episode #10 - The Luck of the Draw

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episode #10 - The Luck of the Draw

Post  BoG on Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:32 pm

Air Date: 5/17/95 Arrow writer: Jon Povill Arrow Directed by Les Landau

The finale of the first season: the Sliders arrive at the seemingly most ideal Earth yet, a problem-free world as far as economics and social problems, where the population is only 500 million. San Francisco looks like a quaint little town and people seem to enjoy free money and relaxing in park-like settings. To get money, people simply ask for it at automatic teller machines; there seems to be no limit to how much one can ask for. Arturo advises caution, as he's aware of the old saying, that nothing is ever for free, but this does not deter Rembrandt (who asks for $5,000) or Wade (she asks for a grand). Later, winners of the local lottery are announced and Wade is one of them, adding to her enjoyment. Yes, things just seem to get better and better. The lottery winners are all escorted to a grand ballroom setting, where they are catered to and treated like royalty. Wade meets fellow lottery winner Ryan (Nicholas Lea), with whom possible romance blooms. Quinn soon gets a bad vibe, hints about the true nature of the lottery: the winners are actually to be put to death - painlessly, yes, but it is death, a means of population control. The more money one asks for - referred to as being a "high roller" - the more chance that you will be a lottery winner (which means that Rembrandt really lucked out). Wade has really stepped in it this time...

Besides the pilot, this was the better episode of the season, an effective way to draw the season to a close. The story's first act is deceptively benign, though there is at least one note of warning even here - that all is not what it seems, with an underlying chord of tension, since we know the shoe will drop eventually; we're just not sure how. It's an intriguing puzzle in the first couple of acts, and then it gets pretty grim and quite chilling. Arturo is the one who voices the paradox of such a situation: this world avoids the millions of deaths through poverty and famine that Earth Prime endures, yet is the solution here truly more moral as a result, even if the citizens are fully aware and volunteer with eyes wide open? There is no deception practiced here; the only problem in this case is that Wade entered the lottery in ignorance; she was unaware of the local culture and its practices. The disturbing aspect surfaces when it becomes apparent that those who try to cheat the system will be put to death painfully (tortured in some manner not detailed). That's the really perverse element, a method governed by sadism. However, there are protesters to this whole set-up and it's a wonder that they are not eliminated quickly by the establishment - that's another part of the puzzle. Also, aren't the Sliders safe as long they slide out - a slide which is scheduled before the appointed death? The episode ends on a cliffhanger - there is an escape, but do all escape without injury? BoG's Score: 7 out of 10

Earths Depicted:
---------------- #20: Lottery Population Control; Earth with only 500 million people
-------------------- #21: unknown Earth of which only a park-like setting is seen
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