The Sliders pick up a hitchhiker, a sentient flame with a hunger for oil in a California gushing with it. The four take jobs as scabs at a refinery as they attempt to communicate with their new friend, but inadvertently get embroiled with a scheme to break the union. Wade and Rembrandt search for proof of the company’s involvement with the death of a prominent union leader, but are captured. They’re tossed into a burning warehouse where the company will use them as scapegoats for further crackdowns on dissent. Quinn, Arturo, and their new pal, the talking flame, run to the rescue. If the plot summary’s thin, just watch the episode. You’ll understand.
Rembrandt was on a hot streak in a game of Home Run Derby, and ready to take the crowd’s bets against him.
Arturo says it best: “This entire world is on fire!” possibly from extreme volcanic activity or natural gas deposits. It’s barren of life, but home to a single Flame that is very much alive — which follows the four through the vortex. Some debate has raged over the fact that Quinn said at the end of the episode that they’ve “got to get [the Flame] home.” Also, the Flame stated earlier that it had the power to send itself home. So it’s likely that they came back, dropped it off and then went sliding randomly again.
Southern California must have been a popular vacation spot 65 million years ago on this world, too, since most of the dinosaurs died here instead of the Middle East, providing the locals with an abundance of gasoline. (Not to be confused with Oil World from FeverFeverRefinery World.)
“Five more seconds I’d have been Beef Wellington.” — notable because, oddly, this is the third reference in the series Arturo has made to Beef Wellington.
Arturo believes that on Refinery World, the world’s largest deposits of petroleum can be found in Southern California, not in the Middle East as they are found on Earth Prime.
As a result, Southern California is a ‘company town’ run by “Pan-Global Oil.” Workers there have recently unionized under the name “Brotherhood of Petrol Workers.” They are currently in negotiations for new contracts, ones that would give them the benefit of health insurance. As it stands now, as Arturo puts it, “if you get sick, they have a burial plan.”
Amanda’s husband organized the union in 1994 — and it seems that PGO killed him two months ago for his troubles. Now Amanda is leading the broke and battered union.
Pan-Global Oil is so big that it has its own television station called “PGO.”
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“This week we’re in fire world — we go to a world where natural gases are abundant and fires are all over the place, and then we go to an oil refinery world and bring back some fire with us,” Jerry says enthusiastically. “This week it’s pretty hot on set!”
Cleavant Derricks actually spoke highly of the writing in this episode.
“I am not a writer, so all I can say is that when I read what comes in, if there is not a whole lot of gratification there because my palate is not satisfied, my imagination is not stretched, my character’s imagination isn’t stretched, so their depths aren’t stretched, then the audiences can’t get a chance to really see us in a full, complete picture,” he says. “Sometimes we have hit it, like with the idea of a living flame you can communicate with.”
· · ·
Digital Muse’s Brad Hayes created the CGI of “The Flame,” which Jerry O’Connell calls amazing. “We were all staring at what was supposed to be a huge fire, when it was just these huge lights putting a fire pattern on our faces,” he says. “Then you see it all cut together, and we are actually standing amidst a huge fire. It is surprising when you look at it from that sense. I love it and it keeps things exciting.”
· · ·
With regard to the batting cage, the last time Cleavant Derricks hit that well was in the film The Slugger’s Wife. Unfortunately, Derricks wasn’t at all adept at baseball when he got the role in that film.” [Baseball was] not one of my sports in school,” he says in The Slugger’s Wife press kit. “I was into football and track. Fortunately, most of my baseball scenes are in the dugout or in the dressing room, but I did have one sequence where I had to get a hit. Because of that, I spent weeks working out with the team when I wasn’t shooting to get my swing down right. Only I will know how much work went into that brief shot.” The practice obviously paid off.
|Written by||Josef Anderson|
|Directed by||Jefery Levy|
|Music by||Stephen Graziano|
|Edited by||Casey Brown|
|Next:||The Prince of Slides|
I could get into the logistics of Wade buying a laptop and projection screen on a half-day’s pay, the warehouse full of women typing on typewriters but talking on wireless phones, or the weird unexplained 40s retro feel and a host of other things but to me, “The Fire Within” goes up in smoke.
In a world consumed by mysterious fires, the Sliders discover what might be the culprit: a single flame, which seems to have a mind and a will of its own.