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.