17. “Obsession”

Episode Review: “Obsession”
Season 2
Original Airdate: 5/24/96
Review:

The Sliders arrive on a world where a small percentage of the population possess psychic abilities.

We're introduced to an idyllic dream sequence in the beginning scene of this episode. Wade and a tall, dark and handsome ride horses through a scenic forest. Wade is awakened by her alarm clock and the rest of the Sliders rush her out of bed in anticipation of the next slide. What's neat about this scene is the change up of the timing of the slides. We've had day and night slides, now we get an early 4 am departure. I can see myself now getting up for an early morning slide.

After leaving New India World the Sliders arrive on the next world with Wade literally meeting the man of her dreams. The mystery man named Derek Bond introduces himself to the Sliders and asks Wade to dinner. He explains he is a seer who has experienced this evening a thousand times ever since he was a child. He knows the Sliders in great detail even down to their names.

As the Professor and Quinn try to reason how Derek knows who they are, we see a sign talking about the Earth's celestial body. Yes, the U.S. is mining the moon for gold in this alternate universe. As they continue on their way a car with the nameplate "Oracle 1" nearly runs over Wade and hits Rembrandt injuring him in the process. Playing it safe, they take Rembrandt to a local hospital. Here's where the fun begins. The Professor picks up a monthly news magazine with the headline "JFK Dead at 78". Of course on our world John F. Kennedy died from an assassination at 46 years of age. We also find out later in the episode that a seer prevented the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Parallel history and a good story are presented yet again and it's nice to see. It's a perfect marriage like cookies and milk, one without the other and the harmony just isn't there.

As the nurse examines Rembrandt's foot she realizes there's something out of the ordinary about the Sliders. Wade questions her as to why she doesn't remove his sock and shoe before examining his foot. Clearly she is psychic as well, as Rembrandt puts it she is a walking lie detector. Can you imagine our world with seers questioning your every move and personal secrets? In the same instances, assassinations and tragedies have been stopped in this psychic world. How would our society react to such a practice? Would they even believe it? As Quinn explains; from one coincidence the country sets up a crazy social order.

Before the Sliders leave the hospital Rembrandt and the Professor are quickly "preventative arrested" by the police. The Police Oracle predicts that they will kill their close friend Wade. They explain the Prime Oracle tried to kill Wade, but the police insist if that was the case it was for national security. In a bizarre reversal of legal matters here you can be arrested before committing a crime. It's spying at its finest.

The Prime Oracle knows through a vision he will die soon and must choose his successor. Wade's man of her dreams Derek is chosen as the head oracle. She goes shopping for the right dress and gets dazzled up for her dinner date with Derek all to the opposition of Quinn. I can't say I blame him. Quinn's known Wade for years yet she goes out with a man that she saw merely for a few minutes at best. She even has the audacity to tell Quinn "don't wait up" as she leaves the room with the new Prime Oracle. How can the rest of the Sliders let Wade go off with a stranger they hardly know? What about the rule "no involvement with the locals"?

While Rembrandt is off on a date with his nurse, Wade returns to the Dominion Hotel to give Quinn and the Professor some startling news. Derek asked Wade to marry him. She says he's everything she could possibly ask for. Are you kidding? As Quinn said she knows this after one date? She says she's not infatuated with him, but insists he needs to to be told in person. Quinn believes she's off the deep end, and I agree. Rembrandt and Arturo seem so laid back about the situation too. It's completely out of character for them.

Derek gives her a tour of her own recreated childhood home. He read her mind to complete such a project and Wade doesn't take kindly to it. She explains what he done is like rape. After realizing what a creep this guy is Wade finally comes to her senses or it seems. She's in house arrest at the Prime Oracle's haven. After attempts at an escape and mounting anger towards Derek, Wade swallows a bottle of prescription pills. In a slow, softly fading voice she calls Quinn in a desperate attempt to tell him her final words in this life. Quinn rushes to the Oracle mansion and finds Wade's lifeless body in her bed.

This episode is a hard reminder to us that not all of our dreams come true, no matter how promising they may be. Clearly the Professor and Rembrandt didn't murder Wade and that really wasn't her childhood room either. So don't believe everything you read. True love is more powerful than any dream could dare be. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Derek: “She was all I had. I loved her.”
Quinn (picking up Wade’s body): “Love? She had to kill herself to get away from you. You call that love?”
Derek: “I didn’t understand.”
Quinn: “A lot of good that does now.”
(butler): “It’s time, sir. You have to go to your ceremony.”
Derek: “What do I do?
Quinn: “Same as me– you go on without her.”
(butler): “The President is waiting.”
Derek: “May God forgive me.”
Quinn (talking to Wade’s body in ambulance): “Why did I have to take you with me? I didn’t know what I was doing. God, I’m so sorry.”

Time Again and Warning

warning

“Where there’s mystery, there’s hope.” – Quinn Mallory from season two’s episode “Time Again and World”

Hope is what I did. My first viewing left me in utter dismay, and I would say even my 20th viewing did as well of “Time Again and World”. The episode does hold a mystery. But in reality the episode is very clever and holds a very important message. Pardon the pun, but time and again I’ve heard fans say that “Time Again and World” is a train wreck of an episode that is completely confusing and poorly written. For the most part they’d be right. It takes complete concentration and then some to fully understand the episode. Even then you will still won’t understand everything. However, the more I watch, the more important this episode appears to be.

warning_wrap1The reason the episode comes off as confusing is the writing but also the intent behind it. The episode wasn’t written to be fun or really even entertaining. It’s purpose was to send a message. On our own world John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman, or so they’d have you believe. Theories of the motive range from anything from a coup d’etat to his fear of secret societies. According to the episode after John F. Kennedy was assassinated huge portions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were expunged. They explain all the famous political prisoners are in Alcatraz, Martin Luther King Jr. Bobby Kennedy, Sam Kinison, etc. Clearly a huge political power grab was in order to control the citizens and their rights.

warning_wrap2Cops are everywhere here in a martial law/police state like enforcement. J. Edgar Hoover was the step father of America. A kilt wearing police force on every street corner seems to be his own created Gestapo. When it comes right down to it our confusion of the episode is a bit parallel to the society itself. It a secretive and oppressed society that isn’t easily understood by outsiders. The Sliders are just as confused as we are and ask citizens in a park about Alcatraz. Their reaction to the Sliders is suspicious, wondering if they are secret police. It’s clearly a controlled society where freedoms such as speech can be met with harassment and severe punishment. Here the police are to serve and enforce, not serve and protect.

warning_wrap3To top it off the martial law fighting Judge Nassau is seen as the “last of the fundamental Constitutionalists.” A free thinker. “Time Again and World” shows us how tyranny suppresses everything from music, privacy and freedom. Rembrandt finds out that R&B and Rock and Roll never existed on this world. You can’t even go into a night club… in the middle of the day, without policemen toting guns on the sidewalk. You’re required to give a fingerprint for staying in a hotel, and you can be arrested just for the mere knowledge of well, anything. As Quinn Mallory put it “I get the feeling they can do anything they want.”

Yes, the reason we’ve sit down is to enjoy an episode of science fiction, but occasionally the medium of tv is to prove a point. That’s not to excuse the fact that it isn’t explained in an entertaining way. Sure this episode is mediocre but it isn’t amongst the bottom feeders like “The Breeder” and “Easy Slider”. This episode is to warn us that our God given rights can and will be taken if we’re not careful. So the next time you watch “Time Again and World” keep this in mind. Trash the Bill of Rights, and Constitutional freedoms like speech, religion, bearing arms, assembly, and it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s not an unrealistic scenario. It’s a warning.

Why We Love Sliders

**Spoilers**

I think that most of us can generally agree on the reasons why we dislike Sliders. The death of Professor Arturo, the loss of the Mallory brothers, etc. But why do we love Sliders?

I remember the anticipation of waiting to see the premiere of “Sliders” in 1995. It was during my childhood I saw the original airing of the first episode and I believe my anticipation was for at least a few weeks. If my memory serves correct I was somewhat confused about sliding at my first watch too, after all I wasn’t necessarily a “grown up”. But there is plenty in Sliders to catch the imagination of a young boy.

hell_wrap1It was one of the few television shows my family and I looked forward to every week including the Chris Carter hit the “X-Files”, “King of the Hill”, “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” and “Early Edition”. After all, we didn’t have cable access and was limited in our TV series choices. I was just as excited with the season three movie ripoffs and I vividly remember anticipating bizarre episodes like “The Fire Within”. Each night that an episode aired seemed like an event in the making. I couldn’t wait to see what each parallel world was like. The show felt fresh and original from anything I’ve seen before. In fact, I don’t think there’s been anything that substantially close to it since.

I think the reason we love Sliders so much is because the scifi’s setting is on earth. It’s scifi that seems realistic. At a base level it’s comparable to Rod Serling’s scifi masterpiece “The Twilight Zone”, where everything seems normal yet has an odd twist to it. In “Sliders” there’s the perfect mixture of adventure, scifi, comedy and at the appropriate time frightening scenes from earth, not an alien planet. During my first viewing I’ll never forget the chilling moment the Kromaggs were revealed nor the mysterious aura of “Into the Mystic”. These episodes frightened me as a child. We were able to see “double” versions of another person from parallel worlds, which is intriguing to say the least. It makes one wonder what you could have been if certain circumstances played out differently in your own life.

It’s episodes like “Luck of the Draw”, “Invasion”, and “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome” that keep us talking. From bulletin boards to our own conscious we continue to debate and discuss among ourselves the stories of parallel worlds. We keep the discussion going to learn more about the series but most of all because we don’t want to lose the enjoyment the show gave us. It brings back to our senses a type of nostalgia that is isn’t closely matched to any other show.

stolen_wrap2In mid season three we are brought to the heartbreaking scene of the death of our beloved Professor Arturo. As a child I remember crying in the night in front of a flashing television screen during the Professor’s death scene. I was in shock and utter disbelief. I believe it was at that moment we were awakened to how great of a show Sliders is or to some… what Sliders was. Who knows what Sliders would of been if Rembrandt was played by someone other than Cleavant Derricks or if the show was filmed outside North America, etc. All of the right elements came together at the right time to create a memorable scifi classic. Its impact is seen throughout pop culture, fansites, social media and more.

Following the tragic death of Professor Arturo we were haunted in dismay at how characters were treated by writers and how Maggie verbally attacked the other Sliders specifically during season three. It’s something no other television show would dare do to it characters or it’s fans. Yet it was so shocking some of us were still hooked as to where it all would lead. Even at the loss of Wade many of us were excited at the announcement of yet another return of Sliders for it’s fourth season.

necklace_wrap3Deep down many of us had that hope, and enduring desire to see our beloved characters rescued in some way. From Wade to the Mallory’s and even Professor Arturo we could not, and would not let that desire go, even to this very day. We were always thrown a bone from the writers of hopeful rescues of past characters, from the discussion of Wade in season four to the potential rescue of the Mallory’s in season five. Was it a failure? I think not. It kept many of us hoping and taught us that invaluable trait of never ever giving up.

At the time Sliders debuted in 1995 I was somewhat interested in the series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” but it never resonated with me like Sliders did. I never saw a blue sky, I occasionally saw weird looking aliens and I always felt like I was stuck in a building or plane all day. With Sliders there were wide open spaces with unique places to go, different people to meet, endless possibilities and a timeless theme… there’s no place like home. It was on my level playing field, yet with a twist. It was adventure at it’s finest.

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