Our other three Sliders get a good bit of action on the back-lot square that featured in "Back to the Future", as they confront a very weird black van. I like Mallory in particular here, as he takes the lead with the heroics. Of course, our old Quinn could easily have tackled the strategy and the athletics on display here just as believably. Hotwiring the van might normally have gone to someone else, but this is now more within our new Mallory's repertoire.... and this episode is really the first time this season where any of the skills from Mallory's new script function template finally come out of the closet. A nice sequence.
Sadly the script tries to make something more out of this, as Rembrandt decides out of nowhere that he should critique Mallory's life and try to be his guardian mentor. It's a really bad fit here, and sounds like crap. Plus, would our Remmy not really want to ask this new composite being if he got that from the Mallory side and not his Quinn side? Does he no longer feel that he is with the old buddy he had back at the beginning of the series? The end of the last episode suggested he WAS still hanging on to that hope. This story really isn't doing anything for the long term season arc, and shows the viewer how it really just intends to tread water for its allotted time instead.
Of course, there is a lot here to lead the audience to anticipate that Diana will hack into Data Universal near the end and bring this system to a crash. But we spend so much time running around in capture and escape mode, the story doesn't really get time to deal with this, and Diana winds up not contributing much to the adventure.
It's pure convenience that the three free Sliders just happen to bump into Mr. Arlo Super Rebellion in the street the minute they define their problem, AND he just happens to know all the secret ins and outs of the system. If he did have all those working barcodes to sell to people, how come he doesn't use one to buy himself a new suit and a nice house in the 'burbs somewhere? A lot more needs to be done to flesh out this world and the characters in it, and iron out the contradictions.
Maggie has a nice sequence ordering up all the ingredients to make a few cans of nitro-9, which is a bit of a nod and a wink to Doctor Who and its character of Ace, I suppose. But it is too bad that, after the decently exciting action we had in the back-lot with a full size van, the chief antagonist in the concluding act is the kind of tiny remote control toy that Chewbacca taught us to laugh at in the original Star Wars movie. Our protagonists should just step on the thing already.
This story has become available on DVD. Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:
Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page: