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
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#536203
Jimmy
Original Air date: November 22, 1989
Written by: Paul M. Belous & Robert Wolterstorff
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Leap date: October 14, 1964

This time: Sam leaps into someone getting ready for an interview. As Jimmy, his brother Frank worked hard to get an interview with Mr. Samuels at the dock. Looking in the mirror, Sam sees someone mentally handicapped. Frank is optimistic, but Connie, Frank’s wife, is nervous about Jimmy.

Al arrives and says that Jimmy has the mental IQ of a twelve-year-old. Ziggy is working on what Sam is there to do, but thinks he needs to mainstream Jimmy to prevent institutionalization.

On the job site, the dock workers pick on Sam. At the interview, Sam impresses Mr. Samuels and is hired. The first day goes well, but he takes his share of grief from the others, particularly a guy named Blue. The day continues to go bad when Sam/Jimmy gets involved with some of the kids in the neighborhood. It gets worse in the evening, even with Frank doubting him.

At work, Blue has some trouble not getting the numbers right on the crates. Later, while Sam is moping, there is an accident when some water is left on the floor causing an accident. Unfortunately, this means that Mr. Samuels has no choice but to let Jimmy go as a safety precaution. Frank stands with his brother in solidarity, but both are fired.

At home, Frank tells Connie the news. He will try to get another job, but he has to take Jimmy back to the institution, at least until he can get Jimmy another job. According to Al, that does not happen, and Jimmy lives out his life institutionalized. Unbeknownst to Frank, Sam steals the keys to the truck to get his job back. Unbeknownst to Sam, Frank’s son Corey follows though Connie and Frank hot on his trail.

At the dock, Sam confronts Mr. Samuels over Blue. Sam reveals Blue’s dyslexia and dishonesty, causing the brothers to be rehired and Blue to be fired. Blue retaliates, causing Corey to fall into the water. Frank recues him and Sam provides CPR. Frank is grateful and Connie accepts Jimmy. Sam leaps …

…. into a defense counsel on a murder trial.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam sees how fates are entirely predetermined. He also remarks how he never had a job interview and how loyal Frank is as a brother.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is a staunch supporter of Sam throughout the episode, being a shoulder to cry on as well as support.

Mirror images that were not his own: Shortly after being told to get dressed for his interview, Sam sees Jimmy looking back at him in the mirror.

Brush with history: Sam tells Corey the story of Star Wars as a bedtime story.

It’s a science project: Sam recommends that the roast defrost in the microwave, but they weren’t commercially available at this point.

One more time: “I can’t do anything right. I feel like I’m hurting Jimmy more than helping him.”
Sam to Al being exasperated.

The Rainbow Treknection: None of the guest cast appeared in Trek, but Whitmore directed a pair of Enterprise episodes.

Trivial Matter: Some years ago, a group of scientists tried to pass the Turing Test. They had subjects communicate with a computer thinking it was an actual person. They chose a twelve-year-old boy specifically because he could claim to know everything but not be expected to know anything.

Put right what once went wrong: “I’m slow, sir, not deaf.” After covering racial diversity and gender diversity, how can you do diversity among Caucasians? This seems to be the result of that prospect and is particularly rough on Sam.

Picking a mentality of a twelve-year-old is genius. Al explicitly tells Sam not to do anything differently, but it takes a deep toll on Sam. He just cannot seem to do anything right, even the simplest tasks. It eats Sam with nearly everyone in the cast being aggravated with him at one point or another. Al has a personal stake in it, having an experience with abuse of the mentally disabled.

The acting is entirely on point. Laura Harrington’s Connie is trying to be a patient wife and mother, but even she has her limits. Connected to Jimmy by marriage, she lets him stay for Frank, but can only go so far. The dinner table scene is great when Sam accidentally breaks a dish. Connie says it is all right but her tone and body language speak otherwise. As Corey, Ryan McWhorter does typical kid stuff, but is admirable. His chronological age is similar to Jimmy’s mental age, giving them a fun link. Michael Alldredge and Michael Madsen as Mr. Samuels and Blue receptively represent the dock workers, but those are collectively some of the best extras. One even gives Sam the side eye when talking to Al.

John D'Aquino is fantastic as Frank. He has a balancing act with Connie, being the loving husband and brother. He has a balancing act with the dockworkers, being a college and brother. He even has problems with Jimmy, but you can see the bond that the two share. You can see it breaks his heart when he has to take Jimmy back.

Too bad the ending does not make sense. Sam endangers Corey. That alone should sour Connie. He also stole a truck, which should sour Frank, even if they got their jobs back. Speaking of which, why does Mr. Samuels listen to Jimmy anyway? He has been fired and Jimmy’s made more than his share of mistakes in aa many days. There is no way this should work.

Still, there is a good portrayal of a working-class family in the sixties. The acting is great, and the drama is there with a great way to spend the hour.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
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#537023
So Help Me God
Original Air Date: November 29, 1989
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Andy Cadiff
Leap Date: July 29, 1957

This time: Sam leaps into a defense counsel on a murder trial. He enters plea of not guilty, triggering an uproar. The judge has both counsels come to his office.

As Leonard Dancy, he is defending Deliah Berry, an African American housekeeper, from the murder of her boss’s son. Prior to the leap, Leonard struck a plea bargain, but now that is off the table.

Sam gets a ride home from The Captain, the deceased’s father and someone with undue influence over the town. The father is distressed but encourages/threatens Sam to think about it. Leonard’s betrothed also tries to convince Sam to reconsider, mainly to join the country club.

Al shows up not entirely sure what Sam is there to do. For his part, Sam is invested in proving Delilah’s innocence, certain that there is more going on that it appears. Visiting his client in jail, Sam goes over the confession. He tries to get more information, but she is adamant, and loud, about her guilt. At the Police Station, Sam throws his weight around and gets the documentation for the case.

He goes to the victims’ house to speak with Myrtle, one of Delilah’s former coworkers. At first slow to recount to details, but Delilah and Houston, the victim, had a very rocky relationship. She did not witness the events directly but claims that Houston was abusive to Delilah. Despite having crucial information, Myrtle refuses to testify.

In court, Sam complains that the all-white jury will not give an African American a fair trial in the deep south. The problem is that to serve as juror, you must be a registered voter. There not being one, Sam is forced to consider the jury Delilah’s equals. There is an issue with the admissibility of the confession; it was made under duress and when looking at it, Delilah is illiterate and cannot read the confession.

Sam is convinced Delilah is trying to protect someone else, when Myrtle shows up, claiming involvement from The Captain but offering no other details. Leonard calls Sadie to the stand. The court is uneasy at putting a grieving widow on the stand, but Sam produces a subpoena. Under oath, Sadie confesses to seeing Houston attack Delilah and Sadie shooting him in response.

Finally innocent, Delilah jumps on a bus out of town. Leonard got accolades and both wish each other off. Sam leaps …

…Into the makeup chair. He is rushed to the stage as the curtain opens.

Fact check: Sam initially objects on the grounds that Delilah was not read her Miranda Rights. Problem is, they will not exist for another few years.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam revels in making the right choice at the right time. He also has an instant dislike to The Captain.

Only Sam can see and hear: With Sam’s legal knowledge is explicitly Perry Mason, Al is useful in filling in the gaps.

Mirror images that were not his own: In the judge’s chambers, Sam sees himself sweating like a pig.

Something or someone: While some triggers for the leap can seem arbitrary, here, Sam gets a chance to see Delilah off.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Leonard is freaking out all night at the prospect of being in the future.

Let’s up the rating: Judge Haller sees how someone like Delilah can cloud the judgement of someone like Leonard. Also, his fiancé lets Leonard play Rhett Butler.

One more time: “Beau, I’m defending a woman accused of murder. Now, if you and Sheriff Lobo don’t start cooperating with me, I’m going to get a U.S. District Judge to subpoena your files and charge you both with obstructing justice.”
Sam, putting his legal acumen to use.

The Rainbow Treknection: Decades after playing Federation undersecretary Nilz Baris, William Shallert plays Judge Haller.

Put right what once went wrong: “Damn it Leonard, she’s guilty.” “You’re going to have to prove it.” Your enjoyment of this will depend on how much a fan of a courtroom drama you are, but this is one compelling episode. You get the sense that Sam is Delilah’s last hope of getting through the case, that he leaped in at the last possible moment.

There are great moments in and near the courtroom. Partly learning as he goes, Sam does a more than admirable job at defending Delilah. At times, he even has to defend her from herself. He knows that the deck is stacked against him with the whole town practically ready to render a guilty verdict. Sam is quick to learn and proves to be a force. As Judge Haller, Schallert is good at letting Sam have a fair trial.

As with The Color of Truth, the guest cast does a great job of painting in a tapestry to set the stage. Kathleen Noone is supportive as Sadie, at least initially and in public later. She is very stoic in her final confession. Bryne Piven is pleasantly smarmy as The Captain. You see through his southern charm early, but Sam has to go through the support he has from the town. The acting is aces all around, even with the extras going above and beyond, particularly when Sam goes to The Captain’s mansion.

This has to be a period piece and it brings back some of the darkest moments in our history. Everyone pulled out all the stops to give us another great hour of television.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#537718
"Catch A Falling Star"
Original Air Date: December 6, 1989
Witten by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Donald P. Bellisario
Leap Date: May 21, 1979

This time: Sam leaps into a makeup chair. The stage manager rushes him to the stage as the curtain opens. Thankfully, he is an understudy, Ray Hutton. Unfortunately, the lead actor, John O’Malley, star of Don Quixote’s touring production, is quite a fan on the bottle but does show up in time.

Al arrives just in time to watch the opening number. As it turns out, in three days, O’Malley will trip on some stairs to his death. Sam just has to make sure he does not go on for that performance.

Sam sees his old piano teacher, Nicole, his first crush from when he was fifteen. He believes he has a chance to reconnect with her, but she will only know him as Ray, and it appears those two did have a somewhat romantic history. She is there to understudy for Dulcinea, the female lead. The current actress in that role, Michelle, is worried about being more permanently replaced.

At a rehearsal, O’Malley manages to have Nicole play Dulcinea at a local benefit performance. Michelle is upset, to the point where she insinuates that Nicole is sleeping with O’Malley, even recruiting another actor, Manny to put the finishing touches on the ruse.

Nicole figures out what happened second hand and is devastated. Sam and Nicole prepare for their performance while they reconcile as O’Malley finally shows up. He is drunk and trips … but is caught by Sam, something that must have been exciting for the audience. After the performance, he leaps …

… into a graveyard. Looking around, a woman appears as if out of nowhere.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam quotes The Bard about theatre.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al turns out to be quite the fan of musicals. Acting helped get him out of the orphanage. He also shows up at rehearsal with the script, useful for Sam who has a photographic memory.

Mirror images that were not his own: Upon leap in, Sam is looking straight into a makeup mirror. This must be a record.

Brush with history: Not really a person, but the writers get their money’s worth out of licensing Man of LaMancha.

Something or someone: After saving O’Malley, Sam does not leap until the end of the performance. Someone or Something must be a connoisseur of the arts.

It’s a science project: Cold cream is great for cleansing stage makeup and an unknown substance (which is probably not peanut butter) takes care of spirit gum.

Let’s up the rating: As Nicole gets fitted, the costumer tells her not to have the shawl too high and we get a shot of cleavage.

One more time: “I am John O’Malley. After seven hundred and seventy-three performances of Don Quixote I shall … not sally forth tonight.”
O’Malley, after his fall.

Trivial Matters: Ernie Sebella has a small role in this as Manny who plays Sancho, one of the leads. You may remember him as the manager of the Malibu Sands Beach House from Saved by the Bell or as Pumba.

In a rare instance of breaking the fourth wall, the closing credits are played over a curtain call. Bakula, Stockwell, Bellisario, Watt, they all take bows and get accolades, along with other members of the crew.

Put right what once went wrong: “You were an actor.” “Don’t say it like it’s a disease. Acting is the world’s second oldest profession.” The acting in this episode is amazing. This show has casting in the bag, though that is necessary. Normally, you can have a weak link in the guest cast or even a weak guest cast. As long as your series leads hold up, you are all set. Not so much with this series, though it’s not a surprise that a bunch of actors would be most comfortable and best as playing a bunch of actors and crew.

And the acting is great. We get several performances from the opening and closing numbers to “What do you want of me.” Michelle Pawk is great at that number. The only solo song in the episode, she cannot rely on the ensemble and conveys a great range of emotions. She has some great scenes with Sam as well; those two have great chemistry. John Cullum plays O’Malley to drunken perfection. He has a storied history on stage and screen and crates quite the impression. He is in top shape throughout the hour. Really, the actors are all great in their supporting roles.

Too bad the script is so poor. The story goes all around, from a love story to a love pentagram to an episode of Quantum Leap. There is little in terms of resolution. We see the aftereffects of the various loves, but those do not as much not get followed up on as they simply go away. Sam and Michelle have a bit of a fling, but that is not followed up on. Sam saves O’Mally and then sticks around for the performance for no compellingly good reason the show can be bothered to explain.

Worst of all, we have seen what happens when Sam tries to interfere with his own history. It is odd for him to argue the losing point with Al, particularly when neither of them really has any say in the matter. At no point do they consider Michelle’s feelings at all and it is icky to have Sam make out with someone while she thinks he is someone else.

So much great acting talent wasted.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
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#538286
A Portrait for Troian
Leap date: February 7, 1971
Story by: John Hill & Scott Speherd
Teleplay by : Donald P. Bellisario & Scott Shepard
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Original Air date: December 13, 1989

This time: Sam leaps into a graveyard. Looking around, a woman appears as if out of nowhere. She is Troian, a woman who believes her deceased husband, Julian, is trying to communicate with her. To prove it she hired Dr. Timothy Mintz, who Sam just leaped into.

Back at the family mansion, the housekeeper, Miss Stolz, makes it clear she does not like Sam. Troian’s brother, Jimmy, gives Sam a similarly icy reception, but more so thinking that he is feeding into her insanity and scamming her.

Al arrives and is creeped out by the setting. The house has a history of … oddities. Troian was a successful author, but after her husband died three years ago, she never got over it. Troian will drown herself in the same lake as Julian which Sam must prevent.

Troian wakes up to strange sounds and wet footprints in her bedroom. Following them, she goes to Julian’s study. There, she finds a painting she did for her husband’s last book. A neat trick since she threw it into the lake.

Mysterious paintings appear drawing Troian to the mausoleum where an earthquake hits, though Sam rescues her. In a visit to the remains of Julian, Sam finds a cassette player hooked up to a radio transmitter. Playing it produces a sound so high-pitched that only dogs can hear it, along with some women. Troian is not crazy; the voices are real.

It turns out Jimmy has been trying to get Troian to die for an insurance scheme. The two struggle, but Sam shows up to save Troian. During the struggle, three bodies ride up from the lake seemingly freed during the earthquake. They are Julian, but also a former wife and butler who drowned over a hundred years ago while they were cheating. The wife bears a more than striking resemblance to Miss Stolz who fades away. Sam leaps …

… into a kegger.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam compares leaping in to the impossible dream of Don Quixote.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al plays both Fox Mulder, believing in ghosts and Dana Scully, trying to find a logical explanation. Also, Troian and Jimmy can both hear him.

Mirror images that were not his own: While Jimmy and Troian argue over credentials, Sam looks at Dr. Mintz in the mirror.

Brush with history: Sam makes a passing reference to Indiana Jones, and though Troian in a writer, she probably wasn’t involved in the creation of the franchise.

It’s a science project: Jimmy is established as a techie, fixing the TV and using the radio transmitter to rig cassette tapes. The dog howls heard might be warnings of the earthquake.

Let’s up the rating: Sam teases Al about his proclivities in the mausoleum.

One more time: “I thought I could drive you to the funny farm, but I can see that’s not going to happen. You see I got this IOU to these bad dudes in Vegas.”
Jimmy ripping off the proverbial Scooby Do mask.

The Rainbow Treknection: Carolyn Seymour played a pair of Romulans (Toerth and Taris) along with Mirasta Yale. She has had quite the storied history on screen.

Trivial Matters: There are some really big cameos in this. Series creator Donald P. Bellisario is Sam’s mirror image and writer Paul Brown is one of the bodies in the end.

The biggest guest in this episode is played by Bellisario’s then wife and writer of the series, Deborah Pratt.

Put right what once went wrong: “What happened, the storm knocked the power out?” “No, it was the Boogeyman.” I am a fan of Deborah Pratt the writer. She has written my favorite hour thus far, The Color of Truth, and has almost made a name for herself as the social justice queen with What Price Gloria? and So Help Me God. Robert Picardo wrote the Doctor centric Life Line episode and Jonathan Frakes cut his teeth directing several episodes of Trek, even through to this day. One of his earliest challenges was Cause and Effect which was a mess to put together even for a full-time director. Roxann Dawson and Robert Duncan McNeil are other 'directorial graduates' of Trek.

Deborah Pratt is not quite as successful. She has a history of acting with a stint on Magnum P.I. and Airwolf (both Bellisario productions), but she confuses despondent for bland. So much of this is a slog to go through and it is not helped by Pratt. Other than a scene where she is somewhat jovial, it is just boring to watch. She is grieving, but more goes through the motions more than anything else.

It is pretty obvious that Jimmy is the one behind everything. She is not doing it to herself and Stoltz is not either. Having a pool of three suspects including the victim is not that suspenseful with these clues around. Seymour is great at being mysterious and creepy, but does not go much beyond that, though she does freak out Sam and Al. The script does not really do any favors. If not for needing a quote for this review, I would not really remember much.

It is not all bad. There is a moment where Al asks to be centered on Sam and he moves a few feet in the same shot as Sam rushes in. He is more spooked than Sam knowing the history of the house and he has a fun moment where Sam teases him about proclivities, but it does not salvage the episode.

The worst hour of the series thus far.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
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#538876
Animal Frat
Original Air Date: January 3, 1990
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Gilbert Shilton
Leap Date: October 19, 1967

This time: Sam leaps into a kegger. He is Knut “Wild Thing” Wileton, a brother in Tau Kappa Beta. The fraternity also likes to throw water balloons out the window; amazingly that will be important later.

Al shows up to say that Sam is not there for academics. A local group on campus, led by Elizabeth Spokane, will detonate a bomb in the chemistry building to protest the Vietnam War but the building has someone in it, leading her to hide for the rest of her life. He must prevent her from doing that though the task is made harder after his brothers hit her with a water balloon. Sam tries to apologize, but is blocked by Duck, the male group leader. Duck is dubious but agrees to let Sam help but only under his watchful eye.

In class, the bothers are being general assholes while Elizabeth is trying to talk to the professor about the college’s support of the war. The brothers challenge him to take Elizabeth to a luau party which Al agrees with since that would keep her away from the bombing site. Sam uses his intelligence to convince Elizabeth to accompany him on the condition that he pass out some fliers.

At the luau, Sam finds out that Elizabeth planted the bomb on a timer. As it turns out, a pledge, Scooter, is in there! Everyone rushes to save him, not knowing that Scooter already came back. They successfully defuse the bomb, but history is not changed. Duck has a second bomb as a failsafe. Sam finds it, but there is no time to defuse it though they can toss it out the window like a water balloon.

Elizabeth gets back on the right track, but Sam doesn’t leap. The brothers have him jump into a pool, something Wild Thing survived but was paralyzed. He is successful. Sam leaps …

… into a mother preparing dinner while kids are arguing.

Stop talking to yourself: Right before leaping into a kegger full of drunken students, Sam talks about how rewarding leaping can be.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is useful in the brothers successfully putting cherry bombs in the girls toilets.

Mirror images that were not his own: Right before waking up the girls in his bed, Sam gets a look at Wild Thing.

Brush with Fame: Sam says that the Vietnam War would be stopped by a coordinated campaign of media and protests with thousands.

Let’s up the rating: The brothers sneak into the girls’ building and there are appropriate lingerie shots.

One more time: “I’m trapped in the body of a troglodyte. I don’t want to graduate in it, I want to leap out of it as soon as I can.”
Sam to Al bemoaning the leap.

The Rainbow Treknection: Before appearing on Voyager as Michael Jonas, Raphael Sbarge played one of the brothers here. Though there, he was trying to betray the ship and here is trying to save it.

Trivial Matter: Quantum Leap and Star Trek were not the only long running shows Sparge appeared on. He has a stint on 24 in season six and starred early on Once Upon a Time’s run as Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket.

Put right what once went wrong: “Hey, where are you going?” “I’ll get the notes from you later.” “Notes?” All the trappings of Animal House are here, down to the ladder falling although in this case it is not for that reason. We are constantly reminded of the fact that this is a fraternity throughout the hour. Between two parties and three pranks they writers keep the gags coming. There is even foreshadowing of the events in the climax. I am not sure how much acting is required for a bunch of young guys to act like jerks, but they sell it. While there are serious consequences that Sam is trying to avoid, we never lose sight of the setting.

The drama parts of the episode are good too, though they can drag at times. Let us face it, an anti-war protest isn’t that exciting right after a raid on the girls. There is little chemistry between Sam and Elizabeth while Duck comes across as a jerk. It is hard to see people following him. The parts are well-written and a nice contrast to the comedic segments. The anti-war setting feels like it could have used a few more extras as it somewhat pales to the fraternity.

The ending just strikes of Short-Episode-Syndrome. The whole pool jump is just an added antic that does not really add much especially with the other antics. It is just there to add to the runtime as it could have been deleted entirely without batting an eye. There is no reason Al cannot exposit what happens to in the future to Sam other than to pad the runtime. It is just tacked on. For that matter, we just know what happens to Elizabeth and to a lesser extent Sam. We do not know what happens to the brothers or to Duck. Did he face any consequences for trying to blow up the chemistry building? We will never know.

This episode is well-written and well plotted. There are clever things in here and while it is not something I will run back to watch, I did enjoy it. Balancing comedy and tragedy is not easy, but they did thread the needle here.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#539367
"Another Mother"
Original air date: January 10, 1990
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Joseph L. Scanlan
Leap date: September 30, 1981

This time: Sam leaps into a mother preparing breakfast while kids are arguing. Tween Susan and teen Kevin are arguing over a Queen T-Shirt while family dog Wookie ate the head off toddler Theresa’s doll. Theresa calls for her mother, apparently able to see Sam for who he truly is. Susan looks after her sister while Kevin tries to have a moment with his mother.

The kids go off to school for the day, leaving Theresa to Sam. It appears she can see Al, too. They send Theresa off for a moment, but Al says Kevin will disappear within twenty-four hours. Sam does not know how he can keep up with Kevin since there is a full schedule, but Al can keep an eye on the boy.

Spying on, er, observing Kevin, Al finds that his entourage is trying to set him up with a fellow student named Jackie, but Kevin is somewhat inexperienced in wooing. Sam burns dinner, so the family goes out to eat.

Coming back, Sam plays table tennis with Kevin, to moderate success. He then tries to turn the subject to romance, including a brief mother-son dance, though that is somewhat less successful. Not being able to talk with his mother, Kevin talks to his sister. That does not go well either and he begins heading out to his friends, but Sam tries to keep Kevin at home to avoid fate.

Grounded Kevin sneaks out and goes to Jackie. She tries to be friendly, but Kevin proves too inexperienced causing her (and his hidden entourage) to laugh. Embarrassed, he runs off unknowingly followed by a creepy van. Afterwards, Jackie expresses regret. Sam comes and finds out what happened. He goes off in search of Kevin.

Kevin is bound and gagged by duct tape in the creepy van. There are two creepy guys driving with no good intentions. Sam catches up with them and causes a stop. It does not take Sam too long to dispatch the two leaving ‘mother’ and son to reunite.

Sam tries to calm Kevin down, but it does not seem to work too well. At school, Kevin enters nervously and gets teased, but Jackie kisses him, rendering the point moot. There is not much left for Sam to do, though Al is able to have one last moment with Theresa. Sam leaps …

… into the football field at the start of a play.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam remembers fighting with his siblings.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al gets lots of opportunities to shine spending time with Theresa and Kevin. One of his best moments comes when Kevin’s friend mocks Kevin for being a virgin and Al looks it up and tells him that the young man himself is still a virgin.

Mirror images that were not his own: While the kids are arguing, an exasperated Sam sees an exasperated single mother in the kitchen mirror. One of the creepy guys sees her in the rear-view mirror and mistakes her for an easy mark.

Let’s up the rating: One of the creepy guys rips opens Sam’s blouse to get a view of her chest. Of course, we ironically get to see Bakula’s chest.

One more time: “That’s not my mommy, that’s a man. So’s the guy in the yucky shirt.” “This is my favorite shirt. This is cutting edge stuff” “It’s yucky!”
Al arguing fashion with a four-year-old

Trivial Matters: Despite a young Michael Jackson, this is the first instance of kids being able to see Al being specifically called out. It is a good gag but requires Al to appear without the requisite sound effect.

Having her parents appear two episodes prior, Troian Bellisario plays Theresa.

The show Magnum P.I., another Donald Bellisario production, gets mentioned and shown, Susan does not want to miss it, but Sam assures her it will run for eight years.

Put right what once went wrong: “Your mommy had to go away for a little while but she’ll be back real soon.” This is a surprisingly fun little episode. Sam and Al get to play Mister Mom(s) and they do an effective job. There is a good balance of both making sure everything gets done and the ever-looming presence of something bad happening. Joseph L. Scanlan does a great job by interspacing the creepy van to remind us what is going on. It first makes an appearance after Sam finds out Kevin will go missing but before we know the creeps driving it.

As much as the episode is Sam and Al trying to fix things, Kevin gets a lot of screen time. The teeny bopper bits come off as well as can be expected, but the actors are young though top notch. Granted they do not have huge stretches of acting, but the entourage is believable, and Jackie does seem regretful for what she puts Kevin through. Michael Stoyanov plays Kevin perfectly. There is the smarminess and the cockiness only a fifteen-year-old boy can get away with. He plays well both with his peers and his mom.

Theresa is absolutely adorable. A child actor can be rough, to the point where writers will use them almost as a prop, but she has already spent time around the set in general along with Bakula and Stockwell specifically. She is not a prodigy but says her lines and plays off her co-stars well. Al in particular takes quite a shine to her, to then point where Sam cannot leap until they have a final moment.

Stuck in the middle is Susan who just does not get all that much to do, but has some key points in the plot and has her moments. Plus, juggling three kids is a whole heck of a lot more work than two and it would be odd to have a teenage son and toddler, so Susan helps thread that needle.

A nice change of pace with suburbia becoming a focus for an hour. Al has a lot more to do than usual from watching Kevin to watching Theresa, but he is smarmy in the former and sweet in the later.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#540051
All-Americans
Original Air date: January 17, 1990
Written by: Paul Brown & Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: John Cullum
Leap date: November 6, 1962

This time: Sam leaps into the football field at the start of a play. Though little fault of his own, he winds up winning the game. He is Eddie Vega, one of the two players worth their salt on the team along with Chuey Martinez, Eddie’s best friend. There is much rejoicing, particularly Eddie’s dad and Chuey’s mom outside at a concession stand along with a sleazy looking guy in the stands who wins a bet.

Eddie and Chuey have a pact to go to the same school on football scholarships and Chuey is excited that the scouts saw the game. At the afterparty, Al finds out Chuey’s mother is in America illegally. Not only that, but Chuey will throw the championship game, and his future, for reasons unknown.

The sleazy guy from the game is Reuben, landlord of Chuey’s mom. She is short on rent and he has … other ways she can pay. Seeing the lay of the land, Sam tries to talk Rueben off, but it does not work as he is in the body of a high school senior. Reuben is a big-time gambler of local football and basketball games.

In the locker room after the game, Reuben bullies Cheuy into throwing the game to make up for the rent. Rueben will only bet on a sure thing and Chuey cannot promise a win, but he can guarantee a loss, and is willing to throw for a few months on the rent. Sam comes in and the three brawl, only to be broken up by the coach. Sam tries to convince Chuey to win but is told not to throw the ball to him.

At the game, Chuey overdramatizes a recovery from a tackle effectively benching himself. Down 9-14, Al gets Sam to bench himself, going into solidarity with his best friend. Chuey heads onto the field while asking Sam not to throw him the ball though Al tells Sam to do exactly that. They lose… kidding, they wind up winning.

Rueben shows up with a posse at the afterparty to evict the Martinez family. Eddie’s dad offers to pay the rent but Chuey’s mother refuses that offer. Sam tells the movers to put their belongings in the Vega home, thus bringing the families together. Rueben threatens immigration, but the Vegas are citizens, meaning that Chuey’s mom will automatically become a citizen. Sam leaps …

… outside a home. A woman gets out and they get into a car, which is shortly pelted by bullets.

Fact Check: This episode predicted the Steelers being in Super Bowl XXX.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam realizes that at times, a few minutes of observation can be of more use than Ziggy.

Only Sam can see and hear: Unlike most episodes where Al appears after Sam has a chance to flounder around in his new body, here he is on the scene right from the teaser.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam sees Eddie Vega while in the locker room.

Brush with history: Needing to do a warmup, Sam blares some music and does Jane Fonda proud.

Something or someone: Sam and Al wonder if Sam is supposed to win the game at the top of the episode and anticipate a leap out afterwards. Since the episode is longer than five minutes, that does not happen.

It’s a science project: This series has several instances where Sam’s abilities are of use to his host. This episode has an instance of the other way where he is an amazing football player is both sending and receiving.

Let’s up the rating: Several scenes are in a high school boys locker room as evidenced by two guys is towels wacking each other with towels. Considering that most everyone else is in their uniforms, even some in helmets, one wonders exactly how quickly they changed.

One more time: “I want you to stay away from Chuey and his mom.” “I don’t think I heard you, punk.” “I’ll write it down if you can read.”
Sam and Rueben giving each other the business.

Trivial Matters: Two weeks after guest starring in Catch a Falling Star, John Cullum directs this episode.

Put right what once went wrong: ”Vega! In thirty-two years of coaching that was the ugliest pass I ever saw.” “Yeah Coach I…” “But I loved it! ROAR, jaguars!” The balance if off with this episode. The parts themselves work out well, but the family drama does not mix well with the sports saga which does not mix well with the high school drama. They don’t repel each other they just do not really sit well with each other.

It is a real pity since the pieces are well put together. The scenes with the family are great. We get the chemistry between Eddie’s dad and Chuey’s mom. The two very much sell that they are bound to be together. Chuey is played to perfection and is very believable as a high school student. We get the sense of him being in a tight spot and you can see it in his performance. It is a nice contrast to his high highs at several points in the game. The family drama scenes are well played with Rueben doing everything but twirl his mustache.

The locker room scenes do not fare quite as well. Rueben sneaks in and while there is some lip service, there had to be a better way to do that scene. The coach comes in when the script demands it, and the coach works well but generally seems to just be there as the plot requires.

There are a lot of sequences in this episode and Cullum did an excellent job. There are sports sequences that must work out and there is even a dance montage in there for good measure as well. Each part works well, they just do not seem as though they belong together.

It is hard to say how the writers could have tipped the scales to make this episode work better. We go through an entire week, although there is a lot we skip for some reason. Usually, leaps are a couple days. There is not a whole lot I would like to cut but this was before episodes could just get another fifteen minutes or a half hour when they needed it. Even if that was an option, this may not have been the episode to do it with. It still is a good one to watch.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#540611
Her Charm
Original Air date: February 7, 1990
Directed by: Christopher T. Welch
Story by : Paul M. Belous & Robert Wolterstorff
Teleplay by: Paul M. Belous & Robert Wolterstorff and Donald P. Bellisario & Deborah Pratt
Leap date: September 26, 1973

This time: Sam leaps outside a home. A woman, Dana Barringer, gets out. As FBI Agent Peter Langley, it is his duty to protect her as she is moving residences for witness protection. They get into a car, which is shortly pelted by bullets. Thankfully, the two are bent down and avoid getting shot. As a guy gets out to verify the situation, Sam pulls into reverse and high tails it out of there. Dana wants to go to the FBI headquarters, mainly to complain about Sam/Peter, but he is more concerned about the gash on her head.

After the emergency room, the two arrive at the headquarters where Al can fill Sam in on the situation. Dana was secretary for Nick Kochifos, a shipping manager who handles illegal merchandise. He liked her to the point of promoting her where she saw the inside of his operation and turned him into the authorities. Nick bought off the jury and has been looking for revenge ever since. He kills her at 3:18 that afternoon.

Peter’s supervisor, Greg Richardson, tells Dana that they will get her a new identity and location, but she will have to go to a safe house escorted by Peter. She almost refuses but it is better than nothing. Outside the building Nick, the gunman from earlier, and a goon sit in a car. They are confident they will get her because they have a man on the inside.

Greg briefs Sam on the plan, though Sam knows Dana will die on the planned route. He tells Greg about his misgivings, but they are the only two who know about the plan. If there is a leak, it is one of them. Needing an alternative, Sam remembers a professor with a nearby cabin. This will take them away from the recorded site of Dana’s death, so they head off in a laundry truck, unaware that they are being followed.

After the deadline comes and goes, Sam wonders why he has not leaped. Dana wakes up from a nap and the two bond. Not able to have more that eight seconds of not being a complete bitch, Dana notices that they are not headed to Boston and is furious with Sam. Nick gets impatient and tries to run them off the road. Sam has Dana throw laundry bags out the back which runs Nick off the road.

Al shows up telling Sam that each time he moves with Dana, the time and place of her death changes. It will end when either Nick or Dana dieing. They try to escape, but they are stuck due to running out of gas and a broken gas gauge.

As Sam and Dana grow close, she sees a matchbook and runs off. Sam realizes that the matchbook has Nick’s private number. He is the inside man! A chase ensues and ends with Sam telling Dana that she is safe with Sam but not necessarily Peter. She is confused but comes with him. In the climactic shootout, Sam shoots Nick, whose goon drives off with the wounded Nick.

In the cabin, Sam gives her the gun and tells her to keep it trained on him until the professor gets there. Peter goes to jail, but Dana gets into a law firm, one partnered by Sam’s professor who owns the cabin. The professor enters and just as Sam can tell him that Quantum Theory works, Sam leaps …

… into a police interrogation room where he is decked. Two officers escort him back to cell with an old Native American. In the mirror, he see’s he is also a Native American.

Fact check: As a nice touch, the FBI office has a picture of President Nixon. It helps sell what would otherwise be another boring office set.

Stop talking to yourself: At the door in a suit and sporting sunglasses, Sam accurately guesses he is not there for a date. He surmises, also accurately, that he will be stuck with Dana for quite some time.

Only Sam can see and hear: Between being ignored by Sam, not being told how hot Dana is and keeping track of Dana’s death, Al is very frustrated in this episode.

Mirror images that were not his own: As Sam gets into a car, he sees Agent Peter Langley in the mirror. He gets another look later in the office.

It’s a science project: As Sam tries to catch a gun, he fumbles into the lake. Fortunately (and amazingly!) he is able to keep it above the water to prevent it from getting waterlogged.

Let’s up the rating: After flinging himself into the river, Sam towels up.

One more time: “Peter, you’re not that cute. Didn’t anyone tell you that men aren’t supposed to be that vain?” “Didn’t anyone tell you it’s not nice to be rude and pushy?” “I don’t want to be nice, I want to get the hell out of here while I can. Now start the car and drive!”
Dana berating Sam/Peter who finally gives a retort after fifteen hours of her being mean to him.

The Rainbow Treknection: Before playing Aaron Connor in The Masterpiece Society, John Snyder was Nick Kochifos,

Trivial Matters: We find out Sam graduated M.I.T in two years. Like that is impressive or something.

Put right what once went wrong: “Two hours in emergency gave me enough time to locate FBI headquarters and hopefully get Dana Barringer into someone else’s hands. Anyone else’s hands.” Dana is such a total and complete bitch. She will draw defeat from the jaws of victory despite the fact that Sam saves her life. She will go on and on about the most minute detail and constantly berate Sam/Peter for every little thing. She has contempt for the FBI (though to be fair, she did try doing the right thing but wound up getting the bad end of the stick) and their agents.

Dana is absolutely deplorable and I love every minute of it! Played to magnificence by Teri Austin, she and Bakula absolutely sparkle on the screen. They have great chemistry, and she does not step off the gas for a moment. Her dialogue sparkles since she cannot go eight seconds without complaining. She is also not a one trick pony: the quieter moments are great as well. The script is fantastic, and it is difficult finding a specific piece of dialogue to quote.

She is not the only great character in this. Nick, Richardson, even the extras in the hallway are great. We have enough time with Nick to see that he is not a simple mustache twirling bad guy adding some dimensions to him. The action climax is a masterstroke with solid directing by Christopher T. Welch. We have great cinematography on the road trip as well.

Too bad there is a huge gaping plot hole. Peter is the mole in the FBI, but Sam does not know that. Why is Nick able to track them? If it is hardware specific to the FBI then why can’t the agency find them? There is no way Peter had that much foresight to plant a tracker before the leap. But that would lead to a short episode.

It is a pity because otherwise this is a very well-constructed episode. The car chase is great and makes use of the laundry bags. The entirety of the opening act establishes the situation well. There is a good mystery as to why Nick keeps finding them. The revelation that Sam is the mole (or rather, leapt into the mole) is a great twist, one that could almost never work on another show.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#541289
Freedom
Original Air Date: February 14, 1990
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Alan J. Levi
Leap Date: November 22, 1970

This time: Sam leaps into a police interrogation room where he is decked. Two officers escort him back to a cell with an old Native American. In the mirror, Sam sees he is also a Native American. The two are grandfather and grandson, Joseph and George Washaki, in prison for auto theft of a truck.

The nest morning, it appears that George is not in the cell. This is a ruse by a hiding Sam to break out of prison. They re-steal the truck and are off. The Sherriff does not take this too well and is hot on their trail. Suzanne Washaki, granddaughter of Joseph and sister of George, comes to the station only to find out they have sprung themselves out.

On the road, Joseph starts to feel pains. He refuses to go to the hospital. Al arrives and says that the two are estranged. Per Ziggy, he is not there to save Gorge, Sam is there to bring him back to his tribe so that he can die, something that Sam being a doctor has problems accepting.

With Sherriff Taggert hot on their trail, Joseph asks George to pull over to a convenience store. Needing to pay for the items, Sam finds himself without money, but with the gun they stole from the sheriff. He uses it to barter for the materials. Over the radio, Suzanne and Taggert try to convince the duo to turn themselves in, but it does not work.

There is no road over the mountain, but they spot two horses which they ‘barter’ with their stolen truck. Per Native American tradition, they mark themselves and their horses. As they are about to go off, Taggert fires at them wounding Sam. Joseph is able to fend off Taggert long enough for the two to get away.

Needing a place to stay for the night, the two find a cave and make camp. Taggert will find the cave and hear noises coming from it. That turns out to be a ruse allowing the duo to make another escape.

On their way, Joseph has pains, preventing him from riding by himself and slowing them down. Eventually Suzanne catches up with them and they see Taggert not too far behind. Suzanne takes Joseph while Sam confronts Taggert. Sam wins the ensuing tussle, but Taggert fatally shoots Joseph.

Sam/George carries Joseph across the river so that he can be in his home. Joseph Washaki, proud member of the Shoshone tribe, grandfather of George and Suzanne, dies.

Sam leaps …

… into a mortician’s lab.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam quotes Robert Lovelace’s “To Althea: From Prison.” He does not really buy it. He also reflects on the saying that to know a man, you have to walk a mile in his moccasins.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al really takes a liking to Joseph, rolling on the floor in laughter at one point.

Mirror images that were not his own: In the holding cell, Sam splashes some water on his face and looks up to see George Washaki.

It’s a science project: Joseph Washaki has an ancient technique to light a fire. It involves a lighter.

One more time: “Sherriff, I would like to come with you.” “Sure. You’re a sworn deputy of the state of Nevada, aren’t you?”
Suzanne being entirely reasonable and Sherriff Taggert being entirely unreasonable.

The Rainbow Treknection: Leon Rippy would play Sonny Clemons who time travelled the long way in The Neutral Zone and played against a time traveler in this episode as Sherriff Taggert.

Put right what once went wrong: “I turned him into a raven. He fleeeew away.” Frank Salsedo is beyond absolutely charming as Joseph. He knows his time is almost over but is charismatic as hell. He is the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind sitting with at a bar for hours on end. He would talk your ear off, but you would not mind. He makes friends with almost everyone be it a proprietor or a holographic observer. The casting is great all around with this episode.

The writing is strong as well. There are a lot of conversations between Sam and Joseph and the scene at the end with the family is great. The plot is constructed well enough and holds together which is surprising with such a small number of people involved. Taggert is adversarial with pretty much everyone, including his deputy. There are even woodwinds in the soundtrack helping to get you into the mood. We get to go into the mountains, across a river in fantastic cinematic fashion.

It is such a shame that there is so little going on. There’s not enough plot for a half hour let along an hour. This episode crawls along at a snail’s pace. There are so many conversations that go nowhere and while watching Salsedo is a treat, he is not that good.

This show has most of the elements in the right place, but while Good Morning Peoria was able to be more than the sum of its parts, Freedom cannot quite clear that hurdle, which is a real pity.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#542269
Good Night, Dear Heart
Original Air date: March 7, 1990
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Christopher T. Welch
Leap Date: November 9, 1957

This time: Sam leaps into a mortician’s lab. His attention is initially on a locket but is quickly redirected to Hilla, a nineteen-year-old victim. The local Sheriff, Lyle Roundtree, thinks that it is a case of suicide, that she threw herself off a dock. Sam thinks otherwise and is oddly drawn to her.

Lyle called Greg Truesdale since she worked at his lodge, but his father, Roger Truesdale, comes as well. It seems Roger grew fond of Hilla, who was a hard worker. Greg has a reaction to seeing the body and excuses himself. Hilla did not have any family, but Roger offers to take care of the burial. There is also a visit from Stephanie Haywood, a friend of Hillas.

Al shows up, but Ziggy is not sure what Sam is there for. Hilla’s death was declared a suicide. Sam examines the situation and finds a bullet wound in her head. There is no exit wound and no bullet.

Needing a dress for the burial, Sam goes to the lodge. Greg directs him to the room and recommends a dress. While looking around, Sam finds a journal confirming that Greg at least had an interest in Hilla but the two broke it off in July. There is also a report showing that Hilla was in the early stages of pregnancy. Stephanie comes in and the two reminisce about Hilla.

Back in the office, Lyle firmly believes it was a suicide. Sam convinces him to look for a gun in the lake. If one is found, it would prove suicide. Though even if one is found, it might be that the killer tossed it in. A local beautician, Aggie, comes in to prepare the body for the funeral and Sam leaves her to it.

No gun is found, but Sam tells Lyle about the pregnancy and the two go to confront Greg. A lot of the pieces fit, but Greg insists that they were going to elope on the day Hilla died. Sam mentions the lover from the July dairy entry, but Greg was out of town that weekend; they never broke up!

Just when all leads have dried up, Al arrives and is on Sam’s side, Hilla being a fellow orphan. There still is little to go on, but it turns out Aggie has experience with abortions. Apparently, Hilla came in a few weeks ago for the procedure, but was not able to go through with it. Also, Roger brought her in. Sam has a working theory, but with no witness or evidence, it will not go too far.

Sam assembles Lyle, Greg, Roger and Stephanie to look at a home movie of Hilla. There are actually two spliced together. The first is amateur but the second is more professionally shot. The relationship Hilla wanted to break off was not with Greg, it was with Stephanie. There was a shoe found near the body, but it is too large for Hilla, and the heel makes a puncture wound matching the one on Hilla. This prompts a confession and leads to an arrest. After saying good-bye, Sam leaps …

… into a pool parlor. After expressing confusion at a bet over the shot, the wager is increased.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam talks about walking in a man’s shoes and driving in their car. This is also where he gets a little obsessed with Hilla.

Only Sam can see and hear: When Al initially comes in, he is unknowingly standing in a coffin. He sees the situation and immediately moves away. It is a really clever gag.

Mirror images that were not his own: As Stephanie leaves the mortuary, Sam looks at himself in the mirror. He suddenly understands why no one wants to shake his hand, but other than some splotches of blood on his apron, there isn’t all that much out of place.

Something or someone: Not leaping after solving the murder, Sam has a chance to say farewell before he leaps out.

It’s a science project: There is a lot of forensic science in this episode with trying to determine the cause of the wound. Sam initially suspects archers Roger and Greg Truesdale.

One more time: “Why? Because he bought you that badge?” “Nobody owns me Melvin. Except, maybe my wife.”
Sam and Lyle discussing who hold the strings.

The Rainbow Treknection: The most obvious case is Robert Duncan McNeil who played Nick Locarno on The Next Generation and Tom Paris on Voyager guest stars here as Greg Truesdale. A less obvious case is Deborah Strang who played Aggie here and would go on to play Admiral T’Lara presiding over Worf’s trial in Deep Space Nine’s Rules of Engagement.

Trivial Matters: This would be the first time Marcia Cross would play opposite Bakula, but he would return the favor by appearing as a guest star in the final stretch of Desperate Housewives.

Put right what once went wrong: “You hear more in a beauty shop than a priest in confession.” This is an odd episode that really does not have to be a Quantum Leap episode. It can easily be rewritten for one of the crime dramas that are popular nowadays. Do not take that as a strike against it, well not too much of one, but with a show featuring solving your own murder and changing history regularly, there is not a whole lot that the Quantum Leap formula adds here. When this aired, there were not three NCIS series, a backlog of four CSI series and a plethora of Law and Order series past and future.

That being said, there is a lot to like, here. There is a cool gag with Al early on, but Christopher T. Welch has some great shots in this hour. When Sam visits Hilla’s room, we have a shot initially looking into a mirror and thus see Melvin, the person Sam leaped into. There is also a fun shot in the end where Sam is talking in front of a film screen. It is an old trick, but it is a good shot nonetheless. One weakness is that we get flashes of Hilla here and there trying to emphasize Sam’s fascination. It really does not come across well.

The writing is also strong here. Paul Brown keeps the balls up in the air as to who the murderer is. There are several viable suspects at various points. One of the hallmarks of a great mystery is being able to experience it after you know who did it and catch some of the hidden clues as to the crime. Here, we saw Stephanie try to take away the murder weapon early on and Greg’s nervousness is due to the pregnancy.

Of course, it has to be entertaining on the repeat viewing and this is worthwhile to experience. The acting is all top notch. This is a very early Robert Duncan McNeil when he was starting to act let alone thinking of become the prolific director he is today. William Cain is good as the somewhat curmudgeon Roger and Marcia Cross plays Stephanie with the right amount of demureness. W.K. Stranton is great as Lyle, having a great back and forth with Bakula. Brown wrote some great zingers and Stranton more than delivers. His exchanges help sell a veteran of the department and a close friend at the same time.

This being the early nineties, this show could not display a lot of LGBTQ relationships, but this is a great way to show it without raising the ire of the censors. It is rare this early on to have such a solid grasp on that issue and to air it on a national network in prime time before watershed hours. This is not the best episode, but it is up there.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#542878
Pool Hall Blues
Original Air Date: March 14, 1990
Written by: Randy Holland
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap date: September 4, 1954

This time: Seam leaps into a pool parlor. After expressing confusion at a bet over the shot, the wager is increased. He misses and as his opponent gets ready to win the bet, an older spectator, Grady, tells the player than Sam leapt into Charlie “Black Magic” Walters, pool legend. The opponent withdraws his wager and most everyone has a good laugh.

The lounge singer, Violet, comes off the stage and quiets everyone down. She is the proprietress of the venue and Magic’s granddaughter. A local named Eddie is not willing to let things go for the night. He holds the marker, and it is coming due in two days. He is eager to take the place over.

Al arrives, fan gushing over Magic. Al has a history with Magic; the legend helped him get through a dark time in the orphanage. Eddie has wanted to play Magic and puts up the marker for that privilege, knowing that Magic’s eyes are past their prime. Sam’s may be better, but he does not know pool.

The next morning, Sam proposes they go to a bank and get the money to buy out the maker. At their local branch, they are referred to Mr. Griffin, the sole African American Loan Officer. Despite wanting to help, their application is denied. Violet in convinced that she will have to give Eddie ‘what he wants’ to get rid of the marker. Sam is able to stop her before things go too far, but that means that the game is the only way to keep the place.

Al gives Sam a primer, and while there is progress, getting the angles right is a matter of geometry. Sam knows the basics but knowing what to do is a skill that takes years. Al wishes he could draw it out and does, thanks to the magic of holograms.

Things go well until the holographic lights start to fade. There is a power issue and Al goes to see what he can do leaving Sam to stall. Sam calls for a time out letting Grady put away the cue. Eddie has a flunky take out the pool cue. He also does a good job on Grady, though Sam gets revenge. Grady lets Sam use another cue; Grady’s own.

Back from the break, Al comes through but with only a couple minutes of power left. The match point is a tricky shot going off three rails when the power goes out for good. Sam pulls it off on his own and claims the marker. Violet rips it and Sam leaps …

… into a swinging acrobat.

Stop talking to yourself: In a rarity, Sam does not monologue at all. We will need to keep track of this going forward.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al hates going to the men’s room for a moment with Sam.

Mirror images that were not his own: As Grady lists Magic’s resume, Sam gets a look at the legend. He gets a better look in the men’s room.

Brush with history: Sam might have introduced the term “happening” into the vernacular.

Something or someone: After winning, Sam gets to hang around for a moment to have some bonding with Violet. Not too much as he leaps mid-sentence.

It’s a science project: We get to see the geometry of pool in this episode.

Let’s up the rating: While we do see Violet dressed up all purty, just like with monologuing, there is a distinct lack of sexiness in this episode.

One more time: “You’ve made it. Maybe it took you twice as long, but you made it. And being first bears some responsibility to those who are trying to make it behind you.”
Sam to Loan Officer Griffin.

Trivial Matters: Al mentions that he fan goobered at seeing Magic in the Waiting Room. The general assumption is that everyone including Al sees Sam as the leapee while the person in the Waiting Room always looks like Sam. In this case, we can say that Magic revealed his identity and Al went all fangoobery.

Put right what once went wrong: “Pythagoras, we are going to shoot some pool!” There are all sorts of sports movies. Football. Soccer. Baseball. Hockey, Tennis Ping Pong. Even Chess. Pool is not really represented in the pantheon.

This episode is exhibit A for why they should get more credence.

This is a great hour of television to watch. While I am not a sports movie fan, this was compelling drama to behold. The scenario is set up at the start and everyone gets their chance to shine. There is even time left at the end for the requisite climactic shot to win.

There is not a bad note in the cast. Shari Headley plays violet as the strong African American female business owner who does what she must to keep her business afloat. She has come nice scenes where she reminisces with Sam. Teddy Wilson’s Grady is the kind of guy you will hang around with for an hour even when you only have fifteen minutes. There is a charisma that is hard to describe and really must be seen. As Eddie, J. W. Smith plays villainous smarm but is motivated beyond twirling his moustache. It helps the stakes when we know the antagonist and see their side of things. Griffin is only in one scene, but it is magnificent. There are hushed tones and even if he could approve the loan, there are doubts he would do so. It is a smack in the face of Sam and brilliantly acted by the three. Robert Gossett does a lot with a little.

The writing is fantastic as well. We get scenes establishing character relationships. Sam and Violet, Eddie and Violet, Sam and Eddie, Sam and Grady. There is a lot of character work done with Magic’s pool cue. Al is especially motivated to get Magic out of his debt. His solution of literally showing Sam the ropes is genius and appeases the geometry fans in the audience.

The pool hall scenes really give you a flavor for the atmosphere. There is a live band, and everyone genuinely seem to be having a good time meaning that they are either amazing actors or they were having a genuinely good time. It is probably a bit of both. Nonetheless the setting rang true for an enjoyable episode.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
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Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#543391
Leaping In Without A Net
Original Air Date: March 28, 1990
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Christopher T. Welch
Leap Date: November 18, 1958

This time: Sam leaps into a swinging acrobat. A woman is on another bar and tries to jump into his arms. She is Eva, sister to Victor, the person Sam leapt into. They are children of Lazio Panzini, famed acrobat. He comes in, furious that Victor is on the trapeze. As Lazio yells at his son, the other acts in the circus come in to see what the fuss is about and get a good laugh before being shooed off.

Eva is trying to perfect The Triple, a very dangerous and technical move. If she can master that move, they will be a successful act. Several of the other acts hope she does master it as long as she and the family ends up staying with the troupe. Al shows up with little to go on except confirming that the Panzini’s used to be a great act, but their mother, Marie, died and Lazio cut back the act.

In a performance, Sam realizes that he is not part of the act. He is relieved, but Al arrives to say that in two days, Eva will leap and her father, with a bad arm, will drop her to her death. Eva practices on her own and makes good progress. Sam agrees to catch her, though he has a lot to learn first.

Meanwhile, Lazio gets a telegram offering a gig with another, bigger troupe. He accepts, but the rest of the acts wonder what will happen to them as there is not all that much without the Panzini’s.

Sam practices with Eva, under tutelage with Al. Sam thinks it went pretty well, but Eva falls and bounces off the net. After a visit to the fortune teller, Sam is reinvigorated. In his trailer, while talking to Marie, Lazio wonders if he should let Victor catch Eva and have it be the first step towards reconciliation. Eva tries the triple, but it doesn’t go well, and Lazio is furious.

Going to the big act, they are greeted by Clifford, the owner. Clifford shows a sign promoting The Triple. Eva has secretly been working to get this gig including The Triple which is a dealbreaker for Clifford. Eva volunteers to do the act with Victor over Lazio’s objection.

That night, they perform the act, though to Sam’s surprise, it is without a net. With Lazio in the audience, they pull it off to thunderous applause. There is a family reconciliation. Sam leaps …

… into a man getting out of a window with a basket. He carries it down a ladder to an awaiting woman and truck. They get in and drive off, but not before she grabs the basket. And pulls a baby out of it.

Fact check: Twenty-four year old Fabiana Udenio plays eighteen year old Eva Panzini. She almost pulls it off.

Stop talking to yourself: All it takes for Sam to realize he is scared of heights is to leap in on a trapeze. He also gives us a rundown of how the circus differs from a carnival.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al has experience with acts after running away from the orphanage. When seeing a psychic, Al gets a sense that she could see him.

Mirror images that were not his own: As is apparently common in a carnival, Sam looks at himself in a funhouse mirror appearing very short. Immediately after, we see a shorter person warped to be very tall.

Something or someone: Sam does not leap until Lazio offers reconciliation. One believes this would be easy for Victor to do upon leaping back.

It’s a science project: Al gives Sam a pretty good lesson on the basics of trapeze artistry. It does not use especially scientific jargon (slip your but off the back) but it does the job.

Let’s up the rating: Eva goes to wake up Victor not knowing either Victor or Sam sleeps in the nude.

One more time: “If it makes you feel any better, Ziggy think this will increase your chances of catching her by, oh, twenty percent.” “Twenty Per… which will make it?” “Thirty percent. “Thirty percent?” “Hey, without you, her chances are zero!”
Al arguing that Sam is doing marginally better.

Put right what once went wrong: “Maybe Big Moe can find you a yellow wig and a red nose and the Panzini’s can be a clown act.” There are two episodes in here. There is the Panzini’s working their way out of the minor leagues and there is the Panzini family moving on. The cut in the middle of the episode is abrupt, abandoning the circus to let them get back on their feet. For some reason, they are entirely forgotten in the end, so hopefully things worked out. We do not even get a mention from Al. There are a few things that do not quite work. The stock footage they use for the end does not quite match up with the sets they use. Or each other. Or the time period.

That is too bad because the circus is well cast. We have fun with mirrors, we have a midget, we have a fortune teller. They are a great ensemble and sell the sense of community. A lot of them do not have a large amount of screen time, but they do a great job, particularly Phil Fondacaro as Big Moe. Part ringmaster part owner, he knows what he is doing. Roya Megnot plays Sybil with a great aura. She has enough sense to wonder if Al is there which totally freaks him (and us) out. We only meet two people in the big city, and one of them is just the ringmaster. They could just as easily have this happen in the smaller venue and have Al say that they graduate to the big leagues or something.

The standouts are Eva and Lazio. Eva plays with almost childlike wonder. She believes she can do it and is an eternal optimist. Fabiana Udenio practically sings her lines and is a joy to watch. Jan Triska plays Lazio with a short fuse only a doting father can have for his children. Stubborn as all heck his word is law, but his children make a name for themselves. It is to his credit that he comes to watch them perform in the end. He is ecstatic and he has a great double act with one of the child extras. The old curmudgeon has a heart after all. Christopher Welch has some great direction, too. Bakula is not a trapeze artist, but the sequences are done well. The atmosphere comes through and there are some great shots in there, especially the funhouse mirrors.

It is not perfect, but Triska is worth the price of admission.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#544225
Maybe Baby
Original air date: April 4, 1990
Written by: Michael Zinberg
Directed by: Julie Brown & Paul Brown
Leap Date: March 11, 1963

This time: Sam leaps into a man getting out of a window with a basket. He carries it down a ladder to an awaiting woman and truck. They get in and drive off, but not before she grabs the basket. And pulls a baby out of it. He is Buster, she is Bunny and her baby is Kristy. They are headed out to New Mexico from Texas to see Kristy’s Aunt Margaret.

Meanwhile, the father, Reed, is telling the Sherriff and Deputy about the kidnapping. Apparently, Bunny is not Kristy’s mother! The three head on off in pursuit.

Stopping at a hotel, Bonnie runs off to get some milk, leaving Sam with Kristy. Al arrives and tells Sam that the odds are that Sam is there to return Kristy to Reed. Bunny is not the mother, making them kidnappers. Originally, they got caught though they might be able to get a reduced sentence if Sam turns them in. Sam does not see that as viable and ends up going with Bunny’s plan.

Sam confronts Bunny who admits to not being Kristy’s mother, but the plan is to take Kristy to hear real mother in New Mexico. Reed has beaten Bunny and she cannot let that happen to Kristy.

On the trail, Reed tells the Sheriff that they are going to New Mexico based off Bunny saying that her parents were from there.

Stopping to pick up a car seat, Sam tells Al about the plan. Al says that Kristy’s mother died in childbirth. There is also more, he cannot find a Margaret in Clayton, New Mexico. Before Sam can confront Bunny, the Sheriff shows up. With Al’s help, they slip out the back, get a new set of wheels and head on out.

On the road, they find themselves low on funds, so Bunny partakes in a local talent contest. They win thanks to Bunny’s talent of … popping balloons on her outfit but the posse shows up. Reed takes Kristy and tells Sam that Bunny never met Kristy before and Kristy’s real mother died in childbirth. Al comes to tell Sam that Kristy’s mother is still alive and Sam must reunite them! They escape but not before Reed follows. At the house, Reed steps out of the car ready to reclaim Kristy. Thankfully, the cavalry arrives and Reed is arrested on warrants from bad real estate deals. Mother and daughter are reunited. Sam leaps …

… into a ship’s cabin where a woman bursts in, kisses him, then slaps him.

Fact check: Some years (decades?) ago, a life-sized Barbie was produced. Bunny has the several of the same criticisms of the doll in comparison to the real thing.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam finds the leap a mix of Three Men and a Baby and Bonnie & Clyde.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is quite adept at being Mister Mom. He knows how to change a diaper and keep a baby entertained with lights from his handlink and a sock puppet.

Mirror images that were not his own: After changing Kristy, Sam feasts his eyes on the solid pack of muscles that is Buster.

For a show that generally gets the effects right with the mirror, they did not even try when Sam speaks a line but the image in the mirror shows off his gold tooth.

It’s a science project: In a fix, coffee can be a not horrible treatment for as asthmatic baby. NOTE: This blog and episode were not written by a medical doctor!

Let’s up the rating: With Kristy being all stuffed up, Bonnie ‘steams’ to clear up the congestion, an activity she does topless.

One more time: “You can’t have kids?” “I don’t know. I sure would have had one by now.”
Sam and Bunny talking about something serious in only the way Bunny can respond (while upping the rating!)

Put right what once went wrong: “Oh Boy!” “No I told ya, it’s a girl.” One of the producers of the series 24 praised the casting of the show with their ‘day players’ in addition to the more prominent cast members. As important as it is to cast a great person as the Big Bad of the season, it is also important to have strong actors such as the cop who takes one of the girls back from the station. After a while, they casting department saw that they should pay attention to Yellow Tie Man and the like.

The casting is simply amazing in this episode. The day players are really into their craft. The store clerk who has eyes for Bunny, the guys who sell their truck to Sam, the big deputy with the small bladder, they are all magnificent. It takes a certain person to act, but you can tell these guys are having a fun time with their roles.

A lot of credit goes to Bunny who plays the stripper with a heart of gold. Several of her lines can come off as ‘dumb blond,’ though she is a redhead. Nonetheless, her dialogue can be downright ditzy at times. She pulls it off and while Sam never knows if she is telling the truth or not, she has a charisma about her. Julie Brown and Scott Bakula have a great chemistry together whether it be in the hotel room or on the road.

Of course, the best acting in the world cannot save a horrible script and there is great writing with Paul Brown and Julie Brown. Yes, that Julie Brown. It is not high praise when someone can write great dialogue for themselves, but so much of this script works. The plotting, the dialogue, the comedy beats, the dramatic moments. This series will never be a rolling on the floor comedy, but this takes its cues from a lot of comedies in the eighties.

Just a fun hour of television.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#545072
Sea Bride
Original Air Date: May 2, 1990
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Leap date: June 3, 1954

This time: Sam leaps into a ship’s cabin where a woman bursts in, kisses him, then slaps him. He is Phillip Dumont and she is Catherine Farrington, his ex. They were married but he went on a sailing trip and was presumed lost. Catherine moved on but not Phillip who is aboard the same ship Catherine is on, with Catherine due to wed a gentleman named Vincent.

As Catherine prepares to make her exit, her father, Weathers, bangs on the door demanding to talk to Phillip. She hides in the closet as an angry Weathers bursts in and commands Phillip not to interfere further. Just then, porters arrive with flowers Phillip ordered for the bride but were refused. Weathers is infuriated but is convinced to accept the flowers as a wedding present. He leaves but not before getting Sam to promise not to interfere with the wedding.

Al arrives telling Sam that there is an eighty-seven percent chance he is there to get Phillip and Catherine back together again. Vincent has some nasty connections and while he can help save the family financially, it does not go well. Sam remembers Catherine hiding and she comes out to thank Phillip but leave.

In comes Jennifer, Catherine’s kid sister. The two were in cahoots to bring the couple back together, but Vincent ordered his Best Man/Henchman to kill Sam if he gets too close.

The Wedding Party has a moment to themselves in which it is made clear that Catherine is having jitters, Vincent is a sleazeball and Weathers is very eager for them to wed, though mainly because Vincent can buy them out, though Weathers also tries to smooth things over with his daughter.

Catherine does a good job at avoiding Sam forcing him to ramp things up in the ballroom. Sam and Catherine do a literal and verbal tango during which she agrees to meet him on the condition that he leave her afterwards. As Sam leaves, Vincent and Best Henchman take him out to the deck only for Sam to be saved by the Captain, who is impressed that Phillip was able to navigate his way home after being lost at sea. Sam tells the Captain about Vincent’s rap sheet.

Sam eventually meets with Catherine and the two share a genuine moment, but Catherine still cannot bring herself to admit her love for Sam/Phillip, though they do kiss. She runs off and Sam is intercepted by Best Henchman.

The next morning on the wedding day, Sam is nowhere to be found even though Jennifer has searched the entire ship. She did not search the garbage bin, because Vincent has dropped Sam into that mess and releases it into the ocean before leaving Sam to be thrown out with the trash.

At the wedding, Catherine cannot go through with it and has the support of her father. Sam shows up and tells the captain what happened. The Captain confines them both to their quarters, though Vincent does not go down quietly. Weathers is able to take care of that obstacle and Catherine professes her love. Sam leaps …

… into a person wearing women’s clothing and wig. As he laments his fate, some hooligans run out and the radio in Sam’s ‘purse’ shows that he is an undercover cop while the hooligans make their way to him.

Stop talking to yourself: Leaping in is bad enough without seasickness on top of it.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is able to put his inner Romeo to work in getting the couple together.

Mirror images that were not his own: After taking a few moments to get accustomed to his surroundings, Sam sees Phillip in the mirror before he is immediately hit with the door to the cabin.

Brush with history: Sam tells a mobster about ‘an offer he can’t refuse,’ which the mobster likes.

Something or someone: Sam gets to smooch with Catherine before leaping out.

It’s a science project: Al is disgusted with the waste the ship dumps into the ocean, a good deal of which is not biodegradable.

Let’s up the rating: Sam spends the last ten minutes of the episode in his underwear, though he is covered in garbage for a good chunk of that.

One more time: “I am going to marry Vincent tomorrow and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Now just get out of my room.” “I think this is my room.”
Catherine and Sam as Sam proves quite adept at his bearings.

The Rainbow Treknection: There are actually quite a few Trek alumni in this. Beverly Leach played Dayla, one of the aliens in Voyager’s Nightingale after playing Catherine here. Not just that as after playing Evil Guy Vicent, James Harper went on to play Evil Guy Rao Vantika on Deep Space Nine.

But the big draw here is J. G. Hertzler who would not only go onto recur as Martok but would co-star with Scott Bakula as Advocate Kolos.

Put right what once went wrong: “Vinnie’s creepy but I doubt he’s actually murdered anybody.” Like any good farce, this episode depends on the caliber of actors and each one delivers on that front. There are a lot of characters in different roles and they have an excellent script to work with. Even throwaway roles like the Captain or Catherine’s mother have some meat on the bones.

The villain is both well played and fleshed out. A lot of his characterization comes from other characters, but Harper embraces it. He is a scumbag you can see coming a mile away and I love every minute of it. He follows the line of ‘villain willing to bail out woman’s family for marriage’ area, but he is fully in mafia mode.

The Farrington family comes off very well, too. Hertzler is not quite auditioning for Martok, but you can see the through line. One of the consequences of him playing a Klignon warrior for roughly four years is that we really did not get to see many comedic beats, but he able to show his chops here, particularly at the first act where he goes from challenging Sam to fisticuffs to calmly accepting a wedding gift. He and Bakula have great chemistry, particularly when both slug out some bad guys and commiserate over their experiences at Harvard. As Catherine, Leach goes well beyond the crying bride-to-be that the script calls for. She has vulnerability and great scenes with Bakula.

Juliet Scori almost steals the show as Jennifer. She can get a bit bratty/coached at times, but she handles the role like a champ. She has great scenes as she tries to bring the family back together. This is not the best performance by a child star I have ever seen, but I am impressed. She can hold her own with adults and that is saying something given the caliber of adults we see.

Of course, every good farce needs great writing and boy is this episode on point. The first act can very much be a Marx Brothers sliding doors comedy with characters rushing in and out of a room while hijinks ensue. Most importantly we are introduced to the characters, even those not present. Catherine kisses and slaps Sam, Weathers challenges him to a fight and Jennifer snoops around. We know what is going on and how the characters fit in with one another.

There are also scenes with a lot of characters, and everything hold up from the bridal party to wedding. I generally look froward to Deborah Pratt scripts due to social justice, but she is quite adept at comedy and director Joe Napolitano is great with letting the actors do their thing. The writing is solid, and I eventually gave up at just finding a couple good lines out of the bunch. The tango scene is fun both with the actual tango and the characters talking to each other.

A great way to spend the hour and a fun romp from an actor we have seen in another capacity.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Donor
#545948
M.I.A.
Original Air date: May 9, 1990
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Micheael Zinberg
Leap Date: April 1, 1969

This time: Sam leaps into a person wearing women’s clothing and wig. As he laments his fate, some hooligans run out and the radio in Sam’s purse shows that he is an undercover cop named Jake Rawlins while the hooligans make their way to him. Sam is saved in the nick of time by his partner, Skaggs. Like any good partner, Skaggs covers for Sam and later reveals that he himself froze in Vietnam. Sam can see that Skaggs is still troubled by the memory.

Al arrives and tells Sam he is there to help a woman named Beth. Her husband is captured in Vietnam and while he does get repatriated, by the time that happens, she has remarried and moved on. We see Beth Cavalicci running into Dirk Simon. Dirk changes her tire and melts her heart. Skaggs and Sam arrive on the scene and Sam changes the tire while Skaggs investigates Dirk. Things get less heated and Dirk leaves, but not before giving his card to Beth.

At a counterculture event to catch a drug dealer, Al tells Sam that Beth and Dirk still get together. Al has a strong motivation for Sam to prevent Beth from remarrying since he was captured and when he came back found that his wife had declared him dead and moved on. Sam in convinced that Beth just needs some hope that her husband is alive.

Meanwhile, the hooligans from the teaser find some weapons intent on getting revenge.

At the marina, Beth chats up a woman who turns out to be Dirk’s mother. Beth turns down a lunch date with the two as Sam arrives with flowers in hand. She is confused (and a little freaked out) but agrees to dine with him. Things are a bit awkward at first but work out well enough that they wind up at her place where she reflects on someone that she could not save earlier that day.

On the other side of town, the hooligans get a woman to call the police and ask for Skaggs.

The next day, Beth runs into Dirk and the two have lunch. Sam interrupts the two at Beth’s place and Dirk leaves. Sam wants to take Beth south of the border for a real Mexican meal. She goes to change, and Sam sees the picture of her husband; it is Al!

After giving Susan a quick kiss goodbye, Sam confronts Al. Sam reminds Al of the noninterference rules, but Al is still fixated at getting back together with Beth. Skaggs goes to a bar only to be confronted by the armed hooligans. Sam shows up with a shotgun to save the day. Sam does not leap but figures that Al gets to have a moment with Beth. Though she cannot hear him, Al talks to his beloved.

Sam leaps ….

Only Sam can see and hear: Al knows an awful lot about women’s undergarments.

Mirror images that were not his own: It is not until nearly the half hour mark that Sam sees Jake in his locker’s mirror.

It’s a science project: We get a bit of gun knowledge with Skaggs thinking Sam’s gun jammed when it has the safety on.

Let’s up the rating: Dressed in drag in the police locker room, Sam gets his share of hoots and hollers. They also pranked him by putting various bits of lingerie in his locker.

One more time: “Was he successful?” “I met your mother yesterday.”
Dirk asking if Beth digs Jake and Beth not saying yes.

The Rainbow Treknection: Norman Large who played Dirk has as many characters on Trek as I have fingers but his is most prominently known as Maques and the first Proconsul Neral. Sierra Parker played Dirk’s mother but also played another famed Romulan in Ambassador T’Pel.

The biggest actor in both series is Susan Doil who played Beth, a love interest for Al, here and Denara Pel, a love interest for The Doctor on Voyager.

Trivial Matters: Episodes tend to conclude with a teaser for the next. This episode pretty much ends with Al and Beth looking at each other while the leaping effect happens behind them and no teaser. Pretty good way to not lock yourself in for a long summer haitus.

Put right what once went wrong: “You didn’t give me a parking ticket, did you?” “Thought about it.” One problem with doing a rewatch is that the big surprises in an episode are not going to be that impactful. To use a Trek example, many of my contemporaries who first saw City on the Edge of Forever knew ahead of time that Edith Keeler would die. That did not take anything away from an excellent episode, one of the best in the franchise which is still very worthwhile to watch even if you know the outcome.

Similarly, I knew going into M.I.A. that Beth was Al’s wife. That did not take away from the excellent work in this episode. We see Dirk and Susan having a connection, a really good one in fact. The two have great chemistry together and you believe that they will be great for one another. Dirk is even catty with Sam when it becomes clear that there is a love triangle. This is not some jerk trying to woo her, though Al tries to sell that as best he can.

Beth is a strong independent woman trying to move on. She does not know Al is alive and is very sympathetic. As much as Al tries to tell us she should not move on, she tells us that she should. Doil is a fantastic actress, happy with both paramours going after her. She does not take things too far but opens up to them a little.

Season one ended with Al and Sam getting into an argument and it felt artificial. Here it is done much better. Al keeps on trying to fit the square peg into a round hole and you can tell there is something off. At one point, Al does not even refer to his handlink when telling Sam what will, happen and Sam does not pick up on it. Being ever the great friend Sam lets Al get things off his chest but does not entirely let him off the hook. In a rarity for a television show, we have talk of the guy upstairs and the guy downstairs with is a great callback to the top of the season.

The writing supports something off as well. The scenes with Beth and Dirk as well as Beth and Dirk’s mother feel very natural. Al getting Sam to seduce Beth seems uncomfortable and it very well should. Writer Bellisario wrote a great script and Director Zinberg let the actors play off the material.

It is not entirely perfect, though. The hooligans are a bit of a distraction. While they are there to make the episode work since there really is no way around them, their later scenes fall short compared to the other things that are happening. Also, Al says that he never fed any scenarios other than reuniting with Beth into Ziggy, but Ziggy seems pretty good at figuring things out anyway. We know that Gooshie is listening to everything going on, at least everything that Al is saying, and he should know that the odds are low, or at least that Sam should save Skaggs.

Speaking of Skaggs, he is at best a minor character in the grand scheme of the episode, but he has a great portrayal of trauma, particularly with a male. This is rarely discussed today let alone seen and to have it so prominent on screen is breathtaking.

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