The Sliders are in a totalitarian world, pursued by troops shooting laser guns. Led by General Krislov, the soldiers are joined by angry villagers carrying torches and shouting “Kill the Believers!” Mallory becomes paralyzed from a laser beam hit after he jumps into the sliding vortex. Landing on the other side, they locate Krislov, a doctor in this world, who tells them the paralysis is beyond his help but suggests that the Believers may have a cure. Living in a commune, the Believers share a heightened level of consciousness that derives from swallowing a glittering liquid. The substance not only heals, but individuality is lost by joining their souls together. Desperate to walk again, Mallory ignores Krislov’s warnings and accepts the blessing. Frightened by his new alliance, the Sliders force Mallory to join them on the next slide. They land in a more peaceful village, one which has been spared from war. Mallory is still under the Believers’ influence and begins offering the blessing to many villagers, becoming their leader. The Sliders again seek the help of Krislov, who in this world is an innkeeper and a much happier man. He helps them build a spotlight called the Dead Man’s Light that when beamed on a Believer, returns the person back to normal. The Sliders are able to save Mallory in time for the next slide.
A world where nanotech engineering resulted in a bloody war between those who embraced it versus those who sought to control it.
BIR Double Prime
A broken world where the war with the Bureau of Internal Reconstruction ended with the Believers gaining control over the nanotechnology.
BIR Triple Prime
Nanotech was researched but never discovered on this world, and a peaceful society is the result.
The Sliders are able to purchase food and lodgings on BIR Triple Prime.
The three worlds visited by the Sliders all branch off from the same reality, where one decision went three different ways, producing three very different outcomes.
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On BIR Prime, nanotechnology was introduced to prevent and repair the body by injecting the machines into the bloodstream. The computational power of the tech increases as the number of nanoprobes increases, crossing across people and forming a collective consciousness. Society did not embrace this, however, and the BIR — the Bureau of Internal Reconstruction, was created to bring a group called the Believers under control with a nano-nullifier called “Deadman’s Light.” Tanks, secret police… it’s a distrustful situation. The war rages on as Believers are hunted and eliminated.
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On BIR Double Prime, the abovementioned war played out differently and the BIR was overthrown. The triumphant Believers abolished the BIR’s weaponry and Deadman’s Light and established communes to share the Gift — what the nanotech is called on this world — with survivors of the war.
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Lastly, on BIR Triple Prime, the nanotech was never fully developed and the BIR never overtook the populace. The citizenry is happy and peaceful.
“New Gods for Old” began its life during the fourth season. All told, there were four different versions of this story broken before settling on Mallory’s infestation — in season five.
The first version, “God’s Country,” placed Quinn as the first to succumb to the nanites, followed by Maggie and Rembrandt. It would be up to Colin to rescue them. The second version, “Semi-Colin,” left Colin the only one infected, and “God in the Machine” gave Rembrandt his tap to a “a gestalt mind and one’s personal connection with God.”
Eventually, the arc of season four (and possibly The Chasm, which had a similar theme) forced the staff to abandon production.
“It must have been providence,” exclaims Keith Damron. “By the time we got up to speed with season five we realized that New Gods would fit perfectly into the new series arc as a Mallory vehicle. We still owned the story. We gave David [Gerrold] some new notes on his treatment. It was re-worked and the script finally written.”
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Bill Dial believed that Gerrold’s script could easily be adapted to fit the character of Mallory. In fact, in some ways this worked to the episode’s advantage, as it confronts how the character copes with sudden paralysis. For Mallory, this allows past ghosts to resurface, as he reverts to the infirm state he endured before Geiger’s intervention.
“I get shot in the back just as we’re diving through the Vortex,” Floyd offers. “His legs are wiped out. He had to go back and face the worst thing possible in his mind — being back in the chair. When he is cured, I think that’s a turning point and his beginning of really trusting others. Before that, it was all about me. From then on you start to see more of an inner strength in him. Before it was more on the outside.”
|Written by||David Gerrold|
|Directed by||Richard Compton|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Stewart Schill|
|Previously:||The Great Work|
|Next:||Please Press One|
Watching this brings back memories of the second season. Perhaps it was the intertwined trio of worlds that hinged on one series of events, but more than anything else this episode asked me to think about what I was watching, a phenomenon that’s been all too absent in much of the last two seasons.
When Mallory is paralyzed escaping from a anti-nanotech society, his only salvation lies on a similar world where that nanotech has been embraced for its communal properties and healing powers.