The Sliders arrive on a world they least expect… home.
The episode enters with Rembrandt lying back and explaining all of his sliding problems to a psychiatrist. Sliding between dimensions would indeed create great emotional distress for anyone. You would be a nomad not knowing where your next meal or source of income would come from. He explains which button pushed him too far, and so the great story begins.
The vortex opens with Quinn, Wade, Arturo and Rembrandt landing conveniently in front of where it all began, Quinn’s home. A wrecked car, a neighbors house and a squeaking gate are all clues that provided the necessary evidence they’re home at last. As soon as the Sliders look up from the squeaking gate, we see another actress portraying Mrs. Mallory. That’s always been an annoying nitpick. A different actor portraying a character. Please get Linda Henning on a plane to Vancouver at once!
The celebration and fantastic stories of their sliding adventures begin. However the Professor urges everyone to remain quiet until they successfully master the art of sliding. After all, they’re missing 5% of the equation of how to get back home in a timely manner. One of the interesting aspects of this episode is how each slider goes about their business of an ordinary life. Arturo returns to the university, Wade serializes her diary, Rembrandt hits the music studio and Quinn whips up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If only this episode could have been a two parter so we could have seen more of their ordinary lives.
Here’s where the fun begins. Quinn turns on his TV and sees the Professor blowing everyone’s cover of interdimensional sliding, and on live TV. Rembrandt and Wade feel the stress has caught up with Quinn after he inadvertently discovers a newspaper with the wrong teams playing Superbowl XIX. Quinn believes they’ve never reached their home world, only a close copy. The reason this episode resonates so well is because of the curiosity it can bring out in anyone. Our questioning and desire for the truth keeps us focused on what really matters, home. It beckons the question, would you settle for a close copy of home instead of the original?
Convinced they’re not home, Quinn continues to find small clues like a classmate that isn’t wearing braces in a yearbook, and a missing asterisk on a baseball card. Wade arrogantly disagrees, saying they are indeed home. Quinn walks off, and I can’t say I blame him either. Even though Quinn’s clues are hilarious under the surface, her blatant disregard of the truth no matter how small is pretty lame. The rising tension this creates between the Sliders helps the episode glue together and quite well.
Professor Arturo has stolen the credit of Quinn’s discovery of sliding, and even the timer. He attempts to get his 15 minutes of fame no matter what the cost. Television, press conferences and a formal statue unveiling all show the true pompous character of the Professor. This is really the first time that the Sliders are the center of attention in the series. Yes we’ve had Rembrandt reach stardom in “The King is Back” and Arturo run for mayor in “The Weaker Sex”. But being recognized for their pure endurance and accomplishments of sliding with photographers and press all around brings a refreshing contrast to the show.
The timer is put on display in a glass case not far from the Maximillian Arturo statue. Now what Sliders fan doesn’t dream of owning the original timer displayed in a glass case? It’s the most significant prop of the entire show, that would have every fan clamoring to own one. Back to the matter at hand, Wade finally discovers the Sliders are indeed not on their true home world. The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is called the Azure Gate Bridge which is a blue pastel.
The Professor is confronted by Quinn and Wade, and they are eventually arrested for stealing the displayed timer which, after the fact, is discovered to be a replica nonetheless. Rembrandt begins to realize the full scope of the situation including his scuffle with his backup singers, the Spinning Tops and bails the Sliders out of jail. At this point in the episode, you can’t help but feel disconcerted. Even though the world is a close copy should they stay? Should they decide to leave, will they take the Professor with them? Will they even make the slide?
The final ten minutes of the episode is one of the most ingenious pieces of television history. You realize how brilliant this episode is and the complexity that parallel dimensions can bring. Determined to find the real timer Quinn, Wade and Rembrandt break into Professor Arturo’s home only to find the Professor chained down to a pole in his basement. He explains that his double impersonated him while he was held captive. If that wasn’t enough of a shock, another Arturo walks into the basement. Two Arturos in one room.
This episode doesn’t disappoint, as it gives suspense and mystery at every turn. The final scenes erupt in a fight between the two Professors. One only of the Arturos makes the slide. The rest is television history which leaves every viewer with a case of post traumatic slide syndrome.