The premise also really taps into a lot of interesting questions, both medical and philosophical, and has an artistic way of hinting at things while leaving the answers to the questions open. Nice!
After an opening that is fairly well balanced for all four Sliders, Mallory gets a very strong focus early on, in fact enough to make one believe that he will be the main protagonist of the tale. The bluffs that he pulls off to kickstart this thread are top notch and highly entertaining. This certainly does seem to be pulled out of new Mallory's fast-talking con man template, but I think our old Quinn could equally have pulled it off in this case by using his own scientific background and a slightly different style of working himself in.
Rembrandt and Maggie seem to get a bit too complacent and underused in earlier portions of the story, but they do eventually come into their own, firstly by exploring something of what makes this world unique. The concept of artistic freedom and creativity vs. conformity is a nice strong theme, and one that "Sliders" hadn't previously tackled, and so it is very welcome here. Of course, these two really spearhead the heroics in the last act, bringing back the core unity of the sliding team.
The resolution seems to have a few too many conveniences, like just happening to find the machine's creator in the asylum, where he has only been pretending to be mad....?? Yeah, that could use some work. And giving Diana something to do to help would have been good icing on the cake.
Perhaps the sequencing of stories within the season is a bit problematic here as well. Having basically watched Wade have her brain fried in the last episode, it seems a little too soon to do something so similar to Diana in this episode. If this were a real problem, there might well be no coming back for her, which betrays a strange tendency from the writers to doom every regular character on the show to a sad and morbid fate. Luckily, it's a one-off episode after all, the magic reset button is found and pushed, and everyone returns to their starting positions as if nothing had happened.
More interesting and quality episodes are still on the way though, as we head towards the controversial ending of the Sliders show....
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