though she spent the war time helping and healing people, and not caring about choosing sides in a conflict. Perhaps she actually made the more evolved choice. And those who would prosecute her don't seem to be clearheaded enough to note that distinction, Rembrandt included. If there is evidence that she actually did something to inflict injury on the human side, fair enough, but I didn't see evidence of that in the episode.

I've a feeling a lot of "Sliders" fans will rate this one highly, while I hold it back a little more. It's a good, powerful, thought-provoking drama, but leaves out one or two important ideas, and isn't half as original in its WWII re-run as it would probably hope to be.

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

Season 4 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
Season 4 DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the U.K.

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "California Reich"

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