|"And you expect me to believe in Sliding?" "Of course." "Why?" "Because it's real..."|
We begin in another world's San Francisco as Rembrandt is pouring out his heart to a Dr. Matthew Liebling, a psychiatrist. He drops a few details about their adventures, apparently having explained the concept of multiverse travel to him as his starting point and claiming that his "boat has been rocked too many times" in their travels. Liebling tells him to start at the beginning, and Remmy begins to tell a story from a few weeks ago.
The Sliders fall into a suburban area in the customary manner and with the usual banter. As they recover, however, Quinn suddenly begins to recognize things about where they've landed. A neighbor's car that was rear-ended before they left...a neighbor's place...and then they find the Mallory home. Quinn tries the Squeaky Gate test...and it passes! It squeaked! To further compound the belief, Quinn's mother rushes out and there is a joyful reunion between mother and son. As Remmy puts it, after eighteen months of wandering the multiverse, it seems that they are finally home at last.
Except, y'know...totally not, but it's not actually a twist this time, so I'll let it go.
In the Mallory household, champagne flutes are passed about in celebration, Wade phones her family who are apparently in joyful shock at their return, and Quinn and Remmy stroke Arturo's ego about a few of his exploits including ripping off the movie Armageddon (which came out a full two years after this, so...Arturo got ripped off by Michael Bay). Enjoying the fact that they've finally come home, Quinn makes a toast to friendship and Remmy adds "and to home".
Later, in Quinn's basement, Arturo is lost in thought while Quinn shows Remmy the basement where it all started. Arturo relays his thoughts to the group, seeing as they don't know how to fully control Sliding, they ought to keep quiet about their experiences. Remmy immediately takes issue with it, saying how it would boost his career and Wade and Quinn bringing up the more practical notion that they can't just lie to their families about where they've been for eighteen months.
Quinn eventually talks Arturo into agreeing that they need to at least tell their families and swear them to secrecy. Arturo promises, in about a month, he and Quinn will have the biggest press conference the world has ever seen, giving Quinn a pointed note that they will start work on Monday. Quinn and Wade share a tender moment where she thanks him for all they've expected and kisses him before taking off herself.
Remmy continues to narrate as Arturo returns to San Francisco University, meeting his assistant who is apparently surprised to see him...and seemingly rather confused at Arturo's references to having been away for a long time. Apparently, his ego is so intense that he can't figure out something's up. Remmy, meanwhile, meets up with his agent and promises him a big comeback the likes of which the world has never seen.
|"Son of a bitch must pay..."|
I'd make a sports-related joke, but as we established in "Eggheads", I don't sports goodly at all.
He brings this to the attention of Remmy and Wade claiming that this isn't their world because the 49ers didn't play against the Jets in the Super Bowl that year, but the pair of them are not convinced in spite of the fact that Quinn is a football fanatic and would very obviously remember statistics like this. Quinn heads back to Casa di Mallory just in time to hear glass breaking in the basement and a figure in a black ski mask coming from downstairs to tackle him and make a break for it. Quinn pursues, but the figure escapes via Oz's van from Buffy.
The next morning, Quinn arrives at Wade's new place and talks to her new assistant. Getting her of a conference call, Quinn informs her at the timer was stolen in the break-in. He's avoided making a statement, however, as he doesn't care about getting the credit because he still isn't convinced this is their world. He shows her a picture of his first grade class, and one of the children who had braces on their world...doesn't. However, Wade insists it makes no sense because their families were here waiting for them. Quinn theorizes that their doubles on this world slid at the same time they did, but Wade refutes it. Quinn is determined, however, and leaves in spite of Wade's protests.
Arturo has his press conference to explain the Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky Bridge theory. When Quinn enters, he is flustered and calls for a recess. The two talk, Quinn trying to convince him that they are not on their world. But Arturo is no more convinced than Wade and Rembrandt were.
Rembrandt, in the meanwhile, is in the studio listening to a re-recording of his hit "Cry Like A Man" when Wade shows up and they discuss Quinn's seemingly deteriorating mental state and that everything is wonderful and, in spite of everything, they owe him for it. They also mention a museum opening tomorrow, Remmy wanting to try to get Quinn to it to smooth everything over with Arturo if they can.
|[Insert Statue Pun Here]|
At the opening, a big black tie event, Arturo greets Wade and Remmy before they are swallowed up by the media. Shooing them off, Wade immediately turns on Arturo and chides him for taking credit for the discovery of sliding. Arturo retorts that he laid the groundwork and would have done it himself had Quinn not done it, a rather callous attitude that makes neither of them all that suspicious. However, upon the unveiling of Arturo's new statue and him being proclaimed "the Father of Interdimensional Travel", they suddenly realize that the Professor's head may have gotten a little too overinflated and something needs to be done.
They also find the timer on display. It appears that Arturo had it stolen.
On the phone, Wade tells Quinn of his betrayal and insists that he cannot steal the timer back. He begins his usual spiel of "we're not home" and Wade angrily tells him that they are and that he needs to get over it before hanging up and coming up upon the big, shocking twist of the episode - the Azure Gate Bridge!
|"YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, GODDAMN YOU!!!"|
This is at least addressed when Wade laments that she must have heard "Azure Gate Bridge" over the radio a few dozen times and it just never registered. Quinn tries to comfort her, telling her that they'll get the timer and then slide out of there and that their real families are still out there waiting for them. Quinn also forgives Wade for thinking he was going crazy. They confront Arturo with the knowledge of the world being different...and apparently he already worked it out. He tells them to grow up - this is likely to be the best they will get, since they'll likely never get back to their own world.
Quinn demands the timer back, but Arturo says its on loan to the science museum. Quinn reasserts that he'll get the timer and they're sliding out with or without Arturo. The Professor tells him the veiled threat of "so will I" after saying that Quinn will do what he has to. Outside, Quinn tells Wade that Arturo has basically lost hope that they'll ever get home. He tells Wade he can't promise that he'll ever be able to get them home, but Wade has faith that they will get home.
Having seen the rest of this show, it's really sad that such innocent naivete will go punished repeatedly. But we'll beat that dead horse when we come to it.
The two of them head off to go tell Rembrandt. And I haven't been noting it, but the episode has been cutting back occasionally to Rembrandt in Liebling's office telling the story. He tells him that, at this point, the re-issue of "Cry Like A Man" had sold more copies in a short time than the original had in sixteen years, and he was being worked into a deal to get his old band back together - the Four Topps. Maurice (who you may remember from "The King Is Back") and another one of the Topps come in and make demands of him, interrupted by Quinn making a call that Remmy just says to take a message for.
|"Uh...hey, guys! We were just looking for the bathroom, can you help us?"|
After the commercial break, Remmy tells Liebling that the experience really woke up him, learning what happened to Quinn and Wade and bailing them out of jail and realizing they were willing to miss the slide for their sake. Liebling's secretary interrupts and he steps out to speak to her, telling her to call a nearby mental hospital for the most extraordinary case of off the wall dementia he's ever seen. She complies and he comes back to hear the insanity.
The Topps apparently pulled out and Remmy got some of the sheet music to learn that some of the Topps' hits...are actually co-written by his bandmates on this world. He knew the truth, but was so caught up in his success that he didn't want to admit it, apologizing for his actions. They head to Arturo's place, reasoning that he must have the timer. Because breaking and entering worked so well before, Quinn does it again and they begin rooting around. As they do...they suddenly hear a familiar voice calling for help...
...the Professor! And I think you know what that means!
Times The Sliders Have Run Into Their Doubles: 8
With a shorter, snappier line, no less!
|"Help! Peter Jackson's keeping me here until I agree to be in The Simarillion!!!"|
We get a wonderful scene where Arturo argues with himself, each one trying to convince the others that they are the real Arturo. The one we believe to be Fauxturo brings up such adventures they've had as one where he built the atom bomb or the one where he met his late wife, though the one formerly chained retorts that anyone who's read Wade's diary would know that. They get down to fisticuffs, the unchained one punching out the other. Quinn gets back the timer, telling them they have seventeen minutes until they slide.
Buuuuuuut, that doesn't keep them from going back and giving goodbyes to their families - Quinn his not-mother and Wade her not-father and not-mother. Arturo opens the vortex, and Fauxturo arrives by taxi insisting they've made a terrible mistake. Quinn thinks to just bring both and sort it out when they slide, but Arturo eighty-sixes that plan and tells the others to slide while we witness the most epic game of "Stop Hitting Yourself" ever devised since Kirk fought that shapeshifting alien chick in The Undiscovered Country.
Wade and Remmy go through, Quinn remaining to witness the fight and make sure the Professor gets through. One eventually wounds the other to the point where they can escape and he proceeds through the Vortex with Quinn, leaving the other to watch as it closes and proclaims "oh, my god!". Back in the "present", Remmy wraps up his story, having said all there is to say. They're back to wandering the multiverse with no idea if they're ever going to get home, on top of not knowing whether the Arturo they have is really their Arturo or not.
|"Tell me about the lambs, Rembrandt..."|
Okay, let's go ahead and get the big thing about this episode out of the way. I hold that the real Arturo (that is to say, the Arturo from Earth Prime) slid from that world with the others. My reasoning for this is simple, his actions in later episodes up until his departure from the show is more consistent with the Arturo we've seen than the one that appears as a double in this episode. True, Arturo has had moments where his ego has gotten the better of him (and he is no stranger to them after this episode, either), but he is a man of reason and logic and not one to be overcome by selfish pride or to not ultimately do the right thing when the situation called for it.
And it becomes a moot point regardless as the situation would never be resolved before executive producer Tracy Tormé would leave the show. His original intention was for the Arturo that slid with the group to be the double from Earth Double Prime, but as I've stated before his actions after his episode give me no reason to believe that he is or was indeed ever planned to be. There is such a thing as pretending to be something else in order to survive, but I imagine the persona could only have been kept up for so long, given Arturo's rather pigheaded nature in either universe.
Also, this does bring to mind how a lot of Arturo's duplicates are strangely in the psychotically evil category. But then, hey, doubles be cray, am I right?
Also of note in this episode is the continuation of Rembrandt's character development. Consider back in "The King Is Back", when he had to be pulled offstage by the others once screwed over by his double in his big comeback. In this episode, when Remmy realizes that the fame is keeping him from seeing what's important, he not only turns his back on all of it, but actually apologizes to Quinn and Wade - something that he would have never done in the early days.
It's a very small moment, but it's a good one that contributes to his change from an egotistical jerk into the beloved everyman that he will be...barring some writing issues, of course, but again - dead horse we'll beat when we get there.
This episode in general is a pretty good one. I do like the mystery of which Arturo is which throughout, even if it's obvious (to me, at least) which one did slide with the others at the end. I like Remmy's character development, and besides the minor niggle with the fact that they somehow get back to their families in seventeen minutes to talk to them before they slide, I can't find any real problems with it.
I mean, other some use of the Idiot Ball and failed Spot Checks for them not to realize that THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE IS THE WRONG COLOR!
Next time, we get another love story. This time with some unforeseen circumstances. Stay tuned!
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