With a few hours before the next slide, the town the four landed in begins to transforms the emotions of the Sliders. Quinn exhibits symptoms of euphoria while Rembrandt, and then Maggie, become increasingly paranoid and sorrowful. The source of the personality shifts is the Chasm, a remnant of an old amusement park ride that transfers emotions from the citizens of the town to one human vessel, who, when overwhelmed by the overload of emotions, jumps into the Chasm, passing the curse along to the next intended recipient. After Rembrandt and Maggie sacrifice themselves, Quinn and Colin overcome their feelings of contentment, leap into the Chasm themselves, and destroy the technology, forcing the townsfolk to come to grips with their feelings for the first time in decades.
Theme park wars in Americaland. Isn’t that would Uncle Walt would have wanted? (Hey, isn’t he frozen, too?)
The exposition that Maggie and Rembrandt feel when they’re hallucinating is good character information, but really, did it have to be shoehorned into this miserable script?
This America thrives on amusement parks and rides (I guess people in the twenties had a lot more disposable income), so much so that it officially changed its name to Americaland.
In the 1920s or 1930s, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Meadows of Middletown invented a device that would literally absorb the negative feelings of people within a fixed radius and transfer them via a parallel energy field known as bio-energetic transmigration. However, these feelings needed a human host, and when Mr. Meadows created Middletown, “home of the world’s happiest ride” as a way for others to share in his invention, used park employees as receptacles for negative energy. When it simply became too much to bear, those receptacles were placed in suspended animation and a new one chosen. Eventually, however, people stopped leaving the park and settled down, turning it into a regular small town. Middletown now enjoys a police department and relatively lively economy.
The ride, now known as the Chasm, has taken on religious aspects and become the bona fide belief of the townsfolk. Outside of Middletown, other theme parks wage bitter war against each other, the battles only recently concluded.
What did Kari Wuhrer think about being over-the-top emotionally in this episode?
“I spent an entire episode crying my eyes out,” she explains. “It was horrible, I couldn’t wait for that show to be over.”
· · ·
The emotions may have made it horrible for Wuhrer, but the poor scripting and lackluster plot made it horrible for Marc Scott Zicree. He advised planning a picnic and doing that rather than watch “The Chasm” during its first run.
“It’s not one of the high points of this season,” he admits openly.
|Written by||William Bigelow|
|Directed by||Robert Hudecek|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Casey Brown|
|Previously:||My Brother’s Keeper|
Last season, Sliders delivered a particularly foul turd of an episode about a weird little town with a horrible secret. No matter – here is the sequel nobody demanded — Paradise Lost II: The Chasm. And this time, it’s personal.
Rembrandt and Maggie are put to the test emotionally when a short slide lands them in a town where collective bad feelings are transferred to one person, and Quinn's newfound bliss isn't helping matters.