The Return of Maggie Beckett


Maggie’s feeling’s for her father are tested when she lands on a world where her double was a famous astronaut… and her father is responsible for covering up her death.

Written by: Chris Black
Directed by: Peter Ellis
Edited by: Stewart Schill
Music by: Danny Lux

Broadcast History

Original Airdate: August 13, 1999
Production Code: E0812
Network Code: SL-509

Synopsis

Who says you can never go home again? Maggie is surprised when the Sliders end up in her hometown of Fresno, CA. She discovers that her double on this Earth was a decorated astronaut who traveled to Mars. There is a museum, a restaurant and even a park in her honor. Trying to disguise herself proves futile. Once word leaks out, Maggie becomes the center of a tug of war between the representatives of evil. Her double had been presumed dead from the mission to Mars, but a conspiracy theory states that the whole mission was faked on a Hollywood soundstage. Even Maggie’s father refuses to believe that Maggie is really his Maggie. When she meets The Leader, she fears for her life when the alien/human hybrid threatens to kill her permanently this time. The Sliders must leave before Maggie’s hometown permanently lays her to rest.

Worlds Visited

UFO World

The Roswell incident wasn't covered up, leading to a more honest American government and extensive advances in technology.

Details

  • Two license plates on cars driving around Fresno are 4BHC040 and 3LGX943.
  • There’s a provisions shop and a barber in the Fresno town square.
  • Beckett Avenue used to be Oak Park Avenue.
  • The town square is located at the intersection of 960 Intrepid Plaza and 6700 Beckett Avenue.
  • The statue reads:”To those who dared to reach for the stars — In memory of the Intrepid Five of mankind’s First mission to Mars. Lost to the Cosmos, their fates known only to God.”
  • The astronauts on board the Intrepid were Lieutenant Colonel Margaret “Maggie” Becket [sic], Captain Melanie Masters, USN, Martin J. Fujimori, Calvin Cole and Alexei Masarov.
  • The sign on the side of the bus reads:While in Fresno visit the
    MAGGIE BECKETT
    Museum & Birthplace
    4500 Beckett Avenue
  • The Maggie Beckett Museum has an extensive collection of baby videos, school plays, and the hard-to-find cheerleader tryout fiasco.
  • Diana brings articles entitled “Maggie Beckett befriends aliens” and “President Stevenson Signs Historic Pact with Space Aliens — Diplomatic and Trade Alliance Forged.”
  • The local diner sells several Maggie Beckett specialty foods, including the “Beckett of Chicken,” “Maggie-roni and cheese,” “‘To boldly go’-slaw,” “Semper Fries” and blended “Maggie-ritas.”
  • The Maggie Beckett Shopping Network (MBSN) phone number is 1-888-555-0138.
  • Items for sale on the MBSN: the Maggie Beckett Silk Touch Razor (“In the zero-gravity environment of space, weightless leg hairs could clog sensitive equipment!”), and the Maggie Beckett Commemorative Plate, made of heavy-duty Japanese porcelain and meticulously silk-screened.
  • The commemorative plate retails for $349, but MBSN sells it for $299.
  • The Intrepid disappeared 1.6 million kilometers from Earth.

Character Information


  • Maggie spent Christmases alone at a girl's Academy until the age of 10.

  • The General shipped Maggie off to the academy only a week after her mother died.

  • Maggie wasn't allowed to visit her mother's grave.

  • Maggie was almost an astronaut. She was next in line for astronaut training after flight school, but General Beckett denied her transfer when the war broke out with the United States and the Soviet Union on Pulsar Prime.

  • Maggie went to the prom by herself.

  • Maggie's middle name is Allison.

  • Maggie's father was on a diplomatic mission when his helicopter went down, killing all aboard.

  • Mr. Xybo was responsible for the heat shielding on the Intrepid, and feels terrible guilt for the deaths of the astronauts.

  • Maggie's double, along with the rest of the astronauts from the Intrepid, died from prolonged lethal doses of solar radiation. Even the advanced medical technology of this world could not save them.

  • The General believes that no parent should outlive their child.



Money Matters


  • Mallory sells Maggie's toothbrush for $100.

  • The Sliders pay for a hotel room.

  • Mallory buys some fast food for himself and Maggie.

  • Mallory tries to get a lock of Maggie's hair to sell for big bucks.



Rewind That!

The clock tower and town square location is the same as the one used in the Universal Back to the Futuretrilogy.

Notable Quotes


  • "I do love a woman in uniform." — Mallory, seeing Maggie's double decked out as an astronaut.

  • "If you were in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in some other universe, you'd go, wouldn't you?" — Maggie.
    "If there were any justice in the universe." — Rembrandt.

  • "Wook at those wittle cheeks!" — Mallory, as the gang gets a look at Maggie's baby pictures.

  • "The General was like that — a real force of nature." — Maggie, dispelling rumors that she and her father had a good relationship.

  • "The what files?" — Mallory. Apparently Combine World doesn't have The X-Files.

  • "Roswell. Area 51. I always knew they were keeping something from us." — Rembrandt.

  • "I'll pass. I hear they pack a pretty mean probe." — Mallory, after Diana says she wants to meet a Reticulan.

  • "You sold my toothbrush?!" — Maggie.
    "It was all chewed up, anyway!" — Mallory.
    "You rotten little weasel!" — Maggie.

  • "You could use a little sun." — Mallory, after the Leader asks them if they notice anything strange about his appearance.

  • "Oh, sure, I have massively increased brain capacity, supernumerary nipples and many other assets, but I haven't found many women who dig the look." — the Leader.

  • "I was [in the military], but you were 'sir' long before that." — Maggie, to the General.

  • "You are not my daughter." — the General.
    "You don't know how many times I've tried to convince myself of that." — Maggie.

  • "A parent should never outlive their child. It's a terrible thing." — The General.

Nitpicks

  • Rembrandt says he doesn’t recognize the town, but it’s the exact same set used in Please Press One, and the Provisions store can be seen in a dozen fourth season episodes as the Wrightwood Cafe.
  • Where would Diana find a mint copy of a 52-year-old newspaper that she can remove from the library?
  • Why would an electronics shop be closed and yet still leave a television on in the window. For that matter, what electronics store in a city the size of Fresno would close during the day time?
  • The exterior facade of the hotel the Sliders stay at isn’t a hotel at all!

Parallel History

In 1944, German forces broke through the Allied lines at the Battle of the Bulge, a difference that dragged World War II on until 1947. Rather than return home a war hero, Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower returned a disgrace. The Democratic Party won the presidential bid, and Adlai Stevenson became the President of the United States.

Under the Stevenson administration, American government opened up to its citizens and ushered in an era of trust between the populace and its elected representatives. Therefore, when aliens from the Reticulan government crash-landed in Roswell, New Mexico, the government told the U.S., and the Reticulan-American Free Trade Agreement (RAFTA) was born, giving the United States access to futuristic technology.

Because of the trust the American people have for its government, President John F. Kennedy was saved from assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald, who reported communist Cuba’s attempt to kill the leader. In addition to that, the Watergate scandal never existed, and neither did the Vietnam war.

In the early 1960s, Reticulan DNA was used in creating vaccines for a variety of human illnesses, including polio, smallpox and tuberculosis. Cloning is also a reality on this earth. However, this technology has had negative effects for .1% of the population, whose bodies ingratiated the alien DNA into their own, creating a hybrid creature with advanced intelligence but is shunned by society.

In the 1990s, the National Aeronautic Space Administration launched a mission to Mars, commanded by Lt. Col. Maggie Beckett. The mission was successful, with Beckett stepping onto the Martian soil and planting an American flag. However, on return, a complication arose: the radiation shielding protecting the astronauts failed, bombarding them for six months with lethal doses of solar radiation. The astronauts returned to earth, where medical science could not prevent their deaths.

In order to protect the integrity of the Intrepid astronauts, the US government covered up their deaths by saying they disappeared on their return trajectory. A cottage industry in Maggie Beckett worship sprung up, especially in her home town of Fresno. However, skeptics who believed the Americans either faked the entire Mars mission on a Hollywood sound stage or killed the astronauts in orbit took root, and looked for any reason to expose the government’s treachery.

The Inside Slide

The working title for this episode in pre-production was “Waiting For Beckett.”

Why the change?

“We were informed that it didn’t clear the legal department and that using the original title represented a possible copyright infringement,” answers Story Editor Keith Damron.

· · ·

“We did a show this year in which Maggie’s character confronts her father,” says executive producer Bill Dial. “Chris Black wrote it. In our mythology, Maggie’s father was a Marine general who probably pushed her into the military. He was very distant, very cold, and this has been a problem that Maggie has been trying to work out.

“She lands on a world and her alternate father is there, who had a daughter called Maggie that he lost. The thing that Chris did, which was really nice, was that this father is able to resolve problems he had with his daughter with Maggie, who is not his daughter, and Maggie is able to resolve problems she had with her father with this guy. It was a very nice piece of tightrope writing — a very moving episode.”

· · ·

Keith Damron initially tried to pitch a space-faring episode during the show’s fourth season.

“I pitched a story in which our heroes slide into a world where the space program didn’t stall after project Apollo,” he says. “The Sliders arrive in the hold of a spacecraft just as it is lifting off from Earth. The adventure would have taken place entirely on the ship, in an alternate history where Quinn’s unscrupulous double has taken undeserved credit for the ship’s star drive design. A system that is instrumental in the salvation of humanity. As the craft carries our heroes beyond their sliding radius they realize they are on an ark, on a one way trip from a dying Earth to a new home in the stars. It would have been a fun and ambitious episode had it not died in the room.

“Having grown up in the age of Apollo, Chris (Black) and I both share a deep interest in the American space program. It became our mission to concoct a story that the big guys would buy.

“Our quest quickly turned into a two pronged effort,” he continues. “We both had our own takes on what the episode should be and began drafting our own versions of the pitch. Chris and I were in agreement that it should be a Maggie episode and that as a logical extension of her military background we would explore her or her duplicate’s involvement in the space program.”

Eventually, Chris Black’s pitch won over over Damron’s.

Guest Stars

  1. Carl Gabriel Yorke appears as a Kromagg Leader in Common Ground and a Director in California Reich.