Strangers and Comrades


The Sliders find themselves trapped on Purgatory, an asteroid with a military garrison protecting a mysterious bounty that could liberate Rembrandt’s world.

Written by: Keith Damron
Directed by: Richard Compton
Edited by: Stewart Schill
Music by: Danny Lux

Broadcast History

Original Airdate: June 25, 1999
Production Code: E0809
Network Code: SL-503

Synopsis

It’s been a little over two weeks since Diana joined the Sliders and this situation may make or break her. The Sliders are deposited in a world that looks unlike any Earth they have visited before — Purgatory. A war is raging between Earthlings and Kromaggs. When the Sliders are discovered by Sergeant Vernon Larson, a human, they are recruited against their will to fight. The Sergeant, in charge of the troops, is protecting a bunker — what lies inside the bunker nobody knows. Meanwhile, Diana is not faring well. Lying helpless for hours, Diana is awakened by a Kromagg who has taken human form. Maggie shoots the Kromagg dead but the threat of other Kromaggs penetrating headquarters is dangerously real. The humans have only a few rounds of ammo left and their demise looks certain. But there is hope for survival when they all agree to a cease-fire to find a way to leave Purgatory. Knowing this might be a trick, the Sliders stall for time so they can open the bunker. By now Diana has recovered, just in time to help the Sliders discover how the bunker’s bounty can help them on their journey.

Timer Status

Frozen! Since the wormhole never closed when the Sliders were thrown onto Purgatory, it's up to Diana to move the gateway and bring the playground out of hyperspace.

Worlds Visited

Purgatory

The last battlefield for a group of elite warriors from Kromagg Prime.

Pabst Blue Ribbon World

Could very well be Grolsch World, but this time all the Sliders are mired in anguish over what they could have done with the Voraton device.

Details

  • Two weeks have passed between the time Diana started sliding.
  • The soldiers eat a standard meal of C Rations.
  • The device that defeated the Kromaggs on Kromagg Prime is called the Voraton KR-17 device.
  • The humans use a detection collar placed around the neck to see if any of the soldiers are Kromaggs using mind manipulation to appear normal.

Character Information


  • Diana grew up a sheltered, safe life in Brentwood, a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles.

  • Maggie has been learning about interdimensional theory from Diana.

  • What a surprise — Diana can't handle battle.

  • Mallory adapts to each new situation. "It's what I do best."

  • Looks like the end of the line for Rembrandt's hope of reclaiming his world: the Voraton device destroys the earth's biosphere as well.

  • Sergeant Vernon Larson has three ex-wives that suck up his military pension.



Money Matters

The gang has enough money to buy a round on Beer World.

Rewind That!

Rembrandt's walk away from the troops is visibly heavy when he realizes his world is screwed.

Notable Quotes


  • "Sliding's like a box of chocolates..." — Rembrandt.
    "Stop!" — Maggie.

  • "Well, would you believe it if it came from Quinn?" — Diana, testy at Maggie and Rembrandt's rebuff of her theories.

  • "Sliders Rule 1B: Never trust anyone. At least, not at first." — Maggie, laughably telling Diana and Mallory why they shouldn't explain their situation to the garrison.

  • "You escaped the Slidecage? Who are you people?" — Larson.

  • "Pain is a good thing. Lets us know that we're alive." — Rembrandt.

Neatpicks

  • Finding out the Kromagg killer weapon was a dud brings the Sliders’ To Do list down to about 8 things.
  • Seems the Kromaggs aren’t wearing Nazi thug uniforms anymore. They’re back to slick black outfits.

Nitpicks

  • Man, those people from Kromagg Prime are geniuses. Somehow, they managed to drag an asteroid and white dwarf (don’t ask where they found them) into hyperspace, created an atmosphere around the asteroid that would support life while at the same time restructuring the light spectrum so that radiation and light from the white dwarf wouldn’t melt anything living there. Then they created a gravity generator on the asteroid that would deflect the ridiculous gravitational forces from the white dwarf but stabilize the weaker inherent gravity from the smaller mass of the asteroid itself so that humans could walk around on it without being crushed to neutrons or thrown into space. They also manage to create an Earth-like rotation for the asteroid to create day/night differentials. Finally, they plunk a battalion of elite warriors on this new hyperspatial truck stop to guard a bunker without telling them what’s in it. All of this after constructing the entirely implausible Slidecage and destroying a race of killer apes with a weapon the size of a tower computer that singles out their genetic coding and blasts them off world. To quote Dr. Evil: “Right…”
  • Purgatory has a moon!
  • “Never trust anyone. At least, not at first.” Huh? How many episodes have we seen where the Sliders tell the locals where they’re from for absolutely no reason? Off the top of my head: Desert StormParadise Lost, Sole Survivors and Time Again and World.
  • The Kromagg Diana shoots has regular teeth.
  • How come the timer goes from being completely off to having an LED readout with nothing but zeroes?
  • If the wormhole snakes off, how is it still there, frozen?
  • If the wormhole can be moved as Diana suggests, why does Maggie have to activate the timer to open it up again? Shouldn’t shutting down the hyperspace buffer just make it reappear?
  • Shouldn’t a weapon capable of defeating an entire race of people have a password or something?
  • I could ask the same about the computer that Diana overrides in a matter of seconds, allowing her to shunt a star and an asteroid back into some other reality.
  • Applied Physics, the previous episode, also had a bookend world where they tossed back a beer. Couldn’t they think of something a little more original?

Parallel History

Purgatory is an asteroid orbiting a white dwarf placed in hyperspace by those wacky scientists from Kromagg Prime (those guys can do anything). Placed on this asteroid is an army unit with explicit instructions: guard a mysterious bunker whose contents are unknown. The commander of this unit, Sergeant Vernon Larson, believed the assignment was beneath his unit, but the unexpected decay of his Earth’s biosphere from the Kromagg weapon made guarding the bunker something of a luxury.

One month ago, a Kromagg Manta ship crash landed. Without food (but plenty of atomizer grenades and weapons), the Kromaggs tried to fight their way into enemy lines to quell their hunger pangs. Larson’s group fought valiantly.

Unexpectedly, Purgatory was shunted back into real space by unknown persons. Before this, however, all humans had been defeated by the Kromaggs. Defense of the bunker’s contents is thought to be the reason of the decay of Purgatory’s hyperspatial orbit.

The Inside Slide

The working title for this episode in pre-production was “Baptism of Fire.”

· · ·

“This was not my choice for my first full script assignment of the season,” admits Keith Damron. “My first story was set in a Jules Verne Victorian type world. One that had all the stylings of the eighteen hundreds and all the advances of the nineties (solar powered model T’s, old fashioned-looking cellular phones etc.) The story dealt with the Sliders disbanding and Rembrandt being swept up in an eccentric inventor’s dream of traveling into space. My second idea, the back-up story if you will, was this trench warfare thing that I cooked up during my morning drive.”

“I knew going in that anything period translates immediately into escalating expenditures for the requisite costumes, props and so forth. Whether you’re doing Sliders or Star Trek, in television you always write with budget in mind, and ours was considerably smaller this year. This story was passed over.”

But the trench warfare story was not.

“One concept that I’m still very fond of had all four Sliders dying in the end,” explains Damron. “As the last of our heroes fall in battle a wormhole opens and four of their duplicates, who are identically dressed, step out. Of course, these are not duplicates but are the real characters who just experienced the same conflict, but survived. The story would have been a character piece that focuses on the wrong choices made by the duplicates and the right choices that lead to our heroes’ survival.

“Ultimately, that went away in favor of a more All’s Quiet on the Western Front, Red Badge of Courage type story.”

· · ·

“‘Strangers and Comrades’ is phenomenal,” says Robert Floyd. “It has great battle scenes and it’s a really wonderful episode.”

“Diana is a closeted adventurer, in the sense that she slides into a new world and says things like, ‘Can we go buy some new shoes?'” explains Tembi Locke about her character’s suddent involvement in war. “We get caught in these parallel universe and I’m sort of keeping up to speed and the Diana surprises herself when she knows what’s happening or seizes the opportunity. The veteran Sliders have seen everything. They’ve been attacked by dinosaurs. Everything is still sort of new to us.”

Guest Stars

Co-Starring

  1. Shane Stevens also appears as Harrell in The Java Jive.
  • Rob Chapman

    Typical Sci-Fi, er, SyFy era episode. Ridiculously low budget. Ridiculous plot holes.