The Sliders arrive on a world where the youth are in charge and discover Quinn and Wade’s doubles were married.
We first see the lifeless body of Quinn Mallory floating in a swimming pool. Moments later, our Sliders enter the scene and pull one over on us. To our surprise it turns out it was Quinn’s double in the water and the Sliders are unable to resuscitate him. Wade looks up only to see a double of herself on this world. At this point it’s obvious we’re going to be told more about the characters versus a one-off storyline. It’s a different approach, contrast to the immediate problem of say a dinosaur or invisibility.
On this world Quinn and Wade’s doubles were married corporate executives. In this society you must succeed in your career before your 30th birthday or you’re put out to pasture. Wade’s double eventually explains she needs Quinn to impersonate his dead double in order to lobby state legislators to pass an advanced education system called Edulearn. To no surprise to the viewer Quinn agrees, citing no problems could arise since he’s playing himself. Here public education is in a rapid decline and it was QR’s (Quinn’s double) dream of creating a computer system called Edulearn to replace poor teaching.
Speaking of QR, its likely this name was used because the now common “QR Code” was invented only two years before this episode aired in 1994. A QR (Quick Response) Code is a 2 dimensional barcode that offers fast readability and can store more information than a traditional barcode. Just what a genius named Quinn Mallory would need for an advanced learning system. Better than sliding however? Hardly. Now cue up the checkered suit for the legislators!
The interesting aspect of this episode is the cut throat mentality of achieving a successful career at such a young age. Here Howard Stern is the President, and judges seem to be just old enough to have graduated high school. It’s a society that disrespects the elderly and you must be underage enough to drink alcoholic beverages. It’s a classic alternate society idea, something that Sliders is made for. It would have been nice if this episode focused more on the little things like this but we see more of Quinn trying to impersonate his dead double for this world’s Wade.
While Quinn and Wade (double) are trying to underhand their corporate guests, Rembrandt and the Professor get arrested for assault and a curfew violation. After their overage drinking attempt went amiss they end up in a court of law. It seems quite silly the elderly are oppressed to curfew and overage drinking, but when a society is ruled by children it’s not all that unrealistic. Actually prophetic.
One of the Sliders’ enemies eventually becomes Kyle Beck, CFO of Edulearn. I really like how this character is portrayed. A young intellectual, brass, mature beyond his age and yet too blind to play the corporate ball in an ethical way. He along with Mr. Gillette end up stealing the timer and using it to negotiate more help from our Quinn. This time he must lobby the Governor of California. Since Wade is in the know, she is put under house arrest by these corporate criminals.
Rembrandt and the Professor escape custody after being found guilty of their charges. What I find interesting is that this episode really shows how well these two characters compliment one another. They’re lighthearted, fun, to the point, and don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re you’re average Joe. I think it’s one of the reasons why everyone can relate to these two characters in such a fond way. Having a good time in a ride around the multiverse is necessary with so many bumps in the road.
The meeting for an Edulearn commercial is really ironic. In an attempt at improving children’s education and their lives, they use soda drinks to help them with basic mathematics. In many ways it is exactly the way our society is today. The incessant advertising food corporations use to profit off children is outrageous. Whether it be soda, sugary cereals or pastries it seems to be a problem that continually plagues society. Our Quinn calls them out on it and refuses to play ball.
He eventually discovers Melanie White’s husband (the lead for Research and Development at Edulearn) was murdered by Wade’s double, and did not commit suicide. At this point it’s crystal clear Quinn is way above his head in what he agreed to do in the first place by cozying up to a few state legislators. He makes one last call to the governor to finish up the deal in attempt free our Wade from house arrest.
This episode does get a bit confusing with all the corporate banter especially when you’re trying to understand who’s role is what among the Edulearn company. It is one of the things that slow the episode down. The nuances of alternate “what if’s” among the society in general would of been a better suit for the episode. Some of the pros are the final scenes where Quinn shows doctored tapes to Kyle Beck and Wade’s double. It shows our Wade impersonating her double in an attempt to expose her crimes, as well as a second tape showing her murdering QR. It’s an ingenious idea that comes along with a livid Wade double who attempts to kill the Sliders.
This world’s society is host to a number of problems. Whether it be overage discrimination, corporate crimes, or murder there’s no shortage of hurdles to overcome. Whatever problems your neighbor has or the hardships they endure, give them a hand. Yet remember your hand can only extend so far. No matter what this world throws at you it all becomes clear… you can’t save every world you land on.