As the vortex opens, it’s split by a pane of glass. Rembrandt and Quinn land on one side of the window, and Maggie and Colin land on the other. The window is soundproof, so each group can’t hear the other. Quinn motions they have ten hours for the slide and he and Rembrandt walk off to look for an exit to the building.
While Maggie complains about the recent vortex mix-ups, a young man named Rick runs towards the building and tries to get access. Some scroungy guys run after them. The young man attempts to enter and is unsuccessful, and to keep the attackers from getting in, smashes his entrance chip. The attackers begin to beat up the boy but Maggie and Colin drive them off.
Quinn and Rembrandt are accosted by some guards and are about to be arrested when Joanne, a young woman wearing tech all over her head comes up and greets them. She thinks Quinn is Rick so Quinn goes along with the charade to get out of the building. They kiss and head upstairs to Joanne’s apartment where she introduces them to the Internet of this world. It appears that Rick and Joanne met online.
Rick helps Maggie and Colin escape, but Maggie grouses that they’re heading away from the buildings instead of towards them. Rick tells them that the only way to get inside is to contact Joanne on the inside, and he leads them to a laptop with remote access to the Internet. Rick logs on and sends urgent mail to Joanne, who reads it and realizes that Quinn isn’t Rick. She’s about to call security but is too intrigued with his situation to have them arrested. Just as Quinn is about to ask where they are, Rick’s location is terminated. The Scavengers, the people who assaulted Rick earlier, have caught up with him and turned off the machine.
Fortunately, Rick’s computer has a fail-safe that injures the lead Scavenger, Jack, giving Maggie and Colin the diversion necessary to overwhelm the rest of the Scavengers. They flee to Rick’s home, a sheltered group of homes that is the direct opposite of Joanne’s high-rise existence. Rick introduces Maggie and Colin to his mother Shirley, who extols the benefits of living a no-tech life. Suddenly, Rick has mail, and his computer is beeping.
Quinn has tracked Rick’s notebook and located him in the Have-Not section of society. Joanne demands to know if Rick’s an “offliner” — someone who isn’t completely connected to the ‘Net. Rick capitulates, and while Joanne is furious, she agrees to meet Rick outside of the buildings. Quinn figures the only way out is through the trash chute, and they climb down. A little while later they meet up with Rick, Colin and Maggie. The four Sliders are happy to see each other, while Rick and Joanne eye each other with fascination. Unsure where to go for the remaining four hours of the slide, the six head for the bombed-out Chandler Hotel.
Quinn, Rembrandt, Colin and Maggie sit and discuss their first loves while Rick and Joanne make a cursory attempt to know each other. Joanne is insecure without her Internet gear, and when she tries to put it on, Rick gets angry and tells her that its real life that’s important, not the stuff that’s on her gear. He throws it out the window and she demands to be taken home. Suddenly, the Scavengers enter the room, take Joanne and blow up the ceiling.
Escaping from the rubble, Rick and the Sliders make their way back up the trash chute and ambush the Scavengers, who have invaded Joanne’s apartment. Rick and Joanne decide they really do have a relationship that can proceed, and Joanne leaves the high-tech behind for a life with Rick… and Shirley.
Internet technology run amok has created a caste society separating people based on their interaction with computers.
Use DigiCash now… DigiDise… Order Now… Groceries… Antiques… Collectibles…
Joanne can buy all kinds of goodies for Quinn and Rembrandt with her DigiCash. Other than that, money’s not really needed since they’re only on this world for 10 hours.
Curious as to what the hell they’re saying in this episode? Here’s all the slang that Joanne and Rick use.
Quinn’s non-verbal “thanks” to Rembrandt after he defends Quinn’s intellect to Joanne is hilarious.
In 1977, the personal computer market began to surge. While expensive, bulky and generally usable only for small programs, people snapped them up much like Atari systems were sold to teenagers. With demand came the desire to miniaturize, and in the following decade the computing industry grew past what we know on our world. Slowly, society began to adapt to two ways of life.
The first, known as “Onliners,” subscribe to the belief that technology is everything and have built their lives around it accordingly. People are routinely enhanced cybernetically so that they can be in constant contact with the Global Web. Money is obsolete, as DigiCash will pay for your DigiDise, products that come through tubes in your ceilings. You can even work digijobs, where your brain is tapped into a neural network and does all kinds of marvelous tasks. Onliners live in totally sealed communities, and travel between communities is done through tubes that connect the buildings.
Meanwhile, the other group, known as “Offliners,” have little to no involvement with technology. They have separated themselves into rural communities in former suburbs, leaving a piece of buffering territory between the two ideologies. Scavengers usually wander this neutral territory.
If an Offliner is found to have technology that would allow him access to the Onliner ‘Net, units will be dispatched to bring pain upon the Offliner, usually making it impossible for him to type ever again.
There used to be a television show on this world called “Leave it to Heaver,” with Barbara Billingsly as June Cleaver. It’s unknown if Jerry Mathers is “Heaver” Cleaver, as television tapes have been lost.
|Written by||Steven Stoliar|
|Directed by||Paul Lynch|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Stewart Schill|
|Previously:||Mother and Child|
|Next:||Slide by Wire|
A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, but “Net Worth” is a real stinker.
The gang arrives on an Earth divided between computer-hackers and computer-lackers, and battles ruthless scavengers to unite a young couple who fell in love on-line.