Luck of the Draw

Dispirited with their lack of progress, Wade asks Quinn to give serious consideration to staying on an idyllic world where there is no competition for resources and a bizarre lottery pays out cash just for playing. When Wade wins the Lottery, Quinn grows suspicious and discovers it’s little more than population control — and the winners are executed. Meanwhile, Rembrandt falls head over heels for another Lottery winner and asks the others if they can take her with them when they slide. She betrays him and turns him into the police, earning him a death sentence as well. Quinn and Arturo manage to rescue Rembrandt, and Wade is saved by a dashing young lottery winner named Ryan. The five manage to slide out, but Quinn is shot in the escape. The first season ends with an unconscious Quinn bleeding in Wade’s arms.

Worlds Visited


The overall population of this Earth is less than half a billion people, and the pace of life is infinitely more relaxed.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Sitting Moose World

The Sliders, plus Ryan and Henry the dog, escape to this world from Paradise, but Quinn collapses in a heap after being shot in the back by a pursuant Lottery police officer.

Read the full Travelogue entry »


  • Signs at the grocery mart advertise celery for 9¢, 12 apples for 25¢.
  • The billboard above the grocery suggests “Drink BC Cola: Birth Control In a Can!”
  • The Sliders each say they are staying in room 12 at the Motel 12.
  • After asking the old man about a taxi, the Sliders walk past an antique shop with the word “Treasures” in the front window.
  • That building lies directly beside the building marked “Public Transit Authority” where cars are courtesy of “Golden Bay Rapid Transit.”
  • The license plate of the blue car the Sliders take is 3DUF173.
  • The title of the magazine that Quinn gets his information out of is Economic Weekly with a picture of a white haired man in a dark suit with the caption “World’s Most Powerful Man.”
  • The advertisement on the back appears to be for some sort of camera with the caption “Capture the Color.”
  • Just before dinner, Quinn is reading some sort of almanac with “The 1995 Events Calendar” printed on the cover.
  • Lottery Winner Julianne Murphy lives at 3107 Grandview Lane.
  • The brochures that Wade gets from the Lottery read: “The Lottery: Winners Information Guide” and “The Lottery: What to expect on the big day.”
  • Wade makes stops at both Gucci and Cartier, two very high-end stores, and then buys a BMW with her White Card.
  • The brochure that the priest hands to Quinn reads “Stop the Lottery! Act Now, Save a Life.”
  • Julianne is staying in Parlour B at the hotel.
  • The Lottery Commission Police arrest Rembrandt at around 3:45 a.m.
  • The right-to-life picketers hold signs that read: “Natural Causes Should Be the Only Causes,” “Stop the Lottery,” “President Elders The Whole World is Watching” and “Birth Control Yes! Lottery No!”
  • After Rembrandt escapes, he, Quinn and the Professor get into a Ford courtesy car with the license plate 30VA284.
  • When the police come looking for Wade in the ballroom, the timer reads one minute and 50 seconds to the slide. Two minutes and 13 seconds later, the vortex closes after they’ve slid.

Character Information

  • Arturo says that the low prices on Paradise remind him of when he was a boy in England. “Of course, the prices were in sterling then.”
  • Rembrandt mentions that he played a concert in Rome in 1983 and the city was very expensive.
  • Arturo doesn’t like dogs.
  • Wade says that she loves animals and misses her pet cat at home.
  • Arturo enjoys fishing, as does Rembrandt.
  • Quinn has never been horseback riding before this episode.
  • One of Rembrandt’s cooking specialties is Trout Almandine.
  • Rembrandt says that the last time he took a ride in a large limo was with the Spinning Topps.
  • Wade tells Ryan that she was a Romantic Literature major in school. She once wrote a paper on Yeats.
  • Rembrandt laments: “My dead relatives were a pain in the butt! I don’t care to deal with any of them!”

Money Matters

  • Quinn asks to borrow a dollar but it seems Arturo has lost his wallet. Though it’s given back to him by a kind stranger seconds later, and Arturo pays the grocer one bill from it, money is not really a problem on Paradise where money is seemingly free.
  • Later, at the cash machine, Rembrandt “orders” $5,000 and Wade “orders” $1,000 while a humble Arturo asks for a mere five dollar bill.

Notable Quotes

  • “I’m English. We invented fishing.” — Arturo, to Rembrandt, upon being asked whether he fishes.
  • “We’re not trying to catch blue jays, Professor.” — Rembrandt, to Arturo after he gets his line caught in a tree overhead.
  • “Takes a sophisticated fly fisherman to haul in a monster like that.” — Rembrandt, while pointing to Arturo’s comparatively tiny trout.
  • “I’m too young to die. Too famous!” — an angry Rembrandt as he’s being hauled away by police.
  • “Don’t ever criticize my fishing again.” — Arturo, to Rembrandt after Quinn and the professor rescue him.


  • “There’s no such thing as something for nothing.”
  • “Nothing more satisfying that coaxing one’s supper from the depths.”


  • After Quinn bumps his head, he touches the wound with his left hand and his watch is turned around so the face looking inward. In the very next scene, from a different angle, he resumes touching his head but the watch has turned around to the standard position.
  • The debate continues as to how to spell Wade’s last name, either Wells or Welles. The computer in the lottery spells it without an ‘e’ as do Fox and MCA press releases, the official Sliders web site for both Fox and Universal, as do many other print sources. Still, co-creator Tracy Tormé insists that the spelling should include the second ‘e’ as the scripts do as early as the Pilot and as recent as the third season’s The Exodus. The closed captioning also cites ‘Welles.’
  • While the lottery winners are all lined up for the midnight toast at the ball, there are 15 of them, while the television host said only 12 winners would be chosen.


  • When Henry the dog jumps on Arturo, Quinn tells him to look at the bright side “at least he’s not biting you.” But if you look closely, that line was vocally added later and Jerry O’Connell says another word other than ‘biting.” The closed captioning reveals that Jerry actually said “at least he’s not humping you.”
  • White Card? Get it? Carte blanche.

Rewind That!

The first video cycle to pick the first lottery winner flashes at least 63 faces before coming up with Julianne Murphy, including those of Arturo and Rembrandt. However, it should be noted that upon freeze-frame analysis, it’s evident that some of those faces appear twice. Then again, it should also be noted that the streetscape backgrounds behind many of those faces are very different which takes the time to show that there are Lottery machines all over the city. On the computer’s second pass to pick a winner, it cycles through only 26 faces but nearly all of those are carry-overs from the first cycle.

History Lesson

This world is as idyllic as it can possibly get. Low pollution, no crime and no poverty are a result of lower strains on the available natural resources.

How did this come about? In the late 19th century, the Reverend Thomas Malthus argued that the population of the Earth would always increase faster than the food supply, thus creating a class of people mired in poverty. On our Earth, that notion was abandoned because at the time population control was countless wars that decimated much of western Europe and the Americas. Here, Malthus’ ideas were embraced and birth control, widely discouraged by the Catholic church and other mainstream religions, was adopted as a way to lower population.

As a result, the total population of this Earth is approximately 500 million people, and the population of San Francisco is under 100,000 citizens. Cars are for public use, much like the taxi system on our world. Jocelyn Elders, a proponent of safe sex and former Surgeon General on our Earth, is president of the United States here.

There is a lottery in California which dispenses whatever amount of money the person requesting desires. Based on the amount chosen, those entrants face random selection to win the lottery, which provides the winner with White Card privileges and $5 million. The White Card allows you to purchase whatever you want, and the merchant will not deny you. It’s the economy’s way of saying thanks for “making way.”

Making way? Well, if you win the lottery, it’s just another form of population control. After a gala ball, the weekly winners are taken up to their hotel suites where they are administered a powerful drug that kills them. Barbaric? Well, the people here are heavily into the next life, so they cherish being able to make way, as the money they win from the lottery goes to their next of kin.

The penalty for subverting the Lottery system is called “the Process,” and they’ll make you pay in pain before they kill you. That takes place at the Municipal Processing Center. If you subvert the lottery, you will be arrested by the Lottery Commission Police (LCP).

The Inside Slide

Weiss expresses a preference for the final, cliffhanging episode. “The nice thing about that episode,” he says, “is that it strikes one tone in the first half. They’ve come to a world that is nearly utopia; Wade’s found a nice guy there; and you think that maybe they’ll stay. Then at the halfway point they find out what it’s all about, and the whole show takes a giant left turn, and the whole tone changes. That’s the kind of show we’d like to do more of, because it assumes that the audience is smart.”

The attentive viewer may also note that the arrival on that world refers back to the Pilot, when Quinn Mallory is visited by another Quinn. He makes mention of a world he’d visited “where everyone is happy,” and that he was going to keep sliding until that world was once again found.

Though it may be hard to accept that Quinn Two’s ideal was so terribly flawed, that world was indeed the world he had been seeking. “When we were deciding where we were going to take the series, we thought immediately of the other Quinn’s speech in the pilot, about a utopia,” says Weiss. “We didn’t want just a series of negative worlds. He had also mentioned a world where the Cubs won the pennant three years in a row, but we didn’t think we could get an episode out of that one. So there was that utopian world, but of course we put a spin on it, to create dramatic conflict.”

· · ·

“… I really liked “Luck of the Draw,” the season finale,” Sabrina says. “Intellectually, it was the most intriguing of all the episodes … [the concept is] something I would like to see more of [in future episodes], plotlines that really make you think.”

· · ·

At the 5th Annual Environmental Media Awards (October 13, 1995) writer Jon Povill received the Turner Prize and $10,000 for this episode. The Environmental Media Association’s annual awards are presented to productions that help raise the eco-awareness of the American public.

Guest Stars

Special Appearance by:




  1. Canadian actor Nicholas Lea is better known as bad guy Alex Krycek on The X-Files but he also spent three years on The Commish as Officer Enrico “Ricky” Caruso. He would return briefly in Into the Mystic to wrap up the events of the cliffhanger.
  2. Ted Cole would show up later as FBI Agent Reid in the episode Greatfellas.
  3. McGlade and Levy are credited, but not seen, in this episode. It’s probable that their scene was cut from the final version.

In Brief

Written by Jon Povill
Production # 70409
Network # SL-110
Directed by Les Landau
Music by Dennis McCarthy
Edited by Brian Chambers



In Review


“Luck of the Draw” will profoundly change the Sliders’ lives. Sliding isn’t quite so safe anymore. Hell, it might even be fatal.

Read the review »


Wade finds that she has money to burn when she wins the lottery in a seemingly utopian world, but she soon discovers that her silver cloud has a very dark lining.