I had a plan for this post.
It was going to be like “The Fire Within,” where I pretended this episode was different. Talk about it like it was how it was ‘supposed to be.’ Talk about the wild twist halfway through the episode, how everything we’d seen throughout this season was leading up to this episode. This moment of betrayal.
But you know what? It doesn’t matter. The moment of betrayal happened weeks ago, months even. There’s no reason to pretend that Colin was ever going to actually be revealed as a Kromagg Clone, and that Quinn’s ‘new family history’ was fake, or that this show was every actually going to deliver on its promise of a better show. If there was ever a “Zicree Arc,” it was shuttered too soon to influence anything.
So what’s left? Half a season of near-genius, with one bit of pure genius in the middle. But here we have an episode that becomes the show in microcosm: boredom. Sliders still doesn’t know how to plot an episode, but holy shit does this one take the cake. I’ve watched so much in the name of bad ideas that a giant hand and an affected shout of “MAAAGGIEEE” don’t even make me blink. But then there’s the teaser, which refuses to stop. That’s fine. But it also refuses to do anything. The team is stuck on a …world? They have to get jobs? They’re bored? Cut to credits. Click. What else is on?
The thing is, there isn’t really anything to say here. Nothing happens, so why bother. Hey, cool, look it’s the girl who played the sexy Terminator. Hey, cool, look, it’s Deep Throat. Hey look, it’s the Gormaks. Colin figures out a really easy anagram. Good job.
You finished a season of television, you can have a vacation now. Good job.
But again, you can’t say they didn’t/don’t warn you— this is boring. I don’t care anymore. I can’t even bring myself to complain about the direction that makes sure we maximize the amount of Kari-Cleavage. I don’t care about how nobody even bothers to act anymore. To try. Not even Cleavant, at least not at first. Jerry Hardin sort of tries. But let’s think about what he’s saying, to his daughter. “Yeah, baby, I might leave you and not come back, sorry about your dead Mom. Deuces!” So he’s an asshole before we even get to the twist. And then the twist just lazily tacks on an actually horrifically offensive reference to Concentration Camps because it didn’t have any better ideas. But it’s still just breezed over. Think about that. Concentration Camps. The words “The Final Solution” are uttered here. And it’s passed by in order to focus on a fifteen minute chase scene.
The only time I raised my eyebrows is when Maggie says that it’s the end of the journey. Of course, that’s not fair on my part— why wouldn’t she think that? You forget that they actually have a mission here. And here they are, about to complete it. To “find the weapon.” To “defeat the Kromaggs.” To “reunite the family.” To “end the show.” To “slide to Downtown Los Angeles and pretend it’s all so beautiful.”
To “find Quinn’s parents.” To lay down and die. That’s what’s so strange— the elegiac tone the episode commits to as soon as they get to Clark’s house. The journey’s end becomes pastoral. It’s not that it’s boring. It’s just that it stops. There’s no effort to create emotion. “We’ve done it.” I guess— you can’t even really pin that emotion on them. It’s just… over. And… I don’t buy it. I can’t buy it. Maggie sits down and begins (ends) her new life with Quinn. Rembrandt has to continue— he’s a real person. He remembers everything. He can’t pretend that it’s over.
No, no, no. You know what? There is no point in talking about any of this. This episode is bad. It takes anything that could possibly make it good, and …does nothing. It’s not that it stamps it out, or shits on it. It’s not even worth making a metaphor. It’s certainly not worth making excuses for.
And here’s the thing: my other idea for this post came halfway through watching it. This is the last episode with Jerry O’Connell in it. And so it’s my job to eulogize the character of Quinn Mallory. But again, why bother? Partially due to the fact that they didn’t know it at the time, and also due to the fact that no one would have given a shit anyways, there’s nothing made of the fact.
But there’s also the fact that Quinn’s last act on the show is to completely betray everything we thought he held dear. No, I don’t care about the World that I used to call my own. I don’t care about that world I spent the first two decades of my life on. I don’t care about the people who loved me on that World. I don’t care about you, Rembrandt. I care more about this world I’ve only heard about in dreams. I care more about this world I only knew existed for, what, three months? The only reason he doesn’t spend the rest of the episode sleeping is because his alt-alt-parents hold a gun at him. And then the chase. So what’s the “Revelation” this episode promises?
Quinn Mallory is a bad person.
I’ve talked about the ‘arc’ of Quinn. I’ve talked a lot about Guilt. But you don’t just suddenly become so …lazy that you will tell your only friend to fuck off because he wants to save everybody you’ve ever known. That sort of malice was always there. His actions don’t just ruin the character of Quinn Mallory from this point on. They ruin him from day one. Fine, you want me to throw in a memorial to this character? Here—
Quinn Mallory was never worth your time. And he knows it, too.
Quinn’s last moment as a character played by Jerry O’Connell is a half-hearted response to Maggie’s “I hope you find your home some day.”
“Yeah, I hope I do too.”
He says, as if he couldn’t care less.
Then the episode ends, and you know what?
I couldn’t care less.
Next Time: I take a break for a while, and then pick at the corpse of this show (The Unstuck Man).
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