ASYLUM (reviewed by Paul Jennings)

"It's a long story, and it doesn't have a happy ending" is how Colin decides this episode and the events within it, and he's not wrong.

This easily proved to be a highly emotional episode, with excellent acting, a fabulous plot and much more than I could have hoped. The episode starts with the team on a place just about to crash, so they have to jump out at several thousand feet to get into the wormhole. Quinn and Rembrandt, however, are injured in an explosion and on the next world, Maggie and Colin to get them both to the hospital in the nearby town.

It turns out someone is taking photos of them as they enter the hospital, but we don't see who. It later turns out that Rembrandt will be fine, but Quinn could easily die from his injuries. At the hotel, Maggie and Colin discuss what they should do, when a man called Ralph walks up, talks briefly with Maggie and gives her a card, so she can get more medical help for Quinn. The next day, Rembrandt asks his doctor called Grace to dinner, and she accepts if it's at her apartment. The team by now have learned the basic history of this world: it's a world invaded by the Kromaggs, but not destroyed since it was used simply for strip mining, leaving most the planet in ruins and California a country in itself. Colin goes to the library to look into the world's history and Maggie goes to dinner with Ralph in order to get Quinn more help.

Rembrandt meanwhile has dinner with Grace; they tell each other about themselves and Rembrandt reveals sliding to her. However, she is more than accepting of the situation and soon the two have fallen in love.

Colin learns that Great Britain signed a non-aggression pact with the Kromaggs thanks to Margaret Thatcher, but soon the Kromaggs left and her followers became called Thatchers, many seeking refuge in California and hiding there from the authorities.

Rembrandt learns that Grace wants to leave the war torn world and slide with him so she can be with him and be happy. Maggie returns to Ralph's room to discover he is actually a special agent trying to find a human doctor who worked for the Kromaggs and is wanted to stand trial back in Great Britain. Unfortunately the woman is Grace, who has started a new life in California. Maggie initially refuses to help Ralph locate Grace, but soon agrees.

Just after Grace reveals she can cure Quinn, her apartment is ransacked by Ralph and she is kidnapped, leaving Rembrandt stunned. He returns to their hotel room with guns to rescue Grace, but Maggie tells him what she did with the Kromaggs, however he reveals they must save her to save Quinn's life. Maggie is reluctant to risk more of the team, but admits she must save Quinn no matter the cost. They arrive just before Grace is to be taken to Great Britain and she returns to the hospital to save Quinn using a Kromagg ability she has gained. Quinn awakes.

Rembrandt and Grace have a tearful farewell where she begs for forgiveness, but it is too late. Maggie and Rembrandt hug, as the episode closes and everyone has been affected to the fullest extent.

This episode was so strong with Rembrandt's emotions it was worth high marks just for that. Maggie was the same when she has to make the decision to betray Rembrandt and hand over his new lover. I can't say much more, it's just too good to describe. Colin took a back seat more this week, although he did get to use a computer. Quinn appeared for no more than five minutes, which actually seemed to be better since the rest of the cast got a chance to shine more than usual.

Both main guest stars were great, especially Grace, who really had chemistry with Rembrandt and seemed truly sorry for everything she had done in the past. Overall this was one of my favorite episodes of Sliders and relied heavily on the drama last seen in "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome" and "The Guardian." Wade's outburst in the first mentioned episode was equaled here by Rembrandt and Grace. Totally brilliant.

The other highlight of the episode was the skydiving sequence in the intro of the episode, which looked as if the real actors has jumped out of a plane, not stunt doubles. Overall: fantastic, I loved it, worth lots of further viewings.



Slidecage California Reich