Arturo snaps on a blistering idiot in an America where anger is perceived as psychotic breakdown. Unable to find any record of him, the authorities believe Arturo to be a person so important the government has concealed his identity. They assign him to rehabilitation in a theme park where he has been hypnotized into believing he is a great literary detective. The others take jobs inside the park to keep an eye on him, but things get complicated when one of the pretend murder victims turns up dead. There is a real killer on the loose in the park, and he’s got his eye on Wade. Quinn and Arturo must solve the crime before Wade becomes the next victim as well as recover the timer from a young boy who may be truly psychotic. Putting their faith in the kid, he points them in the direction of one of the inspectors — only the inspector has been framed by the true murderer, a high ranking park official who has had a breakdown of his own.
Jim Varney World
This world has put Arturo in a very bad mood.
All work and no play turns our country’s finest minds into complete nutcases in need of hypnotic vacations.
Corporate World is a slacker’s worst nightmare — everyone is all business. Workers must wear uniforms consisting of black suits, white shirts, black sunglasses, briefcases and cell phones. Those not dressed as such are considered “tramps.” Transportation is available on bicycles, or golf cart-like rides called “trams.” Bars do not serve liquor (it dulls the senses) but caffienated ephedrine teas or triple espresso (“better wired than tired”) and a modem connection for their laptop.
This obscene work ethic is the primary motivation on this world where popular catch-phrases include “there’s no profit in fun” and “time spent frivolously is time wasted.” In fact, that ethic is so strong that people are expected to put in 100 hours of work per week and as such, nervous breakdowns (called “fractures”) are commonplace.
A fracture occurs when the brain reaches “stress thresh” (short for stress threshold) and those inflicted become useless in the workforce. On this world neurologists, looking for a way to manage the stress and restore the brain to its original state, began manipulating the hypothalamus so they could override the patient’s current personality with a false one. Still, fractures are widely-considered to be honorable because it shows what dedication the workers have to serving the corporate interests of the country. Here the government keeps every citizen in a national database with fingerprints, biothermal scans and dental records.
Once a fracture, or a “brain fry,” occurs, the patient is taken to an evaluation center for mental health therapy by a psychologist who hypnotizes the patient using a device that emits a soothing harmonic tone. Then, the patient is brainwashed into thinking he or she is a fictional character and then sent to a fantasy park to role-play different stories. To keep up the facade and to keep the brainwashing intact, the patients are subconsciously instructed to look at a recharging device which relaxes them and helps them not to think too hard about past events while they finish their relaxing assignment.
Children, who also work insanely-long hours, are allowed to take at least three weeks of vacation time per year in the park where they can blend in, play and relax. As for the other people living and working in the fantasy parks, they are called “civvies” and they clock in on a lower rung of the corporate ladder; they are not actors, because acting on this world was deemed a waste of time and energy and thus banned, but are considered park players. They hang out together when they’re not performing in an off-limits employee lounge. Everyone in the park is in on the joke, so to speak, except the fracture who actually believes everything around him, but as a precaution mention of the outside world by the park players will result in immediate dismissal. After all, if a fracture’s hypnosis is broken, the result can be deadly.
Once the brain has rested and the assignment complete, the original personality is restored and the patients are returned to the stressful corporate jungle.
The working title for this episode in pre-production was “The Game’s Afoot.”
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Actor Derik Van Derbeken [the Security Man in this episode] is a good friend of Tracy Tormé’s — so good, in fact, that Tormé named an unseen Sliders character after him. In The Guardian, it is revealed that one of Quinn’s neighbors is named “Mrs. Van Derbeken.”
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According to a Fox press release, this episode scored very high demographically in the Neilsens ratings. It came in at No. 1 from 8:00 to 9:00 PM in both the 18-49 and 18-34 key age groups and tied with NBC’s “Unsolved Mysteries” in the 25-54 male age group.
|Written by||David Peckinpah|
|Directed by||Jeff Woolnough|
|Music by||Stephen Graziano|
|Edited by||Michael B. Hoggan, A.C.E.|
|Next:||Slide Like an Egyptian|
While doubles are interesting, they also limit our characters to interaction with “themselves” in a consequence-free environment. But take the Professor and essentially transform him into a “double?” How would you react?
Arturo is kidnapped and brainwashed into thinking he's a great 19th-century detective investigating real murders in a world where assuming different identities is the norm.