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
#579362
"The Beast Within"
Original Air Date: March 16, 1993
Written by: John D'Aquino
Directed by: Gus Trikonis
Leap Date: November 6, 1972

This time: Sam leaps into a windowsill dressed in black, furry garb. A screaming child scares him off the ledge, claiming he saw Bigfoot. The boy’s stepfather, Luke, grabs a shotgun. Sam meanders through the woods until he is tackled by a friend, Roy who leads Sam away.

Luke returns from his rounds and tells the young man, Daniel, to calm down. Luke did not find anyone, but knows that it was Henry, Sam’s leapee, solely by finding some stolen medication in the woods. As Sheriff, he goes into town to speak with Dr. Burke while ordering Daniel and his mother to stay put.

At the camp site, Roy is glad that Sam is all right. Roy asks about the pills. Sam does not have them, and Roy starts to fidget. Al arrives and tells Sam to calm Roy down lest he have a seizure. Sam calms him down and Roy retires for the night. Al says that they are both Vietnam veterans and that Roy was a “Tunnel Rat.” It was during one of his missions that he got shot in the head leading him to develop epilepsy and claustrophobia.

With nothing further to go on, Al heads back while asking Sam to find clues. At the same time, Luke decides to resume the search in the morning. Both men separately look through scrapbooks as Sam finds a group wrestling photo from high school featuring the three of them and a fourth, John Burke.

Looking through a logbook, Sam finds out that the four were on a mission to obliterate a drop point though the place just houses an old man. John goes in to do the job himself only to for the cabin to explode. Henry and Roy have been living off the grid since their return. As Roy retires for the night, Al says that he will die from a seizure the next night.

Sam puts the pieces together. Luke feels responsible for John’s death and married the widowed Karen, but Daniel resents Luke. It does not help that Henry is wanted for stealing chickens when he and Roy were starving but Luke is unsympathetic.

Roy has a seizure and Sam is ready to take him into town. Al puts the kibosh on that since the town doctor died a couple days ago and the new one will be there two days hence. Sam has to keep Roy alive until then.

The next morning, as Luke prepares a shotgun (!) to find Henry and Roy, Karen rushes in with news that Daniel ran away looking for take a picture of Bigfoot as proof. As it turns out, he stumbles onto the campsite. The three have a good time but Roy starts to have a seizure. Sam calms him down and heads into town leaving Roy with Daniel.

Sam goes to Luke, but the sheriff is unsympathetic to the point where Sam is arrested. Al comes to the cell saying that Roy and Daniel went out to find Bigfoot but are found dead the next morning, Daniel in a crevasse and Roy of a seizure. Karen comes to the jail and hears about what will happen from Sam. She lets him out.

In no short order, Sam and Karen find Roy. Sam gives the pills, but Luke is soon on the scene. The three relent but Daniel is still trapped. Roy is the only one that can get in. Daniel is recued but unconscious, needing a hospital. The group goes to the truck, which crashed on some rocks but is now on the road, ready to go.

Luke and Karen have more kids, Roy becomes a fire watcher and Henry turns his journal into a book. That just leaves the question of how the truck got back on the road. They see a furry figure in the woods. Al says, “Oh boy!” and Sam leaps …

… onto a Civil War battlefield during the Battle of Shepherdstown.

Fact check: Bigfoot can get a car off rocks, turn it around, buff out damage. The money your humble rewatcher has wasted on AAA over the years! Couldn’t he have rotated the tires and changed the oil as well?

Stop talking to yourself: As Sam laments not being bigfoot, his narration does not open an act or a scene. It is unusual for it to not begin after the teaser, and this is the first time it interrupts a scene.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al gives Sam a briefing on assignments from Vietnam. He also descends a rockface as if he were on an escalator even though he can be zeroed in on a specific person.

Mirror images that were not his own: A camp side mirror does not show Bigfoot, but Sam sees how he could be mistaken for the figure.

It’s a science project: Sam finds an herbal remedy in the woods and knows to boil it so that Roy is not as susceptible to the toxic effects.

One more time: “I understand Mrs. Jenkins, but I can’t come up there every time your cat eats one of your birds. I’m sure he was a very nice bird.”
Luke on the phone with a concerned citizen.

The Rainbow Treknection: Eileen Seeley plays Karen but also was heavily featured in The Ensign of Command as Ard'rian McKenzie in The Next Generation.

Trivial Matter: This episode is written by John D’Aquino who played Frank LaMotta twice. This is his first writing credit and a rare instance of someone outside the writing staff getting that privilege.

Put right what once went wrong: “Bigfoot is real. Mr. Hawkins said he saw him once. Said he had dinner with him once.” This is a very unusual episode of Quantum Leap. For a show that breaks a lot of the conventional rules of television, this broke a lot of rules about the show itself. We have an actual flashback sequence, partially shot in black and white at that. We also have a lot of scenes where Sam or Al are not present. These are the tools a more conventional show would use on a regular as necessary or even on a regular basis depending on the nature of the series.

It works.

Flashbacks are normally unheard of in general but this series has Al for that. It would be less effective for Al to exposit than it would be to shoot a short sequence with actors readily available to see what actually happened. This is the only time the series would do this, and it is great. The sequence is framed by both Sam and Luke looking back. There are some things that even Al does not know, and we are slowly introduced to the situation over time.

Sam not being in a decent chink of scenes is not a problem either. Normally you want your series lead to be involved but here there are things we need to know as an audience that Sam does not. We see the family unit of doting mother Karen, hard-nosed Luke and bright-eyed Daniel. The family dynamic is there with Daniel on the cusp of manhood but still believing in Bigfoot and not really respecting Luke. He has not been told what happened to his father. David Tom puts on a great performance. One of the emotional cores of the story he has great chemistry with everyone.

Tom is not the only great casting on display. Pat Skipper plays the fairly heartless Luke as someone who is a stickler for the law only to realize that he has to be flexible when the time calls for it. The wife can easily be an afterthought, but Eileen Seeley gets a lot to chew on when Karen is put front and center. She is struggling as a mother even though she remarried. You get the sense that she is familiar with Henry and trusts him enough to set him free from jail. Her role could easily be full of sorrow, but she has an inner strength. The climactic scene where they confront Luke relies on her as much as it does Sam.

Sean Sullivan gets the role of a lifetime as Roy. He has a lot of fun with it, the manic episodes as he reenacts the war and the depressive periods where he is haunted by those memories. It could not be a good sight to have him alone with a tween, but you never get the sense that Daniel is in danger. There is a childlike innocence while also understanding that there are real world consequences he is dealing with. We do not have to be explicitly told by Al that he is claustrophobic. He is a friendly guy that is working on some stuff.

With a strong script and cast, Gus Trikonis could have let the cast do their thing but there are some good shots and sequences. The story is well told and although there are some pretty big things that happen off screen, it does not feel as though something is intentionally left out or cut for time. This breaks the rules but is a great episode to watch nonetheless.

Plus, Bakula gets to take a bit of time off.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#579801
"The Leap Between The States"
Original Air Date: March 30, 1993
Written By: Richard C. Okie
Directed by: David Hemmings
Leap Date: September 20, 1862

This time: Sam leaps onto a Civil War battlefield during the Battle of Shepherdstown. As he marvels at the sights around him, he comes across a wounded soldier and is addressed as Captain Beckett. Overwhelmed, Sam cries out to Al, only to get shot. He evades further conflict by ducking into a nearby riverbed.

Sam is taken by a family of runaway slaves to a barn. Al arrives with little to go on beyond Sam being somewhere in Virginia. Sam’s marching orders show the name of John Becket, his great-grandfather. They are interrupted by rifle wielding Olivia Covington. She wants to know who Sam was talking to and asks Isaac, the man who brought him there, to investigate. She takes Sam into custody.

As Olivia cleans his wound, she blames him for the war, which has resulted in her land being ransacked and her husband killed. After she leaves, Al confirms that Sam is his own great-grandfather. Also, Oliva is his great-grandmother. Sam does not believe he is there to Back to the Future the two of them, but Al has little more to go on.

A fire breaks out in the barn and Sam helps put it out. The smoke attracts the attention of Lieutenant Montgomery, the man who shot Sam. Thankfully, Sam is able to bluff his way out of trouble, introducing himself as Aubrey Covington, cousin to Olivia, part of a Mississippi unit out on leave. Montgomery leaves after making eyes with Olivia. Sam thanks her but she is still incredulous, making him do work around the house, and fix up the house, to make up for it.

The next morning, Sam wakes up to a crying baby. Following the sound, he finds a family of escaped slaves hiding in the barn. They are in the underground railroad and Isaac is a conductor. Olivia knows none of this. As Sam tries to fix a pump, he realizes that she is looking the other way. Knowing the penalties for sympathizers, he has Al look into troop movements and weather in an attempt to make the route a little easier.

That night, Sam gives information to Isaac but is soon alarmed by Montgomery. Heaving earned a mutual trust, Sam ‘turns in’ Isaac and the escaped family. Montgomery is ready to hang them but Sam stalls for the sunrise. Olivia and Sam need a plan but do not have ammunition. Olivia bluffed with the rifle earlier. Sam breaks out another kind of ammunition, hooch.

As Montgomery is under the feminine wiles of Olivia and the fermented wiles of liquor, Sam dispatches the two sentries then Montgomery himself. Olivia leaves the land for good and newly freed Isaac needs a name. He considered Covington and Becket but settled on King. Al confirms he will be the great-grandfather to Martin Luther King, Jr. Sam leaps …

… into a young man being forced into a haircut. They and a mirror confirm he is Elvis Pressley.

Fact check: Mustard poultice is used to clean Sam’s wound. That is an Old Skool remedy, but mainly used for colds and coughs. Sam tells of a Battle of Fredericksburg that will distract the troops but that was in December, not September.

Stop talking to yourself: There is no voiceover, but Sam usually is careful about what he lets slip about the future but here, he tells Isaac about what the future will hold both in the immediate future with the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the war to the civil rights movement. It is a fantastic moment. “It's gonna be a long, hard fight for schooling, and other equality. But believe me. There will come a time when everyone will have the same rights. Everyone will be free.” “That ain't nothin' but a dream.”

Only Sam can see and hear: Al comes through in a clutch proving a cover for Sam. It is impressive given how quickly they had to load Ziggy’s memory banks.

Mirror images that were not his own: After getting confirmation, Sam sees the handsome John Beckett, the namesake of his father, in the mirror.

Brush with history: Sam exposits the changes coming to women (wearing pantaloons, drinking hard liquor) for Olivia. It does not go as well as it does with Isaac. She draws the line at voting.

It’s a science project: In order to determine that Sam leapt into his ancestor, Al is tasked with drawing blood from the person in the Waiting Room, which pokes holes in the leaps-just-exchange-bodies theory.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Going beyond Sam’s lifetime puts Ziggy into a tizzy.

Let’s up the rating: Sam is ten thousand percent sure Olivia has the hots for him. Al is not.

One more time: “Never thought I would be putting these on a white man.”
Isaac discovering irony while shackling Sam

The Rainbow Treknection: Kate McNeil played Olivia here and would later play Commander Collins from Starfleet Security again against Scott Bakula in Affliction.

Trivial Matters: Though it takes a bit of tomfoolery, this is the earliest leap date in the series. By amazing coincidence, it is six episodes after the episode taking place closest to today.

After telling the future, Isaac considers Sam a Voodoo Man.

Sam and Montgomery have a ‘measuring’ contest over who has greater authority. Ranks and jurisdiction come into play.

Montgomery recognizes Sam as having a weapon from a sentry. It has not worked since Bull Run, over a year prior to this episode. I know the supply lines were rough but that is a long time to go without a weapon.

Put right what once went wrong: “Look at me! Look at this uniform.” “You look good in dark blue, Sam.” I am not sure who in the writer’s room thought it would be a good idea to marry Quantum Leap with Back to the Future and have it take place in the Civil War, but it allowed them to do something that the series does not get to do as a whole.

The series does have a fairly decent track record of selling the time period. Whether it is the civil rights south or the still booming automotive industry, Quantum Leap has never shied away from getting the setting right and this is no exception. The costuming does a lot of the work but also things that will come to pass. Olivia is ahead of her time as is Isaac, but they fit perfectly into the world that is 1862. Specifically, Olivia blames the Union Army for the war, and she suffered a lot for it. We see that a lot of her farm is in need of repair. Plus, she lost her husband.

A fantastic supporting cast is assembled. Geoffrey Lower is undressing Olivia with his eyes as Montgomery. He is a lieutenant in the war but has that sleazy snake oil salesman vibe. He is using the auspices of his authority to get what he wants. There is not a lot of time to develop his character, but he fills the Biff Tannen role fairly well and the pissing contest is great.

Kate McNeil plays Olivia as someone Sam and John would fall for. Sam and Al argue over her intentions, but she has eyes for Sam. She is rough at the start but has a connection. There is more to her demand that Sam stay on the land than she lets on. You can tell their bond when Montgomery is on the scene, and they exchange glances. They say a lot without one word being exchanged. There is also a scene at the water well where she maintains her pride but is very cordial to Sam. Her Lorraine is well cast, and she makes beautiful music with Bakula.

Isaac does not have an obvious Back to the Future counterpart, but Michael D. Roberts is amazing. He has a quiet poise but says a lot even when completely silent. The scene where Sam talks about the future again breaks the rules of the series but is a great moment. His quip about shackling Sam is a fun moment early on and when the trio of Sam, Isaac and Olivia are putting out the fire, it is three people working their asses off.

The writing by Richard Okie could use a few tweaks. The boss fight in the end is far too brief. Also, while Sam and Olivia do get together, a lot of the ending happens offscreen. We go from knocking out Montgomery (who can still bring Olivia and Sam up on charges) to them abandoning the farm. We can fill in the blanks, but it seems as though they ran out of time and made the (correct) decision to not cut out revealing who Isaac is. It all feels rushed and while there is not a lot to take out, there is some to put in. Note that the early scenes are great at giving us enough to figure out what is going on. Sam is guffawed to find out that Olivia has a rifle but not ammunition.

The budget was stretched this with this. The only battle we see is in the first act and while it is spectacular, you can tell a bit too much of the budget went into it. David Hemmings did a great sequence, but it got a little too expensive for the books.

At this point, they creative team did not know that this was the third last hour that would air. Knowing where they wanted to go for season six this let them play a little more into the past. It is sad that they did not get to go into that sandbox, but it would have been something.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#580174
"Memphis Melody"
Leap Date: July 3, 1954
Written by: Robin Jill Bernheim
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Original Air Date: April 20, 1993

This time: Sam leaps into a young man being forced into a haircut. They and a mirror confirm he is Elvis Pressley. After a couple snips, Sam is rescued by longtime friend and confidant, Red West.

They are at a local talent fair. The singing/squealing pig and guy who taps roller skates on a drum go well but Sue Ann Winters has problems singing a song. Al tells Sam that he is there to help one of the acts (Guess which one!) but this is an important time in Elvis’s life as he is discovered in two days. He has to help Sue Ann but cannot ruin Elvis’s career.

At a diner, Sam has a pep talk with Sue Ann. She sings Amazing Grace to the accompaniment of a cook who brought his harmonica that day and the crowd loves it, particularly a girl who looks just like Chelsy, Scott Bakula’s daughter. Just as they begin another song, Sue Anne’s douchebag fiancé, Frank, comes in. He does not like Elvis, singing the gospel outside of church and kids playing on his lawn. He all but drags Sue Ann out.

Sam’s recording session is less than impressive, but he does convince Marion Keisker to come to a local talent show that night. She is the gatekeeper for Samuel Philips, bigwig starmaker. Things do not start off well for Sue Ann, but Sam manages to rescue the act. Marion wants to see them with Mr. Phillips, but as a duo. This is good for Sue Ann who will otherwise be beaten and abandoned by Frank. It is bad news for Elvis and things get worse when Sue Ann gives him a smooch as Frank sneers nearby.

As Al agues with Sam, Frank confronts him, and fisticuffs quickly ensue. Red tries to break it up but Sue Ann takes Frank’s side despite allegedly seeing the whole thing. The next day, Sue Ann blows off work as she and Frank are ready to get a marriage license and start their new life. Sam goes to save her despite Al saying that he does not have enough time to make the audition if he does so.

Sam convinces Sue Ann to take the chance only to find out that they missed their audition. Sue Ann takes it as a sign and runs off. She goes on to live a good life (for reasons not explained to the viewer) and Sam begs Mr. Phillips to delay going to the diner and listen to him sing. The audition goes well but not great enough to impress Mr. Phillips. Sam hurries to the diner where he sings accompanied by some amazingly prepared accompanists and the crowd goes wild!

Sam is signed on the spot and uses the contract as proof positive for Sue Ann. Frank is not interested but Sue Ann wants to follow her dream. Frank leaves and Sue Ann does fairly well for herself. Sam leaps …

… into a bar. After ordering a beer, he looks into a mirror to see his own face reflected back at him.

Fact check: Some events in the timeline are, to quote the great philosopher, wibly wobbly.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam pontificates on the transitional period known as the fifties accompanied by stock footage of dancing, yo-yos, hula hoops, waitresses on roller-skates and a ceremonial first pitch. Your humble rewatcher was not aware of a time where young men lined up to go yo-yoing but he is glad that we moved away from it.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is ebullient with Sam leaping into Elvis. He also does not have much to go on and one wonders why they could not have waited like five minutes or so.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam sees Elvis before the credits roll.

It’s a science project: The big band scene at the diner is all the proof needed to sign Elvis.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Elvis performs a concert in the Waiting Room.

Let’s up the rating: During a fight, Sam is not wearing anything under his shirt which is secured with a single button.

One more time: “In 1954, the world was not ready for Sonny and Cher. The World was never ready for Sonny and Cher.”
Al, never the flower child

The Rainbow Treknection: Gregory Itzin would continue to be irksome to Bakula in Enterprise’s In a Mirror Darkly as Admiral Black after he was irksome as captain Sopek in Shadows of P’Jem.

Trivial Matters: Perry Como, Pat Boone, Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds get name checked. After history is altered, The Monkies record Jailhouse Rock while Tony Orlando and Dawn record Heartbreak Hotel. Yeah, it ain’t pretty.

Red West is played by his real-life son, John Boyd West.

Al refers to apple pie as a favorite of Elvis. He is famous for liking peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Winters must have swallowed her gum at some point because she starts out the early diner scene chewing but there is no sign of it when she starts to sing.

Put right what once went wrong: “Just remember, you’re a legend.” After featuring the King of Pop early on it is only fitting to end with the King of Rock.

This is the final showcase for Scott Bakula to sing and he has a whopping three and a half songs in forty some odd minutes. The final one is essentially a music video with Al getting into the act. Thankfully, there is a guy with an upright bass and the saxophonist did not dismantle his instrument before going to the diner.

There is a lot that is glossed over in this episode. The central conflict with Frank is pretty much a wash. John Scott Clough was good in the role expositing on what he thought life should be like. He is an antagonist, but you can see where he comes from even if you do not agree with his reasoning. He does great work with the little dimensionality he is allowed. The script does not hit us over the head.

We also have short shift for Elvis’s personal life. Garn Stephens is fantastic as a southern mother in the two scenes we see her in. She cares for her son and wants him to succeed while also being realistic. Red is someone central to Elvis, but he has very little to do.

This is a biography, music compilation and episode of Quantum leap all rolled into one and it feels like it.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#580696
"Mirror Image"
Leap Dates: August 8, 1953/April 3, 1969
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Original Air Date: May 5, 1993

This time: Sam leaps into a bar. After ordering a beer, he looks into a mirror to see his own face reflected back at him. Needing to know when it is, he asks the bartender for a newspaper and finds out that he leaped into his birthday. Specifically, he walked into the bar the same time he was born. A miner comes in, gets a drink and leaves. Sam learns from the bartender that he just met Gooshie. After taking a step outside, he finds out that he is at “Al’s Place.”

A retired miner named Stawpah comes in. He was a workhorse in the mines until an accident forced him to retire. Another miner named Tonchi enters, though looks just like Frank from “Jimmy.” There is some confusion resulting in the group wanting to see Sam’s ID. He pulls out his wallet (the Velcro amazing the onlookers) only to find his New Mexico Driver’s License expiring in 1998.

In the Waiting Room, Gooshie and Al are shocked that there is no one there, meaning that Sam leapt into himself. With nothing to go on, it will be impossible to find out where he is.

Later, Al’s Place is hopping. Sam has a conversation with an old miner who looks just like Moe Stein from “Future Boy,” though he is actually named Ziggy. Needing answers, Sam turns to the bartender but is forced to play the lottery, though Sam is promised the answers to all his questions. It does not turn out well.

In 1999, Gooshie tries to find Sam through brute force, though it requires Al to be in the chamber for a spell and hope they luck into something. Left with no other choice, Al steps into the imaging chamber and is surrounded by a Swirly Thing.

Sam is making friends at Al’s place. He learns that the bartender gave everyone their nicknames. A siren goes off signaling a mine collapse. Tonchi and another miner are trapped. Foreman Collins will not mount a rescue operation until they ventilate the area, but Stawpah tells Collins that Sam is the safety inspector. Collins is resolute and orders the mines temporarily closed. Stawpah and Sam talk privately, the former wanting to save them ‘this time.’ The bartender and Stawpah slowly push Sam to help, and he bluffs his way to get the miners down to rescue.

Al is getting fatigued, though Gooshie says they are only just beginning. There is a sudden flash of inspiration when Al realizes it whenever Sam is, it is a birthday. Gooshie starts with his first, August 8, 1954. That date is said out loud, so it will probably be important later.

As Sam laments to the bartender about not being able to save Beth’s marriage to Al, the mining crew comes in with the rescue successfully accomplished. Sam gives Stawpah credit and Stawpah leaps out…

No one else noticed or even remembers him being there. Miner Gooshie walks in recalling a miner named Stawpah in Ukraine, thought that man passed away twenty years earlier.

The Swirly Thing is taking a toll on Al. Gooshie reports that they have checked each birthday through the twenty-first century with no sign of Sam. Unless Al meant the literal day he was born; they just started with his first. Words cannot describe the look Al gives Gooshie.

Sam confronts the bartender about what is happening. Miner Gooshie gets a shot while this happens, and Sam sees that the mirror has a different reflection. Dropping the guise of friendly bartender, Sam is told that he is leaping himself. He invented Project Quantum Leap to change history for the better and he is doing that, albeit slowly. Sam could go home any time he wants.

Al hits paydirt and the Swirly Thing becomes Al’s Place. Sam tries to fill in Al, but it is too much to take, and Al goes back to talk to Ziggy. The bartender says that the leaps will get tougher but offers Sam a brief reprieve. Sam says that as much as he would like to go home, he has to put one more thing right. He leaps …

… into the home of Beth Calavicci. He tells her to wait for Al. A picture of younger Al leaps out …

… to a blank screen. Title cards tell us that Beth an Al are still together, and Sam never returned home.

Fact check: The bartender expressed dissatisfaction with the Pirates losing, an odd statement to make since they did pretty well that month thus far.

Stop talking to yourself: With little to go on, Sam is more or less thoroughly confused.

Mirror images that were not his own: After looking in over a hundred mirrors, Sam sees his own face looking back at him for the second time.

Something or someone: Trying to make sense of things, Al admits to having an uncle named Stawpah.

It’s a science project: With the collapse of the mine, there are concerns about the air supply which required forty-right hours to ventilate.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: We find out Sam’s birthdate in this episode meaning that the fiction character of Dr. Sam Beckett is about ten months older than the actor Scott Bakula.

One more time: “At the risk of over-inflating your ego, Sam, you've done more. The lives you've touched, touched others. And those lives, others! You've done a lot of good, Sam Beckett. And you can do a lot more.”
Bartender Al giving Sam his marching orders

The Rainbow Treknection: While there are some crossover actors who have graced this section before, there are two notable newbies. Joel McHattie is Stawpah. We do not know where he leapt out to but eventually, he became Senator Vreenak in Deep Space Nine’s “In the Pale Moonlight.”

The late great W. Morgan Shepherd has in essence a glorified cameo as a minor by the name of Gooshie. Before, he was Dr. Ira Graves and later Qutai in The Next Generation’s The Schizoid Man and Voyager’s “Bliss” respectively.

Trivial Matters: Several actors make reappearances either as the same character they were originally or in another guise. John D’Aquino from ”Jimmy” is a miner named Tonchi and Richard Herd, from “Future Boy,” is another miner named Ziggy. Bruce McGill was Weird Ernie in the pilot and the bartender here making him one of four actors to appear in the premiere and finale, the others being Bakula, Stockwell and Wolfberg.

Furthermore, we see footage form “Jimmy,” “Future Boy,” “Genesis,” and “M.I.A.

Evidently Sam went to a fancy schmancy place to get a driver’s license as it is gloriously foiled.

Two alternate endings for this episode were written and one was at least partially filmed as evidenced by photographs leaked years ago. One has a present-day scene with Al and Beth.

Should this be the season and not series finale, Sam and Al would have leapt into a bar in the far future on a space station. Both would leap going forward.

Per Bellisario, Sam is still leaping to this day.

Put right what once went wrong: “Ugh! I got Mother Teresa here.” A finale with beautiful cinematography, callbacks to the series, some of the best characters actors you can get, questions are answered that have plagued us since the start of the series which are answered written by series creator and helmed by the best director of the series overall.

So why did it go off the rails?

Al is barely in the episode. He spends more time with Gooshie than he does Sam! When they two credited regulars meet, Al pretty much walks off the set. We were supposed to make the connection with the bartender, but it feels as though there is not all the much to do so they gave Stockwell something to do.

Worse still is the ending. It is great for Al to be with his first love and all, but what about Tina? We have spent five years being invested in their relationship. Heck, eight episodes ago, he recommitted herself to Tina. We have not thought of Beth since season two when Al did have a moment. What about the man Beth remarried? Presumably nothing horrible will happen but it is not explained.

The whole last scene is problematic. Beth is only mildly freaked out at seeing Sam but takes his word that Al is alive, all in a few minutes. The effects fail us as well with a picture of Al leaping as if that makes any sense at all. Why would Beth waiting for Al cause that to happen? It is a neat callback to one of the original plans but feels as though they did not have a good way to stick the landing.

There is no way to salvage this flaming pile of an ending.

The first forty-two minutes are fantastic, though. We get some answers as to what is going on and there are delightful callbacks, some accompanied by sepia toned footage. There was a limit to the actors they could bring back, further limited by a budget and screen time. This was a love letter to the series and even though we ‘just’ got Frankie and Moe Stein, the were perfectly written. They do not take us too far down or beat us over the head but let the moment happen.

No one ever went wrong with W. Morgan Shepherd or Richard Herd. They are two great character actors and have fun as Miners Gooshie and Ziggy respectively. Bruce McGill is not too shabby as the bartender, either. He has a great tone, friendly to everyone and keeping the peace as necessary. Playing God has big shoes to fill, and McGill is up to the task. You can see the change as he lets Sam in on what is really happening. It is great to watch.

James Whitmore Jr. did a great job with the pacing. With only a handful of sets (presumably this was a pseudo bottle episode after some extravaganzas earlier in the season) things keep moving. One especially effective moment is after the team goes to rescue the miners, the bartender has a voiceover before the smash cut begins to tell Sam he is not there to save them. There is also good framing by the elevator in the mine.

The series fittingly ends but Sam’s adventures will continue.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#581219
Quantum Leap Season Five
Season Overview

This time: The final season of Quantum Leap would feature Sam leaping into famous people for the first time, from Lee Harvey Oswald in the premiere, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Elvis Pressley. The mythology of the series would expand as we got a second (and third) leaper, in addition to another project based around travelling through time.

Callbacks to earlier seasons abound with a direct sequel to season two’s Jimmy and several in the finale. There would be not one but two trilogies, somewhat of a rarity for syndication.

We would also spend more time in 1999. Primarily in The Waiting Room, Al would get more screentime as he interacted with the people Sam leapt into. We would go outside in a couple of occasions, once when a leapee escaped and see more of the Project itself in the finale.

By a startling coincidence, this season features Sam’s earliest leap, achieved through shenanigans, and the leap closest to the current timeframe, achieved naturally.

The biggest part of the season, and series, happened in the finale when Sam finally found out about why he was going back and forth in time. He would meet with the ‘person’ responsible for him travelling through time and accept responsibility for continuing to do so.

Favorite fact check: From Lee Harvey Oswald: A lot of this is conjecture but it is based on historical record, including Oswald’s diary which Al quotes at one point.

Favorite stop talking to yourself: From Leaping of the Shrew: Thinking he would smoke Vanessa when it comes to foraging, Sam is blown out of the water when Vanessa pulls am impressive amount of fruit and freshly dug clams to his meager crabs.

Favorite only Sam can see and hear: From Leaping of the Shrew: Not having a phone booth, secluded corner or anywhere to go for privacy, Sam abandons all hope of a private conversation and just talks with Al in front of Vanessa.

Favorite mirror images that were not his own:
From Dr. Ruth: There is a climactic chase and fight where reflective surfaces are strategically placed so that we can see Dr. Ruth running over cars and throwing a guy over her shoulder.

Favorite brush with history: From Dr. Ruth: As Sam confronts Johnathan about sexual harassment, an African American woman named Anita goes into an elevator.

Favorite something or someone: From Lee Harvey Oswald: After saving Jaqueline, Sam has enough time to wait around at the hospital so that Al can tell him about the ‘original’ past.

Favorite it’s a science project: From Leaping of the Shrew: Apparently a trunk is waterproof as the contents are entirely dry after being in water.

Favorite tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: From Killin’ Time: Project Quantum Leap is an A1 classification meaning that they are not allowed to involve other agencies. I am sure that will go over well if the leapee starts shooting people randomly.

Favorite let’s up the rating: From Lee Harvey Oswald: Sam does not know that pillow talk means sex. Also, Al says Sam might have to sleep with a contact to prove she is not a spy.

Favorite one more time: From Mirror Image: “At the risk of over-inflating your ego, Sam, you've done more. The lives you've touched, touched others. And those lives, others! You've done a lot of good, Sam Beckett. And you can do a lot more.”
Bartender Al giving Sam his marching orders

Favorite Rainbow Treknection: From Mirror Image: While there are some crossover actors who have graced this section before, there are two notable newbies. Joel McHattie is Stawpah. We do not know where he leapt out to but eventually, he became senator Vreenak in Deep Space Nine’s “In the Pale Moonlight.”

The late great W. Morgan Shepherd has in essence a glorified cameo as a minor by the name of Gooshie. Before, he was Dr. Ira Graves and alter Qutai in The Next Generation’s The Schizoid Man and Voyager’s “Bliss” respectively.

That’s not even mentioning Bruce McGill who was in the pilot as an admiral and is here as the proprietor of Al’s Place. He played Braxton in Voyager.

Favorite Trivial Matters: From Mirror image: So many great call outs for the series as a whole.

Honorable Mention to Star Light, Star Bright with the tip of the iceberg of classic rock musicians.

Put right what once went wrong: “Ugh! I got Mother Teresa here.” This season is very divisive. It is in your top or bottom, but it did go in a direction.

For the most part, those were good directions. Opening up the scope of the series is inevitable, and we got that here in spades with the revelation of the evil leaper. It was a nice multi-parter to have. The best part is that they were not aired consecutively; there was time between the first two meetings for other adventures, even if that was not the original intent. It does take something away from what Sam is doing and it is a little too on the nose, but it widens the lens. If this is to go on for more years, they would need to do something.

Leaping into famous people could very well be the jump the shark moment that turns viewers away, but it is used sparingly and in one case, it brought in a guest star as herself with Dr. Ruth. Plus, the leap into Elvis was before he got famous.

Giving Dean Stockwell a chance to address those in the Waiting Room was something we saw earlier in the season four finale. It gives Stockwell more to do and increase his screentime. Al is not limited to just giving us exposition, ha can have more meaningful conversations with more people. Plus, there should be someone to talk to these people who find themselves in Sam’s body.

The problem is, they already had someone for that. Dr. Verbeena Beeks who was actually seen, though only twice. Al is a great guy, do not get me wrong, but he is not a trained psychologist. Beeks is absent with no explanation several times, unless she just happens to be off when the talks happen. It is even worse when they got rid of a black woman for a white man. We get to see Beeks twice in all of the series and she never uttered a word. She got a hug from Sam but her disappearance without a mention is puzzling at best and insulting at worst.

If you want to see more of the same, you will not find it here but great job at not only going somewhere but also putting a premature bow on the series overall.

Looking at Stockwell, his Al was a great counterbalance to Sam. We had the proper British gentleman for about seven minutes and that was a different counterbalance, a different tenor if you will, but Al’s point of view came in handy several times. He was a crutch for the writers, but they gave him a good character that Stockwell just ate up. Some of his lines did not age well but that was covered in the opening of the pilot where she was in on it, something you have to keep in mind to not take a shower after each time he says something cringeworthy. For a series based around another character, there were several times where you could outright say if not argue that it was more of an Al episode than a Sam one.

The other half of the main cast was Scott Bakula as Doctor Sam Beckett. To make the series work, we had to be as in the dark about his abilities as he is but that makes fun discoveries as things progress. This is an anthology series and could come very close to being inappropriate with Bakula portraying certain characters, but he pulled it off and showed off his acting chops in the process. There was a verity of roles in ages, races and everything in between but Bakula was up to the task. He also showed off his singing ability which never got too distracting, added to the story and showcased a talent. It is no doubt why he would go on to headline two other series.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#581693
Well, I've run out of episodes to watch. Thankfully there is tie in licensed works.

There are some comics. Based around the series and contemporaneous for a portion, these continued with Sam's adventures. Highlights include a story told from Al's perspective and a continuation from an episode. Lowlights include the page sequence in the final issue making it tough to follow.

There are also some novels based on the series, one of which I have read. Having a longer time to tell the story, they do things that are not done in the series, including having Sam jump into siblings.

This being a rewatch, I will knot be covering those.

There is a reboot/sequel coming to NBC this fall, some promo images of which have bene released along with an aired trailer complete with footage. The big name is Ernie Hudson paying magic. Most notable is there are no white males in the core cast! Bellisario and Pratt involved but Bakula is a little on the fence, at least publicly.

As for my next project, you'll find out soon enough.
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