Rembrandt, Quinn and Maggie land in a forested glade with only two hours on the timer. Walking up a hill, Maggie notices a man in a hang glider flying above them. The three of them follow the hang glider until it crashes into a tree and help the flier out of his belts. Suddenly, a group of farmers rush up and threaten to kill the man. Rembrandt and Quinn defend him until Sheriff Dawson rides up on his horse and calmly tells the farmers to disperse. He then chides the man, Colin Mallory, that one day he’s going to get into serious trouble. Quinn realizes that the man he’s looking at is his brother and tells him what’s going on.
Colin scoffs and tells Quinn that despite the physical resemblance, there is no way the two can be brothers because his parents would have told him about it. He also says that his parents died when he was very young, forcing him to move a lot during his formative years. This would account for Quinn’s parents not finding Colin when they came back for him. Walking towards El Segundo, Colin’s hometown, Maggie, Rembrandt and Quinn discuss Colin’s life and how he seems to be very much the outcast. Neighbors ignore, spit, and throw urine at the budding inventor. Colin talks how he harnessed lightning and how he feels that electricity would be a safe addition to his society, but everyone else feels differently.
In town, Colin runs into his girlfriend, Susannah Morehouse. Colin and Susannah chat for a bit about the hang glider, and Susannah blushingly asks about Maggie’s clothes, saying she could never wear such outfits. Suddenly, Susannah’s mother bursts out the door and yells at her daughter for talking to Colin, whom she perceives as being a necromancer. [Ed. Note: A necromancer is someone who speaks with the dead.] She then balks at the Sliders outrageous attire, asking Maggie how any woman could wear such clothing. After telling Colin that Susannah has been promised to another, Mother Morehouse drags her daughter into the house and closes the door.
Colin bring Quinn, Maggie and Rembrandt to his home and shows them some of his inventions. By Earth Prime standards, the inventions are crude, but Quinn regards his brother as a genius and plays with the devices until Colin stops him. Colin is fascinated by the timer’s LCD readout, but with only 10 minutes left before the window opens, Quinn helps his brother to believe their story by locating a microdot similar to the one Quinn used in Genesis. Convinced, Colin joins his fellow Sliders and slides to the next world, where he is almost hit by a truck as he stares at it, amazed.
At the Chandler Hotel, Maggie tells Colin that they usually stay at this hotel and in the same room. While they check in, Colin plays with a tape dispenser and Quinn pays cash for the room, which alerts suspicion from the clerk, who asks for DNA debit or bone graft as a way of payment. A video camera records their image.
Upstairs, Colin is blown away by the amount of technology available to him. The television, telephone, Pepsi and bathroom are all things that Colin explores. Rembrandt and Maggie go shopping with some of Rembrandt’s ill-gotten ATM money so that Colin and Quinn can get to know each other. They talk briefly, but with not much to say, Colin and Quinn head down to the restaurant portion of the hotel to grab a bite to eat. Colin and Quinn grab some drinks, and Quinn gets up for a minute to grab some food from the buffet. Colin looks over and recognizes Susannah’s double, wearing a slinky red dress that surprises Colin. He walks over to her and tries to get her to recognize him, but when she doesn’t he moves to leave but buys Susannah a drink with cash. Susannah, suddenly interested, asks Colin if he has a bone graft or DNA debit, and when he says no, leads him outside and into a minivan parked on the street. Quinn sees Colin leave and races outside, but Colin has disappeared.
Susannah pulls up in front of a cryobank and tells Colin that her Uncle Ray is being held in a retirement facility against his will and she wants to get him out, but because she has a bone graft to identify her, she’d be discovered before she could get Uncle Ray out. She tells Colin about the cryogenics and tells him the suite number and pushes him through the door. Colin searches for Uncle Ray’s cryobed and finds him.
When Rembrandt and Maggie return from their shopping trip, Quinn frantically tells them what has happened, and the three of them go to their room in the hopes that Colin went upstairs. Quinn calls the police, but before the phone can ring, Officer Dawson of the LAPD knocks on the door and politely tells them that he knows where Colin is, and produces several photographs showing Colin pushing a coffin out of the Cryogenics Facility. Dawson admits that they check out everyone who pays with cash since it’s so uncommon. Dawson continues, and tells the Sliders that stealing a body and using its DNA to clean out their bank accounts is a new crime that has arisen after the creation of DNA accounts that let your assets collect interest while you lie in deep freeze. Quinn tells Dawson that Colin would never do something so malicious, and Dawson believes him, telling him to give him a call if anything happens.
Colin drives with Susannah to her house, where Mother Morehouse greets him and tells him they’ll be having some pizza after Uncle Ray is thawed out. She then leaves him in a room and removes the phone so that he can’t call anyone. However, Colin had previously lifted a cell phone from Susannah’s car and finds the Chandler Hotel in the phone book and calls Quinn. Quinn instructs Colin to find the address and the three of them go to the address. Quinn picks the lock and is about to rescue Colin when the Morehouse family enters the room, holding them at gunpoint. Suddenly, Dawson and the LAPD appear and arrest both Susannah and Mother Morehouse. Colin leads the detective to the sauna and shows everyone that he didn’t steal a body, but a bunch of turkeys from the kitchen. Colin suspected that Susannah was lying and chose not to steal Uncle Ray. Dawson is delighted and tells them that if they fill out a deposition and disappear, nothing will happen to them.
Back at the Chandler, Rembrandt helps Colin out of his Amish attire and into some more contemporary clothing.
A primarily agricultural world similar to Pennsylvania Dutch communities, this world’s only major technological breakthroughs exist thanks to dimensionally transplanted Colin Mallory.
Bone Graft World
Paper money has gone the way of the dodo as financial institutions will now only accept transactions via bone grafts and DNA identification.
On Bone Graft World, the standard form of currency is, you guessed it, bone graft. DNA debit is also a standard. It seems that years ago, paper currency was deemed unnecessary and was done away with, although still legal.
Bone graft is also a form of safety. Many buildings around the country have installed security devices that pick up an individual’s distinct bone graft and report it.
Since DNA debit and bone grafts are such a necessity in American life on Bone Graft World, it’s almost illegal not to have one. People without bone grafts can enter restricted areas without being detected, although they may be monitored.
Bone Graft World is also more advanced medically than Earth. They have a process of cryogenic suspension that allows people to stay alive until the time comes for them to be revived, be it for the cure of a disease or otherwise. These people can also have their assets secured for them in a similar fashion, through the use of a DNA Special Entry account that keeps you fiscally solvent while you’re frozen.
This ability has given rise to a new crime. People without bone grafts can steal these cryogenically frozen bodies, scrape some tissue off of them containing DNA and unlock the assets. Police are attempting to combat this crime.
Currently, Canada in Bone Graft World does not have any of this technology
The sixth episode of the season, “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?,” finds Charlie O’Connell joining the regular cast.
“When I came in, we decided to start with just Maggie and add Colin later,” recalls Bill Dial. “That gave us the chance to re-establish those guys, and to really create a whole new mythology that starts this year. The first episode presents a whole new twist, and a whole new road to go down, so we wanted to spend five episodes establishing that before we brought in the brother. Colin is part of the new mythology, and he comes into play because of what Quinn found out in the first show.”
“David [Peckinpah] came up with the idea of making Colin’s world non-technological,” says Marc Scott Zicree. “It was a great idea, because for a long time we were thinking, ‘OK, we’re going to have a fourth Slider, how do we make him distinctive?’ We didn’t want two Quinns, so we went back and forth, trying to figure out what to do. Finally, David suggested that Colin was from an agrarian world, and then we knew what to do with him. Then, Bill wrote the script that introduced him and we all had our input. That character added a whole new note to the show.”
“To tell the truth, it was a writer’s self-protective device,” admits Dial. “None of us had worked with Charlie O’Connell before, and we didn’t know what to write for the character, so somebody in the room said, ‘What if we make him Forrest Gump?’ And then we thought, ‘Tom Hanks won an Academy Award for playing that part, so it can’t be easy to play.’ But by discarding the idea of what Charlie could or couldn’t do, we began to talk more about Colin. We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny to add someone to this group who came from such a different place that everything would be brand new to him, and therefore it would also cause all three of our regulars to re-examine things they take for granted?’ So we did.
“Colin basically comes from a world that’s technologically circa 1840, although he is scientifically adept in that world. He’s experimenting with primitive electrical instruments, making a hang glider, so he’s clearly a Mallory in terms of his scientific pursuits. I don’t think he’s a wide-eyed innocent, although in that first episode, he was pretty wide-eyed. When they slide into the next world, they go from 1840 to the middle of a freeway, and his first sight is an 18 wheeler truck bearing down on him — welcome to the new world!”
“We’re sort of patterning him after Meet John Doe, the character that Gary Cooper played; he has that same naive quality,” adds Zicree.
· · ·
If the writers were so unsure of Charlie O’Connell’s acting ability, why hire him? In a word: nepotism.
“The major theme of this season is that we’re trying to find our home Earth,” reveals Jerry O’Connell. “When I heard that, and I knew that my brother was a college graduate without a job, I thought, ‘Why doesn’t my character Quinn meet his long-lost brother, and together the two characters’ desire to go home will be the driving force of the season?’
“I knew we needed another character, and I knew that my brother needed a job,” he continues. “I knew that we would need someone young and I really wanted to work with my brother. I’m just excited that my brother can buy me a drink for once in his life.
“From a selfish standpoint, I thought it would be great for my character. For the last three seasons I was acting off the best, John Rhys-Davies. I was basically his student, and it was terrific. Sadly, when John left last season, the last few episodes without him there was something missing for me. We all have to move on, and he’s still a good friend, but I didn’t really like my character as much, and I really wasn’t having so much fun.
“When I heard it was coming back I thought, ‘OK, how can I get back that element that I lost?’ You can’t bring back John Rhys-Davies back because we killed him off, so I thought it would be fun to have a wilder side to my character — but of course I can’t be the wild character, because it’s been established. I thought wouldn’t it be great if my brother could be the wilder side of me and I could play off that.
“Quinn is a physics genius, which is nothing like me whatsoever — I’m really going out on a stretch on this one. This is the craziest I’ve ever played — I failed algebra! My character is very reactive to the elements around him, so I thought it would be nice if we had a [Mallory] who was more active, who when he comes up to a door, doesn’t put his ear up to it, he just kicks it down. That’s what my brother’s character is — he’s the guy who says ‘Screw it!'”
Obviously, however, the Colin character emerged more as an innocent than a street-wise individual.
· · ·
How did Charlie feel about stepping into a full-time role on Sliders?
“In the beginning, it was a little scary,” he admits. “There was the pressure of being Jerry’s brother and fitting in with everyone. Obviously, I knew a great deal about the show, and I was made to feel quite comfortable by the rest of the cast and crew.”
Entering the series in this episode, however, was a huge plus.
“It was a great episode,” enthuses O’Connell. “He comes from a world that is like Amish-land. There’s no technology or anything, then he goes into the vortex and hits a new world all of a sudden with a TV, a toilet… I was an inventor on my land, I was a scientist like my brother, but it’s a world that didn’t have the means to become [as advanced].”
Colin makes his entrance in the episode in a distinctive way, floating out of the sky on a hang glider and crashing into a tree.
“That was my first day [of filming] on the show this year,” laughs O’Connell, who did most of the stunt work himself.
“It was a great introduction on the first day to get, ‘Here’s your hang-glider, now get in!’ That was me for everything until it went into the tree. It was on a crane, and as they flung it around I just hung there.
“I’m the child of the group, but my character is definitely growing. Besides, considering my size, it would be tough for me to play an innocent all the time.”
· · ·
Colin’s innocence may have rubbed off on Charlie. When asked to read the script to “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” and give notes, O’Connell’s copy was returned to the production office with one note scribbled on the cover page: “Whoa.”
Suffice to say, giving notes on one’s character is usually more comprehensive than a monosyllabic response.
· · ·
Colin? Quinn? Colin Quinn? Whether intentional or not, the first names of the Mallory brothers is the name of MTV’s Remote Control host Colin Quinn. Who worked on the show with him? An up-and-comer named Kari Wuhrer (and some schlub named Adam Sandler).
|Teleplay by||Bill Dial & Marc Scott Zicree|
|Story by||Chris Black & David Peckinpah|
|Directed by||David Peckinpah|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Casey Brown|
|Next:||Just Say Yes|
Since prior episodes with cast changes involved brain sucking, murder, and gang rape, I hope I’m not going out on a limb declaring “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” the best — and certainly least horrifying — introduction of a new cast member “Sliders” has had thus far.
After tracking down Quinn's long-lost brother Colin, the Sliders take him along only to find his naivety may have gotten him involved in a bizarre criminal syndicate that steals cryogenically frozen bodies.