A place for complete-off-topic conversations that have nothing to do with Star Trek. The rules still apply here, stay civil.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#555654
8½ Months
Original Air Date: March 6, 1991
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Leap Date: November 15, 1955

This time: Sam leaps onto a gurney being rushed into the delivery room. The doctor is insistent that the baby is coming but Sam convinces everyone that he is not going to deliver a baby under any circumstances.

As sixteen-year-old Billie-Jean, Sam gets a ride back with a friend named Dottie. Dottie owns a beauty parlor and one of her clients is furious that Dottie left in the middle of a procedure, especially since the baby did not come. Also unhappy is Keeter, Dottie’s beau.

Al arrives and says the Billie-Jean originally gave the baby up for adoption and regretted it so Sam must find some way to keep the baby. He also says that Ziggy thinks Sam might be there to deliver the baby if he does not leap out before the baby is due. Billie-Jean’s mother is deceased, but her father, Bob, is nearby. Bob will take her back only if she gives up the baby.

Left with few alternatives, Sam wonders if he can keep the baby and have Dottie look after them while Billie-Jean finishes school. Keeter does not like this and leaves. Dottie is incredulous since she promised Keeter that Billie-Jean would leave when the baby comes. Unbeknownst to her, Keeter leaves her regardless, per Al, but Dottie will have none of it.

Almost every door closed, Sam finds out that Effie, Dotty’s assistant knows the baby’s father, Willis. It turns out that teenage Willis works for Bob. Also, Willis is going to college on a scholarship but needs to work for room and board.

Going into labor, Dottie and Effie are changing the tire on the car. Effie goes to get Bob and Keeter is too drunk ad disinterested to be of use. Dottie does the change on her own while Effie gets Bob to take an interest. He makes it to the emergency room and agrees to help Billie-Jean. He marries Dotty and they raise the baby as a family. Sam pushes and leaps …

… into a time machine going to the future.

Stop talking to yourself: The silent car ride home from the hospital is spent with Sam trying to piece together the clues as to who he is.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is pretty certain that Sam will not deliver a baby.

Mirror images that were not his own: After sliding on and off the delivery table, Sam sees a very pregnant Billie-Jean Crockett looking back at him.

Brush with history: Sam thinks that a pink hairdo will be great in the punk eighties to which the very unhappy client replies that she does not know where ‘aidees’ is.

It’s a science project: Nausea, vomiting, back aches, nearly constant urination, cravings, Sam sure does have a lot of effects of pregnancy.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: In the waiting room, Billie-Jean freaks out. Dr. Beeks finds her too traumatized to answer questions.

Let’s up the rating: Bob and Dottie were an item back in the day.

One more time: “I’m going to, Al!” “Young lady you watch your language.”
Sam to al about the impending birth, an attendant reminding him to be ladylike.

The Rainbow Treknection: Anne Haney made a career out of paying no-nonsense older women. Here, she is a no-nonsense adoption agent while in Deep Space Nine’s Dax, she was no-nonsense judge Els Renora. She does have a softer side seen in episodes like The Next Generation’s Survivors as Rishon Uxbridge.

Put right what once went wrong: “This little tyke’s coming whether you cooperate or not.” “No, I feel better, I’m fine.” It takes a very skilled director to take up acting duties in the show they direct. We are at the approximate midpoint of Quantum Leap and James Whitmore Jr. directed this hour and guest starred as Bob. Lots of writers have appeared onscreen but mainly as mirror images, a corpse and the like, certainly not to degree that Bob is here. This could easily have caused something to fall flat.

Thankfully, that did not happen. Deborah Pratt wrote an excellent script and Whitmore let the actors do their work. The writing is strong giving each character a moment to shine. Even Leola who starts of the hour pissed at her purple hair (!) pitches a fit swearing up and down she will not return while everyone knows she will be back. Young Tasha Scott has plenty of sass as Effie but that comes in handy where she just bluntly tells Bob that Effie’s older sister died giving birth. Hunter von Leer’s Keeter does really not want to be involved and chides pretty much everyone. Philip Linton has a scene as Willis, but the young man shoulders the role well.

Dottie and Bob are the emotional cores. Whitmore has a pretty good acting resume, and he tries to lay down the law with Billie-Jean. He has options but those will not be good for everyone. He initially puts the blame on his daughter but realizes that she needs someone to love her and be a father. Lana Schwab left it all on camera. Trying to keep her life together, she has a lot of southern charm and knows her clientele, her town and her family. She can get away with a lot due to her personality which sines along with some great dialogue all the way through. It is heartbreaking to see her pining after Keeter when he really could not care less.

A teenage pregnancy does not seem like it would be a slam dunk of an episode, but the cast and crew came together to (pun intended) deliver. The script is smart having Al need to tell Sam that he cannot deliver a baby. Al is our eye and ears into the waiting room, and he gives us a good play by play to the point where he is convinced as the episode draws to a close.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#556220
Future Boy
Original Air Date: March 13, 1991
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Michael Switzer
Leap date: October 6, 1957

This time: Sam leaps into a time machine going to the future. With some help from Captain Galaxy (to whom Sam is the sidekick, Future Boy), he steps out into the year 1987. It turns out to be a television studio, being recorded live for some reason. As Captain Galaxy, Moe Stein goes for a kinder, gentler view of the future whereas the writer/director prefers a more shoot shoot bang bang approach.

The scene ends and the writer/director chastises Moe and tasks Sam with talking sense for the gosh darn double triple final time. Al arrives and tells Sam he is Kenny Sharp and must save Moe from getting hit by a train. Per Ziggy, he must also see to it that Moe is committed for his own safety. But where everyone else sees someone losing mental stability Sam sees a committed actor.

As it turns out, Moe’s daughter, Irene, is on set to talk to Moe but he will have none of it. Sam has a talk with her, and she seems to be open, but Sam is pulled away to do a scene. Sam goes to Moe’s place and finds disarray. Moe unveils a time machine and explains something strikingly close to the theory of Quantum Leaping.

Moe invites Irene and Dr. Sandler over for a dinner/evaluation. Sam is along to see if he can help things go well. Overall, it is a good experience with Sam making headway with both Irene and Dr. Sandler. Then Moe brings up his time machine. A demonstration leads to sparks and fire.

At the trial, Dr. Sandler recommends an institution and Irene sees it as the only alternative. Representing Moe, Sam argues the case but the judge rules that Moe be sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. Upon hearing this, Moe jumps out the window and runs off. Al says that he is not going to the trainyard, and Sam offers to help. Irene drops the charges, and they are off.

Moe has another go at time travel and while the effects confirm he is onto something, it does not work. He tells Irene that shortly after she was born, offers came pouring in. He took them to put food on the table but regrets not being able to spend time with her though the Time-nomitor can fix that. Sam leaps …

… into a male stripper.

Fact check: Neil Armstrong and the moon landing get a name (and date) check.

Stop talking to yourself: A messy yard does not make a good case for Moe. Your humble rewatcher does not take it too personally.

Only Sam can see and hear: Seeing Al in a suit takes Sam to a dark place until Al tells Sam that he is dressed up for court case involving alimony, but he has a time remembering which wife.

Mirror images that were not his own: Not quite a mirror but Sam does see Kenny in the on set monitor.

Something or someone: Sam gets to stay an extra night so that he can see Moe read a letter written by a young Sam Beckett and explain the theory of Quantum Leap.

It’s a science project: Moe manages to make a rudimentary time machine. It does not work though it is a bit on the small side and presumably not powered by a nuclear reactor.

Let’s up the rating: If crappy science-fiction outfits or human size brillo pads do it for you, this is your episode.

One more time: “If you and Superman got into a fight, who would win? Well, Davey, Captain Galaxy and Superman would never get into a fight. First, because we’re good friends. And second, because violence doesn’t solve a thing.”
Moe being a good guy but taking all the fun out of it.

The Rainbow Treknection: If you think Admiral Owen Paris could use a little more excitement, check out Richard Herd’s prior work as Moe Stein

Put right what once went wrong: “This is not the future, Time Cadets. Only one man’s distorted view of it.” This episode is entirely owned by the magnificence that is Richard Herd. We see his passion on set. He is a consummate actor, consistently in character, having led a great Shakesperean career. How very William Shatner of him! But the genius lasts outside the studio where he has a flourish as he talks about his time machine. Yeah, it probably will not work but he is certain and sells it well. The script must cast doubt as to his sanity and getting your co-worker at the last minute to represent you is probably not going to be a good idea, but Moe Stein carries himself well no matter what the setting.

Speaking of which, how is Irene able to withdraw her complaint after the judge has made a ruling? How does this judge not hold Moe in contempt of court? Apparently, the judge is all right with Moe escaping custody by jumping out a window and scampering off after issuing a sentence, one for his sanity no less. Moe totally gets away with it; he is free as a bird to tape the next episode.

It is too bad because there are fun settings and writing. Tommy Thompson put in a lot of fun scenes establishing the relationship between Moe and Sam along with Moe and Irene. There is a scene at a promotional event where Sam takes the lead consoling a boy who recently lost a dog, and he draws his inspiration from Moe. You can tell that everyone had fun making the fifties era science fiction kids show. It is not quite the love letter that was Bride of Chaotica! but it is in that direction. There are digs at Sam, an MIT graduate, dressed up for a jingle. Michael Switzer let everyone do their work and did not constrain Herd.

The ending does not work for me. It is a cool moment for Sam to get the message from himself, but it robs Sam and Al if their time travel concept is a recursive loop rather than something they came up with on their own.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#556687
Private Dancer
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Debbie Allen
Leap Date: October 6, 1979
Original Air Date: March 20, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into a male stripper. As Rod “The Bod’ McCarly, he is the star of Chippendales. One of the waitresses, Diana, ignores the mustachioed bartender, Otto. Their boss, Mario says not to worry since she will be dancing soon anyway. On the dance floor, a woman named Joanna is tearing it up and gets Sam in on the fun. Diana joins but she is told by Mario to get back to work. Sam realizes that Diana is deaf. Al arrives and says that she turns to prostitution, has run ins with the law and eventually dies of AIDS.

Sam talks to Mario in an attempt to keep Diana off that path, but Mario is only intrigued by a deaf stripper. Sam offers to do more dancing on the condition that Diana continues waitressing. After hours, Diana turns up the bass and does some freestyle. She is surprised by Sam though the two bond as Sam takes her home to her apartment. Though as Sam leaves, she heads out to a van parked on the street.

The next day, she finds out about the deal Sam made and is not happy about it, since New York is expen$ive. Sam goes to her ‘apartment,’ only to find out her real address. As it turns out, Joanna is a renowned choreographer and is holding open auditions. Sam convinces Diana to give it a shot. Diana does impress but it becomes clear that Joanna will need to give her extra attention and is not willing to. As if things could not get worse, the police tow Diana’s van.

Desperate for some money, Mario’s assistant offers Diana an opportunity to be a ‘date.’ Sam intrudes and presents Diana with a choice, and she decides to give it another go. He pleads with Joanna to give Diana another chance and it works. Diana becomes a famed dancer and finishes high school. Sam leaps …

… into a pianist. One of the patrons makes a special request.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam’s first thought after leaping in during a dance? Ancient Roman Gladiators.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al has fun in the dance hall. He also is envious of Sam being a dancer. He does not give Sam much beyond his name and does not ogle at the women, but he makes an appearance. For some reason.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam does not initially notice, but we see him in the mirror after he loses most of his costume but gets some dollar bills in his briefs. Yeah, this might not be a good episode for the kids to see.

Something or someone: Not only do Sam and Al get to watch Diana’s successful audition, Al fills Sam in on what the future holds.

It’s a science project: Your humble rewatcher has been known to dance and while there is some freedom to it, there is a good amount of science in there as well.

Let’s up the rating: Sam leaps into a male stripper and there are scantily clad men dancing nearby.

One more time: “I don’t dance.” “I don’t know honey, I saw you doing some good moves between those bumps and grinds up there.”
Sam being modest and Joanna wanting more

The Rainbow Treknection: Heidi Swedberg plays Valeri, Mario’s assistant and also portrayed Cardassian student/Dissident Rekelen in Profit and Loss.

Trivial Matters: Most shows list guest stars, one of whom might get an “and” of if we are lucky, a “Special Guest Star” billing. Here we get that and an “Introducing.”

Said Special Guest Star, famed choreographer Debbie Allen, also directed this episode. You might recognize her from A Different World and your parents might recognize her from the series Fame. As much as she has dazzled in front of the camera, she is also a noted director as well.

Put right what once went wrong: “I’ve never been degraded like that…” “I would give anything to be degraded like that…” This show has already given Scott Bakula an opportunity to show off his singing chops and will probably continue to based on the preview. This episode lets him show off his dancing chops. He, Allen and Rhondee Beriault as Diana get to show off what they can do along with a random extra jn the first act.

Beriault has a time to shine in this hour with her acting. A deaf actress herself, she put a lot of passion into being a strong woman. She stands up for herself and just asks for a little bit of work, though it does fall on all of us to make sure that the person we are speaking to understands us. We get a lot in this hour with her being hostile initially though that is more of a defense mechanism than anything else. I am fairly certain that the mustache was not the only reason why she ignored Otto as he was moderately expressive. Her scene with the cop shows her at her most vulnerable and she is lucky he does not throw her in jail.

Allen’s Joanna is strong as well. Obviously there to showcase her dancing as well but she also had a good point with being a minority trying to make a name for herself. Directing yourself is not easy but she was able to convey her issues, in between pining over Sam, and she is all over him at times. The rest of the named cast is as well, though they mostly got to be a pimp, jerk or both.

If only I could give the script praise as well. I am not a fan of overcoming a rejection by asking again. If it did not work the first time it will probably not work the second time. What did Joanna see at the second audition that she did not see in the first? By that point, Diana had made it through a few rounds. As good as the directing is, the script contrives reasons for Diana not to read peoples lips and that had to be followed through on set. It does not work when Beriault must go out of her way to avoid looking at people. As you can tell from the brevity of the synopses, there is just not a whole lot happening in this episode thought when you have several dance breaks, that is somewhat expected.

It is too bad because Allen did a good job directing. The movements are not organic, but the cast pulls it off. There are some great crane shots of the street and while so much of it works not all of it does. This could have been a home run, but it turned out to be a base hit.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#557335
Piano Man
Original Air Date: March 27, 1991
Written by: Ed Scharlach
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Leap Date: November 10, 1985

This time: Sam leaps into a pianist. One of the patrons, Janelle, makes a special request. After Sam plays and sings that number, a woman named Loraine wants to talk to him, after stepping on his foot and knocking over the tip glass. The two have a songwriting history, and a romantic history, together. She is madly in love with a man named Carl but wants to make sure there are no loose ends, something Carl agreed to as well. Lorraine phones him that things are working out.

The bartender wants to take Janelle home and borrows Sam’s car. Finding out his leapees name of Chuck rather than his alias, Al discovers that he died in a car explosion, which happens outside the bar at that moment. They go out to see what happened and a goon approaches. After accidentally shooting Sam in the leg. Loraine takes off in her car and the goon follows.

Al finds out that Chuck is a witness to a crime and has been on the road ever since. They outwit the goon but Loraine is a bit of a klutz and runs out of gas. They go to a local diner where Sam calls the sheriff for assistance while Loraine calls Carl to give him an update.

Al arrives to say that the Sheriff will come and finish the job; he is not on their side. They run out and hit the road. Loraine gives Carl an update. Furious, he insists that she and Sam meet him at a nearby airfield, him being a pilot and all. Sam agrees though Al believes they are better if Loraine is not around. Sam breaks up with her and she drives off. Al says that she is run off the road. Sam grabs a nearby truck, along with a nearby rifle, and heads off after her.

Loraine meets up with Carl who seems a little preoccupied with what happened, particularly Sam. It turns out that Carl is an alias as well and he is the one trying to kill them. Lorraine manages to kill ‘Carl’ courtesy of a falling engine. They get back together. Sam leaps …

… into a man blowing out a lot of birthday candles. Some women in lingerie approach him to offer congratulations.

Fact check: Don’t all roadside diners in the county have a perfectly tuned piano ready to play? Along with a patron ready to dance with the proprietress?

Stop talking to yourself: We do get Sam singing twice in this episode, but he does not talk to us at all.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al come in real quick but does not have any information on who Sam leaped into or why Sam is there. It is a little hard with the three main characters having aliases.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sitting down at the bar, Sam sees himself in the mirror.

It’s a science project: The goon in this episode would wish he had stormtrooper accuracy. At least they shoot in the right direction. He shoots at a fleeing car in two entirely different directions.

Let’s up the rating: Janelle clearly has a thing for Sam. Loraine and Sam/Chuck made beautiful music together as well although that was literal in addition to figurative.

One more time: “His name is Carl Morgan and he’s very successful and he doesn’t live on the road and most importantly he loves me very much.” “I wonder why she’s sitting on a bar stool next to you.”
Lorraine and Al both making good points.

Trivial Matter: The title to this episode is a famous Billy Joel song. Just as this episode has several assumed names that song also has two ‘voices.’

Put right what once went wrong: “I figure if I was going to sing it would be better with lyrics.” This is a very well put together hour with strong writing and acting. The script is smart with Al not knowing who Sam is and needing to pry the information out of Loraine. Sam and the antagonist are operating under assumed names which makes figuring out what happened a little more difficult. We also have a fully fleshed character in Loraine. We do not just hear about her clumsiness (though we do get not one but two dialogue sequences where Loraine talks about the troubles that seem to follow her past boyfriends and their troubles abroad, such as them going to New Orleans but Sam’s luggage going to Iran) there are demonstrations throughout the hour. We see her having issues long before she causes Carl to be crushed by an engine, perfectly capping off the boss fight set piece.

As Loraine, Marietta DePrima has the chops and pipes required. She is not proud of her ‘curse,’ but can convey her dialogue perfectly and has amazing chemistry with Bakula. The two are great with each other and they make beautiful music together even when they are not at the piano. Even when Al is around, they are in perfect synch with each other. She is a joy to watch and Sam plays the recipient of information very well. Sam Clay plays Carl with good grace and understanding though he does make the metamorphosis to demanding boyfriend to bad guy in the final act. It all works and fits together in the end.

All in all, this may seem a bit derivative of season two’s “Her Charm,’ because it very much is but the hour is done pretty well and with these great performances you can forgive the writers for reaching back into the sack and building on prior successes. Lorainne gets along better with Sam for the most part, at least.

It is not all perfect, though. Two characters and fridged for this episode to happen. Also, the driving is very obviously green screened, to the point where it is a little distracting when Sam turns the wheel and does not turn it back. These are not enough to make an otherwise enjoyable episode horrible, but it does bring things down a bit.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#557714
Southern Comforts
Directed by: Chris Ruppenthal
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Leap Date: August 4, 1961
Original Air Date: April 3, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into a man blowing out a lot of birthday candles. Some women in lingerie approach him to offer congratulations. He is Gilbert LaBonte, proprietor of the LaBonte Sewing and Quilting Academy, a front for prostitution. A man named Jake Dorleac enters looking for one of the girls. Dorleac runs a finishing school and one of the girls ran off. They refuse to accommodate, and he storms out.

One of the girls, Gina, ran off at the sight of Dorleac but feels better and gets back to work. Al arrives and says that she will die at some point that night after being kidnapped. It turns out that Gina is not a prostitute, she is the cousin of Marsha, an older worker and Gilbert’s girlfriend. Gina just needed a place to stay.

Needing to keep Gina safe, and having few ways to keep guys away, Sam gives everyone the night off. All the girls except Marsha and Gina go out for a night on the town.

Doleac is parked outside waiting for an opportunity. He sneaks into Gina’s room and tries to convince her to come back before beating her. Sam confronts Dorleac who runs off. Gina refuses to tell the sheriff anything, so Sam accompanies him to Dorleac’s hotel. It turns out that Dorleac is not only Gina’s headmaster, but he is also her husband. Their hands are tied.

Dorleac comes to take Gina away the next morning, but Sam manufactures evidence of Doleac in a compromising position. He leaves as do Gina and Marsha to start a new life. Sam leaps …

… into a glam rocker.

Stop talking to yourself: For the second time there is no voiceover by Sam.

Only Sam can see and hear: Of course, Al rushes down to see what Sam got himself into. Before taking time to examine the premises, he tells Sam the name of the establishment. After telling Sam they do not know what he is there to do, he is shooed out.

Mirror images that were not his own: Now this is just odd. There is a distinct musical cue for Sam when he sees himself in a reflected surface. Here we get it when Sam looks at an oil painting of LaBonte. Fortunately, we get a proper mirror shot later.

Something or someone: After taking care of Dorleac, Sam gets to stick around for a good while; long enough for the girls to get changed and Al to give exposition.

It’s a science project: Gina will not press charges and LeBonte’s reputation precludes him being perceived as credible, Sam has to think of something else to take care of Dorleac.

Let’s up the rating: This episode takes place in a house of ill repute. Even their out on the town outfits are sexy.

One more time: “What’s going on, Al?” “Oh that’s easy. These guys are her to get …”
Sam being inquisitive and Al taking things a little too literally.

The Rainbow Treknection: Dan Butler plays the villain Dorleac here and played the antagonist Steth (along with Tom Paris, technically) in Vis A Vis.

Trivial Matters: One of the women is played by Lauren Tom. You probably would not recognize her on sight, but she is the voice of Amy Wong on Futurama.

Put right what once went wrong: “This is the LaBonte Sewing and Quilting Academy. You have graduation photos at your school. We have graduation photos at ours.” Let us get the big gripe of the episode out of the way. There are concerns that Sam does not know when Gina will be kidnapped. Too bad they do not have a hologram that can keep an eye on her and yell to Sam when someone tries to approach. It is an entirely obvious solution and surprising that they do not try it. Then again it would be a short show.

And what a good show it is. Who would have thought that an episode based around a bordello would be such great family viewing? Well adult family viewing.

Quantum Leap is at their best when they do not overcomplicate the plot and allow characters time to breathe. We have a nice simple structure with enough revelations to not make things oversimplistic. The final act is fantastic with Sam finding out how to get Dorleac into a corner he cannot get out of. We get plot bits at regular intervals, but they never take over. Plus, there are some fun scenes such as when some guys come in for a fun time and Sam must cool their jets. The entire round of ‘99 Bottles of Beer’ does not do it but the threat of charades does.

Rita Taggart plays the older Marsha very well. She sees that there is no future with Gilbert. Her scene with Georgia Emelin’s Gina is great. Work comes up but these are just two women discussing life. Marsha does her best but there is little that can be done on the floor in front of everyone. Speaking of Emelin, she has a good innocence but a strength that shows through as well. There are just some things she cannot do but Sam gives her the liberty to start anew.

Special praise must also go to the old lady with a gun. That is not a euphemism, Minnie Summers’ Lindey gets to threaten some sailors with a shotgun, prepares gumbo, treats a sick stomach and gets in on the action to scheme Dorleac. Speaking of whom, Dan Butler has a good calm as Dorleac but that is soon betrayed by a ruthless underside. Even when duped he keeps his head up high.

If you can avoid the huge glaring plot hole this is a good hour to enjoy.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#558105
Glitter Rock
Original Air Date: April 12, 1974
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Andy Cadiff
Leap Date: April 10, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into a glam rocker. One member, Flash, wonders where the money is going to with 90,000 screaming fans. Their manager, Dwayne, mentions that there are expenses such as the venue, others to run things backstage, living expenses and the like.

Al arrives and says that Sam’s leapee, Tonic, will be stabbed the next night after a concert while going into a limo. The perpetrator is never found but Sam suspects someone that caught his attention twice after he leaped in. As it turns out, that fan is named Phillip and is taking pictures of Sam from outside the hotel.

Al does some digging and fills Sam in at a rehearsal. Philips is an illegitimate loner from Nebraska. The rehearsal is interrupted as some lights come crashing down almost hitting Sam and falling through Al. Security is overall nonplused about the almost fatal accident, to the point where the main security staffer becomes a suspect. Sam is told that the check he put down for a ranch in Utah (!) bounced. He approaches Dwayne about it and is told that the money is all timey-wimey but he can clear things up.

At the afterparty (going on through 5:00 A.M.) there is still no prime suspect. It turns out Phillip crashed the party. When confronted, he claims to be Tonic’s son., though the evidence is circumstantial.

At the fated concert, Sam confronts Dwayne about embezzling money. Dwayne admits to and promises to clear it up. Sam also tells Dwayne to use a different exit that night to throw off the assassin. Those prove fruitless as they are accosted on their way out. The perpetrator is Dwayne to silence Sam about the lost money.

At the private afterparty, Phillip shows Sam a picture of Tonic side by side with Phillip’s mother. Through discussion, it turns out that Sam is Phillips’s father. The band gives Phillip a break and Phillip goes on to become one of the biggest rockers in London. Sam leaps …

… into a phone booth. He is handcuffed to a woman who cries out that she is being kidnapped.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam discusses the difficulties of remembering lyrics and music in front of screaming fans forgetting that he has a photographic memory and has performed in front of screaming fans.

Only Sam can see and hear: “King Thunder. I never heard of them.” “Well, you were a nerd back then.”

Mirror images that were not his own: Last week we had the Mirror Tingle when Sam saw an oil painting of himself before seeing himself in a mirror proper. This time we have the reverse. Sam sees himself in a glass table before seeing an old picture of himself, both accompanied by the Mirror Tingle (Mirror Tingle is totally the name of my next band).

Brush with history: Sam makes reference to The Beetles, though more how they are going to exterminate his leapee’s band off the charts.

It’s a science project: A piece of evidence for Tonic being Phillip’s father is that both have webbed fingers. Because that is totally how genetics work.

Let’s up the rating: After the show, the band has several groupies in their room. It is enough for more than one girl per guy but not quite enough for two girls per guy. That ratio increases later in the hotel room when three girls throw themselves at Sam. Remembering that they are on broadcast TV, Sam makes sure they do not go topless.

Later, Sam asks a fan if there is something he can sign, and she opens her shirt. In a [expletive] you to Happy Gilmore, Sam signs a record.

One more time: “She was a bit of all right as I remember you telling me.”
A band mate being both complimentary and awkward in front of Phillip about his mom.

The Rainbow Treknection: Not quite a Trekenction but Michael Cerveris who was an unofficial regular on Fringe as The Observer played one of the band members in a Terri Hatcher Moment.

Trivial Matters: The band is heavily influenced by KISS. Light, sound, explosions; that is one heck of a finale.

Sam makes a passing reference to being a Chippendale’s dancer.

As swiss cheesed as Sam’s brain gets, he sure has a good working knowledge of assassins.

Al is a connoisseur of Rock. He recommends Sam emulate Hendrix and Milli Vanilli.

Put right what once went wrong: “Tonic, what happened tonight? You sounded horrible.” “Maybe it was the lyrics.” “You wrote them.” I am happy to have gotten some of the gripes with the plot out of the way in the summary and sections above. Once those are out of the way, this is a pretty decent episode.

The mystery is a fun one to follow. Each suspect has a good reason to be the murderer, a key to any good mystery. Even as the Dwayne is revealed in that role, there is a shot of Phillip reaching into his pocket for something. It is not well served by Al suspecting the last person that he sees, and Flash does have a few too many motives (jealousy, wanting to become the lead singer) and the security accomplice is a bit too convenient, but there is ample ammo for all three suspects.

Also, Al is put to good use first searching Phillip’s apartment to get his identity then, at the afterparty, asking to be centered on Phillip and bouncing a foot away. Speaking of Phillip, Christian Hoff does a fantastic job. He is not there for the money, only the truth. He is most removed from the plot but plays his role well. We see the stalker side along with the man just wanting to know who his father is.

This is not the perfect episode, though Andy Cadiff does a great job with what are essentially music videos. There are a lot of effects and good makeup, but these scenes had to be a problem to film. Things get a little too heavy handed with multiple slow-motion shots of Phillips with creepy music to accompany. Might as well put up a subtitle saying ‘this guy is suspect’ and be done with it. Too bad the plot has so many issues.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#558383
A Hunting We Will Go
Original Air Date: April 18, 1991
Written by: Beverly Bridges
Directed by: Andy Cadiff
Leap Date: June 18, 1976

This time: Sam leaps into a phone booth. He is handcuffed to a woman who cries out that she is being kidnapped. It turns out he is Gordon O’Reilly a bounty hunter escorting Diane Forest back to stand for her crime of embezzlement. Per Al, she wrote a million dollars in bad checks and Sam is the third bounty hunter to capture her; the other two are still recovering.

In short order, Diane gets them kicked off the bus, having been tipped off by the bus driver who witnessed the trouble earlier. They are left in the middle of nowhere as rain starts pouring in the middle of the night. She tries an escape attempt but winds up with both of them in a pile of manure. As they settle in for the night, Diane claims that her boss, Rodney, is the real culprit and that she has been framed.

They wind up at a motel, though as Sam makes the arrangements, Diane avails herself of a gun shaped lighter for later use. In the room, Sam tries to keep Diane at arms’ length as they get cleaned up, though the two do fall for each other. Diane effects an escape but Sam is able to forestall that attempt. After tricking Sam into handcuffing himself to a wooden column courtesy of the lighter, Sam breaks it and reacquires his charge.

Eventually the Sheriff arrives, and Sam is more than happy to get Diana off his hands. Ready to leap Al tells Sam that Diane dies shortly. It turns out Rodney wants his million and the Sheriff is in on the take. They go to the trainyard where she hid the money with Sam hot on their trail. The money in hand, Rodney is ready to shoot her, but Sam and Diane take the two of them down.

Rodney serves time, the money is returned, and Diane becomes a bounty hunter herself. Sam leaps …

… into the electric chair.

Fact check: The hotel room costs sixteen dollars. Adjusted for inflation that would be just short of seventy-five dollars today which sounds about right for the middle of nowhere.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam is too busy keeping up with Diane’s antics to collect his thoughts for us.

Only Sam can see and hear: Diana reminds Al of his third wife.

Mirror images that were not his own: After being thrust into a phone booth, mishandled by two burly onlookers, kicked in the rear, and having a phone book conk him on the head, Sam gets a look in a reflective surface.

Let’s up the rating: Needing to hitchhike and speed away, Diane shows a bit of cleavage. Later at a hotel, Sam is shirtless.

One more time: “She is innocent. I see it in her eyes.” “You do not see it in her eyes. You may feel it in your loins, but you do not see it in her eyes.”
Al being lovey dovey and Sam being down to earth.

The Rainbow Treknection: On Deep Space Nine, Kenneth Marshall initially started out playing nice guy Michael Eddington before betraying everyone and becoming a member of the Maquis. Here, he skips the first part and is the villain of the hour, Rodney.

Trivial Matters: In a hotel room, Bionic Woman is playing on the TV. By an amazing coincidence, that show is on NBC and created by Donald Bellisario, both of which presumably contributed to a low royalty payment.

Put right what once went wrong: “Have you always been this mean?” “No, just since last week.” It takes a while for a show to figure out what it can do. You can occasionally get lucky by putting certain characters together and do that more often if the pairing works, such as Spock and Bones, Geordi and Data, Bashir and O’Brien, Kim and Paris, etc. Heck, Trey Parker and Matt Stone found that when they put Cartman and Butters in an episode of South Park, it just writes itself. Quantum Leap has found a formula with sticking Scott Bakula with a strong actress for an episode and see what happens.

And they hit casting jackpot with Jane Sibbert. She knows when to be quiet and when to make some noise. She professes her innocence but that is because she is actually innocent. She certainly knows how to push Sam’s buttons. She causes a ruckus on a bus by tossing someone’s hat out the window and causes a scene knowing that the driver will kick them off. She grabs a gun shaped lighter knowing it will come in handy and she uses it to ‘hold up’ Sam. As a character she is resourceful and as an actress clearly having fun with the part. Sam cannot stand being around her to the point where they fall for each other.

As clever as Diane is, the little moments add up. Sam eventually gets wise to her antics, to the point where it looks like he is reading the script. He catches her as she tries to escape out a window and breaks a terrace to catch up with her. Best of all, she tries to hitchhike using her feminine wiles and Sam asks Al to get a lock on her, but it turns out she is just down the road due to smelling like manure.

The script is strong, too. The plot is carefully constructed by Beverly Bridges with Diane laying out the truth in pieces and filling us in on the history, including a prior bounty hunter who is in a full body cast to recover. The day actors all have fun as well, even the couple that gets a wiff of Diane and Sam covered in manure. Kenneth Marshall does not come across as underhanded, though in the original history he shot Diane and Gordon after finding the money. In the early scenes he as to put up with the Sheriff but you can see a strong character actor ready to bloom. We do not really have time to develop the nuance of Eddington, but he is more than a mustache twirling villain.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#558838
Last Dance Before An Execution
Original Air Date: May 1, 1991
Story by : Bill Bigelow & Donald P. Bellisario & Deborah Pratt
Teleplay by : Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap Date: May 12, 1971

This time: Sam leaps into the electric chair. This episode lasting longer than two minutes, the governor calls ordering a forty-eight hour stay of execution of Jesus Ortega, the man Sam leapt into. This does not sit well with one of the witnesses in attendance, Theodore Moody, Moody talks about this as a sign of weakness for the governor and by total coincidence, he is running for that office.

As Sam is escorted back to his cell, Moody is fuming about the situation, though mainly focusing on his chances for the election. He finds out from his goons that there is an appeal. Though absent some sort of technicality, the order should stand. There is evidence, eyewitnesses; the case is pretty solid. Moody sends his goons to get more information. Why he waited to do so until he after yelled at his goons is an exercise for the viewer.

Al arrives with not a whole lot of additional information though while Jesus did admit to a robbery, he claims innocence for the murder charge. He meets his lawyer, Tearsa LaRita. Fun fact 1: LaRita works for Moody. Fun fact 2: Moody does not know she is helping Jesus. It would appear that the ballistics report was inconclusive and that the bullet that killed the victim did not entirely match the one Jesus had, though Moody did not let a little detail like that prevent him from presenting it as a perfect match. In talking to his accomplice, Sam finds out that there was a discrepancy with the time the witnesses swore to and that the only friendly witness has disappeared.

Moody finds out that there is a mole in his office but does not suspect LaRita though he does order her to vet the entire staff. While visiting Sam they cannot do much without more concrete evidence or the missing witness. Sam discovers that there should be a bullet in the scene of the crime, a church. Al can detect where the bullet is but he will need LaRita at the church to do it. Sam asks her to go there, and Al finds the bullet and, with the help of a child, passes it to LaRita.

With the bullet found, Sam is confident that they will reopen the case and prove his innocence. He does not leap, and Al says that the bullet matches the gun and conclusively proves the guilt. LaRita confronts Sam and Moody walks in. Figuring out who the insider is, he is ready to disbar and fire LaRita after Sam gets executed.

Being strapped in, Al asks Sam to confess to the murder, but that he did it alone, meaning that his accomplice can go free (or rather just face a charge for robbing the poor box of a church, but that is better than robbery and murder.) He also says, with some help from Al, that Moody bribed the witness to leave the state. LaRita calls to confirm. Moody is disbarred and LaRita becomes a famed attorney. Sam leaps …

… into a wrestling ring. He is tagged in and his rather large opponent has some fun.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam weighs getting off on a technicality against going back to that electric chair.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al tries to calm a justifiably excited Sam telling him that sometimes they have problems finding him though the throughs of time.

Mirror images that were not his own: After being escorted to his cell by a literal good cop and bad cop, Sam see’s Jesus Ortega in the mirror.

It’s a science project: Ziggy is able to reconfigure Al’s handlink to detect a bullet in the church. Pretty neat trick when you consider that he is a hologram and merely projecting light.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: It seems that in 1999, Ortega fainted thinking he was dead. For a guy who was just on the electric chair this is entirely reasonable.

Let’s up the rating: Al has a thing for LaRita. Yeah, an episode revolving around an execution and political corruption does not have a ton of woman dancing around in bikinis for some reason.

One more time: “You can’t just throw a bucket of water on his head and say ‘You’re not dead. You’re just twenty-five years in the future.’”
Al describing the difficulties of working with Ortega in the Waiting Room.

The Rainbow Treknection: Moody is played by James Sloyan and after playing Alidar Jarok, Dr. Mora Pol, Jo’Bril and K’Mtar, is no stranger to Trek.

Trivial Matters: Realizing he is about to be electrocuted, Sam utters “Oh God!” instead of the titular phrase of this rewatch.

Dr. Beeks gets a namecheck.

Put right what once went wrong: “An appeal? What kind of appeal can an illiterate Cuban write?” Sidelining your lead actor is almost entirely unheard of. Sam cannot do much since he is on death row meaning that outside his cell, the attorney’s office and the execution chamber are pretty much the only places he can go. Not only does it work it is pure genius.

The most obvious side effect is that Bakula is not the star of this episode, Al is. Stockwell usually fills in the blanks and exposits to the audience (which, to be fair, he does this week) but here, he is crucial to making this episode work. He is able to warn LaRita through Sam and the scene in the church is very well crafted. LaRita kind of hangs around when Al finds the evidence and then finds a way to get the information to her. He also comes through in the end where he realizes that Sam is there to save his accomplice. In a show that can easily sideline Al, this time he is front and center.

Not that Bakula is able to shrug it off or take an episode easy. Quite the opposite. Being in an electric chair ready to go is jarring and fuels a lot of rage. He expresses it to both Al and LaRita. It is to their credit that they are understanding at his mania. It may seem a bit over the top, but it is justified and effective.

Jenny Gao is strong as LaRita. She is a double agent but is willing to help another Latino achieve freedom. She is rightfully pissed at the end when the evidence proves Jesus guilty. We have seen Sloyan with some great nuance on Star Trek from the sympathetic but pushy when he needs to be Mora Pol to the last-minute villain Jo’Bril but that is not really on display here. This time, he is the villain and while he does have menace, he is not able to do much beyond that though he does spit out some threats with venom. I am still a fan of his but if I’m looking for a dose of his acting regimen, I’ll more likely jump to Trek before I watch this.

The episode is a joy to watch. I do not usually comment on the score, but the tense moments at the beginning of the episode are brilliantly punctuated by Vernon Brunch. There are some brief pauses and Brunch has some good notes from the wind instruments upping the tension. The melodies echo through the rest of the episode. Deborah Pratt crafted another fantastic script based on a story by herself, Donald J. Bellisario and Bill Bigelow. Michael Watkins let the actors do their job and put everything together perfectly.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#559360
Heart of a Champion
Original Air Date: May 8, 1991
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: July 23, 1955

This time: Sam leaps into a wrestling ring. He is tagged in and his rather large opponent has some fun. Thanks to some fancy fighting moves, Sam takes down his opponent. He is Terry Samms who is one half of the Battling Russkies along with his brother Ronny. In reality they are from Arkansas using the persona of Russians to become antagonists in the local wrestling circuit. The owner, Lamar, is upset that the match had a different outcome than planned. Being wrestling there is a script to follow except for the title match.

Al arrives and tells Sam that he is from a family of wrestlers. Also, his work gave them a shot at the title match. Ronny is excited but Al says that he dies in that match after Ronny’s heart gives out. After witnessing Ronny lose his concentration, Sam asks their mother about family health history, but she has none of it. The ring doctor gives Ronny a clean bill of health, though the simple exam will not reveal an underlying condition. Al has more comprehensive information and realizes that a rheumatic fever at could cause far reaching consequences, including heart failure.

At the match, Sam decides to not let Ronny in the ring. He also makes deal that if they win, Ronny will check in for a comprehensive examination. His opponent is Carl, someone who has been antagonistic towards Sam due to Carl’s flirty wife. Also, Lamar does not want the team representing Russia to win the match. Sam gets a royal rumble of a whopping but uses a sleeper hold to win.

Ronny gets himself checked out and his son will go on to win a silver medal in the Olympics. With the family in a better place, Sam leaps …

… into a fallout shelter during an air raid.

Stop talking to yourself: Early on it seems like things will be all right, though Sam is quick to recall that leaps rarely are that easy.

Only Sam can see and hear: In addition to the requisite background information, Al knows that Carl’s wife has a habit of enticing Carl to fight other wrestlers outside of the ring.

Mirror images that were not his own: In the locker room, Sam sees Terry in a mirror.

Something or someone: Sam is able to stick around long enough to kick Carl’s wife in the rear. Technically, he leaps out before he can finish so Terry gets that joy.

It’s a science project: Ronny describes a sleeper hold and Sam is abhorred at the thought of cutting off someone’s oxygen, though it does come in handy for the resolution.

Let’s up the rating: One of the wrestlers’ wives looks in on the locker room shower. At least one voice asks her to join while at least one other voice asks her to leave.

One more time: “Will you listen to this guy? Next thing he’ll tell us is that wrestling ain’t real.”
A bar patron speaking the ironic truth

Trivial Matter: Rance Howard, father of Clint and Ron, plays the circuit doctor.

Put right what once went wrong: “As you folks can see from home this is not a …” “Shut up you capitalist pig!” If you are a fan of wrestling you will like this. If you are not a fan of wrestling, you will like this.

The fight scenes are well choreographed. Either they use a stunt double who looks exactly like Bakula or Bakula did all his own stunts. Joe Napolitano did a solid job with the wrestling scenes in the ring, but he is no slouch out of the ring either. The family drama is well done. A lot of this is in thanks to Tommy Thompson’s script. Sam runs out of options after Ronny refuses to quit, their mother does not think it is too bad and the doctor gives him an exam. The best part is that we get to see Ronny’s family. Susan Issacs and John Kidwell are solid as his wife and son, respectively. Doting mother Lottie, played by Angela Paton, cares for her sons but is not alarmed by Sam’s misgivings. Future wrestler Terry Funk, now known as Chainsaw, and Deborah Wakeham are an excellent tag team as Carl and his wife.

Jerry Broussard bears a lot of the burden as Ronny. He is in a bit of denial even after suffering some lapses in concentration in front of his family. He has patience for his brother but even that wears a little thin after a while. He is determined to keep a promise to their late father. It is no fault of his own that his health is in danger. He carries the show very well and is the literal and figurative heart.

It is great that we have such fantastic casting because the plot is just so thin. We’re at the end of the season and they show that even with a standard episode, good actors can elevate the material.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#559834
Nuclear Family
Original Air Date: May 15, 1991
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Leap date: October 26, 1962

This time: Sam leaps into a fallout shelter during an air raid. They are given the all clear as Sam realizes he has leaped into Eddie Ellory, staying with his brother Mac and family. Eddie sells underground shelters and has one in the family yard for demonstration purposes as well as utilitarian. Eddie has Sam try and sell one to Burt, their neighbor, but the sales pitch (primarily Sam reading the brochure) does not result in a sale.

Al arrives and says that Burt will shortly be shot by Mac with a gun from their shelter. Being in the southern panhandle, the family is aware of how near danger they are as the Cuban Missile Crisis begins. Sam tries to talk to Mac about how things will settle but Mac remembers problems during the dust bowl that traumatized their father.

Sam gives a pitch to Mrs. Klingman, the children’s piano teacher, but she eventually is convinced that she should not buy a shelter, her being on limited income and being a holocaust survivor. Mac is furious with Sam frightening customers and his kids. One more slip up and Sam is gone.

A hysteric Burt approaches Sam for a purchase. The lack of food at the store plus long lines of traffic are discouraging, and he hands Sam a check. Mac finds out that Sam is being disruptive and sends Sam away. The two argue just as Kennedy addresses the nation. The power goes out, the air raid sirens sound, and the family is out to the shelter.

The family is safe, but Burt tries to make his way in. Mac grabs a shotgun and gives a warning shot. Mac’s son leaves out the back exit to protect the family and in all the confusion, sees Burt as an enemy. Mac did not shoot Burt; his son did, and Mac took the fault! Sam deescalates the situation and Burt survives.

The missiles are dismantled, and things calm down. Burt (and five others) cancel their orders but Sam gets them to go into the pool business, resulting in a successful family industry. Sam leaps …

… into being prepared for electroshock therapy. An orderly, Butch, is doing it as retribution for getting hit. Nurse Chatham is concerned about the situation in general and about the voltage in particular, especially since it should only be administered by a doctor, but Butch pulls the switch regardless just as a lightning bolt hits the area.

Stop talking to yourself: You would think that someone who made a time machine powered by a nuclear accelerator would not mind being around an atomic bomb. You would be wrong.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al knows firsthand the issue with the Cuban Missile Crisis having flown near that area when things were escalating.

Mirror images that were not his own: While taking off his gear, Sam sees Eddie in the mirror.

Brush with history: Sam very effectively tells Mac’s son, Stevie, about time travel as a coping mechanism. Stevie is not good at explaining it to his younger sister, Kimberly.

It’s a science project: With a weeks supply of food, two bedrooms, a radio and Geiger counter, this fallout shelter is pretty well stocked. There is even fallout gear for the family pet! If you want to splurge on a fallout shelter (or panic room as the modern-day equivalent) this might be the way to go.

Let’s up the rating: A protective suit is held up to Burt which is declared stylish.

One more time: “This whole Cuba thing could be a scare. What if it’s over in a few days?” “What if it’s not!”
Burt and Mac arguing about the uncertain times.

The Rainbow Treknection: Timothy Carhart is charismatic as all heck in this episode. He was pretty opposite in Redemption Part II as Christopher Hobson.

Trivial Matters: On leap in, young Kimberly Ellroy calls for Sam. She is referring to the family dog, but it is a nice bit of foreshadowing for next week.

Speaking of the family dog, Sam is amazing. Apparently, she can climb a ladder as seen when the family leaves the underground shelter.

Character actor Kurt Fuller guest stars as Burt. He has made a career out of playing quirky guys though he does dial it back a bit here.

Burt’s last name? Rosencratz.

There are some excellent uses of stock footage in this. The first is Mister Ed with Wilbur being happy he is the only person Ed talks to and Woody Woodpecker with a foreign guy welcoming someone to his house. These are fantastic metaphors for the series in general and time in particular.

The Deluxe Model costs $3,000. The Super Saver V.I.P. Discount is $2,400 of which Sam pockets one hundred and twenty.

Put right what once went wrong: “They just lobbed a bomb at New York City! It’s World War Three!” It is not often that I get to be insulting to this show. Reviews take a certain amount of reverence and respect and even a bad episode of an excellent series is better than the best episode of a mediocre one. I would not be reviewing this show if I were not a fan, but I have a profound disagreement with the stance Sam takes.

Yes, there were no nuclear missiles that landed on American soil post World War II, or at any point, but there was a danger, especially with Pearl Harbor and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sam, who is the audience surrogate, is shocked that the lengths families would go to, but these were reasonable precautions at the time. ‘Duck and cover’ was a thing even though a picnic blanket would not protect you at ground zero but they would at least provide hope. Hope was something in short supply and even if there was no attack, the danger was real, and people were allowed to be fearful. Al gives a logical retort, but Sam is beside himself, insisting on the ridiculousness of the community.

This an absolute shame because if you get rid of that, this is a fantastic episode. We think that M ac shoots Burt in all the chaos of the night, but it is Stevie. Paul Brown’s script gives Sam time to bond with the kids, Stevie in particular. Sam goes out of his way to put him at ease about everything. They have a conversation about looking back and realizing that there was no reason to be scared. This is juxtaposed with Stevie having his cap guns constantly at the ready, even when he is about to go to bed. Him picking up the rifle at the climax fits perfectly with his character because we saw him talking about beating the enemies and fighting to defend his family. Robert Hy Gorman carried a lot of narrative weight and is a joy to watch.

The acting is great all around. Fuller is controlled when he needs to be and manic when that is called for, but we saw both sides of the argument and had a good picture painted of both the family and the situation. Everyone is scared, even Mac. ‘Tell don’t show’ is a dangerous game in television, but this show can get away with it and they sold it here. Whitmore has solid direction even in the confined spaces of the shelter. The climatic sequence in the end is strong but so is the scene where Sam tries to sell to Mrs. Klingman. We see the numbers on her arm and Vernon Ray Bunch brings in the string instruments to give you the atmosphere.

There is a lot of good stuff in this hour but a lot to detract from it as well.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#560292
Shock Theater
Leap Date: October 3, 1954
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Original Air Date: May 22, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into being prepared for electroshock therapy. An orderly, Butch, is doing it as retribution for getting hit. Nurse Chatham is concerned about the situation in general and about the voltage in particular, especially since it should only be administered by a doctor, but Butch pulls the switch regardless just as a lightning bolt hits the area.

Butch and an orderly wheel Sam (asleep for four hours) back to a public area. A man, Tibby, expresses concern for Sam. He also insists that the man they brought back is not the person he is familiar with. Butch uses passive aggressiveness to quiet Tibby.

Al arrives just as Sam comes around. It turns out he leapt into Sam Beiderman, a depressive man with chemical dependencies. It dawns on Al that Sam does not remember anything about Project Quantum Leap or who he is. Head Doctor Masters comes in to examine Sam and see if the memories can come back. They do, although he remembers himself as someone he leapt into before, not as Sam Beckett.

Dr. Masters and Chatham discuss the development with Dr. Masters thinking this might be multiple personality syndrome. It also appears that Tibby can see Al, though Al tells Tibby to keep that quiet. Al finally convinces Sam to tell the staff that he is Sam Beiderman and they leave him alone. Al sees the challenge and tries to get ahold of their staff psychologist, Dr. Beeks.

Later, Al and Tibby talk. It turns out that when Tibby gets out, he is on the streets. Al tries to get Sam to help Tibby but Sam believes he is someone else. Al says that if Sam continues to switch personalities, they could lose their link. Under observation, a Rorschach test does not go well with Sam remembering multiple lives including his own. It does not help that he talks to Al, especially considering that the staff knows about Al. Things are further complicated when Sam shifts personalities again.

That night, Sam sleeps while Al put the alphabet into a rap song for Tibby. This changes the future, but Sam is unable to leap in his condition. Al brings in Dr. Beeks and explains about Project Quantum Leap. It seems that the only way to leap out if is Sam gets shocked again.

The medical staff are stumped. There is nothing in Beiderman’s history to suggest why he has multiple personality syndrome. They figure out that the constants are Al and remembering the shock. As it comes out the Butch has been abusive, Sam convinces the staff to give him another shock. They do as a bolt of lightning hits. There is a big flash as Sam and Al leap …

… into a field. Al is decked out a uniform while Sam is all in white. Also, Al can touch things while Sam can pass through them.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam does a lot of talking in this episode and he does not have time to collect his thoughts let alone create an internal monologue.

Only Sam can see and hear: This episode establishes that in addition to animals and kids, the mentally impaired can see Al. On the bright side, Tibby likes Al’s jacket.

Mirror images that were not his own: In an amazing first, we do not get to see Sam Beiderman at all in this episode. Instead, we get another glimpse of Samantha Stormer, Jesse Tyler, Jimmy LaMotta in mirrors.

It’s a science project: In the Rorschach test, Sam sees burnt chitlins, a victim of vehicular assault and the subatomic structure of a quark.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Long mentioned psychologist Dr. Beeks is seen but not heard since she is in the imaging chamber, leaving Al to translate.

One more time: “Sam, you get to use your own name this time.”
Al having a rare moment of happiness this episode.

Trivial Matters: Lee Garington gets the coveted ‘and’ along with the ‘as’ credits.

This is the only finale or premiere not written by Donald P. Bellisario. Actually, Bellisario has not credited with any episodes since the two-part season premiere. This was written by Deborah Pratt.

Sam acts like other people he has leapt into: Samantha Stormer (What Price Gloria?), Jesse Tyler (The Color of Truth), Magic Williams (The Leap Home II Vietnam), Tom Stratton (Genesis), Kid Cody (The Right Hand of God), Jimmy LaMotta (Jimmy). We also get clips of him leaping into himself from the season premiere and Kid Cody.

There is a rare production goof in this episode. After stepping into the doorway to the imaging chamber, Al’s cigar goes outside that threshold.

After an absence of more than a season, this is the third instance of more than one leap per episode as both Sam and Al leap in the end.

Put right what once went wrong: “Only a doctor can administer a shock.” “A doctor told me to do it.” Though gone out of style in recent years, one of the staples of television has been the clip show. A way to save some time and money, Trek has done it in an episode that lives in infamy. There are some clever ways to do it such as when Community wrote one but also filmed the ‘clip’ scenes. This is Quantum Leap’s take on a clip show, and it works magnificently.

Part of the joy is that, Al takes a bigger role than he would normally. Not only does he put right what once went wrong, he is the one in charge which is a nice change of pace. Plot, er, power issues keep him from being on screen at all times, but this adds to the relationship between him and Sam. It is about time for him to be in the spotlight, three episodes ago notwithstanding, and since this episode takes place in an institution, more people can interact with him. It is a great moment when he asks if anyone else can hear him and a bunch of guys wave. Stockwell more than rises to the occasion.

Other than Stockwell, the casting in this hour is great. Bruce Young is fantastic as an angry orderly with a bone to pick. He is nasty to both those in his care and his colleagues. He bites at Tibby and Nurse Chatham. It is only when he is confronted in the end by Dr. Masters that he looks to get his comeuppance. As Dr. Masters, David Proval tries to keep up with Sam’s changing personalities and keeps his patience while trying to treat Sam. Scott Lawrence has a blast as Tibby. There is a childlike innocence, but he has a lot of fun just speaking his mind. He and Stockwell are a great double act.

Bakula dials his acting up several notches, to the point where he is out of character, which is saying something for people we have not seen. Jesse Tyler seemed pretty quiet as did a lot of people he has leapt into though Bakula adds fire to that portrayal. At times he approaches them more as caricatures than as characters. This would have been a great time for him to show of the subtleties of his craft and ability and that did not come to pass. It is understandable as it is the final episode of the season, and he is a huge part in the series. It is not like they can give him a minor role a week earlier to rest up or anything. Brent Spiner found himself in a similar situation filming multiple personalities in “Masks” a week after “Thine Own Self,” another Data-centric episode.

The script of Pratt is well done for the most part. It puts Sam and an in a tough spot and brings back some of the best moments, though they are a little too centered on the first and second seasons; the only material from the third season is the clip from the season premeire. Still a very strong hour and a fantastic cliffhanger to go out on.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#560765
Quantum Leap Third Season Overview
Original Air Dates: September 25, 1990 – Mya 22 1991

This time: The third season of Quantum Leap opened with Sam leaping into his younger self and the first leap outside of the United States.  He also leapt into a woman on the verge of giving birth and had to achieve multiple divergent goals in one leap.

As a viewing audience, we had a second Halloween themed episode and a first Christmas themed episode.  Going through the eras forwards and backwards, Sam’s knowledge of science and martial arts were useful along with thinking on his feet to get out of a jam.

Through it all, he had help from Al.  The Admiral featured prominently in two episodes in the end of the season in which he helped solve a murder while Sam was incarcerated and take the lead when Sam was out of it in the season finale.  After hearing about psychologist Dr. Beeks last year, we got to see (but not hear) her this year.

Favorite fact check: From The Boogieman: As a writer, Sam has an assistant, Stevie, whose last name is King.  His car sometimes has a mind of its own.  He is interested in psychokinesis and has a dog named Cujo.  That last bit is odd since the novel was not inspired by a pet.

Favorite stop talking to yourself: From Rebel Without a Clue: Dr. Sam Beckett, brilliant physicist, defender of minorities, looks down on bikers.

Favorite only Sam can see and hear:  From The Great Spontini: In the hearing to determine custody of his leapees daughter, it would be great for Al to relay basic information about Jamie to Sam (schools attended, said daughter’s birthdate, etc.) but the wi-fi goes out and Al pretty much kills his smartphone, er handlink.  He gets a more colorful upgrade later which will continue throughout the series.

Favorite mirror images that were not his own:   From Southern Comforts: This is just plain weird.  There is a distinct musical cue for Sam when he sees himself in a reflected surface.  Here we get it when Sam looks at an oil painting of the person he leapt into.  Fortunately, we get a proper mirror shot later.

Favorite brush with history: From Leap of Faith: Upon hearing that a young boxer must miss practice due to work at a butcher shop, Sam tells him about a movie where a guy practiced on raw meat.  The young man’s locker is labeled “S. Stallone.”

Favorite something or someone: From Leap of Faith:  Despite making sure that Father John does not ruin his life by killing Tony, Sam does not leap until the next morning where he merely checks in with Father John.

Favorite it’s a science project: From Last Dance Before an Execution: Ziggy is able to reconfigure Al’s handlink to detect a bullet in the church, setting up the ending.  Pretty neat trick when you consider that he is a hologram and merely projecting light.

Favorite tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow:  From 8½ Months: In the waiting room, a very pregnant (about to deliver) Billie-Jean freaks out.  Dr. Beeks finds her too traumatized to answer questions.

Favorite let’s up the rating:  From The Leap Home: There are basketball practice and a match.  If you like your guys young and dripping with sweat, this is the episode for you.

Favorite one more time: From The Leap Home: “You don’t believe you’re here to help your family?”  “Of course I do.” “Then why are you worried about leaping if you win the game?”
A convinced Al trying to convince Sam

Favorite The Rainbow Treknection: Marc Alaimo did the first draft of Gul Dukat in Black on White on Fire.  The great James Sloyan appeared in Last Dance Before an Execution.  Kenneth Marshall had an appearance, but it did not really amount to much.

Favorite Trivial Matters:  From The Leap Home and Shock Theater:  I went back and forth on this one.  On one hand we have the premiere which had Sam pulling double duty which he got an odd credit for and featured Bakula giving us a cover of “Imagine.”  On the other hand, the finale had references to nearly a dozen prior episodes and a production goof.

Call it a draw!

Put right what once went wrong: “This is not the future, Time Cadets.  Only one man’s distorted view of it.”  The first season had an episode featuring two leaps.  The second season had an episode that was more of an Al episode than a Sam one.  The fourth season would also play around with the formula as seen in the season three finale while also featuring the only [REDACTED] and the final season would also have some episodes that broke the one-leap-per-episode rule while adding to the worldbuilding and featured celebrity leaps.

Which makes it frustrating that this season was so bog standard!

The show was still entertaining, do not get me wrong.  Every long running series will retread episodes as well as run weak episodes, but the overall lack of novelty in this season was so frustrating.  With as amazing a promise as Quantum Leap offers, there are so many possibilities out there and few were taken.

That is not to say that it was not entertaining.  There was a string of episodes that ran into eighties action movie clichés, with the requisite music and everything, but the show as still a good one to watch.  Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell are strong actors.  Come to think of it, Bakula has great chemistry with a lot of actors.  This season let him show off his dance moves and his singing ability.  This is not a show that can give one of their main characters an episode off and these two rose to the occasion.

The deviations from the norm were well done, particularly giving Stockwell a chance in the spotlight near the end of the season.  Normally unable to interact with anyone but Bakula, he was pivotal in several times during the season interacting with people when necessary, plot contrivances be damned.  Plus, he got a chance to be villainous in the Halloween episode.

Despite the lack of originality, the third Season of Quantum Leap is a good watch, and the end shows promise for those that want to tinker with the status quo.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#561326
The Leap Back
Original Air Date: September 18, 1991
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap Date: June 15, 1945

This time: Sam and Al leap into a field. Al is decked out a uniform while Sam is all in white. Also, Al can touch things while Sam can pass through them. After playing a Quantum Leap version of Who’s on First, it appears that Al has leapt and that Sam is back in the future, though in the imaging chamber seemingly unable to communicate with Gooshie or anyone else for some reason.

The local milkman, Mike, greets Al as Tom, recently returned from a POW camp, though Tom’s fiancé, Suzanne, thought he was dead and is engaged to Cliff. The two lovers are reunited, and Al somewhat mistakenly proposes marriage which is accepted. This does not sit well with Cliff who challenges Al to fisticuffs. And it does not go well for Cliff.

Without a handlink (Al’s leapt with him and Sam does not have one), Sam and Al piece things together. Sam determines that the lightning bolt causing the issue could have been read as a failure on the Project, causing it to seal itself as a failsafe. Sam has a code to override the failsafe which sounds awful lot like Back to the Future, but it works.

Sam comes back home! He has the obligatory kiss with his wife (!), hugs with Gooshie and everyone is in a jovial mood. They are loading information on 1945 into Ziggy as fast as they can, but it will take some time, meaning that Sam can take a much-deserved moment.

Ziggy determines that Tom and Suzanne drove a car off a cliff to commit suicide. That turns out to not be entirely true; Cliff staged their deaths. With Al knocked out, Ziggy determines that he will not regain consciousness until too late. Sam determines that if he leaps in, Al will leap back, Sam will stop Cliff and Ziggy will return him. Two thirds of that plan works. Sam leaps into a comic trying to keep his daughter while the project staff lament that Sam is once again lost in time.

Fact check: The local diner has to get by with only a half-pound of sugar a week. That does not sound reasonable except for the smallest of diners.

Stop talking to yourself: Because he cannot ever have anything nice, Sam weights the joys at being back home with the tragedy of being stuck in the imaging chamber. This being Al’s leap, he gets a quick aside that is apparently a monologue since his lips are not moving when we hear it.

Only Sam can see and hear: Sam has way too much fun going through objects when he is a hologram.

Mirror images that were not his own: While eating a farmers’ breakfast, Al sees Tom in a mirror.

Brush with history: Mike Tyson gets a name check but it is confusing to the locals since this leap is decades before he was born.

It’s a science project: It is never made explicitly clear if Sam and Al switched bodies or just positions but all seems to be restored at the end. The technical term is timey-wimey.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: For the second time in the series and season premiere, we spend a significant amount of time in 1999. Best of all, our visit is not limited to a courtroom. Gooshie makes an appearance after first appearing in Genesis and we see Tina, Al’s current beau. Dr. Beeks makes her second (and final) appearance after the season three finale. We hear Ziggy, voiced by writer Deborah Pratt.

Let’s up the rating: It is not entirely clear if Sam and Al literally switched places, but Sam does express a lot of amorous interest and crack innuendos. Also, when he is home, you can bet he had a visit of the conjugal nature.

One more time: “Beckett. Al Beckett.” “No, it’s Callavicci.”
Al being swiss-cheesed and Sam correcting him.

The Rainbow Treknection: Thus far, we have had some actors from The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager era shows along with a smattering of The Original Series. Mimi Kuzyk plays Donna, Sam’s wife before playing Tilly’s mother in Short Treks.

Trivial Matters: Al joins Sam for the “Oh Boy.”

This being Al’s leap and not Sam’s, this is the first of two leaps to take place outside of Sam’s lifetime, both of which require some cheating.

As an incentive to hold onto the failsafe code for half a century, Al chips in a hundred dollars. Adjusted for inflation that would be just under $1,500. That would keep me invested, pun intended.

There is no ‘preview leap’ at the end of this episode but Sam does leap near the end, so this is not an instance of more than one leap per episode.

If the thought of Sam as a stand-up comic trying to help his daughter does not sound interesting, the writers had the same thought. We do not see this adventure. The writers should have had ample time to tease the next episode, making this a missed opportunity.

Having your wife do the computers voice must be a thing. Roddenberry had Barrret do it and Bellisario was able to get his wife do it here.

There is only a skeleton crew seen when Sam comes back to the Project. The date given is September 15, 1999 which was a weekend. Guess not everyone was super eager to greet Sam upon his return. It is not like he will leap again in a couple days anyway …

Put right what once went wrong: “It’s about time you got around to me, Dr. Beckett.” I have taken this show to task when it is clear that they need another half hour or so to tell their story and that might be on display were where we spend a frustratingly short amount of time in the future. Sam coming home should be a big deal and while it is celebrated, that celebration that we see is brief. I am reminded of what Winston Churchill said, that a woman’s skirt should be long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep interest.

We see enough of the future. We see the main set for Project Quantum Leap (brilliant set design with a center council mirroring the handlink) and a few rooms. Gooshie knows a lot about the Project’s technical details. Dennis Wolfberg once again plays someone we have all seen in our tech departments. Ziggy has a good bite to her dialogue. Star Trek generally gave us very trite dialogue from the computer, but Ziggy has a lot of fun to the point where you can hear Pratt smiling as she speaks. She is not credited with her dialogue, but she is very natural when she says it, more than making up for A Portrait for Troian.

Also, Sam is married? That piece of information would make things difficult for some leaps, but Donna is understanding. Mimi Kuzyk plays this character that we will have never seen before not will ever see again. We do not spend a lot of time with her, but she is able to reconnect and a scene with Al in the end shows that she does still care for him and the their love will last. She has great chemistry with both her co-stars.

As a fan of Post World War II as timeframe, I enjoyed the leap portion of the episode. So did the writers since they covered a lot while avoiding the nastier side of things. Al gets a hero’s welcome, one guy suddenly got flat feet to avoid being shipped out, needing to reconnect. It all fits. There is also a good small-town vibe as we spend a good portion in a local diner. With so much time spent in the future, the leap itself is given short shrift but the actors pull it off, particularly milkman Mike and diner proprietress Kelly played by Douglas Roberts and Jeanine Jackson respectively. Amanda Wys gives Suzanne a few dimensions, but she is there to be both a love interest and exposition. Robert Prescott does not have much to do but get his ass kicked. There are two great plots and I wanted more from each of them though both painted a solid picture, and the cast was more than up for the chance.

Of course, Bakula and Stockwell get to have a lot of fun. Sam does have a bit much at Al’s expense but plays the role of guide well, not dwelling on being swiss cheesed but helping him fit into the leap. Pulling a switcheroo was bound to happen and these two embraced it. After three seasons they were comfortable enough to be in the others’ shoes. Stockwell played up the frustration, but you can see him enjoying himself.

You can point out some nits (not enough of the future, the leap gets short shift, how did they leap Al back exactly) but it is a great way to begin a season.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#561853
Play Ball
Original Air Date: September 25, 1991
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: August 6, 1961

This time: Sam leaps into Doc, a baseball player for the Mustangs. Doc was a major league pitcher but wound up back in the minors. The Mustang’s coach asks him to sub in for a hitter. Doc is a famed pitcher but not that great of a hitter, though Sam does almost manage a home run. A fellow player/young buck named Chucky takes a bit of a shine to Sam afterwards. It also seems as though Chucky has drinking and anger problems. Al arrives and says that Sam needs to get Doc back to the majors. On a hunch, Sam asks Al to look into Chucky.

Back at their team base, Sam sees the owner of the team, Margaret Twilly. She keeps Doc on the team in exchange for ‘favors.’ This is music to Al’s ears (once he realizes that the owner is a woman!) since Sam can be on the starting roster. An impromptu lesson from Al later and he can pitch like a pro. As good as Sam is, that is nothing compared to Chucky, though Al says Chucky gets washed out in no small part to him fooling around with team girlfriend and Twilly’s daughter, Bunny.

There is a playoff game coming up and Sam ‘finds a way’ to start. Chucky is despondent since scouts will be there. Also, Al finds Chucky’s dad, Warren. Warren walked out on the family and has no interest in rekindling things with Chucky since Warren cannot help Chucky financially any more than he could in the past. He has kept up with Chucky’s career, even going so far as to travel to games.

Needing to keep Chucky on the team, Sam sneaks into the Twilly residence to get Chucky out. Bunny catches him and anticipates some fun. Before he can talk his was out, Margaret comes in and kicks them off the team.

At the playoff game, Chucky (filled in by Bunny) tells Sam that there are no hard feelings, though he was passed out while it happened. Margaret arrives, makes a good show of the New York Yankee’s scout, and heads off to wish her team luck. Al arrives and wonders why Sam is not in uniform. It turns out that several players are pulled due to legal issues. Since they cannot play with a roster of eight, the guys are put in.

The game goes well, so well that it mimics the original history. Needing to make a difference, Sam takes himself out giving Chucky a shot. The game goes well, and Sam makes the winning catch. The scout gives him a chance and Sam gets a job as a pitching coach. Warren stops by and reunites with his son. Sam leaps …

.. into a deputy sheriff helping a woman get things together. The area is windy which makes sense for the coming hurricane.

Fact Check: Pete Rose gets a name check though this leap is a good two years before he even started to play professionally.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam talks about being ready at a moment’s notice whereupon the pitcher quickly throws a ball at him. Why this is not considered a foul is an exercise for the viewer.

Only Sam can see and hear: For the baseball episode, Al busts out his old uniform from his playing for the navy.

Mirror images that were not his own: Leaping in with a mouth full of chewing tobacco, Sam spits it into a nearby sink and sees Doc in the mirror when he looks up.

Something or someone: Sam gets to stick around for Chucky to toss him a baseball.

It’s a science project: Al gives Sam a technical lesson on how to pitch.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al tries to hide Chucky’s father from Sam but Ziggy/Gooshie keeps on sending messages to the handlink via boops and beeps.

Let’s up the rating: After seeing himself, Bunny walks in and quickly removes her dress. Later at the diner, we get a nice shot of the waitress’s bust as she goes by the camera. Finally, Margaret makes a pass at Sam. It is a triple play!

One more time: “What did dragon lady want?” “She just wanted to talk about my … performance.”
Al wanting to know what happened and Sam pulling a double entendre.

The Rainbow Treknection: Before playing Hawk in First Contact, Neil McDonough was Chucky in this episode.

Trivial Matters: For the second episode in a row this season, Sam does not say the titular phrase of this rewatch alone in the teaser. That honor goes to the bat boy who walks in on him after Bunny takes off her dress.

The mustang’s mascot is a pig (they can barely afford uniforms let alone a horse) who does a great job of getting dirty. It happens off camera during a commercial break, though the dialogue does not indicate any time passes.

Put right what once went wrong: “Can this wait until after the game?” “The United Stated Immigration Department does not wait for anything.” “But this is baseball.” “And this is a warrant.” One of the things I gave the pilot, Genesis, a lot of flack for was giving the baseball plot a short shrift with twenty paltry minutes. Just like The Next Generation took the time to build on the first season for their fourth season (revisiting Lore, The Traveler, etc.) so did Quantum Leap.

The writing is a hodgepodge of what we have seen before. Sam getting seduced, absent parent deciding to be more involved, pretty much the entire portion of the plot from the pilot expanded upon with the exception of Sam telling Al that Chucky reminds him of a young Al. There is not much new here, though there is a good scene helping to see that Sam was both the driving force for the project and saw something in Al. It takes a certain guy to keep going through time and Sam is that guy.

That is not to say that the wiring is not sharp. Margaret has a lot of innuendos and some of the fans are rowdy. There is a good amount of filler, but it is good filler. We have a diner scene early on which establishes the bond Chucky and Sam will have along with the problems Chucky has to face. One thinks that they may have needed to fill the page, but it is done well.

Thankfully, the acting lives up to the words on the page. McDonough shows why he would go on to be in the genre, even expanding to shows like Desperate Housewives. He is a young guy with everything to prove but no opportunity to take advantage of it. Casey Ander is the dad who watches from afar and is the best portrayal in that role since James Whitmore Jr. You can see him wanting to be with his son while being forced to retrain himself. It does hurt when Sam says that newspaper clippings and picture are not the same as knowing your son. It is telling in the end when the two reunite and it is not outwardly stated that they are related. McDonough and Ander play that moment well. Courtney Gerhart is perfectly flirty as Bunny and Maree Cheatham plays al older southern seductress well as Margaret. Sam sits in her office, and she just calmly cleans off the desk to get ready. Don Stroud yells at people for the hour as Coach and is having a blast.

I did not think I would have so much praise to put onto this episode before putting my thoughts down, but this is a much more enjoyable episode than what I originally thought.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#562293
Hurricane
Original Air date: October 2, 1991
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap Date: August 17, 1969

This time: Sam leaps into a deputy sheriff helping a woman get things together. The area is windy which makes sense for the coming hurricane. As Archie, he and Nurse/girlfriend Cissy Davis are helping people evacuate. Their first evacuee is Lisa, an old flame of Archie’s.

Next on the agenda is a pretty bitching party. Well, as bitching as middle-aged extras and standards/practices will allow. Said partiers are not going to leave, so the duo goes to the next item on the list, a safe house. Al arrives and says that Davis will be killed by debris later that night. They have a time and location, so all Sam needs to do is keep her away at that exact moment.

Lisa comes to the safe house hoping to rekindle things, but Sam shoots her down and she leaves with Sam wondering if she would have been safer there. Several people come to the safe house, including Joe, one of Davis’ more violent exes. Sam keeps them apart by going to the party. He is able to get people out of the party with his words, and a few shots from his gun in the air.

Lisa comes back to the safe house and menaces Davis with a knife. They struggle until Davis is knocked unconscious. Lisa grabs a knife, but Sam stops her. Hurricane Camille passes by. Lisa gets the help she needs, Davis goes to school and becomes a therapist. Sam leaps …

… into someone being inducted into the Klan.

Fact check: One person at the safe house wonders how they can harness the power of wind. That is a great idea, already implemented millennia earlier with windmills.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam enjoys being in a hurricane since it reminds him of the unpredictability of leaping. Personally, I can admire unpredictability away from hurricanes.

Only Sam can see and hear: Sam and Davis are … busy in the closet and Sam shuts the door for privacy, at which point Al forgets he is a hologram and can poke his head through the door.

Mirror images that were not his own: We get the ‘mirror jingle’ when Davis momentarily sees Sam’s real eyes. Something similar happens at the bitching party before we get a proper look at a mirror.

It’s a science project: The time of Davis’ death is known because her clock stopped at 10:30. Oddly enough, even after the location changes her time of death does not.

Let’s up the rating: While not stated outright, Davis seems to consider hurricanes an aphrodisiac.

One more time: “Her? Who her? Why didn’t you tell me there was another in this relationship?”
Al getting caught not reading the script.

Trivial Matters: Someone must like disaster porn. There is a lot in this episode, including ones that do not match the location, or even description of dialogue.

A pre-24 James Morrison appears as Joe.

Put right what once went wrong: “Arch, put your clothes on and get out of the back seat, ten-four.” With a story by two writers, this feels like someone wanted to do a love triangle when someone else wanted to do a hurricane story and they just mashed the two together. Amazingly enough, it works.

Through practical effects and stock footage, they sell the disaster aspect pretty well. We have the power going out and a bunch of people going to a local port in the storm. It is a fun way to make it into a bit of a farce, but other than an older couple that smacks wise every now and then, this is not really touched upon. Plus, Sam gets to break up a party with a gun, though by that point the power is out, and the party is pretty much over.

The writing also holds up with the logistics. There are just enough characters who are given just enough screen time to not overload, or bore, us. Joe is there for as long as he needs to be, and Lisa comes back only twice. The location of the death changes and you can see pieces falling into place. In the chaos of a natural disaster, you can see everything as it whirls around.

Like any good love triangle, much rides on the guest stars and there are two prominently featured here. Tracy Kolis does not show her hand in the early scenes and is perfectly natural. The scale does not tip until her final scene and it is dawning on both the audience and Al that Lisa is the killer. Usually, it helps a story when there is a clue or two leading up to the revelation but that was not needed here.

Marilyn Jones is fantastic as Davis. She knows when to go out and help people along with when to make out with Archie. Their relationship is kind of an open secret, but she is effective. She has good chemistry with both Bakula and Kolis to make for an all-around entertaining hour.
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