Total Recall: Sliders “Paradise Lost”

We’re coming into the home stretch of our Sliders recaps and that means things are going to start going downhill fast.  “Paradise Lost” is the epitome of what Sliders would unfortunately become where lazy movie homages replaced intelligent social commentary.  Paradise Lost is a half baked Tremors knock off that feels like a rejected X-Files script.

The action picks up with geologist Michael Levy, who is frantically calling his boss Laurie about some sort of discovery he’s made outside the small town of Paradise.  Unfortunately for Michael, a couple of guys from town interrupt his call and drag him to a cliff overlooking a barren section of beach.  Michael is forced down to the beach and the men pull the ladder up to the cliff up.  Something starts moving under the sand and Michael is quickly caught and dragged under the sand.

The next day, the Sliders arrive on world and head for town.  They run into Laurie, working on a flat tire and looking like she’s about to get brained with a tire iron by creeper townie Bud.  Quinn rushes over to help and, after fixing the flat, Laurie gives the gang a ride into town.  Paradise is an extremely small and weird town and all the townsfolk give the Sliders suspicious stares.  In need of cash for a room and food, Wade and Rembrandt get jobs at the local restaurant, owned by the seemingly charming Parker Whitmore.  While Wade and Rembrandt get to work, Quinn heads with Laurie to Michael’s campsite while Arturo checks the gang into the local hotel.  While waiting for their room to be ready, Arturo notices a picture from the hotel’s opening in 1941 which seems to have current owner Alice in it, looking like she hasn’t aged in a day.  She says it’s her grandmother and Arturo heads out to question some other townspeople.

While the Sliders are investigating/working,  the sheriff, Sheriff Burke, heads out to the site of a killing and worries that “she” is getting hungrier and that they’ll have to feed the Sliders to “her”.  He instructs Bud to collect the blue goo that “she” has left.

At Michael’s campsite, Quinn and Laurie manage to find what Michael wanted to show Laurie, he has readings about something massive moving underground.  Putting the specifications into a handheld detector, Laurie and Quinn head out to follow the source of the readings.  Back in town, Arturo attempts to get some information at the local bar and manages to learn from a fellow bar patron named Fred that there’s some sort of creature nearby.  Arturo is interrupted by Sheriff Burke, who claims he needs Arturo’s help identifying what they think is Wade’s body.  It’s actually the body from earlier and Burke and Parker leave Arturo to be sucked underground by the creature.

Wade, a little while before Arturo got fed to the creature, discovered that the townspeople ritually eat the blue goo and that it seems to let them live for longer than normal.  A waiter at Parker’s restaurant named Tom, died earlier in the day and Burke claims at the secret meeting that he was 103.  Unseen by Wade and Rembrandt, Tom reverted from his youthful appearance to an elderly one when he died.  Parker finds Wade spying on the meeting and ties her up.  The next morning he tells her that he wants her to be his new wife, to replace his old wife Trudy, who is the only elderly looking towns person, having refused to eat the blue goo.  Wade tries to escape by smashing Parker in the head with a vase but Burke arrives and prevents her from leaving.  Parker and Burke get into an argument over Wade and in their struggle, Parker is killed.  Quinn, Laurie and Rembrandt arrive at that moment, the latter having to get rescued from jail by Quinn after Burke knocked him out for asking questions.  Quinn manages to knock out Burke and take his gun and the group learns from Trudy that the creature lives in a cave by the ocean and that Arturo might still be alive because the creature saves it’s victims until it gets hungry.  Somehow finding some demolition charges, the gang heads out to find the cave and blow up the creature.

Arriving at the beach, Laurie stupidly wanders off to follow her seismic detector and is captured by the creature as well.  Quinn picks up the detector and leads Wade and Rembrandt to the cave.  Burke arrives at the cave about the same time and starts to open fire on the Sliders.  While Rembrandt shoots back with a shotgun, Quinn and Wade manage to get inside and discover the creature has been spawning, explaining it’s increased appetite.  They find Laurie and Arturo cocooned to the wall in a state of suspended animation and free them.  They unfortunately learn the Michael was eaten when they find his watch in a pile of blue goo.  Wade leads Arturo and Laurie out while Quinn sets up the charges.  Rembrandt runs out of  bullets on the beach but manages to use a flare gun to blow up an extremely convenient fuel can next to Burke and Remy heads into the cave.  Quinn tells him to follow the others out a side tunnel and finishes setting up the charges but has to fight off Burke, who gets thrown right into the waiting jaws of the creature.  Quinn manages to get out of the cave just before it blows and they end the horror of Paradise.

Pretty much everything about this episode is terrible from bland guest stars (especially the guy who plays Parker who is like the poor man’s Casper Van Dien) to atrocious CG for the creature to an uninteresting “world” that could just be a weird little corner of Earth Prime as everything seems to be the same except for the fact that a giant worm is running around this small town.  Sliders is at it’s best when you get to see the scope of the changes that the gang is encountering like all the Britishness of Prince of Wails or the intellectual advertising of Eggheads.  Next week is part 1 of what many feel is the episode that killed any chance of Sliders returning to the excellence of season 1 and 2 with “Exodus”.

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