Requiem

“I don’t know what happened – but Wade did it!” – Rembrandt. Right.

Review by Matt Hutaff


U
Unwatchable

80-006“Requiem” is a failure. It is embarrassing and unwatchable, and, most important, it is where I can definitively state I have lost faith in Sliders. My hope is you’ll read this and be spared from staring into the abyss and rendering your own judgment.

Sliders occasionally requires me to step outside the narrative we’ve created at Earth Prime, one where we’re watching each episode as they air to focus on their merits and avoid behind-the-scenes mischief. This is one of those times; I can’t review “Requiem” in a vacuum and I wouldn’t want to. Cleavant Derricks told me Sabrina Lloyd’s participation was only secured as a personal favor from her to him. I’ve spoken to Michael Reaves, the credited author, about how ashamed he is of the final product. I’ve read his original script and Keith Damron’s Year 5 Journal, which I’m growing more and more convinced exists only to drive fans crazy.

I can’t separate the fact from the fiction we saw on screen. I can’t pretend it’s 1999 and that I’m about to sit and watch an episode that “won’t leave a dry eye in the house.” To do so would be as disingenuous as the show’s producers trying to bring closure to the character of Wade Welles. You deserve better than that.

80-001Rembrandt and Wade deserve better than that. After all:

This is the episode where the Sliders pose an intriguing question – can sliding make you sick? – right before taking a nap in a public park.

This is the episode where Rembrandt witnesses some Vaseline smeared on the lens and calls it a vortex. (Everyone else slept through it – oops!)

This is the episode where Diana and Mallory make sensible suggestions about Rembrandt’s well-being that are dismissed with prejudice by Maggie. (Maybe they should have aired “Map of the Mind” before this? Sorry, spoilers!)

This is the episode where Diana – the scientist – suggests a psychic link between Wade and Rembrandt. (That’s okay, though, because later she also has an ultra-chill conversation with a Kromagg warrior about turning humans into living computers. Cool as ice, Didi, cool as ice.)

80-003This is the episode that determined the most emotional scene between Wade and Rembrandt was from Dragonslide.

This is the episode that can’t remember if Rembrandt spent one year or two agonizing over Wade’s abduction.

This is the episode where Maggie reprimands Mallory and Diana for suggesting they tranquilize Rembrandt with a Kromagg tranquilizer – right before palming some for herself!

This is the episode with a Manta ship so big you can only see one of its poorly rendered wings in a non-descript warehouse.

This is the episode where the first female Kromagg we’ve ever seen wastes her screen time infodumping how they’re going to reclaim the homeworld. (Hint: it’s the big Manta ship.) Huzzah!

This is the episode where Mallory doesn’t remember Wade at all.

DynastyThis is the episode where Wade’s forehead has been removed and we see her pulsing brain. Pulsing.

This is the episode where Kromagg guards secure their precious Cyberiad computer (Wade) by moving her into a backlot office building guarded by a Humvee and two extras.

This is the episode where Wade kills all the Kromaggs – off-screen.

This is the episode that breaks sliding once and for all.

So I’ve readjusted the scales. I didn’t think we could get any lower than some of the zero-star nonsense we’ve endured as fans throughout the past five seasons, but here we are at a new rock bottom, reviewing an episode entitled “Requiem” where it’s explicitly spelled out at the end the person we’re mourning is somehow still alive.

There are a host of recycled props, glaring plot problems – the Sliders exit the vortex in a different order from the one they entered, Mallory asks if they got separated on Pleasant World and took a Rembrandt double, et cetera – and even lazier production gaffes, but “Requiem” is so relentlessly bad my brain is too numb to register a complaint.

80-004Wade’s fate was an episode a long time in coming. It could have been powerful – Rembrandt’s flashback to his time in Kromagg confinement is a testament to that – but this doesn’t even scratch the surface. Ultimately, it’s not even about Wade at all. We never learn what happened to her during her Kromagg internment before her mechanical transformation. We don’t know if she gave birth, made friends, or fought her abductors. Nothing about “Requiem” informs us about the character in any way (with the exception that she sounds like someone Diana would like). We already know Rembrandt’s feelings for her; they were covered while Sabrina Lloyd was a regular and his soliloquy in Genesis fills in the pieces. And any closure we might have received from Quinn through Mallory was upended with his shallow bit of social engineering. Nothing was ventured, so nothing was gained.

The Year 5 Journal tells Keith Damron’s story of his desire to bring closure to Wade. How they reached out to Sabrina Lloyd and couldn’t reach an agreement. How they built a story about Wade using the current cast but scuttled it in favor of what we saw because the fans wouldn’t accept Maggie standing in for Wade. (For the record, I would have.)

80-002But at least it was a story. It told us what happened to Wade. And Michael Reaves’ script did too – she died. She died saving countless worlds. For someone who was an early adopter of the “we need to get involved” mindset of sliding, there’s no truer fate.

But this? This is just a wasted opportunity that accomplishes nothing. And that’s my chief complaint with “Requiem;” it doesn’t tell a story. It tells part of one and insists we be satisfied by the result. Sorry, folks, not going to happen.

So stay far, far away from this episode. Do it for Wade, the Professor, and that ’70 DeVille we owe Rembrandt. There’s no need to subject yourself to this emotionally dishonest hour of television. I did the hard part; I watched the show bottom out so you didn’t have to. You’re welcome.

Unwatchable. A new milestone for Sliders.

My Notes

I’m not in the habit of taking notes when I review an episode of Sliders; I haven’t done it since I finished putting together the episode capsules over 13 years ago. Yet something compelled me to do it for this review; I think it’s because it was tough to qualify why it left such a bad taste in my mouth.

I figured I’d share my chicken scratch with you in the interests of completeness. There’s a few things on there I didn’t mention above (was that Slide by Wire decapitated head prop so valuable they needed to break it out again?) so think of it as an added bonus — one that might help you see what a misfire this episode is.

requiem-notes

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8 responses to “Review: Requiem”

  1. Travis Else says:

    LOL, oh come on, it wasn’t completely “unwatchable”. I mean, yes, they cut corners (in budget and logic) like crazy to make things work out for our characters, but there are strong moments here. Sabrina Lloyd lending her voice to the episode was huge for me. And Rembrandt confessing to the group the pain he’s been carrying inside him really worked. That one scene alone deserves a one-star credit. Also, the open ending isn’t really so…as you find out in The Seer. So…unwatchable? I don’t think so personally. Didn’t you just give two stars to Easy Slider?? Now THAT’S unwatchable….

  2. Thomas says:

    I felt “Requiem” was quite good. Cleavant’s performance was AMAZING, and the flashback in “Dragonslide” was a nice touch. It seemed to show some genuine emotion between the characters. One of the best episodes in season five I thought.

  3. matthutaff says:

    Like I said, I can’t divorce this episode from the behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Sabrina’s voiceover was not sought after by production – they didn’t care and took it because Cleavant took the initiative and brought her back. And while I agree Rembrandt’s flashback is well-done, it’s not new information. We know the character is broken up over what he did and we know why – “Requiem” doesn’t build on what we saw in season four.

    This is a cheap looking episode that took the laziest, easiest way out in terms of storytelling. It’s not a fitting epitaph for the character of Wade Welles and while Cleavant steals the show, the show isn’t worth stealing.

    As for “Easy Slider,” at least that episode wasn’t trying to be something epic. It stands alone as a dumb lark and succeeds. “Requiem” tries for something deeper and fails in every way imaginable, especially when we’ve seen in previous episodes (“Applied Physics” in particular) the actors are capable of displaying emotions.

  4. The_Vortex_Swimmer says:

    Agreed with all the comments. However, let me just say that Keith Damron was a much better show runner than Peckinpah (RIP) and has some pretty decent ideas, even if they were undermined by really low budgets. Season 5 had some great Torme-quality stories. Return of Maggie Beckett, in particular, is one of the best episodes since Seasons 1 & 2.

  5. Joe Hawkins says:

    I always found this episode to be very gut wrenching and sad. I would never say it is unwatchable. It is difficult to watch because it is so heartbreaking. Cleavant continue to deliver as he has done in the past. This is a very emotional episode. Maybe some feel that Wade deserved a better send off.

  6. lovelypeace says:

    It’s really not a bad episode. The purpose was to write a script that ended the Wade arc, so they accomplished that goal. ( I’m in the “Wade deserved a lot better than she got” camp. BTW).

    I get why Diana/Mallory were frosty about the situation. They didn’t even know Wade. (I’m even willing to pretend that the Real Quinn Mallory is really ‘gone’ and wouldn’t care that his best friend from home is now in a container with wires attached to her exposed brain!)

    There was a missed opportunity to show the audience how much Maggie had grown (which she has). She could have been honest with the newbies and said, “Yeah, we (Wade and I) fought all the time, but I never wanted to see Wade end up like this.” Instead, we get is Maggie fighting Remmy about going after Wade. (After all this time, she’s still bitter about Wade? Huh? Even after the Season 3 ending and Remmy being her new BFF at the beginning of Season 5? I mean, who wouldn’t know that Wade/Quinn/Remmy were close friends?) For this series, something simple like that would have been huge and made Maggie more likable. I actually like Season 5 Maggie a lot, but this just reminds me how lazy the writers were most of the time when it came to character development and continuity.

  7. Splub Splubbington says:

    I thought Requiem was sad but watchable. It had some pretty good acting, Maggie breaking down at the end really sold the episode for me, same with Rembrandt being so determined to save Wade.

  8. NDJ says:

    “the fans wouldn’t accept Maggie standing in for Wade. (For the record, I would have.)”

    For the record, I would not!

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