Episode Review: “The King is Back”
Original Airdate: 5/10/95
The Sliders arrive on a world where Rembrandt’s double is as famous as Elvis Presley.
Quinn’s double has passed along the sentence of death to our Quinn for painting a freeway overpass. The judge he stands before is akin to Lance Ito; former judge of the O.J. Simpson trial. Coincidence? I think not. The rest of the Sliders are anxiously awaiting the slide in the courtroom while the sentence is passed. Before we know it they’ve made one of the “coolest jailbreaks of all-time”, as Quinn likes to call it.
One neat thing is that they visit three different worlds in this episode. This really gets your imagination and sense of adventure going. While the Sliders try to figure out where they are, they notice that everyone is staring at them. This is where the fun starts. Arturo realizes he’s left his “fly” down and Rembrandt is mistaken as a “Rembrandt impersonator”. The singing sensational Rembrandt of this world supposedly died in a boating accident. I will admit that Rembrandt’s continually bragging that he’s a big singer of this world is a tad annoying. But then again who wouldn’t brag about being a big superstar?
Instead of finding ourselves in a horror house, we’re left in a ‘humor hotel’. The comical genius and actor Will Sasso stars again in Sliders as the hotel clerk. He’s one of the reasons why this episode is probably the funniest of them all. The heavy comic approach is a great strength, which I feel should have been used more in previous episodes. Only until an interruption of “Skipper’s Island”, does Rembrandt realize he and the Sliders have been videotaped and appear on the news.
Captain Jack Brim, the famous manager of this world’s Rembrandt Brown is also comical, yet nearly a pest to the Sliders. Back on the local news there’s a Freedlander tape or the infamous “Zapruder tape” of the Sliders seen walking across the street. Unbelievably, the news media sees our Rembrandt as this worlds sensational Rembrandt, Quinn as Jim Morrison of the Doors and even Arturo as the Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti!! You have to see it to believe this outrageously hilarious scene!
Since it appears the King, (Rembrandt Brown) has returned from behind the spotlight, large waves of fans convene upon the hotel. Remmy gets a little too anxious and goes out to greet his fans. Before we know it Arturo is pulled down to his underpants, and Rembrandt’s clothing is shredded. Realizing the motel clerk tipped everyone off of their whereabouts, Arturo wreaks havoc on him. Quinn (Jerry O’Connell) nearly destroys the take, by almost laughing out loud while the Professor is mistaken again as Mr. Pavarotti. This is undoubtedly one of the most hilarious scenes in sci-fi history.
Again, you won’t be disappointed by the comedy of the episode as well as the dramatic ending and punch line. It’s almost as if the storyline is directed at a ‘what if’ Elvis Presley came out of hiding. Apart from the comedy we’re given some action as well as one of the most iconic Rembrandt songs, “Tears in My Fro”.
Rembrandt is soon captured and held hostage by foe Maurice Fish. Angered by the outcry of support and a new live performance by our Rembrandt, this world’s Rembrandt eventually comes out of hiding. Catching up with the Sliders, Rembrandt’s double eventually saves him from the crazed, Maurice. This world’s Remmy bows out and gives our Rembrandt all the glory, fame and life. Rembrandt realizes he has the opportunity to live the life he’s always wanted. He has to make a life changing decision, to stay or slide.
Arturo: “Keep them away! Keep them away! Keep them away!”
Quinn: “Are you all right?”
Arturo: “I think all the essentials are still there.”
Arturo (to Gomez the hotel clerk): “You– will call the police now, and get us a police escort our of here, away from that mob!”
Gomez: “Whoa, be reasonable. A police escort? Mr. Pavarotti–
Arturo: “I am not Mr. Pavarotti! Mr. Pavarotti is an Italian. He speak-a like-a this. Do I speak-a like this? No! Why? Because I am an Englishman, you blistering idiot! Now, I have had it up to here with you! You had no right to advertise our presence in this third-rate hotel.”