A quick stop in a San Francisco where the streets flow with black gold refills the Sliders’ meager coffers, but the next slide takes them straight into a plague. A virus known only as the Q has proven unstoppable and Quinn’s doppelganger is Patient Zero. Quinn is captured by the California Health Commission while the others align themselves with his renegade double deep within the quarantined zones of the city. Knowing that they can’t possibly risk spreading this disease to another dimension, Arturo races to find a cure for both Wade and himself before it is too late. Quinn escapes the CHC with the help of his other’s former girlfriend, but inadvertently brings them right to the man they want to see dead the most — alternate Quinn, who was set up by the institution as the patsy.
Oil Boom World
San Francisco is sitting on top of a couple billion barrels of black gold, and the locals are whooping it up… complete with hillbilly Texan throwing his hat in the air.
A viral epidemic has engulfed the populace in fear. The disease, a streptomycin-like illness dubbed the Q, has driven the poor away to die while the rich live in sanitized protection.
Here, San Francisco is a tropical environment complete with requisite people-eaters.
No problem here. Before they slid off of Oil Boom World, Rembrandt scooped up gobs of discarded cash on the street and had enough for lunch, a hotel room and $100 dollars for a cab ride. He even offered Pavel the cabby another two hundred to stay put while he rescues Quinn.
The very brief flash of a face with red eyes during Wade’s hallucination in the alley, looks suspiciously like Boris Karloff as the mummy in the 1932 horror film classic “The Mummy.”
Q World is not unlike Earth Prime in many respects. Charles Manson and Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez both exist here, as does the emergency 911 number. However, this world never had the benefit of British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin.
The Quinn on this world, a med student, was the first to contract a strep throat-like virus after he volunteered to be a lab subject. After being injected with it by Dr. Darren Morton, Quinn was assured that he was all right and released into the general populace. Realizing the fatal error in judgment, the scientist and the California Health Commission (CHC), which is part of the Board of Health led by the Surgeon General, concocted a story which told the public that a disgruntled Quinn infected society on purpose, like some sort of serial killer. Society, in turn, dubbed the disease “the Q” in his “honor.”
Later, the CHC recaptured Quinn and tried to study this disease but he escaped and laid low, trying to find a cure for those infected. The scare also prompted the CHC to post wanted flyers and to order that citizens report any suspiciously sick people to the CHC. In the interim, the poor have been living in filth and sickness in government-designated “protection areas” while the rich stay protected and healthy.
The Q is a disease bearing many similarities to strep throat. While each case is different, it hits the Sliders hard because their immunities are different. It begins with headaches and coughing (stage one) before developing into a high fever which produces hallucinations. In its final stages, the disease jaundices the skin and turns the whites of the eyes red. Then you’re dead.
Tormé says that a prime example of the Fox network being influenced by what movies are currently in theaters is this episode. “They were very down on ‘Fever,'” he says. “But when [the movie] Outbreak did really well, they suddenly decided that ‘Fever’ would be our first show of the year, so [the network is] definitely influenced by things like that.”
“As we laid out the air order, it all would have made sense,” says Robert K. Weiss. “When the network started seeing the shows as they came in, their consideration was how to build viewership. They wanted to start with what they felt was stronger material, and that was how ‘Fever’ moved up in the viewing order.
“They were absolutely right, because if you start off with weak shows, you’re never going to build an audience. But it affected us in two ways; it affected how we went in and out of shows, and it also affected a couple of shows internally.”
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This remains one of Sabrina Lloyd’s favorite episodes. “It was fun for me as an actor, because my character got sick and I had to go through all the emotions associated with that,” she says.
Cleavant Derricks also feels that “Fever” is a prime example of writing a show for an intelligent audience. “There was a disease and none of it was curable because there was no basic penicillin. Now that is interesting to me, and I think that is interesting to the audience.”
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Dean Haglund’s appearance in this episode actually cost him an appearance on The X-Files” at the time. “I missed shooting … the episode ‘Fearful Symmetry’ (aired February 24, 1995) because I was double booked on the same night,” Haglund remembers. “The locations for the two shows were only seven blocks apart. But it didn’t work out.” As a result of his Sliders sacrifice Haglund did not appear in the episode — a fact that is prominently mentioned in the “Official Guide to The X-Files” book on page 206. It reads: “This is the only time the Lone Gunmen group has appeared without Dean Haglund’s “Langly” character.” Even still, the book and the official Fox X-Files web site credit him for the episode — a fact that is then brought up in the unofficial companion book “The X-Files Declassified” on page 159. It reads: “The official Fox web site erroneously includes Dean Haglund as ‘Langley’ (sic).”
|Written by||Ann Powell & Rose Schacht|
|Directed by||Mario Azzopardi|
|Music by||Mark Mothersbaugh|
|Edited by||Tammis Chandler|
|Previously:||Prince of Wails|
It’s nice to be getting away from the strict alt-American history format employed by the first few episodes. “Fever” opened up additional possibilities with its concern for the next dimension’s welfare. Arturo would not willingly take a plague to the next world, but what if the four were to inadvertently do so? After all, the possibilities are infinite.
When Wade is infected with a deadly virus on an Earth wracked by an epidemic, Rembrandt and Arturo race to find a cure and free Quinn from a Gestapo-like health agency.