100 Things I Hate About "The Great Work"
A review by Recall317

You guys have been holding out on me. I knew "The Great Work" wasn't supposed to be very good, but I had no idea just how freaking awful it really is. This is beyond "Stoker" level awful. This is beyond "Desert Storm" level awful. This is "Paradise Lost" and "The Chasm" territory that we're talking about. It has no redeeming qualities. It has no real reason for existing. Finally, it's not remotely entertaining. I have no alternative. I must list one hundred things I strongly dislike about The Great Work:

  1. "So...cold..." Dialogue...so...unconvincing...

  2. From what I can glean from context clues, they've just slid from a jungle to an icebox. We know they were in a jungle because of their snazzy beige safari gear. I'm not entirely clear on the icebox part. It seems like a pretty nice day at the beach - can't see anyone's breath and no one is rubbing their limbs for warmth.

  3. Maggie's sick, but sick from what? Whatever it is, no one else seems affected. All I know is that if she starts clinging to walls again, I'm leaving.

  4. Diana's School of Technobabble 101, Part I: "I have this theory of geothermal spacetime displacement..." Sure you do, sweetheart.

  5. Let's see. I run a secret project that could save the world on a hidden island. Four people show up at my door. Hmmm...what would be the prudent course of action? I know! I'll just let them wander about the island loose.

  6. Paradise Regained, Part I: I recognize this doctor. Oh, sweet heavens, no! It's Sheriff Burke from "Paradise Lost!" Well, anyone who played an evil law enforcement officer in a previous episode couldn't possibly be suspicious.

  7. Act Break or Broken Act? Part I: The teaser ends with them at the door of a monastery, standing around. There's no immediate threat, no immediate course of action. It's not exactly keeping me glued to my seat through the commercial break.

  8. Seth, who starts a floor up directly above them, somehow gets all the way around the building to greet the sliders from the opposite side in a matter of seconds.

  9. We finally learn what's wrong with Maggie...sort of. Remmy tells us she was in "close and hot waters." Seeing as they just came from a jungle, it may imply a run-in with cannibals. This may be the most shocking moment in the episode. An opportunity to show Maggie wet and/or naked and they pass on it? Someone get Peckinpah on the set, stat!

  10. The island is very cold and is located on the edge of the Northern Sea. It certainly gives the impression that they're outside of their radius. No one ever questions it aloud. Which is strange, because they ask A LOT of questions about EVERYTHING ELSE in this episode.

  11. Rembrandt declaring optimism a disease is way out of character. That's like Arturo declaring logic a plague on humanity. Or Colin using a contraction.

  12. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part I: We're only a scene or two in, but it's clear they've run out of things to say in this act. So Rembrandt recaps "Prophets and Loss."

  13. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part II: Still looking to kill three minutes, Rembrandt then proceeds to recap the last six minutes! If that's not enough, he then tells us what he will do in his next scene. I guess there's no such thing as being too prepared.

  14. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part III: He even asks for the timer. Yep, still ticking, still 3 days until the slide. Which is funny in and of itself, as they later blow the timeline. Nothing like calling attention to your mistakes.

  15. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part IV: Just in case you missed Rembrandt's story of how they arrived here four minutes ago, let's let Maggie tell the tale again. Better yet, let Keeper James repeat the tale and have Maggie confirm it.

  16. Act Break or Broken Act? Part II: And so after two complete scenes recapping the first two scenes, we now learn that the penalty for being a spy is death...which took all of seven seconds.

  17. They might be spies, but no sense in not giving them these lovely robes!

  18. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part V: Just in case you didn't hear Seth in the first act, Sarah reiterates that no one leaves the island. She was even born on this island...and so was Seth! Did I mention that no one leaves the island?

  19. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part VI: Diana, Mallory, and Rembrandt immediately confer to discuss Act One yet again. This done, Rembrandt then tells them what he will do next...and does so.

  20. Though nobody leaves the island, Mallory declares that they will go off the island. This might be time for Rembrandt to mention that he doesn't swim.

  21. "That is not an option," Keeper Abraham solemnly declares in response to Mallory's proposal of leaving the island. Have I told you yet that no one leaves the island?

  22. Keeper James has one heck of a bedside manner. He's only known Maggie a few hours now and he's already looking for the ring.

  23. "What's this place made of anyway?" Mallory is referring to the island. Rock and sand. What else, you twit?

  24. I've never dug for clams, so it may only require jamming a shovel straight down into the sand repeatedly. I also thought it was hard work, though these three unearth two dozen in their first minute of digging.

  25. I'm wearing shoes from now on when I go to the beach. I wouldn't want to step on a ten pound quartz crystal just jutting out of the sand.

  26. "Was your world overrun?" Rembrandt foolishly asks. This is why Arturo and Quinn always dealt with the locals.

  27. Seth isn't phased at all by this. In fact, he knew all along they were from another world. It's never explained why he'd jump to so outrageous a conclusion.

  28. There's a Great Work going on and we have eight people scrubbing floors.

  29. "It sounds like there's something down there." Yeah, that would be the first floor, Diana. Why don't you go down a flight of stairs and try again?

  30. Seth demands a favor in return for his help. You would think this would be important. You'd be wrong.

  31. We later learn that closing the door activates the elevator. If that's true, why was the room there at all when Diana opened it? An elder woman had just gone inside. Is this a monastery or Willy Wonka's factory?

  32. Diana appears to close the door behind her though nothing happens. We even hear Sarah open the door as she enters.

  33. What kind of stupid trigger device is closing the door anyway? Aren't you trying to keep the Great Work a secret? Furthermore, how does the device know the difference between closing the door from the inside and closing it from the outside?

  34. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part VII: James tries again to convince Maggie to stay. How this pertains to the plot, I can't say.

  35. Paradise Regained, Part II: James now makes a positively Paradise Lost proposal: "You can become a Keeper...with me." At least he didn't say, "If you become one of us, Maggie, you'll be sacrificed with the others."

  36. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part VIII: This subplot might have had some resonance if Maggie considered staying with James.

  37. Abraham sits down to dinner, only to immediately get up and leave. I suspect the only reason the scene exists is so Mallory can make a clam joke.

  38. Rembrandt declares they're running out of time, although by my count they still have over 50 hours. My count turns out to be correct; the script from this point on is not.

  39. Seth reminds them that they owe him a favor. You'd think it must be REALLY important to say it twice. You'd still be wrong.

  40. Supposedly this is a pretty big monastery, so why are they always in the same foyer by the mystery elevator?

  41. Act Break or Broken Act? Part III: Act Two ends with them wondering what is on the other side of the door. If the revealing of the Great Work is not a significant enough act break, you might want to reconsider the title of your episode.

  42. Oooo...the terrible secret of the monastery is...A LIBRARY! I nearly wet myself.

  43. "How dare you?" Abraham proclaims. Doesn't Seth know what this means? Why, they could talk too loud! Or bring soda into the microfiche room!

  44. Why the pressing need to digitalize the Great Work? You'd think if the world were being conquered, APPLYING THE KNOWLEDGE would be the prudent course of action. But what if there's a flood that damages the books, you counter? We can't take that risk!

  45. "The Great Work is pointless if it's not shared." No argument on the pointless part.

  46. There's a Volsang/Kromagg parallel that is continuously implied. It comes to no fruition though. Is the twist here that the barbarians are really barbarians? If so, these people spent way too much time watching Season 4.

  47. "How do I know you're not Volsang spies?" I mean, come on, look at them!

  48. The Sliders ask a lot of questions, but never the right ones. How about 'why are you going through all the motions of pretending to be a monastery?'

  49. Paradise Regained, Part III: Maggie is fully recovered in less than 36 hours. What is Keeper James giving her for medicine? Only the healing power of WORM GOO could be so effective!

  50. Diana states that the Great Work is "very interesting." No, it really isn't.

  51. Even if it is, how lame is that? "Behold! This is all the knowledge in all of the world!" Your response: Wow, that's very interesting.

  52. So...the world was conquered by the Yukon?

  53. We're defending the Great Work because there's much here the Volsangs could use...not that we're using it.

  54. Even if there was something here worth guarding, what makes them think the Volsangs don't already have it? They conquered the earth! Odds are that all of this info is readily available everywhere else.

  55. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part IX: "I don't want you to leave, Maggie." Damn it, James, grab a freaking clue! She's shown no interest in you. And we're not showing any interest in what could only be loosely defined as a subplot.

  56. Diana's School of Technobabble 101, Part II: I've got three words for you: Crystal silicon encryption.

  57. I've beginning to sense why these people are so panicked over the Volsang. The monks have clams. The Volsang have a destroyer.

  58. Diana says she can put THE ENTIRE GREAT WORK on to a single crystal.

  59. And we'll do it in under twenty minutes.

  60. Nice close-up stock footage of that destroyer, by the way. It's almost as visually stunning as the far away blue screen shots of it.

  61. Just what are James' motives anyway? Is he a Volsang spy? A coward? A plot contrivance? No one can say.

  62. Act Break or Broken Act? Part IV: Another weak finish as we go to commercial with Rembrandt, Mallory, and Maggie running out into the open as the battleship begins its bombardment. Two of them are down, but that's of their own volition.

  63. Yep, as suspected, they're not hurt at all and all three run back inside. Essentially, the only reason they came outside was to provide the act break. Or kill time. Probably both.

  64. Diana's School of Technobabble 101, Part III: Diana has the monks line up all the work they have into a single binary line. 111110011101001000111000101000100001110001000101110000111101...

  65. OK, so we're encoding all the data on to the crystal. I certainly hope they never need to access it...

  66. Speaking of data, where is it all coming from? There's this massive library hidden in something reminiscent to the Bat Cave. As stated many times now, no one leaves the island. What happens if they're missing something?

  67. It's announced they slide in 20 minutes. No, you slide in 30 hours. I'm glad to see this great tradition of incompetence has survived all the way into the fifth season.

  68. The Bill Dial school of scriptwriting, Part X: In another riveting scene, Abraham asks two of his men to follow him. They do so...all the way around the corner and back. It's a good thing the cache of weapons was half a foot from the door.

  69. I'm amazed at the quality of Diana's device. It downloads the Great Work faster than it takes to download porn off the internet.

  70. These guys rule the world? Part I: The dreaded Volsang lay siege to the island with...two dozen men. In rubber lifeboats.

  71. Why is it that all thugs in Sliders must come from beyond Thunderdome?

  72. These guys rule the world? Part II: You also have to marvel at the slow, leisurely advance of the Volsang on the beach. Normandy 1944, this isn't.

  73. James declares that the only way to save the Great Work is to hand it over to the enemy. That's kind of like the U.S. handing its nuclear arsenal to the Soviets in 1963. It would be safe there.

  74. Huh. James is betrayed by Vortak. Didn't see that one coming.

  75. These guys rule the world? Part III: A firefight opens with the Volsang having no cover. No problem, these are the Volsang Immortals. After all, it only takes two dozen of them to take over an island of hundreds.

  76. Abraham's death scene makes Arturo's death scene both touching and meaningful in comparison.

  77. Seth has studied the O'Connell school of acting thoroughly. He couldn't show less emotion if he was asleep.

  78. Why do they have to retreat to defend the Great Work? They’ve got the enemy outnumbered and have much better positioning.

  79. Well, except for the monk 'sniper.' Someone should have told him that squatting on the roof is only effective when you're on the side that provides cover.

  80. Vortak does his Richard Nixon impression, flashing his victory V.

  81. These guys rule the world? Part IV: And just like that, the fighting stops. You'd think the monks would have just shot him down. You'd still be wrong.

  82. "The only way you can defeat them now is by defending the Great Work." Or he could kill their leader. I suspect that would go a long ways toward defeating them.

  83. That escape boat should go a long ways in outrunning that destroyer parked off the coast.

  84. No resistance is offered as Vortak reaches the Great Work. How hard is it to hold the door?

  85. What exactly is Vortak going to do with the Great Work? Do any of his boys look like they can read?

  86. So they blew up the room that held the disks. Who cares? All the books are still intact and sitting right there. So are most of the disks.

  87. Why would Vortak say that the sliders are new in town? He doesn't know anyone of this island aside from James and three of the sliders are wearing the robes everyone else has on.

  88. These guys rule the world? Part V: How did this guy become leader of the all-powerful Volsangs? El Sid at least was vaguely intimidating. This guy wears feathers around his neck. Come on!

  89. These guys rule the world? Part VI: I'm still not buying how a bunch of bike riders from the north managed to conquer the entire world. This isn't the fifth century. Even then, the Vandals and Goths could never consolidate their victories. It just doesn't make any sense.

  90. Rembrandt is pretty callous about all this. He laughs and tells them to clean up the mess as he slides out. I'm sure the monks left behind to be raped and enslaved could see the humor in it.

  91. Sarah asks Seth if he knows how to sail. It's a rowboat, honey.

  92. Not to worry! Seth transcribed the nautical section of the Great Work. I'm sure there were many pages devoted to the Art of Oars.

  93. Seth and Sarah are the last hope for civilization and Sarah wants to go sightseeing. I'm starting to understand why these people got sacked so easily.

  94. Ugh, another Lilliputian adventure gets underway. Do they ever tire of the Giant World?

  95. To my knowledge, "The Exodus", "Revelations", and "The Great Work" have all employed the Giant World. That's a group of episodes I wouldn't want to be affiliated with.

  96. What's the fucking point? Part I: You build this huge complex to store all the knowledge of history and you don't use it. Why bother?

  97. What's the fucking point? Part II: Is there a moral to this story? Did the Sliders learn a valuable lesson or did they just happen to show up at an extremely (in)opportune time as always? Judging from their callous exit, I'd go with the latter.

  98. What's the fucking point? Part III: How about character development? Mallory was having trouble with his dual personality a few eps ago, what happened to that? We also didn't learn anything new about any of the characters and that's impressive as we don't know Mallory or Diana at all.

  99. What's the fucking point? Part IV: They actually paid somebody to write this? This is C grade fanfic and I've read some pretty plodding, pedantic stuff. At least those people weren't professionals. This is an embarrassment. I'm amazed this ep was green-lighted at all, let alone aired fourth. Talk about a momentum killer. Three decent episodes and then this ball of nothing.

  100. I wonder what Seth asked Remmy for in exchange for the help he gave? I guess now we'll never know.