Heavy Metal


When the timer malfunctions and throws the Sliders into the middle of the Pacific, they must befriend a pirate crew to return to the mainland and slide from inside the timer’s radius.

Written by: Chris Black
Directed by: Guy Magar
Edited by: Stewart Schill
Music by: Danny Lux

Broadcast History

Original Airdate: October 1, 1999
Production Code: E0814
Network Code: SL-514

Synopsis

The Sliders’ timer has a problem holding the designated sliding coordinates and erroneously dumps them into the middle of the Pacific ocean. They are saved from the ocean depths by a merchant ship, populated by a band of pirates headed by Paxton. Because the timer only works within a 400 mile radius of California, the Sliders must travel back to land to slide out. Fortunately, the pirates are headed back to the mainland, and the Sliders join the marauding bandits. Paxton immediately takes a liking to Maggie and proves that he is not as ruthless as he seems. He reveals that he was wrongly accused of a crime by the Coasties, a corrupt law enforcement arm, and has vowed to seek revenge. Maggie empathizes and finds herself returning Paxton’s affection. During a pirates’ raid in San Diego, Mallory is captured by the Coasties. They threaten to kill him if the pirates do not return the merchandise they stole from the Coasties. Reluctant to give in to their demands, Paxton devises a plan that saves Mallory and helps the Sliders return to California.

Timer Status

Battery drain! The timer picked up in Slide Like an Egyptian apparently doesn’t have a regenerating power supply like the original timer, and the cell that opens the vortex is getting low on fuel. The result? Inability to lock onto a stable set of sliding coordinates, as well as flinging the Sliders out of their sliding radius and opening underwater. I guess the densitometer is on the fritz, too, because according to Rembrandt, Quinn told him there was a failsafe that gave them safe, dry landings. Bottom line: the timer’s screwed up. Thankfully, Diana charges it with her PDL.

Worlds Visited

Heavy World

A lack of aluminum has stunted this world's aviation industry, prompting much of the shipping to remain in the hands of the maritime trade.

Details

  • The timer is weatherproof.
  • The ship that picks up the Sliders is set to dock in Hawaii in two days.
  • Apparently, the sliding radius issue has never been discussed (so of course, it’s good to bring up five episodes before the show ends). According to Diana, the radius, a 400-mile bubble that extends from San Francisco to Los Angeles, is a zone that the Sliders must be in when they make the slide. Otherwise, the vortex may not open, or it may open and just not deposit people in another dimension.
  • Three of the faceless pirates are named Brighton, Henshaw and Hunter.
  • There are no Robin Hood legends on Pirate World.
  • The unnamed town is located somewhere on the Baja Peninsula.
  • The stolen cargo is carbon fiber, a cloth-like substance that when coated with certain polymers becomes very strong and durable, but also lightweight.

Character Information

  • Diana and Mallory’s world had Popular Mechanics.
  • Apparently, it’s been a very long time for Maggie.
  • Diana used to go to the Student Union for a beer when she needed to unwind.
  • Paxton used to be a captain in the merchant marines. However, he eventually refused to pay kickbacks to the Coastal Police, especially to Alt-Redfield. The Coasties bombed Paxton’s ship while docked in Santa Barbara, killing his wife and son.


Rewind That!

  • The look on Diana’s face when the pirate touches her is priceless.
  • You can see portions of the Universal Studios tram track from certain camera angles around Cabot Cove… er, Pirate HQ.


Notable Quotes

  • “Man the deck guns… just in case.” — Captain Thompson. In case what? The four waterlogged Sliders are riding the back of an invisible sub?
  • “Tickets, please.” — Hey, if Captain Thompson gets as big a kick out of saying that as he does, so should we.
  • “Man, I am pruned!” — Mallory, drying himself off from his turn in the drink.
  • “Did you think this thing would just run forever?” — Diana, about the malfunctioning timer.
  • “You find that Popular Mechanics issue on sliding?” — Mallory, to Diana, after she discovers why there’s no planes.
  • “Quinn Mallory.” — Mallory, telling Paxton his name. I’d forgotten all about that.
  • “Aw, man!” — Rembrandt, when they’re running from being forced to walk the plank.
  • “We find the cover of darkness helps facilitates our illegal activities.” — Brice, after Diana asks if it’s getting too late for a raid.
  • “They made me walk the plank!” — Mallory.
    “And that’s a bad thing?” — Maggie, after Maggie blows their chance to escape.
  • “Not quite sure what that is, any more.” — Maggie, about their quest.

Neatpicks

  • Mallory’s boasting in the food hall recounts scenes from Easy Slider.
  • Redfield, played by Marshall Teague, is a double of Sheriff Redfield from Way Out West.

Nitpicks

  • It was established in Summer of Love that Rembrandt cannot swim.
  • Super light carbon polymers, a groundbreaking technology, are guarded by the Coasties by posting no men around it and placing it in a half-room sealed off by chain link fence.
  • What better way to mourn a dead family member than by getting it on?
  • So Maggie considers Quinn to be her life. Despite sliding with him for a year and a half (3 months of that alone), they never got down. She meets Paxton, a guy whose teeth make the British look like masters of orthodonture and bangs him the next day?
  • If the city is on the edge of a cliff (as seen by the establishing shot), how is there water, or a port, visible?
  • Some of the pirates in the battle sequence made the wise decision to hold up between two barrels that are in clear view of the advancing troops.
  • Redfield says to take no prisoners. So what does he do? HE TAKES PRISONERS.
  • Dozens of pirates are killed. Then suddenly Paxton yells “we’ve got them on the run!” and not only are all those pirates alive and rushing towards the Coast Guard but the Coast Guard actually runs in fear!
  • Why does the carbon fiber exchange take place in that same room where they stole it? I thought Brice and Mallory were going to have a very public execution.
  • Geography lesson: the Sliders are picked up by a cargo vessel in the middle of the ocean. The distance from the coast must be relatively negligible because the pirates board them and return while it’s still daylight. How then, can the captain of the ship expect to take a ship of that size to Hawaii in two days? Hawaii is over 1500 miles away. He’d have to make a steady 80 miles an hour to do so, 10 hours a day to make it in on time.

Parallel History

Diana explains that on this world, aluminum, a durable and tensile metal that’s easily molded (hell, you’ve seen aluminum) and is primarily used for aircraft, either doesn’t exist (no) on this world or the scientists of this world don’t have the know-how to separate it from bauxite for smelting.

Because of this, aircraft are far to heavy and not fuel-efficient enough to make aviation a viable industry. People and goods rely on maritime trade to get from port to port.

The Coastal Police, run by a corrupt official named Redfield, is in charge of enforcing the waters around California, but they do so by bribing other captains under penalty of destruction of property.

The Inside Slide

“[The episode] took sort of an interesting tack on alternate history,” says Keith Damron. “It dealt with how the development of one invention, process or material, or lack thereof, would trickle down to have major repercussions on the development of a world that may have otherwise been completely identical to our own. Subtler concepts like these were a nice departure from the more broad stroke stories that were pitched to us this year (the South wins the Civil War, etc.). We always tried to avoid those if at all possible.”

Thanks, Keith.

· · ·

“Chris had written something with a more serious tone, preferring to avoid the 18th/19th century piratic motifs in favor of a look at more modern sea faring scoundrels,” elaborates Damron. “His vision was less Pirates of the Carribean, more really bad guys with a really big boat. In execution the episode was actually the reverse, replete with bandana clad, scurvy-looking, cutlass toting ruffians. Although it worked in the long run, the final look of the show was more caricature than character.”

· · ·

The ship location shooting took place on the Merchant Marine transport Lane Victory.

· · ·

Robert Floyd was quite enthused about this episode.

“About two weeks ago I was 35 feet high on a ship walking on a plank with a big machete in my back!” exclaims the actor. “I’m one of those actors who likes to say, ‘Hey let the stunt guy do it!’ They said, ‘No you’d look great!’ I’ve done more stunts than I ever thought possible: I know how to fire a machine gun, I know how to ride a motorcycle now. I’ve done quite a few fights.”

Guest Stars

  1. Marshall Teague appeared in The Dying Fields as Kromagg General Kronus and originated his role as Redfield in Way Out West.
  2. Claudette also plays Sheilah in Slide Like an Egyptian.