In a militaristic America threatened with irradiation by a pulsar, a colonel decides who’ll be saved — and who’ll be left to die.
In a militaristic America threatened with irradiation by a pulsar, a colonel decides who’ll be saved — and who’ll be left to die.
Teleplay by: Tony Blake & Paul Jackson
Story by: John Rhys-Davies
Directed by: Jim Charleston
Edited by: Edward Salier, A.C.E.
Music by: Stephen Graziano
Original Airdate: February 21, 1997
Production Code: K1825
Network Code: SL-317
The Sliders witness a fatal car crash and the dying man’s words lead them to the unsettling discovery that the earth will be destroyed before they are scheduled to slide out. A globular cluster of pulsars is en route to the solar system, and the radiation they emit will kill all life on earth. A military team led by Maggie Beckett captures them in the dead man’s office, and she brings them back to her base which is run by Colonel Angus Rickman. They request their assistance in developing a sliding device to transport as many people off world before the pulsars strike. Arturo works with Maggie’s husband Stephen Jensen while Quinn and Maggie scout out a suitable world for relocation. Wade is given the unenviable task of constructing a list of people to save while Rembrandt comforts a young boy whose parents have fallen into strange comas. Someone on the base is injecting their brain fluid into their own, and that someone is the Colonel. After a round of unsuitable worlds, Quinn hits upon the perfect world — his own.
The timer has been upgraded to store the coordinates of parallel worlds visited and can track photon trails between the interdimension, essentially allowing the timer to follow another wormhole to another dimension.
A rogue pulsar has entered the solar system and is threatening all life on Earth. Read the full Travelogue entry »
Honey, I shrunk the Sliders! Quinn and Maggie scout a world where everything is far larger in size than every other world they've been to, and the oversize rabbits there sport a serious set of fangs. Read the full Travelogue entry »
Pulsar Double Prime
A world eerily similar to Pulsar Prime, right down to a double of Maggie who's slightly more intelligent that a lump of coal. Read the full Travelogue entry »
Earth Triple Prime/Kromagg Outpost 161
Is Quinn home? He can smell Mrs. Randall's chicken soup and his mother found that necklace he bought her for her birthday... Read the full Travelogue entry »
- Lieutenant Eastman is reading World View magazine. The cover story? "Russia vs. U.S.A. The Final Round?"
- The building behind the Buick in Jariabek's wreck is the Tavish Toy Co. while the store behind the Sliders and the homeless man as they jump for cover bears the name Hennessey's.
- Captain Maggie Beckett arrives after Jariabek's "accident" in a beige Ford with a government license plate that reads 26140.
- The license plate of the blue Humvee that patrols the streets during the "all-clear" announcement is J923158.
- Maggie says that Rickman told Airman Cooper to shoot Jariabek on site.
- Malcolm is working on a mural of the Cheshire Cat from "Alice in Wonderland."
- Malcolm says that his father is in Texas and that Lt. Teri Eastman is his stepmother.
- The back of Rickman's file folder, the one he shakes at Wade after Corporal Eastman is hit, reads 'Military Security'.
- When Maggie starts hyperventilating on Kromagg Outpost 161, her watch reads about 9:35 a.m.
- Rembrandt says that he's been on enough military bases to know that there's always a way to sneak off of them.
- When Rembrandt was a boy, he used to go to a secret place to practice his singing. "You see, I wasn't very good," he says. "So I would go to this place and just practice and practice and I would sing as loud and as off-key as I wanted." He adds that he was afraid of people making fun of him.
- Rembrandt has five gold records.
- Maggie voluntarily resigned her fighter pilot position in 1996 after her husband, Dr. Steven Jensen, broke his back during a ski trip with her. She went to see him every day in rehabilitation.
- After Maggie and Jensen were married, she kept Beckett as her name and neither she nor Jensen wore wedding rings.
- Maggie's father was a general.
- Maggie was an only child.
- Rembrandt says that he doesn't lie to people.
- Maggie says that she once had a horse.
- Maggie describing herself: "... logical to the point of myopia. Susceptible to flattery from strong, dangerous and bold men."
- Quinn says he has a neighbor named Mrs. Randall who makes a mean chicken soup.
- The final digit of Quinn's street number is a nine.
- Quinn's mother's birthday is on the same day that he started sliding, September 27.
- As Quinn exits the vortex from Giant World to Pulsar Prime he braces himself by grabbing solidly onto Maggie, who flashes him a look of both passion and contempt.
- "Nothing like an air raid to bring out the looters." — Quinn, after he lands on the stolen couch and the two guys carrying it run away.
- "Sorry, he was bleeding too loud." — Quinn, to Maggie, after she grills him as to whether he heard Jariabek say anything before he died.
- "There's something about that girl that I don't like. No. Make that everything about that girl I don't like." — Wade's (prophetic) take on Maggie.
- "So you thank him by killing him. I would have thought that a more appropriate reward might have been a presidential commendation and a pay raise." — Arturo to Maggie on the late Dr. Jariabek's great work done on behalf of the United States.
- "We're a good team, we know each other's moves." — Wade to Rickman as she lobbies for her and Rembrandt to go with Quinn and Maggie on their scouting expedition.
- "All we'd end up doing would be taking his friends, politicians — people with no usable skills, no value to anyone." — Rickman admitting that he never told the President about sliding.
- "Ah, yes. The big, tough fighter pilot. I can hear your brass clinging." — Quinn's evaluation of Maggie.
- "It's like sliding with Patton." — Quinn, very quietly, to Arturo about his adventures with the gung-ho Maggie.
- The timer developed by Doctor Jensen is built out of the shell of a Sega Genesis controller.
- Don't even get me started on how wildly inaccurate the physical properties of this world's pulsar are. Aside from the fact that the pulsar couldn't be part of a globular cluster or collapsing galaxy (that would take 100 million years for it to arrive if it was traveling at the speed of light), a pulsar is 1.5 to 5 solar masses. That means it's incredibly dense — dense enough to throw even gas giants like Jupiter from their orbit before reducing them to neutrons. Earth would be flung from its orbit before it could be bombarded by radiation. And while a pulsar does spin, it spins 25-60 times per second, not once every 24 hours. Lastly, there can't be parts of a pulsar. It's a collapsed star! Portions of a collapsed star would be called stellar fragments, and wouldn't have the rotational characteristics that the pulsars in this episode have.
- The very first injection that the stalker gives himself appears in one camera angle to enter the neck perpendicular and about an inch below the ear, however, the next scene shows the syringe entering at a downward angle into the base of the neck about two and a half inches below and behind the ear.
- Wade aims her gun at Maggie's back but it looks as if she's aiming about a foot to the left of Kari Wuhrer's shoulder.
- Even though Rembrandt was in the military he doesn't hold the handle of the M-16 rifle he stole from the guard. He wraps his hand around the shaft above the trigger without even curling his finger around the trigger itself. Sure, he was a cook, but even a navy cook knows how to handle a rifle...just look at Steven Seagal in the film "Under Siege."
- It's unclear as to why a U.S. Army Colonel has an English accent.
- When Quinn and Maggie land on Giant World, Maggie says that the place doesn't look like Los Angeles, leaving Quinn to explain that Dr. Jensen's timer has the same "geographic spectrum stabilizer" — which can deposit the Sliders in a "500-mile radius;" however, in Dead Man Sliding, the radius is established as being 'only' 400-miles. Besides, just because it doesn't look like Los Angeles doesn't mean that they aren't in the same geographic region. That's just sloppy writing.
- While on Giant World, a person in the background says, "Missed the fairway again" as the Vee-necked golfer moves toward his ball, but the golfer's shot that almost kills Maggie and Quinn produces a flying tee on contact. Tees are not allowed to be used outside of the driving area on a golf course. Therefore, the overdub was unwarranted. The intention was to have the golfer in the rough (as evidenced by the very high grass), but the visual places him in the tee-off area. Furthermore, upon freeze-frame analysis, the tee flies upwards a full two inches to the left of where the ball is struck.
- What a creep Quinn is! It's established at the end of this episode that his mother's birthday coincided with the day he slid. He couldn't wait until the next day to invite over Arturo and Wade and show them the sliding device? How thoughtless.
Three World Wars. Siberian Pushes. Clearly, Pulsar Prime has had its share of military battles in the 20th century. World War III, you say? Apparently, it took place not long after the two we know of on Earth Prime. During the Battle of California, Japanese troops landed on American soil and launched an offensive in Southern California. The Japanese fought American troops voraciously, driving the army back block by block. Left with no other alternative, the American government dropped two atom bombs on American soil, one in San Diego, the other in Los Angeles.
"Russia vs. U.S.A.: The Final Round?" It's a pretty serious question on this world, where the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union has progressed unabated for the past seven or eight years. Maggie flew Harriers off of armed carriers and fought in the Siberian Push, a Russian battle of some kind which would give more credence to the reason the Soviet Union and the U.S. being hostile shortly before Pulsar Earth was destroyed. Tensions are high, and the citizenry is on full military alert. The President? Oliver North. It seems that the Iran-Contra affair didn't occur on Pulsar Prime, which means the Sandinistas and the Contras weren't fighting in Central America.
But nuclear war is hardly a major concern for Pulsar Prime. A pulsar, with a declination of 87 degrees on the solar plane, has entered the solar system and will eventually destroy biological organism on Earth.
At the Blake Air Force Base in Southern California, Doctor Steven Jensen collaborated with a Doctor Vladimir Jariabek to develop sliding technology. They were working on the dynamics of wormholes when Jariabek was killed. Dr. Jariabek was a highly respected cosmologist on Earth Prime and a colleague of Arturo's who had an office at California Tech. He gave lectures that Arturo attended. Jariabek is Russian but defected to the U.S. in 1967.
On this world, it's evident that the Vietnam War also took place, per Rickman's reference to 'the last days of Saigon'. The reason Rickman is killing these innocent people is because he contracted a disease during the Gulf War, a fungus that attacks the brain tissue.
The Inside Slide
"The Exodus" began as a treatment by star John Rhys-Davies, but in the end it became a story riddled with every cliché Rhys-Davies hates about science fiction and ultimately ended up being the demise of the Professor.
"I submitted one of five ideas: It was a really low-key standard idea, the sort of level thatSliders should have," he explains. "It showed scientific curiosity and moral choices. And that was the episode they turned into a double-parter with all the predictable things. Anyone in the military, the government, is always wrong. In every episode of Sliders you will find that essential bias. Then they had the bad soldier, he's out of control and has to suck brains out — Eh!
"I was hoping I could write this episode. The classic thing was the writers do not want John to write one because it would be bad for morale. So I let it go, they paid me for the idea. And anyway, I was very anxious to get out of the series, I wasn't going to rock the boat at that stage! You give up in the end. The whole point of Sliders is that it is [about] alternate universes, and it should challenge our expectations and not bolster our prejudices."
Such changes in his story, particularly with the scientific aspects, led him to ultimately dismiss the final product.
"It ended up having a quasar coming into the solar system," he complains. "I said, 'Do you know what a quasar is?' They said, 'Yeah, it's something small and it rotates fast.' I said, 'Yes, but it's actually a neutron star. It's a collapsed star that has a mass of about 1.4 to four times the mass of the Sun. It's not big enough to create a black hole. It is immensely dense and, of course, will consequently have an immense force of gravity. You cannot bring a star into the solar system without throwing everything off. And at the end, you've got a cluster of neutron stars coming through.' I also said, 'This thing about radiation is nonsense.' They said, 'But it spins fast!' I said, 'Yes, but you have it spinning once every 24 hours.' Some of them spin 32 times a second. With the kind of radiation that would generate, you can't hide underground. The radiation would go through the Earth, for God's sake.' I just wasn't very happy with the show."
· · ·
So what was the original idea?
Rhys-Davies' idea would have brought the Sliders to a world where comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's impact with Jupiter altered its orbit; the resulting gravitational shifts have changed Earth's orbit as well, and it is slowly drifing further and further from the sun.
The drama arises when Quinn and Arturo discover that with some modification of the timer (the original, not the Egyptian one) and some parts from a Motorola factory, they can either get home, or slide a few hundred people from the world, which is slowly dying from the growing winter. Of course, if they choose to save them, they have to continue sliding randomly.
"Of course, being our Sliders they would help these people," Rhys-Davies elaborates.
After Quinn scouts a few worlds, conflicts develop between the refugees over whether supplies or that world's artifacts should go at the expense of some lives. "If you're starting a new [place]," he says, "do you take the Venus de Milo or the last of the tinned food?" Eventually the Sliders take as many people as possible and slide from the new world, but only after the timer returns to its normal, burnt-out mode.
The treatment, as written, would have included a world where Native Americans own the surrounding land and a world where the flora releases a narcotic into the air at night.
Source: Sarah Amos
· · ·
"It is a really dangerous situation: We slide to a world on the verge of the apocalypse, and in the ensuing panic law and order falls apart," he says. "They come across a scientist who with Quinn's help are able to get a group of people off the world by sliding. However, one of our characters doesn't make the slide away.
"I think the fans are really going to like it.
"What was really cool about it is that rock star Roger Daltrey is in it," he adds. "He plays the villain Colonel Rickman, and that was like a dream come true for me. I can remember waiting a total of twenty-eight hours in line for Who tickets and never gotten them. Now here we are, working for three weeks on location, and I am eating dinner with Roger Daltrey. Every moment I worked with him and every moment I sat with him, I was pinching myself. He was a terrific actor; he played such a good bad guy!
"The best part about it was, two weeks into the schedule he said to me, 'Jerry, I was thinking I'm having such a good time, I was thinking of having a little jam-session for the crew. Do you think that will be cool?' I was blown away by this request. So we had a fifty person concert with Roger Daltrey. It was unbelievable! Roger Daltrey Unplugged! I was in awe of him, I was bringing him tea every moment I got, so much so, that I know the routine down pat.
"I'm working with a rock star! So, I've been brushing up on all my 'Who' lyrics and I've got every 'Who' CD just getting ready to get signed."
· · ·
Kari Wuhrer, who guest starred in this episode as Captain Maggie Beckett, was similarly star struck.
"When I was five years old my mom took me to see Tommy and I was scared to death," Wuhrer offers. "The whole thing with the beans coming out of the TV and the rock and roll music and the deaf, dumb and blind guy freaked me out. I hated rock and roll music, I was so afraid of The Who for years that I couldn't listen to them.
"When I was 11, I started listening to the early Who and saw Quadrophenia and started getting into their music. I had this impression that Roger Daltrey was this drug addict womanizer. Then I came on to the set and there is this little elfin man, with the sweetest disposition, so family oriented, so intensely artistic and passionate, so in love with life... Clean as a whistle, doesn't eat meat, is scolding anybody who does, doesn't believe in drinking cold liquids [in order to preserve his voice] ... Then we saw him play — he did this jam for us — and his voice was as pure and sensual as the early Who albums. I was blown away by him — I couldn't believe it. I actually got the chance to sing with him, and it was amazing! I was upon stage going, 'I'm on stage with Roger Daltrey!' We became such good friends. He gave me his phone number and address in Sussex, and said, 'Come on out and stay with the family'. I loved him so much — an incredible human being."
· · ·
Jerry also spoke about the increased stunting necessary for this F/X laden episode.
"[There was] a lot of action," he explains. "Kari and I did a lot of our own stunts and she was actually pressuring me to do more, because she was getting very physical on set, and I thought, 'Well, if Kari's getting that physical, I'd better step up a little bit!' We did a lot of tumbling around, and I thought it looked great."
· · ·
In the final version of the original script, the first part of this two part episode was written to end when Maggie collapses on the Mallory's front lawn. The scene at the hospital was then written to open The Exodus, part Two. In that scene, the script calls for the doctor's character to be 30 years old and look like ER's Noah Wiley [sic]. The script also names the doctor "Dr. Baker."
· · ·
The entire hospital scene was finalized on January 14, 1997.
· · ·
The original script revisions for part one happened as follows:
- Production Draft: 12/24/96 (no pages of this draft made it to the final script)
- 1st Revision: 1/4/97
- 2nd Revision: 1/6/97
- 3rd Revision: 1/7/97
- 4th Revision: 1/8/97
- 5th Revision: 1/9/97
- The opening couch scene was filmed: 1/13/97
- 6th Revision: 1/15/97
- 7th Revision: 1/16/97
- Roger Daltrey1 as Colonel Angus Rickman
- Kari Wuhrer as Captain Maggie Beckett
- Mark Kiely2 as Dr. Steven Jensen
- Wes Charles, Jr.3 as Malcolm [Eastman]
- Linda Henning4 as Mrs. Mallory
- Steve Larson as Street Person
- J. Karen Thomas as Lt. Teri Eastman
- Michael Houston King as Dr. Baker
- Krzysztof Pieczynski as Dr. [Vladimir] Jariabek
- Zitto Kazann as ???
- The two couch thieves.
- The giant golfer.
- Malcolm's dad, Corporal Eastman.
- The officer in the white shirt and the red beret who gets syringe in the scene after Maggie and Quinn escape the alternate military base.