The Fire Within


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.

Worlds Visited

Baseball World

Rembrandt was on a hot streak in a game of Home Run Derby, and ready to take the crowd’s bets against him.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Inferno

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.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Refinery World

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.)

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Details

  • On the Home Run Derby virtual batting cage screen, Rembrandt had 58 homeruns and a total score of 33028 at the “Major League” level. He then hits his 59th dinger and ties the all-time high score with his 60th homer to the crowd’s delight.
  • Ironically, the sign on the outside of the batting cage reads “Warning: Only one person allowed in the cage at any time.” Quinn then opens the fence and steps inside with Wade and the Professor.
  • The instructions for the Home Run Derby™ game per the sign on the inside of the cage are:
    1. Take bat from holder.
    2. Insert Money.
    3. Press START.
    4. Always keep both feet in the batter’s box.
    5. Always keep both hands on the bat while swinging.
    6. Replace bat when game is over.
  • While watching the news broadcast, Quinn is holding a newspaper with a headline that reads “Pan-Global Stands Firm.” The headline is in reference to the contract negotiations between Pan-Global Oil and the workers union “The Brotherhood of Petrol Workers.”
  • In the grocery store, one of the products on the shelf is Lirio soap, it’s right next to the “Sodium Fluoride” toothpaste that Amanda steals.
  • Some of the picketers’ signs read: “PGO Unfair”; “Pan Global Unfair”; “On Strike”; “Save Our Children”; “No Health, No Wealth”; “Child Killers;” “Children Are Our Future.”
  • The license plate of the yellow GMC truck that the flame hides behind reads “3G44626.”
  • The matching frequency for the Flame is 6562.72 Angstroms.
  • Just before Quinn feeds the Flame newsprint, a television infomercial is visible advertising “Dr. Coheeba’s medically proven” weight-loss Aerobiciser. “All it takes is $19.95 and a credit card.”

Character Information

  • Arturo says that when he was a boy his father used to scare him by telling stories of the Corracha Cagalt — the “blue-flame spirits of fire that punish naughty boys.”
  • Wade helped take care of her cousin when she had her first child.
  • Facing death by fire, Wade tells Rembrandt of her long-kept desire to one day have a baby. “Not now, I mean maybe in a couple of years,” she says. “But I wanna have a baby.”
  • Wade’s mother was her age when Wade was born.

Money Matters

  • On Baseball World, Rembrandt ‘the treasurer’ left what money the Sliders had on the bar to try his hand in a betting batting cage. Soon, he was cleaning up but with $600 riding on his record breaking performance, the others forced him through the vortex before he could collect his winnings, pay the hotel bill or retrieve the money from the bar. Bottom line? They have to get jobs.
  • But after they do, money isn’t a problem anymore: they get a hotel, Wade goes grocery shopping and the four go out for a night on the town; and Rembrandt buys two pairs of sunglasses (red and purple).
  • Anyway, they steal all of the computer equipment they need to eventually study the Flame.

Cultural References

  • Quinn chidingly asks Remmy if he wants to sing “Light My Fire” to the Flame. “Light My Fire” was a hit by “The Doors” in the summer of 1967. It stayed in the Billboard No. 1 spot for three weeks.
  • Quinn, in trying to converse with the Flame, gets it to repeat the line “Mr. Watson, come here.” Those were the first words ever spoken over a telephone line. The full line, “Watson, come here. I want you,” was spoken by Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) on March 10, 1876. Mr. Watson refers to Bell’s assistant, who was on the other end of the line in a room down the hall.
  • Arturo says that they can make a decision about what to do with the Flame after their “fireside chat” has ended. In the 1930s and 40s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to address the nation via a weekly radio program in which he would talk about the state of the union and later the state of the Second World War. Roosevelt called these programs “Fireside Chats.”

Notable Quotes

  • “Considering we’re leaving this dimension, I think it’s fair to say all bets are off.” — Quinn, to the stunned batting cage crowd just before he slides.
  • “The hell it was.” — Arturo’s response to Rembrandt’s observation that maybe Inferno was actually Hell.
  • “Nothing appeals like a good set of wheels!” — Rembrandt’s reaction to the classic Cadillac, and he’s apparently speaking for the excited Arturo as well.
  • “That wasn’t spaghetti. That was oil slick with noodles.” — Arturo’s opinion of the Sliders’ first meal on Refinery World.
  • “I thought only the British were capable of destroying breakfast.” — Arturo’s opinion of the Sliders’ second meal.
  • “If you expect me to carry you again, Mr. Brown, I suggest you lose a little weight.” — Arturo, about the warehouse rescue. For the record, this is the second time the professor has joked about Rembrandt’s weight.

Arturoisms

“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.

Nitpicks/Errors

  • They actually named the arsonist Ashton!
  • Despite the fact that there’s plenty of oil drilling and refining in Southern California, Arturo takes one look at the abundance of gas guzzlers on the street and assumes that the world’s oil deposits are only in Los Angeles? Come on.
  • How did Wade afford all that hi-tech computer equipment on one day’s temp salary? We know she bought a projection unit and a laptop. Are scabs that valuable?
  • Yes, the hotel room is a standing set. Still, did they need to use it for the room they stay in on Refinery World?
  • Why are some people using typewriters and desk lamps while others are using computers and talking with cordless phones? Is this some weird leap in technology?
  • In an editing error, during the warehouse rescue, Arturo prompts Quinn to look at the human form of the Flame — before it forms.
  • The Flame takes its human form and speaks to the Sliders, even though it doesn’t have the computer hardware that Quinn provided in his laboratory.
  • The Flame can get itself home. Why can’t it help the Sliders do the very same thing?

Neatpicks

  • Just before the union busters break open Quinn’s laboratory door he yells “Go away, we’re spraying for cockroaches,” a possible play on Jerry O’Connell’s appearance in the 1996 summer-release film Joe’s Apartment which cast O’Connell with thousands of roaches.

Rewind That!

  • As Arturo and Quinn are getting on the back of the flat-bed truck in search of jobs, Quinn says “Pity we always seem to be staring [our pursuit of the American Dream] on the back of a cattle truck.” Arturo responds by stating (rather ironically): “Such a cynic Mr. Mallory.” The scene ends there but the closed captioning has Arturo going on “comes from consorting with the likes of Miss Welles.”
  • After the news broadcast on television from the scene of the fire, the reporter (played by Terry Markwell) on screen ends her report with “Arson is now suspected.” But the closed captioning goes on to read “This is Tess Martin of PGO News reporting live from Southside.”
  • Though you can’t hear it in the dialogue, when the union busters storm the laboratory, the Flame (per CC) says over and over “help you, help you, help you” and helps Quinn eliminate the intruders.

History Lesson

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.”

The Inside Slide

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

· · ·

“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.

Guest Stars

Co-Starring

Unaccredited

  • The dancer on stage during breakfast.

In Brief

Written by Josef Anderson
Production # K1814
Network # SL-309
Directed by Jefery Levy
Music by Stephen Graziano
Edited by Casey Brown

Chronology

Previously:
Next:

In Review

D-
Really Bad

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.

Read the review »

Logline

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.