Way Out West

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 64, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • story by Jerry O'Connell
  • teleplay by Chris Black
  • directed by David Peckinpah
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Edward Ledding, Jerry O'Connell, & Marc Scott Zicree
  • Production # K2821
Story: On a world that has missed out on 150 years of technological progress, Colin is the Slider who feels most at home, while Maggie makes the best of their most lucrative opportunity by singing modern hits in the saloon as its new showgirl. But the Sliders slowly discover a sinister conspiracy involving the area's most infamous fast-draw champion - a Kromagg that the Sliders personally recognize.

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.

This is a point where "Sliders" takes time to enjoy the fruits of the long term devices they set in motion for the fourth season. Even if it isn't a great story in the end, it remains both intriguing and a lot of fun, and has one of the best rosters of guest actors in any fourth season episode.

A lot of recent stories have been pretty much ignoring Colin's presence on the team, but now this story finally gives him a bit of a spotlight and the most important heroic role. Charlie O'Connell pulls it off well here, and I have to say I enjoyed his character in this one.

One of the more significant aspects of this episode is the fact that we finally have our first returning individual Kromagg character in this story. Of course, since they have all pretty much looked and acted the same anyway, it's nice that Maggie points out that this is Kolitar, and that his previous appearance was in the "Slidecage". Reiner Schone has both a nice commanding villainous presence and the sense of fun that seems to permeate the entire story. Kromaggs probably haven't been this charismatic since they were surrounded in high mystery in their first appearance in "Invasion" (story no. 22). And I have to say that, as an individual recurring villain, I think Kolitar generally works better than Rickman from season three. Too bad he couldn't have appeared in as many episodes.

Maggie is also served with sufficient things to do for the episode, becoming the financial powerhouse of the quartet during this slide, although many of the show-girl bits are too cheesy to be in my taste. At least her relationship with Jay Acovone's character gives her many worthwhile scenes. Quinn and Rembrandt look as though they may get more good stuff to do at first, but it doesn't pan out, and they end up spending most of their time as a pair of McGuffins that need to be rescued instead.

The multi-talented Sheriff of the town turns out to be the embodiment of the episode's sense of fun and self-deprecation, a character that I thoroughly enjoyed. Marshall Teague's performance is definitely one of the highlights of the show.

I also really like Jay Acovone in this one, playing a very likeable character with a few surprises up his sleeve. He seemed to be a bit of an underappreciated actor at this time, playing a vast array of one-off roles excellently, and just begging to be cast as a regular somewhere.

The story is no doubt pinching bits from many westerns that have come before, and having fun with them. At least Colin is in his element here, which is a nice bit of role-reversal that for once makes the other three Sliders into the fish out of water. The plot is nicely structured and builds successfully to the climax.

The conclusion seems to lack punch though, particularly in its lack of clarity over any philosophical point. The obvious comparison is with the season two episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Wealthy" which successfully borrowed from the classic western "Shane" while pulling off an outstanding ending aligned with non-violence. Here, the story wants to preach non-violence at many points, while still resolving its conflicts with violence, and in the end feels a bit like the mess it is.

Now divorced from the rest of his race, Kolitar is motivated by more local and immediate needs. I think it works, perhaps in fact better so than most of the other Kromagg stories this season in their one-dimensional emulation of race-hatred issues. However, the memory of where he came from still begs the question of whether his presence is too threatening to allow him to scuttle off at the end. How permanent and/or violent a solution do we really want considering this guy could still conceivably one day call an alien armada in to enslave this entire world, which would be easy pickings in its current state of technology? Some kind of defeat other than a high-noon shootout impaired with anti-violent sentiment is called for. Perhaps a high-tech prison on the next world, or banishment to a deserted island on this one.

Well, there is much to enjoy here, even if the ending is a bit flat in terms of what either Kolitar's Kromagg status or the non-violent sentiments of the episode deserved. Still you get a lot of rich performances here and the sense of fun that "Sliders" originally started out with, and all with the rarity of a recurring villain. In the end, a good episode.

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: "My Brother's Keeper"

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