Original Air Date: December 15, 1992
Written by: Gillian Horvath & Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Scott Bakula
Leap Date: December 22, 1971
This time: Sam leaps into one of three bank robbers. We quickly discover that they are brothers. They demand the rather specific sum of $37,893.19, which is not available, and the manager will not be back to open the safe until later. The alarm sounds and the police cut off the back entrance.
Al arrives and the two go off into another room. He is Willie Walters, and in Sam’s hometown of Elk Ridge, Indiana. Willie is the middle brother, younger than hothead Neil and older than John, who has never been in trouble until now. The three need money to pay back a loan on their farm and what better way to do so than robbing that bank? As Al says that they died in the getaway, John summons Sam.
Chief Mundy is on the phone. Knowing who they are, they demand Gus Vernon, the bank president. That will take time, but Sam tells them to get on it. While Mundy takes the tried-and-true tactic of getting some coffee and pie to wait, a local hothead is worried about Mary, his wife and one of the hostages.
The three take off their masks as Al tells Sam that Vernon is pretty crooked in buying land, building a mall and profiting through kickbacks. Al wants Sam to surrender but that will put the Walters in ruin. Sam announces that they do not want to hurt anyone. He has a talk with the Pierce and learns more about his family. Two of the bank employees argue, one of whom, Beth, is the pregnant and unsympathetic to the bank.
As things get heated, Vernon arrives as does the Walter’s matriarch Mary. Vernon is pissed at having to drive thirty miles to resolve the situation, but Mary is pissed at the prospect of losing her way of life, something she passionately notes has happened to a lot of people in town. There is an applause, and it is easy to tell which side the bystanders are on.
Neil publicly confronts Sam, but John privately confides that Neil respects Willie and hopes that things work out. Al believes that if there is something to prove Vernon’s guilt though it is in the Vernon household.
After creating a distraction, Sam runs a mile to Vernon’s place. Finding a lockbox, he wonders how to pick the lock when Vernon arrives sarcastically offering the key but seriously holding a gun. As he is ready to call the chief about shooting an intruder, Sam knocks him out and shoots open the lockbox. The find they needed document and take it along with the unconscious Vernon. The documents prove that something crooked is afoot when the agreement as signed months before the foreclosure.
This puts Vernon away but there have been shots fired. Mundy suspects Carl and Al confirms that John is hit. Sam tells Neil the news, but they are arrested. Neil serves time but John and Willie are off under the circumstances. The bank reviews the loans and forgives the debts. Sadly, Neil becomes a drifter and gets shot. Depressed, Sam sees his own father and the two have a moment. Sam leaps …
… into a man greeting his loving family. His leapee, Martin Elroy is called to the courtesy desk where he is greeted by an entirely different but equally loving family.
Fact check: Two dollars an hour for a rural bank in the early seventies? Even with all things considered that seems a bit low.
Stop talking to yourself: Ever the observer, Sam realizes that when you hold someone up, there is fear in their eyes.
Only Sam can see and hear: Al is able to cross vast distances as a hologram, but Sam has to run the mile to get to Vernon’s.
Mirror images that were not his own: Alone with Al and pondering how he gets himself into these situations, Sam sees Willie in the mirror.
Brush with history: As Sam is out of breath from an impromptu run, Al hopes he leaps into Carl Lewis next week. Spoiler: he doesn’t!
Something or someone: Not only does Sam have enough time to stick around and find out what happens, he gets to see his father and wish him a Merry Christmas.
It’s a science project: Needing a distraction, Sam does the only thing he can. He asks the pregnant woman to go out into the middle of the street and pretend to go through labor.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: As Al and Sam argue over how to proceed, Sam says “Forget Ziggy.” Al sarcastically repeats it and then the handlink beeps twice as Ziggy puts in her two cents.
One more time: “He made the loan he can unmake it.”
Neil not quite knowing bank policy.
The Rainbow Treknection: Shelby herself, Elizabeth Denley, guest stars as the very pregnant, and very aware, Beth. Lorinne Vozoff followed up on her heartfelt performance as Mary with the heartfelt performance as Irene Hansen.
Trivial Matters: Sam wonders why the bothers rob the bank to pay the bank. There is a Robin Hood quality to it that reminded your humble rewatcher of his portrayal of the Sheriff (“Don’t they know I’m just going to take it back again? If this ridiculous recycling of funds continues, I might as well burn the bloody books!”) some years ago.
This acts as a spiritual ‘sequel’ to The Leap Home from the third season premiere. Sam’s mom gets a first name of Thelma and Bakula reprises his role of John Beckett.
Put right what once went wrong: “You see these [hands]? This is what my father left me. We get up before the sun and finish after dark.” One of the most frustrating things about Trek is when you commit a crime, you can escape consequences if you are undergoing Ponn Farr, reacting to a homing beacon, under alien influence, etc. There are a lot of get out of jail free cards.
It is refreshing to see a story with actual consequences. Granted we do not see the consequences, but they are there.
A soft sequel to The Leap Home, we get to see more of Sam’s hometown. We see the people of the town. The writers were clear to include scenes with the people who are village elders, the barking bank employees, the chief grabbing some food at the local diner. The small-town vibe is very much there.
We get a good picture of the situation in the struggles of a farmhand. These still ring true today, but Mary passionately talks about the troubles the family has endured and the applause confirms that they are not alone. Lorinne Vozoff delivered a stirring speech. Johnathan Hogan has little to do beyond being a smarmy asshole, but Arlen Dean Snyder plays Mundy with a good, weathered calm. It is telling that he lets the boys wander around out of handcuffs at the end.
Chris Stacy is perfectly fine as John but Dwler Brown is amazing as Neil. He has the front of an angry man trying to save his family and some of that anger goes to Willie who went away. He also does not like the implication that he was snookered on the deal. We find out through John that Neil admires Willie. You can see the layers in the performance, and it is great to watch.
What is not great is the appearance of John Beckett. Tacked on at the end, it does not add anything to the story. It literally gives Scott Bakula a moment with himself but does not advance things and tries to take our mind off the fact that Neil will die years later. A pathetic attempt to give us a happy (happier?) ending, on every level it is a failure in an otherwise fun episode.