A place for complete-off-topic conversations that have nothing to do with Star Trek. The rules still apply here, stay civil.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#559360
Heart of a Champion
Original Air Date: May 8, 1991
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: July 23, 1955

This time: Sam leaps into a wrestling ring. He is tagged in and his rather large opponent has some fun. Thanks to some fancy fighting moves, Sam takes down his opponent. He is Terry Samms who is one half of the Battling Russkies along with his brother Ronny. In reality they are from Arkansas using the persona of Russians to become antagonists in the local wrestling circuit. The owner, Lamar, is upset that the match had a different outcome than planned. Being wrestling there is a script to follow except for the title match.

Al arrives and tells Sam that he is from a family of wrestlers. Also, his work gave them a shot at the title match. Ronny is excited but Al says that he dies in that match after Ronny’s heart gives out. After witnessing Ronny lose his concentration, Sam asks their mother about family health history, but she has none of it. The ring doctor gives Ronny a clean bill of health, though the simple exam will not reveal an underlying condition. Al has more comprehensive information and realizes that a rheumatic fever at could cause far reaching consequences, including heart failure.

At the match, Sam decides to not let Ronny in the ring. He also makes deal that if they win, Ronny will check in for a comprehensive examination. His opponent is Carl, someone who has been antagonistic towards Sam due to Carl’s flirty wife. Also, Lamar does not want the team representing Russia to win the match. Sam gets a royal rumble of a whopping but uses a sleeper hold to win.

Ronny gets himself checked out and his son will go on to win a silver medal in the Olympics. With the family in a better place, Sam leaps …

… into a fallout shelter during an air raid.

Stop talking to yourself: Early on it seems like things will be all right, though Sam is quick to recall that leaps rarely are that easy.

Only Sam can see and hear: In addition to the requisite background information, Al knows that Carl’s wife has a habit of enticing Carl to fight other wrestlers outside of the ring.

Mirror images that were not his own: In the locker room, Sam sees Terry in a mirror.

Something or someone: Sam is able to stick around long enough to kick Carl’s wife in the rear. Technically, he leaps out before he can finish so Terry gets that joy.

It’s a science project: Ronny describes a sleeper hold and Sam is abhorred at the thought of cutting off someone’s oxygen, though it does come in handy for the resolution.

Let’s up the rating: One of the wrestlers’ wives looks in on the locker room shower. At least one voice asks her to join while at least one other voice asks her to leave.

One more time: “Will you listen to this guy? Next thing he’ll tell us is that wrestling ain’t real.”
A bar patron speaking the ironic truth

Trivial Matter: Rance Howard, father of Clint and Ron, plays the circuit doctor.

Put right what once went wrong: “As you folks can see from home this is not a …” “Shut up you capitalist pig!” If you are a fan of wrestling you will like this. If you are not a fan of wrestling, you will like this.

The fight scenes are well choreographed. Either they use a stunt double who looks exactly like Bakula or Bakula did all his own stunts. Joe Napolitano did a solid job with the wrestling scenes in the ring, but he is no slouch out of the ring either. The family drama is well done. A lot of this is in thanks to Tommy Thompson’s script. Sam runs out of options after Ronny refuses to quit, their mother does not think it is too bad and the doctor gives him an exam. The best part is that we get to see Ronny’s family. Susan Issacs and John Kidwell are solid as his wife and son, respectively. Doting mother Lottie, played by Angela Paton, cares for her sons but is not alarmed by Sam’s misgivings. Future wrestler Terry Funk, now known as Chainsaw, and Deborah Wakeham are an excellent tag team as Carl and his wife.

Jerry Broussard bears a lot of the burden as Ronny. He is in a bit of denial even after suffering some lapses in concentration in front of his family. He has patience for his brother but even that wears a little thin after a while. He is determined to keep a promise to their late father. It is no fault of his own that his health is in danger. He carries the show very well and is the literal and figurative heart.

It is great that we have such fantastic casting because the plot is just so thin. We’re at the end of the season and they show that even with a standard episode, good actors can elevate the material.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#559834
Nuclear Family
Original Air Date: May 15, 1991
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Leap date: October 26, 1962

This time: Sam leaps into a fallout shelter during an air raid. They are given the all clear as Sam realizes he has leaped into Eddie Ellory, staying with his brother Mac and family. Eddie sells underground shelters and has one in the family yard for demonstration purposes as well as utilitarian. Eddie has Sam try and sell one to Burt, their neighbor, but the sales pitch (primarily Sam reading the brochure) does not result in a sale.

Al arrives and says that Burt will shortly be shot by Mac with a gun from their shelter. Being in the southern panhandle, the family is aware of how near danger they are as the Cuban Missile Crisis begins. Sam tries to talk to Mac about how things will settle but Mac remembers problems during the dust bowl that traumatized their father.

Sam gives a pitch to Mrs. Klingman, the children’s piano teacher, but she eventually is convinced that she should not buy a shelter, her being on limited income and being a holocaust survivor. Mac is furious with Sam frightening customers and his kids. One more slip up and Sam is gone.

A hysteric Burt approaches Sam for a purchase. The lack of food at the store plus long lines of traffic are discouraging, and he hands Sam a check. Mac finds out that Sam is being disruptive and sends Sam away. The two argue just as Kennedy addresses the nation. The power goes out, the air raid sirens sound, and the family is out to the shelter.

The family is safe, but Burt tries to make his way in. Mac grabs a shotgun and gives a warning shot. Mac’s son leaves out the back exit to protect the family and in all the confusion, sees Burt as an enemy. Mac did not shoot Burt; his son did, and Mac took the fault! Sam deescalates the situation and Burt survives.

The missiles are dismantled, and things calm down. Burt (and five others) cancel their orders but Sam gets them to go into the pool business, resulting in a successful family industry. Sam leaps …

… into being prepared for electroshock therapy. An orderly, Butch, is doing it as retribution for getting hit. Nurse Chatham is concerned about the situation in general and about the voltage in particular, especially since it should only be administered by a doctor, but Butch pulls the switch regardless just as a lightning bolt hits the area.

Stop talking to yourself: You would think that someone who made a time machine powered by a nuclear accelerator would not mind being around an atomic bomb. You would be wrong.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al knows firsthand the issue with the Cuban Missile Crisis having flown near that area when things were escalating.

Mirror images that were not his own: While taking off his gear, Sam sees Eddie in the mirror.

Brush with history: Sam very effectively tells Mac’s son, Stevie, about time travel as a coping mechanism. Stevie is not good at explaining it to his younger sister, Kimberly.

It’s a science project: With a weeks supply of food, two bedrooms, a radio and Geiger counter, this fallout shelter is pretty well stocked. There is even fallout gear for the family pet! If you want to splurge on a fallout shelter (or panic room as the modern-day equivalent) this might be the way to go.

Let’s up the rating: A protective suit is held up to Burt which is declared stylish.

One more time: “This whole Cuba thing could be a scare. What if it’s over in a few days?” “What if it’s not!”
Burt and Mac arguing about the uncertain times.

The Rainbow Treknection: Timothy Carhart is charismatic as all heck in this episode. He was pretty opposite in Redemption Part II as Christopher Hobson.

Trivial Matters: On leap in, young Kimberly Ellroy calls for Sam. She is referring to the family dog, but it is a nice bit of foreshadowing for next week.

Speaking of the family dog, Sam is amazing. Apparently, she can climb a ladder as seen when the family leaves the underground shelter.

Character actor Kurt Fuller guest stars as Burt. He has made a career out of playing quirky guys though he does dial it back a bit here.

Burt’s last name? Rosencratz.

There are some excellent uses of stock footage in this. The first is Mister Ed with Wilbur being happy he is the only person Ed talks to and Woody Woodpecker with a foreign guy welcoming someone to his house. These are fantastic metaphors for the series in general and time in particular.

The Deluxe Model costs $3,000. The Super Saver V.I.P. Discount is $2,400 of which Sam pockets one hundred and twenty.

Put right what once went wrong: “They just lobbed a bomb at New York City! It’s World War Three!” It is not often that I get to be insulting to this show. Reviews take a certain amount of reverence and respect and even a bad episode of an excellent series is better than the best episode of a mediocre one. I would not be reviewing this show if I were not a fan, but I have a profound disagreement with the stance Sam takes.

Yes, there were no nuclear missiles that landed on American soil post World War II, or at any point, but there was a danger, especially with Pearl Harbor and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sam, who is the audience surrogate, is shocked that the lengths families would go to, but these were reasonable precautions at the time. ‘Duck and cover’ was a thing even though a picnic blanket would not protect you at ground zero but they would at least provide hope. Hope was something in short supply and even if there was no attack, the danger was real, and people were allowed to be fearful. Al gives a logical retort, but Sam is beside himself, insisting on the ridiculousness of the community.

This an absolute shame because if you get rid of that, this is a fantastic episode. We think that M ac shoots Burt in all the chaos of the night, but it is Stevie. Paul Brown’s script gives Sam time to bond with the kids, Stevie in particular. Sam goes out of his way to put him at ease about everything. They have a conversation about looking back and realizing that there was no reason to be scared. This is juxtaposed with Stevie having his cap guns constantly at the ready, even when he is about to go to bed. Him picking up the rifle at the climax fits perfectly with his character because we saw him talking about beating the enemies and fighting to defend his family. Robert Hy Gorman carried a lot of narrative weight and is a joy to watch.

The acting is great all around. Fuller is controlled when he needs to be and manic when that is called for, but we saw both sides of the argument and had a good picture painted of both the family and the situation. Everyone is scared, even Mac. ‘Tell don’t show’ is a dangerous game in television, but this show can get away with it and they sold it here. Whitmore has solid direction even in the confined spaces of the shelter. The climatic sequence in the end is strong but so is the scene where Sam tries to sell to Mrs. Klingman. We see the numbers on her arm and Vernon Ray Bunch brings in the string instruments to give you the atmosphere.

There is a lot of good stuff in this hour but a lot to detract from it as well.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#560292
Shock Theater
Leap Date: October 3, 1954
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Original Air Date: May 22, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into being prepared for electroshock therapy. An orderly, Butch, is doing it as retribution for getting hit. Nurse Chatham is concerned about the situation in general and about the voltage in particular, especially since it should only be administered by a doctor, but Butch pulls the switch regardless just as a lightning bolt hits the area.

Butch and an orderly wheel Sam (asleep for four hours) back to a public area. A man, Tibby, expresses concern for Sam. He also insists that the man they brought back is not the person he is familiar with. Butch uses passive aggressiveness to quiet Tibby.

Al arrives just as Sam comes around. It turns out he leapt into Sam Beiderman, a depressive man with chemical dependencies. It dawns on Al that Sam does not remember anything about Project Quantum Leap or who he is. Head Doctor Masters comes in to examine Sam and see if the memories can come back. They do, although he remembers himself as someone he leapt into before, not as Sam Beckett.

Dr. Masters and Chatham discuss the development with Dr. Masters thinking this might be multiple personality syndrome. It also appears that Tibby can see Al, though Al tells Tibby to keep that quiet. Al finally convinces Sam to tell the staff that he is Sam Beiderman and they leave him alone. Al sees the challenge and tries to get ahold of their staff psychologist, Dr. Beeks.

Later, Al and Tibby talk. It turns out that when Tibby gets out, he is on the streets. Al tries to get Sam to help Tibby but Sam believes he is someone else. Al says that if Sam continues to switch personalities, they could lose their link. Under observation, a Rorschach test does not go well with Sam remembering multiple lives including his own. It does not help that he talks to Al, especially considering that the staff knows about Al. Things are further complicated when Sam shifts personalities again.

That night, Sam sleeps while Al put the alphabet into a rap song for Tibby. This changes the future, but Sam is unable to leap in his condition. Al brings in Dr. Beeks and explains about Project Quantum Leap. It seems that the only way to leap out if is Sam gets shocked again.

The medical staff are stumped. There is nothing in Beiderman’s history to suggest why he has multiple personality syndrome. They figure out that the constants are Al and remembering the shock. As it comes out the Butch has been abusive, Sam convinces the staff to give him another shock. They do as a bolt of lightning hits. There is a big flash as Sam and Al leap …

… into a field. Al is decked out a uniform while Sam is all in white. Also, Al can touch things while Sam can pass through them.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam does a lot of talking in this episode and he does not have time to collect his thoughts let alone create an internal monologue.

Only Sam can see and hear: This episode establishes that in addition to animals and kids, the mentally impaired can see Al. On the bright side, Tibby likes Al’s jacket.

Mirror images that were not his own: In an amazing first, we do not get to see Sam Beiderman at all in this episode. Instead, we get another glimpse of Samantha Stormer, Jesse Tyler, Jimmy LaMotta in mirrors.

It’s a science project: In the Rorschach test, Sam sees burnt chitlins, a victim of vehicular assault and the subatomic structure of a quark.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Long mentioned psychologist Dr. Beeks is seen but not heard since she is in the imaging chamber, leaving Al to translate.

One more time: “Sam, you get to use your own name this time.”
Al having a rare moment of happiness this episode.

Trivial Matters: Lee Garington gets the coveted ‘and’ along with the ‘as’ credits.

This is the only finale or premiere not written by Donald P. Bellisario. Actually, Bellisario has not credited with any episodes since the two-part season premiere. This was written by Deborah Pratt.

Sam acts like other people he has leapt into: Samantha Stormer (What Price Gloria?), Jesse Tyler (The Color of Truth), Magic Williams (The Leap Home II Vietnam), Tom Stratton (Genesis), Kid Cody (The Right Hand of God), Jimmy LaMotta (Jimmy). We also get clips of him leaping into himself from the season premiere and Kid Cody.

There is a rare production goof in this episode. After stepping into the doorway to the imaging chamber, Al’s cigar goes outside that threshold.

After an absence of more than a season, this is the third instance of more than one leap per episode as both Sam and Al leap in the end.

Put right what once went wrong: “Only a doctor can administer a shock.” “A doctor told me to do it.” Though gone out of style in recent years, one of the staples of television has been the clip show. A way to save some time and money, Trek has done it in an episode that lives in infamy. There are some clever ways to do it such as when Community wrote one but also filmed the ‘clip’ scenes. This is Quantum Leap’s take on a clip show, and it works magnificently.

Part of the joy is that, Al takes a bigger role than he would normally. Not only does he put right what once went wrong, he is the one in charge which is a nice change of pace. Plot, er, power issues keep him from being on screen at all times, but this adds to the relationship between him and Sam. It is about time for him to be in the spotlight, three episodes ago notwithstanding, and since this episode takes place in an institution, more people can interact with him. It is a great moment when he asks if anyone else can hear him and a bunch of guys wave. Stockwell more than rises to the occasion.

Other than Stockwell, the casting in this hour is great. Bruce Young is fantastic as an angry orderly with a bone to pick. He is nasty to both those in his care and his colleagues. He bites at Tibby and Nurse Chatham. It is only when he is confronted in the end by Dr. Masters that he looks to get his comeuppance. As Dr. Masters, David Proval tries to keep up with Sam’s changing personalities and keeps his patience while trying to treat Sam. Scott Lawrence has a blast as Tibby. There is a childlike innocence, but he has a lot of fun just speaking his mind. He and Stockwell are a great double act.

Bakula dials his acting up several notches, to the point where he is out of character, which is saying something for people we have not seen. Jesse Tyler seemed pretty quiet as did a lot of people he has leapt into though Bakula adds fire to that portrayal. At times he approaches them more as caricatures than as characters. This would have been a great time for him to show of the subtleties of his craft and ability and that did not come to pass. It is understandable as it is the final episode of the season, and he is a huge part in the series. It is not like they can give him a minor role a week earlier to rest up or anything. Brent Spiner found himself in a similar situation filming multiple personalities in “Masks” a week after “Thine Own Self,” another Data-centric episode.

The script of Pratt is well done for the most part. It puts Sam and an in a tough spot and brings back some of the best moments, though they are a little too centered on the first and second seasons; the only material from the third season is the clip from the season premeire. Still a very strong hour and a fantastic cliffhanger to go out on.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#560765
Quantum Leap Third Season Overview
Original Air Dates: September 25, 1990 – Mya 22 1991

This time: The third season of Quantum Leap opened with Sam leaping into his younger self and the first leap outside of the United States.  He also leapt into a woman on the verge of giving birth and had to achieve multiple divergent goals in one leap.

As a viewing audience, we had a second Halloween themed episode and a first Christmas themed episode.  Going through the eras forwards and backwards, Sam’s knowledge of science and martial arts were useful along with thinking on his feet to get out of a jam.

Through it all, he had help from Al.  The Admiral featured prominently in two episodes in the end of the season in which he helped solve a murder while Sam was incarcerated and take the lead when Sam was out of it in the season finale.  After hearing about psychologist Dr. Beeks last year, we got to see (but not hear) her this year.

Favorite fact check: From The Boogieman: As a writer, Sam has an assistant, Stevie, whose last name is King.  His car sometimes has a mind of its own.  He is interested in psychokinesis and has a dog named Cujo.  That last bit is odd since the novel was not inspired by a pet.

Favorite stop talking to yourself: From Rebel Without a Clue: Dr. Sam Beckett, brilliant physicist, defender of minorities, looks down on bikers.

Favorite only Sam can see and hear:  From The Great Spontini: In the hearing to determine custody of his leapees daughter, it would be great for Al to relay basic information about Jamie to Sam (schools attended, said daughter’s birthdate, etc.) but the wi-fi goes out and Al pretty much kills his smartphone, er handlink.  He gets a more colorful upgrade later which will continue throughout the series.

Favorite mirror images that were not his own:   From Southern Comforts: This is just plain weird.  There is a distinct musical cue for Sam when he sees himself in a reflected surface.  Here we get it when Sam looks at an oil painting of the person he leapt into.  Fortunately, we get a proper mirror shot later.

Favorite brush with history: From Leap of Faith: Upon hearing that a young boxer must miss practice due to work at a butcher shop, Sam tells him about a movie where a guy practiced on raw meat.  The young man’s locker is labeled “S. Stallone.”

Favorite something or someone: From Leap of Faith:  Despite making sure that Father John does not ruin his life by killing Tony, Sam does not leap until the next morning where he merely checks in with Father John.

Favorite it’s a science project: From Last Dance Before an Execution: Ziggy is able to reconfigure Al’s handlink to detect a bullet in the church, setting up the ending.  Pretty neat trick when you consider that he is a hologram and merely projecting light.

Favorite tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow:  From 8½ Months: In the waiting room, a very pregnant (about to deliver) Billie-Jean freaks out.  Dr. Beeks finds her too traumatized to answer questions.

Favorite let’s up the rating:  From The Leap Home: There are basketball practice and a match.  If you like your guys young and dripping with sweat, this is the episode for you.

Favorite one more time: From The Leap Home: “You don’t believe you’re here to help your family?”  “Of course I do.” “Then why are you worried about leaping if you win the game?”
A convinced Al trying to convince Sam

Favorite The Rainbow Treknection: Marc Alaimo did the first draft of Gul Dukat in Black on White on Fire.  The great James Sloyan appeared in Last Dance Before an Execution.  Kenneth Marshall had an appearance, but it did not really amount to much.

Favorite Trivial Matters:  From The Leap Home and Shock Theater:  I went back and forth on this one.  On one hand we have the premiere which had Sam pulling double duty which he got an odd credit for and featured Bakula giving us a cover of “Imagine.”  On the other hand, the finale had references to nearly a dozen prior episodes and a production goof.

Call it a draw!

Put right what once went wrong: “This is not the future, Time Cadets.  Only one man’s distorted view of it.”  The first season had an episode featuring two leaps.  The second season had an episode that was more of an Al episode than a Sam one.  The fourth season would also play around with the formula as seen in the season three finale while also featuring the only [REDACTED] and the final season would also have some episodes that broke the one-leap-per-episode rule while adding to the worldbuilding and featured celebrity leaps.

Which makes it frustrating that this season was so bog standard!

The show was still entertaining, do not get me wrong.  Every long running series will retread episodes as well as run weak episodes, but the overall lack of novelty in this season was so frustrating.  With as amazing a promise as Quantum Leap offers, there are so many possibilities out there and few were taken.

That is not to say that it was not entertaining.  There was a string of episodes that ran into eighties action movie clichés, with the requisite music and everything, but the show as still a good one to watch.  Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell are strong actors.  Come to think of it, Bakula has great chemistry with a lot of actors.  This season let him show off his dance moves and his singing ability.  This is not a show that can give one of their main characters an episode off and these two rose to the occasion.

The deviations from the norm were well done, particularly giving Stockwell a chance in the spotlight near the end of the season.  Normally unable to interact with anyone but Bakula, he was pivotal in several times during the season interacting with people when necessary, plot contrivances be damned.  Plus, he got a chance to be villainous in the Halloween episode.

Despite the lack of originality, the third Season of Quantum Leap is a good watch, and the end shows promise for those that want to tinker with the status quo.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#561326
The Leap Back
Original Air Date: September 18, 1991
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap Date: June 15, 1945

This time: Sam and Al leap into a field. Al is decked out a uniform while Sam is all in white. Also, Al can touch things while Sam can pass through them. After playing a Quantum Leap version of Who’s on First, it appears that Al has leapt and that Sam is back in the future, though in the imaging chamber seemingly unable to communicate with Gooshie or anyone else for some reason.

The local milkman, Mike, greets Al as Tom, recently returned from a POW camp, though Tom’s fiancé, Suzanne, thought he was dead and is engaged to Cliff. The two lovers are reunited, and Al somewhat mistakenly proposes marriage which is accepted. This does not sit well with Cliff who challenges Al to fisticuffs. And it does not go well for Cliff.

Without a handlink (Al’s leapt with him and Sam does not have one), Sam and Al piece things together. Sam determines that the lightning bolt causing the issue could have been read as a failure on the Project, causing it to seal itself as a failsafe. Sam has a code to override the failsafe which sounds awful lot like Back to the Future, but it works.

Sam comes back home! He has the obligatory kiss with his wife (!), hugs with Gooshie and everyone is in a jovial mood. They are loading information on 1945 into Ziggy as fast as they can, but it will take some time, meaning that Sam can take a much-deserved moment.

Ziggy determines that Tom and Suzanne drove a car off a cliff to commit suicide. That turns out to not be entirely true; Cliff staged their deaths. With Al knocked out, Ziggy determines that he will not regain consciousness until too late. Sam determines that if he leaps in, Al will leap back, Sam will stop Cliff and Ziggy will return him. Two thirds of that plan works. Sam leaps into a comic trying to keep his daughter while the project staff lament that Sam is once again lost in time.

Fact check: The local diner has to get by with only a half-pound of sugar a week. That does not sound reasonable except for the smallest of diners.

Stop talking to yourself: Because he cannot ever have anything nice, Sam weights the joys at being back home with the tragedy of being stuck in the imaging chamber. This being Al’s leap, he gets a quick aside that is apparently a monologue since his lips are not moving when we hear it.

Only Sam can see and hear: Sam has way too much fun going through objects when he is a hologram.

Mirror images that were not his own: While eating a farmers’ breakfast, Al sees Tom in a mirror.

Brush with history: Mike Tyson gets a name check but it is confusing to the locals since this leap is decades before he was born.

It’s a science project: It is never made explicitly clear if Sam and Al switched bodies or just positions but all seems to be restored at the end. The technical term is timey-wimey.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: For the second time in the series and season premiere, we spend a significant amount of time in 1999. Best of all, our visit is not limited to a courtroom. Gooshie makes an appearance after first appearing in Genesis and we see Tina, Al’s current beau. Dr. Beeks makes her second (and final) appearance after the season three finale. We hear Ziggy, voiced by writer Deborah Pratt.

Let’s up the rating: It is not entirely clear if Sam and Al literally switched places, but Sam does express a lot of amorous interest and crack innuendos. Also, when he is home, you can bet he had a visit of the conjugal nature.

One more time: “Beckett. Al Beckett.” “No, it’s Callavicci.”
Al being swiss-cheesed and Sam correcting him.

The Rainbow Treknection: Thus far, we have had some actors from The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager era shows along with a smattering of The Original Series. Mimi Kuzyk plays Donna, Sam’s wife before playing Tilly’s mother in Short Treks.

Trivial Matters: Al joins Sam for the “Oh Boy.”

This being Al’s leap and not Sam’s, this is the first of two leaps to take place outside of Sam’s lifetime, both of which require some cheating.

As an incentive to hold onto the failsafe code for half a century, Al chips in a hundred dollars. Adjusted for inflation that would be just under $1,500. That would keep me invested, pun intended.

There is no ‘preview leap’ at the end of this episode but Sam does leap near the end, so this is not an instance of more than one leap per episode.

If the thought of Sam as a stand-up comic trying to help his daughter does not sound interesting, the writers had the same thought. We do not see this adventure. The writers should have had ample time to tease the next episode, making this a missed opportunity.

Having your wife do the computers voice must be a thing. Roddenberry had Barrret do it and Bellisario was able to get his wife do it here.

There is only a skeleton crew seen when Sam comes back to the Project. The date given is September 15, 1999 which was a weekend. Guess not everyone was super eager to greet Sam upon his return. It is not like he will leap again in a couple days anyway …

Put right what once went wrong: “It’s about time you got around to me, Dr. Beckett.” I have taken this show to task when it is clear that they need another half hour or so to tell their story and that might be on display were where we spend a frustratingly short amount of time in the future. Sam coming home should be a big deal and while it is celebrated, that celebration that we see is brief. I am reminded of what Winston Churchill said, that a woman’s skirt should be long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep interest.

We see enough of the future. We see the main set for Project Quantum Leap (brilliant set design with a center council mirroring the handlink) and a few rooms. Gooshie knows a lot about the Project’s technical details. Dennis Wolfberg once again plays someone we have all seen in our tech departments. Ziggy has a good bite to her dialogue. Star Trek generally gave us very trite dialogue from the computer, but Ziggy has a lot of fun to the point where you can hear Pratt smiling as she speaks. She is not credited with her dialogue, but she is very natural when she says it, more than making up for A Portrait for Troian.

Also, Sam is married? That piece of information would make things difficult for some leaps, but Donna is understanding. Mimi Kuzyk plays this character that we will have never seen before not will ever see again. We do not spend a lot of time with her, but she is able to reconnect and a scene with Al in the end shows that she does still care for him and the their love will last. She has great chemistry with both her co-stars.

As a fan of Post World War II as timeframe, I enjoyed the leap portion of the episode. So did the writers since they covered a lot while avoiding the nastier side of things. Al gets a hero’s welcome, one guy suddenly got flat feet to avoid being shipped out, needing to reconnect. It all fits. There is also a good small-town vibe as we spend a good portion in a local diner. With so much time spent in the future, the leap itself is given short shrift but the actors pull it off, particularly milkman Mike and diner proprietress Kelly played by Douglas Roberts and Jeanine Jackson respectively. Amanda Wys gives Suzanne a few dimensions, but she is there to be both a love interest and exposition. Robert Prescott does not have much to do but get his ass kicked. There are two great plots and I wanted more from each of them though both painted a solid picture, and the cast was more than up for the chance.

Of course, Bakula and Stockwell get to have a lot of fun. Sam does have a bit much at Al’s expense but plays the role of guide well, not dwelling on being swiss cheesed but helping him fit into the leap. Pulling a switcheroo was bound to happen and these two embraced it. After three seasons they were comfortable enough to be in the others’ shoes. Stockwell played up the frustration, but you can see him enjoying himself.

You can point out some nits (not enough of the future, the leap gets short shift, how did they leap Al back exactly) but it is a great way to begin a season.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#561853
Play Ball
Original Air Date: September 25, 1991
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: August 6, 1961

This time: Sam leaps into Doc, a baseball player for the Mustangs. Doc was a major league pitcher but wound up back in the minors. The Mustang’s coach asks him to sub in for a hitter. Doc is a famed pitcher but not that great of a hitter, though Sam does almost manage a home run. A fellow player/young buck named Chucky takes a bit of a shine to Sam afterwards. It also seems as though Chucky has drinking and anger problems. Al arrives and says that Sam needs to get Doc back to the majors. On a hunch, Sam asks Al to look into Chucky.

Back at their team base, Sam sees the owner of the team, Margaret Twilly. She keeps Doc on the team in exchange for ‘favors.’ This is music to Al’s ears (once he realizes that the owner is a woman!) since Sam can be on the starting roster. An impromptu lesson from Al later and he can pitch like a pro. As good as Sam is, that is nothing compared to Chucky, though Al says Chucky gets washed out in no small part to him fooling around with team girlfriend and Twilly’s daughter, Bunny.

There is a playoff game coming up and Sam ‘finds a way’ to start. Chucky is despondent since scouts will be there. Also, Al finds Chucky’s dad, Warren. Warren walked out on the family and has no interest in rekindling things with Chucky since Warren cannot help Chucky financially any more than he could in the past. He has kept up with Chucky’s career, even going so far as to travel to games.

Needing to keep Chucky on the team, Sam sneaks into the Twilly residence to get Chucky out. Bunny catches him and anticipates some fun. Before he can talk his was out, Margaret comes in and kicks them off the team.

At the playoff game, Chucky (filled in by Bunny) tells Sam that there are no hard feelings, though he was passed out while it happened. Margaret arrives, makes a good show of the New York Yankee’s scout, and heads off to wish her team luck. Al arrives and wonders why Sam is not in uniform. It turns out that several players are pulled due to legal issues. Since they cannot play with a roster of eight, the guys are put in.

The game goes well, so well that it mimics the original history. Needing to make a difference, Sam takes himself out giving Chucky a shot. The game goes well, and Sam makes the winning catch. The scout gives him a chance and Sam gets a job as a pitching coach. Warren stops by and reunites with his son. Sam leaps …

.. into a deputy sheriff helping a woman get things together. The area is windy which makes sense for the coming hurricane.

Fact Check: Pete Rose gets a name check though this leap is a good two years before he even started to play professionally.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam talks about being ready at a moment’s notice whereupon the pitcher quickly throws a ball at him. Why this is not considered a foul is an exercise for the viewer.

Only Sam can see and hear: For the baseball episode, Al busts out his old uniform from his playing for the navy.

Mirror images that were not his own: Leaping in with a mouth full of chewing tobacco, Sam spits it into a nearby sink and sees Doc in the mirror when he looks up.

Something or someone: Sam gets to stick around for Chucky to toss him a baseball.

It’s a science project: Al gives Sam a technical lesson on how to pitch.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al tries to hide Chucky’s father from Sam but Ziggy/Gooshie keeps on sending messages to the handlink via boops and beeps.

Let’s up the rating: After seeing himself, Bunny walks in and quickly removes her dress. Later at the diner, we get a nice shot of the waitress’s bust as she goes by the camera. Finally, Margaret makes a pass at Sam. It is a triple play!

One more time: “What did dragon lady want?” “She just wanted to talk about my … performance.”
Al wanting to know what happened and Sam pulling a double entendre.

The Rainbow Treknection: Before playing Hawk in First Contact, Neil McDonough was Chucky in this episode.

Trivial Matters: For the second episode in a row this season, Sam does not say the titular phrase of this rewatch alone in the teaser. That honor goes to the bat boy who walks in on him after Bunny takes off her dress.

The mustang’s mascot is a pig (they can barely afford uniforms let alone a horse) who does a great job of getting dirty. It happens off camera during a commercial break, though the dialogue does not indicate any time passes.

Put right what once went wrong: “Can this wait until after the game?” “The United Stated Immigration Department does not wait for anything.” “But this is baseball.” “And this is a warrant.” One of the things I gave the pilot, Genesis, a lot of flack for was giving the baseball plot a short shrift with twenty paltry minutes. Just like The Next Generation took the time to build on the first season for their fourth season (revisiting Lore, The Traveler, etc.) so did Quantum Leap.

The writing is a hodgepodge of what we have seen before. Sam getting seduced, absent parent deciding to be more involved, pretty much the entire portion of the plot from the pilot expanded upon with the exception of Sam telling Al that Chucky reminds him of a young Al. There is not much new here, though there is a good scene helping to see that Sam was both the driving force for the project and saw something in Al. It takes a certain guy to keep going through time and Sam is that guy.

That is not to say that the wiring is not sharp. Margaret has a lot of innuendos and some of the fans are rowdy. There is a good amount of filler, but it is good filler. We have a diner scene early on which establishes the bond Chucky and Sam will have along with the problems Chucky has to face. One thinks that they may have needed to fill the page, but it is done well.

Thankfully, the acting lives up to the words on the page. McDonough shows why he would go on to be in the genre, even expanding to shows like Desperate Housewives. He is a young guy with everything to prove but no opportunity to take advantage of it. Casey Ander is the dad who watches from afar and is the best portrayal in that role since James Whitmore Jr. You can see him wanting to be with his son while being forced to retrain himself. It does hurt when Sam says that newspaper clippings and picture are not the same as knowing your son. It is telling in the end when the two reunite and it is not outwardly stated that they are related. McDonough and Ander play that moment well. Courtney Gerhart is perfectly flirty as Bunny and Maree Cheatham plays al older southern seductress well as Margaret. Sam sits in her office, and she just calmly cleans off the desk to get ready. Don Stroud yells at people for the hour as Coach and is having a blast.

I did not think I would have so much praise to put onto this episode before putting my thoughts down, but this is a much more enjoyable episode than what I originally thought.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#562293
Hurricane
Original Air date: October 2, 1991
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap Date: August 17, 1969

This time: Sam leaps into a deputy sheriff helping a woman get things together. The area is windy which makes sense for the coming hurricane. As Archie, he and Nurse/girlfriend Cissy Davis are helping people evacuate. Their first evacuee is Lisa, an old flame of Archie’s.

Next on the agenda is a pretty bitching party. Well, as bitching as middle-aged extras and standards/practices will allow. Said partiers are not going to leave, so the duo goes to the next item on the list, a safe house. Al arrives and says that Davis will be killed by debris later that night. They have a time and location, so all Sam needs to do is keep her away at that exact moment.

Lisa comes to the safe house hoping to rekindle things, but Sam shoots her down and she leaves with Sam wondering if she would have been safer there. Several people come to the safe house, including Joe, one of Davis’ more violent exes. Sam keeps them apart by going to the party. He is able to get people out of the party with his words, and a few shots from his gun in the air.

Lisa comes back to the safe house and menaces Davis with a knife. They struggle until Davis is knocked unconscious. Lisa grabs a knife, but Sam stops her. Hurricane Camille passes by. Lisa gets the help she needs, Davis goes to school and becomes a therapist. Sam leaps …

… into someone being inducted into the Klan.

Fact check: One person at the safe house wonders how they can harness the power of wind. That is a great idea, already implemented millennia earlier with windmills.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam enjoys being in a hurricane since it reminds him of the unpredictability of leaping. Personally, I can admire unpredictability away from hurricanes.

Only Sam can see and hear: Sam and Davis are … busy in the closet and Sam shuts the door for privacy, at which point Al forgets he is a hologram and can poke his head through the door.

Mirror images that were not his own: We get the ‘mirror jingle’ when Davis momentarily sees Sam’s real eyes. Something similar happens at the bitching party before we get a proper look at a mirror.

It’s a science project: The time of Davis’ death is known because her clock stopped at 10:30. Oddly enough, even after the location changes her time of death does not.

Let’s up the rating: While not stated outright, Davis seems to consider hurricanes an aphrodisiac.

One more time: “Her? Who her? Why didn’t you tell me there was another in this relationship?”
Al getting caught not reading the script.

Trivial Matters: Someone must like disaster porn. There is a lot in this episode, including ones that do not match the location, or even description of dialogue.

A pre-24 James Morrison appears as Joe.

Put right what once went wrong: “Arch, put your clothes on and get out of the back seat, ten-four.” With a story by two writers, this feels like someone wanted to do a love triangle when someone else wanted to do a hurricane story and they just mashed the two together. Amazingly enough, it works.

Through practical effects and stock footage, they sell the disaster aspect pretty well. We have the power going out and a bunch of people going to a local port in the storm. It is a fun way to make it into a bit of a farce, but other than an older couple that smacks wise every now and then, this is not really touched upon. Plus, Sam gets to break up a party with a gun, though by that point the power is out, and the party is pretty much over.

The writing also holds up with the logistics. There are just enough characters who are given just enough screen time to not overload, or bore, us. Joe is there for as long as he needs to be, and Lisa comes back only twice. The location of the death changes and you can see pieces falling into place. In the chaos of a natural disaster, you can see everything as it whirls around.

Like any good love triangle, much rides on the guest stars and there are two prominently featured here. Tracy Kolis does not show her hand in the early scenes and is perfectly natural. The scale does not tip until her final scene and it is dawning on both the audience and Al that Lisa is the killer. Usually, it helps a story when there is a clue or two leading up to the revelation but that was not needed here.

Marilyn Jones is fantastic as Davis. She knows when to go out and help people along with when to make out with Archie. Their relationship is kind of an open secret, but she is effective. She has good chemistry with both Bakula and Kolis to make for an all-around entertaining hour.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#563009
Justice
Original Air Date: October 9, 1991
Written by: Toni Graphia
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Leap Date: May 11, 1965

This time: Sam leaps into someone being inducted into the Klan. Specifically, Sam has leapt into Clyde whose main motivation for joining was to get closer to his father-in-law, Gene. Clyde’s wife, Lilly, is ecstatic. Their son, Cody is parroting what he hears, including slurs for Ada, the family’s African American housekeeper.

Sam and Gene go to the courthouse where Ada’s son, Nathaniel, brings in a citizen for voter registration. Sam is willing but Gene excuses them, reminding Sam of the oath. Forced to take the wrong side, Nathaniel has harsh words for Sam, especially since Clyde asked Nathaniel to come down and register. Al arrives and says that Nathaniel is going to be hung.

Sam teaches Cody to shoot, and they have some good bonding time. Lilly interrupts, dismissing Cody and talking to Sam about that racist language being a thing of the past. Their discussion is interrupted by Gene for the ‘hunting club,’ code for lynching Nathaniel per Al. It turns out the group is throwing a party for Clyde’s one day anniversary, though it quickly turns deadly when they find out about a demonstration led by Nathaniel.

Sam makes an excuse to get his gun but instead intercepts the protesters. They are insistent at having a peaceful march but for the armaments of the other group. Back at home, Sam has a talk with Lilly, but Gene arrives wondering where Sam and the protesters were. They have placed a bomb at a church where choral practice, including kids, is occurring.

Sam is tied up but breaks free though not in time to save the kids. Thankfully, Al clears the building, courtesy of the kids. The empty church blows up, but the groups confront each other. Nathaniel is put in a noose, but Sam arrives and puts himself in a noose as well. Some in the crowd are ready to hang them both, but not Gene. They are not entirely moved by Sam’s speech but let both live. Per Al, Nathaniel becomes a mayor. Sam leaps …

… into a hair stylist. A young man, Kyle asks to go for some candy. After getting approval, a woman comes around asking about him when there are gunshots.

Stop talking to yourself: There is an odd dichotomy as Sam realizes that he likes the guys but hates what they stand for.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al serves as a calming force for Sam, especially as they try to figure out why Sam is there.

Mirror images that were not his own: Finally getting a moment to himself, Sam sees Clyde in a rear-view mirror.

Brush with history: There is no way Sam can take credit for this but the Voting Rights Act of 1965 gets a name check along with Lyndon B. Johnson.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: In the Waiting Room, Clyde recites the oath ad nauseum.

Let’s up the rating: Lilly is all over Clyde after the induction.

One more time: “That’s an angel.” “Not with those clothes.”
Two kids at choir practice giving Al grief. From the mouths of babes …

The Rainbow Treknection: Glenn Morshower is best known for Agent Price in 24 but was a transporter operator before that and on Quantum Leap as Tom, one of Clyde’s buddies before either. We also have Fleet Admiral Shanti herself, the late great Fran Bennett, as Ada in the middle of her three Quantum Leap roles.

This is the sole Quantum Leap directing credit to Rob Bowman. He has done a lot in the business including a baker’s dozen episodes of The Next Generation.

Trivial Matter: There is a bit of a goof in this episode. Early on, Al opens the waiting imaging chamber door, and it closes behind him without him stepping back.

Put right what once went wrong: “We will march.” “I know that.” “And we will win.” “I know that, too.” I have no clue if this episode could have been made today. You have robes. Ethnic slurs. A lynching. At times it is shocking what shows got away with back in the day. Was the network censor off for the week?

This series has never shied away from racial issues. Back in the first season we saw same leap into an African American and since he has walked in other people’s shoes. This episode showed us the other side of that welcoming diversity coin.

There are a lot of ways this could have gone wrong. The ‘hunting club’ wants to have racial supremacy but they are also guys that just like to hang out every now and again. Right after the initiation they have a picnic. One guy needs help clearing his yard, so the guys make arrangements to help out. If you were just listening, you would not find it shocking.

Director Rob Bowman made sure that we saw the robes during those moments. It is not just with the adults either. There is a scene where Cody gets ahold of the mask and Sam is furious. Lilly is kind of in the middle of it all but goes along with her father and tries to get Sam as well. Lisa Waltz and Jacob Gelman have great performances away from the madness. Noble Willingham is fantastic as Gene both being a leader while also trying to keep his son-in-law in line.

Fran Bennett is great as Ada. She has age on her side and is willing to shrug off the prevalent attitude. Less so is Michael Beach, trying to do what he can but not letting people get hurt though that character is stuck in one mode.

This is another great episode to watch. While it does put a face on hate, we are reminded that they were willing to lynch their friend and blow up a church knowing there were kids inside. Few shows would go there, much less in prime time. Trek would have to put a sci-fi twist on the lesson but here it is front and center.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#563427
Permanent Wave
Original Air Date: October 16, 1991
Written by: Beverly Bridges
Directed by: Scott Bakula
Leap Date: June 2, 1983

This time: Sam leaps into a hair stylist. A young man, Kyle asks to go for some candy. After getting approval, a woman comes around asking about him when there are gunshots. Sam goes to the candy store (How he knew where it was is an exercise for the viewer) and tends to Kyle though not before the proprietor is shot. Worried mother Laura is on the scene, making sure Kyle is all right. She admonishes Frank, Sam’s leapee, for letting Kyle go off alone.

A detective named Ward investigates the scene and gets some information from Sam. Kyle is not around but they exchange contact information, including Ward’s home number. As Laura puts Kyle to bed, Al says that Laura is also killed, and Kyle disappears. It seems that Laura is a former mob wife and does not want Kyle too out in the open.

Sam decides that if he can get a description from Kyle, he can report to Ward under the guise of “Oh, I suddenly remembered.” It goes well as Kyle remembers something about ‘junkie money’ before Laura comes back. That is enough for Al and Sam to figure out that the pharmacist was into drugs. He reports to Ward, but the detective insists on talking to Kyle, even if Laura is present.

Later, their friend/co-worker Chloe comes to look over samples. Soon, someone shoots up the group. Laura goes off to get help and Sam once again asks Kyle about the gunman. There is not much to go on as Kyle just saw the shoes which had money in them.

Laura runs off to Frank’s cabin with Kyle. Sam finds out and calls Ward, though he is unavailable as a woman called him a few minutes ago. Sam and Chloe are off. Al checks in on Ward and determines that Ward was the killer. At the cabin, a chase ensues ending up with Ward holding a gun on Sam and Kyle. Ward is shot by Chloe (!), who was behind the whole scheme. Sam takes her out. Kyle becomes a medal winning swimmer. Frank and Laura marry. Sam leaps …

… into a hospital bed. It becomes clear that he is a woman as an officer, Shumway, wants to ask ‘her’ some questions. Sam bemoans being a woman ‘again,’ prompting Shumway to ask if she has been raped before.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam wonders why he leaped into Frank in the salon if the candy shop salesman died in the pharmacy.

Only Sam can see and hear: Usually an expert in what Sam does, Al is not especially useful in the art of eighties hair.

Mirror images that were not his own: After a shooting, awkward interrogation and bedtime story, Sam earns a look at Maury Lipschitz, A.K.A Frank Bianca.

Something or someone: Technically Kyle became a better swimmer by Sam sticking around after saving everyone but there is not much for him to do after making sure mother and son are all right.

It’s a science project: Knowing nothing about hair products, Sam pretty much mixes stuff together and hopes for the best. Good thing randomly mixing chemicals has never has any negative consequences of any kind. It is not like they have labels with instructions or anything ….

Let’s up the rating: Being a male hairstylist is sexy. Women are all over Frank in the salon.

One more time: “It’s going to make it hell getting prescription refills.”
Al being a master of the obvious at the crime scene

The Rainbow Treknection: After appearing as Detective Ward, Harry Groener guest starred with Bakula again in Star Trek: Enterprise as Nathan Samuels.

Trivial Matters: Young Kyle is played by Gordon Joseph-Levitt. He would alter appear on Third Rock From the Sun as young Tommy, The Dark Knight Rises as a younger version of Robin and in Looper as a young version of Bruce Willis.

This is the first episode directed by series star Scott Bakula.

Needing to entertain Kyle, Sam reenacts an episode of Captain Galaxy, though this time, he is not Future Boy.

Sam expresses some reciprocated sexy thoughts with his clients, to the point where Al wonders if some of Al is still in Sam from the season opener.

Put right what once went wrong: “Do you mind if I talk to him?” “No, that would be fine.” “Can you tell me where he is, please?” It is clear that Scott Bakula is a fantastic actor. He is put through a lifetime of dream roles every season with multitudes of actors from various backgrounds. He has also displayed his singing skills on more than one occasion. No doubt that Bakula is a great guy and a strong male lead.

Directing is not his forte. Do not get me wrong, the directing goes pretty well in this episode, but there is nothing amazing about it. It is just that there are no super awesome shots or amazing performances in this hour.

The performances work, though. Harry Groener plays Ward with a bit of an asshole streak, though he is frustrated by the fact that Sam knows nothing due to leaping in. Their back and forth at the top of the episode is fun to watch as Ward tries to figure things out. Lela Ivey’s Chloe does not let up that she is the culprit but is not convincing as one either. Give us a clue, here or there. She does have a fun scene where she responds to Sam while he is talking to Al. The writers and actors love those scenes. Doran Clark and Joseph Gordan-Levitt are good as Laura and Kyle.

This is a pretty good hour but not entirely worth the time it took out of Bakula. The requisite eighties action scene goes off well, and there is a cool sequence where Kyle sneaks through the doggie door and Ward grabs his foot, but resources could have been better spent elsewhere.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#563897
Last week, Dave Hines passed away. As Head Moderator, he had many duties but there was some involvement in this blog. After getting started, it quickly became apparent that there would be controversial issues with this series. An early episode dealt with Sam leaping into an elderly African American and another had him leaping into a woman. Things could have gotten testy, and I worked with Dave just in case things got out of hand. They did not but Dave was at the ready in case they did. This entry is dedicated to his memory.

Raped
Original Air Date: October 30, 1991
Written by: Beverly Bridges
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap Date: June 20, 1980

This time: Sam leaps into a hospital bed. It becomes clear that he is a woman as an officer, Shumway, wants to ask ‘her’ some questions. Sam bemoans being a woman ‘again,’ prompting Shumway to ask if she has been raped before. Shumway asks more questions of Katie, Sam’s leapee, but there are few details. Thankfully, Katie’s sister, Libby is there. The perpetrator is Kevin, one with a prominent reputation in the community. Sam presses charges.

At home, Sam has the support of his parents, but Libby points out that it will be an uphill battle. Al arrives and says that Kevin was not charged in the original history. At the District Attorney’s office, Shumway introduces Sam to Nancy Hudson who takes the case but tells Sam that it will not be an easy conviction.

At dinner in a local establishment, they read the horribly biased article and get all sorts of nasty looks along with outright accusations to blame Katie. As the trial gets ready to start, Sam is worried that he will have to testify. Al looks into helping Katie to open up and also looking into some other notes from a therapist Katie confided in months later.

First on the stand is Paula, Kevin’s fiancé. She testifies to an argument earlier on the night in question but not that Kevin hit her. The next witness is Kevin himself, who testifies that he had sex with Katie but that it was entirely consensual. He claims that she tripped over a rock to explain the injuries but that does not cover everything. Hudson calls Sam to testify but Sam is not ready. At Al’s suggestion, he faints but that will only last for the day. He tasks Al with finding a way to get Katie to talk directly to Sam in the Imaging Chamber. Thankfully, they do figure out a way to do so as Katie tells the court what happened.

We smash cut to Kevin being found not guilty. The press has questions and Hudson is sorry for the family as well, but Sam does not want to move on, provoking memories from Hudson. That night, Kevin approaches Sam and again tries to be abusive, though Sam is prepared. The commotion brings the family who sees the aftermath and is willing to press further charges. Sam leaps …

… into a space shuttle cockpit counting down to launch.

Stop talking to yourself: It does look hopeless without Katie to testify but the big draw here is not Sam’s monologue, it is Katie’s in which she provides the firsthand account of a very horrible event.

Only Sam can see and hear: I takes Al longer than usual to get to Sam because Katie was fairly traumatized and that was before leaping out. Dr. Beeks is putting in overtime.

Mirror images that were not his own: After being asked if this happened before, Sam gets a good look at a somewhat battered Katie McBain. We get a good five shots of Katie in the mirror before she testifies.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al and Ziggy find out how to get Katie to speak to Sam in the trial, though if takes enough electricity to power St. Louis for a month.

One more time: “You talk like I’m the one on trial here.” “You are.” “But he’s the rapist.” “Not according to him and not according to the people of this town and the jury will come from people in this town.”
Sam and Nancy discussing the uphill battle.

Trivial Matter: In a nice touch, Sam is not battered in the start of the episode., though Kate is. We will see her more often in this episode as things progress, but she does heal as you would expect through the normal passage of time. Though in the climactic fight, Sam does retain bruising.

Put right what once went wrong: “This happens to people in movies, not my sister.” This was written before Hallmark Movies were a thing when after school specials and “Very Special Episodes” were. If not for a few dings this is an episode I would be very tempted to call required viewing.

Deborah Pratt became one of my favorite writers a while ago, but Beverly Bridges makes a mark for herself here. There are a lot of things that work in this here especially with selling the feeling of small towns. Word spreads fast and this is before the internet. We see the family being seated in the back of a restaurant and we hear a couple guys taking Kevin’s side shortly thereafter. Even outside of that, we have the church firing Katie from Sunday School and an asshole who calls the family at home. The Detective and District Attorney have fantastic banter. The trial is the highlight of all this but that does not even start until almost the halfway mark.

Credit also goes to regular director Mark Zinberg for getting amazing performances out of the cast. This is uncomfortable material that happens all too often when you least suspect, but the actors know the weight that they carry. Shots are well executed but the pacing works as well, particularly with the parties exiting the court right after Katie testifies. There’s no need to go through anything else, we get Kevin loudly celebrating his victory in the hallway.

Matthew Seeehan plays Kevin as a total asshole, coming to the hospital to check on Katie after the incident, trying to bribe her with jewelry and going so far as playing the victim with the charge being on his permanent record. Eugene Lee is great as Shumway playing him with a calm understanding yet being able to support a victim. He offers his fishing rod as collateral to Penny Peyser’s Hudson who wonders what she will do with it. We also learn that Hudson is a victim herself which explains why she took up a case that she knew would be difficult to win, an issue for a District Attorney. Arthur Rosenberg does not have much to do beyond being a supportive father, but Nancy Leneham is able to add some dimensions offering cookies and milk when there is little more to do, though Sam takes it as a reconciliatory show of support. Amy Ryan’s Libby is not too involved but is a good sister who is crucial in the opening scene, particularly as the one Katie calls for help. The script has all these great little moments that add to the realism and help the characters be more than the sum of their parts.

Cheryl Pollack steals the show as Katie. Early on we see Katie a lot in mirror shots to help put a face to the cause. When she goes into a monologue, it feels nature and we are accustomed to her. Normally the leapee is seen in the mirror and then forgotten about, to the point where staff members frequently use them for a cameo. Here, she has multiple appearances including addressing the audience directly. Her firsthand account of the brutal event is raw, and she has enough emotion to not oversell it. The camera slowly zooms in and Bakula’s voice fades as she bares her soul.

It is not all perfect. Not that Kevin is undeserving but having him get beaten in the end perpetuates the myth that you can solve problems with violence. While Katie’s parents were supportive here that is not always the case but that is a matter for another time and does not distract from an otherwise stellar hour.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#564549
The Wrong Stuff
Leap Date: January 24, 1961
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Original Air Date: November 6, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into a space shuttle cockpit counting down to launch. With his vitals all over the place, the mission is aborted. It is revealed that Sam was in a simulator. He is led away from it where he is disrobed down to a diaper and finds out that he has leaped into a Bobo, chimp. His main handler is chimp veterinarian Dr. Leslie Ashton, under the supervision of Dr. Tucker. Dr. Frank Winger is introduced as a neurologist. Per Al, in the next couple of days, there are two selected to go into space and Sam has to be one of them so that he does not get forgotten by history.

The next morning, Dr. Winger flirts with Dr. Ashton hard. She politely declines (and hopefully reports him to Human Resources!) as the two talk about their careers. Things do not go well as Sam is put in a chair for a test. Given no instructions (and not liking the treat), nuclear scientist and pioneer of time travel Dr. Beckett does not do well. Al looks into the records and finds out that originally, Bobo dies of massive head trauma. With Sam, they find out that Dr. Wigner is working on effects of head trauma by using chimps.

Sam’s ‘girlfriend’ Corey is taken to do tests by Dr. Winger, infuriating Dr. Ashton. She confronts him and they have a ‘measuring’ contest. Dr. Ashton tries to keep her chimps safe, but Dr. Tucker authorized the testing. Soon, Sam is tranquilized and taken for testing. He is able to free himself before being hit by five thousand pounds of pressure. He takes Corey and they make their escape holding Dr. Winger and crew at bay with a tranquilizer gun. Why they only have one is an exercise for the viewer as is why they are all worried about one non-lethal weapon with only one bullet.

In the chaos of The Great Ape Escape (a title not copywritten for some reason), Dr. Winger falls into a river but is saved by Sam, to the amazement of the doctors as chimps cannot swim. Dr. Wigner stops testing on chimps, Dr. Ashton has an excellent career and Corey has a baby with Bobo. Sam leaps …

… into Jack Stone, a cop, investigating a home with his partner, Pamela Roselli. He finds a grisly murder scene.

Stop talking to yourself: Accompanied by stock footage of disastrous space flights, Sam gives a lesson in early American space flight that you probably did not get in history class. Also, life as a chimp is not as bad as you might think.

Only Sam can see and hear: Sam gets the brilliant idea to write a note so that the scientists know he is a person. Al says that is a great way to get his brain dissected. Plus, Al was part of the Apollo program.

Mirror images that were not his own: Stripped down to a diaper and called Bobo, Sam looks in the mirror and sees a chimp. The leapee effect is well done, considering.

Brush with history: John Glenn gets a name check as Dr. Ashton hopes that Bobo beats him to space. Not to be outdone, Dr. Winger name drops Chuck Yeager.

Something or someone: After saving Dr. Wigner, Sam gets to stick around to see Corey shoot him in the behind with a tranquilizer dart.

It’s a science project: A light-based test with electroshocks, an equilibrium test and a centrifuge; Sam gets put through a lot of testing in this episode.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: We are denied seeing Scott Bakula pretend to be a chimp in the Waiting Room!

Let’s up the rating: Sam spends most of this episode in a diaper. It would be less, but Sam draws the line at that. Given that this episode lasts multiple days, one hopes that he does change it at some point.

Oh, and most of the chimps have tags numbered in the sixties. Director Joe Napolitano made sure we saw the one with 69!

One more time: “How are you doing today, Bobo?” “Pretty miserable. Yourself?”
Sam and Dr. Tucker exchanging morning pleasantries with the former having the smarm usually associated with Al.

Trivial Matters: The title spoofs the classic film, The Right Stuff, about early spaceflights. It was remade as a miniseries in 2020.

The teaser in the aired episode has more material than it did in the preview a week prior. Here, we see the control room and the scientists working while monitoring Sam’s bio signs.

Disneyland’s Teacups get a name check as Al “spilled his cookies” on them.

This is the only episode where Sam does not leap into a person.

Dr. Ashton is played by Caroline Goodall. There could very well be some relationship to the famed Dr. Jane Goodall but I am unable to confirm.

Put right what once went wrong: “If you want to study human head trauma, study it in a human.” “Well, that would be irresponsible.” The chimp episode. You will either love it or hate it, but it is memorable, not just for opening possibilities not fully explored as one wonders how the goldfish episode would turn out.

It works amazingly well. Sam is able to remark on things usually reserved for Al, allowing Bakula to show off his comedic chops. Usually, Sam has to hold it in or wait for Al, and then probably talk in hushed tones, but this week he has a lot of snark. Speaking of which, Stockwell has a little more to do in this hour as the only person that can have meaningful communication with Sam. This is one of the few instances where they can pretty much talk freely for the entirety of the episode.

I love how an actual astronaut has no idea how to complete any of the tests. As with his first leap into an African American and a woman, we get to see Sam adjust.

The other humans in the cast are well acted. As Dr. Ashton, Caroline Goodall plays a caring compassionate doctor caring for her simian patients. She knows that Corey and Bobo will get it on, Bobo’s favorite treat, etc. Best of all, she does not have to look at their tags to know that Cathy is in Corey’s cage. As the time goes by it becomes clear she is truly at comfortable around primates while doing her work.

Gary Swanson does have evil villain moments but also gets to present the other side of the case. This was years before test dummies were anywhere as good as we saw on Mythbusters and he does show his work. It is great to show dimensionality. Albert Stratten plays Dr. Tucker as the adult in the room, supervising and moderating disputes.

Not something that should be overused but this is a good hour. It showed that the rules of the series could be stretched to tell a greater variety of stories, and we would see that down the road but not to this extent.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#565008
Dreams
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Anita W. Addison
Leap Date: February 28, 1979
Original Air Date: November 13, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into Jack Stone, a cop, investigating a home with his partner, Pamela Roselli. He finds a grisly murder scene. He hears a voice and finds two small children in hiding. The victim is Paula Decaro and her ex-husband, Peter, wants to talk to her before he kills himself. Sam talks him down to calmness and backup arrives for the arrest.

Sam’s attention is drawn to a door which seems to trigger a flashback to another door with a different victim. Al arrives but does not have much since all they can determine is that he is to save Peter, which he did. Sam and Al talking attracts the attention of Roselli who, along with Al, expresses concern for an aloof Sam.

On the drive home, Al says that Peter will get the chair for murder but not the murder of Paula, the murder of Jack Stone in two days. Sam believes he will die after getting a vision. That night, Sam dreams about running into a bloodied version of himself. To Al, he remembers when they switched places in the season premiere and ruminates that some part of Stone is in him. He tasks Al and Dr. Beeks to find out what is going on with Stone, though that can take days.

At the scene, Roselli and Sam try to piece things together. The victim’s heart is missing for one and Peter is seeing Mason Crane, noted psychologist. Apparently, Peter called for Dr. Crane before his lawyer. Sam meets with Dr. Crane making an appointment but not mentioning he is a cop. He breaks into Dr. Crane’s office at Al’s urging unknowingly under the watch of the departing Dr. Crane. They discover that Dr. Crane was seeing both Paula and Peter at the same time.

In session with Dr. Crane, it is quickly revealed that Sam is a cop. Also, Paula was planning on leaving Peter. Dr. Crane then puts Sam under a slight hypnosis where Sam mentions his issue with the door. Al interrupts the session saying that Jack was the one having an affair with Paula, proved by phone records between the two. Not sure who the murderer is, Sam goes back to the boy, though all he gets is gloves.

Back at the house, Dr. Crane helps Sam remember the details of Stone’s past. Sam recalls a young Stone coming home to find his mother dead. Young Stone walked in on the autopsy, causing some trauma. Sam figures out that Dr. Crane murdered Paula. Dr. Crane confesses and tries to convince Sam to commit suicide. Sam snaps out of it and shoots Dr. Crane. Sam leaps …

… into a car going into West Bend, Texas. As Billy Beaumont he is returning to his hometown to end a drought and make it rain.

Stop talking to yourself: Mustering up the courage to confront a killer, Sam takes a few moments to adjust. This is memorable because Bakula says it while he is onscreen. Usually it is in an act/scene break over a wide ore stablishing shot.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is a stalwart friend in this making sure that Sam keeps mental distance from Stone.

Mirror images that were not his own: Shortly after getting his bearings, Sam gets a look at Stone in the hallway mirror.

Something or someone: For all the grief I give this series about Sam sticking around for no real good reason whatsoever, Sam leaps almost immediately after shooting Dr. Crane.

It’s a science project: The missing heart is not in the original coroner’s report. Which is a really big omission.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Stone is pretty regular in the Waiting Room.

Let’s up the rating: Roselli and Jack/Sam have a dinner together. She is in a stunning dress and lets her hair down but is not overly flirtatious.

One more time: “Hello, Sam. What channel are you tuned into. … Oh, Jeez Louise!”
Al wondering why Sam seems so out of it, then finding out why.

The Rainbow Treknection: Alan Scarfe was on The Next Generation twice as Dr. Mendak and Tokath, both Romulans unlike the human Dr. Crane. He may be familiar to some as Dr. Talmadge from the U.PN. series Seven Days.

Trivial Matter: A psychologist named Dr. Crane in the nineties? That has to be a Cheers/Fraiser reference.

Put right what once went wrong: “The little boy is in shock. She’s scared to death.” There are several messes in this episode, not way around it. The biggest offense is one that they try and write their way around, forcing Sam to have the psychology of his leapee. This has not happened in the over sixty stories we have seen. They try and handwave that inconvenience with reminding us that Sam got a bit of Al in the season premiere, but that does not really cut it since those were extenuating circumstances.

That is not the only problem. The coroner omitting the missing heart is beyond reprehensible. It is also an amazing coincidence that Dr. Crane killed Stone’s mother and Paula. This is decades later; did he murder no one else in the interim? We are led to believe that Dr. Crane is a high-profile psychologist, but Sam can easily sneak into his office. The sneaking is under the watchful eye of Dr. Crane who just drives off for some reason. Plus, seeing the husband and wife separately without the other knowing violates several rules and ethics. The script keeps mentioning Peter Decaro but he is seen just in the opening.

Even the acting cannot save this episode. Bakula goes into nine-year-old boy mode which does not work on a audio-visual level. I get that he is reliving trauma, but it is not a good look. Trauma is a real thing that can cause someone to regress, even a fully grown normally adjusted adult but this does not really translate to the screen or make for compelling viewing while slowing things down to a crawl.

Joycelyn O'Brien fills in a similar role to Al as Roselli and while there are some touching scenes with her partner, she is pretty bland. Alan Scarfe has played roles with nobility, but here, he is more distant than anything as Dr. Crane though he does portray a certain menacing calmness.

A rare misfire for Deborah Pratt. The direction of Anita Addison goes for a Twin Peaks vibe, particularly with the flashbacks, but ends up missing the mark.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#565485
A Single Drop of Rain
Original Air Date: November 20, 1991
Story by : Richard C. Okie & Donald P. Bellisario & Ralph Meyering, Jr.
Teleplay by : Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Virgil W. Vogel
Leap Date: September 7, 1953

This time: Sam leaps into a car going to West Bend, Texas. As Billy Beaumont, he is returning to his hometown to end a drought and make it rain. Most everyone is excited to see Billy along with the prospect of rain. One skeptic in the audience is Ralph, Billy’s brother. Nonetheless, Sam, and his partner, Clinton, promise rain. Al arrives and says that it will not for months.

At a family dinner that night, Ralph is still grumpy at Billy who did not come back to town for their father’s funeral seven years earlier. Ralph’s wife, Annie and the Beaumont mother, Grace are happy to reminisce. Later, Annie recounts how she and Ralph are drifting apart, something not helped by the short but amazing-to-Annie short lived romance the two shared.

The townspeople are all ready to pay the two hundred and fifty dollar per person (over two thousand dollars today adjusted for inflation) cover charge each to make it rain. Sam organizes a party to get ready including a cannon firing and a large picnic. Al arrives with news that the rain is still not scheduled to change. Also, when Billy originally left, he took Annie with him.

The town congregates for the event and Sam fumbles through the routine after Clinton not being much help because of the hundred times they have worked together, Billy has never done it the same twice. After shooing them off, Al helps Sam further stumble through making a liquid concoction to seed the clouds.

The party goes off well, despite Ralph trying to break to mood, and Annie threatening to leave. Clinton wonders why they have not left per their usual modus operandi. The two have a moment as Clinton recounts how Billy brought him out of the gutter.

Later that night, Annie tries to make good on her threat to leave. Sam makes progress with getting her to stay but Ralph walks in at the wrong time and comes to the wrong assumption. The brothers have a fistfight where Ralph admits his love for Annie. Husband and wife reconnect just as rain begins to fall. The town rejoices and the family is reunited. Sam leaps …

... into a prison convoy. He and the person he is chained to jump out the back of the truck and make their escape.

Stop talking to yourself: This is another episode without narration by Sam.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al and Sam have a large argument about being able to control the weather, or at least create precipitation of some form. Oddly enough, throughout the conversation they both have traits of a skeptic and optimist.

Mirror images that were not his own: After being warmly greeted by everyone and a hug from his momma, Sam gets a look at the handsome Billy.

Brush with history: Pushing weather to the back of his mind, Sam helps a wheelchair bound townsperson with getting in and out of the store since there is no ramp.

Something or someone: With the family reunited and the rain starting, Sam has to promise to stay in town before he can leap.

It’s a science project: Silver iodide can be used to make it rain as evidenced in this episode.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Apparently a Cholesterol Control Act comes out at some point, probably to manage cholesterol levels. As of this writing there is no such mandate.

Let’s up the rating: Lots of folks are happy to see Billy return. A woman named Velma is perhaps the most excited to see him. In that way.

One more time: “Ziggy says it’s not going to rain for some time.” “How long is some time?” “Eight months, one week, four days two hours and forty-four minutes.”
Al relaying information, Sam asking for clarification and Al getting into his inner Spock.

Trivial Matters: When Al first appears, he is on a porch not level with Sam. It helps with the framing of the shot but usually they are on the same plane and Al needs to adjust his ‘height.’

There is a scene where Al and Sam discuss the virtues of weather when they are interrupted by Annie. We get the sound effect of the imaging chamber door opening but are not certain if they just added that in as Al did not really have much to do for the rest of the scene.

Put right what once went wrong: “By the time Billy was done, you couldn’t tell Main Street from the Mississippi!” Every now and then you come across an episode which, though otherwise enjoyable, has huge plot holes. Take Voyager’s The Swarm which has to invent a way for The Doctor to have his hard drive crash and then that problem never come up again.

This episode is built on Dr. Beaumont he is all but outright stated to be a fraud. There are successes upon which they can hang their laurels, but those are a sales pitch, and the pair typically leave town after providing services. Al does not predict rain even after the clouds are seeded. Usually, he can tell when history changes but in this case he does not. For that matter in all the hundreds of times they have done this con has no one held them at gunpoint until the rain comes. The price tag is hefty enough that they should have some sort of assurances.

The episode would like us to believe that Billy is a fraud making us wonder why he came back to his hometown in the first place. If he does, this would ruin his reputation and get his family in trouble. It does work out in the end but that is in defiance of the picture the rest of the episode portrayed. Also, what does Billy do at home? He has a successful business so why not come home more often?

Moving past the plot holes, good acting can elevate an episode to watchable. One purported highlight would be the brothers getting into a fight. Echoes from The Next Generation’s Family abound, but the reason for that success is that the two brothers laughed over a bottle of wine afterwards. Here we do not have much time since the episode is, well, running out of time. It is very well choreographed with Patrick Masset taking the busted railing and trying to hit Sam with it (!) but the follow-up is not a whole lot to take in for the aftermath.

The townsfolk do a great job of selling their situation. A man who cannot pay three cents for a staple forks over a lot of money. Another who cannot pay offers an entailment via monthly trade. Everyone has fun at the picnic. This is true small-town Americana on display.

One standout is Clinton Anthony Payne II. As Clinton Levert, he is very much a showman with his talents very much enhanced by the score. He has a whole show talking about how great Billy is. As important as it is to shine in those fantastic moments, he is also strong later when he pours his heart out in a one-on-one conversation. He is very much worth watching.

This is not that great an hour thought you may not think so when watching it initially. Enjoy the ambiance but you do not have to stay for the whole thing.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#565986
Rewatchers Note: Next week is a little binky-bonkers for me so I might miss the week. Apologies in advance if this happens.

Unchained
Original air date: November 27, 1991
Written by: Paris Qualles
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap Date: November 2, 1956

This time: Sam leaps into a prison convoy. He and the person he is chained to jump out the back of the truck and make their escape. With the help of a skunk and a drainpipe (the latter of which causes Sam’s companion a bout of claustrophobia) they throw off the trail. Al arrives and Sam asks if they are innocent. Al says that Sam’s leapee has a long history of crime and his fellow convict, Jazz was caught robbing a jewelry store. Jazz professes innocence, that he was just looking at the wares when he heard gunshots, dropped to the ground and was arrested.

At a cabin, Sam and Jazz free themselves of each other and Jazz gets ready to run off. Al comes on the scene and says that Jazz is innocent that another person has been robbing stores with the same manner every time and Sam must help convince the authorities. There will be another robbery that night meaning Sam can prove his claim if Jazz is not tied to it. Also, Sam is two years into a nine-month sentence.

They are recaptured and Warden Elias puts Jazz in solitary confinement while Sam does manual labor. Al reports back from the robbery with not much to go on but Sam determines that it is the same person who delivered groceries the other day, Jake Wiles. Sam relays the information to Jazz, but they have no way of getting that information out and Sam is put into confinement himself.

The next morning, Wiley makes a delivery and Jazz tries to take revenge. The guards break it up, but Sam tells Warden Elias about the robbery. A corrupt guard named Cooley meets with Wiley. Cooley is alarmed about Sam figuring things out. Wiley’s body is found the next morning as they try to free a truck stranded in the mud. Jazz is excited which leads to him engaging Sam in a fight to the death.

As they get ready, Sam figures out Cooley is behind the murder and confronts the guard. Cooley is confident he will not live to tell. They make their escape but are caught by Cooley though the duo gets the upper hand. They make their way to the state line, which will free them. Jazz becomes a forestry ranger, Sam’s leapee makes a clean getaway and the prison is shut down. Sam leaps …

… into a nice, comfy bed. His reverie is broken by a woman in bed with him and their reverie is broken by her children making a surprise appearance.

Fact check: Crossing the state line immediately absolves you of all crimes. Unless they extradite you. Or have a basic understanding of the law.

Stop talking to yourself: Hearing Jazz scream in the agony of confinement is just as hard as moving huge barrels around.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al keeps watch over Sam while sitting in midair. He stands up and slowly lowers himself to the ground all without using his handlink. Because he is just that awesome!

Mirror images that were not his own: After freeing themselves, Sam gets a look in the mirror.

Brush with History: Emily Dickenson gets a name check and a quote. She probably would not like being quoted by a warden to a prisoner either.

Something or someone: Not only is there enough time for Al to relay the future, Jazz is able to run back and send his regards to the hologram before Sam leaps.

It’s a science project: ‘Cockfighting’ is southern prison slang for two inmates fighting to the death. At least in this specific prison at this time.

One more time: “Hey doggie doggie! Big chicken flavor right this way!”
Al either trying to get the prison dogs off the scent or auditioning for a chew toy.

Trivial Matters: The initial chase takes a lot out of Jazz to the point here he takes a nap, conveniently letting a chained Sam talk to Al without bothering (or alarming) Jazz.

Put right what once went wrong: “You and Boone made me look bad, boy. Please don’t do it again or I’ll kill you.” This will not make any waves or cross new territory for amazement. It is right out of Prison Writing 101. Innocent inmates, corrupt officials, hard labor, fight between inmates. Pretty standard.

The acting is fair for the most part as well. No one really stands out, but no one is really bad either. The directing is similarly adequate, and the score has requisite harmonicas which are contractually obligated for a southern historical prison drama.

The big standout here is Basil Wallace as Jasper “Jazz” Boone. There is a lot of mania to his character, bouncing off almost every wall there is whether confined or not. He is all over the place but hits his marks well. He has an intensity to him that draws you in and you want to listen to him, believe him. Sam has time to get to know Jazz when they are on the run and their freedom at the end is earned in more ways than one. He even bonds with Al, in a manner of speaking.

It would not be fair to recommend this just for Wallace alone, though the first act makes a compelling argument. Nevertheless, he is a bright star in an otherwise adequate episode.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#566675
Since the last entry, Dean Stockwell passed away. As such, this entry (full of nudity and innuendo) is dedicated to him.

The Play's the Thing
Leap Date: September 9, 1969
Written by: Beverly Bridges
Directed by: Eric Laneuville
Original Air Date: January 8, 1992

This time: Sam leaps into a nice, comfy bed. His reverie is broken by a woman in bed with him and their reverie is broken by her son and daughter in law making a surprise appearance. The mood is awkward, and Sam suggests they go into the other room in a moment. As Sam and the woman, Jane, get ready, she confesses that she is fifty, not forty.

Jane’s son, Neil, is surprised by the changes Sam’s leappee, Joe, has brought on (resurrecting a singing career, peace marches) while Liz, Neil’s wife, takes Jane away and all but asks her to move back. They are taken aback by Sam’s youth, at twenty-five. As a point of comparison, Neil is thirty.

At a rehearsal for Hamlet, with Sam as the title role, Sam plays the famous monologue mediocrely, but is made worse by the director. A co-star tries to hit on Sam, but Jane disavows her of that notion. Al is on the scene and while a grisly fate is not in store for Jane, in two days she goes back home and spends the rest of her days alone. Also, Joe does not go on a Hamlet and misses his big break.

At dinner, Neil and Liz have invited Ted, an old flame of Jane’s. For her part, Jane is not amused. Ted strikes out on the dance floor (in more ways than one) and Sam bets Neil and Liz that if he can make something of Jane, they will stop trying to get her to come home. They end up inviting themselves to the show. Before opening, the director decides to freshen up the performance by having the entire cast be entirely nude. The audience is shocked, but they love it, including the agent who agrees to cast Sam as an underwear model, though Sam requires Jane to come as part of a package deal. The agent wants to hear her sing first, though. Unfortunately, an awkward encounter backstage after the show brought Jane to the wrong conclusion and she has run off.

Sam intercepts the group before they leave, and things quickly escalate culminating with Ted engaging in fisticuffs. Jane agrees to try and impresses the agent. Sam leaps …

… into a naval cadet on the track, though he does not get the baton as much as he is plowed over.

Fact check: Ted’s company makes uniforms and is raking it in with the war.

Stop talking to yourself: After some rough leap ins (including last week when he was chained to a prisoner in a breakout or last season when he leaped into the electric chair) Sam finally gets to leap into a nice soft, comfy warm welcoming bed.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al first appears in the auditorium and rises up as the incline increases. Few auditoriums are built like that.

Mirror images that were not his own: While getting dressed, Sam sees Joe in the mirror.

Something or someone: Sam stays around long enough to find out that there is a happy ending but not long enough for Jane to finish her song.

Let’s up the rating: It is pretty obvious that Sam and Jane are in their Birthday Suits in the opening but there is also a nude production to Hamlet. I can just see Shakespeare wondering what would make his greatest tragedy better and coming up with a nude cast.

One more time: “Ted, just ask her to marry you and Neil, just ask her to come home.” “What, tell her the truth?”
Liz trying to be practical and Ted being ignorant.

The Rainbow Treknection: Robert Pine is Ted in the episode and would go on to plan an ambassador in Voyager’s The Chute and Travin in Enterprise’s Fusion. He has a son named Chris.

Put right what once went wrong: “Neil, your father has been dead for three years and not once in that time has he said a word.” I have long held that solid writing can save not great actors and fantastic actors will captivate you when reading the phone book but when you have great writing and great actors, everyone wins.

Beverly Bridges wrote a fantastic script that just crackles. The confrontation in the elevator lobby is great at the end with Sam repeatedly holding the door open to make his points. The opening has fun with Neil and Liz walking into Jane’s apartment with everyone being embarrassed and there is a fun scene in the middle where the characters say each other’s name in shock. Love’s labors are indeed lost. The plotting is not amazing, but the characters are there for the right actors to grasp.

And grasp they do. Robert Pine is not known as a comedic actor, but he gives Ted the right amount of sliminess, particularly when talking down to Sam about business and the war. Daniel Roebuck is always a joy to watch, and he has more than enough to chew on with a smarminess that makes me wonder who in the family is a better fit for New York. Anna Gunn is the only one actually open minded as Liz and Penny Fuller brings maturity to Jane in more ways than one. She is strong with her defense of Sam/Joe and is confident of what she wants to do with her life, regardless of her son and ex all but putting her on a train back home. She has the right amount of sass and is great to watch.

Director Eric Laneuville has some fun tricks up his sleeve. There is a good shot where Neil and Jane are framed in a mirror, and he has to Austin Powers through Hamlet, but he also knows to let his cast do what they are good at.

An all in all solid hour with low relatively stakes is taken down by a sag in the middle. If you need to grab a sandwich or take a potty break at that point, go right ahead and do so.
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