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
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.
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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.
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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.
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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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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Original Air Date: March 11, 1992
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Scott Bakula
Leap date: January 27, 1982

This time: 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. Production assistants help Sam close the show while security carries the small guy in a suit off.

Al is on the scene to confirm that Roberto has an attitude suited for a shock jock. Sam butts heads with a reporter, Jani Eisenberg. Station boss Earl Skinner eats it all up. Eisenberg bets that Sam cannot cover a real news story, such as the one she is researching, Full Service Gas Stations That Do Not Deliver. A call come sin and the two are on it. Unfortunately for Sam, the caller reports seeing aliens (one eye, big blobby limbs) after leaving the bar one night.

Their next stop is Saxton Fertilizer and pesticides. Eisenberg has an asthma attack and the boss, Ed Saxton, talks about a fire the prior night that they were able to put out. Also, Al reports that Eisenberg drives off a cliff in two days. Oddly enough. Roberto disappears about the same time and is not heard from again.

At the next taping, the topic is exploiting models. Sam is challenged to do his job in underwear which he accepts. Afterwards, Eisenberg gets a tip on fifty sheep missing near the area the aliens were spotted. At the same time, Sam gets a tip from Rick Upfield, Saxton employee. When Sam and Eisenberg go to meet Upfield, he has been run over though they find an ID and stick it in their inventory for later.

Looking at the footage, they realize that the ID is for a different section of the plant. Going back that night, they get the saving roll for sneak and are allowed to go around the plant unescorted. While their luck does not hold out and they are asked to leave but not before finding hazmat suits (which can be construed for the ‘aliens’) for removing dead sheep. Al recognizes the hairstyles as military. Saxton is working on germ warfare.

Skinner is not eager to investigate a leading employer in the town but authorizes the story. Live on air, the room found the previous evening is a broom closet. Sam offers Saxton a spot on air to apologize and get publicity. History changes and Eisenberg dies of an asthma attack the next morning.

After taping a show about people who have sex with vegetables (technically people who are friends with vegetables, but one extra is a bit too into it. You know what they are doing with those vegetables!), Sam hacks in but is remotely caught by Saxton. Frustrated, Saxton has a henchman take care of Eisenberg since they can bribe Roberto. Said henchman replaces Eisenberg’s inhaler.

Sam calls Saxton to report the murder of Eisenberg. Saxton wants to set up a scholarship in her name and Sam lets him do so on air. At the taping, Sam apologizes then confronts Saxton with the fake inhaler filled with real poison. Saxton is arrested. Sam leaps …

… into a cab driver. Someone runs into the road suddenly and Sam runs her over.

Fact check: Sam recounts the history of companies making chemical weapons going back decades. Also, the ID is actually a keycard. Eisenberg does not understand since a keycard was pretty new in the eighties.

Also, one of the accounts has the password Betlegeuse, a reference to Beetlejuice. It is a bit too referential for a neat trick since that movie would not even have been in development in 1982.

Stop talking to yourself: After everything Sam has leapt into, he finds a headbutt unexpected. Never mind leaping into a wrestling ring.

Only Sam can see and hear: When hacking into Saxton, Al uses the NATO phonetic alphabet. This fits a military background though in one instance, Delaware is used instead of Delta.

Mirror images that were not his own: The sound effect for Sam seeing himself in the mirror is not for his benefit but ours. When Sam does an outro, we pass behind the camera and get the sound effect, but Sam does not see it. I feel so honored. This happens several times in the episode to the point where Sam never sees himself and the others do not have the sound effect. I feel a little less honored.

Brush with history: Though entirely unseen. Geraldo gets a name check.

Something or someone: Sam not only gets to close an episode of Roberto, he also does what can charitably be described as light flirting with Eisenberg.

It’s a science project: How long would it take to convert a secret lab entrance to a broom closet, including six feet of concrete? It can happen overnight. Must be that ultra-super-fast-drying concrete.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: This being a leap into New Mexico, Al points out the future site of Project Quantum Leap. It will be there in 1989.

Let’s up the rating: On a segment involving women in lingerie, Sam gets down to his boxers so that the show can cover more bases.

One more time: “I just kind of leaped into it. Never thought about why. I just kind of like helping the underdog.”
Eisenberg talking about her motivation for being a journalist.

The Rainbow Treknection: After playing happy and fun Skinner, Alan Oppenheimer would play the gruff Captain Keogh on Deep Space Nine. The big guest here is Jerry Hardin who is famous for his one man show of Samuel Clemens which he portrayed on The Next Generation after being Saxton here. He was also Deep Throat on The X-Files.

Trivial Matters: Your humble rewatcher used the APCO radiotelephony spelling alphabet back in the day. It took everything he had not to call in “Frank Union Charles King.” A dispatcher may have mentioned that she would not have gotten it until she wrote it down.

Put right what once went wrong: “In the past, your smart mouth has been a career limiting asset.” “Are you saying I get fired a lot?” There are some stories that lend themselves to gripping attention. Military contracted chemical warfare is not high on that list. Investigative journalism has been popular since All the President’s Men and this serves as a bit of a precursor to Erin Brockovich.

But where those stories felt organic, this one more stumbles into the problem. It is a good ten minutes before we are in Saxton’s lab. While the episodes of Roberto are fun distractions in a pre-Jerry-Springer world, they are just in there to keep you awake. Aggressive bikers, naked people, vegetable fuckers, they get a laugh but do not really add much. The ‘gotcha’ moment in the end is contrived since we do not know how they figured out that the inhaler was poisoned and a henchmen was able to just walk around the newstation late at night. Worst of all, why is the most successful guy at the station doing in the same office as everyone else? There is no way he would even be in the same room. For that matter, Roberto does not seem as much a news program as a tabloid piece.

The characters are kind of there. They know their roles but nothing really amazing comes out. Alan Oppenheimer’s Skinner is the old station manager with a favorite child in Roberto and for some reason comes on stage during the end of an episode taping. Jerry Hardin is not charismatic enough to be a bad guy and his evil planning is meandered through. He is just boring when ordering Eisenberg to be killed. DeLane Matthews gives Eisenberg an edge but while she is good at looking for a story, she is not that interesting to watch. She has a monologue about wanting to make it and is good at her job, but it is not captivating.

Scott Bakula took his second trip behind the camera for this. There are several shots of Roberto from the camera’s perspective and the investigation montage is well constructed as are a few of the smash cuts but the section of the henchmen sneaking in with gloomy music is just sad. He might as well be hiding behind a comically large plant to hide himself.

A pretty decent bit of storytelling bogged down by the details and throwing in some good old fashioned vegetable fornication to keep you interested. Not one of the better outings.
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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 a cab driver. Someone runs into the road suddenly and Sam runs her over. Realizing that this will probably not be good for leapee Max Greenman, he goes over to help her. She has no marks on her and wakes up, introducing herself as Angelita Carmen Guadalupe Cecelia Jimenez, Angela for short. She did not want to meet Sam in this manner but is in good condition.

There is a call from dispatch to come back but Sam determines that Angela has no place to go so he takes her back to the station. At the O’Connor Cab Company, Max’s father, Lenny, argues with Frank O’Connor about the contest. Max is close to winning and getting the taxi medallion. Al comes on the scene to fill Sam in and it becomes apparent that Angela can see Al. While Al believes it is mental impairment, Angela claims to be an angel.

Lenny is more than happy to let Angela come back to their place for the night. He is platonically taken by Angela while Al tells Sam that Max gets shot the next day trying to win the contest. Sam says he will avoid that area. Later, Max and Lenny reminisce about their lost wife/mother.

The next day, Angela rides along with Sam and Al finds the record. A singer by that name died in 1928. Later, the robbery happens at a different location. Al mistakenly leads them to a dead end. He is approached by an armed robber in short order. The thief makes out with the money box, but Angela is shot. Amazingly enough, there are bullet holes, but Angela is perfectly fine. As Max, Sam is not shot, but he does not get the medallion either.

Sam tries to explain the situation to Frank, but Frank is happy to hold onto the valuable medallion. In the heat of the moment, Sam gets Max fired. This puts Lenny in a bad mood (after baking a cake and everything) to the point where Lenny loads a gun and heads out. Sam finds a life insurance policy but there is a suicide clause. Lenny will not kill himself, though he is going to confront Frank. The police are called, and Sam gets two minutes.

Sam talks Lenny out of it but does not know that Frank is armed as well. After a brief shootout where no one is hurt, the police storm the station. Sam puts it all together: Frank had a henchman rob Sam using Frank’s gun. Lenny and Frank get probation though the latter is granted only after a plea bargain to give Max the medallion. Sam leaps …

… into a hospital. The life signs take a turn for the worse and the frustrated husband is ready to pummel Sam.

Fact check: Sam says that holograms are twenty years old. That may be true from the leap date but holograms as Quantum Leap knows them do not exist even now.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam makes a pun about running over Angel. Read the room, Beckett!

Only Sam can see and hear: After running over Angela, Al appears in the middle of the street and is also ‘run over.’ It is a rough start for Sam.

Mirror images that were not his own: Thinking that driving in a moving vehicle is safe enough to look in the rear-view mirror, Sam gets a look at Max Greenman.

Brush with history: Two of Sam’s fares are a father taking his son to a broker’s meeting. Sam comments about a big glass building next to Tiffany’s not knowing they are Fred and a young Donald Trump.

Something or someone: Sam has a change to close things off with Angela and debate with Al before leaping out.

It’s a science project: Not feeling a pulse at the start of the episode, Sam administers chest compressions.

Let’s up the rating: Demonstrating her physical prowess, Angela does the Charleston. What she misses in technique she makes up for style and attitude.

One more time: “Either I’ve had too much Chablis or you’re talking to thin air.” “I’m talking to thin air.” “Good, then I can have another drink.”
Lenny and Sam chatting about who is out of it.

The Rainbow Treknection: Fred Trump is played by Bakula’s future co-star and Trek stalwart, Vaughn Armstrong.

Trivial Matters: Armstrong is not the only Treknection. Angela plays and sings “Someone to Watch Over Me” on the piano. That is not the only musical number; after referencing West Side Story, Angela sings Somewhere.

Al knows his way around a cab station, showcasing the trip sheet and how to total fares. This might come across as another instance of Al reading the script, but in this case, he is a native New Yorker, as evidenced by knowing to address Lenny as ‘pops’ instead of ‘dad.’

Put right what once went wrong: “I was just trying to get your heart started.” “Oh, why don’t you back over me a couple more times?” Sometimes you hire an actor and hope for the best. Sometimes you hire an actor and build an episode around them. I am not sure what happened in this case, but Angela is a crown jewel in this episode.

One of the first lessons learned was to keep the camera rolling when Liz Torres is on screen. There are a lot of shots put in that did not have to be there. At one point she tries to get on the hood of the cab but cannot and adopts a nonchalant position. There is also a scene at the station where she goes off to hang out with the guys though she shouts “I’m coming back, boys!” This would normally be material they would leave out for the cutting room floor, but it very much adds to what would otherwise just be another scene of Sam and Al talking. The Charleston probably happened when they were checking lights or something but the wisely chose to keep it in.

The script is also strong. There is a lot of banter between Sam and Al. Angela and Al have lots of debates. Sometimes Angela is right. Other times, Al is right. There are also scenes that feel more grounded, particularly in New York. The plot moves well, and the relationships feel authentic.

As fantastic as Torres is, the great Jerry Adler does a great job as Lenny. There is an intensity to him, but it is a quieter intensity. It is hard to stand out with Torres as your co-star, but Adler makes it work be being a good father. Adler totally sells their relationship from the highs of thinking Max won the contest to the agony of defeat. There are echoes from their other big scene where they mourn the loss of a loved one. It is a great performance. Peter Iacangelo has a little less to do as Frank but is above the generic evil mastermind.

Dear lord Liz Torres is amazing. Her personality as Angela shines through. She knows who she is, and it is a testament that she was able to show off her skills. She has a great chemistry with Stockell as Angela and Al argue over geography, how to handle the leap, etc. She is not what comes to your mind when you think of an angel but plays it straight. The juxtaposition as solid and in the end, there is enough evidence to believe her. The character is in good hands, as is the episode.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Moments to Live
Original Air Date: April 8, 1992
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: May 4, 1985

This time: Sam leaps into a hospital. The life signs take a turn for the worse and the frustrated husband is ready to pummel Sam. The medical charts not having anything, Sam feels a pulse. He administers mouth to mouth and the victim recovers, kissing him.

The director yells ‘Cut.’ Sam is Kyle Hart, star of the soap opera Moments to Live. Sam’s agent reminds him of a lunch date he has that afternoon with a detergent contest winner. His date, Norma Jean Pitcher, is obsessed with the show in general and Kyle specifically. As they leave, she goes off to powder her nose. Al appears and says Sam does not have to worry about getting back to the studio since Kyle never showed up for work after that date. Norma Jean comes back with a gun. Sam is shuffled into a nearby van which burns rubber.

Norma Jean and the driver, her husband Hank, are quiet on the details though they do stop for a bite at a crowded diner. Sam learns that Norma Jean’s father died in Korea and they make a detour to Norma Jean’s mother. The waitress does not get the hint. In the restroom, Al offers little more to go on beyond Kyle disappeared for two weeks and was found wandering the woods with a shotgun blast in his head.

At Mama’s, Hank goes to get his shotgun and Norma Jean leaves Mama with the gun. Sam is not able to get Mama to let him escape but finds out that Norma Jean wants Kyle to be the father of her child. He is knocked out but wakes up with all his appendages handcuffed to a bed. Norma Jean brings Sam food and makes it clear that she just wants a baby and that is it. Hank is okay with it, per Norma Jean atlLeast. She lashes out when Sam talks about how crazy the situation is but quickly calms down and leaves the room. Al confirms her mental state. Mama is actually a roommate from a psychiatric hospital, and no one knows what happened to her father.

That night, Sam finds it hard with Hank watching, shotgun in hand, and Norma Jean finds Hanks rules (no moaning, eye contact, etc.) incredulous. An escape attempt goes wrong, and Sam asks Al for advice from being a P.O.W. Al says to look for a weakness. Hank walks in and Sam talks about the Pitchers. They fake an illness with Hank, and Norma Jean acknowledges that Sam is not a doctor. She runs off to drown herself in the river. Hank does not want to help so Sam knocks him out and talks Norma Jean off the edge.

The authorities arrive (including a cop who gets an autograph) Hank serves time, Norma Jean gets the help she needs though the two wind up together. Kyle’s agent, Ben, comes on the scene and incorporates something similar to the experience into the show. Sam leaps …

…into an archaeological site, specifically King Ptah-Hotep. On the wall is a warning placing a curse on those who enter.

Fact Check: For some reason, Sam does not know he is on a sound stage upon leap in despite him looking at the fourth wall.

Stop talking to yourself: Waking up handcuffed to a bed, Sam marvels at the situation somehow forgetting when he leapt into a shuttle simulation, an electric chair, etc.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is a fan of Moments to Live. Tina forced him to watch as he got over the flu. Also, Norma Jean throwing a tray of food across the room reminds Al of his second wife except she liked small appliances.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam’s agent gives him a magazine with Kyle’s handsome face on the cover. We get a proper mirror later in the diner restroom.

Brush with history: Mama wonders if Norma Jean brought Ben Casey over to visit. Though that show is a least a generation before the leap date.

It’s a science project: A new component has been installed in Ziggy from Hong Kong which may be causing jet lag on the computations. Because that is totally how computers work. Sam calls Al out on it.

Let’s up the rating: Al knows his soaps, specifically that everybody is sleeping with everybody. Presumably, they take turns or something.

One more time: “You don’t have to keep that pointed at me.” “How can I shoot if it ain’t pointed at you?”
Sam trying to not be in the crosshairs and Mama not obliging.

The Rainbow Treknection: Ben, Kyle’s Agent is played by character actor Brian George. There is an impressive list of roles including Richard Bashir, parent to Julian.

Put right what once went wrong: “What are you doing, Kyle? I’m two hours behind schedule and you’re making passes at dead extras.” This was not an episode I was looking forward to reviewing. The crux was Sam playing surrogate father to Norma Jean with a half-baked kidnapping plot was not something I was looking forward to.

Upon rewatching, it holds up pretty well. Heck, this is a strong episode. Tommy Thompson has a plot about Sam impregnating Norma Jean, but that does not come into play until halfway. We have a good setup for that from the date with Norma Jean to the diner scene to meeting Mama. The plot is ridiculous, but it is doled out rather nicely. There are things to swallow but we are following a soap star and the rate is not too hard to swallow though we have to swallow some big chunks.

Character introductions are fantastic. We meet Mama who has fallen asleep on a motorized chair, she was dreaming of a bring in a tornado. Norma Jean starts off as a fan with a moderate obsession and the seeds are planted when another fan asks to take a picture with Sam and Norma Jean ‘accidentally’ drops the camera into a nearby taurine of soup. We meet Hank as they are driving off and he wonders if they can pull it off.

The acting is well done all around. The waitress, Sam’s agent, the director, all strongly performed helping to establish the situation. Our two leads are pulling off their roles as well. Pruitt Taylor Vince gives Hank a lot to think about but not much to say verbally. He loves his wife and is trying to not let the situation get out of control. The hardest thing to do is talk about his feelings and deep down he knows something is going on with Norma Jean. Kathleen Wilhoite pulls off a masterful performance in that role. There is a clear division when she slips into mania but can be talked off the ledge. Her drawl does not get in the way, and she is a nice southern girl who orchestrates a kidnapping. While the two are convicted, they wind up together and you get the feeling that they were made for each other and can patch things up in the long term. What more can you ask for?
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"The Curse of Ptah-Hotep"
Original Air Date: April 22, 1992
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: March 2, 1957

This time: Sam leaps into an archaeological site, specifically King Ptah-Hotep. On the wall is a warning placing a curse on those who enter. One thing missing is the sarcophagus. Made of solid gold, Archaeologist Dr. Ginny Will surmises that graverobbers took it.

Speaking with Al, Sam finds out that Dr. Wills and Dr. Dale Conway, his leapee, are never found again. Dr. Wills enters the tent and wonders where a bird went. Sam believes it flew off, but they find a cobra which hisses menacingly before slithering away.

The commotion brings Ali and Gamal, two assistants. Also on scene (by way of vintage car) is Dr. Mustafa El-Razul, bankroller of the expedition. As they inspect the site, Ali is lethally bitten by some poisonous scorpions. Dr. El-Razul gets ready to take the body back for burial, but there is a problem with the car. Gamal can fix it though that will take time.

After a day of not being able to find the tomb, Al says that a sandstorm is coming, and it will rebury the site along with the team. Sam says that they can come back after the storm or in the future, but Al says that cannot happen due to nature. After thinking it through, Sam finds the actual tomb! Almost instantaneously, Gamal is crushed by Dr. El-Razul’s car.

After getting things in their place, the three go into the tomb. Ready to share it with the world, Dr. Wills decides to open the sarcophagus. They get it open in time to see the tent with Ali and Gamal’s bodies go up in a blaze. To prove it is not the curse, Sam removes an item from the sarcophagus though that leads to a wall coming down, sealing him in with Dr. Wills.

Dr. El-Razul goes off to get some help. Realizing that a reincarnated pharaoh would probably like to leave his trapped tomb, they find a way out only to discover Dr. El-Razul with a gun drawn ready to live like a prince. Sam and Dr. Wills are able to turn the tables and trap Dr. El-Razul in the tomb. As Sam guides the good doctor out, Ptah-Hotep arises and exacts revenge. Sam leaps …

… into one half of a stand-up act. Not knowing the routine, he is the ultimate straight man.

Fact check: The curse effects a microchip in Ziggy’s system preventing them from getting more information, opening the imaging chamber door. Because that’s totally how computers work.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam does not do a voiceover but we hear him read hieroglyphics.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al suspects Drs. Wills and El-Razul when they are the only suspects left.

Mirror images that were not his own: Heading over to his tent, Sam gets a look at Doctor Dale Conway in the shaving mirror.

It’s a science project: The curse befalls anyone who disturbs the tomb. Ali and Gamal just walked in for five seconds. Sucks to be them.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al says that the tomb remains undiscovered in 1999. One problem is that a dam will be built destroying the site.

Let’s up the rating: Al finds the camel ugly but Dr. Will to be gorgeous. To each their own.

One more time: “Come on wiggle your butt. I want to see.”
Dr. Wills not flirting at all as they enter the site.

Trivial Matters: Al usually appears on the same plane as Sam. When we first see him, he is at ground level while Sam is walking out of the buried tomb.

Al says that he cannot see in a dark room. One wonders why a flashlight cannot alleviate that problem, other than it resulting in a short episode.

Put right what once went wrong: “I’m being helpful. I’m keeping you company in the tomb of King Hebegeebe.” You know what makes a great monster movie? A monster. You know what makes a great mummy movie? The mummy. You know what this episode did not have the budget for?

This is just an odd episode all around. All three characters suspect each other, and they all have good reason to do so as well. The area is wide enough that they could all commit the crimes. A good mystery is fun to solve but here we do not know whodunnit at the end and that is a problem. Dr. El-Razul is the culprit in the end (holding your team members at gunpoint kind of tips the hand) but that does not explain the other things, especially those that happened before he came on the scene.

Even the worst writing can be saved by good directing but the budget strikes again. We have these odd shots of Egyptian props that are supposed to be moody but are more distracting than anything else. Usually, the soundtrack at least hits the right notes, but we have stock music from Arabian-set film scores when the cobra comes around followed by cords.

John Kapelos is evil as Dr. El Razul playing the role of a greedy archeologist funder. Why Sam and Dr. Wills are willing to rescue him after he pointed a gun at them is an exercise for the viewer. Lisa Darr plays Dr. Wills perfectly. For one, she knows her stuff. Too often programs do not have women as the brains in an operation, but she knows her stuff. She also has good discussions with Sam about archaeological digs and her life/career in general. She desperately wants the dig to work but is also realistic as to her expectations. Best for all, there is no romance plot, and no one expresses interest in her beyond Al. We need more strong women on screen.

Al appears to be suffering from the curse as well. Good job of the creators to put that clause into their curse. Very forward thinking for ancient egyptians. He does not really have all the much to support or even to do as he suspects everyone until they are out of the picture.

When we finally do see the mummy (or more accurately the mummy’s hand) as the hour draws to a close, it is not enough to save the episode. This is from one of the regular writers and directors and they should (and have!) be able to do better.
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My problem with that entry is is switches between […]

1EFQ: The New Normal

I don't think we took away enough toys I'm afraid.[…]

:thumbsup: I believe Steve and I may even be pla[…]