Original Aire Date: November 1, 1989
Written by: Scott Shepard
Directed by: David G. Phinney
Leap Date: February 6, 1964
This Time: Sam leaps into a pianist receiving a round of applause. Quickly realizing he leapt into a blind man, he is led offstage by his seeing eye dog, Chopin. The audience is clamoring for an encore, which is an issue for someone who is not a professional piano player. He quickly plays chopsticks. The audience warms to it giving him another thunderous applause.
His friend, Michelle, walks him offstage wondering what he will play tomorrow night. The two walk home and the camera lingers on a newspaper with a headline about a third woman strangled in Central Park. This will probably be important later.
Sneaking in (and grabbing some academic books along the way) Michelle is confronted by her mother, Agnes. She ‘encourages’ her daughter to get a steady job in a field where she can support herself.
Al arrives and says that after the performance the next night, Michelle is strangled in Central Park. The next day, Agnes sneaks into Sam’s apartment and catches the supposedly blind pianist reading. She blackmails him into staying away from her daughter.
At the main event, Al arrives and saves the day. Turns out, Sam can play the piano! The event is a rousing success, but Agnes sneaks in and tells Michelle about the ‘scam.’ As Sam leaves the hall to run after her, he gets too close to a paparazzo and is blinded, albeit temporarily.
Distraught, Michelle runs into the killer in Central Park. She fends him off long enough to stab him and run away. She finds her way to Pete, an officer and a neighbor of Sam’s. But there is a wound on his back; he’s the killer! She screams and Chopin sicks Pete while Sam cuffs him.
Agnes arrives with little sympathy. She tries to trick Sam, but he is still unable to see. Agnes runs off, but Michelle runs after her. Al says Michelle is physically fine but needs help emotionally. Talking to Agnes, Sam encourages her to be less overbearing and nurture Michelle’s desires. Mother and daughter reconcile and Sam leaps …
… into a disc jockey, who is quickly told to read the commercial.
Stop Talking to Yourself: The leap in is always a surprise. He also wonders how he can get away with a performance worthy of his leapee.
Only Sam Can See and Hear: Al saves the day by bringing in sheet music for Sam and telling him to play. An interesting fact is that Al needs to be touching the music stand for Sam to see it. It begs the questions of what would happen if he touched the wall of the imaging chamber.
Mirror Images That Were Not His Own: At the apartment, and in preparation for the big concert, Sam gets a look at Andrew Ross.
Brush with History: This revolves around the famous performance by The Beetles on The Ed Sullivan Show. This is pulled off with a convincing double through a car window.
Something or Someone: This category is usually reserved for the leap out, but the timing for the leap in is fortuitous. It is at the very end of the movement and Sam plays chopsticks well enough to foreshadow his eventual musical ability.
Let’s Up the Rating: Agnes is … just kidding. Other than a not-very-well done look at a passing woman, this show is pretty tame, sexually speaking.
One More Time: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a sense of smell that sensitive?” “Not with my husband’s feet.”
Michelle marveling to the waitress and receiving a witty retort.
Trivial Matters: The crowd that Sam plays to is done entirely with stock footage. It is cheaper than employing a boatload of extras and the foley artists do the rest of the work. If not for the film grain, it would have been much more successful. And if they had not used the exact same footage for successive performances.
It may seem as though the overlap between being a musician and astrophysicist is a small one, but many gifted mathematicians (and scientists) are also great musicians.
This episode has a long break without Sam or Al where Michelle talks to her mother, establishing their relationship. This is an outlier but lets us see the relationships between characters without the benefit of Sam.
Put Right What Once Went Wrong: “Mind if I ask you a question?” “As long as it’s not about anything personal or professional.” This has one of the best performances I have ever seen. One of the actors is very in their element, has excellent reactions and is entirely in character. With very little dialogue, they steal every scene they are in. Chopin is played to perfection. Even though he can see Al, he has great reaction shots, even during the leap out. It is a joy to watch.
Oh yeah, there are human characters in here, too. They are a little less successful, particularly with the identity of The Killer. Using TV logic, we have to be introduced to them before finding out who they are, since a random guy won’t have that much impact on the viewer, and we’ve met three characters, two of which are mother and daughter. It is pretty obvious that Pete will do the deed and while they try and introduce him earlier as a friendly fellow, it’s not a surprise when he is revealed as the killer.
Also in the not-nearly-as-successful-as-intended category is Agnes. Played as a Miss Havisham light, to borrow form Dickens’ Great Expectations, you can see what the writers, and actor, were going for, but Jennifer Rhodes confuses sternness for parenting. There’s little emotion, even at the end during the reconciliation. Her whole act of sneaking into the apartment (“You left the door open.” As though that is an excuse to barge in!) is there for plot convenience. There is the afore mentioned scene which tries to explain the mother-daughter dynamic, but it fails due to the distantness.
It is too bad because the final act hits some great beats. Sam is blinded and the show does a great job with the effect, switching viewpoints in the middle of sentences and Sam being forced to rely on his senses, though he mainly relies on Al. He also has some good scenes with Michelle. Cynthia Bain is okay, but at her best when nervously kissing Sam on the cheek. Unlike other episodes, their lack of chemistry really is not an issue since there is such a disparity between the two.