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
"Promised Land"
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.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"A Tale of Two Sweeties"
Original Air Date: January 5, 1993
Written by: Robin Jill Bernheim
Directed by: Christopher Hibler
Leap Date: February 25, 1958

This time: Sam leaps into a man greeting his loving family. His leapee, Marty Elroy is called to the courtesy desk where he is greeted by an entirely different but equally loving family. She is Rachel and sprung quite the surprise on Marty. Al is on the scene to provide lodgings and while he is still trying to sort things out, he tasks Sam with making sure the two never meet.

At dinner with Ellen and their kids, his son handicaps the dog races for a fee of three dollars and the gifts Marty has for his family are underwhelming courtesy items from the hotel. Ellen wants to go to the movies and Sam agrees to after he runs off to meet Rachel, who is happy to be with her husband. Their son, Josh, does a good job pilfering housekeeping’s cart over Sam’s protestations. Also, their daughter, Jessica, is oddly protective about money with Marty.

Al arrives giving a background of Rachel being Marty’s first wife, but he got married to Ellen on a dare. He has to choose one and Ziggy has the odds even between the two. Marty cannot commit either way, so it is up to Sam to make the determination.

Needing to spend time with both families, Sam takes both to the movies. Things start of well with Rachel but Sam leaves to purchase ‘some’ snacks (the kids name pretty much every item in the concession stand) and spend time with Ellen. After several seconds, he takes Marty Jr. to the restroom to get some snacks. He quickly runs into Jessica, sent by Ellen to see what is taking so long. He makes an excuse but no six (or sixty) year old will buy it. With a boatload of snacks, Marty Jr. comes out and the family pilfers through the snacks. After half the items are gone, Sam runs off to Rachel. Eventually, both women are fed up and rush off to confront Sam in the lobby.

Thankfully, Sam hides from the women but runs into a couple of burly types that gambler Marty owes money. They give him a punch in the gut and a twenty-four hour deadline to pay the two thousand dollars they are owed.

The next morning, he tries to meet Ellen, but Marty Jr. greets him instead. She is off at work, but Marty Jr. gives Sam some spare change lying around. Rachel is also out getting her hair done in the lobby. Josh gives him some money which Sam reluctantly accepts.

By an amazing coincidence, Rachel works at the solan in the lobby and is working on Ellen’s hair. Sam narrowly avoids being seen by them and has Al eavesdrop while he gets one away. He calls Rachel away to read a note on her car and makes a date with Ellen. Having sorted things out with a few hours to spare, the burly guys meet Sam.

The arbitrary deadline is shortened by a few hours. Sam goes to the phone in order to talk to Al. It seems that Jessica is running away so Al goes off to talk to her while Sam bets on a long shot with the meager money he has on hand. Both are successful!

The two Mrs. Elroys meet in the lobby and reject their husband. All three of them and their kids turn out fine; even Marty, who cleans up his act. Rachel and Ellen walk off arm in arm. A third woman comes to surprise her husband, Marty. Sam leaps …

… into a rally attendee at a bra-burning women’s liberation event.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam loves the irony of having two wives but still sleeping on a park bench.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al comes in in with a clutch having a nice hotel that Ellen and her two kids can stay at. Hopefully, this is a person Al in on good terms with, otherwise the proprietor would eventually stick Al with the bill. Also, we have another instance of a child seeing Al.

Mirror images that were not his own: After fobbing one family way and before meeting the other, Sam looks at the exacerbated Marty Elroy in the reflective surface of a cigarette machine.

It’s a science project: We have a literal science project as Marty Jr. did a project on static electricity.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Marty is a hero to Al, who could have had ten ex-wives instead of five.

Let’s up the rating: Marty and Rachel have a weekly naughty schoolgirl night. Marty and Ellen have a weekly Chambermaid night. They are on successive nights so does Marty regularly arrange his schedule as such?

One more time: “I decided honesty would be the best policy.” “For boy scouts, not bigamists.”
Sam and Al arguing over how to handle the situation.

The Rainbow Treknection: Shay Aster has a very small role, the smallest of all the kids, actually, as Mary. She was also Isabella in the eponymous episode.

Trivial Matters: Despite Al being a hologram, one extra in the hallway deliberately avoid him and looks at him directly.

While Al is with Rachel as the latter is on the phone, of course Sam can hear Al from the other end of the line. Amazingly, Al can hear Sam! Because he’s that awesome!

Put right what once went wrong: “Have fun with Ellen, but don’t be late for Rachel.” Let us start with the first forty-five minutes of this episode. We’ve seen Sam play a wide manner of people, but with the exceptions of this season where he played a killer, opened as an assassin and just last week held up a bank (plus a stint as a bad guy in a prior season), they have all been good people. Or at least good at heart.

Marty is kind of a louse. He has two wives, a gambling problem and no regrets. Everyone is tired of his antics from his wives to his kids to his bookie.

With all due respect to the actors involved, there really is no difference between the two families. There are differences but they are too few and far between. Robin Bernheim did herself no favors as it is hard to distinguish between the two wives even when they are right next to each other. That was the point and led to some fun moments in dialogue but in an episode where two thirds are to find the right wife, it is a problem.

It is sad because the script is written so well. It is a sliding doors comedy, but Mary Lou Childs plays the doting housewife from palm beach and Jill Tracy is good as a New Yorker. They have similar roles, but Ellen is more homely. The movie theatre scene has Sam running in and out of the theater with one on the left side and the other on the right and is absolutely hilarious and is right out of the Marx Brothers. The confrontation scene works as Childs and Tracy have fantastic chemistry both comedic and dramatic with each other.

The kids can be a mixed bag but all four are workable. Well, Shay Astar does not have much to do as Mary but J. D. Daniels’ Josh knows his father’s schtick and is not willing to put up with it for two much longer. Michael Bellisario is better in his fourth role in the series as Marty Jr. Both sons are resentful but love their father at the end of the day.

Ashley Peldon has a lot of work to do as a small child. The latest person who can see Al, the two share a great moment when Al convinces her not to run away. It is a cheap trick to get Al away from Sam during a critical moment, but it is smartly done and the two are great opposite each other. There is no time to get Dr. Beeks, so Al has to do it on his own. He calls back to his time being an orphan. It all works together and is touching.

The good will and work done is all destroyed in the end when a third wife shows up. After making the decision that Marty is best off without a wife and forced to clean up his act, a third wife is there to muddy the waters a bit further. It is almost as if someone thought that the hour needed a button of some sort and went with the worst possible option. It is a bad ending to an otherwise good hour that owes a lot to sitcom tropes of yore.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Original Aire Date: January 12, 1993
Written by: Chris Abbott & Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Bob Hulme
Leap Date: October 16, 1968

This time: Sam leaps into a rally attendee at a bra-burning women’s liberation event. A photographer takes his picture. There are some guys nearby heckling but the event is soon broken up by the police who disperse the crowd by arresting the protesters.

George Sanders and his son George Jr. are wondering where their wife/mother is. George is hosting a business function and George Jr. is moderately worried. They argue about working class incentives but one colleague, Evy, does not like it as it does not support working mothers. The phone rings and George excuses himself.

Police Chief Tipton arrives with a slew of charges the ladies can face. George enters and has a talk. Tipton’s son was at the party and George has some dirt on Tipton. Sam and his daughter Suzanne are free to go.

At home, George accuses Margaret, Sam’s Leapee, of embarrassing him in front of a friend not to mention the father of one of his best employees. He winds up voluntarily sleeping on the couch. Al says that while Sam is there to help event organizer Diane, he has to keep George and Margaret together.

The next morning, teenage Suzanne is taking Margaret’s side while Sam tries to get her to see George’s. Speaking of, George comes to breakfast and wonders who to promote. There are reasons for both Evy and Peter Tipton but Evy seems to be the favorite for both good (seniority) and bad (George can pay her less due to company policy) points. George Jr. comes in with the newspaper and George is further infuriated by the picture of his wife and daughter. He rescheduled a dinner party for that night and orders Margaret to be there.

Al arrives with more details about Diana. There is a protest that night and Tipton gets a little to overeager. He points a gun at Diana, but Diana grabs it only for Tipton to regain control of it and shoot her.

Suzanne is at Diane’s office. Diane tells her that she herself was beaten and she has no qualms about being physical to achieve her means. Sam picks up Suzanne and encourages more peaceful solutions similar to Martin Luther King jr. and Ghandi. As a result, Diane survives.

George has a chat with Peter before his father arrives and talks privately to George. He was assigned by the FBI to keep an eye on Diana and must report everyone who comes in contact with her. George asks him to leave Margaret and Suzanne off the list before all but telling George to give the promotion to Peter.

Suzanne tells Sam that Diana arranged for a sit in at the local men’s club. Al says that she gets shot at that event. Sam talks her out of it and the odds go down, but George comes in armed with facts and is very confrontational. Suzanne is rebellious at George and takes him telling her not to attend the protest as permission to attend. To make things worse, per Al, George leaves Margaret that night.

The dinner goes pretty well though talk is dominated by Peter. At Sam’s urging, Evy brings up the large number of women entering the workforce who would be comforted at knowing they would be taken care of in the event of a disability or other crisis. George is interested. While Sam is preparing the roast, Al arrives telling him that Suzanne and Tipton are shot.

At the protest, Tipton tries to arrest Diane, but she slugs him. He pushes her down and Suzanne grabs her gun which Diane uses to hold Tipton at bay. Sam uses reasoning to defuse the situation, but Diane still fires a shot, though she misses and is arrested. The crowd disperses though Tipton can arrest Suzanne on a felony. Sam talks him out of that, and Tipton admits that Sam made sense. George arrives ready to leave but Sam convinces him to stay with the family and accept change however incremental. They stay together and the women remain active in the movement. Sam leaps …

… into a radio host being asked about the correlation between a man’s feet and a certain other body part. He is Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Fact check: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl along with Kwame Ture & Charles Hamilton’s Black Power and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunich are seen, though that last one must be an advance copy.

Stop talking to yourself: Having been both a man and a woman gives Sam a unique perspective on the women’s rights movement.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al suggests that sit ins and other peaceful protests are good publicity.

Mirror images that were not his own: Not quite a mirror, but when Sam gets his picture taken at the rally, we get the mirror sound effect as he sees Margaret Sanders. We get a proper mirror effect later as George chews out Margaret.

Brush with history: Sam makes Griddle Cakes a la Beckett. He is referring to his family name, but Suzanne associates them with the philosopher.

It’s a science project: Sam is quite the accidental athlete. Startled by a camera flash in the opening, he hurls his bra right into the bonfire.

Also, this scientist with multiple degrees uses a liquid measuring cup for dry ingredients. He does not even make sure he has the right amount!

Let’s up the rating: Women in prison excites Al. Not these women specifically but as a concept in general.

One more time: “Are you sorry you burned your bra last night?” “No, the last thing I want to wear is another bra.”
Suzanne asking a question and Sam winking at the camera.

Put right what once went wrong: “Maybe the reason why your father is having trouble listening to you is because you’re having problems listening to him.” There are times when it becomes painfully obvious that as progressive as Quantum Leap is, there is still a far way to go. It was not until the second season when Sam leapt into a woman and was in essence wearing drag for a good chunk of episodes of the series. George and Sam get close in the ending moments but do not kiss. It would not have been the first same gender kiss on screen, but the censor would likely have put their foot down.

This episode has a strong script. Deborah Pratt is on old hat with social justice episodes, and you can see her work on this. The counterculture movement of the sixties, the historic peaceful protests, they are all there. We get a good look at all sides of the issue as George brings up points for and against who should get the promotion. There are points on both sides both valid and invalid. As huge as the women’s rights movement is, the household conversation is where a lot of decisions happen as well, and it is great for the show to acknowledge it.

The local debate is well represented by Evy. Though Sam has to give her some encouragement, she makes her points and Peter does not really have anything to counter other than being a jerk at the notion. Hard as it is to praise Bill Calvert for being naïve, Jordan Baker gives Evy a quiet confidence. She can make her points and has a lot of information to back them up.

Diana Valkenburgh gives dimensionality to Diana and while she eventually devolves into an ugly person, she gives her background to Suzanne. It is hard to remember that as an adult, Diana was brought up in the forties, but her history is far too common. We never learn what George has on Tipton, but we are told that they have a long friendship. Stephen Mills plays the role of both police chief and good friend well.

Megyn Price plays Suzanne with a gusto. She is old enough to understand the argument but young enough to not realize that change is not overnight. Sam keeps her on the right track while reminding her that small gains are gains. Max Gail gives an understated performance as George. He is exacerbated and tired of having the same arguments but Sam reminds him that the arguments will continue, and he can either move with them or be left behind. The yelling at his wife and daughter do not work too well but you can see on his face that he is moved by what is happening. A product of the same households as Diana, he sees that change can happen. His expression at dinner when Evy talks about the role of women and their decisions says it all.

I do not usually talk about the future tease at the end, but it is odd to have a woman openly asking about a guy’s junk after this hour. That does not detract from some performances that show you do not have to be lethargic to be understated.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"Dr. Ruth"
Original Air Date: January 19, 1993
Written by: Robin Jill Bernheim
Directed by: Stuart Margolin
Leap Date: April 25, 1985

This time: Sam leaps into a radio host being asked about the correlation between a man’s feet and a certain other body part. He is Dr. Ruth Westheimer and the questions only make Sam more uncomfortable. The producer, Debbie, calls for the announcer, Doug, to take a break. After some surprisingly mature coaching from Al, unsurprisingly coached by the real Dr. Ruth in the Waiting Room, Sam continues talking to a woman named Annie who has a boss coming onto her. She cannot talk long and the show closes while Annie is forced to hang up.

Debbie accuses Doug of cutting Annie off and Doug says that she hung up. At any rate, they are unable to trace the call. Sam leaves them to argue in the background to have Al look into Annie. Unfortunately, there are thousands of Annies in Manhattan. Ziggy believes that he is there to get Debbie and Doug, who have been on and off, to become an Instagram Official couple.

At a book signing, Annie appears. Sam gets her last name and talks to her as she admits that it was a mistake to let her boss, Johnathan, buy her dinner. Sam offers to console her, but she sees a shady guy and runs off. With the odds of Debbie and Doug going down, Sam sets up a triple date. Despite Doug proposing, Sam reads into commitment issues on both sides as she storms out and he talks about a colleague named Brenda. Per Al, that winds up disastrously for all parties.

As Sam records some promos, Annie calls certain that she is being stalked. Sam runs off to her after she hangs up. He saves her after she accidentally leaves the gas on and offers to help her in the office. They run into Johnathan in the lobby and Annie quickly exits. Johnathan plays the victim card which Sam does not buy initially until he finds out that Johnathan changed his number and is happily married. He is concerned about Annie and offers his card.

Sam makes progress with Debbie and Doug during a break, but there is a personal call from Brenda, or, as Debbie knows her, ‘the tramp from the Christmas Party.’ Rather than take a call, Sam talks about Debbie and Doug. It seems that Doug pulls out of the relationship so that he does not get hurt. The two reconnect.

At her apartment, Johnathan confronts Annie, who Al confirms will die in hours. Sam goes there and stops Johnathan, rendering him unconscious for the police to arrive. Annie turns out fine, Debbie and Doug are head over heels for each other, but Sam does not leap. Al checks with Ziggy and finds out that one more session with Dr. Ruth is necessary.

Al has never told Tina he loves her. His first love was Beth, but he admits to loving Tina as well and goes off to tell her. Dr. Ruth asks for her next patient and leaps out …

… as a tall dark and handsome man leaps in. With fangs.

Fact check: Dr. Ruth did have a radio show in the eighties though I doubt it was with this specific producer and announcer. Also, there is a not-so-subtle jab at silicone breast implants.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al gets along quite well with Dr. Ruth.

Mirror images that were not his own: While processing things at leap in, Sam looks at Dr. Ruth. There is a climactic chase and fight where reflective surfaces are strategically placed so that we can see Dr. Ruth running over cars and throwing a guy over her shoulder.

Brush with history: As Sam confronts Johnathan about sexual harassment, an African American woman named Anita goes into an elevator.

It’s a science project: When talking with Dr. Ruth, Al rattles off several synonyms for the chest.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: To make their guest in the Waiting Room more comfortable, Dr. Ruth gets an overcoat and a pair of glasses.

Let’s up the rating: Dr. Ruth guest stars in this episode. Yeah, there’s a lot of eroticism in this hour.

One more time: “Why does someone as famous as you want to help someone like me?” “How do you think I got so famous?”
Annie wondering how she got a guardian angel and Sam talking about how hard it is to become one.

Trivial Matters: While this episode has the standard number of leaps we expect, the final one is not by Sam ‘in the field.’ Rather, it is done by Dr. Ruth in the Waiting Room.

Dr. Ruth guest starred in this episode. After Chubby Checker, she is the second and final person to do so though she was able to portray themselves relatively contemporarily.

Talking Sam out of sticking around to help people, Al references Bellvue, a psychiatric hospital in New York.

Put right what once went wrong: “This sounds like a great leap. You just sit here and talk about sex. Think of it as a learning experience.” Sam’s first leap into a celebrity getting into her prime. Three plots, one of which was in the Waiting Room and a celebrity guest star to boot. This could very easily have been a disaster.

A lot of the credit goes to a strong script by Robin Bernheim. Though some parts seem like Dr. Ruth was consulted, personal relationships can be a hard sell, and she did a great job of juggling everything. The plots are interwoven well, and nothing really stands out as an A, B or C plot. They are all of importance. Director Stuart Margolin has some great framing and tricks. The chase sequence has Sam running over cars in a traffic jam, with Dr. Ruth being seen in car windows plus Doug and Debbie do an amazing job of arguing in the background.

Anita Barone and Peter Spears are a great two act as Debbie and Doug. The two need romantic chemistry sure, but the actors play off each other well. At the dinner which goes horribly, Debbie is yelling intimate details and Doug makes sure they are properly announced. She pours a glass of water on his pants to cap things off.

Robyn Lively’s Annie is more nuanced. We go from a woman being fearful, to a woman who might have mental issues to a woman being confronted. There are lots of twists and turns but Annie’s innocence shines through. James McDonnel’s middle scene with Sam shows a more sensitive side casting doubt on Annie’s allegations. He offers evidence and advice to help. In the end it turns out he is a bad guy. There are signs of a thumb on the scale, but everything works from the writing to the fight choreography.

Snuck in very craftily is Dr. Ruth and Al. We are starting to see more of the ‘modern’ era, the Waiting Room in particular this season. Whereas Dr. Beeks’ absence has been handled fairly decently thus far, here it is more than justified. We know about Al’s issues with women and his conversations with Dr. Ruth come across as natural. It is a surprise to him that interference is needed but not to us. For a show that sometimes goes too far out of the way to put the focus on Al, this was organic and helped a long running plotline.

This show is firing on all cylinders.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"Blood Moon"
Original Air Date: February 9, 1993
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Alan J. Levi
Leap Date: March 10, 1975

This time: Sam leaps into a coffin. As he gets up and takes in the spooky scene around him, a young woman asks if he slept well. He is Lord Nigel Corrington, and she is his wife, Lady Alexandra Corrington. She mentions getting ready for the Blood Moon. Their butler, Horace, tells them that things are ready, including livestock from the nearby village.

After Lady Alexandra takes care of the dog and Horace covers the coffin, Sam has a moment with Al. Lord Nigel is an eccentric artist, and the castle has been in his family for generations. Also, Lady Alexandra was formerly homeless. After Al accuses Lord Nigel of being a vampire, Al departs.

Dinner guests Victor and Claudia arrive. Introductions are made and both are taken in by Lady Alexandra. As they get seated for dinner, Sam excuses himself to talk with Al. Lady Alexandra’s body is found two nights hence drained of blood. Al looks into Victor along with the Blood Moon ritual.

Sam tries to get information from his guests, but Claudia does a great job of caressing the other three diners and a poor job of providing any sort of explanation. Sam has a private conversation with Lady Alexandra who recalls being abandoned almost immediately after she was born. She confesses abandonment issues to Sam having grown up with nearly thirty girls in the same situation.

Information is more forthcoming from Al who says that the Blood Moon is a ritual that requires a sacrifice. Lady Alexandra died as a result of her corroded artery being punctured by a silver dagger, one similar to a gift presented by Victor. Also, Al says that Lord Nigel does not merely look like the three century old ancestor, but that they are one in the same. The only way to definitively disprove that theory is to go to the graveyard but just as they are about to open the coffin, they hear a scream.

Lady Alexandra is producing the scream, having come across the corpse of their pet whose throat appears to have been cut. Victor gives his condolences, but Sam is suspicious even before spotting a blood stain. Sam calls off the ritual out of an abundance of caution. Victor raises a toast to the company and smiles at Claudia as Sam and Lady Alexandra are drugged. Victor confides that they have two sacrifices to make.

Victor vaxes nostalgic over the Sam and heads off to kill Alexandra while Claudia goes for Sam. As she gets close to his neck, she is knocked out by Horace who came back to the castle in the nick of time. Sam confronts Victor but as the dagger is raised, he is electrocuted and falls upon the grave of Lord Nigel’s ancestor.

The local detective does not see the need to bring Sam in for questioning as they lived nearby for centuries, and their version of events is corroborated. Sam does not want to keep Lady Alexandra involved with Lord Nigel’s deeds. He gives her some money and sends her on her way, eventually becoming a Missionary. Sam considers this definitive proof of not being a vampire and looks at a reflective plate to see what he looks like. Seeing no image, he leaps …

… into a costumed character on the hood of a car in the middle of a race.

Fact check: Al brings Sam a book How to Spot a Vampire by Dr. Lang. The work is pure fiction. There is a Count Bothery mentioned but appears to be a reference to the Countess Bothery.

Stop talking to yourself: There have been good leap ins and there have been bad leap ins. This one was just bizarre.

Only Sam can see and hear: As Sam looks at one of the skeletons on the wall, he sees smoke, then Al walks through it. Sam freaks out and when Al sees what is going on, freaks out himself. It is quite an entrance.

Mirror images that were not his own: We do not see Lord Nigel this week. There is a humongous painting that we are told self-portrait but there is no Mirror Tingle. This is the second and final time we do not know what the leapee looks like after the season three finale, Shock Theater.

Brush with history: Bela Lugosi, a famed Dracula actor, gets a name check. Along with Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney two other members of the Monster Rat Pack of the 40’s, a term I just coined!

Something or someone: Not only does Sam have time to chat with the detective he also has time to chat with Al a bit before leaping.

It’s a science project: Boris puts out a flame with his finger. It is a risky proposition unless you know …. the science!

Let’s up the rating: Al’s evidence of being a vampire are a pale complexion, beady eyes and a lustful stare. Sam observes that Al matches that description as well.

One more time: “Leis this Halloween? Is it Halloween tonight?” “Not unless they moved it to March!”
Sam wondering about the situation and Al setting him straight.

The Rainbow Treknection: Rod Loomis is suitably creepy here as Horace and was Paul Manhein in The Next Generation. Quantum Leap is not his only time travel genre credit as he also appeared in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures as Freud.

Trivial Matters: The teaser did not appear in the prior episode, making this the first time in quite a while where you had no preview the previous week, certainly the first time midseason.

If you really need to know what Lord Nigel looks like, watch the last few moments of the prior episode, Dr. Ruth.

Put right what once went wrong: “I have waited for this moment my entire life. To bridge the gap between the living and the dead.” This community exists in large part due to Decipher, particularly their Star Trek products. Decipher was also known for their How to Host a Murder kits. You get some friends together, everyone gets a role, you find out who the murderer is and have fun.

One of the ways that was successful is that it involved more than four people. Here we have a fifth with Horace and a sixth with the detective but when we know Sam does not kill Lady Alexandra and she does not kill herself, the solution becomes too obvious.

While the Decipher kits were themed and Murderous Vampires is a theme that can be interesting, here it is not. Every scene goes on for much too long and there is a good twenty minutes of plot spread over an hour. So much of this drags on and while there is atmosphere, Tommy Thompson’s script is weak. Thankfully, Alan L. Levi has good direction and only one jump scare that he just had to put in. Vernon Ray Bunch has a spooky chord, but the rest is done as best as the actors can manage. Is the Blood Moon a sex thing or a murder thing? It can be both, but it is creepy and not in the way the script intends. Al agrees that Lady Alexandra needs to be sent away without even consulting his handlink. Do they get divorced or what?

Ian Buchanan and Deborah Moore are watchable as Victor and Claudia but seem fairly one and a half note. They are in character, but the characters are flat and poorly defined. Shea D'lyn turns out a great performance as Lady Alexandra selling her current circumstance to support her husband but also not forgetting from where she came. It is great to watch but does not make up for the rest of the episode.

With cheap standing sets out of the backlot and a relatively small cast, this screams bottle episode. Some can be great but this one is not.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"Return of the Evil Leaper"
Original Air Date: February 23, 1993
Written by: Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Harvey Laidman
Leap Date: October 8, 1956

This time: Sam leaps into a costumed character on the hood of a car in the middle of a race. After a recap of Deliver us From Evil, the race is over with the car Sam mounted the hood ornaments of losing. The driver is Jerry, and the event was a fraternal initiation. The leader of the fraternity, Mike Hammond, is not happy with the race being ruined. Sam is Arnold Watkins, and he has been trying to stop the races since the finish line is perilously near a cliff. A pummeling is broken up by a cop who forwards everyone’s name to the Dean of Discipline.

An exhausted Sam goes to his room to find Al. Other than telling Sam about the need to calm down Arnold in the waiting Room, there is not much to go on. Originally, Arnold and Jerry died. They are interrupted by Jack, Arnold’s roommate. Jack is pledging the organization and got a call from Mike suggesting that Sam’s stunt put the process in jeopardy.

Jerry is grateful for Arnold saving his life, so much that he published an article. Mike and the brothers are furious as their fraternity is on probation. Mike’s girlfriend, Dawn Taylor, is taken in by a real-life superhero and shakes Sam’s hand right before leaping out …

… and Alia leaping in. As Sam and Jerry leave, and Mike ponders a way to get rid of Arnold without getting the organization permanently disbarred. With Zoe’s urging, Alia suggests public embarrassment.

Sam wants to meet with ‘Dawn’ to stop the potentially fatal antics and the two have a moment, almost touching before a pile of books is knocked over. Sam agrees to help with a biology midterm if she stops the races. As Sam gets ready for the date, Jack helps with a bow tie before he is off to an initiation which may or may not involve a race. Sam puts on part of the costume and is off. Alia is ready to seduce him, but Zoey tells her that Arnold is off to save Jack.

As Sam intercedes, Al mentions that Jack survives. As Sam admonishes Al by name, Alia figures out the situation. Zoey squeals in delight as Sam runs off. Later with Al, they realize that Arnold has to stop putting his life in danger but that is easier said than done. Al works with Dr. Beeks while Sam meanders back to his room as Zoey and Lothos consult on a fate worse than death for Sam.

Al has a heart to heart with Arnold in the Waiting Room. Arnold is traumatized over the loss of his parents who were shot when he was at a young age and feels responsible, but Al disavows him of that notion.

In the library, Alia publicly tells Mike that she and Arnold were involved with the getaway and are involved romantically. Mike challenges Sam to a race as a confused Sam confronts Alia. The touch and Sam figures it out. Alia is fearful about being found out, but Sam believes that if they are in physical contact at leap out, they can leap together. The only problem is if Alia leaps out early, the plan will not work.

At the race, as Zoey informs Alia that Mike turns out pretty crappy after college, Sam wagers future races for his win. The race goes fairly well until Al tells Sam that the brakes are cut. The two jump out of the car and embrace as they leap …

… into solitary confinement at a women’s prison. They are threatened with another stay in that situation unless one of them confesses to the murder of Carol Benning.

Fact check: Arnold marvels at the handlink since computers at the time would take up rooms.

Stop talking to yourself: Ever in touch with the minds of people of all ages, Sam feels that college is wasted on the young. Yeah, four years to study and have fun would be great for forty-year-olds!

Only Sam can see and hear: Zoey is at the library when Sam and Alia make their plan, unbeknownst to either party. Sam keeps Al out of the loop about Alia for reasons not adequately explained to the viewer.

Mirror images that were not his own: The face Sam sees in the mirror does not meet his expectations for what the Midnight Marauder would look like. Later, Alia sees Dawn in the mirror as she gets ready for her date. Both are capped off when Sam and Alia touch and briefly turn into their leapees.

Brush with history: Alia mentions the word Macho which was a Spanish saying but did not really spread until close to the mid-seventies.

Something or someone: It takes Sam a while to figure out why he does not leap after initially saving Arnold and Jerry. He stumbles onto stopping the races which is not entirely wrong.

It’s a science project: Sam finds out the intricacies of falling off a cliff in a speeding car.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Al consults with Dr. Beeks as he consoles Arnold. Why Dr. Beeks, the staff psychologist who is there for that specific job, could not console Arnold is an exercise for the viewer.

Let’s up the rating: When Jack open a girlie magazine, Al is curious. Not to be outdone, Zoey considers frat boys her favorite subject.

One more time: “Why would you wanna pledge a fraternity that's full of idiots in the first place?” “Full of what?” “You said the wrong thing, Sam. His dad was a Chi Kappa Delta idiot, and his granddad, and his great-granddad was a founding idiot.”
Sam talking with Jack about the virtues of virtues of Chi Kappa Theta and Al belatedly correcting Sam.

The Rainbow Treknection: Not a trek production but almost immediately after playing Jerry, Michael Manasseri would play Wyatt Donnelly on a series based on, and named after, the film Weird Science.

Trivial Matters: The Evil Leaper concept was intended to be a one-off episode until one of the one of the writers chose to continue that story thread and Bellisario gave his blessing.

When a cop busts up the pummeling, he asks Sam is he is related to Joe McCarthy.

Al refers to Captain Goodie Two Shoes since they could not afford the rights to Captain America. In a clear case of the Equal Time Doctrine, Superman also gets a name check.

The Studebaker is mentioned. Derisively but mentioned nonetheless. That company did not do well financially and by the leap date was close to being out of business.

Jack is able to tie a bow tie. Your humble rewatcher learned how to do that years ago though it was through the Tube of You.

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club gets a name check when Sam puts on a leather jacket. It is Al who makes the mention as they were still young at the leap date. Al also name drops Marlon Brando, though James Dean might be a better meta reference.

There is a rare production error. As Sam pulls up to the starting line, Al is in the back seat but a few moments later, he is not, and we do not hear a sound effect.

Put right what once went wrong: “Did I hear that right? Lothos. It’s him.” “It can’t be.” One of the reasons why Deliver us From Evil worked so well was that you could take all the Evil Leaper material out of it and still have a good episode. That trend continues here.

Quantum Leap has done college stunts before. We have had Sam on the other side of the line but here he is kind of on a one-man crusade to stop the idiocy. As much as Sam is the driving force of the series, here he is a little less in control with Arnold needing a talking to. We do not see people in the Waiting Room a lot, but that trend has reversed itself this season with this being our fourth visit this season and fifth overall. For a show that can leave the leapee out on a limb, here he is front and center. Tristan Tait has great scenes and chemistry with Dean Stockwell. With Sam needs to keep Al in the dark, this gives Al something to do. In an episode with so many things going on, they are the emotional core reminding us of what the show is about.

We have a delightful cast of characters filling out the roster. Michael Manasseri and Paul Scherrer have what can charitably be described as minor roles but do them well as Jerry and Jack respectively. Jerry is stereotypical nerdy but there is a friendliness to him. His publishing of the events causes plot to happen, but Manasseri has a youthful excitement to him. Scherrer has more a line to walk as a jerk roommate and a friend to Arnold. He is described as a bully/jerk but has a moment in their room. In another world, these two could be friends.

Niel Patrick Harris past Dougie Howser but before his career turning role in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle is Mike. The role does not really suit him and wears thin as the hour goes on. He is just too friendly to be this sort of an antagonist. It is a struggle to find a role that he would not be good at, but this appears to be that one. He has played villains, specifically the Lee Harvey Oswald in the musical Assassins but here it does not work though it is great to see him on my screen.

That about covers it … oh wait, there is an Evil Leaper here, too.

Deliver us From Evil took its sweet time introducing Alia, but here she leaps in before we are a third of the way through. We do not know how much time passed on her end, but she is back aboard the Evil Train. She initially goes along with Zoey but tries to break away. We hear Alia’s upset feelings with her program and how she privately longs to break free. Her scene with Sam shows the only two people on the planet (that we know of) who can empathize with each other. If there is a weakness it is that this plot gets short shrift with Alia quickly going along with Sam’s half-baked plan. It is better than the assuredness of leaping again with her project, but it is still fifty-fifty. It says a great deal that Sam would jeopardize his safety too. Renee Coleman and Carolyn Seymour are great in their returns as Zoey and Alia

Once again, we have movement without things moving too much too fast. Zoey is ever present and Lothos has a means of forcing a leap with Alia. Also, Alia must do more than simply kill Sam. The stakes are higher, and Sam risks it all to save her.

Richard C. Okie did a fantastic job of writing a very well-crafted story and Harvey Laidman has some great shots. On top of the car races, there are clever shots where Sam and Alia do not touch. Best still is in the library with a Conveniently Tall Stack of Books, the top of which references Mars, as in ‘Men are From …’ It feels very organic and works. The hour is not perfect. Sam’s plan is pretty shotty and by not being able to talk to Ziggy (for reasons …) they cannot run it by Ziggy. Plus, where is Dr. Beeks in all this? She is name dropped by Al but is not on the scene to help counsel Arnold. For some reason, Al has to do it despite prior mentions of her working with those in the Waiting Room. Her omission is part of an ongoing theme and simply sloppy. Prior episodes worked it into the plot but here there is no explanation why the trained psychologist is not working with Arnold except for the fact she is not in the main cast.

Of course, Sam does not know if their plan worked but we do since the leap out effect is blue and not red, though it starts out like that. The effect is well done as is Sam ‘morphing’ into his next leapee. We could get into more detail, but that is what next week is for.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"Revenge of the Evil Leaper"
Original Air Date: February 23, 1993
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Debbie Allen
Leap Date: September 16, 1987

This time: Sam and Alia leap into solitary confinement at a women’s prison. They are threatened with another stay in that situation unless one of them confesses to the murder of Carol Benning. Sam asks for some time alone with Alia and prison guard Masterson gives them some time to talk in a rather spacious supply closet.

The first order of business is finding a way to hide Alia from Lothos. Sam hypnotizes Alia with the help of Al. Until she hears Sam say ‘Rumpelstiltskin,’ she will believe she is nineteen-year-old Angel Jensen, her leapee. Sam is Liz Tate, jailed for murder.

Masterson has a brief talk with warden Clifton Myers. Masterson tells him Angel might crack but Liz is holding. They share a dark laugh when Myers suggests they hang one. In the office, a sympathetic guard named Vivian tries to help them, but there is little that can be done; Benning was a fellow inmate that was killed in prison. As Myers gets ready to meet the two, he leaps out …

… and Zoey leaps into him. Sam and Alia come in but have no further information. Zoey gets information from Thames, appearing as a hologram. They tracked Alia to that time and place and want to find her. Sam pleads with Myers/Zoey to let them find out who murdered Benning and she agrees, to a point. Sam has twenty-four hours with the local population, but claustrophobic Angel is put back in isolation.

Sam talks to a witness named Fiddler. Fiddler’s hearing is not great, but she saw Liz and Angel comforting Benning. Another inmate named Sophie came in and the next thing Fiddler knew, Benning was dead. Later that night, Vivian has Sam calm Alia. As Angel, she is freaking out though Sam is able to restore balance. Vivian offers to take Alia to the old transfer tunnels under the prison. Masterson objects but Sam knocks her out.

Feigning talking to Angel, Zoey confronts Sam to find out information. There is a tussle during which Sam and Zoey touch, revealing themselves to each other. Sam makes a break for it. Thames determines that Alia is there but has trouble getting a lock. Sam tells Vivian the truth and it is only Vivian’s relationship with Liz that she risks her career to break the two out. Knowing the layout, Vivian offers to shut down the power and give the pair some bolt cutters to break the lock and escape, but they have a fifteen second window before the generator kicks in.

Unfortunately, Ziggy in the year 1999 has been using the electric field in 1987 to shield Alia and once the power goes down, Thames is able to get a lock. Realizing the time to conceal Alia is over, Sam frees her from hypnosis. Thames shouts for Zoey who takes a shotgun and shoots Alia who leaps …

.. to be replaced by Angel. Thames has lost the lock on Alia and Angel has no visible wounds. As Zoey takes aim at Sam, he pulls out a shotgun and shoots her first. Thames begins to fade and Zoey leaps out …

.. and Myers leaps back in. Sam is taken into custody as Masterson orders Vivian taken as well. Al reports from Liz that Myers killed Benning. She was pregnant with his child, but he forced her to abort which she did not recover from and bled to death. A state physician has all the details. Liz and Angel get paroled, and Vivian ends up running the prison. Sam leaps …

.. into a bodyguard standing by a limo. A fan asks what ‘she’ is like just as Marilyn Monroe walks out ready to roll.

Stop talking to yourself: Needing to know if they were on Sam’s leap or Alia’s, there are few clues immediately evident in a women’s prison.

Only Sam can see and hear: Once restored to herself, Alia recognizes Thames in a nice touch. Also, Thames eavesdrops on Sam talking to Al to figure things out.

Mirror images that were not his own: Since there are three leapers for the first time, we have all three of them reflected in a mirror. We even hear a special Evil Leaper Tingle rather than the normal one to be sure we know who is eeeevil.

Brush with history: As Myers, Alia paraphrases Bruce Banner. Also, Vivian references The Twilight Zone, then in its second of five television versions, four if one does not count the television movie.

It’s a science project: Since Lothos can track Alia by her brainwaves, Ziggy suggests Sam hypnotize Alia into thinking she is Angel. Because that’s totally how science works!

In 1999 Ziggy also uses the electrical field from 1987 to shield Alia from whenever the Evil Leaper Project is. Because he’s that awesome!

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: For the first (and only) time, there are two people in the Waiting Room. It is unclear if one of them looks like Scott Bakula and the other looks like Renee Coleman. We get confirmation that there is no one in the Holding Cell, the counterpart of the Waiting Room.

Let’s up the rating: Zoey is quite enamored by Myers’ physique.

One more time: “You will remain Angel Jensen until you hear me say …” “Rumpelstiltskin.” “Rumpelstiltskin?” “Rumpelstiltskin.” “Well, it worked for him.” “Okay, Rumpelstiltskin.”
Al stumbling on a word to snap Alia out of it and demonstrating a lack of awareness of Grimm Fairy Tales.

The Rainbow Treknection: Roverta Desanto has a scene as Fiddler, almost entirely unrecognizable as Azetbur from The Undiscovered County.

Trivial Matters: Though the ending is open ended in terms of what happens to Alia, this was intended to be the end of that particular thread.

With three leapers and six onscreen leaps, this sets a record for both.

Along with Return of the Evil leaper, this originally aired as a special two-hour telefilm. This would be the fourth final two-hour presentation of the series overall with the third this season. The others are the pilot, the fifth season premiere and the final two thirds of the Trilogy.

Taking place in 1987, this is the most recent leap date in the series.

Someone was asleep at the switch when looking for continuity. When Masterson bursts into the broom closet, she goes through Al, but he is absent from the reverse shot. Later, Al goes back to Ziggy but disappears rather than goes through the door. During the climatic escape, we see the camera operators’ shadow in a sparsely lit tunnel, but there was probably no way to avoid that.

We get a name for the Evil Leaper Project: Quanta.

A pair of famous thespians brought this hour to us. Debbie Allen returns to direct and Hinton Battle guest stars as Thames. We also have Footballer turned actor Sam Scarber as Myers.

Thames has a new handlink! And the sound effects team has a new toy!

We have a relatively rare onscreen appearance of Maggie Rosewell as Masterson. She has voiced Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, Luann Van Hauten and several other characters in The Simpsons.

Put right what once went wrong: “I want to know why some people help others.” “Because all my life, I’ve never been special. And if one tenth of what you’ve said is true, this is special. For once, I want to be the good guy.” For the first two parts of this trilogy, we had good Quantum Leap episodes which happened to feature the Evil Leaper Project. This one utterly fails to hit that mark.

The setting takes a back seat to the more urgent need to free Alia. This feels like the prelude to Orange is the New Black at times and they did their best. Rosana Desanto is in one scene as Fiddler, offering an exposition dump. Barbara Montgomery and Maggie Rosewell have more time as the Good Cop Bad Cop Vivian and Masterson respectively. Rosewell and Scarber do little more than mustache twirling, but Montgomery brings Vivian to a bit more dimensionality. We are able to see Vivian being a sympathetic guard, someone who spends time with the inmates. Even with a few minutes borrowed from the second part, there is not enough time for this plot to breathe. This is most evident at the end which can only be described as an infodump.

Writer Deborah Pratt usually great or at the worst, very strong with her episodes and so much of this plot happens because it has to. The chase at the end is contrived and we get the plot in dribs and drabs. Sam is focused on keeping Alia safe, but he has to contend with the prison in order to do that. There is also a lot of handwaving to make this work, from Alia’s brainwaves being altered to Ziggy finding a way to manipulate the electric field in the past, to Angel’s (Alia’s?) body going into the Waiting Room. You can see things moving around just to make this work.

As a conclusion to the Evil Leaper Saga, this brings more questions than answers. Alia is free but is she wandering through time on her own? That is better than captivity but a horrible ending to a solid saga. Is Zoey dead in the Evil Leaper Project? Is that project shut down? And if Zoey is dead, wouldn’t Alia be as well? Biggest of all, someone can leap back in and survive a gunshot without a scratch on them? Twice?

It would not be so bad if Renee Coleman had more to do. Granted Bakula is the series star, but Coleman spends most of the episode as Angel. We have had precious few moments to spend time with Alia not under the thumb of Lothos but for most of this, she is playing another role. Carolyn Seymour is able to bring nuances to Zoey. We learn the motivation in finding someone who ran away, and it works. In a position of authority, Zoey can track the two down, though she spends far too much time in Meyer’s office being enamored with him.

Just as there was another hologram for Sam when Al briefly went away, Hinton Battle steals the show as Thames. He is having fun being a hologram and is not afraid to give Zoey sass when she snaps at him. He also has the foresight to lock in on Sam to find Alia. There is a nice touch when Alia snaps out of it and recognizes Thames. He is having fun and it shows with his performance. He sets himself apart from the sternness of Zoey and the aloofness of Al making the character his own.

In the middle of all this there is a scene in the waiting room with Al consoling Liz while Angel is hiding under the bench. In a nice continuity touch we have Liz wearing the overcoat Al gave Dr. Ruth some weeks ago, but Dr. Beeks would be a better person to talk to the two. She is nowhere to be seen and it makes more sense for her to be there than Al. It is a nice visual but a wasted scene for a show that continues to sideline Dr. Beeks aside from some throwaway mentions.

An unsatisfying conclusion and an unsatisfying episode.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"Goodbye Norma Jean"
Original Air Date: March 2, 1993
Written by: Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Christopher Hibler
Leap Date: April 4, 1960

This time: Sam leaps into a bodyguard standing by a limo. A fan asks what ‘she’ is like just as Marilyn Monroe walks out ready to roll. At her residence, they are surprised by young Barbara Whitmore, applying for a secretary. Monroe is hesitant but Sam talks her into it, and she stays on the premises.

A hurried Al approaches Sam that Monroe’s death is in four days. He is leaping to change history but saving Monroe would be a very big change. Ziggy puts the odds at ninety-two percent.

Days later, Whitmore tells Monroe of a local party with noted party animal, Peter Lawford. She initially declines due to fatigue, but Whitmore convinces her with the hopes of a guest from Washington DC. Whitmore also invites herself to attend. While Marilyn has a private session with Lawford, Whitmore makes herself at home. Al can find no record of her. There is a commotion later as Monroe has no pulse, but Sam saves her with CPR.

As Whitmore pressures Monroe into attending another extended party, Sam confronts her. Whitmore is an alias; she is really an actress and hopes to make it big by being associated with Monroe. Sam pokes holes in Whitmore’s stories but Whitmore never told them to Monroe, only Sam. Monroe is furious, firing Sam on the spot, wanting him out by morning.

Monroe is late for a movie rehearsal, but Whitmore shows up, wearing one of Monroe’s trademark dresses. Sam gets Monroe in good enough shape to show up on the film set, cutting in as Whitmore dances with Clark Gable. Monroe acts circles around Whitmore and goes on to act in The Misfits, a crowning achievement in her career. Sam leaps …

… into a windowsill dressed in black, furry garb. A screaming child scares him off the ledge, claiming to have seen Bigfoot.

Fact check: A decent chunk of Monroe’s filmography is referenced. Also, her death was April 8, 1960, at least before the events of this episode.

Stop talking to yourself: Being able to chauffeur Marilyn Monroe is pretty good in comparison to some other leaps. Young Sam Beckett snuck out to see her work, but Al was more contemporary.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al gets a car ride and is veeery eager to see Marilyn.

Mirror images that were not his own: A weary Sam, waking up after three days of hardcore partying looks at Dennis Boardman in his bedroom mirror.

Brush with history: Whitmore asks about Monroe and a “certain Senator from Massachusetts.”

It’s a science project: Monroe is taking medication for depression and washing them down with champagne.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Ziggy considers Monroe too unpredictable to make calculations, though Sam suspects Whitmore is the culprit.

Let’s up the rating: Al gets Sam out of his room early in the morning on an urgent matter: Monroe swimming in her birthday suit.

One more time: “It’s amazing that someone and busy and important as you doesn’t have someone looking out for her appointments. Keeping her affairs in order. Providing companionship. It’s not good to be alone.”
Sam telling himself to keep going while convincing Monroe to hire Whitmore.

The Rainbow Treknection: If Whitmore looks familiar is her outfits, she was also Kristin in The Next Generation’s Conundrum. Stephen Root, here playing John Tremaine Jr., was Klingon Captain K’Vada in the Unification two-parter while Tony Young, here as John Huston, played Kryton in the Original Series’ Elaan of Troyis.

Trivial Matters: Sam’s time as a boxer (The Right Hand of God) and in a chain gang (Unchained) are referenced in monologue.

Adjusted for inflation, Whitmore is offered $450.00 a week plus board. Not bad.

At seeing Whitmore, Al says the first half of the double mint gum jingle.

Put right what once went wrong: “Just take good care of her and don’t let her die.” This series knows that if they stick Bakula with a woman for an hour, magic happens. So why not two? With one of them being famed icon Marilyn Monroe.

We only get a slice for the later years of Monroe’s life. Susan Giffiths nails the role with her poise and voice. As much as the Rat Pack Hollywood elite gets to shine, the quieter moments are also important. She is able to avoid the paparazzi by going out as Norma Jean, not Monroe. She and Sam have a good scene in this mode where they discuss simply being people. As much as the role demands big scenes it also demands a quitter focus and Griffiths delivered. She seduces Sam at one point, and he refuses to go too far due to professional courtesy. Even when he is fired Sam looks out for her.

Liz Vassey plays the antagonist in Whitmore. Originally a shy girl, she weasels her way into the elite and becomes a major villainess. We have a bonding scene with Sam, but it is based entirely on lies and we do not pick up on it until it is too late. In these days of Marvel and DC blockbusters with Thanos and Darksied causing panic on a global scale, we are reminded the evil has many faces. Vassey matches the quiet intensity of Griffiths but is trying to climb her way up the ladder, jumping rungs as necessary. The best part if we never see the mustache twirl, Vassey gives us a very calculated plan which she almost executed flawlessly. She is proverbially spanked in the end with Monroe putting her in place.

The supporting cast is hard to do in a period piece with specific historical figures, but Larry Pennell and Tony Young are good as John Husted and Clark Gable, respectively, though the later has chemistry with both leading ladies. The usually reliable Stephen Root is merely adequate here as John Tremaine Jr as is Joris Stuyk as Peter Lawford.

Richard C. Okie did his homework with the script, and it shows. They could not hire scores of the Hollywood elite, so they have some fun refences in the script. There is time to develop the various relationships between the characters, even after Sam is fired. Stockwell enjoys being in the era and specific location a bit too much as Al. The “Hurry and Come Here for Something Not Really Urgent” cliché is there and we see both Monroe and Whitmore taking a liking to Sam. It feels natural and organic.

In the season premiere, there was an issue with Sam fixing history to match with what we knew but in this case, that is the focal point of the episode. The only reason it is not distracting is because there are not a lot of Monroe fans who know the day of her death. Also echoing the premiere is Sam getting really close to noted historical figures for an extended length f time, though we would see even more later in the season. Still, a solid hour.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"The Beast Within"
Original Air Date: March 16, 1993
Written by: John D'Aquino
Directed by: Gus Trikonis
Leap Date: November 6, 1972

This time: Sam leaps into a windowsill dressed in black, furry garb. A screaming child scares him off the ledge, claiming he saw Bigfoot. The boy’s stepfather, Luke, grabs a shotgun. Sam meanders through the woods until he is tackled by a friend, Roy who leads Sam away.

Luke returns from his rounds and tells the young man, Daniel, to calm down. Luke did not find anyone, but knows that it was Henry, Sam’s leapee, solely by finding some stolen medication in the woods. As Sheriff, he goes into town to speak with Dr. Burke while ordering Daniel and his mother to stay put.

At the camp site, Roy is glad that Sam is all right. Roy asks about the pills. Sam does not have them, and Roy starts to fidget. Al arrives and tells Sam to calm Roy down lest he have a seizure. Sam calms him down and Roy retires for the night. Al says that they are both Vietnam veterans and that Roy was a “Tunnel Rat.” It was during one of his missions that he got shot in the head leading him to develop epilepsy and claustrophobia.

With nothing further to go on, Al heads back while asking Sam to find clues. At the same time, Luke decides to resume the search in the morning. Both men separately look through scrapbooks as Sam finds a group wrestling photo from high school featuring the three of them and a fourth, John Burke.

Looking through a logbook, Sam finds out that the four were on a mission to obliterate a drop point though the place just houses an old man. John goes in to do the job himself only to for the cabin to explode. Henry and Roy have been living off the grid since their return. As Roy retires for the night, Al says that he will die from a seizure the next night.

Sam puts the pieces together. Luke feels responsible for John’s death and married the widowed Karen, but Daniel resents Luke. It does not help that Henry is wanted for stealing chickens when he and Roy were starving but Luke is unsympathetic.

Roy has a seizure and Sam is ready to take him into town. Al puts the kibosh on that since the town doctor died a couple days ago and the new one will be there two days hence. Sam has to keep Roy alive until then.

The next morning, as Luke prepares a shotgun (!) to find Henry and Roy, Karen rushes in with news that Daniel ran away looking for take a picture of Bigfoot as proof. As it turns out, he stumbles onto the campsite. The three have a good time but Roy starts to have a seizure. Sam calms him down and heads into town leaving Roy with Daniel.

Sam goes to Luke, but the sheriff is unsympathetic to the point where Sam is arrested. Al comes to the cell saying that Roy and Daniel went out to find Bigfoot but are found dead the next morning, Daniel in a crevasse and Roy of a seizure. Karen comes to the jail and hears about what will happen from Sam. She lets him out.

In no short order, Sam and Karen find Roy. Sam gives the pills, but Luke is soon on the scene. The three relent but Daniel is still trapped. Roy is the only one that can get in. Daniel is recued but unconscious, needing a hospital. The group goes to the truck, which crashed on some rocks but is now on the road, ready to go.

Luke and Karen have more kids, Roy becomes a fire watcher and Henry turns his journal into a book. That just leaves the question of how the truck got back on the road. They see a furry figure in the woods. Al says, “Oh boy!” and Sam leaps …

… onto a Civil War battlefield during the Battle of Shepherdstown.

Fact check: Bigfoot can get a car off rocks, turn it around, buff out damage. The money your humble rewatcher has wasted on AAA over the years! Couldn’t he have rotated the tires and changed the oil as well?

Stop talking to yourself: As Sam laments not being bigfoot, his narration does not open an act or a scene. It is unusual for it to not begin after the teaser, and this is the first time it interrupts a scene.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al gives Sam a briefing on assignments from Vietnam. He also descends a rockface as if he were on an escalator even though he can be zeroed in on a specific person.

Mirror images that were not his own: A camp side mirror does not show Bigfoot, but Sam sees how he could be mistaken for the figure.

It’s a science project: Sam finds an herbal remedy in the woods and knows to boil it so that Roy is not as susceptible to the toxic effects.

One more time: “I understand Mrs. Jenkins, but I can’t come up there every time your cat eats one of your birds. I’m sure he was a very nice bird.”
Luke on the phone with a concerned citizen.

The Rainbow Treknection: Eileen Seeley plays Karen but also was heavily featured in The Ensign of Command as Ard'rian McKenzie in The Next Generation.

Trivial Matter: This episode is written by John D’Aquino who played Frank LaMotta twice. This is his first writing credit and a rare instance of someone outside the writing staff getting that privilege.

Put right what once went wrong: “Bigfoot is real. Mr. Hawkins said he saw him once. Said he had dinner with him once.” This is a very unusual episode of Quantum Leap. For a show that breaks a lot of the conventional rules of television, this broke a lot of rules about the show itself. We have an actual flashback sequence, partially shot in black and white at that. We also have a lot of scenes where Sam or Al are not present. These are the tools a more conventional show would use on a regular as necessary or even on a regular basis depending on the nature of the series.

It works.

Flashbacks are normally unheard of in general but this series has Al for that. It would be less effective for Al to exposit than it would be to shoot a short sequence with actors readily available to see what actually happened. This is the only time the series would do this, and it is great. The sequence is framed by both Sam and Luke looking back. There are some things that even Al does not know, and we are slowly introduced to the situation over time.

Sam not being in a decent chink of scenes is not a problem either. Normally you want your series lead to be involved but here there are things we need to know as an audience that Sam does not. We see the family unit of doting mother Karen, hard-nosed Luke and bright-eyed Daniel. The family dynamic is there with Daniel on the cusp of manhood but still believing in Bigfoot and not really respecting Luke. He has not been told what happened to his father. David Tom puts on a great performance. One of the emotional cores of the story he has great chemistry with everyone.

Tom is not the only great casting on display. Pat Skipper plays the fairly heartless Luke as someone who is a stickler for the law only to realize that he has to be flexible when the time calls for it. The wife can easily be an afterthought, but Eileen Seeley gets a lot to chew on when Karen is put front and center. She is struggling as a mother even though she remarried. You get the sense that she is familiar with Henry and trusts him enough to set him free from jail. Her role could easily be full of sorrow, but she has an inner strength. The climactic scene where they confront Luke relies on her as much as it does Sam.

Sean Sullivan gets the role of a lifetime as Roy. He has a lot of fun with it, the manic episodes as he reenacts the war and the depressive periods where he is haunted by those memories. It could not be a good sight to have him alone with a tween, but you never get the sense that Daniel is in danger. There is a childlike innocence while also understanding that there are real world consequences he is dealing with. We do not have to be explicitly told by Al that he is claustrophobic. He is a friendly guy that is working on some stuff.

With a strong script and cast, Gus Trikonis could have let the cast do their thing but there are some good shots and sequences. The story is well told and although there are some pretty big things that happen off screen, it does not feel as though something is intentionally left out or cut for time. This breaks the rules but is a great episode to watch nonetheless.

Plus, Bakula gets to take a bit of time off.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"The Leap Between The States"
Original Air Date: March 30, 1993
Written By: Richard C. Okie
Directed by: David Hemmings
Leap Date: September 20, 1862

This time: Sam leaps onto a Civil War battlefield during the Battle of Shepherdstown. As he marvels at the sights around him, he comes across a wounded soldier and is addressed as Captain Beckett. Overwhelmed, Sam cries out to Al, only to get shot. He evades further conflict by ducking into a nearby riverbed.

Sam is taken by a family of runaway slaves to a barn. Al arrives with little to go on beyond Sam being somewhere in Virginia. Sam’s marching orders show the name of John Becket, his great-grandfather. They are interrupted by rifle wielding Olivia Covington. She wants to know who Sam was talking to and asks Isaac, the man who brought him there, to investigate. She takes Sam into custody.

As Olivia cleans his wound, she blames him for the war, which has resulted in her land being ransacked and her husband killed. After she leaves, Al confirms that Sam is his own great-grandfather. Also, Oliva is his great-grandmother. Sam does not believe he is there to Back to the Future the two of them, but Al has little more to go on.

A fire breaks out in the barn and Sam helps put it out. The smoke attracts the attention of Lieutenant Montgomery, the man who shot Sam. Thankfully, Sam is able to bluff his way out of trouble, introducing himself as Aubrey Covington, cousin to Olivia, part of a Mississippi unit out on leave. Montgomery leaves after making eyes with Olivia. Sam thanks her but she is still incredulous, making him do work around the house, and fix up the house, to make up for it.

The next morning, Sam wakes up to a crying baby. Following the sound, he finds a family of escaped slaves hiding in the barn. They are in the underground railroad and Isaac is a conductor. Olivia knows none of this. As Sam tries to fix a pump, he realizes that she is looking the other way. Knowing the penalties for sympathizers, he has Al look into troop movements and weather in an attempt to make the route a little easier.

That night, Sam gives information to Isaac but is soon alarmed by Montgomery. Heaving earned a mutual trust, Sam ‘turns in’ Isaac and the escaped family. Montgomery is ready to hang them but Sam stalls for the sunrise. Olivia and Sam need a plan but do not have ammunition. Olivia bluffed with the rifle earlier. Sam breaks out another kind of ammunition, hooch.

As Montgomery is under the feminine wiles of Olivia and the fermented wiles of liquor, Sam dispatches the two sentries then Montgomery himself. Olivia leaves the land for good and newly freed Isaac needs a name. He considered Covington and Becket but settled on King. Al confirms he will be the great-grandfather to Martin Luther King, Jr. Sam leaps …

… into a young man being forced into a haircut. They and a mirror confirm he is Elvis Pressley.

Fact check: Mustard poultice is used to clean Sam’s wound. That is an Old Skool remedy, but mainly used for colds and coughs. Sam tells of a Battle of Fredericksburg that will distract the troops but that was in December, not September.

Stop talking to yourself: There is no voiceover, but Sam usually is careful about what he lets slip about the future but here, he tells Isaac about what the future will hold both in the immediate future with the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the war to the civil rights movement. It is a fantastic moment. “It's gonna be a long, hard fight for schooling, and other equality. But believe me. There will come a time when everyone will have the same rights. Everyone will be free.” “That ain't nothin' but a dream.”

Only Sam can see and hear: Al comes through in a clutch proving a cover for Sam. It is impressive given how quickly they had to load Ziggy’s memory banks.

Mirror images that were not his own: After getting confirmation, Sam sees the handsome John Beckett, the namesake of his father, in the mirror.

Brush with history: Sam exposits the changes coming to women (wearing pantaloons, drinking hard liquor) for Olivia. It does not go as well as it does with Isaac. She draws the line at voting.

It’s a science project: In order to determine that Sam leapt into his ancestor, Al is tasked with drawing blood from the person in the Waiting Room, which pokes holes in the leaps-just-exchange-bodies theory.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Going beyond Sam’s lifetime puts Ziggy into a tizzy.

Let’s up the rating: Sam is ten thousand percent sure Olivia has the hots for him. Al is not.

One more time: “Never thought I would be putting these on a white man.”
Isaac discovering irony while shackling Sam

The Rainbow Treknection: Kate McNeil played Olivia here and would later play Commander Collins from Starfleet Security again against Scott Bakula in Affliction.

Trivial Matters: Though it takes a bit of tomfoolery, this is the earliest leap date in the series. By amazing coincidence, it is six episodes after the episode taking place closest to today.

After telling the future, Isaac considers Sam a Voodoo Man.

Sam and Montgomery have a ‘measuring’ contest over who has greater authority. Ranks and jurisdiction come into play.

Montgomery recognizes Sam as having a weapon from a sentry. It has not worked since Bull Run, over a year prior to this episode. I know the supply lines were rough but that is a long time to go without a weapon.

Put right what once went wrong: “Look at me! Look at this uniform.” “You look good in dark blue, Sam.” I am not sure who in the writer’s room thought it would be a good idea to marry Quantum Leap with Back to the Future and have it take place in the Civil War, but it allowed them to do something that the series does not get to do as a whole.

The series does have a fairly decent track record of selling the time period. Whether it is the civil rights south or the still booming automotive industry, Quantum Leap has never shied away from getting the setting right and this is no exception. The costuming does a lot of the work but also things that will come to pass. Olivia is ahead of her time as is Isaac, but they fit perfectly into the world that is 1862. Specifically, Olivia blames the Union Army for the war, and she suffered a lot for it. We see that a lot of her farm is in need of repair. Plus, she lost her husband.

A fantastic supporting cast is assembled. Geoffrey Lower is undressing Olivia with his eyes as Montgomery. He is a lieutenant in the war but has that sleazy snake oil salesman vibe. He is using the auspices of his authority to get what he wants. There is not a lot of time to develop his character, but he fills the Biff Tannen role fairly well and the pissing contest is great.

Kate McNeil plays Olivia as someone Sam and John would fall for. Sam and Al argue over her intentions, but she has eyes for Sam. She is rough at the start but has a connection. There is more to her demand that Sam stay on the land than she lets on. You can tell their bond when Montgomery is on the scene, and they exchange glances. They say a lot without one word being exchanged. There is also a scene at the water well where she maintains her pride but is very cordial to Sam. Her Lorraine is well cast, and she makes beautiful music with Bakula.

Isaac does not have an obvious Back to the Future counterpart, but Michael D. Roberts is amazing. He has a quiet poise but says a lot even when completely silent. The scene where Sam talks about the future again breaks the rules of the series but is a great moment. His quip about shackling Sam is a fun moment early on and when the trio of Sam, Isaac and Olivia are putting out the fire, it is three people working their asses off.

The writing by Richard Okie could use a few tweaks. The boss fight in the end is far too brief. Also, while Sam and Olivia do get together, a lot of the ending happens offscreen. We go from knocking out Montgomery (who can still bring Olivia and Sam up on charges) to them abandoning the farm. We can fill in the blanks, but it seems as though they ran out of time and made the (correct) decision to not cut out revealing who Isaac is. It all feels rushed and while there is not a lot to take out, there is some to put in. Note that the early scenes are great at giving us enough to figure out what is going on. Sam is guffawed to find out that Olivia has a rifle but not ammunition.

The budget was stretched this with this. The only battle we see is in the first act and while it is spectacular, you can tell a bit too much of the budget went into it. David Hemmings did a great sequence, but it got a little too expensive for the books.

At this point, they creative team did not know that this was the third last hour that would air. Knowing where they wanted to go for season six this let them play a little more into the past. It is sad that they did not get to go into that sandbox, but it would have been something.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"Memphis Melody"
Leap Date: July 3, 1954
Written by: Robin Jill Bernheim
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Original Air Date: April 20, 1993

This time: Sam leaps into a young man being forced into a haircut. They and a mirror confirm he is Elvis Pressley. After a couple snips, Sam is rescued by longtime friend and confidant, Red West.

They are at a local talent fair. The singing/squealing pig and guy who taps roller skates on a drum go well but Sue Ann Winters has problems singing a song. Al tells Sam that he is there to help one of the acts (Guess which one!) but this is an important time in Elvis’s life as he is discovered in two days. He has to help Sue Ann but cannot ruin Elvis’s career.

At a diner, Sam has a pep talk with Sue Ann. She sings Amazing Grace to the accompaniment of a cook who brought his harmonica that day and the crowd loves it, particularly a girl who looks just like Chelsy, Scott Bakula’s daughter. Just as they begin another song, Sue Anne’s douchebag fiancé, Frank, comes in. He does not like Elvis, singing the gospel outside of church and kids playing on his lawn. He all but drags Sue Ann out.

Sam’s recording session is less than impressive, but he does convince Marion Keisker to come to a local talent show that night. She is the gatekeeper for Samuel Philips, bigwig starmaker. Things do not start off well for Sue Ann, but Sam manages to rescue the act. Marion wants to see them with Mr. Phillips, but as a duo. This is good for Sue Ann who will otherwise be beaten and abandoned by Frank. It is bad news for Elvis and things get worse when Sue Ann gives him a smooch as Frank sneers nearby.

As Al agues with Sam, Frank confronts him, and fisticuffs quickly ensue. Red tries to break it up but Sue Ann takes Frank’s side despite allegedly seeing the whole thing. The next day, Sue Ann blows off work as she and Frank are ready to get a marriage license and start their new life. Sam goes to save her despite Al saying that he does not have enough time to make the audition if he does so.

Sam convinces Sue Ann to take the chance only to find out that they missed their audition. Sue Ann takes it as a sign and runs off. She goes on to live a good life (for reasons not explained to the viewer) and Sam begs Mr. Phillips to delay going to the diner and listen to him sing. The audition goes well but not great enough to impress Mr. Phillips. Sam hurries to the diner where he sings accompanied by some amazingly prepared accompanists and the crowd goes wild!

Sam is signed on the spot and uses the contract as proof positive for Sue Ann. Frank is not interested but Sue Ann wants to follow her dream. Frank leaves and Sue Ann does fairly well for herself. Sam leaps …

… into a bar. After ordering a beer, he looks into a mirror to see his own face reflected back at him.

Fact check: Some events in the timeline are, to quote the great philosopher, wibly wobbly.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam pontificates on the transitional period known as the fifties accompanied by stock footage of dancing, yo-yos, hula hoops, waitresses on roller-skates and a ceremonial first pitch. Your humble rewatcher was not aware of a time where young men lined up to go yo-yoing but he is glad that we moved away from it.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is ebullient with Sam leaping into Elvis. He also does not have much to go on and one wonders why they could not have waited like five minutes or so.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam sees Elvis before the credits roll.

It’s a science project: The big band scene at the diner is all the proof needed to sign Elvis.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Elvis performs a concert in the Waiting Room.

Let’s up the rating: During a fight, Sam is not wearing anything under his shirt which is secured with a single button.

One more time: “In 1954, the world was not ready for Sonny and Cher. The World was never ready for Sonny and Cher.”
Al, never the flower child

The Rainbow Treknection: Gregory Itzin would continue to be irksome to Bakula in Enterprise’s In a Mirror Darkly as Admiral Black after he was irksome as captain Sopek in Shadows of P’Jem.

Trivial Matters: Perry Como, Pat Boone, Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds get name checked. After history is altered, The Monkies record Jailhouse Rock while Tony Orlando and Dawn record Heartbreak Hotel. Yeah, it ain’t pretty.

Red West is played by his real-life son, John Boyd West.

Al refers to apple pie as a favorite of Elvis. He is famous for liking peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Winters must have swallowed her gum at some point because she starts out the early diner scene chewing but there is no sign of it when she starts to sing.

Put right what once went wrong: “Just remember, you’re a legend.” After featuring the King of Pop early on it is only fitting to end with the King of Rock.

This is the final showcase for Scott Bakula to sing and he has a whopping three and a half songs in forty some odd minutes. The final one is essentially a music video with Al getting into the act. Thankfully, there is a guy with an upright bass and the saxophonist did not dismantle his instrument before going to the diner.

There is a lot that is glossed over in this episode. The central conflict with Frank is pretty much a wash. John Scott Clough was good in the role expositing on what he thought life should be like. He is an antagonist, but you can see where he comes from even if you do not agree with his reasoning. He does great work with the little dimensionality he is allowed. The script does not hit us over the head.

We also have short shift for Elvis’s personal life. Garn Stephens is fantastic as a southern mother in the two scenes we see her in. She cares for her son and wants him to succeed while also being realistic. Red is someone central to Elvis, but he has very little to do.

This is a biography, music compilation and episode of Quantum leap all rolled into one and it feels like it.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
"Mirror Image"
Leap Dates: August 8, 1953/April 3, 1969
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Original Air Date: May 5, 1993

This time: Sam leaps into a bar. After ordering a beer, he looks into a mirror to see his own face reflected back at him. Needing to know when it is, he asks the bartender for a newspaper and finds out that he leaped into his birthday. Specifically, he walked into the bar the same time he was born. A miner comes in, gets a drink and leaves. Sam learns from the bartender that he just met Gooshie. After taking a step outside, he finds out that he is at “Al’s Place.”

A retired miner named Stawpah comes in. He was a workhorse in the mines until an accident forced him to retire. Another miner named Tonchi enters, though looks just like Frank from “Jimmy.” There is some confusion resulting in the group wanting to see Sam’s ID. He pulls out his wallet (the Velcro amazing the onlookers) only to find his New Mexico Driver’s License expiring in 1998.

In the Waiting Room, Gooshie and Al are shocked that there is no one there, meaning that Sam leapt into himself. With nothing to go on, it will be impossible to find out where he is.

Later, Al’s Place is hopping. Sam has a conversation with an old miner who looks just like Moe Stein from “Future Boy,” though he is actually named Ziggy. Needing answers, Sam turns to the bartender but is forced to play the lottery, though Sam is promised the answers to all his questions. It does not turn out well.

In 1999, Gooshie tries to find Sam through brute force, though it requires Al to be in the chamber for a spell and hope they luck into something. Left with no other choice, Al steps into the imaging chamber and is surrounded by a Swirly Thing.

Sam is making friends at Al’s place. He learns that the bartender gave everyone their nicknames. A siren goes off signaling a mine collapse. Tonchi and another miner are trapped. Foreman Collins will not mount a rescue operation until they ventilate the area, but Stawpah tells Collins that Sam is the safety inspector. Collins is resolute and orders the mines temporarily closed. Stawpah and Sam talk privately, the former wanting to save them ‘this time.’ The bartender and Stawpah slowly push Sam to help, and he bluffs his way to get the miners down to rescue.

Al is getting fatigued, though Gooshie says they are only just beginning. There is a sudden flash of inspiration when Al realizes it whenever Sam is, it is a birthday. Gooshie starts with his first, August 8, 1954. That date is said out loud, so it will probably be important later.

As Sam laments to the bartender about not being able to save Beth’s marriage to Al, the mining crew comes in with the rescue successfully accomplished. Sam gives Stawpah credit and Stawpah leaps out…

No one else noticed or even remembers him being there. Miner Gooshie walks in recalling a miner named Stawpah in Ukraine, thought that man passed away twenty years earlier.

The Swirly Thing is taking a toll on Al. Gooshie reports that they have checked each birthday through the twenty-first century with no sign of Sam. Unless Al meant the literal day he was born; they just started with his first. Words cannot describe the look Al gives Gooshie.

Sam confronts the bartender about what is happening. Miner Gooshie gets a shot while this happens, and Sam sees that the mirror has a different reflection. Dropping the guise of friendly bartender, Sam is told that he is leaping himself. He invented Project Quantum Leap to change history for the better and he is doing that, albeit slowly. Sam could go home any time he wants.

Al hits paydirt and the Swirly Thing becomes Al’s Place. Sam tries to fill in Al, but it is too much to take, and Al goes back to talk to Ziggy. The bartender says that the leaps will get tougher but offers Sam a brief reprieve. Sam says that as much as he would like to go home, he has to put one more thing right. He leaps …

… into the home of Beth Calavicci. He tells her to wait for Al. A picture of younger Al leaps out …

… to a blank screen. Title cards tell us that Beth an Al are still together, and Sam never returned home.

Fact check: The bartender expressed dissatisfaction with the Pirates losing, an odd statement to make since they did pretty well that month thus far.

Stop talking to yourself: With little to go on, Sam is more or less thoroughly confused.

Mirror images that were not his own: After looking in over a hundred mirrors, Sam sees his own face looking back at him for the second time.

Something or someone: Trying to make sense of things, Al admits to having an uncle named Stawpah.

It’s a science project: With the collapse of the mine, there are concerns about the air supply which required forty-right hours to ventilate.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: We find out Sam’s birthdate in this episode meaning that the fiction character of Dr. Sam Beckett is about ten months older than the actor Scott Bakula.

One more time: “At the risk of over-inflating your ego, Sam, you've done more. The lives you've touched, touched others. And those lives, others! You've done a lot of good, Sam Beckett. And you can do a lot more.”
Bartender Al giving Sam his marching orders

The Rainbow Treknection: While there are some crossover actors who have graced this section before, there are two notable newbies. Joel McHattie is Stawpah. We do not know where he leapt out to but eventually, he became Senator Vreenak in Deep Space Nine’s “In the Pale Moonlight.”

The late great W. Morgan Shepherd has in essence a glorified cameo as a minor by the name of Gooshie. Before, he was Dr. Ira Graves and later Qutai in The Next Generation’s The Schizoid Man and Voyager’s “Bliss” respectively.

Trivial Matters: Several actors make reappearances either as the same character they were originally or in another guise. John D’Aquino from ”Jimmy” is a miner named Tonchi and Richard Herd, from “Future Boy,” is another miner named Ziggy. Bruce McGill was Weird Ernie in the pilot and the bartender here making him one of four actors to appear in the premiere and finale, the others being Bakula, Stockwell and Wolfberg.

Furthermore, we see footage form “Jimmy,” “Future Boy,” “Genesis,” and “M.I.A.

Evidently Sam went to a fancy schmancy place to get a driver’s license as it is gloriously foiled.

Two alternate endings for this episode were written and one was at least partially filmed as evidenced by photographs leaked years ago. One has a present-day scene with Al and Beth.

Should this be the season and not series finale, Sam and Al would have leapt into a bar in the far future on a space station. Both would leap going forward.

Per Bellisario, Sam is still leaping to this day.

Put right what once went wrong: “Ugh! I got Mother Teresa here.” A finale with beautiful cinematography, callbacks to the series, some of the best characters actors you can get, questions are answered that have plagued us since the start of the series which are answered written by series creator and helmed by the best director of the series overall.

So why did it go off the rails?

Al is barely in the episode. He spends more time with Gooshie than he does Sam! When they two credited regulars meet, Al pretty much walks off the set. We were supposed to make the connection with the bartender, but it feels as though there is not all the much to do so they gave Stockwell something to do.

Worse still is the ending. It is great for Al to be with his first love and all, but what about Tina? We have spent five years being invested in their relationship. Heck, eight episodes ago, he recommitted herself to Tina. We have not thought of Beth since season two when Al did have a moment. What about the man Beth remarried? Presumably nothing horrible will happen but it is not explained.

The whole last scene is problematic. Beth is only mildly freaked out at seeing Sam but takes his word that Al is alive, all in a few minutes. The effects fail us as well with a picture of Al leaping as if that makes any sense at all. Why would Beth waiting for Al cause that to happen? It is a neat callback to one of the original plans but feels as though they did not have a good way to stick the landing.

There is no way to salvage this flaming pile of an ending.

The first forty-two minutes are fantastic, though. We get some answers as to what is going on and there are delightful callbacks, some accompanied by sepia toned footage. There was a limit to the actors they could bring back, further limited by a budget and screen time. This was a love letter to the series and even though we ‘just’ got Frankie and Moe Stein, the were perfectly written. They do not take us too far down or beat us over the head but let the moment happen.

No one ever went wrong with W. Morgan Shepherd or Richard Herd. They are two great character actors and have fun as Miners Gooshie and Ziggy respectively. Bruce McGill is not too shabby as the bartender, either. He has a great tone, friendly to everyone and keeping the peace as necessary. Playing God has big shoes to fill, and McGill is up to the task. You can see the change as he lets Sam in on what is really happening. It is great to watch.

James Whitmore Jr. did a great job with the pacing. With only a handful of sets (presumably this was a pseudo bottle episode after some extravaganzas earlier in the season) things keep moving. One especially effective moment is after the team goes to rescue the miners, the bartender has a voiceover before the smash cut begins to tell Sam he is not there to save them. There is also good framing by the elevator in the mine.

The series fittingly ends but Sam’s adventures will continue.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Quantum Leap Season Five
Season Overview

This time: The final season of Quantum Leap would feature Sam leaping into famous people for the first time, from Lee Harvey Oswald in the premiere, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Elvis Pressley. The mythology of the series would expand as we got a second (and third) leaper, in addition to another project based around travelling through time.

Callbacks to earlier seasons abound with a direct sequel to season two’s Jimmy and several in the finale. There would be not one but two trilogies, somewhat of a rarity for syndication.

We would also spend more time in 1999. Primarily in The Waiting Room, Al would get more screentime as he interacted with the people Sam leapt into. We would go outside in a couple of occasions, once when a leapee escaped and see more of the Project itself in the finale.

By a startling coincidence, this season features Sam’s earliest leap, achieved through shenanigans, and the leap closest to the current timeframe, achieved naturally.

The biggest part of the season, and series, happened in the finale when Sam finally found out about why he was going back and forth in time. He would meet with the ‘person’ responsible for him travelling through time and accept responsibility for continuing to do so.

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

Favorite stop talking to yourself: From Leaping of the Shrew: 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.

Favorite only Sam can see and hear: From Leaping of the Shrew: 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.

Favorite mirror images that were not his own:
From Dr. Ruth: There is a climactic chase and fight where reflective surfaces are strategically placed so that we can see Dr. Ruth running over cars and throwing a guy over her shoulder.

Favorite brush with history: From Dr. Ruth: As Sam confronts Johnathan about sexual harassment, an African American woman named Anita goes into an elevator.

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

Favorite it’s a science project: From Leaping of the Shrew: Apparently a trunk is waterproof as the contents are entirely dry after being in water.

Favorite tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: From Killin’ Time: 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 the leapee starts shooting people randomly.

Favorite let’s up the rating: From Lee Harvey Oswald: 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.

Favorite one more time: From Mirror Image: “At the risk of over-inflating your ego, Sam, you've done more. The lives you've touched, touched others. And those lives, others! You've done a lot of good, Sam Beckett. And you can do a lot more.”
Bartender Al giving Sam his marching orders

Favorite Rainbow Treknection: From Mirror Image: While there are some crossover actors who have graced this section before, there are two notable newbies. Joel McHattie is Stawpah. We do not know where he leapt out to but eventually, he became senator Vreenak in Deep Space Nine’s “In the Pale Moonlight.”

The late great W. Morgan Shepherd has in essence a glorified cameo as a minor by the name of Gooshie. Before, he was Dr. Ira Graves and alter Qutai in The Next Generation’s The Schizoid Man and Voyager’s “Bliss” respectively.

That’s not even mentioning Bruce McGill who was in the pilot as an admiral and is here as the proprietor of Al’s Place. He played Braxton in Voyager.

Favorite Trivial Matters: From Mirror image: So many great call outs for the series as a whole.

Honorable Mention to Star Light, Star Bright with the tip of the iceberg of classic rock musicians.

Put right what once went wrong: “Ugh! I got Mother Teresa here.” This season is very divisive. It is in your top or bottom, but it did go in a direction.

For the most part, those were good directions. Opening up the scope of the series is inevitable, and we got that here in spades with the revelation of the evil leaper. It was a nice multi-parter to have. The best part is that they were not aired consecutively; there was time between the first two meetings for other adventures, even if that was not the original intent. It does take something away from what Sam is doing and it is a little too on the nose, but it widens the lens. If this is to go on for more years, they would need to do something.

Leaping into famous people could very well be the jump the shark moment that turns viewers away, but it is used sparingly and in one case, it brought in a guest star as herself with Dr. Ruth. Plus, the leap into Elvis was before he got famous.

Giving Dean Stockwell a chance to address those in the Waiting Room was something we saw earlier in the season four finale. It gives Stockwell more to do and increase his screentime. Al is not limited to just giving us exposition, ha can have more meaningful conversations with more people. Plus, there should be someone to talk to these people who find themselves in Sam’s body.

The problem is, they already had someone for that. Dr. Verbeena Beeks who was actually seen, though only twice. Al is a great guy, do not get me wrong, but he is not a trained psychologist. Beeks is absent with no explanation several times, unless she just happens to be off when the talks happen. It is even worse when they got rid of a black woman for a white man. We get to see Beeks twice in all of the series and she never uttered a word. She got a hug from Sam but her disappearance without a mention is puzzling at best and insulting at worst.

If you want to see more of the same, you will not find it here but great job at not only going somewhere but also putting a premature bow on the series overall.

Looking at Stockwell, his Al was a great counterbalance to Sam. We had the proper British gentleman for about seven minutes and that was a different counterbalance, a different tenor if you will, but Al’s point of view came in handy several times. He was a crutch for the writers, but they gave him a good character that Stockwell just ate up. Some of his lines did not age well but that was covered in the opening of the pilot where she was in on it, something you have to keep in mind to not take a shower after each time he says something cringeworthy. For a series based around another character, there were several times where you could outright say if not argue that it was more of an Al episode than a Sam one.

The other half of the main cast was Scott Bakula as Doctor Sam Beckett. To make the series work, we had to be as in the dark about his abilities as he is but that makes fun discoveries as things progress. This is an anthology series and could come very close to being inappropriate with Bakula portraying certain characters, but he pulled it off and showed off his acting chops in the process. There was a verity of roles in ages, races and everything in between but Bakula was up to the task. He also showed off his singing ability which never got too distracting, added to the story and showcased a talent. It is no doubt why he would go on to headline two other series.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Well, I've run out of episodes to watch. Thankfully there is tie in licensed works.

There are some comics. Based around the series and contemporaneous for a portion, these continued with Sam's adventures. Highlights include a story told from Al's perspective and a continuation from an episode. Lowlights include the page sequence in the final issue making it tough to follow.

There are also some novels based on the series, one of which I have read. Having a longer time to tell the story, they do things that are not done in the series, including having Sam jump into siblings.

This being a rewatch, I will knot be covering those.

There is a reboot/sequel coming to NBC this fall, some promo images of which have bene released along with an aired trailer complete with footage. The big name is Ernie Hudson paying magic. Most notable is there are no white males in the core cast! Bellisario and Pratt involved but Bakula is a little on the fence, at least publicly.

As for my next project, you'll find out soon enough.
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