Okay, kids. This is where I'll give you the skinny on how an episode came about, and answer questions that you're all mailin' so much about. Basically, it's my own little 'Year 6 Journal', but with that name and concept taken by V6/PVS6, I had to do something different. I certainly didn't want to appear to be ripping them off... so here's SliderVision. Hope you enjoy it.
'Home Is Where Hell Is' is a cheesy kind of title when you first hear it, but I think it rings true for Rembrandt now in a bittersweet way. But, of course, this isn't how the episode started its life. My first instinct was to take the very basic concept behind "In The Heat Of The Moment" and Damron's original wish for "Strangers and Comrades" and turn it into my opener -- in other words, Rembrandt lands on the world and soon dies, followed by his three friends when they discover how to follow him. But, in the end, we see Remmy land on his homeworld and he's safe and sound, meaning that we've been watching alternates of our heroes the whole time. This, naturally, got ditched for a number of reasons.
One major problem is that we've never encountered another Quinn Mallory like Mallory. He's an unusual fluke, just like Logan St. Clair was. Almost all of our Quinns are, physically, the Quinn that Remmy and Maggie already know, not Mallory. I didn't want to have a clear alternate of Mallory appear unless there was a damn good excuse for it. And I wanted to be able to play up the fact that Mallory doesn't look like most of his alternates at a later date. So that's one problem with this concept.
Another was the fact that, even though this was intended to explain away why Marc LeBeau saw them all die on the next world they went to, it would end up only resolving that, and nothing else. Even though I was sure that I wanted to free Earth Prime quickly during the beginning of S6, I didn't want to have to do two back-to-back Kromagg episodes as my opening adventures. Most of us have had enough Kromaggs, as evidenced by S4. So I decided Earth Prime was going to be freed in one episode. The next question just became... how?
So, Rembrandt was going to land on Earth Prime, that was a given. And I was sure I wanted him to experience a near brush with death the second he fell out of the wormhole. I wanted it to be something that nearly killed him, and almost certainly would've if the others had been with him. So the molten metal was brought in. Why would a factory still be filled with molten metal, after Earth Prime was invaded? The logic behind this one was that the factory in question was one of a few that still operated on unusual hours, simply because it had been commandeered by the resistance for the use of making guns and other weapons. Once this episode was finished, that explanation was never given, and so it got pushed back to the third episode. But that's the reason for it. Now, Remmy's brush with death could be what 'The Seer' thought would kill our heroes, or perhaps he was completely overwhelmed with visions of his own death, which certainly came "instantaneous" after Rembrandt slid. This, of course, was also not mentioned in this particular episode, but survived to appear in the next one.
As the episode was forming anew, it originally began as a massive operation. Rembrandt would land on Earth Prime and soon hook up with that world's Maggie, a colonel in this reality, but one of the few leaders of the human resistance left. They would get a covert team running to slip the virus into the Kromagg society. Of course, if Maggie has an alternate on Earth Prime, then it would be rather awkward for her to live there with Rembrandt and friends after their troubles were over. Yet, at the same time, whether Maggie was even going to do so at the end of our journeys remained to be seen. Nevertheless, this second story concept got dropped when it occurred to me that the rescue of Earth Prime need not be a massive battle -- but rather, it could serve as a quieter piece for one of our heroes... or two.
Now the episode was really taking shape as you now see it. Everything was all laid out. Only one major difference from the current version remained. Rather than an alternate of Diana, Rembrandt encountered Earth Prime's Steven Jensen. He's a broken man, who lost his Maggie in the same skiing accident that killed our Maggie's Steven so many years ago. Without much left to live for, he has no qualms giving up his eyes for the cause of liberating Earth Prime. It was tragic and noble, but also not very heroic -- he gives up his eyes out of suicidal tendencies more than true heroism.
It was obvious that this story didn't have to just be about one of our sliders. Diana, a great presence on the team, really needed some buildup. She was a sympathetic character and a great "techie" for us, but never really got to show off what a hero she can be. So, Earth Prime's Diana is a hero. Like Steven, she would be a tragic character, who had lost her Nadine, the child that our Diana never had, to the Kromaggs. But, rather than having nothing left to live for, she still has great aspirations. Unlike Steven, she never quite reached her degree, just as we know most of Diana's alternates have not. She wants to make something of herself, to really count, and she feels that she just fell short of pulling that off. This is her big chance to feel like she's really accomplished something... even though she's too humble to acknowledge it anyway. She still thinks Rembrandt really did all the work, by bringing the virus home. It takes our Rembrandt's last words, as he slides through the 'magg portal, to make her feel like she finally counted for something, to someone. She had made a difference. This new arc also gave an opportunity for the hanging "FBI" thread from S1 to get brought up. A lot of things were accomplished. And now, both Rembrandt and Alt. Diana would have a heroic, somewhat tragic tale of sacrifice and courage.
With only one brief action bit in the middle of the story, I felt satisfied that I had done something different, tied up a number of loose ends, and developed Diana's character, through her alternate.
Yet, many questions remained. What would come of the sliders back on Seer World? How would they finally slide out and continue the adventure? Why would they do so, even after Rembrandt had said back in S5 that he was tired of sliding and wanted to go home? He certainly could do that now, with Earth Prime free of Kromaggs. These and other questions would have to wait... until next time.