Hold on to your hats. This is the earth-shattering conclusion that we all waited through half of Season 3 to see (those of us who didn't give up, at least). Since EXODUS, forces have been gathering, leading inexorably to the final battle between good and evil, the sliders vs Rickman; a cataclysmic Armageddon that can only end in the death of one or the other, deciding the ultimate fate of our heroes once and for all!!!
Actually, it's nothing of the sort, but it would have been nice if things had turned out that way instead of the way they did, wouldn't it? The final battle (which is virtually unrelated to any of the previous Rickman adventures, nothing is contributed to this final episode by the previous ones except the goofy "motivation" set up in EXODUS, and reiterated ad nauseum for our viewing enjoyment) is trite and Rickman's death is handled with a masterful touch that I haven't seen since Tasha Yar was written out of STAR TREK (ineptly, and disappointingly anti-climactic). THIS SLIDE OF PARADISE is more like THE FAR SIDE OF STUPIDITY than anything else. I can't believe Nan Hagan had the gall to leave her name on this product.
Well, enough of that. Now for the review:
|CELEBRITY IMPERSONATION OF THE WEEK:|
- Hands down, this one goes to Rickman (Neil Dickson) who does not one, but two impersonations in one episode, taxing Dickson's already strained acting ability. He starts off doing Alice Cooper with his line "Welcome to my nightmare," then later follows up with his best Billy Idol impersonation when he curls his lip and then forms an "O" with his mouth after discovering Quinn et al ran off with his timers.
- However, Daniel does a pretty decent Stevie Wonder by the way he swings his head when he asks Rembrandt, "Why did you come back?"
|NAME THAT RIP-OFF:|
- Obviously THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU (likely the movie more than the book since the writers for S3 appear to be mostly illiterate anyway). If they were going to resolve the lame Rickman arc we had been forced to sit through and do it in the final episode of the season (and series, as far as FOX was concerned), the least they could have done was present us with something original. This is just a slap in the face, especially to those who sat through crap like DINOSLIDE and BREEDER in the hopes that there would be some sort of payoff.
- Rickman's line about already being in Hell is yet another homage to Kit Marlowe's DOCTOR FAUSTUS: "Why, this is Hell, nor am I out of it!"
|THE CRINGEE AWARD:|
- Rickman's on a roll. He wins this award hands down. He wasn't believable as a brain-tissue sucking colonel with a fungus problem, so imagine how he copes with playing that ON TOP OF being a hybridized man/beast as well. Unfortunately, this scenario isn't merely left to your imagination, we actually get to see it and "it ain't pretty." Rickman delivers some of his most over-the-top vocalizations, such as the one before he morphs into Billy Idol (see above) that comes out as:
(rasping voice) "OH NOOOO! UOH. YAAA OOOOOO EEEEEE!!!"
He gets a great last line too:
"NOT WITHOUT MEEEEE! YEEEEE AAA OOOOO WWWWEEEEEE!!!!!"
as he falls off the cliff. Who was his hero when he was young? Judging from his OTT yells, I'd have to say Sport Goofy ("Yaaahh hooo hooooey.")
|SOMEONE REALLY SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT THIS OUT BETTER:|
- The idea of ending a season and a story arc on a bad movie rip-off.
- When Alessandra is out in the jungle and first meets Quinn and friends, she's wearing a long red dress. Not the most practical attire to be wandering around a jungle of homicidal hybrids in.
- Rickman seems to be less concerned with DNA matches than he used to be since he's now taking samples from hybrids, and then he tries to get it from Wade (whom he never had any documentation on DNA-wise). He's very inconsistent. Next he'll be trying to get brain tissue from the local plant life. Perhaps he already did.
- Vargas is taking a big chance going into the jungle with Daniel and those lousy guns. The hybrids could easily rush and kill both of them.
- "We . . . must have slid into the future." Quinn states this, directly contradicting the framework set up from as far back as the Pilot episode and reiterated AT LEAST as recently as THE EXODUS. He can't even deliver the line without sounding like a stroke victim! Sounds like he's straining to get the words out (at gunpoint.)
- Wade doesn't have much to say or do in the episode, but when she does say something, Sabrina delivers the line in a bizarre manner (e.g: like Kari would). Seems like Ms Lloyd reached her snapping point with this episode and just threw in the towel. She also seems unusually perky. Odd that she never appears in an episode after this one. Why would she be happy about that after all the fun we've all had with the rest of S3? Who wouldn't enjoy delivering lines like "I blew a few frequencies" and arguing with Kari week after week? Like the Caramilk secret, we may never know...
- "On a beach, OK!" - Wade belts out this line in such a stilted manner that it is as if she's saying something really clever and everyone else is so dumb that she has to emphasize it for the rest of us to get it. Then again, maybe she was addressing the writers . . .
- "I hate wearing wet clothes." - Maggie. Boy is SHE in the wrong season if that is true. Less than one minute in and already we're getting wet t-shirt contests and sexual innuendo. :)
- "What am I going to wear until these dry?" - Maggie again. Was there anyone who didn't think this was implying something other than a simple question? If Peckinpah had his way, I'm sure the answer would be "Nothing" and Maggie would be running around the island naked.
- "You wanna slaaahhhhde, it's the only way to survahhhhhve." - Quinn starts spouting more of the sliding rules (seen previously in SOLE SURVIVORS) referring to improvising. As if they weren't bad enough the first time, he has to give that awful delivery of his line. Ugghhhh!
- Maggie summarizes the situation for us because obviously the fans are too dumb to see that the creature following them knows the terrain better than they do and that they have no weapons, giving it an advantage. Good thing she spelled it out for us. Granted, after SLITHER, they should have little trouble navigating since we got to see that Maggie and Wade were able to locate Quinn and Remmy in the jungle of a foreign country on a parallel earth with little trouble.
- "You didn't know the professor that well," Quinn says after Maggie states she's never heard a man snarl like that before. Quinn, yet again captured perfectly, exhibits his standard levels of Season 3 remorse by taking cheap shots at their dead companion and Wade, who fell to pieces in past episodes at the mere mention of Arturo, seems to have contracted this (no reaction), as has Remmy, who actually laughs. Is this another shining example of Peckinpah's humour? Only time will tell.
- "Looks like something out of a science fiction movie" - Rembrandt says what we all were thinking every week since EXODUS.
- Rickman explains to Ceres why he lets him live (so he can take Ceres to "another world" - perhaps the soap opera for all we know).
- Rembrandt anticipates another movie rip-off when Quinn says "A doctor?" and Remmy responds, "Let's hope it isn't Frankenstein". Unfortunately, he was right about the rip-off, but got the movie wrong. Given all the horror plots this season though, it was an admirable try.
- "As nice as this place seems to be with your electric fences, warm hospitality and interesting array of wildlife, we don't want to stay." - Maggie sounds like she's out of breath by the time she says "fences" and spews the rest of the lines with so little oxygen that you can almost hear her gasping for air when she's done.
- "Trust us, we're not even registered to vote around here. HA HA" - Wade strikes again. She seems to be taking everything a bit too lightly now, in stark contrast to her repeated over-reacting to everything in previous episodes. Granted, she doesn't have anything to really react to since her role in the story is essentially to do nothing. Wade could have been left out of the story and it wouldn't change a thing.
- This was priceless. Quinn says of Rembrandt, "Sometimes he lets his emotions get the best of him" to explain his irrational behaviour. Uh huh. Have we forgotten some of the recent adventures, Mr Hypocrisy? Let's see, in SLITHER Quinn is prepared to leave everyone for the snake woman and turns against Remmy to take her side. In BREEDER, he risks everything to save Maggie when the others insist on leaving her behind. In just about every episode Quinn either beats someone up, kills someone, or gets a psychotic look in his eyes as he goes bonkers. Hardly the picture of mental tranquility to be passing judgement on Rembrandt's state of mind.
- Quinn describes the "Peckinpah method" of plot construction and story telling with the line: "So when do we get the guns?"
- "Do you have a ... mate?"
"That pleases me." - Alessandra talking to Remmy. Uh huh. Right.
- "Noooooowww if I can i-DENT-ify and controooooool those markers, I might be able to eeeeliminate them before they take hold . . . (pause) . . . in you."
Vargas' manner of line delivery is a rollercoaster of AC-centuation and Eeeeeelongation of phonemes. Ceres also mimics this methodology, but focusses more on the accentuations and throws in some exaggerated head movements with each syllable to boot.
- "I created you and I can destroy you too!" - Dr Vargas turns into Ming the Merciless here. After praising Michael, he's dumb enough to put his hand in the cage and gets bitten, then wants him destroyed! Oh, and he really covered his outburst well with the "Tut-tut" he appends to his sentence.
- "Daniel isn't evolved enough to figure it [the threat of Vargas] out. I trust his intuition." - Alessandra being less than complimentary of Daniel's cognitive abilities. First, how much intuition does it take to think something is wrong when the Dr says (roughly) "Don't let them leave, I have plans for them"?
Furthermore, how does being evolved account for him not knowing what he plans? Could it be just because Vargas never said what he was going to do? Alessandra had at least as much knowledge of Vargas as Daniel does, and she can't figure it out either. Sounds like she's just blowing her own horn here. :) This sentence could easily be referring to Peckinpah's logical skills:
FOX executive: "Peck's not evolved enough to figure it [How to write] out, but I trust his intuition."
- "Mrowwwr," says Alessandra after the sound editors insert the sound of a purring cat.
- "Is that you, Maggie, my darling?" - Rickman after catching Maggie in a net.
- Vargas' reply to Rembrandt's assertion that he [Vargas] said that the hybrids were used for medical purposes sounds like he made it up as he went and is also a pretty lame answer. "Yes, but I . . . (pause to remember line) . . . wasn't making any progress." I suppose if he had failed to devise a unified field theory of physics that he'd just build a nuclear warhead instead as well.
- "Get your stinkin' paw off me." - Maggie shoos away Rickman's advances "real macho-like". "We don't need no stinkin' Rickmans."
- When Rickman says he's in Hell ("Look at me, I'm already there"), I feel Mr Dickson is saying this with real conviction, referring to the character he has been forced to portray. "Look at the role I've got and this ridiculous make-up, luv. I'm already there!" No wonder he jumps off a cliff at the end. I wonder if that was part of the show or if Mr Dickson really DID jump off the cliff. I haven't seen him in any shows since . . .
- "Look in the mirror; think how lucky that makes me feel." - Wade to Rickman, again taking things a bit too lightly. And what is with her eyes? They dart around erratically as she says this.
- "Heeere?" - Rickman's response to Vargas' arrival. Not only does he look completely stupid when he says this, he stretches the word out like he's coughing up a hairball.
- "Haven't you heard doctor? [Rickman holds up the syringe like it's an Olympic torch]. I change my mind every day." - OH . . . MY . . . GOD! This one takes the cake. I'll have to make a special award for the stupidity of this line. The look on Rickman's face when he says it, in addition to the context and other such silliness makes this THE most cringeworthy moment of the entire season so far as I can remember (even more than STOKER). The look of shock on Vargas' face in the next shot is likely the result of Michael York's disbelief that Neil Dickson could bring himself to deliver that line, that poorly, with a straight face. A man capable of that . . . could be capable of ANYTHING!
- "Get the timers and Rickman will be here forever." - Wade spells out the situation for those of us who are as dense as twenty gallons of crap in a one quart jar.
- Wade explains to Remmy, "If you miss the slide, you're never going to get home." I suppose after three years of sliding and rushing to make it to the slide, one can still be prone to forget the consequences of not being on time.
- Quinn and Wade suddenly defer to Maggie's military "expertise" to let Rembrandt go on alone to Vargas' lair, when before they were going on about how it takes more than "a military mindset" to survive sliding. Any other time, they'd be determined to help Rembrandt.
- "Kill them AAAAWWWWWWWLLLLLLLL!" - Take a guess. Who else could deliver such a line with such ... plausible emoting, but Rickman!
- "I was never a team player until I met you guys." - Maggie to Quinn. Just the sort of attitude one would want from their pilots, or just about any position in the military.
- Quinn rattles off, "It'll take us home. Yeah that's right us, I'm not going to leave you on this island" like he's going for some kind of speed record and doesn't want Kari to react between the first and second sentences. LOL!
- Pretty much all the alleged hybrids. Michael the ape-boy looked like his head was dipped in glue and rolled across a thick layer of clippings on the floor of a barber shop. Nice nose too.
- Maggie clubs the hybrid that attacks Quinn with a styrofoam rock (doesn't look quite right)!
- That Rickman morph! He looks SOOOOO stupid! Does he really have to bare his teeth in every scene as well? Was that in Mr Dickson's contract?
- Rickman also seems to have a goofy-looking overbite from the false teeth.
- The strip of fur on Alessandra's head.
- The fish tanks of various Jello flavours beside Vargas before Rembrandt storms into his lab.
|STUPID ACTIONS TO ADVANCE THE PLOT:|
- Alessandra, supposedly one of Vargas' best results, sprains her ankle so badly that she has to be carried, after stumbling over flat ground! It's a wonder they didn't amputate her leg with all the damage that seems to have been done. *guffaw*
- OK, now we come to one of the worst contrivances I've seen in a long time. Quinn is attacked and drops the timer in the jungle, but doesn't bother to go back for it even though it was only a short distance behind them. As though the missing timer routine wasn't tired enough, they have to stretch out the episode by making the cast react stupidly to its loss as well.
- The dart guns apparently hold a whole three darts at most. Vargas should be supplying weapons for future wars. They'd be over in a matter of minutes.
- Rembrandt falls for Catwoman instantly, but there's no on-screen chemistry that I can see. This is set up solely for the purpose of giving Rembrandt a reason to go after Alessandra when all they have to do is wait for the timer to count down.
- No wonder Vargas' research was a failure. He thinks that genetic markers are the genes that cause genetic diseases, when in fact they are RFLP sequences that are linked with the genes that cause disease. In other words, they don't cause the disease, but they are usually an indicator that someone has the gene that does. Kinda like how Peckinpah's name on a script indicates a show is about to have a bad episode.
- Rembrandt leaves the group to the mercy of the hybrids, even though all he has to do is lift the net and throw it off. Yet Mr Navy can't even do that much . . .
- Rembrandt objects to the hybrids being used as slaves, but has no objection to them being created for research purposes and locked in cages.
- I should include a section on coincidences that occur all too conveniently. Wade is saved when Vargas shows up just as Rickman is about to jab her with the needle, at which point he leaves her alone (it's not like it takes that long to extract the tissue anyways).
- Rickman displays more of his tactical genius when he leaves both timers behind in the cave with his unguarded prisoners.
- It didn't take a whole lot to short out the gate at the end. Not much of a defense. Also, since we've only seen Daniel and Alessandra roaming the compound, how did Vargas get back in after returning from Rickman's base? Did he leave the gate unelectrified? Not very sound tactics. He must have borrowed them from Maggie and Rickman.
|DEFIANCE OF PHYSICS/BIOLOGY/LOGIC AWARD:|
- When being stalked by a wild animal (and apparently chased by the cameraperson from THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT), just how many out there would simply turn and run, rather than back away slowly? Lucky for them it wasn't a rabid dog, but judging by how fast they actually DO move when Quinn says "Go, go" they don't have much to worry about. Maggie's husband could have run faster.
- Vargas' lies about the hybrids being the result of his experiment to locate genetic markers and remove genetic diseases is pretty stupid; even Quinn should have seen through this. If you try to improve humanity by removing such diseases, there is no need to turn people into hybrids. Perhaps Ms Hagan (or whomever was responsible for this) is unaware that some people do not possess these genetic defects in real life and do not exhibit any symptoms of looking like goofy human/animal mixes.
- Wade and Maggie's wet t-shirt contest at the beginning.
- Wade and Maggie wear tight-fitting shirts and shorts again (though Wade's shirt alternates between being tied up and hanging loose.)
|WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?:|
- Maggie's sexual relations (Clintonesque as they are) with Rickman. This wasn't foreshadowed, or even subtly hinted at. It has nothing to do with the outcome of the story (or the arc) and doesn't seem to have had any effect on anything in previous episodes either. WHAT was the point of bringing that up?! It just reinforced the image of Maggie as a tramp. I recall a number of people saying "What a surprise" (sarcastically) when this first aired.
- Rickman says he can use Quinn's timer for parts to repair his own should it break. When did Rickman learn how to tinker with the timer? Did he suck up Arturo's intelligence as well as his brain tissue?
- We get to see the return of that briefly absent character, Action-Hero Quinn as he grabs a hybrid outside Vargas' compound and punches the tar out of it. His mother would be so proud!
- We also get to see the return of the electric fence schtick. At least Quinn didn't pretend to get electrocuted, though he sure seems like he could use some shock therapy at times.
|WHERE DID THAT GO:|
- Originality? Hello? Are you out there?
- Peckinpah achieves his life-long dream of turning SLIDERS into BAYWATCH with a slow motion sequence of Quinn et al rising up out of the crashing waves in slow motion. All we need now is Rickman with red shorts and one of those floatation devices diving to help them (also in slow motion) delivering lines like David Hasselhoff. Scratch that last phrase; he already delivers his lines like that. Not to worry though, we've had plenty of shots showing Maggie's "floatation devices," so at least this was established early in the season and negates the need for Rickman here.
- Rickman steps into camerashot as the lead hybrid approaches and asks "When do we attack." It looks like a second-rate attempt at Shakespeare.
Rickman: (Enter, stage left): When do we attack again? In thunder, lightning or in rain?
Hybrid: I bite my thumb at Vargas! Forsoothe!
Actually, the real lines really DO rhyme. They come out as:
RICKMAN: When do we attack?
HYBRID: We don't, I told you that!
The hybrid then says: "VARGAS has guns and we don't."
Rickman: "So a few die."
The rhymes end there, but what they COULD have added was:
HYBRID: No they won't.
Maybe SLIDERS, Shakespeare-style should be my next project . . .
- When a hybrid tells Rickman and Ceres of the fight with the humans (by making a couple silly growling noises), I almost expected Rickman to say, "What is it Lassie? Ranger Rick fell and broke his leg? Oh no!"
Anyway, Ceres seems to get an AWFUL lot of information from "grrr awa awa": namely that there was a fight with human strangers (2 male, 2 female) who fell out of the sky! What an efficient language!!!
- When a hybrid drops on Remmy from above, Quinn just stands there watching until Maggie beats the animal with a stick. This is followed by Alessandra popping out and pointing her gun at a motionless Quinn, and Wade yells a really helpful "Quinn, look out."
- Alessandra drinking the water from the pan. It looked pretty silly, especially when you see how far her head is from the water just before Rembrandt lowers the pan. Just how long is her tongue anyway?
- Vargas appears to feed his hand to Michael. It looks like he shoves it straight through the bars into his mouth!
- Alessandra entering Rembrandt's room does so hand-first, snaking it along the door frame, just like anyone else would when entering a room.
- Maggie spits on Rickman, but there's nothing on his face. He then follows this up by stupidly licking his teeth, making silly noises at Maggie and laughing maniacally.
- Rickman seems to be acting out Pechinpah's fantasies. He's been Maggie's lover (With Peckinpah working on the show, she's always wearing something revealing and her chest gets in camerashot more than her face), and he expresses that he finds Wade attractive (Rickman goes after all the women). What the heck was the point of him bringing THAT up (his libido has become as out of control as Quinn's!). He also picks Wade to be his victim (Peck's desire to get Sabrina out of the way to devote more attention to Kari).
- A meeting of two evil geniuses. Dr Vargas starts wheeling and dealing with Rickman.
- Vargas stroking the head of a rabbit while talking to a strapped-down Rembrandt. Here's some seemingly appropriate dialogue that we were thankfully spared:
Rembrandt: "You're mad, Vargasshhh. Do you ecshpect me to talk."
Vargas: "No Mr Brown, I expect you to die."
[Alessandra turns on the laser, which threatens to cut Rembrandt in half as the 007 music kicks in]
- Vargas thumps the syringe with which he plans to "dispose of" Rembrandt . . . before putting anything into it. Smart.
- Alessandra turns on Vargas and unties Rembrandt the instant Vargas turns his back, and before he's even left the room.
- Maggie attacks Rickman. The way she jumps him, it looks like she's trying to . . . ahem . . . relive her days as his lover, shall we say? What military school taught her THAT move? Fits in nice with all the other evidence we have for the way the military is run on Maggie's former homeworld (see DINOSLIDE review for some of the scintillating details).
- Vargas is easily disarmed and blubbers like a baby when he gets punched in the eye. His whole last scene is hysterically overacted.
- The cliffs are hardly a strategically important place to go as the sliders don't have any weapons to begin with, they have no fortifications to get in/behind and they don't even see Rickman approaching until too late.
- Vargas seems to be on some sort of acid trip with all the goofy faces he keeps making, such as bugging out his eyes and swinging his head around erratically. The sad thing is, even this and his sometimes hysterical behaviour wasn't enough for him to beat Rickman for the CRINGEE AWARD!
If I included negative values on my rating scale, I would have used them, and they would have been very large magnitudes indeed. The episode is bad in its own right, but as a closing to the Rickman arc and the season, it falls apart faster than plates at a Greek wedding. Nobody is really trying because they have no incentive to do so (from a script view, a renewal view, or just about any view you can think of except getting the season over with). UGH!
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