Of course, this introduces temporal discrepancies. How can the usual familiar present day society for the Sliders end up being 400 years out of date on this world? Digging into the series' own history, the writers unearth a theory previously spouted by Professor Arturo back in season three's very excellent story "The Guardian", only this time Diana fleshes it out much more fully and makes it far more credible. Nice.
Adding to the intrigue is the double of the timer, spawning questions of what happened to the doubles of the Sliders using it, and whether or not we would encounter those doubles, alive or dead, and find out what happened to them. Would it be a precursor of what would happen to our Sliders in the last two episodes of the series? Would we encounter the Rembrandt/Maggie/Mallory/Diana foursome, or some previous combination of regulars?
The discovery of the cryogenic casket was yet more good stuff adding on to the story, but here the writing begins to go off track. Surely the FIRST question must be whether or not its occupant is still alive. It's hard to get invested in following the arguments that ensue without addressing that first. But the episode seems determined to now fall back into an imitation of Egyptian mummy lore, and treat our lead archaeologist as if he comes from our early 1900's instead of a civilization that should be about 500 years more advanced.
At least Ken Jenkins, who had previously appeared in the season four finale "Revelations", gives us a good performance in the role of the archaeologist, and generally the entire cast of the episode works well. I'm just not convinced we ultimately went to an interesting or organic place to find the central conflict of this story, and simply continuing the investigation with the odd differences of opinion and no action-based gun-pulling would have been more fulfilling.... presuming of course that we're going to find something worthy of the intriguing questions as we dig.
The scene where Rembrandt agrees to be the Voice of the labour mob seems like it is missing the obvious - which would be that they play for him one of his double's old phonographs or CD's, confirming for themselves that he has the same voice, while our regulars hear some whacked-out lyrics that may have incited the mob - stuff that our Rembrandt would never sing, but that his double may have believed in.
The ultimate discovery of the Rembrandt shrine is melancholic. It doesn't really answer any of the questions about the alternate Sliders. Does this stuff belong to the indigenous Rembrandt, or one that slid in from somewhere else, or is it a combination? Why would the car be here, intact in the room? Ultimately, one has the sense that our Rembrandt is saying goodbye to his identity.... which begs the question of whether the writers are setting up yet another lame ending for the last of the original Sliders that abandons all their goals and accomplishes nothing. It almost feels like death is the only kind of resolution they know how to aim for, and in my book (which includes reincarnation that can dredge up old past life issues) death as resolution is usually just a cop-out.
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