Welcome back for another exciting edition of our Total Recall of Sliders. This week we take a look at arguably the darkest episode of Season 1 with Fever.
The episode doesn’t start that dark however as the Sliders manage to get some good luck and slide onto an Earth where literally everyone in San Fransisco is rich due to the ridiculous amount of oil that is under the city. People are popping champagne and throwing away money, which Rembrandt hastily scoops up. The bad luck is that they only have about five minutes on this Earth before they have to slide. The world they slide onto could not be any more different than the previous one in that it’s a hellish nightmare where a deadly plague called “The Q” is killing thousands. The city of San Fransisco, and apparently all of California, is now overseen by the militaristic California Health Commission. The CHC controls most of the basic aspects of life to control disease and anyone who shows any sign of sickness is immediately dragged off to quarantine zones.
Unaware of any of this, Wade inadvertently infects herself when she kisses a man who rescues her when she is almost run down by a truck. The group heads into a diner to get some food and find that the only thing they serve are vacuum packed hamburgers, approved by the CHC. Rembrandt takes one bite and needs to run to bathroom where he makes the shocking discovery that this Earth’s Quinn is the origin of the plague and public enemy number one. The Slider beat a hasty retreat while the CHC are distracted by a man coughing but Wade starts showing signs of the disease. Rembrandt takes her to a nearby motel while Quinn and Arturo head to a pharmacy to get her some aspirin. I should mention that this is the first appearance of comedian Will Sasso, who shows up for most of first and second seasons as the owner of the motel that the Sliders check into on every Earth. Their cabbie friend from the pilot also shows up again later in this episode.
In the pharmacy, Quinn and Arturo discover it’s more like a medieval apothecary, selling things like witch hazel and eye of newt. Quinn is recognized by one of the pharmacists, who seems to be an insane fan of his, and the CHC are called. Quinn is tranquilized and taken to CHC headquarters. Arturo returns to the motel and reveals he has the disease as well and Wade grows worse by the hour, eventually running away in a fever induced state and getting the trio cornered by a group of other Q victims. They are taken to an underground sanctuary and meet the Alternate Quinn. He reveals that the CHC deliberately infected him and released him into the population as part of a medical experiment and that he’s been working ever since to help the infected and try to find a cure. Arturo makes a critical discovery when he asks why The Q is immune to antibiotics, to which Quinn asks, “What are antibiotics?” Arturo sets out to try and create penicillin while Rembrandt goes to try and help their Quinn escape.
Our Quinn meanwhile, is being tortured and tested at CHC headquarters, where they are shocked to discover that there is no evidence of The Q in him. Dr. Eileen Stanley, who helped the alternate Quinn escape, gives Quinn a contamination suit as a disguise and the two make a break for it. Rembrandt conveniently pulls up at that moment but Dr, Stanley is killed by the CHC guards. Quinn and Rembrandt escape and make it back to the sanctuary, where Arturo believes he has created their best shot at a cure. A few hours later the Sliders only have five minutes to slide but fortunately Arturo has gotten better, meaning the cure has worked. He hastily gives instructions to the Alternate Quinn about how to treat everyone else and then they slide, just barely beating the CHC, who crash into the sanctuary with their assault vehicles (maybe they should spend more money on research and less on weaponary). Alternate Quinn reveals they have cure and that the CHC’s reign is over, since they will spread it to other camps and finally end the plague.
Wade wakes up cured on the next planet and Quinn is ecstatic because, no matter what happens, sliding had a positive effect on a world. He neglects to mention that they have slidden onto a world inhabited by cannibals but figures she’s had enough excitement for one day.
So overall another great episode and you can see why Fox bumped it up to be the second episode after the pilot. There’s no rest for the Sliders next week as they are again in dire straits when they slide to an Earth that is about to be struck by an asteroid in “Last Days”.