Maggie can’t breathe the air of Quinn’s world, so he slides back with her and the good news. The others are overjoyed and want to leave now, but Quinn insists they finish the job they set out to accomplish. This decision proves disastrous when Arturo challenges Rickman over his unwillingness to let more people slide. Rickman kills Jensen, then attempts to steal Arturo’s brain fluid. The others catch him in the act saving Arturo from total impairment, but the four find themselves trapped while Rickman slides his team off base. Quinn manages to bust them out with a jerry rigged battering ram and the four rush to confront Rickman. Rickman attempts to kill Quinn, but Arturo takes the bullet for him. They miss the slide and are forced underground while their own timer ticks down and the radiation levels build. Eventually, the three remaining Sliders and Malcolm pursue Rickman and convince Maggie that the colonel has turned evil. Rickman escapes, and Maggie joins the team to avenge her husband.
A rogue pulsar has entered the solar system and is threatening all life on Earth.
Maggie and Quinn pick this world for where the natives are restless and dinosaurs roam the plains for settlement. Quinn remarks that this world is a few hundred thousand years behind Earth Prime and Pulsar Prime.
After Rickman escapes, the Sliders track him to this world where they discover his latest victim — an engineer running maintenance on a power plant.
After Arturo is shot in the heart, he turns to Quinn saying: “Get them home.” Then he falls to the ground, gently being held by Quinn, and looks around. He whispers: “Sliders.”
And then, without much fanfare, our beloved Arturo dies. Yet, the script of this event calls for a much, I think, more emotional exit for the professor. It reads as follows (starting from where Quinn enters the warehouse):
Rickman tries to get his gun out but Quinn brings him down with a flying tackle. They fight for a moment. Arturo enters with Wade just as Rickman catches Quinn with a hard right and sends him spinning around, flying back. Arturo catches Quinn in his arms. Remmy enters carrying Malcolm as Rickman draws his gun, aims it at Quinn's back. WADE Quinn! Arturo can see this over Quinn's shoulder and spins around, putting his body in the way, as Rickman racks off two shots that slam into Arturo's back. Rickman scrambles and leaps into the vortex. Quinn holds on to the collapsing Arturo. QUINN Professor. The VORTEX CLOSES. Remmy moves to help Quinn and Wade lower Arturo's mortally wounded body to the floor. WADE Oh, my God. Quinn holds Arturo. Wade and Remmy each take a hand in a final moment. REMBRANDT Hang on, Max QUINN Why did you do that? Arturo just looks at him with deep affection. WADE You've got to stay with us, Professor ... stay with us ... Arturo shakes his head. Manages to make eye contact with each one of them one last time. ARTURO (whispering) Get ... underground. Follow him. Only chance for you to get home. WADE You're coming with us. Arturo manages a subtle shake of his head. He knows this is the end of the slide. ARTURO I love you all (a whisper) Sliders. And he dies. WE HOLD on them as we ... FADE OUT. END OF ACT THREE
Also per the original script, this is what the Sliders had to say about the fallen Arturo. Interestingly enough, Quinn said nothing in the final script.
REMBRANDT I was glad to know you, Professor. You were truly unique. You could be cantankerous at times, but I know it was because you cared about us. And when we get home, I'm gonna write a song for you. Something classy. Something righteous. So people will never forget you. WADE I don't believe in good-byes, not really. I can't believe that everything we are, everything we've done, just disappears. I think our spirit ... is like a river. It has to go somewhere. I know in my heart, I'll see you again. Wade casts her flowers to the wind. They watch them float for a moment and drop from sight.
For the record, here’s what Quinn says during the make-shift eulogy in the episode:
QUINN I never would have been the student I was without your guidance ... and love. You taught me there are no limits to the imagination. You were a true adventurer, now you're the greatest adventurer of all time. Good-bye, Professor. WADE Good-bye. QUINN We're going to miss the hell out of you. REMBRANDT Oh, yeah.
“I had been told [“Exodus”] was going to be our big seminal episode,” he says. “It was going to be the greatest Sliders episode of all times. And I watched the second part with some friends and it was horrifying. It was just, I thought it was one of the worst hours of television I’d ever seen, and I thought that … nobody really cared about the [episode] in a million ways. I mean, everything was just shoddy. The production was bad, the acting was ridiculous, things didn’t tie together. I later discovered that one of the executive producers that was running the show [David Peckinpah], that his standard for everything was ‘Aw, it’s a parallel world, no one cares!’ So that’s why we could say ‘Why is Roger Daltrey running the American military with a British accent?’ ‘Aw, it’s a parallel world, who cares?’
“I will unabashedly tell you I thought it was one of the worst pieces of television ever produced, and the low point of the entire series. If you look at it, there are signs of the lack of caring, lack of thinking; lack of everything. There are giant logic holes, scenes that don’t edit together well, poor production values, poor performances, poor writing; it was an absolute utter embarrassment. It goes way beyond either of the shows I took my name off on Star Trek.
“You had moments like [Maggie’s] husband in the wheelchair getting shot, so there was the scene where she almost tries to bring a tear to her eye, which didn’t work too well, so they cut out of that quickly, and in the very next scene, she’s flirting with Quinn.”
As for Quinn, Tormé cites a scene from this episode that chronicles how mishandled the character has become. “Quinn lands on this world where he sees Indians dancing around and says, ‘My God, we’ve gone back 200,000 years in time!'” Tormé explains. “This is supposed to be the smartest guy since Einstein, but it seems to be that Indians were dancing around campfires in 1600, so there’s a general lack of caring, he’s lost the qualities that made him individually interesting and a bit of an outcast.”
Tormé recalls another potentially emotional moment that was completely mishandled. “Only 150 people or so can slide out of this world, and this mother is being separated from her little boy, and I thought, ‘This is a perfect Sliders moment; the little boy is going to slide and live the rest of his life on another world, the mother can’t go with him; what a chance for some emotion!’
“Instead, the way the scene is shot, she says, ‘Guy, be a good boy!’ and she’s pulled away, end of scene. You have to be really dead in your brain and heart to structure a scene that is so naturally involving and turn it into something that is so unnaturally uninvolving. You almost have to not care to a supernatural level to blow that scene.”
As for Arturo’s much-promoted death scene, Tormé was infuriated to see one of his characters killed off in such a disappointing manner.
“When Arturo is shot in the chest, there’s no blood, let alone that John Rhys-Davies got to run wild and arc out his own death so he’s killed like three different times and does the whole Hamlet thing.
“For the funeral scene, everyone was hung over from a party the night before, nobody wanted to do it, and they didn’t have time because they were behind on the shoot.
“If you ever want to see something about as lifeless as it can be, the funeral scene opens with Wade saying, ‘I don’t believe in good-byes’ and ends with Wade saying, ‘Good-bye, Professor!’
“No one was minding the store, and it infuriated me. I had a surge of intense anger as I was watching that show, because this was the great seminal episode of Sliders, the great two-part masterpiece.”
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“Well it was sudden to the degree that we’d been working together for three years,” Sabrina explains. “So, I mean, no matter how much time they give us to prepare, it was sudden. You know, we did know before Christmas that, you know, in a couple of episodes they were going to kill his character. So it gave us the opportunity to get used to the idea. It didn’t make it any easier [though]. It’s like a family that we had, and I feel like our family has been broken up now.”
“It certainly wasn’t my idea,” Tracy Tormé says. “It was something largely dictated by the network.”
“I’m not unsorry,” Rhys-Davies says of his departure. “It’s called creative differences with the writers, that’s all … older actors become like old bull elephants, finally — you have to drive them out of the herd because they’re impossible to deal with.
“We had the most wonderful series concept … but we did everything that had been done before in every damned episode,” JRD laments. “The public understood that you could go anywhere in the galaxy [but] the writers, would try to graft a “Law & Order” story, or something they had done before, onto Sliders and just make the characters work around it.”
Would John Rhys-Davies ever don the mantle of Professor again?
“I hadn’t actually approached the show,” he answers. “I simply said that I would be very happy to come back for at least a few episodes if they would allow me to write a few. Because I could write two perfect episodes of science fiction for them that would hold a mirror up to what the show could be.”
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Cleavant Derricks admits that it was painful to film the scene where he fights with Jerry O’Connell before punching him, calling it totally out of character and never something Rembrandt would have done.
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Kari Wuhrer’s character, Maggie Beckett, wasn’t originally considered for part of the permanent cast — she was supposed to have a ‘recurring role.’ It was shortly into filming that producers decided to hire Wuhrer on full time. The decision was made between Jan. 13 and Jan. 29, 1997.
“They hired me as a guest star with the intention of expanding the character as a regular, but they wanted to see how it worked out,” Wuhrer reveals. “They already had John Rhys Davies’s character being killed off, so they needed someone to take over that position and take the show in a different direction. They called me up and asked me to do it, and I wasn’t sure I was going to stick to a series.
“I got a chance to play a character that I’ve never played before — this tough, military woman,” she continues. “I was excited that they thought I could pull that off. Because most people see me as this little giggly babe, right? So it was a real challenge, and when I pulled it off, they got very excited … And so they decided to make me a regular, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
“It was hard coming to a show that was already established, replacing a beloved friend on the cast, although it wasn’t like I was replacing him,” Kari Wuhrer says on replacing John Rhys-Davies. “They were just making some changes. But if you tap into the Internet, there were lots of letters posted giving me a hard time. It was as if they were blaming me for that change. Having said that, I do get a lot of positive letters about how people are enjoying the change. The other cast members accepted me so openly. We became friends and it was great.”
How did Wuhrer feel about working with Rhys-Davies on his final two episodes?
“I found him to be a really wonderful man and teacher,” she says. “He is really talented and experienced, he was a great support system for the rest of the cast.
“I feel a little bit disappointed that I am not going to get work with him again. He has got other things that he is moving on to. It is always great to work with someone who is as generous as John. Now that he is not going to be there, I look it as a challenge where I get to tap into what I have learned; to make my own choices and my own decisions, and trust myself.”
· · ·
When Quinn invents the ‘jet propelled battering ram’ in the hospital, the original script calls for Quinn to straddle the gurney while it bashes into the door. However during the final filming, Quinn stands back of the gurney. This change in the script may possibly be a result of the tragic consequences that came out of the episode Desert Storm where actor Ken Steadman was killed during a stunt scene.
· · ·
Quinn calls Earth Prime ‘Earth Prime,’ a phrase popularized online by Sliders fan Ed Hall.
|Written by||Josef Anderson and Tony Blake & Paul Jackson|
|Directed by||Jefery Levy|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Casey Brown|
|Previously:||The Exodus, part I|
The only thing professional about this is the hit it carried out on a once-great series. It’s not just a bad episode; it dooms every future episode by its callous removal of Professor Arturo.
As doomsday looms, Quinn and Maggie race to find a suitable parallel world, but discover that Rickman has a deadly ulterior motive for finding such a world.