Total Recall: Sliders “Summer of Love”

Fun fact to start out this week’s recap; In typical Fox fashion the episode of the first season of Sliders was messed with. The second episode that aired, “Fever” was originally supposed to be the fourth episode and the episode we’re talking about this week, “Summer of Love” was aired as the sixth episode.  “Fever” is definitely a stronger episode but there’s little continuity things that make more sense if you watch them in the intended order, for instance Rembrandt still has on his gold suit from the Pilot.

This episode starts out with one of Quinn’s friends and fellow geniuses (and metal head/stoner), Conrad Bennish, getting a visit from the FBI.  It seems their investigating the disappearance of Quinn and the gang and want Conrad’s opinion on one of Quinn’s video diaries.  It’s a video Quinn made right after his first slide and Conrad explains about the Einstein-Rosen bridge and that they could be in another universe.

The Sliders, after realizing they weren’t on their own Earth when Quinn’s dead father walked in for supper, resumed sliding and we join them this episode as they slide into a seemingly deserted street.  A nearby TV is broadcasting a report about a deadly swarm of Spider Wasps that escaped from the lab they were created in in South America and have been killing and destroying everything in their path.  San Fransisco is their next target and the Sliders decide to get out ASAP.  However, the timer is overheated from their recent slide so after Rembrandt and Wade slide, the portal vanishes and Quinn and Arturo barely re-open it before the swarm arrives.  Rembrandt and Wade wind up in a hippie commune outside of San Fransisco.  They are still hopeful they are back on their Earth until they’re informed that the President is Oliver North.  Quinn and Arturo arrive at a construction site with a hitchhiker, one of the Spider Wasps is crawling on the Professor’s back.  Quinn manages to kill it by knocking the Professor in the head with a rock with his quarterback skills.  Quinn is the rare Jock/Nerd combo.  Worried that Wade and Rembrandt are on another Earth, Quinn and Arturo decide to focus on fixing the timer.  They manage to rent an apartment from a suspicious land lady who is paranoid about counter culturists.  While fixing the timer, Quinn learns that the US is currently embroiled in a war with North Australia and that the hippie movement is still going strong in 1997, despite the efforts of President North and the FBI.

Rembrandt heads out with the slim hope of finding Arturo and Quinn.  He drives to his old neighborhood and finds some sort of party is going on at his childhood house.  Heading inside, he finds he’s crashed his own funeral, or at least his double’s funeral.  After listening to the eulogy by his older brother, which gets more and more insulting, Rembrandt finally bursts into the room when his musical abilities are questioned.  Everyone is shocked but quickly accepts his arrival as a miracle.  It turns out that his double married Rembrandt’s high school crush and they have a son named Rembrandt Jr.  He went MIA in Australia and was presumed dead.  Along with the general 60’s vibe, Rembrandt decides (the first of many times) to stay on this Earth.  However, the honeymoon is short lived when he finds out his new wife is a raging bitch and his son is a smart ass.  His excuse to leave comes quickly though when a telegram arrives saying that his double has been found and is recovering in Melbourne.  Rembrandt makes a quick escape before his new ex-wife can fill him full of lead from her shotgun.

Wade kind of takes a backseat this episode.  She spends most of her time hanging out at the hippie commune, becoming something of a guru.  Oh, I forgot to mention that the hippies believe she and Rembrandt are some sort of alien prophets.  She teaches the hippies about astrology and also gives them some advice about what to do based on what she knows about Vietnam.

Quinn and Arturo manage to fix the timer but are caught by the FBI after they get a tip from their landlady.  Thinking their building some sort of bomb based on the equations on their wall, they start questioning them.  Quinn, luckily, spies Rembrandt driving past and, after Arturo grabs one of the agents of the guns, manages to reunite with The Crying Man.  They all get back to the commune and slide out just before the FBI arrives.  The world they arrive on next still isn’t their Earth but the immediate problem is the giant tidal wave that is bearing down on San Fransisco.

Overall, I can see why Fox would want to change the order as after the awesome Pilot this episode is kind of a fluff episode.  It’s still fun but the political and cultural elements kind of get shoved into the background in favor of Rembrandt’s wacky domestic adventure and it resolves itself a little too quickly.  Next week is “Prince of Wails” where the cultural and political elements are back in full force and the cliffhanger from this episode is resolved.  See you then.

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