Total Recall: Sliders “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome”

Another fantastic episode of Sliders this week with the Twilight Zoneesque “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome”.

The framing for this week’s episode is that Rembrandt is at a psychiatrist’s office, trying to make sense out of the group’s latest adventure.

Flashing back, the Sliders arrive on a peaceful seeming world that has all the hallmarks of home including Quinn’s neighbors busted up Buick and, the ultimate test, Quinn’s squeaky front gate.  The gate squeaks and Quinn’s mom is there to great them, overwhelmed that Quinn is back.  The group celebrates being home but Arturo convinces the others to stay quiet about their sliding adventures until he and Quinn can get sliding 100% controlled.  Everyone agrees and they come up with excuses for where they’ve been for the last 18 months, except they decide to tell their families (or in Remy’s case, his agent) and swear them to secrecy.

A short time later however, Wade calls up and Quinn and tells him to turn to channel 11.  Quinn is shocked to see that Arturo is giving an interview on a local science talk show, taking complete credit for sliding and being hailed as “the father of inter dimensional travel”.  Wade and Remy, with the secret out, parlay their sliding adventures into a book deal for Wade and a comeback record for Remy.  Out for drinks with Quinn, the two try to convince him to confront Arturo.  Quinn finally agrees and goes to call him from a pay phone but is stunned by a newspaper hanging on the hall highlighting the 49ers defeating the Jets in Super Bowl XIX.  If there’s one thing Quinn is sure about besides quantum physics, it’s sports stats, and he’s now convinced that they aren’t home.  Wade and Rembrandt are not convinced so Quinn decides to gather more evidence, including the fact that one of his ninth grade classmates wore braces on our world, but doesn’t have them here.  Wade is really worried that Quinn is going insane and unable to accept that they’re actually home.  Meanwhile, Arturo becomes an ever increasing douchebag, claiming that he was the one who actually laid the groundwork for sliding and that the group should grow up.

Quinn arrives home after seeing Wade to find a black van parked out in front of his house and he goes inside to find a pair of men robbing his basement.  He’s unable to stop them and what they stole was the timer.  The timer’s location is soon found out by Wade and Rembrandt when they attend the gala opening of the local science museum’s new inter dimensional travel wing, complete with a gaudy statue of Arturo.  One of the main exhibits is the timer and Wade calls Quinn to tell him and he tries to get her to help him steal it, since they don’t know how long they have till they slide. Wade doesn’t want to go through Quinn’s delusions again but she is horrified to learn that Quinn isn’t delusional when she looks out the window and sees the Azure Gate Bridge instead of the Golden Gate Bridge.

With this new information, Quinn and Wade first confront Arturo, who claims to have known from almost the time they arrived, and then ultimately break into the museum and attempt to get the timer back but are arrested and the timer is returned to Arturo.  Rembrandt bails them out the next morning and says he knows they aren’t on their world too because some of his songs that he wrote solo on our world were co-written by his Spinning Tops backup singers on this world.  The trio decides to break into Arturo’s house to get the timer back.

At Arturo’s the group ransacks his office but are stopped by sounds coming from the basement.  They are shocked to find that Arturo is chained up in the basement and he explains that his double didn’t slide when the alternate Sliders slide off this world and when our Arturo turned up, his double drugged and kidnapped him and then proceeded to take credit for sliding.  Unfortunately, the other Arturo arrives with the timer and the classic “Which is which?” dilemma takes place.  The Arturo that was chained up ends the confusion by punching the other Arturo in the face and the group gets the timer back and heads out to slide.  Quinn and Wade say good bye to their double parents and open the portal but the other Arturo shows up again, telling them not to slide without him.  The Arturo with the Sliders tells them to go without him and a battle between the Arturos rages on the Mallory’s front lawn.  One of them gets the upper hand and slides, causing the other to look on in horror as the portal closes.

The episode ends with Quinn, Arturo and Wade interrupting Remy’s shrink session and sliding out.  The shrink, who thought Remy was insane, goes insane himself and is wheeled out in a straight jacket, babbling about the portal and how beautiful it was.

I love the idea of this episode and how Quinn tries to convince everyone with the most minute details (“Roger Maris doesn’t have an asterisks next to his name!”) that can easily be dismissed as crazy and also the idea of “Which Arturo slid?” that, unfortunately, was never answered.  It didn’t really affect the show all that much as Arturo didn’t have any significant character changes and then the thing we’ll get to in Season Three happened.  The episode also has a lot of great little fan service lines like the Slider mentioning the Earths of “Last Days”, “Fever” and “Into the Mystic”.  Next week we finally get to see a world where dinosaurs exist, something I’m sure Slider fans were clamoring for since the show started.

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