Total Recall: Sliders “This Slide of Paradise”

Well, here we are at the final episode of the great Sliders Total Recall.  The Sliders have their final confrontation with Rickman on an island where a mad scientist has created a group of human/animal hybrids.

The Sliders arrive just off the beach of the island and swim to shore.  Heading into the jungle, the gang sees a chain of islands in the distance that makes Wade hypothesize that California on this world might have finally broken apart due to seismic activity.  The gang quickly realizes that someone or something is watching them and are attacked by a creature that looks like the poor man’s version of Ron Perlman as Beast (which basically all the creatures in this episode look like).  Maggie manages to knock the creature out with a rock and the gang heads deeper into the jungle.

Meanwhile, we find Rickman attacking another of the manimals who is drinking from a stream and we find out that because he’s been attacking these hybrids, it’s changed his DNA and made him a manimal as well.  Rickman has also formed an alliance with the leader of the manimals, Ceres, who Rickman has promised to take to another world with him.  Ceres reports that four humans have been seen in the jungle and Rickman orders Ceres to go and capture them.

The Sliders are ambushed by a group of manimals but are rescued by a female manimal named Alessandra, who takes out the attackers with a dart gun.  Somehow, Alessandra twists her ankle while running and Rembrandt has to carry her back to her home at the compound of the man behind the manimals, Dr. Vargus (played by Michael York, who you probably know best as Basil Exposition from the Austin Powers movies).  In the scuffle with the manimals, Quinn loses the timer, which is found by Rickman later. Vargus’ compound is protected by an electrical fence and is also home to another friendly manimal named Daniel.  Vargus is peturbed by the intrusion but becomes more accommodating when he learns the Sliders aren’t from the government.  Vargus explains that he bought the island, which was an abandoned sugar plantation and he began his experiments of combining human and animal DNA.  Alessandra and Daniel are his best results and the failures are released to fend for themselves in the jungle.  Vargus eventually hopes to use his research to cure diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s.  Alessandra develops a crush on Rembrandt, especially after he helps treat her ankle.  Vargus invites the Sliders to stay the night and agrees to supply them with guns and supplies so they can recover the timer in the morning but Daniel suspects the good doctor has nefarious plans and warns Alessandra, who helps the Sliders escape the compound.

The gang heads into the jungle and later the next day are caught in a net trap set by the manimals, under orders from Rickman.  Rembrandt is the only one who manages to escape and heads back to the compound to get help.  Rickman takes the others to the manimals base and reveals that he is going to spinal tap all of them and then slide off.  He also reveals that he and Maggie used to do the nasty, which makes her even more unlikable than she already was.  Rickman is about to spinal tap Wade when Ceres reports that Dr. Vargus is outside.  Rickman postpones his spinal tap and goes to meet Vargus, who is helping Rembrandt in exchange for Rembrandt giving Vargus his DNA.  Vargus offers Rickman DNA in exchange for the Sliders but Rickman refuses and Vargus leaves Daniel to be attacked while he escapes.

While Rickman is distracted, Rembrandt manages to sneak into the cells where the others are and frees them and they also manage to get both timers, which enrages Rickman when he finds out.  With Rickman hypothetically trapped on this world, the Sliders consider their mission accomplished and the original trio of Quinn, Rembrandt and Wade will use Rickman’s timer to travel home to Earth Prime while Maggie will use the Slider’s timer to go, somewhere (I’m assuming back with the survivors of her world).  Rembrandt says he has to go rescue Alessandra and agrees to meet the others at some nearby cliffs before the slide.  Rembrandt manages to free Alessandra but they are caught by Vargus.  Luckily, Ceres and Rickman choose that moment to launch an all out assault on Vargus’ compound, which allows Rembrandt to escape with Alessandra telling him she has to stay behind with her people.  Vargus is murdered by the manimals and they proceed to completely destroy the lab.  Seeing that the Sliders aren’t there, Rickman takes a pair of manimals and heads toward the cliffs because “Maggie will go to high ground”.

Rembrandt meets up with the gang and Quinn opens the wormhole to Earth Prime after kissing Maggie good bye.  Rickman arrives and Maggie tells the others to go while she holds them off.  Quinn refuses to leave her alone and pushes Wade and Rembrandt into the portal.  Rickman breaks away from Maggie and makes a swan dive toward the wormhole, which closes and causes him to anti-climatically fall off the cliff to his death.  Maggie and Quinn use the other timer to slide to what they think is Earth Prime but the tracking of the timer was damaged and they end up in a Blade Runner looking futuristic city, not knowing what they will do to get home.

This Slide of Paradise is a pretty shitty episode to go out on.  The episode is clearly inspired by The Island of Dr. Moreau but this episode doesn’t feature any of the variety of creatures that that book or even the horrible Val Kilmer movie version had.  Michael York is pretty fun as he chews scenery and does everything but cackles maniacally as the mad scientist Dr. Vargus.  After the build up over the entire last half of the Sliders’ chase of Rickman, the way he goes out is so cheap and, as I said above, anti climactic.  Even a generic fist fight between him, Maggie and Quinn would have been better than him stupidly diving off a cliff.  In case you’re wondering what happens later in the show, since this is the last episode we’re going to recap, the Sliders eventually learn that Earth Prime has been taken over by the Kromaggs, Quinn has a twin brother, they somehow fuse into one being, everyone but Rembrandt leaves the show and the show becomes about a resistance against the Kromaggs.  The final episode features Rembrandt volunteering to slide to the Kromaggs base, injected with an anti-Kromagg virus that has sucessfully freed one world from their control.  His fate is unknown.  Seasons four and five are just a complete mess and best avoided at all costs.  Stick with the first and second seasons for the best of what Sliders had to offer.  So that’s it, I’m going to take a couple weeks off but keep checking the site as I have an idea for another series to Total Recall.

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