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
#577923
"Return of the Evil Leaper"
Original Air Date: February 23, 1993
Written by: Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Harvey Laidman
Leap Date: October 8, 1956

This time: Sam leaps into a costumed character on the hood of a car in the middle of a race. After a recap of Deliver us From Evil, the race is over with the car Sam mounted the hood ornaments of losing. The driver is Jerry, and the event was a fraternal initiation. The leader of the fraternity, Mike Hammond, is not happy with the race being ruined. Sam is Arnold Watkins, and he has been trying to stop the races since the finish line is perilously near a cliff. A pummeling is broken up by a cop who forwards everyone’s name to the Dean of Discipline.

An exhausted Sam goes to his room to find Al. Other than telling Sam about the need to calm down Arnold in the waiting Room, there is not much to go on. Originally, Arnold and Jerry died. They are interrupted by Jack, Arnold’s roommate. Jack is pledging the organization and got a call from Mike suggesting that Sam’s stunt put the process in jeopardy.

Jerry is grateful for Arnold saving his life, so much that he published an article. Mike and the brothers are furious as their fraternity is on probation. Mike’s girlfriend, Dawn Taylor, is taken in by a real-life superhero and shakes Sam’s hand right before leaping out …

… and Alia leaping in. As Sam and Jerry leave, and Mike ponders a way to get rid of Arnold without getting the organization permanently disbarred. With Zoe’s urging, Alia suggests public embarrassment.

Sam wants to meet with ‘Dawn’ to stop the potentially fatal antics and the two have a moment, almost touching before a pile of books is knocked over. Sam agrees to help with a biology midterm if she stops the races. As Sam gets ready for the date, Jack helps with a bow tie before he is off to an initiation which may or may not involve a race. Sam puts on part of the costume and is off. Alia is ready to seduce him, but Zoey tells her that Arnold is off to save Jack.

As Sam intercedes, Al mentions that Jack survives. As Sam admonishes Al by name, Alia figures out the situation. Zoey squeals in delight as Sam runs off. Later with Al, they realize that Arnold has to stop putting his life in danger but that is easier said than done. Al works with Dr. Beeks while Sam meanders back to his room as Zoey and Lothos consult on a fate worse than death for Sam.

Al has a heart to heart with Arnold in the Waiting Room. Arnold is traumatized over the loss of his parents who were shot when he was at a young age and feels responsible, but Al disavows him of that notion.

In the library, Alia publicly tells Mike that she and Arnold were involved with the getaway and are involved romantically. Mike challenges Sam to a race as a confused Sam confronts Alia. The touch and Sam figures it out. Alia is fearful about being found out, but Sam believes that if they are in physical contact at leap out, they can leap together. The only problem is if Alia leaps out early, the plan will not work.

At the race, as Zoey informs Alia that Mike turns out pretty crappy after college, Sam wagers future races for his win. The race goes fairly well until Al tells Sam that the brakes are cut. The two jump out of the car and embrace as they leap …

… into solitary confinement at a women’s prison. They are threatened with another stay in that situation unless one of them confesses to the murder of Carol Benning.

Fact check: Arnold marvels at the handlink since computers at the time would take up rooms.

Stop talking to yourself: Ever in touch with the minds of people of all ages, Sam feels that college is wasted on the young. Yeah, four years to study and have fun would be great for forty-year-olds!

Only Sam can see and hear: Zoey is at the library when Sam and Alia make their plan, unbeknownst to either party. Sam keeps Al out of the loop about Alia for reasons not adequately explained to the viewer.

Mirror images that were not his own: The face Sam sees in the mirror does not meet his expectations for what the Midnight Marauder would look like. Later, Alia sees Dawn in the mirror as she gets ready for her date. Both are capped off when Sam and Alia touch and briefly turn into their leapees.

Brush with history: Alia mentions the word Macho which was a Spanish saying but did not really spread until close to the mid-seventies.

Something or someone: It takes Sam a while to figure out why he does not leap after initially saving Arnold and Jerry. He stumbles onto stopping the races which is not entirely wrong.

It’s a science project: Sam finds out the intricacies of falling off a cliff in a speeding car.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al consults with Dr. Beeks as he consoles Arnold. Why Dr. Beeks, the staff psychologist who is there for that specific job, could not console Arnold is an exercise for the viewer.

Let’s up the rating: When Jack open a girlie magazine, Al is curious. Not to be outdone, Zoey considers frat boys her favorite subject.

One more time: “Why would you wanna pledge a fraternity that's full of idiots in the first place?” “Full of what?” “You said the wrong thing, Sam. His dad was a Chi Kappa Delta idiot, and his granddad, and his great-granddad was a founding idiot.”
Sam talking with Jack about the virtues of virtues of Chi Kappa Theta and Al belatedly correcting Sam.

The Rainbow Treknection: Not a trek production but almost immediately after playing Jerry, Michael Manasseri would play Wyatt Donnelly on a series based on, and named after, the film Weird Science.

Trivial Matters: The Evil Leaper concept was intended to be a one-off episode until one of the one of the writers chose to continue that story thread and Bellisario gave his blessing.

When a cop busts up the pummeling, he asks Sam is he is related to Joe McCarthy.

Al refers to Captain Goodie Two Shoes since they could not afford the rights to Captain America. In a clear case of the Equal Time Doctrine, Superman also gets a name check.

The Studebaker is mentioned. Derisively but mentioned nonetheless. That company did not do well financially and by the leap date was close to being out of business.

Jack is able to tie a bow tie. Your humble rewatcher learned how to do that years ago though it was through the Tube of You.

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club gets a name check when Sam puts on a leather jacket. It is Al who makes the mention as they were still young at the leap date. Al also name drops Marlon Brando, though James Dean might be a better meta reference.

There is a rare production error. As Sam pulls up to the starting line, Al is in the back seat but a few moments later, he is not, and we do not hear a sound effect.

Put right what once went wrong: “Did I hear that right? Lothos. It’s him.” “It can’t be.” One of the reasons why Deliver us From Evil worked so well was that you could take all the Evil Leaper material out of it and still have a good episode. That trend continues here.

Quantum Leap has done college stunts before. We have had Sam on the other side of the line but here he is kind of on a one-man crusade to stop the idiocy. As much as Sam is the driving force of the series, here he is a little less in control with Arnold needing a talking to. We do not see people in the Waiting Room a lot, but that trend has reversed itself this season with this being our fourth visit this season and fifth overall. For a show that can leave the leapee out on a limb, here he is front and center. Tristan Tait has great scenes and chemistry with Dean Stockwell. With Sam needs to keep Al in the dark, this gives Al something to do. In an episode with so many things going on, they are the emotional core reminding us of what the show is about.

We have a delightful cast of characters filling out the roster. Michael Manasseri and Paul Scherrer have what can charitably be described as minor roles but do them well as Jerry and Jack respectively. Jerry is stereotypical nerdy but there is a friendliness to him. His publishing of the events causes plot to happen, but Manasseri has a youthful excitement to him. Scherrer has more a line to walk as a jerk roommate and a friend to Arnold. He is described as a bully/jerk but has a moment in their room. In another world, these two could be friends.

Niel Patrick Harris past Dougie Howser but before his career turning role in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle is Mike. The role does not really suit him and wears thin as the hour goes on. He is just too friendly to be this sort of an antagonist. It is a struggle to find a role that he would not be good at, but this appears to be that one. He has played villains, specifically the Lee Harvey Oswald in the musical Assassins but here it does not work though it is great to see him on my screen.

That about covers it … oh wait, there is an Evil Leaper here, too.

Deliver us From Evil took its sweet time introducing Alia, but here she leaps in before we are a third of the way through. We do not know how much time passed on her end, but she is back aboard the Evil Train. She initially goes along with Zoey but tries to break away. We hear Alia’s upset feelings with her program and how she privately longs to break free. Her scene with Sam shows the only two people on the planet (that we know of) who can empathize with each other. If there is a weakness it is that this plot gets short shrift with Alia quickly going along with Sam’s half-baked plan. It is better than the assuredness of leaping again with her project, but it is still fifty-fifty. It says a great deal that Sam would jeopardize his safety too. Renee Coleman and Carolyn Seymour are great in their returns as Zoey and Alia

Once again, we have movement without things moving too much too fast. Zoey is ever present and Lothos has a means of forcing a leap with Alia. Also, Alia must do more than simply kill Sam. The stakes are higher, and Sam risks it all to save her.

Richard C. Okie did a fantastic job of writing a very well-crafted story and Harvey Laidman has some great shots. On top of the car races, there are clever shots where Sam and Alia do not touch. Best still is in the library with a Conveniently Tall Stack of Books, the top of which references Mars, as in ‘Men are From …’ It feels very organic and works. The hour is not perfect. Sam’s plan is pretty shotty and by not being able to talk to Ziggy (for reasons …) they cannot run it by Ziggy. Plus, where is Dr. Beeks in all this? She is name dropped by Al but is not on the scene to help counsel Arnold. For some reason, Al has to do it despite prior mentions of her working with those in the Waiting Room. Her omission is part of an ongoing theme and simply sloppy. Prior episodes worked it into the plot but here there is no explanation why the trained psychologist is not working with Arnold except for the fact she is not in the main cast.

Of course, Sam does not know if their plan worked but we do since the leap out effect is blue and not red, though it starts out like that. The effect is well done as is Sam ‘morphing’ into his next leapee. We could get into more detail, but that is what next week is for.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#578385
"Revenge of the Evil Leaper"
Original Air Date: February 23, 1993
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Debbie Allen
Leap Date: September 16, 1987

This time: Sam and Alia leap into solitary confinement at a women’s prison. They are threatened with another stay in that situation unless one of them confesses to the murder of Carol Benning. Sam asks for some time alone with Alia and prison guard Masterson gives them some time to talk in a rather spacious supply closet.

The first order of business is finding a way to hide Alia from Lothos. Sam hypnotizes Alia with the help of Al. Until she hears Sam say ‘Rumpelstiltskin,’ she will believe she is nineteen-year-old Angel Jensen, her leapee. Sam is Liz Tate, jailed for murder.

Masterson has a brief talk with warden Clifton Myers. Masterson tells him Angel might crack but Liz is holding. They share a dark laugh when Myers suggests they hang one. In the office, a sympathetic guard named Vivian tries to help them, but there is little that can be done; Benning was a fellow inmate that was killed in prison. As Myers gets ready to meet the two, he leaps out …

… and Zoey leaps into him. Sam and Alia come in but have no further information. Zoey gets information from Thames, appearing as a hologram. They tracked Alia to that time and place and want to find her. Sam pleads with Myers/Zoey to let them find out who murdered Benning and she agrees, to a point. Sam has twenty-four hours with the local population, but claustrophobic Angel is put back in isolation.

Sam talks to a witness named Fiddler. Fiddler’s hearing is not great, but she saw Liz and Angel comforting Benning. Another inmate named Sophie came in and the next thing Fiddler knew, Benning was dead. Later that night, Vivian has Sam calm Alia. As Angel, she is freaking out though Sam is able to restore balance. Vivian offers to take Alia to the old transfer tunnels under the prison. Masterson objects but Sam knocks her out.

Feigning talking to Angel, Zoey confronts Sam to find out information. There is a tussle during which Sam and Zoey touch, revealing themselves to each other. Sam makes a break for it. Thames determines that Alia is there but has trouble getting a lock. Sam tells Vivian the truth and it is only Vivian’s relationship with Liz that she risks her career to break the two out. Knowing the layout, Vivian offers to shut down the power and give the pair some bolt cutters to break the lock and escape, but they have a fifteen second window before the generator kicks in.

Unfortunately, Ziggy in the year 1999 has been using the electric field in 1987 to shield Alia and once the power goes down, Thames is able to get a lock. Realizing the time to conceal Alia is over, Sam frees her from hypnosis. Thames shouts for Zoey who takes a shotgun and shoots Alia who leaps …

.. to be replaced by Angel. Thames has lost the lock on Alia and Angel has no visible wounds. As Zoey takes aim at Sam, he pulls out a shotgun and shoots her first. Thames begins to fade and Zoey leaps out …

.. and Myers leaps back in. Sam is taken into custody as Masterson orders Vivian taken as well. Al reports from Liz that Myers killed Benning. She was pregnant with his child, but he forced her to abort which she did not recover from and bled to death. A state physician has all the details. Liz and Angel get paroled, and Vivian ends up running the prison. Sam leaps …

.. into a bodyguard standing by a limo. A fan asks what ‘she’ is like just as Marilyn Monroe walks out ready to roll.

Stop talking to yourself: Needing to know if they were on Sam’s leap or Alia’s, there are few clues immediately evident in a women’s prison.

Only Sam can see and hear: Once restored to herself, Alia recognizes Thames in a nice touch. Also, Thames eavesdrops on Sam talking to Al to figure things out.

Mirror images that were not his own: Since there are three leapers for the first time, we have all three of them reflected in a mirror. We even hear a special Evil Leaper Tingle rather than the normal one to be sure we know who is eeeevil.

Brush with history: As Myers, Alia paraphrases Bruce Banner. Also, Vivian references The Twilight Zone, then in its second of five television versions, four if one does not count the television movie.

It’s a science project: Since Lothos can track Alia by her brainwaves, Ziggy suggests Sam hypnotize Alia into thinking she is Angel. Because that’s totally how science works!

In 1999 Ziggy also uses the electrical field from 1987 to shield Alia from whenever the Evil Leaper Project is. Because he’s that awesome!

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: For the first (and only) time, there are two people in the Waiting Room. It is unclear if one of them looks like Scott Bakula and the other looks like Renee Coleman. We get confirmation that there is no one in the Holding Cell, the counterpart of the Waiting Room.

Let’s up the rating: Zoey is quite enamored by Myers’ physique.

One more time: “You will remain Angel Jensen until you hear me say …” “Rumpelstiltskin.” “Rumpelstiltskin?” “Rumpelstiltskin.” “Well, it worked for him.” “Okay, Rumpelstiltskin.”
Al stumbling on a word to snap Alia out of it and demonstrating a lack of awareness of Grimm Fairy Tales.

The Rainbow Treknection: Roverta Desanto has a scene as Fiddler, almost entirely unrecognizable as Azetbur from The Undiscovered County.

Trivial Matters: Though the ending is open ended in terms of what happens to Alia, this was intended to be the end of that particular thread.

With three leapers and six onscreen leaps, this sets a record for both.

Along with Return of the Evil leaper, this originally aired as a special two-hour telefilm. This would be the fourth final two-hour presentation of the series overall with the third this season. The others are the pilot, the fifth season premiere and the final two thirds of the Trilogy.

Taking place in 1987, this is the most recent leap date in the series.

Someone was asleep at the switch when looking for continuity. When Masterson bursts into the broom closet, she goes through Al, but he is absent from the reverse shot. Later, Al goes back to Ziggy but disappears rather than goes through the door. During the climatic escape, we see the camera operators’ shadow in a sparsely lit tunnel, but there was probably no way to avoid that.

We get a name for the Evil Leaper Project: Quanta.

A pair of famous thespians brought this hour to us. Debbie Allen returns to direct and Hinton Battle guest stars as Thames. We also have Footballer turned actor Sam Scarber as Myers.

Thames has a new handlink! And the sound effects team has a new toy!

We have a relatively rare onscreen appearance of Maggie Rosewell as Masterson. She has voiced Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, Luann Van Hauten and several other characters in The Simpsons.

Put right what once went wrong: “I want to know why some people help others.” “Because all my life, I’ve never been special. And if one tenth of what you’ve said is true, this is special. For once, I want to be the good guy.” For the first two parts of this trilogy, we had good Quantum Leap episodes which happened to feature the Evil Leaper Project. This one utterly fails to hit that mark.

The setting takes a back seat to the more urgent need to free Alia. This feels like the prelude to Orange is the New Black at times and they did their best. Rosana Desanto is in one scene as Fiddler, offering an exposition dump. Barbara Montgomery and Maggie Rosewell have more time as the Good Cop Bad Cop Vivian and Masterson respectively. Rosewell and Scarber do little more than mustache twirling, but Montgomery brings Vivian to a bit more dimensionality. We are able to see Vivian being a sympathetic guard, someone who spends time with the inmates. Even with a few minutes borrowed from the second part, there is not enough time for this plot to breathe. This is most evident at the end which can only be described as an infodump.

Writer Deborah Pratt usually great or at the worst, very strong with her episodes and so much of this plot happens because it has to. The chase at the end is contrived and we get the plot in dribs and drabs. Sam is focused on keeping Alia safe, but he has to contend with the prison in order to do that. There is also a lot of handwaving to make this work, from Alia’s brainwaves being altered to Ziggy finding a way to manipulate the electric field in the past, to Angel’s (Alia’s?) body going into the Waiting Room. You can see things moving around just to make this work.

As a conclusion to the Evil Leaper Saga, this brings more questions than answers. Alia is free but is she wandering through time on her own? That is better than captivity but a horrible ending to a solid saga. Is Zoey dead in the Evil Leaper Project? Is that project shut down? And if Zoey is dead, wouldn’t Alia be as well? Biggest of all, someone can leap back in and survive a gunshot without a scratch on them? Twice?

It would not be so bad if Renee Coleman had more to do. Granted Bakula is the series star, but Coleman spends most of the episode as Angel. We have had precious few moments to spend time with Alia not under the thumb of Lothos but for most of this, she is playing another role. Carolyn Seymour is able to bring nuances to Zoey. We learn the motivation in finding someone who ran away, and it works. In a position of authority, Zoey can track the two down, though she spends far too much time in Meyer’s office being enamored with him.

Just as there was another hologram for Sam when Al briefly went away, Hinton Battle steals the show as Thames. He is having fun being a hologram and is not afraid to give Zoey sass when she snaps at him. He also has the foresight to lock in on Sam to find Alia. There is a nice touch when Alia snaps out of it and recognizes Thames. He is having fun and it shows with his performance. He sets himself apart from the sternness of Zoey and the aloofness of Al making the character his own.

In the middle of all this there is a scene in the waiting room with Al consoling Liz while Angel is hiding under the bench. In a nice continuity touch we have Liz wearing the overcoat Al gave Dr. Ruth some weeks ago, but Dr. Beeks would be a better person to talk to the two. She is nowhere to be seen and it makes more sense for her to be there than Al. It is a nice visual but a wasted scene for a show that continues to sideline Dr. Beeks aside from some throwaway mentions.

An unsatisfying conclusion and an unsatisfying episode.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#578871
"Goodbye Norma Jean"
Original Air Date: March 2, 1993
Written by: Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Christopher Hibler
Leap Date: April 4, 1960

This time: Sam leaps into a bodyguard standing by a limo. A fan asks what ‘she’ is like just as Marilyn Monroe walks out ready to roll. At her residence, they are surprised by young Barbara Whitmore, applying for a secretary. Monroe is hesitant but Sam talks her into it, and she stays on the premises.

A hurried Al approaches Sam that Monroe’s death is in four days. He is leaping to change history but saving Monroe would be a very big change. Ziggy puts the odds at ninety-two percent.

Days later, Whitmore tells Monroe of a local party with noted party animal, Peter Lawford. She initially declines due to fatigue, but Whitmore convinces her with the hopes of a guest from Washington DC. Whitmore also invites herself to attend. While Marilyn has a private session with Lawford, Whitmore makes herself at home. Al can find no record of her. There is a commotion later as Monroe has no pulse, but Sam saves her with CPR.

As Whitmore pressures Monroe into attending another extended party, Sam confronts her. Whitmore is an alias; she is really an actress and hopes to make it big by being associated with Monroe. Sam pokes holes in Whitmore’s stories but Whitmore never told them to Monroe, only Sam. Monroe is furious, firing Sam on the spot, wanting him out by morning.

Monroe is late for a movie rehearsal, but Whitmore shows up, wearing one of Monroe’s trademark dresses. Sam gets Monroe in good enough shape to show up on the film set, cutting in as Whitmore dances with Clark Gable. Monroe acts circles around Whitmore and goes on to act in The Misfits, a crowning achievement in her career. Sam leaps …

… into a windowsill dressed in black, furry garb. A screaming child scares him off the ledge, claiming to have seen Bigfoot.

Fact check: A decent chunk of Monroe’s filmography is referenced. Also, her death was April 8, 1960, at least before the events of this episode.

Stop talking to yourself: Being able to chauffeur Marilyn Monroe is pretty good in comparison to some other leaps. Young Sam Beckett snuck out to see her work, but Al was more contemporary.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al gets a car ride and is veeery eager to see Marilyn.

Mirror images that were not his own: A weary Sam, waking up after three days of hardcore partying looks at Dennis Boardman in his bedroom mirror.

Brush with history: Whitmore asks about Monroe and a “certain Senator from Massachusetts.”

It’s a science project: Monroe is taking medication for depression and washing them down with champagne.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Ziggy considers Monroe too unpredictable to make calculations, though Sam suspects Whitmore is the culprit.

Let’s up the rating: Al gets Sam out of his room early in the morning on an urgent matter: Monroe swimming in her birthday suit.

One more time: “It’s amazing that someone and busy and important as you doesn’t have someone looking out for her appointments. Keeping her affairs in order. Providing companionship. It’s not good to be alone.”
Sam telling himself to keep going while convincing Monroe to hire Whitmore.

The Rainbow Treknection: If Whitmore looks familiar is her outfits, she was also Kristin in The Next Generation’s Conundrum. Stephen Root, here playing John Tremaine Jr., was Klingon Captain K’Vada in the Unification two-parter while Tony Young, here as John Huston, played Kryton in the Original Series’ Elaan of Troyis.

Trivial Matters: Sam’s time as a boxer (The Right Hand of God) and in a chain gang (Unchained) are referenced in monologue.

Adjusted for inflation, Whitmore is offered $450.00 a week plus board. Not bad.

At seeing Whitmore, Al says the first half of the double mint gum jingle.

Put right what once went wrong: “Just take good care of her and don’t let her die.” This series knows that if they stick Bakula with a woman for an hour, magic happens. So why not two? With one of them being famed icon Marilyn Monroe.

We only get a slice for the later years of Monroe’s life. Susan Giffiths nails the role with her poise and voice. As much as the Rat Pack Hollywood elite gets to shine, the quieter moments are also important. She is able to avoid the paparazzi by going out as Norma Jean, not Monroe. She and Sam have a good scene in this mode where they discuss simply being people. As much as the role demands big scenes it also demands a quitter focus and Griffiths delivered. She seduces Sam at one point, and he refuses to go too far due to professional courtesy. Even when he is fired Sam looks out for her.

Liz Vassey plays the antagonist in Whitmore. Originally a shy girl, she weasels her way into the elite and becomes a major villainess. We have a bonding scene with Sam, but it is based entirely on lies and we do not pick up on it until it is too late. In these days of Marvel and DC blockbusters with Thanos and Darksied causing panic on a global scale, we are reminded the evil has many faces. Vassey matches the quiet intensity of Griffiths but is trying to climb her way up the ladder, jumping rungs as necessary. The best part if we never see the mustache twirl, Vassey gives us a very calculated plan which she almost executed flawlessly. She is proverbially spanked in the end with Monroe putting her in place.

The supporting cast is hard to do in a period piece with specific historical figures, but Larry Pennell and Tony Young are good as John Husted and Clark Gable, respectively, though the later has chemistry with both leading ladies. The usually reliable Stephen Root is merely adequate here as John Tremaine Jr as is Joris Stuyk as Peter Lawford.

Richard C. Okie did his homework with the script, and it shows. They could not hire scores of the Hollywood elite, so they have some fun refences in the script. There is time to develop the various relationships between the characters, even after Sam is fired. Stockwell enjoys being in the era and specific location a bit too much as Al. The “Hurry and Come Here for Something Not Really Urgent” cliché is there and we see both Monroe and Whitmore taking a liking to Sam. It feels natural and organic.

In the season premiere, there was an issue with Sam fixing history to match with what we knew but in this case, that is the focal point of the episode. The only reason it is not distracting is because there are not a lot of Monroe fans who know the day of her death. Also echoing the premiere is Sam getting really close to noted historical figures for an extended length f time, though we would see even more later in the season. Still, a solid hour.
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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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