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
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
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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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Original Air Date: October 9, 1991
Written by: Toni Graphia
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Leap Date: May 11, 1965

This time: Sam leaps into someone being inducted into the Klan. Specifically, Sam has leapt into Clyde whose main motivation for joining was to get closer to his father-in-law, Gene. Clyde’s wife, Lilly, is ecstatic. Their son, Cody is parroting what he hears, including slurs for Ada, the family’s African American housekeeper.

Sam and Gene go to the courthouse where Ada’s son, Nathaniel, brings in a citizen for voter registration. Sam is willing but Gene excuses them, reminding Sam of the oath. Forced to take the wrong side, Nathaniel has harsh words for Sam, especially since Clyde asked Nathaniel to come down and register. Al arrives and says that Nathaniel is going to be hung.

Sam teaches Cody to shoot, and they have some good bonding time. Lilly interrupts, dismissing Cody and talking to Sam about that racist language being a thing of the past. Their discussion is interrupted by Gene for the ‘hunting club,’ code for lynching Nathaniel per Al. It turns out the group is throwing a party for Clyde’s one day anniversary, though it quickly turns deadly when they find out about a demonstration led by Nathaniel.

Sam makes an excuse to get his gun but instead intercepts the protesters. They are insistent at having a peaceful march but for the armaments of the other group. Back at home, Sam has a talk with Lilly, but Gene arrives wondering where Sam and the protesters were. They have placed a bomb at a church where choral practice, including kids, is occurring.

Sam is tied up but breaks free though not in time to save the kids. Thankfully, Al clears the building, courtesy of the kids. The empty church blows up, but the groups confront each other. Nathaniel is put in a noose, but Sam arrives and puts himself in a noose as well. Some in the crowd are ready to hang them both, but not Gene. They are not entirely moved by Sam’s speech but let both live. Per Al, Nathaniel becomes a mayor. Sam leaps …

… into a hair stylist. A young man, Kyle asks to go for some candy. After getting approval, a woman comes around asking about him when there are gunshots.

Stop talking to yourself: There is an odd dichotomy as Sam realizes that he likes the guys but hates what they stand for.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al serves as a calming force for Sam, especially as they try to figure out why Sam is there.

Mirror images that were not his own: Finally getting a moment to himself, Sam sees Clyde in a rear-view mirror.

Brush with history: There is no way Sam can take credit for this but the Voting Rights Act of 1965 gets a name check along with Lyndon B. Johnson.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: In the Waiting Room, Clyde recites the oath ad nauseum.

Let’s up the rating: Lilly is all over Clyde after the induction.

One more time: “That’s an angel.” “Not with those clothes.”
Two kids at choir practice giving Al grief. From the mouths of babes …

The Rainbow Treknection: Glenn Morshower is best known for Agent Price in 24 but was a transporter operator before that and on Quantum Leap as Tom, one of Clyde’s buddies before either. We also have Fleet Admiral Shanti herself, the late great Fran Bennett, as Ada in the middle of her three Quantum Leap roles.

This is the sole Quantum Leap directing credit to Rob Bowman. He has done a lot in the business including a baker’s dozen episodes of The Next Generation.

Trivial Matter: There is a bit of a goof in this episode. Early on, Al opens the waiting imaging chamber door, and it closes behind him without him stepping back.

Put right what once went wrong: “We will march.” “I know that.” “And we will win.” “I know that, too.” I have no clue if this episode could have been made today. You have robes. Ethnic slurs. A lynching. At times it is shocking what shows got away with back in the day. Was the network censor off for the week?

This series has never shied away from racial issues. Back in the first season we saw same leap into an African American and since he has walked in other people’s shoes. This episode showed us the other side of that welcoming diversity coin.

There are a lot of ways this could have gone wrong. The ‘hunting club’ wants to have racial supremacy but they are also guys that just like to hang out every now and again. Right after the initiation they have a picnic. One guy needs help clearing his yard, so the guys make arrangements to help out. If you were just listening, you would not find it shocking.

Director Rob Bowman made sure that we saw the robes during those moments. It is not just with the adults either. There is a scene where Cody gets ahold of the mask and Sam is furious. Lilly is kind of in the middle of it all but goes along with her father and tries to get Sam as well. Lisa Waltz and Jacob Gelman have great performances away from the madness. Noble Willingham is fantastic as Gene both being a leader while also trying to keep his son-in-law in line.

Fran Bennett is great as Ada. She has age on her side and is willing to shrug off the prevalent attitude. Less so is Michael Beach, trying to do what he can but not letting people get hurt though that character is stuck in one mode.

This is another great episode to watch. While it does put a face on hate, we are reminded that they were willing to lynch their friend and blow up a church knowing there were kids inside. Few shows would go there, much less in prime time. Trek would have to put a sci-fi twist on the lesson but here it is front and center.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Permanent Wave
Original Air Date: October 16, 1991
Written by: Beverly Bridges
Directed by: Scott Bakula
Leap Date: June 2, 1983

This time: Sam leaps into a hair stylist. A young man, Kyle asks to go for some candy. After getting approval, a woman comes around asking about him when there are gunshots. Sam goes to the candy store (How he knew where it was is an exercise for the viewer) and tends to Kyle though not before the proprietor is shot. Worried mother Laura is on the scene, making sure Kyle is all right. She admonishes Frank, Sam’s leapee, for letting Kyle go off alone.

A detective named Ward investigates the scene and gets some information from Sam. Kyle is not around but they exchange contact information, including Ward’s home number. As Laura puts Kyle to bed, Al says that Laura is also killed, and Kyle disappears. It seems that Laura is a former mob wife and does not want Kyle too out in the open.

Sam decides that if he can get a description from Kyle, he can report to Ward under the guise of “Oh, I suddenly remembered.” It goes well as Kyle remembers something about ‘junkie money’ before Laura comes back. That is enough for Al and Sam to figure out that the pharmacist was into drugs. He reports to Ward, but the detective insists on talking to Kyle, even if Laura is present.

Later, their friend/co-worker Chloe comes to look over samples. Soon, someone shoots up the group. Laura goes off to get help and Sam once again asks Kyle about the gunman. There is not much to go on as Kyle just saw the shoes which had money in them.

Laura runs off to Frank’s cabin with Kyle. Sam finds out and calls Ward, though he is unavailable as a woman called him a few minutes ago. Sam and Chloe are off. Al checks in on Ward and determines that Ward was the killer. At the cabin, a chase ensues ending up with Ward holding a gun on Sam and Kyle. Ward is shot by Chloe (!), who was behind the whole scheme. Sam takes her out. Kyle becomes a medal winning swimmer. Frank and Laura marry. Sam leaps …

… into a hospital bed. It becomes clear that he is a woman as an officer, Shumway, wants to ask ‘her’ some questions. Sam bemoans being a woman ‘again,’ prompting Shumway to ask if she has been raped before.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam wonders why he leaped into Frank in the salon if the candy shop salesman died in the pharmacy.

Only Sam can see and hear: Usually an expert in what Sam does, Al is not especially useful in the art of eighties hair.

Mirror images that were not his own: After a shooting, awkward interrogation and bedtime story, Sam earns a look at Maury Lipschitz, A.K.A Frank Bianca.

Something or someone: Technically Kyle became a better swimmer by Sam sticking around after saving everyone but there is not much for him to do after making sure mother and son are all right.

It’s a science project: Knowing nothing about hair products, Sam pretty much mixes stuff together and hopes for the best. Good thing randomly mixing chemicals has never has any negative consequences of any kind. It is not like they have labels with instructions or anything ….

Let’s up the rating: Being a male hairstylist is sexy. Women are all over Frank in the salon.

One more time: “It’s going to make it hell getting prescription refills.”
Al being a master of the obvious at the crime scene

The Rainbow Treknection: After appearing as Detective Ward, Harry Groener guest starred with Bakula again in Star Trek: Enterprise as Nathan Samuels.

Trivial Matters: Young Kyle is played by Gordon Joseph-Levitt. He would alter appear on Third Rock From the Sun as young Tommy, The Dark Knight Rises as a younger version of Robin and in Looper as a young version of Bruce Willis.

This is the first episode directed by series star Scott Bakula.

Needing to entertain Kyle, Sam reenacts an episode of Captain Galaxy, though this time, he is not Future Boy.

Sam expresses some reciprocated sexy thoughts with his clients, to the point where Al wonders if some of Al is still in Sam from the season opener.

Put right what once went wrong: “Do you mind if I talk to him?” “No, that would be fine.” “Can you tell me where he is, please?” It is clear that Scott Bakula is a fantastic actor. He is put through a lifetime of dream roles every season with multitudes of actors from various backgrounds. He has also displayed his singing skills on more than one occasion. No doubt that Bakula is a great guy and a strong male lead.

Directing is not his forte. Do not get me wrong, the directing goes pretty well in this episode, but there is nothing amazing about it. It is just that there are no super awesome shots or amazing performances in this hour.

The performances work, though. Harry Groener plays Ward with a bit of an asshole streak, though he is frustrated by the fact that Sam knows nothing due to leaping in. Their back and forth at the top of the episode is fun to watch as Ward tries to figure things out. Lela Ivey’s Chloe does not let up that she is the culprit but is not convincing as one either. Give us a clue, here or there. She does have a fun scene where she responds to Sam while he is talking to Al. The writers and actors love those scenes. Doran Clark and Joseph Gordan-Levitt are good as Laura and Kyle.

This is a pretty good hour but not entirely worth the time it took out of Bakula. The requisite eighties action scene goes off well, and there is a cool sequence where Kyle sneaks through the doggie door and Ward grabs his foot, but resources could have been better spent elsewhere.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Last week, Dave Hines passed away. As Head Moderator, he had many duties but there was some involvement in this blog. After getting started, it quickly became apparent that there would be controversial issues with this series. An early episode dealt with Sam leaping into an elderly African American and another had him leaping into a woman. Things could have gotten testy, and I worked with Dave just in case things got out of hand. They did not but Dave was at the ready in case they did. This entry is dedicated to his memory.

Original Air Date: October 30, 1991
Written by: Beverly Bridges
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap Date: June 20, 1980

This time: Sam leaps into a hospital bed. It becomes clear that he is a woman as an officer, Shumway, wants to ask ‘her’ some questions. Sam bemoans being a woman ‘again,’ prompting Shumway to ask if she has been raped before. Shumway asks more questions of Katie, Sam’s leapee, but there are few details. Thankfully, Katie’s sister, Libby is there. The perpetrator is Kevin, one with a prominent reputation in the community. Sam presses charges.

At home, Sam has the support of his parents, but Libby points out that it will be an uphill battle. Al arrives and says that Kevin was not charged in the original history. At the District Attorney’s office, Shumway introduces Sam to Nancy Hudson who takes the case but tells Sam that it will not be an easy conviction.

At dinner in a local establishment, they read the horribly biased article and get all sorts of nasty looks along with outright accusations to blame Katie. As the trial gets ready to start, Sam is worried that he will have to testify. Al looks into helping Katie to open up and also looking into some other notes from a therapist Katie confided in months later.

First on the stand is Paula, Kevin’s fiancé. She testifies to an argument earlier on the night in question but not that Kevin hit her. The next witness is Kevin himself, who testifies that he had sex with Katie but that it was entirely consensual. He claims that she tripped over a rock to explain the injuries but that does not cover everything. Hudson calls Sam to testify but Sam is not ready. At Al’s suggestion, he faints but that will only last for the day. He tasks Al with finding a way to get Katie to talk directly to Sam in the Imaging Chamber. Thankfully, they do figure out a way to do so as Katie tells the court what happened.

We smash cut to Kevin being found not guilty. The press has questions and Hudson is sorry for the family as well, but Sam does not want to move on, provoking memories from Hudson. That night, Kevin approaches Sam and again tries to be abusive, though Sam is prepared. The commotion brings the family who sees the aftermath and is willing to press further charges. Sam leaps …

… into a space shuttle cockpit counting down to launch.

Stop talking to yourself: It does look hopeless without Katie to testify but the big draw here is not Sam’s monologue, it is Katie’s in which she provides the firsthand account of a very horrible event.

Only Sam can see and hear: I takes Al longer than usual to get to Sam because Katie was fairly traumatized and that was before leaping out. Dr. Beeks is putting in overtime.

Mirror images that were not his own: After being asked if this happened before, Sam gets a good look at a somewhat battered Katie McBain. We get a good five shots of Katie in the mirror before she testifies.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al and Ziggy find out how to get Katie to speak to Sam in the trial, though if takes enough electricity to power St. Louis for a month.

One more time: “You talk like I’m the one on trial here.” “You are.” “But he’s the rapist.” “Not according to him and not according to the people of this town and the jury will come from people in this town.”
Sam and Nancy discussing the uphill battle.

Trivial Matter: In a nice touch, Sam is not battered in the start of the episode., though Kate is. We will see her more often in this episode as things progress, but she does heal as you would expect through the normal passage of time. Though in the climactic fight, Sam does retain bruising.

Put right what once went wrong: “This happens to people in movies, not my sister.” This was written before Hallmark Movies were a thing when after school specials and “Very Special Episodes” were. If not for a few dings this is an episode I would be very tempted to call required viewing.

Deborah Pratt became one of my favorite writers a while ago, but Beverly Bridges makes a mark for herself here. There are a lot of things that work in this here especially with selling the feeling of small towns. Word spreads fast and this is before the internet. We see the family being seated in the back of a restaurant and we hear a couple guys taking Kevin’s side shortly thereafter. Even outside of that, we have the church firing Katie from Sunday School and an asshole who calls the family at home. The Detective and District Attorney have fantastic banter. The trial is the highlight of all this but that does not even start until almost the halfway mark.

Credit also goes to regular director Mark Zinberg for getting amazing performances out of the cast. This is uncomfortable material that happens all too often when you least suspect, but the actors know the weight that they carry. Shots are well executed but the pacing works as well, particularly with the parties exiting the court right after Katie testifies. There’s no need to go through anything else, we get Kevin loudly celebrating his victory in the hallway.

Matthew Seeehan plays Kevin as a total asshole, coming to the hospital to check on Katie after the incident, trying to bribe her with jewelry and going so far as playing the victim with the charge being on his permanent record. Eugene Lee is great as Shumway playing him with a calm understanding yet being able to support a victim. He offers his fishing rod as collateral to Penny Peyser’s Hudson who wonders what she will do with it. We also learn that Hudson is a victim herself which explains why she took up a case that she knew would be difficult to win, an issue for a District Attorney. Arthur Rosenberg does not have much to do beyond being a supportive father, but Nancy Leneham is able to add some dimensions offering cookies and milk when there is little more to do, though Sam takes it as a reconciliatory show of support. Amy Ryan’s Libby is not too involved but is a good sister who is crucial in the opening scene, particularly as the one Katie calls for help. The script has all these great little moments that add to the realism and help the characters be more than the sum of their parts.

Cheryl Pollack steals the show as Katie. Early on we see Katie a lot in mirror shots to help put a face to the cause. When she goes into a monologue, it feels nature and we are accustomed to her. Normally the leapee is seen in the mirror and then forgotten about, to the point where staff members frequently use them for a cameo. Here, she has multiple appearances including addressing the audience directly. Her firsthand account of the brutal event is raw, and she has enough emotion to not oversell it. The camera slowly zooms in and Bakula’s voice fades as she bares her soul.

It is not all perfect. Not that Kevin is undeserving but having him get beaten in the end perpetuates the myth that you can solve problems with violence. While Katie’s parents were supportive here that is not always the case but that is a matter for another time and does not distract from an otherwise stellar hour.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
The Wrong Stuff
Leap Date: January 24, 1961
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Original Air Date: November 6, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into a space shuttle cockpit counting down to launch. With his vitals all over the place, the mission is aborted. It is revealed that Sam was in a simulator. He is led away from it where he is disrobed down to a diaper and finds out that he has leaped into a Bobo, chimp. His main handler is chimp veterinarian Dr. Leslie Ashton, under the supervision of Dr. Tucker. Dr. Frank Winger is introduced as a neurologist. Per Al, in the next couple of days, there are two selected to go into space and Sam has to be one of them so that he does not get forgotten by history.

The next morning, Dr. Winger flirts with Dr. Ashton hard. She politely declines (and hopefully reports him to Human Resources!) as the two talk about their careers. Things do not go well as Sam is put in a chair for a test. Given no instructions (and not liking the treat), nuclear scientist and pioneer of time travel Dr. Beckett does not do well. Al looks into the records and finds out that originally, Bobo dies of massive head trauma. With Sam, they find out that Dr. Wigner is working on effects of head trauma by using chimps.

Sam’s ‘girlfriend’ Corey is taken to do tests by Dr. Winger, infuriating Dr. Ashton. She confronts him and they have a ‘measuring’ contest. Dr. Ashton tries to keep her chimps safe, but Dr. Tucker authorized the testing. Soon, Sam is tranquilized and taken for testing. He is able to free himself before being hit by five thousand pounds of pressure. He takes Corey and they make their escape holding Dr. Winger and crew at bay with a tranquilizer gun. Why they only have one is an exercise for the viewer as is why they are all worried about one non-lethal weapon with only one bullet.

In the chaos of The Great Ape Escape (a title not copywritten for some reason), Dr. Winger falls into a river but is saved by Sam, to the amazement of the doctors as chimps cannot swim. Dr. Wigner stops testing on chimps, Dr. Ashton has an excellent career and Corey has a baby with Bobo. Sam leaps …

… into Jack Stone, a cop, investigating a home with his partner, Pamela Roselli. He finds a grisly murder scene.

Stop talking to yourself: Accompanied by stock footage of disastrous space flights, Sam gives a lesson in early American space flight that you probably did not get in history class. Also, life as a chimp is not as bad as you might think.

Only Sam can see and hear: Sam gets the brilliant idea to write a note so that the scientists know he is a person. Al says that is a great way to get his brain dissected. Plus, Al was part of the Apollo program.

Mirror images that were not his own: Stripped down to a diaper and called Bobo, Sam looks in the mirror and sees a chimp. The leapee effect is well done, considering.

Brush with history: John Glenn gets a name check as Dr. Ashton hopes that Bobo beats him to space. Not to be outdone, Dr. Winger name drops Chuck Yeager.

Something or someone: After saving Dr. Wigner, Sam gets to stick around to see Corey shoot him in the behind with a tranquilizer dart.

It’s a science project: A light-based test with electroshocks, an equilibrium test and a centrifuge; Sam gets put through a lot of testing in this episode.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: We are denied seeing Scott Bakula pretend to be a chimp in the Waiting Room!

Let’s up the rating: Sam spends most of this episode in a diaper. It would be less, but Sam draws the line at that. Given that this episode lasts multiple days, one hopes that he does change it at some point.

Oh, and most of the chimps have tags numbered in the sixties. Director Joe Napolitano made sure we saw the one with 69!

One more time: “How are you doing today, Bobo?” “Pretty miserable. Yourself?”
Sam and Dr. Tucker exchanging morning pleasantries with the former having the smarm usually associated with Al.

Trivial Matters: The title spoofs the classic film, The Right Stuff, about early spaceflights. It was remade as a miniseries in 2020.

The teaser in the aired episode has more material than it did in the preview a week prior. Here, we see the control room and the scientists working while monitoring Sam’s bio signs.

Disneyland’s Teacups get a name check as Al “spilled his cookies” on them.

This is the only episode where Sam does not leap into a person.

Dr. Ashton is played by Caroline Goodall. There could very well be some relationship to the famed Dr. Jane Goodall but I am unable to confirm.

Put right what once went wrong: “If you want to study human head trauma, study it in a human.” “Well, that would be irresponsible.” The chimp episode. You will either love it or hate it, but it is memorable, not just for opening possibilities not fully explored as one wonders how the goldfish episode would turn out.

It works amazingly well. Sam is able to remark on things usually reserved for Al, allowing Bakula to show off his comedic chops. Usually, Sam has to hold it in or wait for Al, and then probably talk in hushed tones, but this week he has a lot of snark. Speaking of which, Stockwell has a little more to do in this hour as the only person that can have meaningful communication with Sam. This is one of the few instances where they can pretty much talk freely for the entirety of the episode.

I love how an actual astronaut has no idea how to complete any of the tests. As with his first leap into an African American and a woman, we get to see Sam adjust.

The other humans in the cast are well acted. As Dr. Ashton, Caroline Goodall plays a caring compassionate doctor caring for her simian patients. She knows that Corey and Bobo will get it on, Bobo’s favorite treat, etc. Best of all, she does not have to look at their tags to know that Cathy is in Corey’s cage. As the time goes by it becomes clear she is truly at comfortable around primates while doing her work.

Gary Swanson does have evil villain moments but also gets to present the other side of the case. This was years before test dummies were anywhere as good as we saw on Mythbusters and he does show his work. It is great to show dimensionality. Albert Stratten plays Dr. Tucker as the adult in the room, supervising and moderating disputes.

Not something that should be overused but this is a good hour. It showed that the rules of the series could be stretched to tell a greater variety of stories, and we would see that down the road but not to this extent.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Anita W. Addison
Leap Date: February 28, 1979
Original Air Date: November 13, 1991

This time: Sam leaps into Jack Stone, a cop, investigating a home with his partner, Pamela Roselli. He finds a grisly murder scene. He hears a voice and finds two small children in hiding. The victim is Paula Decaro and her ex-husband, Peter, wants to talk to her before he kills himself. Sam talks him down to calmness and backup arrives for the arrest.

Sam’s attention is drawn to a door which seems to trigger a flashback to another door with a different victim. Al arrives but does not have much since all they can determine is that he is to save Peter, which he did. Sam and Al talking attracts the attention of Roselli who, along with Al, expresses concern for an aloof Sam.

On the drive home, Al says that Peter will get the chair for murder but not the murder of Paula, the murder of Jack Stone in two days. Sam believes he will die after getting a vision. That night, Sam dreams about running into a bloodied version of himself. To Al, he remembers when they switched places in the season premiere and ruminates that some part of Stone is in him. He tasks Al and Dr. Beeks to find out what is going on with Stone, though that can take days.

At the scene, Roselli and Sam try to piece things together. The victim’s heart is missing for one and Peter is seeing Mason Crane, noted psychologist. Apparently, Peter called for Dr. Crane before his lawyer. Sam meets with Dr. Crane making an appointment but not mentioning he is a cop. He breaks into Dr. Crane’s office at Al’s urging unknowingly under the watch of the departing Dr. Crane. They discover that Dr. Crane was seeing both Paula and Peter at the same time.

In session with Dr. Crane, it is quickly revealed that Sam is a cop. Also, Paula was planning on leaving Peter. Dr. Crane then puts Sam under a slight hypnosis where Sam mentions his issue with the door. Al interrupts the session saying that Jack was the one having an affair with Paula, proved by phone records between the two. Not sure who the murderer is, Sam goes back to the boy, though all he gets is gloves.

Back at the house, Dr. Crane helps Sam remember the details of Stone’s past. Sam recalls a young Stone coming home to find his mother dead. Young Stone walked in on the autopsy, causing some trauma. Sam figures out that Dr. Crane murdered Paula. Dr. Crane confesses and tries to convince Sam to commit suicide. Sam snaps out of it and shoots Dr. Crane. Sam leaps …

… into a car going into West Bend, Texas. As Billy Beaumont he is returning to his hometown to end a drought and make it rain.

Stop talking to yourself: Mustering up the courage to confront a killer, Sam takes a few moments to adjust. This is memorable because Bakula says it while he is onscreen. Usually it is in an act/scene break over a wide ore stablishing shot.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is a stalwart friend in this making sure that Sam keeps mental distance from Stone.

Mirror images that were not his own: Shortly after getting his bearings, Sam gets a look at Stone in the hallway mirror.

Something or someone: For all the grief I give this series about Sam sticking around for no real good reason whatsoever, Sam leaps almost immediately after shooting Dr. Crane.

It’s a science project: The missing heart is not in the original coroner’s report. Which is a really big omission.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Stone is pretty regular in the Waiting Room.

Let’s up the rating: Roselli and Jack/Sam have a dinner together. She is in a stunning dress and lets her hair down but is not overly flirtatious.

One more time: “Hello, Sam. What channel are you tuned into. … Oh, Jeez Louise!”
Al wondering why Sam seems so out of it, then finding out why.

The Rainbow Treknection: Alan Scarfe was on The Next Generation twice as Dr. Mendak and Tokath, both Romulans unlike the human Dr. Crane. He may be familiar to some as Dr. Talmadge from the U.PN. series Seven Days.

Trivial Matter: A psychologist named Dr. Crane in the nineties? That has to be a Cheers/Fraiser reference.

Put right what once went wrong: “The little boy is in shock. She’s scared to death.” There are several messes in this episode, not way around it. The biggest offense is one that they try and write their way around, forcing Sam to have the psychology of his leapee. This has not happened in the over sixty stories we have seen. They try and handwave that inconvenience with reminding us that Sam got a bit of Al in the season premiere, but that does not really cut it since those were extenuating circumstances.

That is not the only problem. The coroner omitting the missing heart is beyond reprehensible. It is also an amazing coincidence that Dr. Crane killed Stone’s mother and Paula. This is decades later; did he murder no one else in the interim? We are led to believe that Dr. Crane is a high-profile psychologist, but Sam can easily sneak into his office. The sneaking is under the watchful eye of Dr. Crane who just drives off for some reason. Plus, seeing the husband and wife separately without the other knowing violates several rules and ethics. The script keeps mentioning Peter Decaro but he is seen just in the opening.

Even the acting cannot save this episode. Bakula goes into nine-year-old boy mode which does not work on a audio-visual level. I get that he is reliving trauma, but it is not a good look. Trauma is a real thing that can cause someone to regress, even a fully grown normally adjusted adult but this does not really translate to the screen or make for compelling viewing while slowing things down to a crawl.

Joycelyn O'Brien fills in a similar role to Al as Roselli and while there are some touching scenes with her partner, she is pretty bland. Alan Scarfe has played roles with nobility, but here, he is more distant than anything as Dr. Crane though he does portray a certain menacing calmness.

A rare misfire for Deborah Pratt. The direction of Anita Addison goes for a Twin Peaks vibe, particularly with the flashbacks, but ends up missing the mark.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
A Single Drop of Rain
Original Air Date: November 20, 1991
Story by : Richard C. Okie & Donald P. Bellisario & Ralph Meyering, Jr.
Teleplay by : Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Virgil W. Vogel
Leap Date: September 7, 1953

This time: Sam leaps into a car going to West Bend, Texas. As Billy Beaumont, he is returning to his hometown to end a drought and make it rain. Most everyone is excited to see Billy along with the prospect of rain. One skeptic in the audience is Ralph, Billy’s brother. Nonetheless, Sam, and his partner, Clinton, promise rain. Al arrives and says that it will not for months.

At a family dinner that night, Ralph is still grumpy at Billy who did not come back to town for their father’s funeral seven years earlier. Ralph’s wife, Annie and the Beaumont mother, Grace are happy to reminisce. Later, Annie recounts how she and Ralph are drifting apart, something not helped by the short but amazing-to-Annie short lived romance the two shared.

The townspeople are all ready to pay the two hundred and fifty dollar per person (over two thousand dollars today adjusted for inflation) cover charge each to make it rain. Sam organizes a party to get ready including a cannon firing and a large picnic. Al arrives with news that the rain is still not scheduled to change. Also, when Billy originally left, he took Annie with him.

The town congregates for the event and Sam fumbles through the routine after Clinton not being much help because of the hundred times they have worked together, Billy has never done it the same twice. After shooing them off, Al helps Sam further stumble through making a liquid concoction to seed the clouds.

The party goes off well, despite Ralph trying to break to mood, and Annie threatening to leave. Clinton wonders why they have not left per their usual modus operandi. The two have a moment as Clinton recounts how Billy brought him out of the gutter.

Later that night, Annie tries to make good on her threat to leave. Sam makes progress with getting her to stay but Ralph walks in at the wrong time and comes to the wrong assumption. The brothers have a fistfight where Ralph admits his love for Annie. Husband and wife reconnect just as rain begins to fall. The town rejoices and the family is reunited. Sam leaps …

... into a prison convoy. He and the person he is chained to jump out the back of the truck and make their escape.

Stop talking to yourself: This is another episode without narration by Sam.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al and Sam have a large argument about being able to control the weather, or at least create precipitation of some form. Oddly enough, throughout the conversation they both have traits of a skeptic and optimist.

Mirror images that were not his own: After being warmly greeted by everyone and a hug from his momma, Sam gets a look at the handsome Billy.

Brush with history: Pushing weather to the back of his mind, Sam helps a wheelchair bound townsperson with getting in and out of the store since there is no ramp.

Something or someone: With the family reunited and the rain starting, Sam has to promise to stay in town before he can leap.

It’s a science project: Silver iodide can be used to make it rain as evidenced in this episode.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Apparently a Cholesterol Control Act comes out at some point, probably to manage cholesterol levels. As of this writing there is no such mandate.

Let’s up the rating: Lots of folks are happy to see Billy return. A woman named Velma is perhaps the most excited to see him. In that way.

One more time: “Ziggy says it’s not going to rain for some time.” “How long is some time?” “Eight months, one week, four days two hours and forty-four minutes.”
Al relaying information, Sam asking for clarification and Al getting into his inner Spock.

Trivial Matters: When Al first appears, he is on a porch not level with Sam. It helps with the framing of the shot but usually they are on the same plane and Al needs to adjust his ‘height.’

There is a scene where Al and Sam discuss the virtues of weather when they are interrupted by Annie. We get the sound effect of the imaging chamber door opening but are not certain if they just added that in as Al did not really have much to do for the rest of the scene.

Put right what once went wrong: “By the time Billy was done, you couldn’t tell Main Street from the Mississippi!” Every now and then you come across an episode which, though otherwise enjoyable, has huge plot holes. Take Voyager’s The Swarm which has to invent a way for The Doctor to have his hard drive crash and then that problem never come up again.

This episode is built on Dr. Beaumont he is all but outright stated to be a fraud. There are successes upon which they can hang their laurels, but those are a sales pitch, and the pair typically leave town after providing services. Al does not predict rain even after the clouds are seeded. Usually, he can tell when history changes but in this case he does not. For that matter in all the hundreds of times they have done this con has no one held them at gunpoint until the rain comes. The price tag is hefty enough that they should have some sort of assurances.

The episode would like us to believe that Billy is a fraud making us wonder why he came back to his hometown in the first place. If he does, this would ruin his reputation and get his family in trouble. It does work out in the end but that is in defiance of the picture the rest of the episode portrayed. Also, what does Billy do at home? He has a successful business so why not come home more often?

Moving past the plot holes, good acting can elevate an episode to watchable. One purported highlight would be the brothers getting into a fight. Echoes from The Next Generation’s Family abound, but the reason for that success is that the two brothers laughed over a bottle of wine afterwards. Here we do not have much time since the episode is, well, running out of time. It is very well choreographed with Patrick Masset taking the busted railing and trying to hit Sam with it (!) but the follow-up is not a whole lot to take in for the aftermath.

The townsfolk do a great job of selling their situation. A man who cannot pay three cents for a staple forks over a lot of money. Another who cannot pay offers an entailment via monthly trade. Everyone has fun at the picnic. This is true small-town Americana on display.

One standout is Clinton Anthony Payne II. As Clinton Levert, he is very much a showman with his talents very much enhanced by the score. He has a whole show talking about how great Billy is. As important as it is to shine in those fantastic moments, he is also strong later when he pours his heart out in a one-on-one conversation. He is very much worth watching.

This is not that great an hour thought you may not think so when watching it initially. Enjoy the ambiance but you do not have to stay for the whole thing.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Rewatchers Note: Next week is a little binky-bonkers for me so I might miss the week. Apologies in advance if this happens.

Original air date: November 27, 1991
Written by: Paris Qualles
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap Date: November 2, 1956

This time: Sam leaps into a prison convoy. He and the person he is chained to jump out the back of the truck and make their escape. With the help of a skunk and a drainpipe (the latter of which causes Sam’s companion a bout of claustrophobia) they throw off the trail. Al arrives and Sam asks if they are innocent. Al says that Sam’s leapee has a long history of crime and his fellow convict, Jazz was caught robbing a jewelry store. Jazz professes innocence, that he was just looking at the wares when he heard gunshots, dropped to the ground and was arrested.

At a cabin, Sam and Jazz free themselves of each other and Jazz gets ready to run off. Al comes on the scene and says that Jazz is innocent that another person has been robbing stores with the same manner every time and Sam must help convince the authorities. There will be another robbery that night meaning Sam can prove his claim if Jazz is not tied to it. Also, Sam is two years into a nine-month sentence.

They are recaptured and Warden Elias puts Jazz in solitary confinement while Sam does manual labor. Al reports back from the robbery with not much to go on but Sam determines that it is the same person who delivered groceries the other day, Jake Wiles. Sam relays the information to Jazz, but they have no way of getting that information out and Sam is put into confinement himself.

The next morning, Wiley makes a delivery and Jazz tries to take revenge. The guards break it up, but Sam tells Warden Elias about the robbery. A corrupt guard named Cooley meets with Wiley. Cooley is alarmed about Sam figuring things out. Wiley’s body is found the next morning as they try to free a truck stranded in the mud. Jazz is excited which leads to him engaging Sam in a fight to the death.

As they get ready, Sam figures out Cooley is behind the murder and confronts the guard. Cooley is confident he will not live to tell. They make their escape but are caught by Cooley though the duo gets the upper hand. They make their way to the state line, which will free them. Jazz becomes a forestry ranger, Sam’s leapee makes a clean getaway and the prison is shut down. Sam leaps …

… into a nice, comfy bed. His reverie is broken by a woman in bed with him and their reverie is broken by her children making a surprise appearance.

Fact check: Crossing the state line immediately absolves you of all crimes. Unless they extradite you. Or have a basic understanding of the law.

Stop talking to yourself: Hearing Jazz scream in the agony of confinement is just as hard as moving huge barrels around.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al keeps watch over Sam while sitting in midair. He stands up and slowly lowers himself to the ground all without using his handlink. Because he is just that awesome!

Mirror images that were not his own: After freeing themselves, Sam gets a look in the mirror.

Brush with History: Emily Dickenson gets a name check and a quote. She probably would not like being quoted by a warden to a prisoner either.

Something or someone: Not only is there enough time for Al to relay the future, Jazz is able to run back and send his regards to the hologram before Sam leaps.

It’s a science project: ‘Cockfighting’ is southern prison slang for two inmates fighting to the death. At least in this specific prison at this time.

One more time: “Hey doggie doggie! Big chicken flavor right this way!”
Al either trying to get the prison dogs off the scent or auditioning for a chew toy.

Trivial Matters: The initial chase takes a lot out of Jazz to the point here he takes a nap, conveniently letting a chained Sam talk to Al without bothering (or alarming) Jazz.

Put right what once went wrong: “You and Boone made me look bad, boy. Please don’t do it again or I’ll kill you.” This will not make any waves or cross new territory for amazement. It is right out of Prison Writing 101. Innocent inmates, corrupt officials, hard labor, fight between inmates. Pretty standard.

The acting is fair for the most part as well. No one really stands out, but no one is really bad either. The directing is similarly adequate, and the score has requisite harmonicas which are contractually obligated for a southern historical prison drama.

The big standout here is Basil Wallace as Jasper “Jazz” Boone. There is a lot of mania to his character, bouncing off almost every wall there is whether confined or not. He is all over the place but hits his marks well. He has an intensity to him that draws you in and you want to listen to him, believe him. Sam has time to get to know Jazz when they are on the run and their freedom at the end is earned in more ways than one. He even bonds with Al, in a manner of speaking.

It would not be fair to recommend this just for Wallace alone, though the first act makes a compelling argument. Nevertheless, he is a bright star in an otherwise adequate episode.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Since the last entry, Dean Stockwell passed away. As such, this entry (full of nudity and innuendo) is dedicated to him.

The Play's the Thing
Leap Date: September 9, 1969
Written by: Beverly Bridges
Directed by: Eric Laneuville
Original Air Date: January 8, 1992

This time: Sam leaps into a nice, comfy bed. His reverie is broken by a woman in bed with him and their reverie is broken by her son and daughter in law making a surprise appearance. The mood is awkward, and Sam suggests they go into the other room in a moment. As Sam and the woman, Jane, get ready, she confesses that she is fifty, not forty.

Jane’s son, Neil, is surprised by the changes Sam’s leappee, Joe, has brought on (resurrecting a singing career, peace marches) while Liz, Neil’s wife, takes Jane away and all but asks her to move back. They are taken aback by Sam’s youth, at twenty-five. As a point of comparison, Neil is thirty.

At a rehearsal for Hamlet, with Sam as the title role, Sam plays the famous monologue mediocrely, but is made worse by the director. A co-star tries to hit on Sam, but Jane disavows her of that notion. Al is on the scene and while a grisly fate is not in store for Jane, in two days she goes back home and spends the rest of her days alone. Also, Joe does not go on a Hamlet and misses his big break.

At dinner, Neil and Liz have invited Ted, an old flame of Jane’s. For her part, Jane is not amused. Ted strikes out on the dance floor (in more ways than one) and Sam bets Neil and Liz that if he can make something of Jane, they will stop trying to get her to come home. They end up inviting themselves to the show. Before opening, the director decides to freshen up the performance by having the entire cast be entirely nude. The audience is shocked, but they love it, including the agent who agrees to cast Sam as an underwear model, though Sam requires Jane to come as part of a package deal. The agent wants to hear her sing first, though. Unfortunately, an awkward encounter backstage after the show brought Jane to the wrong conclusion and she has run off.

Sam intercepts the group before they leave, and things quickly escalate culminating with Ted engaging in fisticuffs. Jane agrees to try and impresses the agent. Sam leaps …

… into a naval cadet on the track, though he does not get the baton as much as he is plowed over.

Fact check: Ted’s company makes uniforms and is raking it in with the war.

Stop talking to yourself: After some rough leap ins (including last week when he was chained to a prisoner in a breakout or last season when he leaped into the electric chair) Sam finally gets to leap into a nice soft, comfy warm welcoming bed.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al first appears in the auditorium and rises up as the incline increases. Few auditoriums are built like that.

Mirror images that were not his own: While getting dressed, Sam sees Joe in the mirror.

Something or someone: Sam stays around long enough to find out that there is a happy ending but not long enough for Jane to finish her song.

Let’s up the rating: It is pretty obvious that Sam and Jane are in their Birthday Suits in the opening but there is also a nude production to Hamlet. I can just see Shakespeare wondering what would make his greatest tragedy better and coming up with a nude cast.

One more time: “Ted, just ask her to marry you and Neil, just ask her to come home.” “What, tell her the truth?”
Liz trying to be practical and Ted being ignorant.

The Rainbow Treknection: Robert Pine is Ted in the episode and would go on to plan an ambassador in Voyager’s The Chute and Travin in Enterprise’s Fusion. He has a son named Chris.

Put right what once went wrong: “Neil, your father has been dead for three years and not once in that time has he said a word.” I have long held that solid writing can save not great actors and fantastic actors will captivate you when reading the phone book but when you have great writing and great actors, everyone wins.

Beverly Bridges wrote a fantastic script that just crackles. The confrontation in the elevator lobby is great at the end with Sam repeatedly holding the door open to make his points. The opening has fun with Neil and Liz walking into Jane’s apartment with everyone being embarrassed and there is a fun scene in the middle where the characters say each other’s name in shock. Love’s labors are indeed lost. The plotting is not amazing, but the characters are there for the right actors to grasp.

And grasp they do. Robert Pine is not known as a comedic actor, but he gives Ted the right amount of sliminess, particularly when talking down to Sam about business and the war. Daniel Roebuck is always a joy to watch, and he has more than enough to chew on with a smarminess that makes me wonder who in the family is a better fit for New York. Anna Gunn is the only one actually open minded as Liz and Penny Fuller brings maturity to Jane in more ways than one. She is strong with her defense of Sam/Joe and is confident of what she wants to do with her life, regardless of her son and ex all but putting her on a train back home. She has the right amount of sass and is great to watch.

Director Eric Laneuville has some fun tricks up his sleeve. There is a good shot where Neil and Jane are framed in a mirror, and he has to Austin Powers through Hamlet, but he also knows to let his cast do what they are good at.

An all in all solid hour with low relatively stakes is taken down by a sag in the middle. If you need to grab a sandwich or take a potty break at that point, go right ahead and do so.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Running For Honor
Original Air Date: January 15, 1992
Written by: Bobby Duncan
Directed by: Bob Hulme
Leap Date: June 11, 1964

This time: Sam leaps into a naval cadet on the track, though he does not get the baton as much as he is plowed over. The drill sergeant/coach is not amused and sends the guys in for training while privately and politely telling Sam that things need to improve before facing their longtime rivals. Sam has leapt into Tommy York, who has a 4.0 GPA, is valedictorian and dating the admiral’s daughter.

Sam gets a ride into town for a date, but it turns out he is meeting a fellow cadet, Phillip. The two are trying to take care of a naval gang called The Chain. Al arrives and says that Phillip was kicked out of the academy due to homosexuality. There is a letter written by Tommy expressing support for Phillip, but Al says that in two days, Phillip will be found hung in his print shop.

Cadet Ronnie Chambers accuses Sam/Tommy of being homosexual. Admiral Spencer has a discussion with the two in which Sam counterclaims that Ronnie is beating up civilians. Admiral Spencer promises a full investigation but is forced to put Sam on restrictions until the investigation is concluded. That does not stop Ronnie and the other members of The Chain from creating a tribunal of their own, outright forcing Sam to leave, though not until after the track meet, of course. They have Tommy’s letter and can put together a pretty convincing argument.

Chambers presents the letter to Admiral Spencer who has no choice but to confine Sam to quarters. He is visited by the Coach who offers to let Sam confront The Chain, who felt like the locker room was a good place to meet for reasons not explained to the viewer. Sam talks the gang out of it while accusing Ronnie of being homosexual. The gang disbands but Al says that Phillip is still hung.

Sam sneaks out of his room while Al checks in on Phillip. It turns out Phillip staged the scene and will commit suicide to make the point. They both convince Phillip to not go through with it though not before the coach comes out. Ronnie drops out so as not have to deal with the situation any longer. Sam leaps …

… into reporter Dylan Powell. Cameraman Ross Taylor gives him the microphone so that he can report about the latest Chinatown murder.

Stop talking to yourself: Dressed in full naval duds, Sam is confident he is not a hippie. Also, word about his sexuality spreads fast.

Only Sam can see and hear: Ever the navy man, Al tells Sam that the naval academy is not exactly like being in the Navy itself.

Mirror images that were not his own: Decked out in full uniform, Sam sees Tommy York in the locker room mirror.

Something or someone: Sam does not leap after saving Phillip though he sticks around long enough to see Ronnie drop out and for Al to exposit at the track meet which Sam leaps out of as he gets a quick start both literally and figuratively.

Let’s up the rating: Karen Spencer, the Admiral’s daughter tells Sam/Tommy that she isn’t trying to be too forward, but he could be a little more aggressive with their relationship.

One more time: “I will not lie, cheat or steal. Unless I need to pass algebra.”
Ronnie reciting one of the rules he decides to modify.

Trivial Matters: Usually we see Al step back to exit the imaging chamber. Here, the door opens behind him, which is a neat change.

Sam’s leap into Vietnam last season is referenced after Al accuses him of never being in the military.

Put right what once went wrong: “I know about the guilt. The shame. The fear. I spent my whole life that way, wondering why I had to be different.” With this subject matter, this episode needs to set up someone for Sam to have an argument with. They cannot use a fellow cadet nor someone of higher rank, so they use Al. The same guy who is supportive of all minorities and expressed empathy for those in bad situations on multiple occasions. The writers try and cover it up with military honor, but it falls flat as does Al suggesting what Tommy’s sexuality is. At the final moment Sam says that it does not matter. Sam and Al arguing are some of the core foundations of this show and their disagreements can be profound but this one is just there for the sake of being there.

The rest of the writing is solid with the treatment of someone who is suspect. John Finn plays the admiral role well, being fair to both parties but following the guidelines. He has to impose a punishment, but you never got the sense that he was not being fair. Even when he recites the reason for the regulations it is not clear that he supports them. John Roselius is great as the Coach. He is supportive to Sam and has the authority to quiet things down as needed. He starts off as a Drill Sergeant but quickly becomes an advocate.

Phillip and Ronnie are two sides of the argument. They both show up at the start and we do even get a scene with Ronnie being friendly early on, thought that quickly turns on a dime. He is the face of The Chain, the antagonist who leaves when he is declawed. Phillip is trying to make a statement but is fighting an uphill battle. In their first meeting Phillip wonders if he will still have support and gains some advocates by the end. Unfortunately, his is given the short end of the stick since he is not in the academy anymore. His scenes are brief but are played well.

This could have been a great episode reminding us of a not too distant intolerant past and they only had to soften Al’s stance a bit toa accomplish their ultimate goal.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Temptation Eyes
Original Air Date: January 22, 1992
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Christopher Hibler
Leap Date: February 1, 1985

This time: Sam leaps into reporter Dylan Powell. Cameraman Ross Taylor gives him the microphone so that he can report about the latest Chinatown murder. Sam fumbles through the report despite being fed information from the studio. San Francisco Police Chief Collins is keeping the details quiet. The Chief’s mood is not helped by the fact that the killer keeps calling Dylan.

Ross heads out to find another way into the crime scene while Sam meets local psychic, Tamlyn Matsuda. She was invited by the police to examine the scene. While Sam and Ross are outside the window, Tamlyn tells the details of the murder: the victim was relaxing after a night out when the killer burst in.

At Tamlyn’s apartment, Al arrives and tells Sam that Tamlyn will be the next victim in two weeks. They are interrupted when Tamlyn asks Sam his preference for tea but uses his given name, not Dylan. The two bond and Tamlyn invites Sam to look at mug shots the next morning, to the chagrin of Collins. She gets a feeling from a guy named Tony Beche Though there is no way to tie him to the murder, it is apparently enough to get Collins on the case.

Sam and Tamlyn grow closer. She confides one of her first visions being that of her mother after being told she passed away. During this conversation, Tamyln see’s Sam in the mirror for who he really is. Despite Al’s protestations, Sam tells Tamlyn about Project Quantum Leap but Tamlyn has some of the information herself. The two have a night of kissing, shopping, talking and things of the more adult variety.

Al interrupts their morning to tell Sam where to find Tony. Sam catches Tony but does not leap. Tamlyn is still the next victim! Tony is a copycat, the real one is still running free. At the studio, Ross wonders what was so important that Sam missed his birthday. The killer calls saying that he will kill Tamlyn. Sam takes her to the site hoping to lure out the killer.

Tamlyn can feel the killer in the area but not pinpoint a location. Ross arrives to catch everything on tape. Sam is off to investigate leaving Tamlyn with Ross. A concerned Tamlyn is comforted by Ross while she gets visions of Ross being the killer. Sam and Al figure out that Ross is the killer and confront him on top of a building. The first murder was an accident but propelled their careers forward. Now, Tamlyn is coming between them. Ross falls to his death. Tamlyn and Sam hug. Sam leaps …

… into a ghost town. Accused of murdering three brothers, a lone gunman challenges Sam to a showdown.

Fact check: There was no string of Chinatown murders and the police generally do not ask for help from psychic consultants, though that last bit was the premise for a show.

Stop talking to yourself: If you are a fan of Bakula doing a voiceover you will not like this. Sam does all his dialogue on camera.

Only Sam can see and hear: Ever the skeptic, Al doubts Tamlyn’s psychic abilities. Also, he does not want Sam to get involved with her.

Mirror images that were not his own: After Ross goes off on his own to find out more but before meeting Tamlyn, Sam sees the beleaguered and close to retirement Dylan Powell in a mirror.

Something or someone: Telling someone about his true nature might prevent Sam from ever leaping again for reasons not entirely explained to the viewer.

It’s a science project: Sam and Ross are parked outside the apartment recording Tamlyn as she exposits about the murder. For some reason, Collins does not notice despite the red light on the camera and a good view of the window. The window is closed but not only can Sam hear, the camera can pick up everything.

Let’s up the rating: Sam and Tamlyn are totally hitting on each other from the moment they meet. Their dialogue is laced with innuendo even before they go to her place.

One more time: “You sure I’m all right?” “I’ve got a good feeling about it.”
Sam and Tamlyn not even trying to hide their flirting.

The Rainbow Treknection: Tamlyn Tomita plays a psychic who can see visions of murder and will go on to play Commodore Oh, a Romulan with visions of a murderous future in Star Trek: Picard. This is the first major actor in both Quantum Leap and the modern Trek shows.

Trivial Matters: Usually when Al goes away, he steps through the imaging chamber door. Here he vanishes leaving us to wonder where exactly he went. Later he uses one hand to appear since the other is clearly in frame and is not near the handlink.

Put right what once went wrong: “What do you do, some kind of psychic or something?” “Yes. You must be one, too.” Let’s start off with the good. Tamlyn Tomita owns this. She has a huge range of emotions in this episode and is more than just a damsel in distress. While there is a cringing scene early on where she relives the murder, she has great chemistry with Bakula. You could cut the romantic tension with a knife. As great as those scenes are there is real emotion when she talks about her first vision.

The directing by Christopher Hibler is strong as well. There is stuff in the script he just had to film, and he did that well. The camera zooms in on Dylan in the mirror and then pulls back to reveal Sam all without a hand moving in the frame. This being a murder story there are reenactments in black and white along with some action scenes accompanied by an eighties era soundtrack.

The writing moves things along but does not really do well. There is a two week gap that we go through in a montage which works for other shows but not Quantum leap. More than a couple of days is pushing it and here it exists only for Sam and Tamlyn to have a fling. Ziggy cannot figure out who the murderer is in that time for some reason. The way it is presented that time jump could easily be glossed over. There are way too many plot holes for this to work and some are just there for the sake of being there. It is nice to let Sam have a break every now and then, but this is pushing it.

Kent Williams and James Handy are workable as Collins and Ross respectively, though the later takes on an entirely different personality in the end. Also, the ending does not really work as Al does not let us know what happens. We know Tamlyn lives but are Dylan and Tamlyn together? It would be nice to know especially since they can add in a line but no such luck.

There is a great performance and neat tricks, but this is not recommended.
User avatar
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
The Last Gunfighter
Original Air Date: February 5, 1992
Story by : Sam Rolfe
Teleplay by : Sam Rolfe & Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: November 28, 1957

This time: Sam leaps into a ghost town. Accused of murdering three brothers, a lone gunman challenges Sam to a showdown. Sam shoots the other guy … and the barkeep announces that the show is over, and another will happen later that day. Sam is the main star of an old west attraction as Tyler Means, retired gunslinger. Also on the ranch are Tyler’s daughter, Lucy and grandson, Stevie. Stevie idolizes Tyler though Lucy tries to temper expectations.

Al arrives to fill in the story. The town was a robbers’ haven until Tyler and an accomplice came in to clean things up. Time passed and the hero’s tales became more outlandish to the point where he is not taken seriously until he meets with a magazine writer for Readers Digest. The town is popular again and people are happy with their reinvigorated success.

At the local tavern, Lucy introduces Sam to Ben Steiner who wants to make a TV series out of Tyler’s life. There are some procedural (legal) steps that have to be taken but it promises to be lucrative. Things take a turn when Pat Knight, the former partner comes into town pouring water on Sam. There is general confusion, but Sam tries to keep things going with the contract. Per Al, Pat kills Sam the next day and the family generally goes to hell.

Sam tries to talk things through with Pat. Things go well until Sam has to give up the contract. Sam tries to get out of the shootout with a drinking contest but that does not work, nor does it impair Pat’s aim. After a talk, it turns out that Pat embellished some of the story as well, but Tyler did play a not insignificant part in it.

The next morning, Stevie tries to confront Pat with Tyler’s gun. Sam has no choice but to confront Pat one on one. Amazingly, Sam outdraws Pat (though there is an implication that Pat faked it) and signs the deal with everything working out. They talk to Steiner about giving Pat a consulting job, and cameo, on the series. Sam leaps …

… into a doo-wop group. They have finished a number to Sam’s relief. Unfortunately, they practically drag him back onstage for an encore.

Fact check: Ben Steiner represents NBC looking for a hit western. They would find one decades later with Bonanza, a show that would get a name check. They were probably jealous of CBS’s long running Gunsmoke, among others.

Stop talking to yourself: For the second time is as many weeks, there is no monologue voiceover, although there is definitely come ADR work done.

Only Sam can see and hear: Recall in Back to the Future Part III where Doc mocked Marty for the outfit? Al gives Sam the same treatment, with a few extra helpings for good measure.

Mirror images that were not his own: Just after telling Stevie to be more realistic with expectations, Sam sees Tyler in a mirror.

Brush with history: Al points out a guy who played Hoss on Bonanza. IMBD disagrees as no one is credited for the appearance. It would be a neat trick too since Dan Blocker died before this episode was shot.

Something or someone: Sam does not leap until Pat not only gets in on the juicy series deal but gets a cameo out of it.

It’s a science project: Al gives Sam a lesson on gunslinging.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: In Sam’s body, Tyler is spinning yarns that even Ziggy cannot make sense out of. Alas we do not see any of it.

Let’s up the rating: There is a heavy implication that when Pat went to comfort the survivors of the family he killed, he raised a family with them. Also, Lucy’s work attire is racy for an environment where there are kids around in the fifties.

One more time: “But he wasn’t pretending. He really was one. You’re the one who’s a liar.” "Now Stevie, is that the way your granddaddy told you to speak to me?”
Stevie and the Sherriff both acting childish.

The Rainbow Treknection: If Pat Knight is familiar, it is because John Anderson also played Kevin Uxbridge. Kenneth Tigar would follow his appearance as Stein in Voyager’s Displaced as the lead Nyrian.

Trivial Matters: Readers Digest bought and published Tyler’s story that attracted the attention of Steiner. Readers Digest is a popular magazine with various stories and regular features with a few joke compilations thrown in there. Your humble rewatcher was very familiar with them back in his high school days.

Put right what once went wrong: “It doesn’t matter what people say, it matters in here.” Star Trek went into the spaghetti western barrel several times. The Original Series was partially sold on finding ways to make use of the backlot, but The Next Generation and Enterprise followed suit. It is only a matter of time before Quantum Leap did as well.

All the trappings of the old west are here. A saloon, a wild tale, a drinking contest, a shooting lesson, a climactic gunfight. If you are going to do it once you might as well throw it all in. Sam Rolfe and Chris Ruppenthal tell a good tale getting a lot of the plot elements and characters out early so that we can have some good character moments. Not to be outdone, Joe Napolitano brings the clichés on the screen too. We have a close up of the spurs on the saloon deck, the tense shots required for a gunfight.

With the right actors this can shine and shine it does. Kenneth Tigar is great as Ben Steiner. As the corporate suit, he needs to negotiate the contract but takes the time to get to know Tyler. He is a friendly guy who makes sure to check around with the other townspeople. Susan Isaacs has relatively little to do as Lucy but is supportive of her father and son. She wants to make sure Stevie stays on the straight and narrow while not entirely believing what Tyler says herself.

The two standouts are Pat and Stevie. Sean Baca plays Stevie’s hero worship well. When you combine a grandfather and a cowboy, you have hit the jackpot. Stevie talks early on about the stories he was told and the two bond regularly. When Stevie tries to engage in a shootout for the climax, it feels earned. Sam tries to tell Stevie that he can be a little skeptical, but Stevie does not hear it. To him, his grandfather is a hero. The two have a good nighttime talk where Sam tells him about being true to yourself. Veteran actor John Anderson is fantastic as Pat Knight. Perhaps the most tropey character, he can turn from drunk to a sharpshooter on a dime. A grumpy old man, he will not just let Tyler get away with telling tall tales. Even if it comes to a shootout, he will have his story heard. It is telling that a key conversation between him and Sam reveals that both were embellishing though Sam did more. He has the gestures down and is a great pleasure to watch.

Of course, Tyler Means is front and center as well. We never truly know what actually happened, but this is the greatest picture of a leapee we have seen in a long time. Too often we forget about the person Sam leaped into but here he is very much fleshed out.

If there is a weak link, it is the sheriff. Jerry Potter plays him well, do not get me wrong, but how does he not stop a child confronting an adult with a loaded weapon? How does he not arrest him? For that matter, how does Pat get away with pointing a loaded gun and challenging Tyler to a shootout? The sheriff is not a fan of Tyler but at some point, enough is enough.

Spaghetti westerns are not always a slam dunk, but this one pulls it off very well.
User avatar
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
A Song for the Soul
Original air date: February 26, 1992
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap date: April 7, 1963

This time: Sam leaps into a doo-wop group. They have finished a number to Sam’s relief. Unfortunately, they practically drag him back onstage for an encore. That proves to be a horrible idea as the crowd goes from being enthusiastic to nearly clearing the room.

Sam is Cheree Watkins and the three leave to go home but are accosted by a couple of creepy guys. One of them takes an interest in Paula and later Sam. Fortunately, Sam is able to spin kick them off. Paula and Lynelle are impressed, but Sam shoes them off back home.

Lynelle’s father, Reverend Walters, is right furious at the three being out so late. He admonishes Lynelle for not sticking with the church choir. He walks Paula home and, since Cheree’s parents are out, ‘she’ will spend the night. Al fills in some blanks. Lynell’s mother passed away some years ago leaving Lynelle feeling smothered by her father. Unable to take it, Lynelle runs away in a couple days and gets into an exploitive contract. She never speaks to her father again and gets caught up in drugs. The reverend’s church burns down, and he passes away.

At church service the next day, Lynelle’s voice brings the spirit of the Lord to the congregation. Reverend Walters has a sermon about yielding to temptation which does not go well with Lynelle. Al has some ideas for music and choreography. One montage later, they have an act to perform at a big local club.

Local agent (and creep) Bobby Lee hears the girls singing and uses that as an excuse to walk into the presumably unlocked house and talk to three teenagers alone in one of their bedrooms (!). He offers them a sweet exclusive deal though omits being a pimp. Reverend Walters comes in and it is all Sam can do to stop him from pummeling Bobby Lee. Lynelle is ready to follow Bobby Lee but gives Sam time to figure something out. Sam has Al look up all local clubs to get an opportunity.

Sam’s plan is to perform at a local club but have Reverend Walters listen in. That way she gets the contract but with Reverend Walters’ love. Bobby Lee has other plans. He has a flunky go over the music with Sam while he shows Lynelle a pretty dress. By the time Sam figures out the situation, Bobby Lee is all over Lynelle. Sam intervenes but Bobby Lee demands an apology or else the three do not perform. Sam is resolute but Lynelle is ready to go on solo.

Sam walks in on Reverend Walters in the pews talking to his deceased wife. Sam tries to convince him to support his daughter, but he wants her to finish school before going into music full force.

Paula tries to talk some sense into Lynelle, and Sam comes in later to smooth things over. Reverend Walters tries to talk Bobby Lee into not encouraging Lynelle, at least not now. Bobby Lee lets them come back on the condition that after they win, they sign a seven-year contract. Reverend Walters offers his support. He is a proud papa as the three perform though not at the prospect of them signing a contract into their twenties. The three are a hit though Reverend Walters walks off.

At the church, Reverend Walters wonders when he lost his daughter right before Lynelle walks in. The two embrace. Sam leaps …

… into a cockpit. A cigarette falls into his lap which upon reaching down to grab, puts the plane on a downward trajectory.

Fact check: A lot of the songs in this episode were released in 1963. Unfortunately, they were released after the April of that year.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam’s first meeting with Reverend Walters is a talking down to about the dangers of going out. The reverend is gruff and harsh with his language. Sam loves every minute of it and agrees.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al has an instant dislike to Bobby Lee, though it is not too hard to see. Some things really do not require Ziggy’s confirmation.

Mirror images that were not his own: Offstage, Sam sees a young girl staring back at him. In the Walters residence, we see Cheree in several mirrors.

Brush with history: Not as much a person, but the Chicago version of the Apollo, The Regal, gets a name check.

Something or someone: Sam sticks around long enough for Lynelle to do an A Capella piece.

It’s a science project: Sam is not confident at his ability to sign and dance. Al tries to get the right songs to offset Sam’s inabilities.

Let’s up the rating: Some guys can pull off a sexy girl group dress. Scott Bakula is not one of those guys.

One more time: “God gave me a voice to do what I want.” “Not as long as you are under my roof.”
Lynelle and Reverend Walters having an age-old argument

Put right what once went wrong: “Maybe the three of you should come in and do some serious explaining as to why my daughter is out at two o’clock in the morning.” The late eighties and early nineties were a treasure trove for suburban African American comedies. This episode takes that and makes it more of an hourlong drama. The Peacock network is doing something similar in developing a more somber reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

The characters are spot on and absolutely perfect. Harrison Page is the beleaguered father just looking out for his daughter and wanting the best for her. He has a stern talking down at the top of the episode endearing him to Sam and we are right there with him. He realizes that he has to find some way to support Lynelle and that means going to creepy man-of-ill-repute Bobby Lee to do so. He takes his humble pie well. Eriq LaSalle does a masterful job of being a bad guy. He extrudes a creepy vibe and has done this several times since. After assaulting a minor, he makes her apologize before generously letting them come back and work for him in a very lopsided contract. This was early enough in LaSalle’s career that you could see the great actor he would become.

T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh is perfectly cast as sassy Paula. As much as Sam is the focus of this series it says a lot that Paula talks some sense into Lynelle as well. She also has some great lines in there with attitude both to her peers and to the guys trying to pick them up. Speaking of Lynelle, Tammy Townsend is absolutely amazing. You can see her wounds as she tries to get along with her father. There is a lot of sadness in the loss of her mother. She plays the emotional beats well and her voice is amazing. Doo-wop, rock or choral, she has it down. It is fantastic to hear her sing, and this would not have worked with an actress or singer of lesser caliber.

The script is not great. Deborah Pratt is one of the stronger writers on the series, but this could have used another draft or two. Bobby Lee just comes into the bedroom because of plot, and it seems as though Reverend Walters comes around more because time is running out than the efforts of Sam or Lynelle. This is a promising start but needs more refinement. Michael Watkins does a great job directing what are essentially music videos but captures a good church service and gives you the feel of being in an urban setting in the time-period.

There are some really great performances in this hour, please just tolerate the workable writing.
User avatar
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Ghost Ship
Original air date: March 4, 1992
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario & Paris Qualles
Directed by: Anita W. Addison
Leap date: August 13, 1956

This time: Sam leaps into a cockpit. A cigarette falls into his lap which upon reaching down to grab, puts the plane on a downward trajectory. Thankfully, Sam has leapt into Eddie, the co-pilot. Captain Cooper comes by to right the ship, literally and figuratively. We find out that Cooper has military training and experience. This will probably be important later.

The passengers on the flight are Grant Cutter Junior, son of the man who owns the plane, and his newlywed Michelle. They are flying to Bermuda for their honeymoon. She reveals to Sam that she has some cramps but does not want Grant to know. This will probably be important later as well.

After Sam sees to the passengers, Al arrives. Originally, they wound up flying back to Virginia, their point of origin, due to Michelle having appendicitis. They do not know why a closer hospital was not used but before they can figure that out, they feel the plane turning. Cooper is heading back due to navigational issues and will not be convinced otherwise even though a passenger is in danger. Why they do not consider other hospitals is an exercise for the viewer.

As Al and Sam debate the effects of the Bermuda Triangle, which appears to be messing with the handlink, Al finds out that Michelle does not make it, meaning that they need to land in Bermuda. Sam relays the coordinates to Cooper, but Cooper does not trust someone with limited experience. Al privately confides to Sam that Cooper has experience in the Bermuda Triangle, part of which was escorting three freighters, all of which disappeared. He was found six days later with no memory of what happened. While this happens, we see Cooper having flashbacks to that event.

In the cockpit, Sam sees an old ship in the water, a Liberty vessel made during the war. Oddly enough when Cooper looks over the ship has disappeared. This triggers another flashback for Cooper after Sam goes back to check on Michelle. Her appendix bursts and Sam is able to MacGyver, er improvise a way to keep her around. That good news is quickly dismayed by them never being found and Al disappears entirely.

Sam walks in on Cooper having a flashback, but he pulls himself out of it. Things go bad as they head into a storm, but Sam, along with Cooper’s wife (and flight attendant) Wendy, are able to get him back. They are out of the rough part but need to lighten the load. Grant does not like tossing the expensive stuff he bought for the honeymoon but decides it is better than the alternative. They right their course and get to Bermuda. Sam tries to rationalize the oddities to Cooper and Al. Cooper mentions the craft that initially rescued him, but Al finds out that the specific craft mentioned disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 1918. Sam leaps …

… into the talk show, ‘Roberto’ as the host, Roberto. A biker makes/yells a point which antagonizes a small guy in a suit. This leads to a tussle.

Fact check: The area between Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda has had issues with magnetism but have been the victim of bad press. Surrounded by high coral, many early vessels were torn apart and rumors spread.

Stop talking to yourself: Headed into a nosedive, Sam finds dark humor in sage advice.

Only Sam can see and hear: Finding Sam while he is moving was a huge challenge for Ziggy. As it is, Al appears coming up from outside the plane before walking in. The shadows are better in another shot.

Mirror images that were not his own: Because the show is contractually obligated for Sam to see his face in the mirror, Sam opens a medicine cabinet to see Eddie Brackett.

Something or someone: After they land, Sam is able to justify the oddities he and Cooper experienced and for Al to throw some water on it.

It’s a science project: Having absolutely no idea how to operate much of anything in the cockpit, Sam gets a crash course in elementary basic flight operations, pun intended.

Let’s up the rating: Blonds, brunettes. Of both genders. This is probably the hottest guest cast we have ever had.

One more time: “Tell them we hit an air pocket.” “There’s no such thing as an air pocket.” “Well we know that but they don’t.”
Cooper and Sam hopefully not replaying dialogue someone overheard.

Trivial Matters: To pull off a flight with minimal sets, stock footage is liberally used. Too bad they could not match the colors on the plane. There are also problems with matching the clouds when they should be stormy but appear calm.

Put right what once went wrong: “How come we never hit air pockets when my dad’s on board?” Four guest actors, three sets, stock footage. This is a bottle episode. Star Trek has had some great ones from The Next Generation’s “The Next Phase” to Deep Space Nine’s “Duet” to Enterprise’s “Shuttlepod One.” How does this one compare?

The acting is top notch. Kurt Deutsch has some room to elevate the rich asshole trope as he has a relationship with the pilots and even has a moment when he thanks Sam. There is a nice moment where he promises to throw lavish praise to his father for the job well done. He also sees the light when he has to start throwing stuff off the plane. As Michelle, Carla Gugino (yes, that Carla Gugino) does not have all that much to do beyond get sick. She does have a moment with Sam as well when she makes him promise not to tell Grant for as long as he can. Kimberly Foster’s Wendy Cooper does not have much to do and is there as a supporting role but does pull through in the end when Cooper needs to be brought to his senses. She is also a good foil for Sam.

Scott Hoxby owns the role of Cooper. His skepticism to Sam’s knowledge is well played. The writing helps with dry wit thrown in there. With the mistakes Sam is making, it is enough to blow as gasket. He does a good job reacting to the voiceovers and reliving the trauma he endured in the war. He slips in and out not letting others know until it is too late. He does a good job with the balance and is a treat to watch.

Qualles and Bellisario have some good moments in the script. When Cooper is not skeptical, Al is. Very superstitious about the triangle, Al plays the Mulder to Sam’s Scully in an interesting reversal. After reappearing, Gushie claims that there was a power issue, but Al does not buy into that explanation. Sam knows a little about everything to keep Michelle alive and get Cooper back around but not in depth enough to fly the plane alone.

The story does fall apart with there being other hospitals to go to. They are close enough to Florida and the east coast in general that there surely has to be some hospital that can treat appendicitis. Also, the science is not all that great. Director Anita Addison did her best putting the pieces together, but it clear she used scissors at times to make them fit. It distracts from an otherwise excellent performance.
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