Prophets and Loss

The Sliders emerge from the wormhole in the cloister of a religious sanctuary and are observed by someone during their entry. Walking through downtown Los Angeles, Quinn talks about finding a library or some technology that will allow his to modify the timer so that they can find his brother’s world. Rembrandt remarks that that is a lot of information to absorb.

Maggie finds a newspaper that talks extensively about something known as the Oracle and Welcomers. The Sliders find an Oracle ceremony and are invited to watch by Jane, a follower of the Oracle. Inside, Quinn and Rembrandt are startled to see that the Oracle employs sliding technology, and even more surprised when Quinn reads about the scientific limitations the Oracle places on Americans.

On this world, the Oracle is a blend of religion and politics, and the only other political party that is of much influence is known as the Rationalists. The Oracle has broad powers over the people.

At the Chandler Hotel, Quinn tells Rembrandt and Maggie that he’s going to examine the portal equipment the Oracle uses. Inside the temple/church, the Sliders find that the Portal is an incinerator and that the Oracle is sending Welcomers to their deaths unknowingly. However, right after this, the Sliders are apprehended by Cadmus, chief counsel of the Oracle and the man who saw the Sliders enter this world. The timer is confiscated.

Upon interrogation, the Sliders learn that any kind of scientific pursuit is a felony and the three are locked up. Quinn and Rembrandt learn from a cell mate that the reconfiguration that the Oracle uses is a chemical mind-wipe. Maggie is visited by Jane and despite her attempts to convince Jane of the destructive nature of the Portal, Jane brushes Maggie’s concern off.

Cadmus and Chief Oracle Gareth decide that the Sliders need to be reconfigured but are liberated by the RadRats, Radical Rationalists that seek upheaval of the present political system. The RadRat leader, Samson, agrees to help the Sliders retrieve the timer but they are recaptured in the attempt. Cadmus and Gareth choose to make Quinn, Rembrandt, Maggie and Samson Welcomers.

As they are about to be burned in the Portal, Cadmus returns the timer to the Sliders and reveals himself as a mole. The Sliders slide but decide to return so that Samson can carry on the fight. Samson begins talks on the Oracle and the Rationalists, and Quinn, Rembrandt and Maggie make a quiet exit.

Worlds Visited

ATM World

Rembrandt’s double has some unexpected withdrawals.

Oracle World

A blend of right-wing politics and extreme fundamentalist religious dogma serves as the seat of government.

Samurai World

Far-east trappings are so prevalent on this world they even decorate their alleys.


    • The headlines from the newspaper Maggie finds read:
      • “Uprising in Detroit Ended, Master Oracle Declares Michigan Rat Free”
      • “Welcomers Ceremony Draws 100,000 to Rose Bowl”
      • “Jason 5, Rad-Rat, Sentenced to Reconfig”
    • The Darwin billboard reads:DEMON DARWIN
      Oracle Lecture Series
      Starts Friday
      Oracle Center
    • Abortions are illegal, as is sex without official Oracle license.
    • The pamphlet Maggie reads in jail says:

Become a faithful servant of the Oracle. Find your true being as we become one with the leaders of our master until the Day of Accounting. The gathering will take place at the Chancellor Center in Los Angeles. We welcome newcomers to our assembly, so join us in our time of prayer.

  • Jane buys Maggie 1/2 dozen pink roses to make her “more comfortable” in jail.
  • Oracle World is a very popular attraction on the West Coast.

Character Information

  • Quinn doesn’t have the ability to program his brother’s coordinates into the timer directly.
  • Rembrandt has been using his ATM on various parallel earths to try and dig up some cash for him and his friends.
  • Rembrandt’s beliefs are very similar to those of Southern Baptist, several of which are also held by followers of the Oracle.
  • Rembrandt has an Aunt Miranda.
  • Maggie likes chocolate.
  • Maggie loves John Tesh… not.
  • Rembrandt is pretty passionate about schisms in the political system.
  • Pulsar Prime didn’t have Thomas Jefferson.

Money Matters

  • Rembrandt has been stealing money from his double’s ATM accounts for a couple slides, but was unsuccessful on the previous world. Nonetheless, the Sliders have enough money to buy a change of clothes, hotel lodgings and a dinner, that, while bland, is perfectly nutritious.
  • Five dollars was confiscated from them by the Oracle.

Notable Quotes

  • “Look, I’ve been to Detroit. Trust me, they’ve got rats.” — Rembrandt, after hearing Michigan was ‘Rat-free.’
  • “If they hate people like Darwin, what are they going to think of me?” — Quinn.
  • “I have no idea what in the hell you talkin’ about and I seem to slide just fine.” — Rembrandt, speaking for the audience after Quinn’s technobabble-heavy diatribe about quantum physics.
  • “No chocolate. That’s what I hate.” — Maggie’s real problem with Oracle World.
  • “Can’t we just lay low until it’s time for the slide?” — Maggie, echoing the sentiments of thousands of fans around the world.
  • “You know, Q-Ball, before I started hanging out with you I hardly ever went to jail.” — Rembrandt.
  • “Waste not, want not.” — Norm Crosby?!
  • “It’s just Quinn.” — Quinn, after Samson refers to him as the Professor.
  • “Captain Beckett is so warlike. I like that in a woman.” — Samson.
  • “The final solution!” — Gareth, sounding a bit like Hitler.
  • “Who is Thomas Jefferson?” — Maggie.


  • On a world where technology is regulated by the Oracle, would the Oracle really allow guns to be bought by citizens? Also, what possible motivation would lead the people of Oracle World to develop electric stunners if their populace was so genteel?
  • For a timer that has a 400-mile radius, what are the odds that the Sliders would return to the same sanctuary on Oracle Earth as the one they left? Not very good.


  • Fans of the show are always griping about how the Sliders buy so much stuff when it’s never established where they get their money. Now we know — Rembrandt steals it from his doubles!
  • Another money gripe is also laid to rest when Gareth talks about their strange money. Apparently, United States dollars are not universal on every earth. Haven’t seen that since the Pilot.
  • Heard the word Oracle in Sliders before? You’re not alone. The leader of Psychic World from second season’s Obsession was known as the Prime Oracle.

Rewind That!

  • After Samson mistakenly calls Quinn “Professor,” Quinn and Rembrandt look at each other and smile.
  • Maggie rolls her eyes and smiles when Samson calls her “warlike.”

History Lesson

Deviation occurred thousands of years ago, as Samson cites a quote from Julius Caesar, the Second. What bearing this has on the development of culture in the New World is unknown, but interesting to cite nonetheless.

The current system that the United States of this world subscribes to came about by voter apathy, allowing right-wing fundamentalists to take power. However, these beliefs may have been more deep-rooted than that. Abraham Lincoln is unknown on this world.

The Oracle controls all manners of lifestyle. Clothing, education, scientific pursuits, identification, travel and sexual relations are all strictly regulated by the Oracle. The Oracle also bilks their followers out of money and sends them to their death thinking they are traveling to another world.

The Inside Slide

Not to be outdone by the fourth season premiere, the first airing of “Prophets and Loss” netted The Sci-Fi Channel a 2.4 rating, impressive considering its lead in was Genesis, which it beat by two-tenths of a rating point. The episode became the highest rated regular series episode that the station had ever received up until that point and represents about 1.2 million homes.

Guest Stars

In Brief

Written by Bill Dial
Production # K2805
Network # SL-402
Directed by Mark Sobel
Music by Danny Lux
Edited by Casey Brown



In Review

Really Good

Make no mistake; you walk away from this episode knowing exactly what the production staff thinks about the fundamentalist movement creeping through Christian communities (hint: it’s not positive).

Read the review »


When Quinn, Rembrandt and Maggie land on a world dominated by religious fundamentalism, their research into the Oracle's sliding technology reveals extortion and genocide of the people in return for passage to Paradise.

Timer Status

Confiscated by the Oracle, but returned to Quinn by the Oracle's counselor, Cadmus. Quinn uses the abilities added by Dr. Jensen in The Exodus, part I to return to Oracle World to return Samson.