Forgive my ignorance, but who is "J. Crash Miller"? Perhaps this should be noted on the page. 10:28, September 9, 2011 (UTC)

Effects of Interfering in the Time Line[edit source]

I love these time travel sci-fi concepts. As a result, allow me to discuss how Quinn nearly destroyed an entire universe (or more correctly, prevented it from coming in to being in the first place) and how they might have fixed it by sliding.

The result of preventing Daelin's murder has very adverse effects, as it creates a paradox in space time. The only way Quinn and the others could have known that Daelin would be killed was if she were already dead when they arrived. This is a point in the future for everyone but the Sliders. Armed with this knowledge, Quinn intervenes and Daelin lives, meaning he could have never known about her murder in this world's future (as she'll presumably still be alive) which is the Sliders' past. As a result, he would never have plead guilty or even been in prison, as there would have been no murder to be tried for. With Daelin not dead, Quinn wouldn't know she's in any danger, and therefore he won't try to intervene in her shooting [since he doesn't know it's coming]. This means she will be shot and die and will be dead after all at the point when the Sliders arrive. Since she'll be dead, they will be arrested, tried, plead guilty, and be in prison, starting the cycle over again.

If you think of time as a line, you can see that Quinn's actions are the equivalent of a time traveler's. In effect, he and the other sliders made multiple short jumps back in time. If you travel to the past and change something, anything, then the thing won't happen. That means that you in the future (from the point in time when you left to go to the past) won't know about the thing to change, as it never occurred. For example, if I go back in time to prevent the murder of my ex-girlfriend and succeed, the future from that point forward changes. Since I come from a point in the future, and the future I came from no longer exists, then effectively I (or at least my knowledge of the original time line's future events) no longer exist, as they never occurred. This means I either won't [have] travel[ed] to the past (why would I travel back in time to prevent the death of my ex-girlfriend if she isn't going to die?) in the first place. Not being there is what got her killed the first time, thus restoring the original time line and sending us on a loop. The more traditional example is traveling back in time to kill your grandfather before he ever even meets your grandmother. You'll no longer exist, so you can't go back to kill them, meaning they live, and once again you can go back in time.

This creates a paradox. Again, if you think of time as a line going from left to right, then this paradox is the equivalent of bending the line into a loop and not continuing the line past that point. Instead of looking like a vertical line | it looks more like a capital p P. This means, as Arturo noted, that for this world, there truly is no tomorrow. Notice in the image I'm drawing here that the line no longer continues past the loop. That is, it doesn't look like a line with a circle tangent to it (I know, reverse order of terms) in the middle. The circle becomes the end. Time will keep looping, but it will not continue forward. One has to wonder just how fast this looping would be? Probably at an infinite speed, hence to the Sliders', they remember both the original time line and the altered one, as they are in effect living with the memories of both because both did occur on the loop. They stand at the edge of the loop though, with nothing beyond it.

Yet, time keeps trying to move forward. After all, we see people move and speak. Those events occur over time. So this world is steadily marching toward true nothingness. The staff chose to demonstrate this by visualizing the idea of space-time. If time the time lines are alternating at infinite speed, the space attached to those time lines is undergoing such violent oscillations that it shakes itself apart. Hence the heavens, the sky, outer space literally tears. Wade points out, "there's a hole in the sky."

What you see on the other side of the rip is Earth and the moon. Only you see it for just a moment before it vanishes out of existence. The tear removed the smooth transition between today and tomorrow, exposing the future (from the Sliders' perspective) day. This is the empty space beyond the curve of the letter P. To the Sliders, this world's past will no longer have happened up to this point. That's odd, but not fatal, as the world is moving forward, toward its future. But the world has no past. The events that occurred before Daelin's shooting, WWII, the dinosaurs, the Big Bang, the very creation of that universe itself will not have happened. That means that Daelin and the others can't exist now. "It's only a matter of time" before they vanish too.

Arturo notes that if they slide, "take us out of the equation," the world may stand a chance. While this is true, it is also likely that their very presence is what's keeping this world in existence, albeit not for long. Their presence allows for the loop on the time line to remain in play for as long as space-time can withstand the oscillations. Arturo notes that they started off in the apparent future,in prison, from where we can assume they would have slid out, with the timer at zero. (Though this does raise the question of how Wade landed separated from the group. The others recall that they've been separated on a slide before. Her landing in the womens' prison was a coincidence.) For this to have happened, they must have slid in, hence Arturo's deduction that when the timer, which has naturally been counting up as it moved backwards in time, reaches whatever amount of time they had on that world, the vortex would open, which it did, and they would be compelled to slide, even appearing to reverse gravity to get them up into the vortex. (In reality, gravity worked fine. They simply fell backwards in time instead of forward. It's like watching a falling object on video on rewind to see it fall up).

What chance does it give this world? Well, the Sliders could not be at the vortex with the sky ripping if they had not existed on the world before (to them) that moment. This is part of the paradox. If they prevented the murder, they wouldn't have started off in prison. Though it stands to reason that preventing the murder means they were on that world at some point, whether in prison or the Chandler Hotel. And at this point, with the sky ripping, they leave (or arrive...take your pick). This would require a world to have existed prior to the vortex opening so that there was one to land on.* This means that that universe's past, Big Bang, WWII, etc., must have occurred. And for them to keep sliding from world to world, they must have left at some point, likely leaving the world to continue on.

So, if they'll simply leave and go with the slide, the loop can correct itself if in no other way than that the paradox is resolved. The line looks more like this now: ___O___ The discontinuities are the two points where the Sliders arrived and left. If they'd simply leave, it would allow time to continue flowing, as their leaving forces the world to have existed before they arrived so it would be there for them to arrive on, thus forcing all of that world's past to be in tact. And remember, the damage was one way. Either the future or the past (depending on perspective) was threatened, but not both. The loop in the middle allows for the Sliders' intervention to create two time lines. But the fact that their trip was complete (they're not on that world forever, say 40 years into their sentences) marks the other discontinuity point where that world's future picks up and continues as a line.

As for what goes on in the loop from the perspective of those living it or what the future holds for that world, who knows? We could speculate but I'm willing to be there are multiple correct answers. However, the fact that the Sliders' seem still to be aware of their adventures on that world when they land in the next one at the end of the episode, suggests that everything we saw during their time on that world is what happened, record skips and all if we follow the Sliders' point of view.

Thanks to FOX for putting out an actual thinker of an episode playing with a really unique concept. Remember that * from earlier? Well, I kind of wondered how long the Sliders had until they died. They could slide into a dimension where the Big Bang didn't happen and there was no universe...or oxygen. How about one where Earth is a little closer to the sun? Or a little further? What about one where our galaxy isn't located at the same X,Y,Z coordinates, so even though Earth exists, they land within 400 miles of San Francisco's coordinates, but in this universe, the whole galaxy is shifted and that's just empty space. What's to stop them from landing IN a mountain, volcano, bottom of the ocean, shark's belly, etc.?

- written by

Script Change?[edit source]

Is there any indication or interview anywhere that talks about this episode?  DVD commentary perhaps?  The reason I ask is because the last segment doesn't make a lot of sense, but it could have so easily I feel like the original version must have been deemed too dark or something.  

First off, why would Quinn have shot Daelin in the first place?  The original version of events puts his fingerprints on the gun.  However, the original version of events could never have happened at all.  The sliders were ALWAYS travelling backwards in time.  There couldn't have been a version where they were going forward and it all made sense.  My best guess is that the informant with the pistol is actually this world's Quinn Mallory, but that's never revealed for some reason.  It would patch this problem up though.

Second issue is that they just leave the world to be possibly destroyed.  They're a bit blase about the destruction of an entire reality.  All the way leading up to their actual departure, I assumed that Quinn was going to pick up the pistol and shoot Daelin, seeing it as the only way to fix the timeline.  It seemed like such an inevitable outcome to this episode, what with Arturo basically foreshadowing it with his story, that I could only imagine executive meddling as the reason it went differently.  TheJohnRhoades (talk) 08:12, March 31, 2016 (UTC)

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