Originally aired March 22, 1995
Teleplay by Tracy Tormé & Robert K. Weiss
Story by Tracy Tormé
Directed by Andy Tennant
Physics student Quinn Mallory accidentally unlocks the gateway to parallel universes. He invites his physics professor, Maximillian Arturo, and his friend, Wade Wells, along for a ride, but an accident sends the three of them, along with rebounding singer Rembrandt Brown, to an altenate Earth that's in the middle of an ice age. Another mishap results in our heroes landing on a world where Russia rules America.
Tropes present in the episode:
- Allohistorical Allusion: In one of the worlds visited by Quinn's double, the Chicago Cubs had won three consecutive World Series by 1994.
- Alternate History: The point of divergence here is that America lost the Korean War, which started the domino effect until finally the American economy collapsed and the country was annexed by the Soviets.
- Amazing Freaking Grace: The first of many uses of Cleavant Derricks's beautiful singing voice.
- Artistic License History: It's Vladimir Lenin, not Nikolai Lenin, Professor.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Pavel Kurlienko's Russian borders on this. Surprisingly, in the French dub, the Russian dialogue has been rewritten and is pretty much flawless.
- Bizarro Universe: Quinn's first slide. Americans are emigrating to Mexico, Earth is going through global cooling, John F. Kennedy is still president, and Elvis Presley is still alive (as well as Marilyn Monroe)!
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Quinn shows shades of this. He's focused on in his experiments than schoolwork and reads unassigned papers because they interest him, but he passes up the chance to correctly answer Arturo's question during class.
- Dead Alternate Counterpart: In the Soviet dominated world, Rembrandt's double was killed in the Detroit Uprising in 1982. Wade's double, a leader of the resistance, is later killed. The trope is also inverted with the very much alive double of Quinn's father in the final scene.
- Dramatic Shattering: Quinn drops his glass at the end after his father, who's been dead for years on Earth Prime, walks into the house.
- Endless Winter: The first world that the sliders visit is a frigid wasteland. Professor Arturo speculates that it was caused by either nuclear war or an ecological disaster.
- His Name Is...: Quinn's double is barely able to tell him not to alter the timer during a slide, but doesn't explain what will happen if he does.
- Heroic Vow: "Trust me. I'm gonna get you home."
- Invaded States of America: The US has been occupied by the Soviet Union for decades.
- Ironic Echo: Over the possibility of them kissing, Quinn says he and Wade are buds. Later, when Quinn asks what she was doing with Wilkins, she gladly repeats the line to him.
- Just Think of the Potential: Spoken word-for-word by Quinn to the Professor.Quinn: There's bound to be worlds where they've outlawed war or cured cancer.Arturo: And worlds where they've perfected war and developed new cancers.
- La Résistance: On the Communist Earth, Wade's double is the leader of the American resistance.
- Mean Boss: Mr. Hurley, Quinn and Wade's arrogant boss at the computer store. Quinn's double remarks that Hurley's a jerk on every other parallel world.
- Mr. Exposition: Quinn's double, who lays out the nature and rules of sliding to Quinn.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Played for laughs when Arturo sees the solved equation.
- Quinn when he thinks Wade has been killed.
- The final scene.Michael: Did I miss anything?
Quinn: Hello... Dad.
- Pet the Dog: Arturo comforts Quinn after he expresses regret over disappearing on his mother.
- Pilot Movie: The two-parter is a coherent story on its own, and the series really starts with the movie's Twist Ending.
- Rebel Leader: Wade's double on the Communist Earth.
- Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: A Deleted Scene mentions that Ronald Reagan was the Mayor of San Francisco in 1994 and that he was best known as an actor for playing the first Howard "Mr. C" Cunningham in Happy Days.
- Twist Ending: The Sliders seem to get home...until Quinn's dead father, Michael, walks in alive and well.
- Viewers Like You: While channel surfing in Soviet World, we see a pledge drive for PBS where the viewer is asked to give money...or else.
- Where Da White Women At?: Wade's double on the Communist Earth is romantically involved with a black member of the American resistance.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: The final scene is this for the Sliders.