Season 5
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 5
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 84, starring Robert Floyd)
  • story by Chris Black
  • teleplay by Tim Burns & Bill Dial
  • directed by Reynaldo Villalobos
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Paul Cajero
  • Production # E0817
Story: Stuck in a California of pure desert for three days, the Sliders are lucky and shocked to encounter an archaeological expedition digging into the buried remains of the Chandler Hotel, which is dated as being at least 400 years old. What is the story behind the discarded double of the timer they find buried there? Who or what lies in the adjacent crude cryogenic chamber? And why do the local labourers believe that Rembrandt is the Voice that will lead them in protecting the sacred shrine?

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.

Here we get a story with an exceptional premise, and a strong set of intriguing questions that build enormous anticipation for where the story might be headed and what we might learn. There's also a nice strengthening of Rembrandt as the lead protagonist for the episode. Sadly, the episode isn't ultimately satisfying with what it delivers. Some answers have thematic weight, some are just disappointing, and others are left open by the episode's end, with little hope that answers will be forthcoming in the two episodes that this show has left.....

The premise is a rich one. What might archeologists think if they dug up the remains of our civilization? What completely wrong assumptions might they come up with that would make us laugh or cringe? This is a fun idea to explore, and the episode indulges and makes it into a strong central thematic core for the story.

Of course, this introduces temporal discrepancies. How can the usual familiar present day society for the Sliders end up being 400 years out of date on this world? Digging into the series' own history, the writers unearth a theory previously spouted by Professor Arturo back in season three's very excellent story "The Guardian", only this time Diana fleshes it out much more fully and makes it far more credible. Nice.

Adding to the intrigue is the double of the timer, spawning questions of what happened to the doubles of the Sliders using it, and whether or not we would encounter those doubles, alive or dead, and find out what happened to them. Would it be a precursor of what would happen to our Sliders in the last two episodes of the series? Would we encounter the Rembrandt/Maggie/Mallory/Diana foursome, or some previous combination of regulars?

The discovery of the cryogenic casket was yet more good stuff adding on to the story, but here the writing begins to go off track. Surely the FIRST question must be whether or not its occupant is still alive. It's hard to get invested in following the arguments that ensue without addressing that first. But the episode seems determined to now fall back into an imitation of Egyptian mummy lore, and treat our lead archaeologist as if he comes from our early 1900's instead of a civilization that should be about 500 years more advanced.

At least Ken Jenkins, who had previously appeared in the season four finale "Revelations", gives us a good performance in the role of the archaeologist, and generally the entire cast of the episode works well. I'm just not convinced we ultimately went to an interesting or organic place to find the central conflict of this story, and simply continuing the investigation with the odd differences of opinion and no action-based gun-pulling would have been more fulfilling.... presuming of course that we're going to find something worthy of the intriguing questions as we dig.

The scene where Rembrandt agrees to be the Voice of the labour mob seems like it is missing the obvious - which would be that they play for him one of his double's old phonographs or CD's, confirming for themselves that he has the same voice, while our regulars hear some whacked-out lyrics that may have incited the mob - stuff that our Rembrandt would never sing, but that his double may have believed in.

The ultimate discovery of the Rembrandt shrine is melancholic. It doesn't really answer any of the questions about the alternate Sliders. Does this stuff belong to the indigenous Rembrandt, or one that slid in from somewhere else, or is it a combination? Why would the car be here, intact in the room? Ultimately, one has the sense that our Rembrandt is saying goodbye to his identity.... which begs the question of whether the writers are setting up yet another lame ending for the last of the original Sliders that abandons all their goals and accomplishes nothing. It almost feels like death is the only kind of resolution they know how to aim for, and in my book (which includes reincarnation that can dredge up old past life issues) death as resolution is usually just a cop-out.

Well, this episode is definitely more intriguing than many of the filler episodes earlier in the season, but somehow just loses focus on its best material, dithers away some great opportunities, and ends up being a bit mediocre. If only some of its more intriguing threads had been taken up in the upcoming final two episodes of "Sliders".....

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

Season 5 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada A
in Canada B
Season 5 DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the English/German European market:
from Holland via the U.K.

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "Eye of the Storm"

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