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
#569255
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
#569936
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
#570446
"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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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#570844
"Stand Up"
Original Air Date: May 13, 1992
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap Date: April 30, 1959

This time: Sam leaps into one half of a stand-up act. Not knowing the routine, he is the ultimate straight man. As Davey Parker, he can do little to help Mack MacKay. Thankfully, a waitress, Frankie Washarskie comes on the stage and saves the act. There is a heckler in the crowd and MacKay comes close to fisticuffs over it.

Backstage, MacKay is pissed and Washarskie explains that she saved their act. The two are perfect for and have a history with each other. The manager is furious that it almost came to blows and btu ends up firing the lot of them. MacKay socks the manager, but they are soon hired to play in two weeks in Vegas by Carlo DeGorio, with Washarskie being part of the act. Per Al, MacKay disappears shortly after their debut.

On the ride, Al reveals that Sam has to talk MacKay into making the act a trio. Sam tries to get a bit going but MacKay and Washarskie can do little more than argue.

In Vegas, DeCarlo is all over Washarskie but Sam tries to settle things. Per Al, Mackay frequently changes his act when he gets close to success. Sam has a heart to heart with MacKay who agrees to give it a shot. The three work their act through a montage and MacKay tries to be flirty to middling success. More importantly, he apologizes for being a jerk. The two kiss, but Sam does not leap. Soon, DeCarlo comes with a lovely dress for her to wear. MacKay socks DeGorio and leaves the act thinking Washarskie and DeCarlo are an item. Per Al, DeGorio makes MacKay go away.

Washarskie and Sam have a heart to heart with MacKay and the three become an act. The three are a hit but after the show, a couple of goons grab MacKay. Mayhem ensues in the kitchen culminating in Sam getting a pie in his face. The chief goon fires a gun in the air and gives Sam an ultimatum. Sam tells DeGorio that MacKay is engaged to Washarskie. DeGorio respects their relationship. Sam leaps …

… onto a beach. A woman’s clothing is nearby along with a woman in her birthday suit.

Fact check: Washarskie thinks she needs to change her name to Lane, and then Turner and finally Fields. A lot of pop culture figures from the fifties did similar things, a practice that is still around but becoming less frequent. Also, Sam uses the word ‘nerd’, but MacKay does not understand it. That term was in the vernacular in the fifties.

Stop talking to yourself: After we are adequately introduced to the situation with comedic beats, Sam delivers a dramatic soliloquy about the situation.

Only Sam can see and hear: The opening moments of getting fired and hired are fast paced even for Al.

Mirror images that were not his own: After more or less bombing on stage and hearing MacKay yell about it, Sam sees Davey Parker in an offstage mirror, located in the stairwell for some reason.

Brush with history: Famed director/producer Darryl Zanuck is in the audience to discover Davey Parker.

It’s a science project: A portion of the art of telling a joke is in the timing. Not only does Sam not have the material, his timing is … off.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: To get new material, Ziggy has been loaded with classic comedic acts; Abbott and Costello, the three stooges, etc..

Let’s up the rating: You cannot have Bob Saget in an episode without some risqué material.

One more time: “What was your excuse for being a smuck?”
Mackay not knowing that Sam drew a blank on stage due to leaping.

The Rainbow Treknection: Not an actress who appeared on Star Trek, but Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez’s Desilou got Star Trek on the small screen. One could argue they got the ball rolling.

Trivial Matters: In the episode ending preview last week, after Sam said his catchphrase, we got a rimshot. It was sadly missed in the full episode. We are also treated to the Sad Trombone.

Several classic comediennes get name checked and MacKay mentioned their male partners, though he misses the mark with Desi Arnez being more famous than Lucille Ball.

In a show that regularly has to go out of the way to give Sam and Al time to talk alone, Mackay and Washarskie sleep in the car ride to Vegas.

Put right what once went wrong: “Davey’s got a new routine and he forgot to tell me about it.” Years ago, Studio Sixty on the Sunset Strip was workplace drama set in a Saturday Night Live style show. A common criticism was that the comedy was not funny, and a lot of the actors were not known for their comedic performance.

Quantum Leap got that right decades earlier. Bob Saget of Full House fame and Amy Yasbek of Wings fame are perfect for the comedic bits. The two hit the funny parts perfectly especially Saget being an odd cousin. The montages go by quickly but are perfect for the two.

Dramatic beats can be different for actors known for their comedy. Thankfully, Saget and Yasbek are up for the challenge. One of MacKay’s hardest challenges is admitting his feelings. Saget has some genuinely moments where he is emotionally vulnerable. And Saget plays it well. Not to be outdone Yasbek tones it down when she expresses interest in MacKay. The two have great chemistry with the comedy and the drama and are great to watch.

Things fall flat when Saget goes all ragey. It is not believable and he is too quick to get into the thick of things. There is a scene at a diner where he engages with a trucker and things quickly turn sideways but MacKay cannot read the room.

All the trappings of a comedy are here. Double entendres, a pie in the face, a rimshot. Credit to Bill Richmond and Deborah Pratt for giving us an episode that has everything you would expect from a classic comedy while remembering the human element. Pratt made a name for herself in the social justice episodes, but comedy might be in her wheelhouse as well.

Director Michael Zinberg lets the actors perform and there are quite a few bits where presumably he let the actors ad lib. The sound effects got in on the gag too. For a show not known for its comedy, this hits the mark.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#571357
A Leap for Lisa
Original Air Date: May 20, 1992
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Leap Date; June 25, 1957

This time: Sam leaps onto a beach. A woman’s clothing is nearby along with a woman in her birthday suit. They begin to conoodle … until a knock on the door wakes Sam up. It is Commander Hugh Dobbs, Criminal Attorney for Bingo, the person Sam leapt into. It seems that Bingo is on trial for the sexual assault and murder of Commander Dirk Riker’s wife, Marci.

They are interrupted by Chip Ferguson, a wingman of Bingo’s. Chip arranges for Sam to see Lisa, the literal girl of his dreams but not before Dobbs wants to speak with Ferguson as Ferguson was at the club that night with Marci as well. When the two (Sam and Lisa, not Sam and Ferguson) are alone, they make out and Lisa offers to testify, though doing so will ruin the married Lisa’s career. Sam asks her not to testify so that he can prove his innocence.

Sam finally gets a visit from Al only to find out that he leapt into a younger version of Al “Bingo” Calavicci. (For purposes of this review, as well as the sanity of your humble rewatcher, Al will refer to the holographic observer played by Dean Stockwell and Bingo will refer to the younger version Sam leapt into). Realizing the date, Al centers in on Lisa only to see her crash a car and die.

Distraught, Al wonders why Sam did not leap in if not to save her. Sam believes he needs to prove Al’s innocence except Al never testified; Lisa’s testimony was enough. With Sam asking her not to talk to Dobbs, that option is gone, and Al’s conviction is more likely. Commander Riker confronts Sam. Riker knows that Marci ‘initiates’ his ensigns and says that he witnessed Bingo committing the murder, though from a distance.

Riker’s testimony is powerful, but Sam and Dobbs cannot figure out why Riker is willing to ruin his career to convict Bingo. The odds of conviction continue to go up and reach one hundred, at which point, Al is replaced by Edward St. John V. St. John addresses Sam as Samuel and refers to Ziggy as Alpha. Sam tasks St. John with finding out what happened using directed questioning. After even more devastating testimony, St. John tells Sam to look in Bingo’s car. Sam finds a discarded cigar butt at which point Al reappears.

The cigar belongs to Ferguson, meaning that the person Riker saw was Ferguson, not Bingo. Ferguson recounts the night with Marci accidentally falling to her death. Al tells Bingo that they will leap him into a younger version of Bingo with express orders not to let Ferguson alone on the night Marci dies. It works and Al sees Lisa alive and well. Sam leaps …

… into Lee Harvey Oswald posing for the infamous picture.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam recounts the more memorable leaps somehow finding a young version of Al to be the strangest.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al relishes being able to relive the best moments of his life.

Mirror images that were not his own: At Al’s urging, Sam sees a younger version of Al in the restroom mirror. Not to be outdone, we see Sam reflected in the waiting room, whose bench is a perfect mirror for some reasons left unexplained to us.

Brush with history: Part of the gaps St. John fills in is that Tina wound up with Gushie instead of Al.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al talks to himself in the future. Initially it is for funsies but eventually he convinces Bingo to leap. We also get a somewhat distorted review of the series courtesy of St. John.

Let’s up the rating: In the teaser, Lisa is in her natural state. To even things out, Sam is in his boxers.

One more time: “Maybe he went to the head.” “He would sooner wet his pants that leave that door.”
Al trying to explain why Sam’s escort is gone and Sam filling Al in on what the navy admiral should already know.

The Rainbow Treknection: After playing Commander Riker(!), Charles Rocket would play Captain Jippeq in Voyagers Disease.

That about covers it… Oh yeah, some former model named Terry Farrell plays Lisa.

Trivial Matters: Edward St. John V is played by genre icon Roddy McDowell of Planet of the Apes fame.

In the teaser, Lisa is supposed to be entirely nude. The wide shot of her on the beach is not Austin Powersed enough to make that convincing. Granted it was just a dream, but still.

Dean Stockwell dubs the voice of his younger self to middling success.

Though we only see the normal number of leaps this episode, Bingo leaps into a younger version (by a few hours) of himself offscreen.

Put right what once went wrong: “Look, Ensign, I’ll defend you either way, but I have to know the truth. Did you rape and murder Commander Riker’s wife?” This episode is most remembered for Roddy McDowell as St. John. It is a fantastic moment when the reveal happens, and McDowell owns the role. He is doing an infodump but does so in the engaging way that only McDowell can. We are so accustomed to Al that we forget that the reason why this show works is because of the dynamic between Bakula and Stockwell. McDowell throws enough of a wrench into things to have fun and make us realize what we have to lose.

The amazing thing is McDowell is only onscreen for less than seven minutes and a good chunk of that is taken up by courtroom testimony. He is not on screen for that entire amount of time, but he shines in the role. Writer Donald P. Bellisario could easily have gone overboard with this and had it be a larger part of the plot but there is enough to keep our interest which is all we need in the end.

Another person with a small amount of screentime is Terry Farrell as Lisa. Pre Becker, pre Deep Space Nine, her main claim to fame was the short lived series Paper Girls. She is good in her scenes with Sam. Not great but she has chemistry with Bakula and you can see her bring life to the character. You can see the glimmer that caught a casting directors’ eye for Jadzia.

Come to think of it, a lot of the characters in this episode do well in their roles but have a small amount of screentime. Jeff Corbett plays a young buddy of Bingo’s well as Chip Ferguson though one wonders why he did not come forward with the information sooner. Charles Rocket gives Commander Riker a viper’s edge as he avenges his wife. Even Anthony Peck as the judge is fair but knows how short a couple minutes can be after a ship went down in the timeframe under his watch. Larry Brandenburg gives Dobbs a friendly persona outside the court when he gathers information from Sam. Dobbs is a friendly enough guy to let the two lovebirds have some time alone together and you get the frustration when Sam does not have a vivid recollection due to leaping in. Dobbs also provides a strong defense but cannot account for an eyewitness to the alleged crime.

The script tries to explain why Riker is hellbent on convicting Bingo but that is betrayed the fact that it did not happen the way Riker describes, and Chip knows but did not tell anyone for some odd reason. The writing contrived itself to fit the needs of the plot which is never good.

Also, Sam can leap into a dream?

For a series focused on Sam’s travels through time, this is very much Al’s episode. Not only do we see the effect of his disappearance, but he has a lot of focus in this hour. Stockwell does a good job of reminiscing with his old buddies and recognizing the place. He totally sells the bit. He also has some fun talking to himself which is s never not fun.

As a season finale this has moments for Sam and Al to shine. Al has a little more at stake than usual and his absence at the start of the episode is explainable. Usually, Al conjectures but in this case, he has firsthand knowledge by virtue of leaping into a naval student not to mention himself. Quibbles aside this is a great hour to experience and a strong end to the season. There are some other things that would also be a good preview for material we will see in season five, but we will get to that in due time.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#571930
Quantum Leap Season Four
Season Overview

This time: After four years leaping back and forth through time and people of multiple races, Sam had a leap into another species as he was a chimpanzee. Social justice continued to be a theme as Sam leapt into a Klansman, and a person who might not be heterosexual. There was an episode that took place entirely on a plane, and another in a raging hurricane.

It would not just be a big year for Sam in front of the camera as Scott Bakula would get an opportunity to direct an episode not one but twice.

Al continued to get more opportunities to shine. From A Leap Back at the start of the season when he leapt within his own lifetime to A Leap for Lisa at the end where Sam leaped into a younger version of himself allowing him the chance to literally talk to himself in the waiting room, he took a bigger role helping Sam work his way through the problems that plagued time. Al also played a big role in Raped where he was instrumental in letting the leapee tell her story directly. The bigger roles for Al not only gave Stockwell more screentime; it also gave us a window into Project Quantum Leap as we saw a lot of people we only heard from or have briefly seen in limited forms; Gushie, Tina, Dr. Beeks, even Ziggy.

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

Favorite stop talking to yourself: From The Wrong Stuff: 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.

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

Favorite mirror images that were not his own: From A Leap for Lisa: At Al’s urging, Sam sees a younger version of Al in the restroom mirror. Not to be outdone, we see Sam reflected in the waiting room, whose bench is a perfect mirror for some reasons left unexplained to us.

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

Favorite something or someone: From Running for Honor: 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 sometime alter in which Sam leaps out of as he gets a quick start both literally and figuratively.

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

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

Honorable mention to The Wrong Stuff where we are denied seeing Scott Bakula bounce around like a chimp.

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

Favorite one more time: From The Leap Back: “Beckett. Al Beckett.” “No, it’s Callavicci.”
Al being swiss-cheesed and Sam correcting him.

Favorite The Rainbow Treknection: Supporting player from Frist Contact Neal McDonough was also a supporting player this season. We also got not one but two actors from Modern Trek. But the crowning jewel is Terry Farrell as the titular character in A Leap for Lisa.

Favorite Trivial Matters: From The Leap Back: So many fun things in this episode from Al joining Sam for the “Oh Boy,” outright cheating to leap outside of Sam’s lifetime and having Bellisario join Roddenberry in having a wife voice a computer.

Put right what once went wrong: “It’s about time you got around to me, Dr. Beckett.” As essentially an anthology series, your enjoyment Quantum Leap depends on what episode you get each week. One of the great things about this show is you do have a general idea of what the next episode is about (a genius marketing tool) but it can take a turn on a dime.

Thankfully, the writing continues to be strong, on the average at least. They cannot all be winners, but you can have a weak link in the chain. The format of the show lets the writers cheat with Al giving exposition as it is needed, but it gives them narrative freedom that other shows do not have. Not only can he give background (and future) information but he can look at whatever is necessary for the plot.

The casting department continued to be strong as well. They need a new cast every week. One week might need an all-southern cast one week and a middle class African-American family the next. This season was not as diverse as others, but they continued to attract stars relative to their past, present and future who brought their top game for roles they inhibit for only a week.

Of course, no show can sustain itself without picking a direction and going somewhere. Season three did not have a lot of what we would call mythology episodes, but we got several looks at the actual Quantum Leap Project peppered throughout this season. After almost four years of hearing about people in the waiting room, we actually saw it, something that would [SPOILER] continue into the final season. The writers exploring more of it and letting us see the people that we have heard so little about (or gotten the merest glimpses of) could have been a catastrophe but we saw just enough to keep us paying attention without bogging us down in the details. We do not need to spend any time each week on the standing sets talking about who Sam is this episode. The major rule of writing is show, don’t tell!

A side effect of showing us more of 1999 (which actually got a date check) was that Stockwell got to play a bigger role. Usually regulated to support, he followed up on A Little Miracle and Shock Theater where he was very much integral to the solution of the episode. He was more than up to the challenge, and it is great to see him taking a bigger role as the series progresses. After all, we usually see Al is the giver of information, or the finder in some cases, but it is good to watch him work things out for a change. Why sideline half your cast on a regular basis?

The next season might go off the rails a bit but if you a purist, season four is a great note to go out on, despite that big cliffhanger.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#572368
Lee Harvey Oswald
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Leap Dates: March 21, 1963; October 5–7, 1957; January 6, 1959; October 21, 1959; April 10, 1963; August 9, 1963 and November 21–22, 1963
Original Air Date: September 22, 1992

This time: After a disclaimer, we see a montage of John F. Kennedy’s life which leads into Lee Harvey Oswald’s.

Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald posing for the infamous picture. A woman named Marina is taking the picture. Sam beings to speak Russian to his surprise, but Marina takes it in stride, at least until he gets rough. They argue and she excuses herself to look after the baby. Sam looks through the scope of the gun and sees Kennedy’s motorcade. He ‘leaps’ …

… into 1957 on an army base in Japan. He knows how to load a gun and does not get along with the sergeant. Al arrives and confirms who Sam leapt into. Al also notices that Sam spoke Oswald’s words at one point, not his own. As the two argue about how much of Oswald is in Sam, they marvel at Sam’s ability to field strip his gun. Al explains the theories but is adamant that Oswald was the sole killer, albeit influenced.

Back in 1999, Al questions Oswald. Oswald initially gives the name Alik Idell as a member of the proletariat party. Initially closed off, Al mentions being held captive in Vietnam and the two bond slightly, but those bonds are broken when Oswald knows Al’s name and then sees a reflection in the mirrored bench.

Sam does Oswald’s job well at the base, though he does not write the words on the clear board backwards so that the others can read it. Several airmen note that the plane they are tracking is higher than the world record, but the lieutenant reminds them of the secrecy, even among each other.

In a bar that night, a crossdressing pimp pushes Sam for information, which Sam declines. A worker who is familiar with Oswald brings up the possibility of the two going to America after things calm down, but Sam/Oswald wants to go to Russia.

A barfight with the sergeant gets out of control culminating with Sam holding a gun to the sergeant’s throat. Al brings Sam back with some help from Gooshie. Sam ‘leaps’ …

… Into an army base in California 1959. Al says that the sergeant would go on to save lives. An officer asks to see a roster and notices “The Worker” nearby. Sam/Oswald denies being Marxist and ‘leaps’ …

… into KGB headquarters 1959, where he gives intelligence on the record to prove his loyalty. The agent is generally uninterested until Sam mentions a project named Racecar which the agent identifies as U-2. After hearing Oswald speak with Sam’s voice in 1999, Al witnesses Sam giving the intelligence though not much beyond what they already knew. Still believing that he must further investigate, Sam attempts to slit his wrist that evening as Oswald did though before he does, he ‘leaps’ …

… into April 1963 after failing to kill General Walker. Sam/Oswald finds no notice on the news. Marina is distraught, especially after finding the note Oswald left. Al arrives, not sure how to keep Sam and Oswald sperate. Sam ‘leaps’ …

… into August 1963 handing out fliers to free Cuba. A woman expresses interest until finding out that Oswald is married. Some Cubans approach not liking the committee. The fight is prevented by officers, but Al is concerned that Sam cannot assert control and might kill Kennedy. Sam leaps …

… into November 1963. As Sam/Oswald prepares, Al threatens Oswald with a gun to no avail. Oswald says that Idell will do the murder. Sam tries to push through but is not able to succeed. Al tries to use physics and remind Sam that his father is still alive which brings Sam out of it enough to leap …

… into bodyguard Clint Hill. Oswald still commits the assassination, but Sam covers Jacqueline Kennedy. At Parkland General, Sam thanks Al for his help. A frustrated Sam is calmed by Al. Sam did what he was supposed to do; the first time, Oswald killed Jacqueline, too. Sam leaps out and we get a montage of the days following the assassination.

Fact check: A lot of this is conjecture but it is based on historical record, including Oswald’s diary which Al quotes at one point.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam remembers shooting on the farm back in the day.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al appears right in front of Sam on the shooting range. Sam misses the mark getting a sharpshooter rank instead of expert. He also observes Oswald shooting but cannot stop it due to being a hologram.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam sees Oswald several times at the Japanese bar. Not to be outdone, Oswald sees Sam several times in the Waiting Room.

Something or someone: After saving Jaqueline, Sam has enough time to wait around at the hospital so that Al can tell him about the ‘original’ past.

It’s a science project: In order to get Sam back in his right mind, Al quizzes Sam on physics.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al has several conversations with Oswald. There is also one with Gooshie where Al wonders if he can do more than observe if not find out information.

Let’s up the rating: Sam does not know that pillow talk means sex. Also, Al says Sam might have to sleep with a contact to prove she is not a spy.

One more time: “What words do you know in English?” “Yes, no, hello, goodbye, capitalist exploit the working class.”
Sam and Marina going over the basics of language.

The Rainbow Treknection: Willie Garson was mentioned in this category earlier for his appearance in the first season finale ‘Play it Again, Seymour.”.

Trivial Matters: The film JFK was released in the summer of 1991. It promoted the theory of the assassination being a government conspiracy. Bellisario met Oswald personally in the army and thought it perfectly possible that he was the lone gunman. This opening two parter for season five is essentially his thesis on the subject.

With a single production code split into two parts, these episodes were filmed as one unit and chopped in the middle, a rarity in series and why one review covers both episodes.

This episode is the latest featuring more than one leap, the first time we get a decent chunk of time with both leapees since the first season’s Double Identity. It also incorporates historical archival footage.

Japan, Russia, the United States; this might be the most geographically diverse episode of the series.

Al mentions their switching bodies in the season four opener “The Leap Back.”

Since an outro would be out of place, Sam leaps out and Hall leaps back into a photograph to begin the concluding montage.

Three hundred and sixty one days after this episode aired, another piece would premiere with Garson playing Oswald again in the film ‘Rudy.’

Put right what once went wrong: “That’s the funny thing about bullets. You can’t call them back.” There are a couple of ways to look at this episode.

As a lecture, it tries to put forth a case for Oswald committing the assassination. We only get bits and pieces, sort of like a connect the dots with a few of the dots missing. We can figure it out but there is a reason lectures are not dramatic reenactments. There are a few hints that go off the rails with Al being the audience surrogate, watching things as we do, asking Oswald questions directly. The thesis is out there and while this does bring more evidence to prominence, it really does not ultimately succeed due to the nature of the medium.

As an episode of Quantum Leap this explores new ground. We have an instance of Sam’s mind merging with Oswald’s. This has not happened before and while it will recur, it will not be to the extreme we see here. It was necessary to do that to show us how Oswald might have done it. Bakula is up to the task along with Willie Garson as Oswald. No stranger to the series, Garson does an excellent job opposite Stockwell. The two are strong minded and Oswald does not want to incriminate himself. Mind merging will continue to recur this season and it makes sense that it would take an event of this magnitude to trigger it.

The core of this series is Sam and Al. The two drift apart a bit here and Al does everything he can to bring Sam back but, in the end, they are unable to. Their conflict seems created rather than coming up organically. It does not help that Sam has relatively little knowledge and Al is a bit of an aficionado. We have seen them disagree on what direction to go, but this one seems further off than usual. What could be the greatest conspiracy of the twentieth century is not solved in the course of two hours.

There are some huge suppositions that Al takes. There is a conjecture that Sam leapt into Hall since his mission was to prevent Jaqueline’s death. That means that this force leaping Sam through time made a mistake. Leaping into Oswald did not work? This is a bold statement for the series to make, along with us living in the altered timeline.

Fortunately, we get several smaller scenes done well. The ‘Fair Play for Cuba’ scene sticks out due to the relatively low-key nature. Plus, we see someone totally hitting on Sam adding to the authenticity. The roles are too numerous to list but all well-acted, particularly Garson as Oswald.

As a piece of art, we have some very well-done scenes. Vernon Ray Bunch has great music for the photographic montages. The first is well put together juxtaposing Kennedy and Oswald while the final one reminds us of a nation, a world in mourning. The lead up to the climax takes a nice ten minute and breezes by. We see Marina talking to a friend as the day goes on, Sam/Oswald getting a ride, all put to a magnificent score.

If you are going to succeed in one area, presentation is certainly a good one to choose but this tried to do too much in the wrong medium.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#572692
"Leaping of the Shrew"
Original Air Date: September 29, 1992
Written By: Robin Jill Bernheim & Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Alan J. Levi
Leap Date: September 27, 1956

This time: Sam leaps into the middle of a sea during a storm. He sees a ship nearby and tries to get its attention, but it blows up. A woman is also in the sea calling for help and Sam heads over. Some time later, Sam is still holding her up while searching for some help and finds a nearby inflated raft.

She initially confuses Sam for her fiancé David but realizes the error of her ways and slaps Sam for leading her on. She spots her luggage trunk, and they paddle over to get it. She says that it contains essentials but those are mainly clothes and cigarettes.

Al arrives to fill Sam in. She is Vanessa and he is Nikos, an engineer. Her fiancé David is on the captains’ raft. Al does not know why Sam is there since they got rescued in a few hours. Vanessa punctures the raft though Sam is able to patch it with some gum. Al comes back in a hurry; they are now off course and are never found.

Sam MacGyvers the wedding dress into a sail and manages to ‘catch’ some seaweed with the veil. That night, they bond as Vanessa shares about her lavishly wealthy family while Sam talks about his love of astronomy.

The next morning, Vanessa’s mood darkens as she blames Sam for letting her use his shoulder as a pillow, but their moods are both brightened when they come across land. As Vanessa goes off to find civilization, Al arrives and says that while there is no dangerous wildlife and there are lots of edibles, the island will be uninhabited for nine years.

Sam does his best to keep them alive, but Vanessa mainly wants to go to the luxury suite. After finding out that Vanessa urinated in their only source of clean water, the two engage in a mud fight. Vanessa kisses him then slaps him for kissing her.

That night, Sam improvises a flare. Once a ship is in the area, they can send it up and get rescued. That night, a ship comes by, but the flare does not work, mainly due to Vanessa using the hairspray. Al believes that Sam has to fall in love Vanessa and vice versa. It appears that Nikos had an interest in her and she had in interest in him. All Sam has to do is convince her that she can love him.

The two talk where Vanessa admits to missing her family and the two kiss, when Sam sees a ship in the distance. He hurries to fashion a way to get their attention, but Vanessa asks him to stop. She had been trying to prevent them from getting rescued. Ziggy agrees (100% for the first time) and Sam leaps …

… onto a gurney. He is accosted by a raving patient who is taken away by an orderly. As he struggles to get up, Al arrives and tells him to stay put. A look at the ceiling mirror reveals why; Sam is a legless veteran.

Stop talking to yourself: Thinking he would smoke Vanessa when it comes to foraging, Sam is blown out of the water when Vanessa pulls am impressive amount of fruit and freshly dug clams to his meager crabs.

Only Sam can see and hear: Not having a phone booth, secluded corner or anywhere to go for privacy, Sam abandons all hope of a private conversation and just talks with Al in front of Vanessa.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam looks at Vanessa’s carrying case to see Nikos.

It’s a science project: Apparently the trunk is waterproof as the contents are entirely dry after being in water.

Also, I am not an oceanography expert, but a raft puncture would not throw it so off course that they would never be found.

Let’s up the rating: The first half of this episode takes place on the water. And Sam is wearing a white t-shirt. If you are a fan of the wet look this is your episode.

One more time: “Since you are the employee of the ship my fiancé hired you have to do what I say, and I say go get my trunk.”
Vanessa ordering Sam around even after the ship sinks.

Trivial Matters: The title of this episode is a riff on Shakespeare.

Sam remembers being a Beauty Queen in Miss Deep South and pregnant 8 ½ Months.

There must be a cleaning service on the island as Sam’s white t-Shirt has two small dark spots, but the rest is straight out of the store.

Put right what once went wrong: “There’s no way she could get this under your skin unless you had feelings for her.” “The feelings are homicidal.” For a show with only two main cast members, you have to believe that at some point, the creative team was wondering if they could do an episode with only one guest star. After a sprawling guest cast with the season premiere, albeit spread over two hours, this would be a great way to save costs since they could shoot it in the open water and on an island. It is a genius move and this show has success with sticking Sam with a woman for an hour and letting the camera roll.

Pity it came to this, though. There might have been a better setup around but there are a lot of contrivances to get these two together. We do not find out that the two had the hots for each other until a quarter of the way through. Not just that, but a ship blew up. The captain and David are okay, but what about the rest of the crew and passengers? Hopefully they make it out to safety. Also, why does Vanessa’s family have to live with her loss for at least nine years? We are told all sorts of sadness around Vanessa, but her family loves her as does her fiancé. Does he just move on? Does her family not grieve? And for that matter, what about Nikos? Does he not have anyone who would wonder if he is alive? For that matter, when they are found, do they just stick around on the island?

Worst of all there is not enough plot to carry an hour. This could easily have been a half hour and done as much. We can only take so much of Vanessa stymieing Sam’s efforts before we realize we are on a loop and want to move on already.

The saving grace in Brooke Shields. No one ever went wrong casting her in anything and she has a storied history on screen. She is great to watch, and she has great chemistry with Scott Bakula. When your entire episode hinges on one and only one guest star, you better pick a good one and Shields delivers. She does not wink at the camera at all, she believes what she is selling, accusing Sam of being a pervert, not wanting to use her wedding dress as a tent, etc. We also have good scenes with Al who plays matchmaker.

There probably was a good way to bring in just one guest star and knock it out of the ballpark but this is not it.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#573214
"Nowhere to Run"
Original Air Date: October 6, 1992
Directed by: Alan J. Levi
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Leap Date: August 10, 1968

This time: Sam leaps onto a gurney. He is accosted by a raving patient who is taken away by an orderly. As he struggles to get up, Al arrives and tells him to stay put. A look at the ceiling mirror reveals why; Sam is a legless veteran. Al does not have much more beyond Sam leaping into Captain Ron Miller but wanted to make sure the legless soldier did not suddenly start walking around.

In relatively short order, we meet Kiki, the nurse who gives Sam a tutorial about the hospital, Dr. Hartig, the main physician, tries to bring Sam’s spirits up by inviting Miller’s wife and Billy Johnson, Sam’s suicidal quadriplegic roommate. Johnson’s body is found in the therapy pool on Monday and with the pool being closed over the weekend, he has to get there in the next couple of days.

Sam tries to break the ice with Johnson, which goes well initially, but quickly turns on a dime when Sam asks about Johnson’s lady friend. Kiki comes in giving Johnson as much gruff as he gives everyone else when Miller’s wife, Julie, arrives. In the courtyard, things start off pretty cordial, but Julie quickly breaks down and runs off. Al arrives and says that Ron will father three sons, one of whom will save lives in the Gulf War so Sam must keep the two together.

In the pool, the asshole orderly puts Johnson in the water. Sam bumps into Johnson and asks about a woman from earlier. They were high school sweethearts and while she is prepared to move on as a couple, Johnson does not want to put her through it all. The tension rises when someone slips out of their life preserver and must be rescued all while Johnson looks on.

As Sam gets ready for a date with Julie, Kiki comes in to give him a massage to calm him down. As she gets a little friendly, Julie walks in and neither Sam nor Kiki can climb out of the proverbial hole they have dug themselves into. The date does not go well as Julie really does not want to pick up where they left off. As Al quietly watches over Johnson, Kiki innocently brings him an electric wheelchair. As Sam tires to leave, Julie asks for a divorce. She met someone while Ron was away, and things are going well.

Rushing back to the hospital, Sam runs into Asshole Orderly who wants to put Sam to bed and will not check the pool until Monday. At Al’s urging, Sam stands up and socks Asshole Orderly. Sam talks to and watches Johnson go over the ledge. After facing death, Johnson chooses life and Sam jumps into the rescue.

As Hartig talks with Sam, Asshole Orderly confronts Sam about being able to walk. Hartig kicks him out. Also, Julie checked out of the hotel which is an issue for the kids. Kiki comes after hearing the commotion and Al admits to not checking the mothers’ name. As the two bond, Sam leaps …

… into a man holding a gun while staring out the window. A local news report talks about an escaped criminal whose picture Sam recognizes in the mirror.

Fact check: August 10, 1968 was a Friday, not a Saturday as the episode implies.

Stop talking to yourself: With a roommate to save and a wife to meet, Sam finds the leap similarly confusing when compared to the late sixties.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al decides to watch Johnson as Sam goes on his date with Julie. The idea is that Al can get the word to Sam if anything goes amiss, which is a good plan before you take into account Sam is far from the hospital and in a wheelchair.

Mirror images that were not his own: When Sam rises up against his oppressor, we see Captain Miller standing legless.

It’s a science project: Dr. Hartig talks about the medical marvels that have saved more American lives than any war that has come before.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al hurries over to tell Sam about his physical condition. This is moments into the episode, in the teaser even, which has to be a record. Did he run down from the Waiting Room to the Imaging Chamber?

Let’s up the rating: Kiki gets a lot of catcalls in the hallway but she knows how to pour verbal cold water on them. Also, Johnson’s wife is a hot number per Al.

One more time: “Tell me, Ron, how do you feel about losing your legs?” “Don’t you want to take my temperature first?”
Hartig trying to get down to business and Sam trying to avoid it.

Trivial Matters: What is meant to be a great TV moment with Sam standing is ruined by crappy effects. Granted the show had a lot of guest cast members but they could have spent a smidge more time on that.

There are a trio of big guest stars. A pre-Spin City Michael Boatman is Johnson, and a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston is Kiki. But the biggest draw, at least when this episode aired, was Judith Hoag, fresh off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Put right what once went wrong: “They’re going to build a wall in Washington, with all the names of those who died in the war. Don’t add to it.” Three plots can be an awful lot to juggle at once. Quantum Leap has not always been able to pull it off, but this has more hits than misses.

The Julie plot shows us a different side of Hoag than we saw in the Turtles franchise. There she was a badass woman kicking ass and taking names. Here she is someone who has moved on and did not bother to tell her husband. She is the antagonist here, no doubt about it, but a different kind than we usually get. She showed her range, and her absence has weight after she breaks things off.

The Kiki plot lives on the friendliness of Aniston and she has a lot of friendliness to her. She knows she is the hot orderly but keeps the guys down. Her heart is in the right place as she gives Johnson an electric wheelchair. One thing the episode does not really sell is her attraction to Sam. We see them bond, but it feels more as though the script calls for it than they two naturally bonding. Bakula and Aniston have great chemistry, but it never really gels int that manner.

Johnson has moments with both Sam and Al. As much effort as Sam puts in, the most effective moments are with Al. This is not a franchise that does well with trauma, specifically male trauma. Trek has a tendency to move on too quickly with Nog being the notable exception. Here, we see Al talking to Johnson about his own personal trauma and Johnson sells it. He has tears in his eyes as he is at the precipice of the pool. He has great dramatic moments which is amazing for a paralyzed character. You can hear the emotion in his voice as she ushes people away while wanting to bring them close. As much as Julie’s arc was about stopping things, Johnson’s is about needing to continue but not wanting, making for an interesting dichotomy.

What does not work is the levels of incompetence that the show puts on Al. He does not check the name of the children’s mother? Neither does Gooshie, Ziggy or anyone else? Also, he does not know what happened to Kiki’s missing brother, but at the end of the episode we find out he is due to land in ten hours. Is he perpetually on secret missions? How do they not know more than thirty years after the fact?

A lot of this works but there are some kinks in there to bring it down a few notches.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#573580
"Killin' Time"
Original Air Date: October 20, 1992
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap Date: June 18, 1958

This time: Sam leaps into a man holding a gun while staring out the window. A local news report talks about an escaped criminal whose picture Sam recognizes in the mirror. A woman, Carol Pruitt, offers him some jewelry while her daughter, Becky, is shaken up.

In the Waiting Room, Leon Stiles has a gun (!) pointed at Al. Stiles takes Al hostage and walks out to also take Gooshie hostage. A lone marine on duty takes aim but Al prevents him from damaging Sam’s body. Stiles takes Gooshie’s car plus coat and goes off. Al cannot involve other agencies and goes after Stiles alone.

The police have surrounded the Pruitt residence. Sherriff Holt issues a warning while an officer named Grimes is informed that Collins did not make it. Hoyt asks for his rifle. Sam cannot let the hostages go as they are the only thing keeping him alive. Al breaks the news about Stiles but Gooshie will let Sam know of any problems while Al is away.

Al grabs a weapon, a profile of Stiles and a spare handlink with a tracker on Gooshie’s car.

The Pruitt’s plead for their safety but Sam must keep them at bay. Sam explains the basis of leaping, but it is a bit too much for them to swallow. Outside, Hoyt flat out tells Grimes he will kill Stiles as Collins was Hoyt’s daughter.

Sam unties Carol, who will not abandon her daughter. It seems that Carol is studying medicine after her husband ran off. Sam asks Carol to quiz him. She is shocked when the supposedly illiterate man knows medicine, adding to his credibility. Gooshie arrives and says that not only will the Sheriff storm the house, but Becky will also be caught in the crossfire.

Al drives out on Stiles’ trail with the CD profile. Ziggy believes Stiles will go after a street walker.

Sam lets Becky go as a s show of good faith; to keep her alive and to buy more time. Per Gooshie, this should be enough for Sam to leap but Stiles being outside the Waiting Room prevents that. Also, Sam still gets shot by Hoyt.

Stiles picks up a woman right before Al arrives. Al gets a visit from an invisible Gooshie (brain waves are not perfectly aligned) who says that Stiles must get into the waiting room before Hoyt storms the house. More amazed at the technology than the woman’s edible body paint, Stiles holds her at gunpoint when Al bursts in for a standoff. A mirror breaks the tension and Stiles lets off several rounds. Al is struck by ricochet long enough for Stiles to run off, though Al is in pursuit.

Becky tells Hoyt and Grimes the truth convincing them that Stiles has gone off the deep end. While Carol and Sam bond, Stiles makes his way back to the Project, holding Gooshie at gunpoint to travel back. Al hits Stiles with a tranquilizer, though why he could not have done so earlier is an exercise for the viewer.

Everything is in place, but Sam does not leap. Hoyt bursts in and asks Carol to leave. She will not let Hoyt kill Sam. Carol talks him off that ledge and Sam is taken into custody. Sam leaps …

… into a man clothed in a bathrobe and bathed in lights from a flying saucer.

Fact check: Sam names a handful of the dozens of bones in the foot but gets full credit. Where was Carol Pruitt when I was in school?

Stop talking to yourself: Ever the scientist, Sam likes to take a moment before reaching a conclusion. This leap makes that a bit challenging.

Only Sam can see and hear: A gun, handlink, and bulletproof vest. Al sure is ready to go all Rambo to retrieve Stiles.

Mirror images that were not his own: For the second week in a row, we get a mirror image in the teaser. This time after Sam sees a mug shot on TV. Returning the favor, Sam appears in the mirror while Stiles holds the street walker hostage.

It’s a science project: Ziggy alters Gooshie’s brain so that he can communicate with Sam in the waiting room. It mostly works, aside from some fading, static and vocal distortions.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Project Quantum Leap is an A1 classification meaning that they are not allowed to involve other agencies. I am sure that will go over well if Stiles starts shooting people randomly.

Let’s up the rating: The street walker gets no cash from Stiles or Al. Her room is very much in shambles when all is said and done.

One more time: “His name is Sam Beckett. Mr. Stiles is in the future.” “What do you mean?” “Mister Beckett travels through time. Now he’s here and Mister Stiles is there.” Did he tell you that?”
Becky being honest and Hoyt being confused.

Trivial Matter: We have a rare instance of punctuation in the title with “Killin’ Time.”

Put right what once went wrong: “When was the last time you met an illiterate speed reader?” It took just over four seasons, but we finally found out what happens to people in the Waiting Room. Sam has leapt into bad guys before but here we see how things can very quickly go wrong.

There are a lot of things that happens for this plot to work. For one, there must not be a whole lot of people on duty. We see three people staffing the project, one of whom is an extra. There is talk of other staff but where is everyone else? Is it a weekend or something? Where is Dr. Beeks? Why is Al meeting Stiles and not her? Was she on a break or something? Plus, they cannot involve other agencies which will not be comforting in Stiles goes on a rampage.

We rarely get a look at 1999, certainly not outside the project. Here, we go downtown and see more of the world, something we have really not done since the pilot, a courtroom nonwithstanding. Stiles is fortunate enough to run into the only prostitute without a pimp or sex hotel without security. So much of this happens for the sake of happening that makes it hard to believe, which is saying something for a series based around leaping into other peoples bodies. Stiles comes back to the project to leap back but it is more for plot convenience than anything else.

We have not seen Al in the driver’s seat since the season four premiere and he handles himself pretty well. The plot handwaves him not being able to involve another agency and he does a good job tracking Stiles. He is at the forefront, leaving Gooshie to minister to Sam. Why he could not have taken someone along is a mystery. Still, it is good to see Stockwell take change and he is up to the challenge. Cameron Dye gives Stiles an edge and has fun in the killer role while also being overwhelmed by the future technology.

We also get to see more of Gooshie as a result. He has been pretty bland up until this point but takes on the lab geek role well. We see him both with Sam and Al. He is as surprised as everyone else, but you get a sense that he has worked with both Sam and Al. Dennis Wolfberg does great things with the material.

The leap itself does not really present Sam with all that much to do. Jim Haynie’s Hoyt is there to kill Stiles out of revenge and Joseph Malone is there to listen as Grimes. Yes, Sam not doing all that much is kind of the point but while he does have some good talks with Carol, played excellently by Connie Ray, it goes nowhere. OK, she bonds enough to convince Hoyt not to kill Sam, but while the medical quiz scene is fun this could have been excised.

There are so many contrivances to get this plot to work. With apologies to Red Dwarf, the two biggest are that Stiles leaps in with a gun and Stiles leaps in with a gun; those are the same, but it is so huge it is worth mentioning twice. There is almost no one in the building, security or otherwise. They wave their hands about not being able to get any other agencies involved and this cold-blooded killer does not kill anyone in 1999. The chase to get Stiles is rushed. In the end, Stiles just waltzes back in so that the episode can end.

There is a good idea in here and while it does answer a long-standing question this could have been so much better. This could have been knocked out of the park after a few more drafts.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#573859
"Star Light, Star Bright"
Original Air Date; October 27, 1992
Written by: Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Christopher Hibler
Leap Date: May 21, 1966  

This time: Sam leaps into a man clothed in a bathrobe and bathed in lights from a flying saucer. It vanishes into the night as Sam is met by a young man before the two are intercepted by an officer.  Sam is Max Stoddard, father of John and grandfather to Tim, the young man.  John is all but fed up with Max running off and Tim covering for him.  John is also skeptical about the lights in the sky as is Tim to a lesser degree. 

Upstairs, Tim and Sam have some bonding time as Tim asks his grandfather to stay put.  After Tim leaves, Sam looks at the room and determines that Max has been investigating flying saucers for decades. Al arrives telling Sam that he has to stop telling people about his findings as John will commit him in less than a week.  As he waxes poetic with Al, John and his wife Eva listen in, thinking Max has to be committed. 

The next morning, John and Tim argue about post high school options.  Tim wants to go into music, John wants college/work, but Sam proposes both.  He tasks Al with combing the records to find more information.  As Sam argues the virtues with Al, two men are watching from far away with binoculars.  One, a soldier, thinks Max is a waste of their time while the other, a scientist, sees a man who keeps notes and is thus worthy of their attention. 

Sam walks in on Tim as the youth prepares to runaway.  Sam proposes Tim go to college in New York and play music at night to earn tuition money.  Sam does some jamming with an electric guitar in a rendition of Glory, Glory Hallelujah. John and Eva are not amused.  At dinner, Sam broaches the subject of music and school, but John is not interested, leading Tim to run off. 

With Tim’s future at stake, Sam chases after Tim.  Al gives Sam a secondary objective to save Tim from overdosing.  Sam talks about the negative effects of drugs and the odds improve saving Tim. 

That night, Dr. Hardy and Major Meadows visit the Stoddards.  Sam is tight lipped (at Al’s urging) but the two know they have a live one on their hands.  They offer an appointment but privately say to John that they did so as an opening to take Max to a special facility.  Separately, Ziggy is able to put the pattern together; each sighting is followed by another couple days later. 

John and Tim take Max to Clermont State Hospital the next day.  Inside, Hardy and Meadows have a cocktail of drugs ready to get information. If he takes a ‘truth serum,’ he can damage the timeline, perhaps even Project Quantum Leap.  He does his best, but they inject him besides.  Outside the hospital, John and Tim see the official’s car and realize something is up.  They rescue Sam as he cries like a canary, but do not get much of a head start.   

Sam leads the two to the sighting area where they have a standoff with the agents.  They are visited shocking everyone.  Sam steps forward and leaps … 

… into a forklift raging out of control.  A man comes to help whom Sam recognizes as Frank LaMotta.  A mirror confirms he has leapt back into Jimmy LaMotta.   

Fact check: There is a reference to Nixon being history, but this is before his resignation. It was when he was rising to the office of president. 

Also, a reference is made to escaping the potato famine but that would put Max well into a hundred at the absolute youngest. 

Stop talking to yourself: Sam is set on proving the sighting true, with John and Tim reconciling being more of a bonus. 

Only Sam can see and hear:   Needing to prove his sanity, Sam does not realize that talking to Al in other peoples’ sight is not the best idea. 

Mirror images that were not his own:   After hearing a middle-aged guy call him ‘Dad,’ Sam sees old Max in the mirror. 

Brush with history: Sam refers Tim to Woodstock, though it is a bit further off than Sam believes. It’s a science project: As Al urges caution, Sam says that we would not have the light bulb or landed on the moon for want of caution. 

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow:  Just as Sam is freaked out by the leap in, Max believes he has been abducted on leap in. Asking to go to the leader, Al introduced him to Gooshie. 

One more time: “See how they gang up on me?”  “It takes a gang to get through to you.”
John being stubborn and Sam calling him out on it. 

The Rainbow Treknection:  With this story about an intergenerational family, it is only fitting that Michael Maguire played Major Meadows here and also Kes’ father on Voyager. 

Trivial Matters:  Sigmund Freud and Ludwig von Beethoven both spoke to themselves.  Your humble rewatcher might let a few bits of genius slip through as the days progress. 

We get a reference to Sam’s mind merging with Lee Harvey Oswald’s in the season premiere. 

Chuck Berrie, Keith Richards and Jimmi Hendrix get name checked as lead guitarists while Eric Clapton gets half.  Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and Elvis are refenced as artists who had drug related deaths. 

Project Blue Book, an early effort into looking into alien life, is referenced. 

Al wants to leave everything to his first wife Beth should he be blinked out of existence. We met her in the second season finale M.I.A. 

Put right what once went wrong: “Pop’s right.  You’ll all feel better after a good night’s sleep.”  “I won’t.”  Coloring outside the lines can be rewarding but it is also perilous.  Here, we go outside the time travel lines to the UFO section. 

And it works. Well, it does really not work as a UFO story, but it is fantastic as a family piece.  We have three generations working together and at each other’s throats. Max and Tim are working against John. Their arguments are solid as is their bond.  Sam proposes a way to make everyone happy, but John sees the danger in the path. There is not one right answer, and the script lets both sides give their peace.  John even talks about how thrilled he would be if Max paid for his education.   

Guy Boyd’s John has to be father to both his son and father.  There is a gruffness leaving the sense that everyone else will come around in time.  Tim in fact goes along with locking up Max, after all.  Anne Lockhart does not have much to do as the supporting mother while Michael Maguire’s Major Meadows and M. Richard Greene’s Dr. hardy are a good two act as villains.  The script gives them enough material to play with as Meadows is the subordinate skeptic and Hardy is the one who believes and gives the orders. 

Morgan Weisser’s Tim ties everything together.  Seventeen going on thirty, he is the rebellious son and loving grandson.  He shares a lot of scenes with Sam and the two build a good rapport.  The scene with the overdosed musicians feels tacked on to pad the runtime but builds on their jam session which built itself on their talk early in the episode.  It is tacked on but feels earned. 

The writing is not entirely polished.  The government officials feel like they are there to be an additional obstacle, and the ending gives credence to Max’s claims, but we do not know what happens. Still, some good performances to watch.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#574111
"Deliver Us From Evil"
Original Air Date: November 10, 1992
Written by: Deborah Pratt & Robin Jill Bernheim & Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Bob Hulme
Leap date: March 19, 1966

This time: Sam leaps into a forklift raging out of control. A man comes to help whom Sam recognizes as Frank LaMotta. A mirror confirms he is leapt back into Jimmy LaMotta. In the interim, Frank has gotten some sort of promotion that includes an office and an assistant. Also, Jimmy got Employee of the Month recently.

At home, Connie is hanging up the laundry while chatting with a redhead named Zoe. She bemoans rote household chores when Frank and Sam come home. Dinner does not go well as Connie and Frank get into an argument about gender roles in the late sixties. Privately, Corey asks Jimmy if they can run away together. As of late, Connie and Frank have been arguing and Connie has been ignoring Corey. Sam talks him out of it.

Al arrives and begs Sam to stop changing history. What was once a fairy tale ending is now a divorce for the couple, a life as a runaway for Corey and spending the rest of his days in an institution for Jimmy. They do not know what happened, but they do know that Frank leaves Connie for his assistant, Shirley. Sam intercedes in a move to make sure that sparks do not fly too much between the two. It works, but Frank decides to go for a ride afterwards.

Not making headway with Frank, Sam talks to Connie trying to get her to work on the marriage. She is not receptive, and things escalate when they touch arms, she shimmers and morphs into an entirely different person. Her name is Alia, and she is from the future. A different imaging chamber door opens, and Zoe comes out of it. At first eager to get the gorgeous eye candy that is Sam, she charges Alia with being quiet and goes back through the door to someone or something called Lothos.

Al appears and realizes that there is someone else leaping, which Ziggy can confirm for some reason left as an exercise for the viewer. Sam talks with Alia but while he is open, she is less sure about sharing information, though she is able to feign a foggy memory of which Sam is all too familiar with. She perks up quite a bit at learning that Sam was there before and says that her mission is to make Jimmy more independent.

Through Al, Sam finds out that Frank is about to break his sacred marriage vow with Shirley. Unable to convince Frank to stay faithful, Sam confers with Alia. She seduces him but when things escalate, Frank comes home. As Sam rushes to get dressed, Alia rips her dress and cries rape.

Frank is furious and it is only Al’s urging that prevents Sam from fighting back. He tries telling Frank the truth (about being seduced, not about leaping) but to no avail. Sam is locked in the room leaving him and Al to speculate. Meanwhile, Alia asks Frank to call a doctor and get Jimmy revaluated. Alia wonders why she has not leaped and through Zoe, Lothos tasks her with killing Sam. Al realizes that she is his counterpart, and evil leaper. Sam talks her out of shooting him as they bond over leaping. She gives the gun to Sam, starts to distort, and leaps out …

… and Sam leaps in. Connie is visiting her sister and Frank is ready to take Jimmy to work. It is two days later (give or take a few hours; it was night when everything changed but is the morning now) and there is no trace of Alia though Sam is sure he will see her again. Sam leaps …

… into a man in a swamp holding an oar. He quickly notices that body in the swamp which is starting to lose color.

Fact check: Gemini 8’s emergency landing gives Sam an idea of how long it has been since he first leapt into Jimmy.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam is beyond thrilled to be back in familiar territory, apparently forgetting he went home a couple seasons ago. He is also a fan of tv dinners, wolfing it down while his brother, nephew and sister-in-law are trying hard not to play with it.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is enamored by Shirley’s profile, being a young woman and former gymnast. He also knows that when you help someone move, you get sweaty and might need to take a shower leading us to question how many times he has helped women move.

Mirror images that were not his own: Two leapers, two mirror effects. All right, more like four but Sam and Alia face the reflections of their leapees.

Brush with history: Sam introduces the term ‘junk food’ into the vernacular, after learning how Corey has been in the dumps as of late. Al even calls him out on it.

Something or someone: Sam talks about how he does not leap until he makes things better. Alia agrees while lying through her teeth. Their leaping does come into play in the end when they realize that they need each other.

It’s a science project: Even without looking at the directions, Sam knows the importance of leaving the foil on the TV dinners for the best results.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Ziggy is freaking out as to why Sam leapt not only in close proximity to a prior leap but someone that things went so well, he leaped out. Dr. Beeks is tasked with calming the supercomputer.

Let’s up the rating: Zoe is every bit as interested in the wild amore of the opposite gender as Al, particularly is sizing up Sam. Also, Sam does a great job of making sure things do not get too heated between Frank and Shirley.

One more time: “She’s insisting that history is changing, so whatever you’re doing, you better stop it.” “I ate a TV dinner, now is that changing history?”
Al giving a warning and Sam wondering how fickle history can be.

Trivial Matters: Sam does not utter his catchphrase at the start of this episode. Frank gets that honor.

We also have another instance of more than one leap per episode giving us five, after Genesis, Double Identity, The Leap Back and Lee Harvey Oswald.

Put right what once went wrong: “Are you talking to a hologram?” By the very nature of the program, Quantum Leap has a lot of flexibility in the stories it can tell. With that flexibility comes limitations as direct sequels are almost entirely off the table. Maybe a prequal or a meeting someone he knew from a prior leap indirectly, but if Sam fixes things, why would he ever go back?

It is a genius premise to start with. Sam revels in being back with the LaMottas. He gets to talk with Connie, loves being with his brother Frank and has time to spend with Corey. The three main actors from Jimmy returned and Sam picks up right where he left off. He does his best to keep the family together and keep Frank on the straight and narrow. The writers did an excellent job of giving us scenes with Sam and Frank, Sam and Corey, Sam and Connie to show that things were starting to slip but these are very much the same characters we saw on screen two years ago.

Of course, ‘things going well’ is not a compelling story, so we have Frank straying from Connie. We see Corey being pushed out and Connie promoting Jimmy’s independence for some reason. Things will become clear down the road, but initially it is a good mystery. As Connie, Alia is trying to push Jimmy out and there are references in the end of the episode to her being a homewrecker. Making things worse by making them better for someone is great. There are clues laid in as the episode progresses, little things like Connie ‘forgetting’ Frank’s lunch, making crappy TV dinners, and being rude to Corey but only as of late. It does raise questions why she is pushing the family apart when she claims to be trying to bring them together and Sam does not realize at all. The writing is strong particularly with Corey. Ryan McWhorlter grew a bit since we last saw him, but he can still have an emotional scene with an adult.

Having someone going around time being evil is an intriguing concept, one played around with in the Boogeyman. There, it was in the face of Al and at the very end of the episode. Here, we have someone who is Sam’s counterpart, even with a hologram and supercomputer of her own. The revelation is only in the last ten minutes of the episode, but Carolyn Seymour as Zoe and Renee Coleman as Alia talk about their history. It is not outright said how long they have been doing their actions, but it stated out small and got bigger as time went on. There is a serious question as to whether or not one can exist without the other. It is a fun thought experiment, but things can go wrong easily enough without someone helping history get crappy.

The effects team gets to have some fun in it all as well. The effect for the door, the leap out effect, even Zoe’s handlink are all different. Alia leaps out red because of course that is how science works. This brings up all sorts of questions since we see history changed each week, but it never requires a leap, certainly not an effect, along with missing two days, to resolve. Did Frank not sleep with Shirley? Did Connie start making meals from scratch again?

In between the two plots above we have Sam meeting another leaper. There is the requisite wondering why Sam has not leaped out whenAlia is there to help out but their scenes where they realize who the other is has a lot of fun moments. Al is thrilled and Zoe is interested in someone who looks like Scott Bakula but quickly turns venomous. The hints are there, and Alia plays off not being able to remember. For once Sam can talk to someone empathetically. There are times when Al does not do the trick and Alia is someone he can talk to and relate to. Today we would call this a mythology episode but if this series is to grow and expand, this is the first step towards doing so.

The acting is great all around as is the writing. There are only a few new actors and both old and new do their jobs well. Thankfully, the writers left the door open for another episode for the Evil Leaper to return.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#574504
"Trilogy: Part I (One Little Heart)"
Original Air Date: November 17, 1992
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Leap Date: August 8, 1955

This time: Sam leaps into a man in a swamp holding an oar. He quickly notices that body in the swamp which is starting to lose color. The victim is Bert, a Deputy Sheriff and Sam is his supervisor, Sherriff Clayton Fuller. He determines that Bert was dead before he was put in the water. Both Sam and another deputy take the body back into town, wondering what they will tell the widowed Leta.

Bert was discovered by Abigail, Fuller’s daughter. Sam goes to comfort her and assigns the deputy to drop off the body before comforting the grieving. Talking to Abigail, Sam finds out that she saw Bert alive! Bert accused her of stealing a locket from his daughter Violet. There are few specifics, but Abigail was the last person to see either Violet or Bert.

There are a lot of gaps to fill, none of which Al can help with since there was a flood in 1978 that destroyed the records. Al in confident that they can figure things out. Abigail hears Fuller talking out loud and they discuss Laura Fuller, wife and mother. They miss her but are working through it. Al is off to find more information when Sam sees a figure right before the door slams. He heads into the hallway only to find Abigail who spookily says good night.

The next morning, Leta demands to see her husband’s body but Sam has to wait for the autopsy. Leta reluctantly understands and they head to the funeral home. Leta takes her time to collect her thoughts while the coroner privately shows Sam that there is a blow to Bert’s head even though he died of a heart attack. There is an uproar in the office as Leta accuses Abigail of not doing anything to prevent Bert’s death, as if a nine-year-old can help a two-hundred-pound man tripping and having a heart attack. Per Al, Ziggy found a newspaper from Fuller’s hometown headlining Fuller and Abigail being killed in a suspiciously caused fire the next night.

Sam comforts Abigail. As the two have a moment, Abigail confesses to beating Violet over a locket. Violet ran off to tell Leta, but no one saw her alive after that. Abigail recalls Bert yelling about the locket as well but is certain she did not kill either. Unbeknownst to them Leta is eavesdropping.

Sam finds out that Laura’s mother had mental issues and took her own life. Al tells him that Laura is alive in an institution. She is comatose ever since an incident a couple years ago. She does not speak but Sam figures out that Leta stated the fire. As he rushes out, Laura reaches out.

Leta secludes and confronts Abigail, though she is able to get away and hide in a closet. Leta searches for her but Sam arrives. Looking to take care of two birds with one stone, Leta drops her lantern. Sam saves Abigail but not before seeing a vision of Laura. Leta escapes out that back as a flaming beam comes down on him as Sam leaps …

… into a couple getting a jump start on their honeymoon. Sam finds out that he is Will Kinman, assistant in the sheriff’s office, while the woman he is in bed with is Abigail.

Fact check: Sam gets a quick history lesson about presidents when a deputy suggests Truman run for a local office on account of not having a job.

Stop talking to yourself: For the third time, Sam leaps in to find a corpse. As he wonders how a child could be a murderer, we see Abigail picking flowers.

Only Sam can see and hear: Stairs are for chumps. Or at least, not holograms. Al decides to push a few buttons rather than climb down a staircase.

Mirror images that were not his own: Exasperated, Sam sees Fuller in the kitchen mirror.

Brush with history: The discussion of presidents reminds your humble rewatcher of when Lost took an extended trip to 1977 and one of the characters asked to know who the president was in case he was asked. He never got an answer and was asked later. In case you find yourself in a similar situation, the answer is Jimmy Carter.

One more time: “You are a male. Of the Caucasian persuasion. Forty ish. And well, let’s see, you’re a sheriff? You’re a sheriff.”
Al trying to give Sam information just by looking around at him.

The Rainbow Treknection: Abigail is played by Kimberly Cullum right before she played Gia in Thine Own Self.

Trivial Matters: All of the episodes of this trilogy are directed by James Whitmore Jr. who doubled as Fuller. Directing one episode takes a crap ton of work, directing two episodes in a row taken a heck of a lot of work. Directing three in a row is impossible so they used some TV magic; this episode was produced first, Whitmore got to take a nap and later on in the production schedule, some episodes later, they filmed the last two back-to-back.

Max Wright is the town coroner. In both look and mannerisms he is fairly unrecognizable from his most famous role on Alf.

Put right what once went wrong: “Promise you won’t go away?” “I promise I’ll be here as long as you need me.” A simple whodunit this is not. That much is made clear after the initial investigation where we have a scene with Abigail and Sam. Both he and Al are drawn to her. Their relationship forms the core of this episode which is a character study.

Kimberly Cullum has a masterful performance here. And she is a kid. Child actors range from decent to horrible and with all the chips on Abigail, Cullum delivers. There is enough innocence in the role along with understandable confusion as to what is happening around her. The foundation is laid early with her taking a brush to Sam’s hair. This is a mother daughter ritual (or a daughter doll ritual) but tells you everything you need to know. Sam tries to get information and is able to glean some but there is a lot that a child cannot talk about.

Leta is not entirely unsympathetic. Her earned sympathy goes out the window when she tries to murder a child, but you see where she is coming from. Looking from her point of view, Abigail is suspect, or at least has additional information. She is cold but also going through losing her husband after losing her daughter. Mary Gordon Murray has a calculated calm fury that goes off the rails in the end.

The plot is there to serve the characters which can be a death sentence for the story, but it lets the actors play their roles in the first part of a three-part story. There are a lot of plot points left up in the air since we really do not know what happened to Violet and can kind of piece together what happened to Bert.

No seed is better planted than Laura’s. We know what happened, but we do not know what happened. Played wordlessly with a stare by Meg Foster, it may seem like sitting in a chair does not require acting training but her silently raising her hand after Sam and Al leave says a lot. She appears too frequently (or is at least cut back to) to not have more to do in the story. I am not at the edge of my seat, but I am eager to see what happens next.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#574972
"Trilogy: Part II (For Your Love)"
Original Air Date: November 24, 1992
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Leap Date: June 14, 1966

This time: Sam leaps into a couple getting a jump start on their honeymoon. Sam finds out (and we get black and white flashbacks to demonstrate) that he is Will Kinman, assistant in the sheriff’s office, while the woman he is in bed with is Abigail. They are broken up and he is chased out by the Fuller’s housekeeper, Marie. We then get a bona fide previously on segment. After Sam gets his ‘little behind out,’ Abigail confides to a smiling Marie that she will not be alone anymore.

As Sam wanders wondering why he is back, Al arrives with the date, identity and not much else to go on; the flood mentioned previously having wiped the records. He sees Sam getting a bit too involved, including stuttering as a residual effect of leaping into Will. Al goes back to figure things out while telling Sam to take a shower.

Abigail balks at superstitions and sees Sam before the wedding. Marie arrives to chastise them. Sheriff Loman comes on the scene about a young boy, Pervis Takins, who disappeared. Abigail babysat him the prior evening, but he got upsent and stormed off to his room. He ran away and Sam is there to keep things calm until he is found. Per Al, they try to hang Abigail the following night, but she is shot in the back.

The meeting goes well as the Takins admit to speaking with Pervis after Abigail left but she says that Pervis had no friends and Mrs. Takins accuses her of being as crazy as her mother, Laura. The couple leaves and the sheriff organizes a search party. The wedding is postponed.

Sam goes along with the search party to find Pervis as much as keep them away from Abigail. Leta is there telling him about the ‘Fuller Curse,’ though Sam does not believe in that. He accuses her of setting the fire that killed Clayton Fuller, but Leta tells him to ask Laura about that.

Abandoning the search (and Abigail for reasons not adequately explained to the viewer) Sam visits Laura who recounts the rampage of her own mother. She asks Sam to protect Abigail, almost as if she knows who he really is. Sam goes back to Abigail and after they once again copulate, a mob breaks in, knocks out Sam and takes Abigail out to be hung.

Sam stops the crowd from hanging Abigail as he provides the place where Pervis is hiding. Leta tries to take matters into her own hands and shoot Abigail, but she misses and is not arrested for reasons also unexplained to the viewer. The mob disperses and Sam declares his love for Abigail right before leaping …

… into Stanton, a retired lawyer from Abigail’s hometown, reclining in his study while reading the paper, his wife is nearby in lingerie ready to get it on.

Stop talking to yourself: Not a voiceover per se but Sam does recount leaping out of a raging fire into a nice soft bed. We get a proper voiceover later wondering if Al will be prompt or if Sam will have to go through with the wedding.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al breaks Sam’s reverie by telling him not to talk out loud to himself as that is a cuckoo look.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam sees Will Kinman in the mirror while getting ready for the wedding. It becomes apparent that the suit is too big, and the Will is still played by Travis Fine the same actor who played him in the prior episode.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: It is unclear if Will is shaken up about his stuttering or being removed from consummation, but he is not too helpful in the Waiting Room.

Let’s up the rating: After an amorous leap in, Al tells Sam to cool his jets for Abigail. Apparently, a later encounter has Sam sleeping in trousers. The mob knocks him out and when he comes to, he has pants and a belt on.

One more time: “I’ve got a whole church full of people out there.” “Abigail, half those people are outside my office right now waiting on what to do to find that boy.”
Abigail arguing with ready to go on with her wedding and Loman telling her to slow things down

The Rainbow Treknection: Last week, Stephen Lee played a bumbling Deputy Loman. This week, he is a competent sheriff. Before either, he was Chogran in The Next Generation’s The Vengeance Factor.

The understandably bitchy at her missing son Mrs. Takley is played by Wendy Roble who would go onto play Ulani Belar in Deep Space Nine’s Destiny.

Trivial Matters: The title card gets upgraded this week. It is not an overlay and has a lovely cursive font unlike every other episode.

In the mob scene, a production goof has Abigail’s hands jumping up and down as the angle changes. Either that or she can do things no other woman can do.

Put right what once went wrong: “You two rabbits out to be ashamed of yourselves. The wedding is tomorrow. And in case you forgot how to add that’s one more day.” Why did this have to be a trilogy? There is very little that happens in this episode to move things forward. We have Abigail being accused but that is broken up by the end. There is no additional information from Laura and while there is nothing wrong with this hour it seems to just be there and not do a whole lot more beyond making a duology into a trilogy. Sam’s obsession with Abigail comes out of nowhere and works better with a twenty-one-year-old woman than ten-year-old girl but he is seemingly over that by the end despite his last smooch before leaping out.

There are good performances to be had. Fran Bennett does much better as Marie this week being the stalwart guardian to the Fullers. We saw her in part one, but she has a lot more to do, and a lot more sass to give, than last week. Leta does not really advance her plotline, but Loman is further down in his career path.

In terms of new talent, the best is Melora Hardin as Abigail. She is fantastic in the role trying to escape the shadow over her family. Her wedding is interrupted, and she gets hung. She has romantic moments but can stand on her own when she has to defend herself, provided there is not a mob. It is great to see strong women on screen

In a show that can rarely have week to week continuity, Deborah Pratt sure has fun reminding us through Sam of the prior leap. It is much more effective, and covers most of the same ground, as the previously on segment. Al is the only person he can recount things to. There is also a scene where Sam confronts Leta of killing Fuller. He knows she did it but cannot prove it and she easily denies it verbally though her facial expressions say otherwise.

A watchable hour struck by a clear-cut definition of middle chapter syndrome. They cannot all be the Empire Strikes Back.
User avatar
 
By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#575429
"Trilogy: Part III (The Last Door)"
Original Air Date: November 24, 1992
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Leap Date: July 28, 1978

This time: After a recap of parts one and two, Sam leaps into Stanton, a retired lawyer from Abigail’s hometown, reclining in his study while reading the paper, his wife is nearby in lingerie ready to get it on. They are soon visited by Marie. Abigail is in trouble, though the details are vague. Some remains have been found and Abigail is accused of murder. No one in town will take the case so Marie approaches Stanton. The bones match Violet but the statute of limitations has expired on that. Far more recently, though, Leta was found with her throat cut and Abigail is the main suspect. In the original history, Stanton did not take the case and Abigail died in the electric chair.

Back in Pottersville, Sam meets Denton Walters, prosecuting attorney. He also finds out that Abigail never married Will. Alone in an office, Abigail says she got home and found the scene a mess with Leta dead. Sheriff Loman was on the scene as he got an anonymous call about a woman screaming. Sam tells her that even if the case is reopened, Abigail would not be at fault as a minor. Abigail recounts the beating of Violet over the locked but is adamant that she did not kill Violet.

At the Fuller residence, Sam meets Abigail’s daughter, Sammie Jo, the spitting image of Abigail at ten. He calms her as she heard bad things through the grapevine. Al arrives and says that Sam is there to save Sammie Jo as well. He is the father; she is a genius but drops out of school when her mother drops off the mortal coil.

Sam refutes a lot of Walters’ opening statements, but the witnesses say that the knife was found with Abigail’s prints and Leta’s blood. Later that night, Sam and Sammie Jo bond over having a photographic memory. The conversation inspires Sam to visit Laura and see if memories can return to the surface. The visit does not go well at first, but Laura remembers Sam visiting in the previous episode and produces the locket. Sam notices that her hands and scalp, hidden under a veil, are burned. Was she at the fire?

Despite the very high risk of being struck as unreliable, Laura testifies. Years ago, she found Violet wandering around after being beaten by Abigail. There was a tussle resulting in Violet falling down the well where her remains would be discovered but not before Laura grabbed the locket while trying to save the child. Walters objects and Sam tells the court he is trying to clear Abigail’s name after being dragged through the mud. Sam doubles over in pain. As he reaches for his medication, he finds some bills Abigail gave him in the sheriff’s office. This gives Sam inspiration to call Abigail to testify.

The judge says that Walters has not been able to cross examine Laura while Walters wants her testimony stricken and declared inconsequential, though one imagines that may have already been made before. Walters is overruled. On the stand, Abigail recounts coming home and finding Leta in the kitchen and Loman coming shortly after. The phone bill has the number for Loman but the call in twelve minutes before Abigail got there. Sam puts forth that Leta finally had evidence to put Abigail away, but Walters told here it would not work. She searched the home for something but found nothing and killed herself with a knife she knew would have Abigail’s prints.

There is an uproar, Walters starts spouting off objections and the judge orders the courtroom cleared. Sammie Jo makes her presence known and recounts how she was hiding in the kitchen and saw Leta the whole time. Abigail marries and Sammie Jo is put on the right path, eventually working for Project Quantum Leap and having a working theory on how to get Sam back. Sam leaps …

… into one of three bank robbers. We quickly discover that they are brothers.

Fact check: Though the trial happens in 1978, Abigail is not put in the chair until 1984. After appeals, discussions and pleas this does sound fairly accurate.

Stop talking to yourself: Because he read the newspaper/script, Sam knows he is there to help Abigail. Also, it is suspicious that Leta is killed as she is mounting a case against Abigail. As if being the third part of a trilogy was not enough, Sam knows he is there to finish things off once and for all.

Only Sam can see and hear: Ever the constant reminder that Sam is not the person he leaps into, Al says that Sammie Jo is Sam’s daughter.

Mirror images that were not his own: Getting up from his chair on leap in, Sam immediately recognizes Stanton in the mirror.

Brush with history: Brigadoon is refenced as Sam and Sammie Jo have talks about the magic of time travel.

It’s a science project: Sammie Jo heard that her mother was in trouble. A certain person who committed genetic material to your humble rewatcher knows that when he did something at school, by the time he got home, his mother, neighbor, aunt and whole neighborhood would know and this was before the internet, twitter, facebook, emails, etc.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Stanton believes he is dead and tries to negotiate in the afterlife upon leaping into the Waiting Room. What else would an octogenarian sitting in his chair before leaping out think? Also, the trial of the hereafter is totally how heaven works.

Let’s up the rating: Sherlynn Stanton is really in the mood in the teaser and first act. Really in the mood.

One more time: “Larry, will you please open the door? I’m far too upset to be entertaining guests.”
Shelynn being especially overly dramatic.

The Rainbow Treknection: Meg Foster special guest stars in all three episodes as Laura. She would play another mysterious figure in Deep Space Nine’s Muse.

Put right what once went wrong: “I was brought here from very far away to help your mother and I wouldn’t have been brought here if I couldn’t do the job.” There is so much story potential for this to work. Leaping into someone’s life from multiple time periods, they do not necessarily have to be chronological. There are a lot of ways this can work not only well but uniquely in the way Quantum Leap tells their stories. The only self-described Trilogy, this could have laid the framework work for a unique show such as this to break new ground in its fifth season.

Instead, we have a strong first hour, a middling second hour and perfectly decent third.

There is simply not a whole lot learned from the conclusion. The biggest revelation is Violet’s fate which harkens back to the first hour. We also get more from Laura than in the previous two episodes combined but it does not really go anywhere. Oh yeah, we also find out that Will ran out on Abigail.

Leta’s fate could have been avoided and is a disservice to the character. It is fitting that she can haunt Abigail from beyond the grave, but to have her end like that is just anticlimactic. We saw the rage in the prior hours, but she was just too far gone. It did not help that a lot of her arguments were given to Mrs. Takely in the second hour.

The climactic trial breaks all sort of legal conventions. Testimony not only from a child, but the daughter of the defendant and not on the witness stand, Laura being allowed to testify, Sam knowing the contents of the phone records despite us not knowing that he read them. Why did he not take them back to Abigail’s house? We saw him there several times. Chekov’s phone bill indeed.

It is not all bad. The first act is great as is Sam figuring out what is happening. Fran Bennett continues excellent performances as Marie. One of few characters/actors to appear in all three hours she is the emotional core of the Fuller household loved by both Abigail and Sammie Jo. Her scene at the start with Sherlynn and Sam is fantastic as a slice of life of both the south and retirees. Kimberly Cullen returns to play her own daughter, having a different relationship with Sam this time around but acting amazingly opposite Bakula. The two have amazing chemistry and even though it is contrived, seeing them together is not a bad thing. Melora Hardin as Abigail has not all that much to do, and Meg Foster’s Laura is dispassionate after everything she has been through.

For a show that will always walk the line between fate versus free will, Al says that Sam is Sammie Jo’s father. This is coupled with Sam developing the same condition as Stanton. Al is too quick to dismiss Will as the father leading to all sorts of questions. It is good that Sammie Jo is put on the right path but there are too many larger questions asked and unanswered.

The car went off the rails in something that could have been so much better than the hype.
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