Murder Most Foul


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.

Written by: David Peckinpah
Directed by: Jeff Woolnough
Edited by: Michael B. Hoggan, A.C.E.
Music by: Stephen Graziano

Broadcast History

Original Airdate: January 3, 1997
Production Code: K1815
Network Code: SL-313

Synopsis

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.

Timer Status

Stolen, disassembled and rebuilt by Trevor, who refers to the components as “strictly last year.”

Worlds Visited

Jim Varney World

This world has put Arturo in a very bad mood. Read the full Travelogue entry »

Corporate World

All work and no play turns our country's finest minds into complete nutcases in need of hypnotic vacations. Read the full Travelogue entry »

Details

  • Arturo’s “fracture” occurs in the east end of the park.
  • The fantasy park that Arturo is taken to is designated as 91-9.
  • Reginald Doyle’s “lives” at 441 White Hall.
  • The headline of The Times reads “Ripper Strikes in White Hall!”
  • Underneath the headline are articles (from left to right) about: “Bigger-Wicket Cricket,” “The King to His Fleet,” “Pitch Made for Freeman” and “Board Leader Gives Decision in Lord ‘Foul’ Dispute.” Inside, on page three, is a published letter from Jolly Jack.
  • In the fantasy park, the bistro is located in Sector 8.
  • In the girls’ dressing room, a poster on the back wall is an advertisement for a show called “The Chieftain.”
  • The murder occurs at the corner of Church Street and Abbey Road at 10:00 p.m.
  • The killer wears a size 11 shoe.
  • Shoe store signs on the Sliders’ last day include: “Repairing Neatly Done,” “Park & Penn Remedies,” “Shoe Shine” and “Not Responsible for Lost Shoes.”
  • Quinn, Rembrandt and Wade are staying in what looks like a bed and breakfast in room B.
  • As Wade flees from the Ripper, there is a sign in the background that reads “Bakery Fresh Baked Daily.”

Character Information

  • Arturo tells the doctor that he hasn’t worn a uniform in 30 years, a possible reference to his time spent in the armed forces.
  • Wade once dreamed of being in show business.
  • Wade sprains her right ankle.


Money Matters

  • An angry Arturo says he’s going off to buy some new clothes but doesn’t get a chance to buy anything.
  • The other Sliders buy drinks at the bar.
  • Rembrandt, Quinn and Wade purchase suits for their confrontation with Arturo’s doctors.


Cultural References

  • As Quinn and Rembrandt walk through the hospital in their mandatory black suits, Quinn laments: “I feel like one of the Blues Brothers,” and Rembrandt scoffs: “Oh, don’t get me started on how they ripped off Sam and Dave.” The Blues Brothers consisted of Juliet “Jake” (John Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Dan Ackroyd). Their union originally began on “Saturday Night Live” and branched into a 1980 feature film directed by John Landis (an original Sliders consultant). Their biggest hit was their 1/6/79 rendition of “Soul Man” — originally written by Samuel Moore and David Prater, aka Sam & Dave. Their version of “Soul Man” reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 40 in 1967 and stayed there for three weeks. Ironically, the duo was co-produced by Isaac Hayes, who played the Prime Oracle in Obsession.


Notable Quotes

  • “I’ve seen libraries livelier than this.” — Rembrandt’s reaction to the bar.
  • “I think we can handle the different world thing.” — Wade, referring to their expected role-playing conduct in the park.
  • “Not very sophisticated technology, those microchips are strictly last year.” — Trevor commenting on Quinn’s timer.
  • “Let me use my key.” — Rembrandt, right before he kicks in the door to Dr. Bolivar’s office.
  • “I bet you can… just make sure of your home coordinates.” — Quinn, to Trevor, who thinks he can also build a sliding machine some day.

Arturoisms


  • "Drink it, don't carry it, you idiot." — Arturo, to the guy who spills coffee down his shirt.

Neatpicks

  • After Arturo has recovered, Quinn calls him Doyle — a name that the professor can’t figure out: “Have you lost your marbles, my boy?” — an obvious play on Quinn’s alter-ego, Mr. Marples. The Sliders’ alter-egos are Arturo as Reginald Doyle, Quinn as Marples, Wade as a “tart” and tough guy Rembrandt as a police officer.

Nitpicks

  • When chasing the boy who stole the timer from Quinn, Rembrandt comes back out of breath saying that he searched the entire park, but he was only gone for 30 seconds.
  • Wade says she left her “purcom” back at the lounge but it’s never revealed what “purcom” is.
  • Sure, the adrenaline is pumping but Wade manages to use her sprained right ankle to flip the on-coming Ripper’s feet out from under when she could just have easily used her left foot with the same effect.
  • Why on Earth would Wade open the vortex nine or 10 feet off the ground? Furthermore, while the four slide off-screen they seem to have no trouble getting up to the gate though they all needed a boost in a similar situation on Tundra World in the Pilot. Sure, Quinn appears to run up a ramp toward the gate but there is no ramp in the wide shots of the alley.

Parallel History

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 Inside Slide

The working title for this episode in pre-production was “The Game’s Afoot.”

· · ·

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.”

· · ·

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.

Guest Stars

Co-Starring

  1. Lester Barrie can be seen playing Diggs in Double Cross, The Dream Masters, Desert Storm, Dragonslide and The Breeder.