Original Air Date: May 8, 1991
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: July 23, 1955
This time: Sam leaps into a wrestling ring. He is tagged in and his rather large opponent has some fun. Thanks to some fancy fighting moves, Sam takes down his opponent. He is Terry Samms who is one half of the Battling Russkies along with his brother Ronny. In reality they are from Arkansas using the persona of Russians to become antagonists in the local wrestling circuit. The owner, Lamar, is upset that the match had a different outcome than planned. Being wrestling there is a script to follow except for the title match.
Al arrives and tells Sam that he is from a family of wrestlers. Also, his work gave them a shot at the title match. Ronny is excited but Al says that he dies in that match after Ronny’s heart gives out. After witnessing Ronny lose his concentration, Sam asks their mother about family health history, but she has none of it. The ring doctor gives Ronny a clean bill of health, though the simple exam will not reveal an underlying condition. Al has more comprehensive information and realizes that a rheumatic fever at could cause far reaching consequences, including heart failure.
At the match, Sam decides to not let Ronny in the ring. He also makes deal that if they win, Ronny will check in for a comprehensive examination. His opponent is Carl, someone who has been antagonistic towards Sam due to Carl’s flirty wife. Also, Lamar does not want the team representing Russia to win the match. Sam gets a royal rumble of a whopping but uses a sleeper hold to win.
Ronny gets himself checked out and his son will go on to win a silver medal in the Olympics. With the family in a better place, Sam leaps …
… into a fallout shelter during an air raid.
Stop talking to yourself: Early on it seems like things will be all right, though Sam is quick to recall that leaps rarely are that easy.
Only Sam can see and hear: In addition to the requisite background information, Al knows that Carl’s wife has a habit of enticing Carl to fight other wrestlers outside of the ring.
Mirror images that were not his own: In the locker room, Sam sees Terry in a mirror.
Something or someone: Sam is able to stick around long enough to kick Carl’s wife in the rear. Technically, he leaps out before he can finish so Terry gets that joy.
It’s a science project: Ronny describes a sleeper hold and Sam is abhorred at the thought of cutting off someone’s oxygen, though it does come in handy for the resolution.
Let’s up the rating: One of the wrestlers’ wives looks in on the locker room shower. At least one voice asks her to join while at least one other voice asks her to leave.
One more time: “Will you listen to this guy? Next thing he’ll tell us is that wrestling ain’t real.”
A bar patron speaking the ironic truth
Trivial Matter: Rance Howard, father of Clint and Ron, plays the circuit doctor.
Put right what once went wrong: “As you folks can see from home this is not a …” “Shut up you capitalist pig!” If you are a fan of wrestling you will like this. If you are not a fan of wrestling, you will like this.
The fight scenes are well choreographed. Either they use a stunt double who looks exactly like Bakula or Bakula did all his own stunts. Joe Napolitano did a solid job with the wrestling scenes in the ring, but he is no slouch out of the ring either. The family drama is well done. A lot of this is in thanks to Tommy Thompson’s script. Sam runs out of options after Ronny refuses to quit, their mother does not think it is too bad and the doctor gives him an exam. The best part is that we get to see Ronny’s family. Susan Issacs and John Kidwell are solid as his wife and son, respectively. Doting mother Lottie, played by Angela Paton, cares for her sons but is not alarmed by Sam’s misgivings. Future wrestler Terry Funk, now known as Chainsaw, and Deborah Wakeham are an excellent tag team as Carl and his wife.
Jerry Broussard bears a lot of the burden as Ronny. He is in a bit of denial even after suffering some lapses in concentration in front of his family. He has patience for his brother but even that wears a little thin after a while. He is determined to keep a promise to their late father. It is no fault of his own that his health is in danger. He carries the show very well and is the literal and figurative heart.
It is great that we have such fantastic casting because the plot is just so thin. We’re at the end of the season and they show that even with a standard episode, good actors can elevate the material.