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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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Hitting the airwaves as a midseason replacement, Quantum Leap broke new ground in prime time entertainment. For one, it had a main cast of just two, one of whom would be in pretty much every scene and had voice over work. Also, they essentially changed locations in every episode. Due to the premise, they really couldn’t have a roster of recurring characters, background extras or even standing sets.

Plus, it was a rare science fiction hit in prime time. Contemporary with The Next Generation, science fiction shows simply didn’t last too long, certainly not five seasons.

Quantum Leap had everything going against it, but persisted nonetheless.

But how has it aged? It came up recently in another thread, but what does the show look like to modern eyes. Going on three decades, there have been a lot of changes since it aired.

Let’s go through it episode by episode. You’ll get a review each week with the following categories. Note that not all categories will appear in every review and I reserve the right to add as necessary. Also, a this point, I’m committing to the eight episode first season and we’ll see how it goes.

This time: An episode summary.

Fact check: How do the events in the episode stack up with history.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam likes to soliloquy to himself.

Only Sam can see and hear: Highlights from Al.

Mirror images that were not his own: Faces Sam sees in the mirror.

Brush with history: Sam meets someone or is involved with something of historical significance.

Something or someone: At times, the trigger for Sam to leap can be a bit … arbitrary.

It’s a science project: The science in the episode.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Glimpses into the year 1999.

Let’s up the rating: Sexy bits.

One more time: A quote from the episode.

The Rainbow Treknection: Actors who’ve appeared on Trek as well.

Trivial Matters: Things I find interesting.

Put right what once went wrong: An overall review.

We’ll start next week with Genesis.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Master thread.

Season One
Star Crossed
The Right Hand of God
How the Tess was Won
Double Identity
The Color of Truth
Camikazi Kid
Play It Again, Seymour
First Season Overview

Season Two
Honeymoon Express
Disco Inferno
The Americanization of Machiko
What Price Gloria?
Blind Faith
Good Morning, Peoria
Thou Shall Not ...
So Help Me God
Catch a Falling Star
A Portrait for Troian
Animal Frat
Another Mother
Her Charm
Good Night, Dear Heart
Pool Hall Blues
Leaping In Without A Net
Maybe Baby
Sea Bride
Second Season Overview

Season Three
The Leap Home
The Leap Home (Part 2) - Vietnam
Leap of Faith
One Strobe Over the Line
The Boogieman
Miss Deep South
Black On White On Fire
The Great Spontini
Rebel Without a Clue
A Little Miracle
8½ Months
Future Boy
Private Dancer
Piano Man
Southern Comforts
Glitter Rock
A Hunting We Will Go
Last Dance Before an Execution
Heart of a Champion
Nuclear Family
Third Season Overview

Season Four
The Leap Back
Play Ball
Permenant Wave
The Wrong Stuff
A Single Drop of Rain
The Play's the Thing
Running for Honor
Temptation Eyes
The Last Gunfighter
Song for the Soul
Ghost Ship
Temptation Eyes
Moments to Live
The Curse of Ptah-Hotep
A Leap for Lisa
Fourth Season Overview

Season Five
Lee Harvey Oswald
Leaping of the Shrew
Nowhere to Run
Killin' Time
Star Light, Star Bright
Delvier us from Evil
Trilogy: Part I (One Little Heart)
Trilogy: Part II (For Your Love)
Trilogy: Part II (The Last Door)
Promised Land
A Tale of Two Sweeties
Dr. Ruth
Blood Moon
Return of the Evil Leaper
Revenge of the Evil Leaper
Goodbye Norma Jean
The Beast Within
The Leap Between the States
Memphis Melody
Mirror Image
Fifth Season Overview
Last edited by Faithful Reader on Sun Jul 17, 2022 11:52 am, edited 110 times in total.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Original air date: March 26, 1989
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed By: David Hemmings
Leap Date(s): September 13, 1956 / 1968

This Time: Driving along the road in the middle of the night, a man in a tuxedo notices a woman with a flat tire. Offering her a ride, she remarks about the cars abilities and he mentions it’s an ‘updated model.’ She sees lights on the horizon, something he tries to minimize. Suddenly, there’s a frantic call from Gooshie. Apparently, someone named Sam jumped into an accelerator prematurely. Tuxedo Man puts the pedal to the metal.

An airforce pilot named Tom wakes up but has no memory of how he got there or the pregnant woman he woke up with. He has to hurry up and shower before Doc picks him up. When he looks in the mirror, he doesn’t recognize the face looking back at him. The pregnant woman is his wife, Peg, and they have a son, Mikey. He tries to call his office, but dials too many numbers.

Tom decides to play along. It’s 1956 and he’s a test pilot. Doc, his friend and fellow test pilot, gives him a ride to the office where Tom mentions that he doesn’t know how to fly, certainly not the experimental X-2. Doc sees it as a prank and decides to pull it on their superior, Weird Ernie. A doctor named Burger is assigned to look into it. As the guys get their orders for the day, Tuxedo Man appears and is jovial about what’s happening.

A test to break Mach 3 goes fairly horribly, though the piloting Doc survives. At a lounge afterwards, the guys and their wives are hanging out and Tom notices Tuxedo Man. Oddly enough, no one else can see him. Tom chats with Tuxedo Man, but it becomes apparent that while the former is familiar with the latter, enough to call Tom by the name of Sam, the latter does not recognize the former. Tuxedo Man goes out of the lounge – and vanishes!

The next morning, Tom/Sam remembers more bits of his personal history, including growing up on a farm. Tom/Sam takes Mikey on a fishing trip and runs into Tuxedo Man. This person, Al, is a hologram that can only be seen by Tom/Sam. Sam is part of a time travel experiment that didn’t go as planned. He has changed places with Tom, who is in the future. They can’t retrieve him and he is living as another person.

They’ll try again to retrieve him on Tuesday, but he is scheduled to fly on Monday. Until Al can figure things out, Sam has to pretend to be Tom.

Al later meets Sam in a hanger. Project Quantum Leap theorized that one could travel through time within the confines of their lifetime. It appears as though a higher power put Sam in Tom’s body because, originally, Tom dies in a crash during the test flight. Ziggy, a voice-activated computer who does calculations for the project, is pretty sure that Sam needs to prevent that death in order to get back home. It has a high percentage chance of working and is a lot better than the other alternatives, such as being at ground zero during a nuclear detonation.

Al guides Sam though the flight, Al being a former astronaut and all. The flight breaks Mach 3 but the plane doesn’t last much longer than that. Sam ejects in time, but doesn’t leap.

At the hospital for a routine checkup, Peg goes into premature labor, which is bad for six months. She is proud of her husband, but starts having contractions, again bad for six months. The options aren’t good, but Sam finds a way to prevent her from delivering, thereby saving mother and child. In celebration, Mikey tosses a ball from the ground up to the hospital window to Sam …

… who then catches a ball ending the top of the ninth inning. Its 1968 and he’s Tim Fox, a baseball player for the Waco Bombers, playing to avoid finishing last several years in a row. Fox was in the majors, but an accident set him back to recover. Five years ago. As the game progresses, Fox is up at bat for the winning play, which of course he makes (after the third strike turns into an error) and leaps …

… into a professor teaching a class with an awful lot of coeds.

Fact Check: Though the Mach 3 threshold was broken on the day the episode takes place, the pilot was Captain Apt. Several other details line up, including the plane being an X-2 and not making it past the flight.

Stop talking to yourself: When he first wakes up, Sam has no clue what’s going on. He notices that the woman he woke up next to is very pregnant and remarks at how real everything feels

Throughout the episode, he anticipates a ‘bogeyman’ showing up to complete the nightmare.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al explains the situation to Sam. He is both an astronaut and has an eye for the ladies. He has a transparent ‘tablet’ that he uses just once, the rest of his information comes from memory.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam first see’s Tom’s face in the bathroom mirror. He also sees a reflection on the ride to the airforce base. After leaping forward, he sees Fox in the mirror and there have been better days.

Brush with history: Sam thinks that putting yellow stripes on the side of the road would make it easier to see in the dark.

It’s a science project: Sam finds a way to prevent Peg from inducing premature labor. They put alcohol into her IV which gets her almost instantly drunk.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: We get a glimpse of 1999 in the teaser when Al picks up a female acquaintance and drives her to the project. What happens afterwards is probably somewhere between what we later learn of his time with women and the fact that she doesn’t have security clearance. We also briefly see Gooshie, one of the scientists.

Let’s up the rating: Al uses a lot of crude metaphors that wouldn’t be out of place in the fifties. It really hasn’t aged well.

One more time: “It’s not Ready.” “Tell him that!”
Al to Gooshie and back again as Sam jumps into the accelerator.

The Rainbow Treknection: Series star Scott Bakula would go on to star in Enterprise and his costar, former child star Dean Stockwell, guest stared in an episode of the first season. They would also reunite in NCIS: New Orleans under Quantum Leap creator Don Bellasario.

Trivial Matters: Sam asks Al to step around objects rather than walk through them. Presumably, this would make things easier on the effects department, though moving people through solid objects is fairly cheap.

Al mentions going to the Lakers playoff games. They did make it to the second round in 1999.

This was the first two hour episode produced for the series that would air on the same night.

Sam leaps into two different people in the main events of this episode, which would be a rarity for the series going forward.

Put Right what Once Went Wrong: “… Went a little … caca.” It was years before I even knew this pilot existed. Everything you need to know is in the opening credits and a lot of time is spent letting the audience know what’s going on.

There’s a lot to like. John Allen Nelson, Larry Poindexter and Doug Trent do a great job of having a camaraderie of air force pilots. Bruce McGill is great as Weird Ernie, having a few colorful metaphors of his own to keep the guys in line. Lela Ivey and Lydia Cornell do great as the air force wives. You get a sense that they know what they’ve signed up for and although they only share a few scenes together, they get along marvelously.

Jennifer Runyon does a fantastic job as Peggy. She sells being a doting wife and mother. She has a great chemistry with Bakula along with the rest of the wives. She really is a standout and you can say something similar for Christian van Dorn as Mikey. Child actors are generally either horrible or acceptable and van Horn does a fantastic job. He isn’t overacting and is very realistic.

This works fairly well as a period piece, but is bogged down when they explain things to us as an audience. It is important for us to know the core concept of the series, but the show almost screeches to a halt whenever Al has to exposit about the time travel. It’s almost as if the show is trying to have its cake and eat it, too.

This isn’t helped by the fact that it’s cut up into two parts for syndication. The break is at the middle point, but the script isn’t written for that as the cliffhanger happens five minutes earlier. It was just cut blindly in the middle because that’s when the time is up.

On top of all that, the second leap is very forgettable. You know Sam will win, and while there is a good fake-out with him getting a strike and it resulting in an error, but it really is by the numbers. There’s not much you can do with twenty-minutes left on the clock and even more to tell the audience. It’s probably the only way to get the information out, but the writing has too much to do in too little time and even the actors can’t save it despite their best efforts.

A good chunk of those twenty minutes is spent with Sam calling home. It’s a nice scene, but really doesn’t add much. Bakula dubs the voice of his younger self, which totally isn’t creepy. Overall, the scene just goes nowhere.

I honestly can’t recommend this episode. Watch it unless Al is on the screen and you can pretty much turn it off after Sam leaps for the first time. Skipping the teaser is also recommended, but the episode can be skipped in its entirety, which is a shame for a pilot.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
The Guardian wrote:This going to be a Sunday thing? I can put on my schedule to prep the next episode to be ready to discuss.
For now at least. Trying to restore some fun to the weekend.

Don't worry, if your family is training fro the World Lego Championship, it will still be here on Monday. It's not like things can disappear from the internet ....
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Original air date: March 31, 1989
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed By: Mark Sobel
Leap Date: June 15, 1972

This Time: Sam into a professor teaching a class with an awful lot of coeds. He is Dr. Gerald Bryant and after fumbling through the last few minutes of class, the bell grants him mercy. Unfortunately, one of his students, Jamie-Lee is very enamored with him. They’ve consummated their relationship at least twice and she has told her dad of their love. She’s also told Oscar, who goes to a nearby college and is interested in Jamie-Lee. Sam sends Jamie-Lee off to tell her father and Oscar that there’s nothing between them.

Al arrives and tells Sam that the two are married soon, shotgun style. There’s a big chance that if they don’t get married, they don’t ruin their lives. Sam has other ideas. On his way home, he saw Donna, an ex-flame of his. He believes that he’s there to put her on the path to staying with Sam. Originally, Donna broke off their engagement though Sam believes he can change that.

Sam goes to an on-campus hangout to rekindle (prekindle?) things with Donna. It doesn’t go well with him leaping into a boozed out fraternizing professor. Also, Oscar shows up. Sam gives him some advice on how to patch things up with Jamie-Lee. During this time, Donna takes off.

Sam figures out that Donna’s estranged relationship with her father would lead to her not committing to their relationship. A little hint from Al tells him to go to Washington D.C. to patch things up on that front. Sam gets a hold of Donna’s father, a Colonel who is ready to ship out to Vietnam. The Colonel is unwilling to reach out to his daughter, meaning that Sam must go to D.C.

The four take Oscar’s car out (after Oscar punches Sam in the face) but Sam and Donna cannot get past security. They sneak around and find a door with the lock taped off. Father and daughter reconcile. Security sees a strange car in the lot and investigates, calling local police to the Watergate Hotel. Sam leaps …

… into the boxing ring and is clobbered.

Fact Check: While the Watergate security did notice that a door was taped open, they didn’t notice a car in the lot prompting them to check the perimeter.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam laments how once he gets a feel for things, he has to leap, which is an odd statement for his third leap. Also, he wonders why so many of his students are looking at him like he’s Tom Cruise. As he wanders the familiar halls of the science building, he wonders why he leaped into an English professor.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al reminds Sam that the most important rule they established is that a time traveler may not interfere with their own life. Plus, UV lights make Al look like a ghost.

He also goes out of his way to covertly tell Sam where Donna’s dad is stationed, a deed serious enough to get him fired.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam looks at Dr. Bryant in the mirror and does not see someone resembling Tom Cruise. At all.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: There’s a committee that has approval over Project Quantum Leap chaired by Weitzman.

Let’s up the rating: Jamie-Lee and Dr. Bryant have been busy. They’ve consummated their relationship in his house, and the belltower. Plus, there’s all sorts of … ‘marital aids’ in a cabinet.

One more time: “Isn’t Jamie-Lee in your thoughts night and day?” “Except for wrestling practice.”

Sam to Oscar and back again.

The Rainbow Treknection: Teri Hatcher has a very featured role in this episode as Donna. This is very early in her career, before Desperate Housewives and Lois and Clark..

Trivial Matters: Sam gives an opening Saga Sell starting with this episode to fill in the audience. He will continue to do so into the second season.

Put Right what Once Went Wrong: “Dr. Bryant, I’m perfectly capable of getting an A in your class by simply doing the work.” It’s rough to do a second episode. You’ve established they groundwork in the pilot, but then have to get into business as usual. This can quickly get muddling as the show settles into a rhythm.

On paper, this shouldn’t work. The first two thirds of the episode are a melodramatic romantic comedy but gets into dramatic territory in the last third with a sprinkling on history.

The comedy works magnificently. Leslie Sachs is over the top as Jamie-Lee, but it’s what the role requires. Every line is delivered as simply smitten. Michael McGrady is great as a dumb jock, doing things to the letter but not quite getting the meaning.

The highlight is Teri Hatcher as Donna. You can see the chemistry she has with Bakula, The two have some great scenes together and they deliver what is asked of them several times. You get a sense that the two did hit it off and can see how they would be attracted to each other. The foursome are the core of this episode and they all do a great job working off each other.

The last third is weaker. Michael Gregory isn’t as successful as his guest stars, but he plays a doting father who might be shipping off to his death well. It’s no fault of his that he didn’t have enough time to develop a rapport, but it isn’t as necessary as he is supposed to be emotionally distant.

It gets a little worse when the show has to work in the Watergate scandal, which feels like it’s written as opposed to something that would naturally come up, but it is a neat twist. Plus, Al is still not working out with his womanizing ways, but there’s a lot to like here.

The show is off to a good start.
Last edited by Faithful Reader on Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
The Right Hand of God
Original air date April 7, 1989
Written by John Hill
Directed by Gilbert Shilton
Leap date: October 24, 1974

This Time: Sam into the boxing ring and is clobbered. He returns the favor to knock out his opponent. In the locker room, his pit crew makes it clear that the fight was rigged. As Sam gets ready to shower, two nuns walk in. Said nuns own his contract and are hoping to build a church, paid for by the prize money. Sister Angela gives him a tour of the proposed site and asks him to move into their monastery to save on expenses.

Outside his apartment, he is picked up by Edwards. It turns out Edwards is a mob boss who has an interest in Sam’s avatar, Kid Cody, fighting. At home, his longtime girlfriend, Dixie, laments missing the match for dancing. As if things couldn’t get worse, he owes money to a local bookie.

Al and Ziggy figure that Sam’s best bet at leaping is to win the fight. Al gives him some training, which is hard with one of them being a hologram. He goes to his pit crew, but after years of being involved with rigged fights, they are dubious. A quick jostling session with Edwards and they are in.

Being an out of shape and out of practice doesn’t bode well for their chances. One training montage later, Al shows up and to reports that historically, Kid Cody threw the fight. Edwards delivers a message through Sister Angela telling him what round to take a dive, also driving a rift between them.

Kid Cody wins. He and Dixie win their bet. Edwards is unhappy, but the pair won their bet of forty-eight thousand dollars, enough to pay off Edwards, fund the church and make their future dreams come true. Sam leaps …

… onto a farm while holding up a pig.

Fact Check: Muhammad Ali fighting George Forman for a tittle is on the radio in an ad, but Edwards isn’t interested, at least not initially.

Richard Nixon’s pardon is also on the news, but that happened a month before Sam leaped in.

Stop Talking to Yourself: After wondering if fate would allow him to interfere with his own life, he quickly realizes that isn’t the case. He also finds Kid Cody’s lifestyle not too congruent with his own.

Only Sam Can See and Hear: Al’s neighbor keeps him up at night. Also, he reminds Sam that they were once dreaming big when they drew up the plans for Project Quantum Leap.

His tablet makes a debut appearance. Up until now, Al had ben reciting things from memory.

Mirror Images That Were Not His Own: Sam see’s Kid Cody’s face in the mirror after the opening fight.

Let’s up the rating: Sam appears in his skivvies when the nuns walk in, forcing him to cover up with a towel.

Also, Dixie comments on how she can’t be a topless go-go dancer forever because ‘the mountains are starting to come to Muhammad.’ She has a propensity to wear skimpy outfits and streaks during the big fight.

One More Time: “I’m not going to kill you. What kind of guy do you think I am? We’ll blow off your kneecaps make you use a board with roller skate wheels for the rest of your life.”

Edwards, kindly threatening Sam.

Trivial Matters: Guy Stockwell, brother of Dean, makes an appearance as Edwards.

Put Right what Once Went Wrong: “That surprise punch in the last inning. That was inspired.” A nun, a mob boss and a boxer walk into a bar.

The boxer story is straight out of several sports clichés along with some mob boss ones. Athlete taking a dive? Check. Being on the take? Check. Mob boss threatens said athlete? Check. Training montage? Check. Said athlete winning on his own accord and not getting into trouble? Check.

Trouble is, unlike last week’s Star-Crossed, the acting talent isn’t that great here. They do a competent job, but the actors just seem to be going through the motions and there’s nothing here that you won’t get from any sports movie. There’s little chemistry, though there are some nice moments, such as when his trainer agrees to help. It’s almost as if Edwards walked in from another show. Bakula goes all Godfather at one point and it just pulls me out of the show. If there was ever a point where he earned a meeting from Edwards, that was it.

Thankfully the nuns are here. They aren’t magnificently acted or anything, though Sister Angela comes off real well, getting to know Kid Cody. The two have some great scenes together and it fleshes out the plot along with a blossoming friendship. It’s just enough to add in some fun to a something that’s going by rote. They really elevate the hour, peppering in different energy here and there.

I’ve gone through this review without mentioning Dixie., which goes to show how little impact she had, except for the “mountain” remark.

This is pretty middle of the road but does the job. These are a bunch of genres that shouldn’t work together but somehow it does.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
How The Tess Was Won
Original Air Date: April 14, 1987
Written by Deborah Arakelian
Directed by Ivan Dixon
Leap Date: August 5, 1956

This Time: Sam leaps onto a farm while holding up a pig. He quickly sees the farmer, Chance, trying to get his daughter, Tess, to marry. Unfortunately, the local ranch hands are not quite up to snuff, save Wayne, a handsome feller. Tess draws a line saying that if there is a man on the ranch that can keep up with her, she’ll marry him. Cue Sam having a problem with the pig. As Doc, Sam initially says that the pig may have hog cholera, prompting everyone to prepare to shoot the litter. Sam quickly backtracks and takes Piggy back to nurse and is chosen by Tess.

Arriving at his office/home, he finds Buddy, his assistant, strumming the guitar and singing a little ditty on the porch. Al comes as the assistant departs, fairly certain that Sam just needs to cure Piggy, not marry Tess which has a forty-seven percent certainty.

Sam goes to the ranch to take Chance up on his offer. He lasts several seconds on a horse called Widowmaker, though Tess manages just fine. He is somewhat more successful in roping, enough that Tess invites him to sell some livestock. At a poker game, Wayne deals Tess a winning hand so she can beat Sam.

While digging posts, Tess faints. Sam takes her back to his office to treat her. The two bond as she wakes up, but she won’t let him off that easily. They are tied, but Sam needs to win. She asks him to ride Widowmaker again. He accomplishes this task with a little help from Al, though he doesn’t take Chance up on his offer.

Tess comes up to Sam as he wallows in his sorrows. A dance – and kiss- later and Wayne interrupts them. All dressed up in his Sunday Best, Wayne proclaims his love for Tess, having been pining away at her for years.

Wondering when he’ll leap, he hears his assistant singing about ‘Piggy Sue.’ After a suggestion to change the lyrics, Sam leaps …

… half-dressed with a girl who expresses satisfaction before she runs off.

Fact Check: Sam ‘inspires’ a young Buddy Holly to find the lyrics to “Peggy Sue.” In fact not only was the song already created, essentially, but the band had formed, meaning that he wouldn’t be helping out someone in a small vet operation.

Stop Talking to Yourself: Sam reflects on how leaps can start off rewarding or not. He also finds it easy to locate his home in the openness of Texas. There’s also a reflection on how to calm a horse. He notes that his slow dancing skills are sub par.

Only Sam Can See and Hear: Al ‘figures out’ that Tina, his love interest, is cheating on him.

Mirror Images That Were Not His Own: Forty-four minutes into a forty-eight minute episode, Sam looks into the mirror (at Al’s insistence) and sees a nerdy cowboy doctor.

Brush With History & Something or Someone: Sam leaps after connecting the dots for a young Buddy Holly, his assistant, to find they lyrics to Peggy Sue.

Let’s Up the Rating: To prevent overheating, Sam strips Tess down to her skivvies. This is awkward when she wakes up after passing out.

One More Time: “I won’t breed with inferior stock, Chance.”
Tess telling her dad that her romantic standards are higher than the local ranch hands.

The Rainbow Treknection: Do you remember Haluk, one of the Voth from Voyager’s Distant Origin? Or Temo’Zuma from Deep Space Nine’s Hippocratic Oath? Both were played by Marshall Teague who is Wayne in this episode. Teague has a long and storied history in the genre. This episode allows him to act without all the rubber on his face though Teague is expressive enough to work through a prosthetic.

Trivial Matters: This episode is the first indication that animals can see who Sam really is as well as Al. In an episode chock full of animals, this makes sense, though no one calls it out. This is partly confirmed as Al calms Widowmaker.

Marshall Teague has been on Trek twice, but has a lot of other genre appearances, one of the most well-known is Te’Lon on Babylon 5.

Put Right what Once Went Wrong: “We’re gonna have to shoot the whole mess of ‘em.” “Shoot ‘em?” “Then burn ‘em.” You know exactly how this episode will end in the first five minutes. Tess chooses Doc over the other ranch hands and Wayne is the only other potential suiter. It’s all but guaranteed that Tess and Sam/Doc will flirt, but Wayne will end up with her in the end.

That isn’t to say it’s a bad episode. We’ve got some excellent shots of the wild west, including a crane shot. Plus, the actors know their roles. The standouts there are Lance LeGault as doting but grounded father Chance and Marshall Teague is excellent as Wayne. He gets enough stand out moments to showcase his acting chops. After watching him covered in rubber, it’s a relief and testament to his acting ability how well he can act without it as well.

The standout is Kari Lizer as Tess. She owns her character and is headstrong. The biggest challenge she overcomes is wearing a dress and expressing her feelings. Other than that vulnerability, she is rough and tough. It’s truly a pleasure to watch her performance!

One of the highlights in the poker scene. There’s a lot of jargon you might not get on your first watch, but there’s a lot in this scene. A cheating accusation, a dead man’s hand. It’s a clue to Wayne having an attraction to Tess in addition to their long friendship.

The plot moves along as well as it can. We have the necessary set pieces with the contests to win the heart of Tess and it’s an all-around fun watch, but nothing to run out and see.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Double Identity
Original Air Date: April 21, 1989
Written By: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Aaron Lipstadt
Leap Date: November 8, 1965

This Time: Sam leaps half-dressed with a girl who expresses satisfaction before she runs off. He is Frankie, a mobster at a wedding. The young lady at the top of the episode is Theresa, a beautician and Frankie’s paramour. She is also in a relationship of Geno, the godfather, though she is trying to get out. Geno suspects she is trying to leave but has no confirmation.

The next day, Sam goes to the beauty parlor that Theresa works at, when Geno comes along. Geno then enters to get confirmation that Theresa isn’t involved with Frankie, which Al walks him through.

Al tells Sam that they will make another attempt to retrieve him, though he needs to plug in a hair dryer in Buffalo. Also, he needs to recreate the conditions of his leap in, meaning he and Theresa must be in Geno’s attic. Sam sends some flunkies to take care of the hair dryer and convinces Theresa to participate, though needs a little more convincing to be in the location than the action she would need to partake in.

Of course, Geno hears about Frankie and Theresa in his attic and makes plans to interfere. When he shows up, Sam leaps …

… into Geno. Everything will be perfect if Frankie and Theresa get married, but he must do so in a public manner that Geno cannot back out of, which turns out to be at a bingo game. The announcement is made, and Frankie is ordered out of the family business. After calling the winning ball, Sam leaps …

… into a man seated at a diner, with everyone giving him an odd look. Looking at the mirror, he sees an African American looking back at him.

Fact Check: There was an outage in Buffalo at the time of the leap, or thereabouts.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam relates leaping to blind dating.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al helps Sam through a song at the wedding. Later he saves Sam’s bacon by speaking Italian.

He is also sweating since the air conditioning is off in order for Ziggy to make the calculations to bring Sam home.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam sees himself as Frankie at the top of the show and later as Geno, in the same mirror.

Brush with History: Sam thinks he might be a trendsetter in making beauty parlors unisex. Unlike his other impacts on history, this is a bit more … tenuous.

Something or someone: Sam figures either Ziggy miscalculated with bringing him home, or whomever was leaping him through time would not let him get off that easy. Also, his leap out is triggered by making sure that Frankie’s grandmother wins at Bingo.

Let’s up the rating: Sam leaps into someone not wearing pants. Later, he appears bare chested.

One more time: “You’re the godfather; you don’t have to cheat at bocce.”
Theresa calling out Geno.

Trivial Matter: This is one of the few instances where Sam leaps more than twice in an episode.

Put Right What Once Went Wrong: “If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’.” One of the problems with the series is that since Sam leaps into people, we generally do not get a sense of who they really are, beyond when Sam looks into a mirror. In this case we get to see Page Moseley as Frankie, who has a brief appearance as himself but performs well, and Mike Genovese as Geno. Genovese in particular does a great job, even threatening Sam/Frankie with a razor to trying to appease Theresa. Mosely does not get much time to show his acting chops but does work with what he has. It is a nice change of pace and a fun way to play with the formula. The second leap happens forty minutes in, meaning that we get to see a lot of Genovase. Terri Garber plays Thresa with as much toughness as she can muster while still hitting the romantic and fearful beats. She is desperate to get away from Geno but can’t.

The show moves along, though part of that does require some padding, including Sam signing Volare and the scene in the beauty shop. That scene covers a lot of ground, going from romantic undertones to a threat on a life. There is some dark comedy when Geno asks for a razor, is given a handheld, asks for a straight razor and is told it is not a barbershop. Al tells Sam what to say in Italian, giving us another trope as the characters pause giving Sam time to hear what Al says, but if there needs to be padding, it is well done. The flunkies in Buffalo also have a bit of fun. They do not have a lot to do, but are in character and steal the scenes they are in. Let’s face it, when the episode features a Big Fat Italian Wedding, it’s hard to not have a good time and be in character.

Changing the fabric of your show is extremely dangerous, particularly in your first season, particularly as a midseason replacement with a shortened season, but it works. More than two leaps an hour will not become the norm, but all the pieces work in this case. It needs to be used carefully and thought about well ahead of time. The writers did a great job of building it into the fabric of the show and are careful with how they use this tool. Geno’s intrusion feels organic and there is a point to everything that happens.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
The Color of Truth
First aired: May 3, 1989
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Michael Vejar
Leap Date: August 8, 1955

This Time: Sam leaps into a fifties era diner. Innocently taking a seat at the counter, he seems to be causing quite a stir, particularly some young men sitting in a booth. He looks up and sees the face of an elderly African American gentleman staring back at him. Two of the two young men from the booth, Toad and Billy Joe, go to teach him a lesson, but Sam is saved (read shooed out) by the proprietress.

Outside, he sees his boss, the widowed Ms. Melny. As Jesse, Sam cannot win or even get a word in edgewise. Al shows up and tells Sam that Ms. Melny will die when her car collides with a passenger train the following day, something Sam must avoid.

The next afternoon, Nell, Jesse’s granddaughter, drives his car home, but Toad and Billy Joe run it off the road thinking it is Jesse driving. Nell is hurt pretty bad but the two troublemakers run off to stay out of trouble. While driving Ms. Melny on an errand, they see the wreck. The nearest hospital is designated for whites but is much closer than the one Nell would normally have to go to.

At that hospital, the staff doesn’t want to treat Nell but Ms. Melny is insistent. They do, but call the Sheriff, who is Billy Joe’s father. While Ms. Melny ensures that Nell gets a proper treatment, Sam/jJsse is arrested. Hearing about what happened, Ms. Melny gets into her car and drives to the jail, unknowingly towards her fate. As she approaches the intersection, she narrowly avoids the train.

Ms. Melny comes to get Jessie out of holding. The Sherriff offers his apologies and ensures that this will not happen again. After asking Jessie to pick up her lunch at the diner she comes in and asks that he sit at the counter with her. Sam leaps …

… into a teenager during a race.

Stop talking to yourself: At the top of the hour, Sam gives a nice recap of his leaping experience, accompanied by footage.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al has a history in the civil rights movement and knows a lot about southern cooking. Also, he is convinced that Ms. Melny heard him at the end.

This is the first time that he asks Gooshie to center him around someone other than Sam.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam sees himself in the diners’ mirror, in the diners’ window and the rear-view mirror of a car within the opening moments. His face is reflected in the Sheriff’s closing office door, which would make its way to the opening credits eventually.

Brush with history: Not quite Sam, but Al mentions an experience in Selma. It is unclear if he was at the famous march there.

One more time: “I’ve never said that word, Jesse. Not to your face or behind your back.” Ms. Melny rebuking Sam/Jesse.

The Rainbow Treknection: Susan French is magnificent in this episode as Ms. Melny but she appears in Man of the People as Sev Maylor. They cannot all be winners.

This episode is directed by Michael Vejar. While this is his sole credit on Quantum Leap, he has directed several episodes of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise along with some episodes of Babylon 5.

Trivial Matters: While each episode ends with a teaser for next, this one is quite different from the events we see. Last week, we saw Sam look up. This week, we see him make the chance to sit down before looking up along with a lot for reaction shots.

Put Right what Once Went Wrong: “There’s got to be some sort of mistake.” “Biggest mistake of your life, boy.” Such an amazing episode of television. The show hits all the points it needs to make and is running on all cylinders.

Susan French carries a lot of the burden as Ms. Melny Tafford. She owns the role and you know who she is from the opening moment. She is a pillar of her community and can pull her weight around, but only does so when necessary. She is keenly aware of which fights to take. Very sure of herself you either get along with her or you do not. It is an absolute pleasure to watch her and is definitely worth experiencing.

The rest of the cast is a little more limited in their scope, certainly not as developed as Ms. Melny, but they play their roles well, though Kimberly Bailey is a standout as Nell. This young lady is giddy with the opportunities ahead of her. The ‘groups’ do a great job acting as well, from the bigoted townsfolk, to the moderately understanding Sheriff, to Jesse’s Family. Vejar did a great job directing, too. The environment is established early on, quickly and effectively. Even the music in on point, particularly when Sam rushes Nell to the hospital.

There is a great moment when Al is in the car trying to get Ms Melny to stop. Whether she hears him or not is debatable, but there is ammo given in to both sides. Al is at his best in this episode by far for the entire series. His asides are minimal, and he has a history with the civil rights movement which is a fun surprise. Plus, he knows how to cook chitlins.

There is a lot of harsh language in this. The n-word is uttered. A lot. By Caucasians. The language is very authentic to the time and place. Writer Deborah Pratt would win an award for her work and it is well deserved. As liberal as this show would get, I’m doubtful they would be able to do this in the end of the 2010’s or early in the 2020’s but I’m grateful they were able to get this on air.

Simply a fantastic hour of television.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Camikazi Kid
Original Air Date: May 10, 1989
Written by: Alan J. Levi
Directed by: Paul Brown
Leap Date: June 6, 1961

This time: Sam leaps into a teenager during a race. As Cam Wilson, he takes a loss then goes to a local burger joint where he runs into some hooligans who call themselves the Impalas. Cam’s sister Cheryl shows up, elated at being accepted into the Peace Corps. She will go with her fiancé Bob after the wedding. The Impalas, at their leader Bob’s instruction, strip Sam and throw him into a dumpster, but he is later helped out by Jill, a local tomboy.

Al arrives and says that Sam is there to break up Cheryl and Bob. She doesn’t make it to the Peace Corps and he becomes a mean drunk. While speaking to Cheryl later, Sam finds out that Bob has already been abusive.

At the wedding rehearsal, Sam makes an impassioned speech at how amazing Cheryl is. He also finds out that Bob has no intention of joining the Corps, being offered a job and a house from Bob’s dad.

At Al’s suggestion, Sam races Bob for ‘Pinks’ as a show of dominance. With a little help from Jill and Al, he wins. Bob responds by trying to run over Sam, wrecking his car in the process. Cheryl gives him back the ring.

Sam sees Cheryl off and then sees Jill all dolled up. They smooch and Sam leaps …

… into a detective with a gun over a dead body.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam ponders the preparations that leaping requires. He later laments being the adult at the kids table, though there are several other teens there.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is unable to help Sam get free from the dumpster and get clothed. Sam returns the favor by offering Al a bite of a burger.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam looks in the side mirror of his car and isn’t impressed with what he sees.

Brush with history: Sam and Al unknowingly show a young Michael Jackson some moves.

Something or someone: Despite making sure Cheryl does not marry Bob, Sam doesn’t leap until he kisses Jill, at least a day later.

It’s a science project: Al’s secret weapon in the race? Nitrous oxide.

Let’s up the rating: Sam is stripped then thrown into a dumpster.

One more time: “A person brave enough to answer President Kennedy’s call, to ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. I’m so proud of you for having the courage to go out and make a difference in the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves.”
Sam/Cam offering a toast to his sister.

The Rainbow Treknection: Remember Commander Harkins of the Pathfinder Project? He was played by Richard McGonagle who guest starred here as Cam’s dad.

Trivial Matters: A Pre-90210 Jason Priestly is one of the Impalas. He makes no impression.

The writers have not determined that young kids can see Al as there are several kids who are in Al’s area but do not mention him at all. Heck, young Michael Jackson does not even see him!

Put right what once went wrong: “It’s the Mom-mobile!” Years ago, I was chatting with a principal about a production at his high school. He described the show as ‘Grease Uncut’ dealing with a lot of the hardcore issues the musical all but glossed over. Sometimes, the details were intense. This episode does not go quite that far, but it takes its cues from Grease.

There are so many great moments in this episode. There is a great scene early on with Cam’s parents. Dad is teasing his son, adding some authenticity to their relationship and Mom is stern with Cam, though she is later as stern with Cheryl. She chastises him for hiding a Playboy and demands a kiss. She is also fantastic later devastated when Cheryl wears a wedding dress from Bob’s mother. These would normally be bit parts, but it allows the actors more moments to explore their characters. They are time fillers, but well-acted

The wedding rehearsal is a fantastic scene, too. Bob’s dad running late, Sam’s speech, getting pudding thrown at him, eavesdropping in the restroom, running into Michael Jackson, challenging Bob; there is a lot but it all works. Sam’s speech, quoted above, is fantastic as the music swells. Bakula does great work along with composer Velton Ray Bunch. Almost the entire cast is involved, and they all make their mark, particularly the asshole teens being asshole teens.

So much more works, from Sam giving Cheryl a talk about how awesome she is in yet another great scene, the burger joint scene where Sam is teased and fed. It helps ground the episode and while it is filler, it does not feel like it. There is enough in the environment and from the actors to sell the era.

As to the main plot, it is a little thin, but offers the great moments mentioned above. The one point that sticks out is when Cheryl lets Bob and Cam duke it out over a race. She has been established as a strong woman, having already worked on Kennedy’s campaign and going off to help the less fortunate. This is not the character who will sit by and let the Strong Men fight for her future. She almost disappears from the scene entirely when the challenge happens. It does not entirely detract from a very entertaining hour but seems to be there because the plot requires it.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Play It Again, Seymour
Original Air date: May 17, 1989
Story by : Donald P. Bellisario & Scott Shepard & Tom Blomquist
Teleplay by : Donald P. Bellisario & Scott Shepard
Directed by: Aaron Lipstadt
Leap Date: April 14, 1953

This time: Sam leaps into a detective with a gun over a dead body. As Detective Nick Allen, he is soon taken into custody where Al shows up. The body is Nick’s ex-partner Phil and Al is fairly certain that Sam needs to find out whodunit. Sam has this odd sense of déjà vu about the situation.

Being freed as the bullet didn’t match the gun, Sam heads to his office, where he recognizes some of the people in the lobby; Lionel the building supervisor, Chuck the elevator operator and Seymour the nerdy news stand seller, the three of whom suspect The Clapper of being Phil’s killer. He also meets Allison, Phil’s widow. She is very into Nick, them having had an affair and all. After she leaves, Sam looks through Nick’s desk and finds a manuscript based on the events. He realizes it is not déjà vu; he read the published book.

After surviving an attempt on his life, Sam and Allison follow a lead to the Blue Island Nightclub with Seymour tagging along. Al shows up with the book. Unfortunately, the book has no ending and is part of a contest to figure out whodunnit. Also, according to the book, Nick gets shot in the back by The Clapper at LaGuardia Airport that night. Al suspects Allison, but Sam shoos him off.

They are attacked on their way out and in the cab ride back, Sam lays into Seymour for being such a nerd. Stopping to get his things, he grabs Phil’s as well. Going back out, he runs into Seymour and apologizes. The Clapper takes Allison to LaGuardia, so Sam and Seymour follow. They split up and Seymour runs into Lionel, revealed to be The Clapper. Seymour is taken hostage and Sam follows. Lionel had a thing for Allison and plans to take her away. As Lionel tries to shoot him, Al guides Sam to get the drop.

Allison takes the tickets Lionel bought and the plans to go off together with Nick. As they head to the plane, Sam helps Seymour become a writer. Sam leaps …

… into a bubble bath of a female executive.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam reflects that leap ins can be very good and very bad.

Only Sam can see and hear: When in jail, a drunkard wakes up, sees Sam talking to himself and thinks nothing of it. Al is also instrumental in assisting Sam at the end of the episode, as it helps to have a hologram in a shootout.

Mirror images that were not his own: While in holding, Sam gets a look at himself.

Brush with history: Sam runs into a young Woody Allen. He also possibly introduces the term ‘nerd’ and the phrase ‘main squeeze’ into the vernacular.

Let’s up the rating: Allison is all over Nick.

One more time: “Sam, this is dangerous.” “Allison’s in there.” “That’s why it’s dangerous.”
Sam and Al arguing about what could happen at LaGuardia.

The Rainbow Treknection: Willie Garson played Seymour here and would go on to play Riga, one of the Moenan scientists in Voyager’s Thirty Days.

Trivial Matters: Most episodes lead into the next one. The end of this one would not be seen until the fourth episode of the second season for reasons that will become obvious in the premiere of season two.

Claudia Christian is recognizable in looks alone as Allison. She played Commander Susan Ivonava on Babylon 5 and plays an entirely different character here.

Put right what once went wrong: “This isn’t what it looks like. He was already dead when I got here.” “Anyone besides you and him to corroborate that?” The ‘find your killer’ genre has taken root in the past few years. Mainly with the video game genre, this was a little ahead of its time. All in all, it is a fun noir detective romp with all the trimmings. You have the femme fatal, the nerdy follower, the close calls, the nicknamed killer and a lot of jargon.

By no means is it perfect. There are a few too many characters and set pieces. Part of the mystery should be who does the killing, but we only know two characters, Seymour and Allison. Allison is way too obvious and Seymour … I just cannot see him doing it. That regulates the role of killer to some guy we have seen little of with few clues leading us to that conclusion.

The plot is a little breakneck. Not for the first time, Al does not have all the answers, though that would lead us to short-episode-syndrome. He is as in the dark as Sam but the two work well in the climactic fight. Claudia Christian is great as Allison and Willie Garson puts on a fantastic performance as Seymour.

We have Sam and Al getting into a bit of a fight. After seeing the two work together throughout the season, it is good to see that they do not always click. These two are the only two characters we see every week and though they have a preexisting relationship, having them disagree and needing time to cool off is a fun beat to have.

As a weekly episode, this would work.

As a season finale, it is a bit of a diminishing farewell. It does not really cap things off and it does not make me wonder what can happen over the summer. It also does not take me to a place where I would want to park myself in front of the TV come Fall. This is just an odd note to end off on.

That will do it for the first season. Next week we will have an overview of season one as a whole and jump on the Honeymoon Express thereafter.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Quantum Leap First Season
Original Air Dates: March 26 – May 7, 1989

This Time: In an attempt to travel through one own lifetime, things didn’t entirely go to plan. Dr. Sam Beckett found himself exchanging bodies with random people throughout history. While he has had an impact on major events, he mainly seems to be at his best when he steers things in a better direction than originally happened.

He has been a college professor, a frontier doctor, a teenager, a detective and even a couple members of a gang. He is met Buddy Holiday, Woody Allen and helped bring about one of the greatest political scandals in the past fifty years.

Sam is not alone in his efforts; his one and only constant companion is Al, who appears as a hologram that only Sam can communicate with through the science of brainwaves. Al is a cheat sheet, letting Sam know what will happen.

He needs all the help he can get because in addition to randomly going through time, he has no memory of who he is. Even a trip to a farm does not bring him back to his senses. The eight stories of the first season chronicle his efforts to see if her can get home.

Favorite Fact Check: From Genesis: Taking place around a historic test flight, though the Mach 3 threshold was broken on the day the episode takes place, the pilot was Captain Apt. Several other details line up, including the plane being an X-2 and not making it past the flight.

Favorite stop talking to yourself: From How the Tess Was Won: Sam reflects on how leaps can start off rewarding or not. He also finds it easy to locate his home in the openness of Texas. There is also a reflection on how to calm a horse. He notes that his slow dancing skills are sub par.

Favorite only Sam can see and hear: From The Color of Truth: After finding out Sam leaped into an African American, we learn Al has a history in the civil rights movement and knows a lot about southern cooking. Also, he is convinced that Ms. Melny heard him at the end which wound up saving her life.

This is the first time that he asks Gooshie to center him around someone other than Sam.

Favorite Mirror Images That Were Not His Own: From Star-Crossed: Sam looks at Dr. Bryant in the mirror and does not see someone resembling Tom Cruise. At all.

Favorite brush with history: From The Color of Truth: Not quite Sam, but Al mentions an experience in Selma. It is unclear if he was at the famous march there.

Favorite it’s a science project: From Genesis: Sam finds a way to prevent Peg from inducing premature labor six months into her pregnancy which would be fatal to her. He convinces the doctors to put alcohol into her IV which gets her almost instantly drunk.

Favorite tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: From Genesis: We get a glimpse of 1999 in the teaser when Al picks up a female acquaintance and drives her to the project. What happens afterwards is probably somewhere between what we later learn of his time with women and the fact that she doesn’t have security clearance. We also briefly see Gooshie, one of the scientists.

Favorite let’s up the rating: From Star-Crossed: Student Jamie-Lee and Professor Dr. Bryant have been busy. Apparently, they have consummated their relationship in his house, and the belltower. Plus, there are all sorts of … ‘marital aids’ in a Bryant’s cabinet, much to Al’s delight.

Favorite one more time: From How the Tess Was Won: “I won’t breed with inferior stock, Chance.”
Tess telling her dad that her romantic standards are higher than the local ranch hands.

Favorite Rainbow Treknection: From Genesis: Series star Scott Bakula would go on to star in Enterprise and his costar, former child star Dean Stockwell, guest stared in an episode of the first season. They would also reunite in NCIS: New Orleans under Quantum Leap creator Don Bellasario.

Favorite Trivial Matters: From Genesis: Sam asks Al to step around objects rather than walk through them. Presumably, this would make things easier on the effects department, though moving people through solid objects is fairly cheap.

Put Right what Once Went Wrong: “… Went a little … caca.” First seasons can be rough. No one really knows where the show will go and even with a plan in place, there are a thousand ways it can go wrong. Add in the factors against this specific plot (only two members of their regular cast, few standing sets, etc.) and it’s clear that the network gave them a green light to see what the show is and hoped that they didn’t stumble.

One of the strengths of this show is the writing. There was a rough draft of Grease, a cowboy romance, a civil rights piece, a mafia drama and a wodunnit. There are very few shows that can turn on a dime like that, even fewer that the audience will keep coming back to. It is telling that the second episode is a farce at the start and winds up being a compelling drama.

Of course, the best writing in the world is not worth a thing if the actors can’t bring them to life and week after week, the guest stars delivered. On most shows, it is not that bad if the guest stars fall through the cracks since they can be salvaged by the main cast, but that trick won’t work on this show. The acting is fantastic with the high note being the amazing Susan French in The Color of Truth. Thankfully, the writing gives a lot of what could be throwaway roles a good moment to shine. In The Camakazi Kid, the writers gave the parents good character bits and you can see this with all the episodes.

The weak link is Al, or rather his libido. It is a character trait that has not aged well and if it was off putting in the eighties, it is even more off putting in the twenties. The only way to swallow it is to accept that the targets of his interest are in on it but we cannot really be sure it is always the case.

The Color of Truth is my favorite of the bunch, but I would have to look hard to find a stinker. That is an impressive feat for a first season, granted a short one, but they got off the ground. They did not do anything wild past the pilot, aside from attempting a return trip which ended up helping that story, but really did not have the time to.

I (and this rewatch) am back for season two, but not rushing to my screen in anticipation.
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Second Edition Playtest Manager
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Second Edition Playtest Manager
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Honeymoon Express
Original Air Date: September 20, 1989
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Aaron Lipstadt
Leap Date: April 27, 1960

This time: We start at a hearing to fund Project Quantum Leap. The senators are dubious that a higher power is responsible for Sam leaping around history. Yeah, saving the life of a test pilot is cool and all, but for forty-three billion dollars, no major events have been changed. In particular, the committee chair, Senator Weitzman, does not see it as an adequate means of public funding, despite Al staunchly defending the project and Sam.

Meanwhile, Sam ‘rescues’ a cat for a little old lady. He leaps …

… into a man kissing a beautiful lady on a train. He is Tom McBride, she is Diane and the two are newly married. He is a cop and she is getting ready to take the bar. She is all over him, but Sam tells her to study.

Al appears and tells Sam that a U-2 aircraft will be shot down in a couple days, almost single handedly extending the Cold War. Sam needs to call off the mission, something Diane’s father can help with as he is a golfing buddy to the President. Sam is not sure about that being what he is supposed to do, and Ziggy believes that he must help Diane pass the bar.

Going back to Diane, Sam finds that she is being accosted by Roget, Diane’s ex-husband. He is having a problem letting go but literally brought a knife to a gunfight. He is clearly not over her but leaves. She tells Sam about how nasty Roget was, him being a smuggler with a bunch of thugs.

Back at the hearing, the Committee is ready to render the verdict, but Al begs for a forty-eight hour grace period to change history, staking the fate of the project and his career on preventing the launch of the U-2.

Sam and Diane share a dinner only to be interrupted by Al, who is still insistent that Sam prevent the launch of the U-2. Sam tells Al about Roget which Al did not know about because they are out of funds in their research department. Al will move things around, but still wants Sam to work on Diane calling her father.

He tries to get out of the romantic encounter by telling Diane the truth, but she believes he is role-playing. They are stopped when Diane catches a glimpse of Roget. He got on the train at a stop and Sam leaves to confront him. After being shoulder-checked in the hallway, he approaches Roget to calm things down, but it does not work. Roget threatens him and Al says that Tom will be found dead, stabbed through the heart. Sam tells the conductor about the threat so as to alert the authorities. Al does not want that to happen since if he leaps before Diane calls her father, the project is over. Al comes clean and Sam realizes that this might be their last conversation.

Thinking they will be safe locked in their cabin until they arrive at the station, Sam asks her to call her father when they arrive. Diane says that her father is out camping for the week and out of phone contact during that time! Resigned and helping to distract her, Sam quizzes her on the matters of law.

On the way to send a message, the conductor is knocked out by Roget’s thug. As the two break into Tom and Diane’s cabin, the emergency brakes are pulled. Sam jumped out the window and Diane is hidden in an overhead compartment. Roget gets pinned under the train and the train starts moving again, but not before Roget gets back on board. The thug tries to accost Tom, but it does not work out.

Roget holds Sam at gunpoint and Diane offers to exchange her life for his. He is touched, but as he pulls the trigger, Diane moves the gun, causing Roget to be hit by the ricochet.

In the hearing, Senator Weitzman reads from a history book proving that history is unchanged. In a last-ditch effort, Al testifies about Diane being saved. Weitzman says that he was a protégé of Diane’s father, but that is seem as a poorly veiled attempt to pull at his heart strings. It does not help that Diane ran against Weitzman and lost to him thirty years ago. He is ready to render his verdict.

Roget being out of the picture, Tom and Diane settle in. He asks her about amendments, but she missed the fourteenth amendment, an important fact that could have cost her half her constitutional rights answers and the exam. Sam leaps …

As the verdict is rendered, Al is crestfallen util Senator Weitzman is instantly replaced by Senator Diane McBride, who announces that the funding request is granted. After the adjournment, the Senator remembers an encounter but feigns/claims that she cannot place it.

… into a disco.

Fact check: The U-2 incident is a real thing that was very messy.

Mirror images that were not his own: In the bathroom, Sam sees the handsome Tom McBride staring back at him.

Stop Talking to Yourself: Sam asks a higher power if he is supposed to sleep with Diane and asks for a sign, wherein Diane shows up in lingerie. After taking care of Roget, he asks to either leap out or for ‘something or someone’ to look the other way.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: We spend a lot of time in this episode in the future. Though we only see the inside of a courtroom, it is sprinkled throughout the hour.

Let’s up the rating: Sam spends the episode not sleeping with Diane.

One more time: “He’s not alone Admiral. He has God.”
Senator Weitzman to Al in the hearing.

Trivial Matters: There are callbacks to Genesis, The Right Hand of God, The Color of Truth and How the Tess Was Won. Additionally, Weitzman (or rather, Weitzman‘s wife) was referenced in Star-Crossed.

This is the third episode (After Genesis and Double Identify) to break the ‘one leap per episode’ rule. Yeah, we will try to keep score.

This episode broke the pattern that we are accustomed to, but Sam utters his signature phrase twice at the start of his leap.

Put right what once went wrong: “Do I need to read any further, Admiral?” “No, sir.” “Good.” Once a show gets into a rhythm, it can be very tempting to stick with it and not have any variance. Especially in a show that has as interesting a concept as Quantum Leap. I came down hard on the first season finale being fairly run of the mill, but it was still an entertaining hour of television.

Honeymoon Express proved that not only were they willing to mess with a formula, they could do it well. They experimented with it in Double Identity, but here they alter the almost the entire structure of how show and it works. We do not start with a leap or a voiceover; we start with a cold open into a hearing. It offers a good summation of the series and has Al protecting the Project to the best of his abilities. His quarrel with Weitzman is felt throughout the episode and Warren Frost is great as a grumpy old man. He enjoys yelling at Stockwell. Despite their characters rivalry, the two are great together.

Sam and Al got into it at the end of season one, and it is heartbreaking to see Sam realize that their journey together might end. There is a great moment between the two and Sam understands why Al was so forceful to get Sam to stop the U-2. Bakula and Stockwell are the only two regular actors and it is nice for them to have a moment.

The courtroom drama works better than the train story, but Sam has time to be with his leapee’s wife and save her from a murderous ex-husband. Time is taken to give Roget a character, telling Sam that he is not going to back off. They flesh everyone out and give Sam an excuse not to go through with his honeymoon duties.

Not everything works. Bakula and Alice Adair do not have that great chemistry, but Adair at least does not fawn over him. Adair also really does not know how to play her older version, though that is only seen for a few moments at the very end. Not just that, but we know that the series will not end since it is the season premiere. There are no stakes to the trial since we know the project will remain funded somehow. Imagine this as a season finale; that would have been amazing.

Toying with the carefully curated formula is risky and Quantum Leap will not tinker with it too often, but this was one of the first versions and it worked in spades.
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