[ EARTH 69 ]

Episode 2.15 | The Ewing and the Restless

    When the Sliders land in the midst of an enormous street party, Quinn is startled to encounter his old classmate Bennish. In a thought-provoking example of how a single chromosome can mean a world of difference, this world's Bennish was born Asian.

    He tells the quartet that oil gushers have been found throughout San Francisco, or as it's called on this world, "Dallas." One particularly large deposit happens to be located in Quinn's backyard. Rembrandt, whose only remaining personality trait seems to be his obsession with finding an anti-Ggamork megaweapon, seizes on the oil as a way to create one:

    "See, oil and water repel each other, right? And humanoids like the Morks are made up of almost 90% water! So if we could flood Earth Prime with oil, we could repel up to 90% of the Morks!!"

    While the guys siphon off oil in the backyard, Maggie sneaks into the Mallory home's indoor pool for a little skinny-dipping. It's not until she's about to peel off the last of her clothes (with for-once-appropriate Danny Lux music as background) that she notices the body floating facedown in the water.

    An investigating Quinn then learns from his late double's wife, Wade (played by a two-second clip of Sabrina Lloyd from the previous season's credits, which is cycled back and forth to make it look like her lips are moving), that "Q.R." ran a company, Young Oil, with enough refineries to sweep every Mork world clean. Before long, he's impersonating Q.R. in hopes of gaining access to this supply.

    Meanwhile, Maggie seduces Q.R.'s son "Mallory" (played by Justine Bateman in men's clothing), for the stated objective of "the hell of it." She starts to have suspicions, however, when she realizes that Mallory is the exact same age as his father. With a little digging (sorry) she uncovers Young Oil's secret: it's a maaagical oil, specially formulated by company alchemists to keep everyone under the age of 30. The fact that Quinn's son should be about three years old anyway somehow escapes both her and the writers.

    Just as Mallory is about to shoot Maggie to preserve the secret, who should burst in but-- Quinn's other double, "Bobby!"

    Peckinpah: "I don't see what's so hard about this. Tormé had this stupid thing with 'doubles' of our characters on every planet-- why the hell can't there be triples?"

    The Sliders, including Rembrandt and Colleen, who were in prison in the scene immediately prior and are never seen to escape, tell Bobby to do whatever he feels like with the company. Quinn smirkingly brags, "Can't avoid irrevocably screwing up every world you land on!"

    It's only on the next world that Rembrandt remembers the whole thing about the oil:

    QUINN: You wanna go back for it?
    REMBRANDT: Nah. I've had enough of... uh... nah.

    He was apparently supposed to add a cute pun about oil in the fashion of many lame action series' episode conclusions, but Peckinpah couldn't think of one.

Episode 2.16 | Slide By Liar

    On the last world, each Slider was outfitted with a 'truth collar' to enforce honesty by means of electric shocks. For some reason, the four have decided that the best means of obtaining wire cutters to remove the devices is to have Maggie break into a maximum-security military base and steal some. If any of this had been explained onscreen, the FOX Network switchboard probably would have held out until at least the Kari nude scenes.

    In any case, Maggie is incapacitated by her double, desperate to avoid being reduced to a human vegetable by her world's army, and spends Act One getting her clothes removed. If only the double had put on our Maggie's clothes after removing them, the windows at FOX Network Headquarters probably would have held out at least until the audience was asked to accept the incongruous notion of Colleen going horseback riding.

    On the next world, the others are instantly suspicious of Maggie 2, since her truth collar - and the rest of her clothes - are absent without leave, and she has no memory of the mission. However, her statement that she is 'the real Maggie, from, uh, your world' convinces Quinn: "If she were lying, she'd have been electrocuted."

    Meanwhile on Military Earth, Real_Maggie is introduced to this world's version of Rickman (once again played by Roger Daltrey), and his adjutant (played by Pete Townshend, who appropriately belts out "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss.") Rickman asks for a report on the 'Great Vegetable Rebellion,' and is satisfied by the response 'Uhhhhh... the tide of battle has been turnipped?'

    The episode's writer then finally gets around to sketching out the world the rest of the team is on, when Quinn and Rembrandt are arrested for being Quinn and Rembrandt (a capital offence in this society.) Peck defended himself: "Hey, YOU try coming up with something new for them to be arrested for every week!"

    Flash back to the army base, where Maggie is being prepped for her final transformation into a vegetable (a cucumber, to be precise.) Rickman explains that this will allow her to infiltrate a Vegetable base and return with a hostage, the base commander ('Sergeant Pepper'): "If this works, Captain, it could lettuce squash the rebellion once and for all." In what is probably intended as a heart-wrenching moment, Maggie screams out to the doctors, 'Don't you think this is getting a little carrot away?!!!!!'

    Elsewhere, her double is saving Quinn and Remmy from being tossed into a Generic Fiery Pit by performing her impression of the leprechaun in the "Lucky Charms" ads (causing the assembled villagers to die laughing.) Needless to say, Kari forgot her lines and the part about "a balanced breakfast with one serving of milk" became something about "balancing the budget with the sour milk of funkiness." Rembrandt is impressed by her selfless bravery, and Quinn chimes in "That's our Maggie!" The resulting ten-minute-long shock fries him to a point where he could easily obtain employment as a barbecue briquette.

    Realizing the truth, Quinn and Rembrandt reunite with Colleen (used less in this plot then the A-Bomb was in the Gunpowder Plot), and return to the last world to switch Maggies. Just as Beckett Prime is about to become the newest member of Phyte Club, Quinn repays the double for her help by leaving her at the mercy of the utterly sloshed army surgeons. Status quo restored, the quartet slide on to their next pitiful adventure.

    If they'd only bothered to actually show the last two paragraphs in the aired version, the FOX Network president's bulletproof vest probably would have held out at least until Saturday morning's showing of "Millennium: The Animated Series."

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