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.