Mother and Child

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 60, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Richard Manning
  • directed by Helaine Head
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Edward Ledding, Jerry O'Connell, & Marc Scott Zicree
  • Production # K2819
Story: The Sliders discover a young woman and her eight-month-old infant trying to escape across the countryside from a Kromagg breeder camp. Will they be able to find a way to return her to her home? How far will she and her half-Kromagg baby get amongst other war-torn and suspicious survivors? And what dark, dangerous secrets do the other survivors harbour?

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.

If you only watch one season four Kromagg story, it should be this one!

The action is the best yet. The human drama is excellent. The Kromaggs are an alien dynasty instead of a Nazi anthropomorphosis rip-off. We get scenic panoramas and lasers, and a first for a Kromagg story - no mention of eye-eating whatsoever. Super!

At the time I first saw this, I was intrigued by the Wade story. That arc might have been great had they followed through with Sabrina Lloyd's presence at some point. But with no sign of her agreeing to ever do the show again, they should have given her a happy exit long ago and dropped this. Oh well. It doesn't really hurt this episode, but it makes you wish for things that will never be.

All the same, it also seems that the characters inexplicably ignore one of the most logical questions to ask. When traveling across parallel/branching dimensions, one often encounters doubles of oneself and one's friends and family members. So... which of Wade's many, many doubles was in that Kromagg camp? Which doubles of Quinn and Rembrandt and Maggie did she tell stories of? Is there any truly good reason to believe that this was our Wade and not a double that we just missed? You can see here that the writers got so excited about long-term Kromagg arcs that they forgot the main premise of the series. Oh well.

But there is so much good writing and good drama here, that the futility of the Wade arc can't truly hurt this episode. If anything, the story gains more than it sacrifices from this angle.

I also like that we see angry Rembrandt realize how wrong his own attitude is, and warn others not to go down his path. Nice. In fact, this story really is written to give a lot of great twists and turns along its entire dramatic ride, and one of the best examples of this is in the scene with Quinn, Rembrandt, and the woman's father outside the house garage. Here, the characters are picking up on each other's subtle turns of phrase, letting that direct their subsequent avenues of exploration. Very nicely plotted, and very dramatically realized.

Bizarrely, we've had five Kromagg stories so far this season, and haven't seen any individual Kromagg guest star appear more than once. This is a pity, as it would help with the show's continuity enormously. But at least here, we see a lot of the Kromaggs' abilities put to good use, showing how they slide and deal with problems, and also defining some of the parameters and limitations of their powers of illusion. Good stuff. If there's something not tackled here, perhaps it is the magical healing power that the Kromaggs often have, and why it isn't effective against the biological weapon employed here.

The story brings up some disturbing topics which don't have easy answers, which is always a good source for rich drama. But I think we should note that the answers don't seem easy largely because Kromaggs now have a reputation for being one-dimensionally villainized, such that the human characters can find no redeeming qualities in their existence or behaviour. Perhaps this episode is best in hinting at those missing dimensions, and making you wonder if they exist or if the evidence suggesting them is just another Kromagg mental deception.

It would be easy to just anthropomorphize the Kromaggs and get it over with, as Star Trek always does with its aliens, to more easily deliver the heartwarming endings that Trek thrives on, but "Mother and Child" successfully retains some ambiguity in the nature of Kromagg thought and philosophy. Though they have here risen somewhat above the depths of Nazification that they often fell into in their other season four stories, this World War II stigma is still shading their characters here. At least this episode delivers the best food for thought yet on Kromagg issues.

The Sliders actually direct their slide in this story - an excellent logical move that we should get more of on this show. Why they decide to go back to random sliding at the end is something not clearly explained.

If there's one thing I don't like too much, it is that the woman decides to move on to another world at the end. What's that about? They had a house, they had antidote for the child. And the Sliders promise to dump her on the next random world no matter what it is? I think we're preserving Gilligan's Island Syndrome past the point of rational sense here. If she really wants to move on, fine, but the Sliders need to see the world that they're depositing her on before they insist that she can't come along anymore, otherwise they start to look heartless, and we wouldn't want that now would we?

Still, I'd have to rank this as one of the very best episodes of the season, second only to "World Killer". So many of the elements here work so much better than other similar season four episodes, that one can't help but sit up and take notice of how excellently "Mother and Child" got pulled together. In short, this one knocks it out of the park. I like it.

Best Story from "The Exodus" to here:

    The Excellent:
  1. World Killer
  2. Mother and Child
  3. The Exodus
  4. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
  5. Dinoslide
  6. Lipschitz Live
  7. The Other Slide of Darkness
  8. Slidecage
  9. The Alternateville Horror
  10. Virtual Slide
  11. Asylum

    The Decent:
  12. The Dying Fields
  13. Common Ground
  14. Slither
  15. Prophets and Loss
  16. Genesis
  17. This Slide of Paradise
  18. Stoker

    The Severely Challenged:
  19. California Reich
  20. Sole Survivors
  21. The Breeder

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: "Net Worth"

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