The key to good drama is conflict. This is why you can’t have a show about sliding to alternate dimensions take place on an Earth where oil is everywhere and everyone is rich. For one thing, the visual of oil spouting up from the backyards of the residents of San Francisco is terribly silly. Also, that wouldn’t make for very good drama.
What you do instead is rip them away, at the last minute, to an Earth where people try to run you over, and the locals don’t like to kiss pretty ladies. Oh, and everyone is terrified of a disease called The Q-Virus, and your main character resembles patient zero. Plus, all the food is disgusting and served in vacuum sealed wrap. Now that’s conflict.
It also happens to be pretty good drama, as Wade is the first to get sick, haunted by fever dreams that turn her friends Rembrandt and Professor Arturo into Twilight Zone monsters. When the Professor gets, what looks like, strep throat, the truth sets in – they can’t leave. Sliding would mean bringing this deadly virus with them. Maybe.
This is where the episode loses steam. Everything is set up perfectly to showcase some nice character moments. Spending time alone with Quinn, locked in a medical facility that wants to rip him apart, the sick Arturo desperately digging through rotten food to find the mold he needs to make penicillin, Rembrandt being the only one well enough to save Quinn.
All that is there. Plenty of conflict to play around with. Only it’s rushed. The show seems more interested in moving so quickly (lots of running and yelling, instead of reflection) to keep you distracted from inconsistencies. A real shame because these are interesting chqracters. Seeing more of what drives them would take this pretty good show and make it a great one.
Like the first episode we’re given an oppressive government that lies to its citizens, an underground group of rebels, looking to expose that lie, and help the victims, and a half-assed rescue attempt. I also find it odd that this is the second episode in a row where a native of the Earth they’re visiting dies in an effort to help them. Only two episodes in and already they’re repeating themselves.
At least there were two awesome, and funny, cameos from Dean Haglund and Will Sasso. Always nice to see them. And Haglund seems to be playing a spookier version of Langley from The X-Files. Points for that.