Original air date: October 5, 1990
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap date: April 7, 1970
This time: Sam leaps into a swamp and is quickly ambushed along with his troop. He is in Vietnam and his brother Tom is alive. The squad arrives back at base where the Commanding Officer, Grimwald, is chatting up reporter Maggie Dawson. The guys pull a prank on her and head on out to a local bar.
He is Herbert Williams, A.K.A. Magic, the squads good luck charm. Al confirms the date, meaning that Tom will die the next day. Technically he is not there to save Tom; Ziggy believes that Sam just has to make the mission succeed. There is also little to go on beyond a code name of Lazarus. After Sam leaves, Al listens in on the operation. Their mission is upriver and involves a local defector woman named T.T.
At the bar, the squad is flirting with Dawson when Al looks up a photo essay of Dawson’s and finds out that there will be a sneak attack that night killing Grimwald. Sam makes the choice to tell the squad even though if he saves Grimwald, he might leap out before he can save Tom.
The guys mobilize but apart from Maggie sneaking out to get a shot (earning her being put under the armed watch of T.T.) there is no action. Al is flummoxed as to how Sam changed history since it was too dark for the other side to see that they were prepared. Sam is chewed out offscreen and tries radioing in as such, but the radio is turned to the wrong frequency. This will probably be important later.
Maggie seduces Sam to be taken on Lazarus. To Al’s surprise, Sam agrees. Al later finds out that if Maggie comes on the mission, she will write an article which can be pulled from the archives. It turns out that the mission is to rescue some P.O.W.s though Al cannot pull the article because Maggie died on the mission.
Maggie sneaks off while the squad goes out to complete their mission. Al tells Sam where the P.O.W.s are, but Sam has a radio they intercepted. It is set to the same radio frequency that Sam saw in the bunker meaning that T.T. is a double-agent. Just as she is about to shoot Tom, Sam shoots her. The squad leaves to avoid an ambush but Maggie hits a land mine handing off her camera before dying.
At the bar, Sam saved Tom but lost Maggie. Al and a bunch of the other guys try to take the heat off Sam, but Grimwald brings in Maggie’s final photos. It turns out she got some Pulitzer for her final picture, of the P.O.W.s being led back to holding, one of whom is Al! Tom looks at his watch and realizes that it is past his reported day of death. He tanks Sam while looking straight at him. Sam leaps …
… into a priest with a smooching couple right in front of him.
Stop talking to yourself: Sam marvels at how he can leap back to help his brother. Later, he wonders why everything has not been resolved.
Only Sam can see and hear: Al was in the Navy as well, but ship based life was different from the Seals.
Mirror images that were not his own: While getting dressed, Sam sees Magic in the mirror as well as later at the local watering hole.
It’s a science project: Al helps Sam with his gun, with a rapid-fire mount and general Navy stuff.
Let’s up the rating: Maggie knows how to flirt and pour cold water on the boys. She also hopes that her getting ready for bed does not bother Sam which it does not though it does get Al’s attention.
One more time: “You’ve got Top Secret Clearance.” “And it took place over twenty-five years ago.”
Sam wondering why Al cannot get classified data from his own department and Al telling Sam how hard it is.
The Rainbow Treknection: Not necessarily a Trek star, but we have Andrea Thompson following Claudia Christensen’s lead in playing Dawson. Thompson was Talia Winters for the first couple seasons of Babylon 5.
Trivial Matters: This being the second half of a two parter we start the episode with rare a ‘previously on’ segment.
Thompson is not the only person in this episode who would go onto greater fame later. Tia Carrere plays T.T. while Patrick Walburton is Blaster, one of the guys in the squad.
Part one was titled ‘The Leap Home” this episode adds a dash with the word Vietnam.
Put right what once went wrong: “I kind of like to think of us as academy men as fraternity brothers, don’t you?” “And not during the army-navy game, sir.” This is a two parter with two very different parts. Whereas last week we saw Sam with his family, this week we have a war drama.
Thankfully, this show does what it does best by showing off the characters early. We get a sense of how tight knit the guys are with them pulling a prank on their C.O. and Dawson is established to handle things on her end. It is helpful to see this before they go off to fight.
The only constant between these two hours is Tom. No longer the big brother who was in his hometown, he is the squad leader. He and Sam have a touching moment harkening back to the promise he made to his little brother. There is a good contrast between the two and David Newsome has another fantastic performance to show off his range.
Best of all, Al has a chance to put his navy training to use. Out of date but still with the knowledge to help Sam get through the basics. There are some heart wrenching discussions between the two as they frantically try to figure out how to save everyone. Plus, there is a great scene on the helicopter where Al is just standing in midair. He also tells Sam that he kept his wits about him in captivity. It is a nice way to harken back to the season two finale for both characters along with a bonus of foreshadowing the ending.
The writing is pretty strong, but the plotting takes a few hits in the end. Why does the land mine not completely obliterate Dawson? How is her camera still in one piece let alone able to have film that can be developed? Still, it does lead us to Tom’s revelation to tie everything together.