VIRTUAL SLIDE (reviewed by Paul Jennings)

To my surprise this was a great episode, despite my reservations. It sounded like a season three FOX episode to me, but after the hour it was on for, it was a pleasant surprise and a triumph for Maggie's character, who receives some well deserved screen time. This is also the first individual based episode, where the rest were easily ensemble pieces.

A warning first though, don't watch the opening credits to any of the episodes unless you want to ruin this one, since the ending is right in there.

It starts off well enough with a romp through the jungle on the run from some cannibals who Quinn and Maggie have agitated, and quickly jumps to the next Earth where Maggie is thrown quite a distance by an explosion and then seemingly tortured in a strange vision, suddenly then returning to normal to find the team have arrived back on Earth Prime, only to have defeated the Kromaggs and saved other Earths.

However, it soon turns out that it's all a VR fantasy being used as treatment for Maggie's accident in the explosion. However, there is a major problem: the timer is now counting up, and the team have missed the slide, with no way to continue sliding.

Randall Simmons, a VR businessman, offers them equipment to build a new sliding machine and timer for themselves, though he of course wants sliding for himself and his company (especially his super bitch boss, who makes season three Maggie seem tame in comparison). This is the basic plot, though many 'revelations' are made.

First, Maggie is still mourning Steven's murder, but has a growing attraction to Quinn, though Quinn can't decide what to do about these feelings later in the episode. This episode has the Maggie/Quinn bed scene, but don't worry, it's Maggie's fantasy of what she thinks is Quinn's fantasy and provides the episode's best line. Maggie also reveals more of her world's past and Steven's work with sliding, showing Maggie has a far better idea of sliding than anyone could have thought, and also Maggie is far more intelligent than most would think.

For some reason Maggie now has the best lines every episode, always the funniest, and the good thing is, the writers aren't overdoing it. This episode solves the one Maggie problem this season someone she befriends doesn't die. Quinn and Remmy are not particularly important this week, which allows the episode to concentrate on Maggie, who I think has become everything Wade never was, yet both are now very strong characters on par with each other.

This episode is easily proof that last season Maggie's character was no one's fault but the writers.

Common Ground World Killer