We’re back to Sliders after our unscheduled website downtime last week. It’s part II of The Exodus and it contains the moment when Sliders ended for a lot of fans.
When we last left off, Quinn had found Earth Prime with Maggie but Maggie was unable to breathe due to something in the atmosphere. Quinn manages to slide back Maggie’s Earth and she recovers but her husband, Steven, is pissed at Quinn for his flirting with Maggie and Maggie is pissed at Quinn for not leaving her to die and continuing the mission to find a new Earth for the base survivors. Rembrandt and Wade also get pissed at Quinn because he tells them that he has the coordinates for Earth Prime but feels they shouldn’t slide until they help the survivors slide to their new world. Rembrandt blows up on Quinn, telling him he’s sick of him playing God and that he obviously cares more about strangers than his friends and then storms off.
Rembrandt and Malcolm go to a church service and Rembrandt tells Malcolm that they have a way for him to get off of this world, but he has to keep it a secret. Rembrandt then begs Wade to get Malcolm’s name on Colonel Rickman’s list of candidates but Wade says that Rickman has limited the criteria even more to include brain chemistry and DNA makeup (which doesn’t raise any red flags apparently).
Maggie and Quinn head back out to try and find a habitable world for the refugees and, after six worlds, finally settle on an Earth that seems to be thousands of years behind development wise and has an indigenous, primitive population, but has enough resources for the refugees to survive. Maggie and Quinn report back to Rickman, who orders that preparations to slide begin immediately. Steven reports that his estimates about the carrying capacity of the timer were off and that they’ll only be able to carry around 140 people, as opposed to their earlier estimate of around 300. Arturo decides to recheck the calculations while Wade and Rembrandt mange to get Malcolm’s name as the last one on Rickman’s list. Meanwhile, with the pulsars closing in on California, a mob of civilians storms the base, thinking there are fallout shelters underneath it. Rickman orders his troops to fire at will and they massacre the people trying to break in.
Going by Steven’s numbers, Rickman orders that the people of the base be broken up into two groups, the group that will actually slide and a group that will think they will slide but actually be left behind. He says that this is to avoid the base collapsing into chaos. Arturo finishes up his calculations and tells Rickman that they can probably safely carry another 100 people to the new world but Rickman claims he has enough people “for his needs” and that they will go with the numbers they have. Arturo tells him that his decision is tantamount to murder and that he’s going to recommend Rickman be relieved of command. Rickman responds to this by, what I’m going to refer to as “spinal tapping” from now on, and attacks Arturo with a syringe. Luckily, Wade and Rembrandt are able to interrupt before Rickman can finish but the Professor is left in an extremely weakened condition.
While the Sliders look after Arturo in the base hospital, Rickman and Maggie begin dividing the base personnel up into their two groups. Maggie grows worried that Steven seems to have gone missing and asks for permission to look for him, which Rickman refuses but he says he’ll go look while Maggie finishes up with the personnel. It’s Steven who finds Rickman, but unfortunately just after he spinal taps someone in the base church. Rickman kills Steven to prevent him from sharing his secret and almost kills Malcolm as well, who wanders in just in time to witness Steven get killed.
After seeing that Arturo was attacked by the same person with a syringe as the other coma patients, Wade and Rembrandt head out to try and find Rickman and convince him that someone with medical experience is attacking his people and will most likely slide with them. It’s in Rickman’s office that they discover a convenient newspaper with an article about how Rickman was the only survivor of his unit in this Earth’s Gulf War and contracted some sort of disease where a fungus destroys his brain tissue. Wade finally puts it together that Rickman must be stealing people’s brain tissue to keep himself alive. The pair head back to the hospital to tell Quinn this news and find themselves locked in, presumably by Rickman.
Maggie, meanwhile, learns from Rickman that Steven was “killed by civilians who broke into the lab”. She seems broken up about this for a couple seconds and then starts to supervise the slide of the Alpha group to the new world. Back at the hospital, Quinn manages to MacGyver up a rocket propelled gurney and the group heads out to stop Rickman, who is the last one to slide. Rickman pulls his gun and takes aim at Quinn but Arturo steps in front of him and takes the bullet. The Sliders let Rickman go as they rush to help Arturo but he is mortally wounded. With no choice, Wade, Rembrandt and Quinn decide to head as deep underground as they can and hopefully survive the pulsars long enough to follow Rickman to the refugees’ new world (thanks to Steven modifying the gang’s timer to be able to track wormholes). The gang, along with Malcolm, are able to slide just seconds before the Earth explodes from pulsar radiation.
The gang finds the refugees setting up a base camp and explain to Maggie that Rickman has been attacking people and killed Steven and Arturo. She and Quinn lock and load and head out to kill Rickman, who is out by a nearby river scouting a second base location. Rickman manages to ambush and fight them both off and then opens up a wormhole and escapes. Quinn explains they can follow him but will have to wait a few hours for the timer to count down. The Sliders have a funeral for Arturo on the edge of a cliff and then prepare to slide out on their mission of revenge against Rickman. Maggie asks to join them and says that she gave up her military commission. The Sliders apathetically agree she can come and they head out.
This could have been an amazing episode of Sliders but they do so many stupid things character and plot wise that it’s the beginning of Sliders steep downhill ride to oblivion. It takes the characters way too long to figure out that Rickman is evil, considering he does everything short of eating a puppy to prove how evil he is. Arturo’s death is a confusing and insulting combination of the character first getting reduced to a drooling idiot by Rickman’s partially successful attack and then having him get shot in a shot that is a cheap Matrix rip off where the bullet travels in slow motion and it seems like maybe it’s going to get sucked into the portal like in “Double Cross” but does hit the Professor. There’s also complete inconsistency from the first part of the episode like, for instance, in the first part it’s established there’s a force field around the base but in this episode there’s just a shitty chain link fence keeping the angry civilians out. If this is where you stopped watching Sliders, I wouldn’t blame you, but we’re going to keep trucking till the end of Season 3. Mentally prepare yourselves.