’90s Sci-fi: SLIDERS Episode 3 – Last Days

Before the sci-fi classic Armageddon, (he said, sarcastically) there was Sliders…and probably a few dozen other movies/tv shows with a similar premise. Quinn and friends slide to an Earth that is hours away from getting obliterated by an asteroid larger than the one that killed the dinosaurs. Too bad they can’t slide for another 72 hours. Lucky them, right? Yes, because they just so happen to find the ONE doctoral candidate stoner with the schematics to build a bomb powerful enough to blow that rock outta the sky.

Unable to cope with the fact that he’ll never be able to bring the world another hit single again, Rembrandt decides to wander off by himself. Wade thinks they should find their families, even though they wouldn’t technically be theirs, and Quinn wants to find a way out. At first, splitting up sounds like a bad idea. Isn’t that how they got in trouble the past few times? But then Arturo meets the above mentioned stoner, and Quinn finds equipment similar to his own in the basement of his doppelganger.

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This leads to the kinds of scenes I’ve been hoping for since the show began. Wade confesses to Quinn that she feels connected to all the other Wades out there. A part of her is okay with meeting oblivion because they’ll go on living. Although I don’t much care about the budding romance between Quinn and Wade, it was nice to see the two of them talking like people, warming up to the feelings they have for each other. Character insights like that are what makes drama compelling, and Sliders is badly in need of such moments.

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After being advised by a priest to live his remaining hours to the fullest, Rembrandt witnesses the dark side of a hopeless humanity. The party he attends, and sings at, is full of people who would rather drink, drug, or shoot themselves to death than face the disaster rocketing towards them. The instant of realization that maybe the human connections he’s made is more important than the records he’s released, is surprisingly haunting, and effective.

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Overall the emphasis on character, as opposed to adventure, makes this the best episode so far. We’ve learned a lot about the people we’re sliding with, and it makes for a richer, more enjoyable show.

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One thought on “’90s Sci-fi: SLIDERS Episode 3 – Last Days

  1. +JMJ+

    I thought that this was a very well-written episode. For me, the most memorable emotional part was when Wade said she had no regrets. That was very brave of her! I’m afraid that I would have regretted sliding. =P

    You’re right that this episode lets the characters’ motivations and development take precedence over the fantasy of a parallel universe; but I confess that the parallel universe was still more fascinating to me. Would a world in which the war in the Pacific Theatre stretched out for four more years be a better world than the one in which civilian cities in Japan were nuked into near oblivion? As someone whose grandparents had to suffer under Japanese rule, I hesitate to side with the anti-nukes crowd.

    I have a friend who thinks that ours is already the best of all possible worlds; her answer to the question, “Why did God allow Hitler?” is to say that a world without Hitler might have been, as difficult as it may be to imagine, much worse. And well, this does square with my real favourite part of the episode: the very conspicuous poster of Einstein with his famous quotation, “God does not play dice with the universe.” (What an interesting counterpoint, by the way, to the show’s metaphor of multiple universes as slots on an infinite roulette wheel!)

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