|Prince of Wails|
Another strong showing for the first season. The story made some very good points about how governments work: shove someone else out of the way so you can gain more power. I consider this a very intelligent episode, laudable for finally giving John Rhys-Davies a starring role.
The episode opens with the Sliders hanging from the top of a building. As the camera pans outward, we realize they are still in the world from the end of Summer of Love, where the polar ice caps melted and the city is flooded. They make the slide, and ironically find themselves in a water fountain. The effects for the shark in the beginning were a little crude, but nothing like some of the crap we see in Season 3!
Checking into a hotel, the four are startled to see Arturo delivering a speech on TV. It seems that his double on this world is no less than the Sheriff of San Francisco. In short order, they find themselves saving Prince Harold, heir to the throne, from an assassination attempt instigated by the Sheriff himself.
No sooner have they escaped the sheriff's men than they are ambushed by rebels calling themselves the "Oakland Raiders" (!) Thinking on his feet, Quinn offers Arturo and Harold as hostages to prove their good faith. The two are tied up together at the Raiders' base until Quinn convinces them that they have the wrong Arturo.
In an interesting sub-plot, Harold sweet-talks Wade into untying him, enabling the prince to easily escape by means of a ventilation shaft. Quinn is captured looking for him, and scheduled for execution until the Raiders storm the TV station and put Prince Harold on the air. He dismisses the Sheriff from his position and frees Quinn. The team meets up for the slide, leaving behind the plans for a democracy.
I think one of the most clever parts of the episode is where Quinn cobbles together an entire speech out of clichés, inspiring the Raiders to unknowingly quote Robin Hood. They end up starting a crime wave in which they "steal from the rich and give to the poor."
Another great scene comes at the end. Quinn passionately kisses Rebecca - the leader of the Raiders - in front of Wade, so Wade retaliates by kissing Prince Harold. It's only after the vortex has closed that these two unfurl the new Constitution, which Rembrandt has embellished to enshrine James Brown as the "Godfather of Soul"!