Can we just all agree that this episode has the best teaser ever?
WHO IS THAT IS THAT RICKMAN?
Obviously, we can’t agree on that. We’ll pick every bit of it apart. As Sliders fans, we know that this is “the episode with Shaman Quinn,” and we are already thinking of really funny things to say that’ll make fun of Jerry O’Connell’s wig SO WELL. But you know what? You tell me when Sliders has attempted something like Adra’s Dream Sequence before, and I’ll high five you when you tell me “it hasn’t.” Sure, this episode has an unfortunate foray into “let’s adapt Heart of Darkness for TV,” but here’s the thing— the way the show is going these days, with death and bleakness haunting every one of the characters, doing an ‘adaptation’ of “Heart of Darkness” is actually the most intelligent idea the show’s had in ages. Kurtz is actually a really good parallel to Quinn right now.
So in honor of studying Heart of Darkness in high school and tuning out when we discussed Rivets and Hippo Flesh for an entire hour, I’m going to bring out a style of post we haven’t seen in a very long time: IAN’S EPISODE NOTES SET TO SCREENCAPS (with added annotation).
Because there’s a floating head that comes out of a box of sand. I can’t just write about that, can I?
Let’s do this.
LOL LET MAGGIE DIE THAT IS SO FUNNY.
WHOA THEY ARE BOTH SO SERIOUS ABOUT IT
REMBRANDT OF COURSE THAT’S HOW IT IS.
Until Rembrandt stabs Wade in the back and is like JK I LOVE MAGGIE YOU’RE BEING RUDE.
OOPS I FORGOT I HATE YOU.
I don’t want you on the team. Fuck the Draft.
BUSTICKET THROUGH THE INTERDIMENSION. wtf
‘You’re one of us”. finally Quinn FIGHTS BACK. Yeah, eat it, Maggie. (But isn’t it weird how Maggie is trying really hard to make everyone on the team feel inferior to her, and Quinn’s defense is to say “actually it’s YOU who should feel inferior, because you’re actually One of US.” Um, burn, I guess?)
I hate you so much, Maggie.
A part of me is kind of glad they don’t get haircuts. It’s more realistic, no?
Sorry guys, but Adra is a total babe.
Tight, the Tarot.
I’LL DO YOUR READ
“A blind seer is the most powerful of all.” THANX WADE.
HAHA thanks for that shitty post-dubbing so we know what the fuck Rickman’s up to.
DEATH IS WAITING ON YOU.
Okay, so it’s a quick callback, but can we talk about when Adra says “you ain’t what I expected. your face is different.”? Because at this point in the episode, we don’t know what’s going on. But it’s foreshadowing in a really smart way. It’s making a mystery. And c’mon— this is an exciting mystery! Why was Quinn in facepaint? I really want to know! And this is different than the normal Season Three kind of goofy mystery. “Dragonslide” was too mystical— the same reason “into the Mystic” was kindof a dud. This is a teensy bit more grounded. I mean, sure, Druidism is a real thing, but Tarot Readers are much more believable.
And now they just let Wade go. NICE TO SEE WHERE YOU STAND.
That boy’s in trouble. Can’t sleep for his fears.
HE BECKONS DEATH.
He is looking for Death. He’ll find it in the fog.
Quinn’s death will be by his own hand.
Please let it not be the cave set.
LOL WHO IS THIS DOOD. (It’s Bunt, yo.)
Actually that dude is awesome.
YEAH I SHOT RICKMAN, BIATCH. I kind of love this guy so much. He’s refreshingly matter of fact.
HA HA THAT FOG LINE— Look, I know that fog doesn’t really look like that. But I like the idea. And it does look cool! Cool in a totally acceptable way.
“He wasn’t really man enough for you, was he?” Rickman really knows how to TWIST THAT KNIFE.
Or whatever, but Rickman is kind of right? Steven wasn’t enough of a man for her. Also, I miss the 90s and this goofy warping effect they used all the time.
Once again, the character of Angus Rickman defies the very nature of television. This flaming comet of Camp rips apart the usual conventions and redefines himself as a younger, sassier, and more bombastic avatar of virility and cackling Englishness. Or, he pulls a “Darren” on “Bewitched” and becomes a new actor. By which I mean “Roger Daltrey was busy.”
To which I ask: didn’t you ask if he was going to be busy before you cast him? Didn’t you know this was going to be a ‘defining’ arc of the season? I mean, sure, stunt-casting is awesome (remember Corey Feldman? Phhht), but come on. It strikes of laziness of the highest degree. Cast Roger Daltrey (of all people) to boost ratings, then deal with it later.
And dealing with it means Neil Dickson. Which, at first glance, also strikes of laziness. Because if you thought Maggie had a tough time enunciating correctly, then wait til you get a load of this guy. But here’s where the laziness is… I don’t know, complicated? I certainly wouldn’t say ‘redeemed.’ But the fact is that there’s an actual Plot Reason behind the face change.
Confound that Brain Fluid! Apparently now if you inject yourself with other people’s brain fluid (also UGH I am starting to hate the words “Brain” and “Fluid”), not only does your face briefly change, but if you do it with willy nilly DNA, your face will change permanently. Um, cue a joke about your mother telling you not to make a funny face?
You know what, though? Rickman’s facial situation is a bizarre personification of the episode and season’s theme— the ways a journey can change you completely. Rickman’s plight is a strange mirror of the sliders’ in this way. They’ve both lost so much, have been forced on this strange trip. They are changing as people in ways completely foreign to who they once were. Imagine if the Sliders from the Pilot met the Sliders of this episode. They’d be as unrecognizable as Neil Dickson would be to Roger Daltrey.
Part of this is inevitable, and would have happened regardless of Sliding’s influence. But this episode has a strange and hugely pessimistic thesis. It’s the thesis the show’s been building towards ever since “As Time Goes By”— Sliding will destroy you.
THE OXYGEN COMBINES WITH THE SULFUR. HMM yeah I’m sure that line was originally Rembrandt’s.
In order to beat the …what?
I love Wade. I mean, doesn’t make total sense that she would latch so completely onto this world? It speaks of wonder and something else beyond reality. And Wade hates her reality right now. All she wants is answers. Or is it questions? Maybe she really just wants more wonder, less order.
T’aint a game, Wade. This episode has used the word “taint” more than a Fourth Grader.
“I’m getting home or I’m going to die trying.” Woof.
Rembrandt is a sass-basket! What’s up with him!
HEY HOW ABOUT YOU SHOULD KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND DON’T BE SO JUDGEMENTAL.
“Oh, you fools.”
YEAH CUT HIM DOWN. Bring up Faith to Rembrandt. “Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it’s not real. I would have thought that you, of all people, would get that.” YOU GO GIRL.
This is a really weird episode.
Yep. You lost him, Wade.
Witch’s Butter. AW C’MON REMMY. Dude, don’t be a huge-ass Dick.
Is there any gun she won’t steal? THAT DUDE HAS BETTER AIM THAT YOU, MAGGIE!
Yeah, run into the fog. SMART MOVE.
HA HA LOOK AT HIM GLIDE AWAY.
OH HA HA NOW IT’S QUINN’S FAULT? YOU DESERVE THAT BLOWDART, IDIOT.
BUNT LACROIX. This guy made the sparkling water. With his spit.
Without the Tea, can’t go in the Fog.
Fresh batch, needs time to mellow. LOL DRUGZ
AW HELL NO.
ALRIGHT SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK!
Ha ha. Let maggie scream. WHO IS THAT PAINTED DUDE! (other painted dude)
Yeah, I’m sure just screaming “let me out of here” will work.
TIGHT SKULL NECKLACE, BRO.
Um… what did you do? Oh, kill people? Whatever.
“I wouldn’t get too cozy in all that righteousness.” that’s the only sane thing he’s said.
Who would be the perfect candidate to demonstrate the moral decay inherent to the multiverse than the first person we see having slid— the wise wizard of sliding. A man in charge of the multiverse.
We get Quinn Mallory.
As in the Alt-Quinn we met in the Pilot. The one that made fun of Arturo. The one who kissed Wade and told Hurley to shove it. A ghost from the distant past, made into a horrid ghoul of the Now.
YOU A HAINT, GIRL.
You won’t get Quinn back.
TIGHT SACK, YO.
OH ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS.
FUCK THIS FUCKING SHIT
FUCK THIS CAVE
AND FUCK THIS WONDER BRA
Whoa, Quinn, this is ruff.
To die in the hands of a God. That’s what they want.
That’s what we all want.
THIS IS AWESOME.
(I am willfully ignoring Rembrandt’s “Story”)
This has to do with our salvation.
“the unimaginably disgusting proof that I’m you without your friends.”
SEE GUYS I WAS RIGHT.
“You kill me.”
Hey guys, look, it’s the best run of dialogue all season:
Our—Quinn: “You’re insane!”
Alt-Quinn: “And you are weak. But I’m going to help you with that.”
“I want you to hate me. You have to kill me. IT WILL CHANGE YOU.”
“God only knows where it will lead us. What horrors.”
“I need you to stop me, I can’t stop myself.”
Guys, this episode is the best. Strength— again!— rears its head as a test for the team. Is Quinn “strong” enough to kill his double? Alt-Quinn seeks death as an escape from his guilt. If Our-Quinn gave in and slaughtered his double, he’d be committing to the path that would lead to his own death. Because Our-Quinn is already on the path to losing his friends. He’s already lost one. He can see the others slipping away. Even if they make it ‘home,’ Quinn will still find a way to forget all the good that’s come of Sliding and hang himself on his guilt. It’s his way.
What no you aren’t.
Alt-Quinn presents us with a bizarre and nonsensical tale. He claims the Evil of the Kromaggs is on him— that he gave an ignorant race of ape-beasts his smiley-faced equation of Sliding, allowing the Dynasty to thrive. Yet that flies in the face of everything we’ve ever heard about the Kromaggs. How does Alt-Quinn’s tale allow for great cities in the trees? Fully functioning Manta Ships? A taste for eyes? Conquered Earths and Penal Worlds and a command over the Human Mind?
It doesn’t really. But Alt-Quinn relates to us that the Kromaggs turned right around and decimated his home world, slaughtering everyone he ever loved. All he sees is Death.
But let’s take a step back— this is a Quinn Mallory, one who isn’t too far removed from our own (which is probably the scariest thing about him). He has become a monster. A living avatar of pure guilt. He sees the deaths of his loved ones as his fault— of course he world, he’s a Mallory. It’s totally acceptable that he would invent an entirely self-centered yarn that makes the Kromaggs spin around him. Both of our Quinn’s guilt makes them selfish. We’re just seeing a Quinn who has nothing left.
But we’re past the point where this living ghoul of the multiverse would be seen as a cautionary tale. Our-Quinn can only see this as inevitability.
However, against all odds, he fights the future.
THRILLING CONCLUSION TIME (I actually looked at the clock and was like “Wait, there’s only a minute and a half left? Uhhhh…”)
UGH FUUUCK MAGGIE
I don’t know, maybe you are a God, Quinn?
Yeah I bet you all feel bad now.
I know I do. The fog, maaaan.
YEAH REMMY USE YOUR KEY ON HIS HEAD
Kneel to the vortex.
THE FOG VORTEX.
Look, there’s a reason I chose to present this episode in this manner. The underlying themes of this episode are relentless in their bleakness. The discussion between the two Quinns contains the darkest dialogue in the entire run of the show. It’s nuts. Jerry O’Connell always goes whole hog when he portrays a double, and this is no exception. And yes, the episode isn’t perfect. It’s very tenuously connected to the whole “alternate history” thing this show is supposedly about. But it’s the perfect episode to air at this point in the season’s run. We’ve spent plenty of time breaking down Wade (and sure, we spent plenty of time still doing so here). But Quinn is the leader now, and last week he barely spoke— we didn’t quite know his feelings.
We still don’t, exactly. But Alt-Quinn, while portrayed as insane and evil, is crucially driven by the same motivations that drive Our-Quinn. It doesn’t take much to change a Man completely. Just look at Rickman. Just look at yourself.
Next week: I have been in you (The Breeder).
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