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The Ending of SYFY's Sliders, Explained

What a twisted web of worlds we weave.

By Cassidy Ward
Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell) observes a newly opened multiverse portal in Sliders 101.

Between 1995 and 2000, fans of Fox and SYFY's classic TV series Sliders (streaming now on Peacock) got to explore dozens of alternate realities alongside a slowly rotating crew of interdimensional travelers. The story begins in the basement of college student and aspiring physicist Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell), who accidentally opens a portal to another world while trying to build an antigravity machine. Has anyone ever screwed up so beautifully?

After a single 15-minute solo journey to another world, Quinn teams up with Professor Arturo (John Rhys-Davies) and his best friend Wade Welles (Sabrina Lloyd) for his next trip. Some unusual portal behavior also sweeps up musician Rembrandt “Crying Man” Brown (Cleavant Derricks). Rembrandt was driving his car at the time and accidentally took a wrong turn into another dimension. Unfortunately, something goes wrong with Quinn’s sliding timer and the four of them get stuck jumping from one world to the next, trying to find their way home.

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Five seasons and 88 episodes later, the Sliders find themselves one jump away from Earth Prime in the series finale “The Seer.” But they might just learn that there’s truth in the old saying: You really can’t go home again.

The Sliders Finally Know the Way Home

The Sliders arrive to a new world, greeted by adoring fans in Sliders 518.

In the penultimate episode “Eye of the Storm,” the Sliders once again encounter Dr. Geiger – he first showed up in the Season 5 premier, is responsible for the merging of original Quinn and Mallory (Robert Floyd), and is Diana’s old boss – who provides them with the coordinates for Earth Prime.

While waiting for the timer’s countdown to elapse, they have one last chance to “take a bite out of the bizarre and unusual.” Maggie (Kari Wuhrer) takes full advantage of the opportunity by chowing down on a giraffe sandwich and pork soda. It’s a meal she generously describes as “not that bad.” Meanwhile, Rembrandt is anxious about returning home empty handed, with no new tools for fighting the ongoing Kromagg invasion of Earth Prime.

Finally, it’s time to jump, and the four of them (Mallory, Maggie, Diana, and Rembrandt) hop a portal home. Or so they think. They come out the other end of the vortex inside a building, and when they emerge onto the street they are greeted by a banner, a welcoming committee, and dozens of adoring fans. Signs punctuated throughout the crowd read “Rembrandt Rocks”, “Sliders Please Stay,” and “Bring Back Wade.” They aren’t on Earth Prime at all.

RELATED: Why Was the Sci-Fi Series Sliders Canceled?

Instead, they’ve slid into a world in which they are celebrities, their transdimensional exploits seen and enjoyed from afar. Their alternates make convention appearances and there’s even a television show based on their adventures. Diana’s alternate plays her on TV, Maggie and Rembrandt’s alternates make a living on personal appearances, and Mallory’s alternate doesn’t exist. The four of them, along with the Sliders we lost along the way, are the subject of toys, action figures, and trivia games.

The in-universe television series – Sliders within Sliders – is a slightly different version of the show we’ve been watching in our universe, complete with a recognizable intro and theme music. The meta, self-referential nature of the episode toys with the idea that we too might exist in the same set of realities as the Sliders ourselves. It’s only that in our universe, they exist only as characters on TV.

In a quick scene, we see Maggie, Diana, and Mallory watching the show together while flipping through the TV Guide. Onscreen, we see the superfictional versions of Maggie, Mallory, Diana, Rembrandt, and Arturo all together, something which never occurred. Commentary from the TV Guide reveals that Arturo was brought back in response to fan pressure. Mallory laughs, saying, “See what a letter writing campaign can do?” It may have been a not-so-subtle call to action from the writers, hoping fans would petition for a sixth season.

The Sliders Meet the Seer and Their Imminent Doom

A painting of one of the Sliders' slides appears in Sliders 518

The welcoming committee on this mysterious world includes Marc LeBeau (Roy Dotrice), known as the Seer to his followers, and his daughter Claire (Jennifer Hetrick). Dotrice also appeared as Archibald Chandler in the Season 4 episode, “Data World.” Claire assures the Sliders that they were destined to arrive, saying, “We didn’t bring you here, but we did know you were coming.

Years earlier, the Seer suffered a nearly fatal heart attack which left his heart weakened and his mind opened. He began having visions of other people and events throughout spacetime, and eventually he latched onto the Sliders and followed them as they hopped from one world to the next. Enamored by what he was seeing, the Seer began to paint his visions and share them with the world. For reasons which aren’t wholly explained, a significant number of people believe him and something like a religion mixed with a cultural obsession springs up around Sliding.

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Discovering that they have never had a private moment might be traumatic enough, but the Seer also predicts the imminent death of all four Sliders. The next portal they jump through will be their last. The Seer claims that he predicted the events leading to the loss of Quinn, Wade, and Professor Arturo. He was right then, and he’s right now. If the Sliders want to live, they’re going to have to abandon Earth Prime and stay here. It’s a tempting offer, they are celebrities on this world. Everyone loves them and they would want for nothing, but it isn’t home. They have to jump, come what may, but before that they need some way of fighting off the Kromaggs.

Closure for Quinn Mallory's Mom

Rembrandt (Cleavant Derricks) is taken captive by a group of Kromaggs in Sliders 409.

Fortunately, when the Maggs showed up on this world, the population had been primed by stories of the Sliders. A global effort succeeded in developing a virus which is harmless to humans but horrific to Kromaggs. The invading forces had no choice but to bail. During a reception celebrating their arrival, the Sliders ask Claire for help getting a hold of the virus and she tries to convince them to abandon their quest for Earth Prime. Her motives are allegedly fueled by concern for their lives, but it’s no secret that there is a lot of money to be made if they stick around.

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Meanwhile, the Sliders make contact with a new friend – Vernon (Josh Adell), president of the El Segundo University chapter of the 4S Club (Seer’s Students for Sliders Society) – and an old one – Quinn’s mother from Earth Prime, captured in the Kromagg conflict on Earth Prime and deposited here as an interdimensional refugee. The serendipity of her being here provides an opportunity for some closure for her lost son.

Not long after, the timer ticks down to zero and the Sliders prepare for what might be the jump that kills them. But when Rembrandt leaps into the portal he runs face first into a forcefield blocking the wormhole. For reasons unknown, the timer resets to three days, instead of the 29-year wait which usually occurs if you miss a slide. To make matters worse, a couple of goons taking orders from Claire arrive at the hotel and destroy the timer.

The Courage and Sacrifice of Rembrandt "Crying Man" Brown

A mysterious forcefield blocks a slide in Slidders 518.

Looking for allies, Maggie and Rembrandt visit the 4S club where Vernon tells them more about the virus. They can’t get their hands on it the usual way but it exists in the bloodstream of every living human on this world. A blood sample from Vernon’s own arm equips them with the anti-Magg weapon, so long as they can get it to a lab on Earth Prime within two days. That’s one problem solved but they still don’t have a portal.

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That’s when Mrs. Mallory reveals that the Kromaggs left a bunch of their tech behind and much of it is stored in a warehouse owned by Claire. There, they find an old Kromagg sliding machine but it is in a state of considerable disrepair. Diana gets to work spinning it up when Claire arrives to ruin everything. The Seer genuinely cares about the Sliders; his motives are pure, but Claire wants to inherit an empire and she’s willing to burn anyone to do it. With help from the Seer, the Sliders get the wormhole open but it’s unstable and deteriorating rapidly. There’s only enough power for one person to slide.

Mallory and Maggie jump to volunteer but Rembrandt has already injected himself with Vernon’s blood (not recommended), securing the anti-Magg virus inside his body. He says his goodbyes in case he doesn’t survive, makes a joke about being Typhoid Remmy, and jumps into the unknown. Rembrandt vanishes in a blip, the wormhole collapses, and his companions are left wondering along with the rest of us. The ultimate fate of the Sliders remains unknown, but in a multiverse of infinite realities, quite literally anything can happen. We’re free to imagine whatever ending we like, happy or otherwise.

Catch all five seasons of Sliders streaming now on Peacock.

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