Original Air Date: February 14, 1990
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Alan J. Levi
Leap Date: November 22, 1970
This time: Sam leaps into a police interrogation room where he is decked. Two officers escort him back to a cell with an old Native American. In the mirror, Sam sees he is also a Native American. The two are grandfather and grandson, Joseph and George Washaki, in prison for auto theft of a truck.
The nest morning, it appears that George is not in the cell. This is a ruse by a hiding Sam to break out of prison. They re-steal the truck and are off. The Sherriff does not take this too well and is hot on their trail. Suzanne Washaki, granddaughter of Joseph and sister of George, comes to the station only to find out they have sprung themselves out.
On the road, Joseph starts to feel pains. He refuses to go to the hospital. Al arrives and says that the two are estranged. Per Ziggy, he is not there to save Gorge, Sam is there to bring him back to his tribe so that he can die, something that Sam being a doctor has problems accepting.
With Sherriff Taggert hot on their trail, Joseph asks George to pull over to a convenience store. Needing to pay for the items, Sam finds himself without money, but with the gun they stole from the sheriff. He uses it to barter for the materials. Over the radio, Suzanne and Taggert try to convince the duo to turn themselves in, but it does not work.
There is no road over the mountain, but they spot two horses which they ‘barter’ with their stolen truck. Per Native American tradition, they mark themselves and their horses. As they are about to go off, Taggert fires at them wounding Sam. Joseph is able to fend off Taggert long enough for the two to get away.
Needing a place to stay for the night, the two find a cave and make camp. Taggert will find the cave and hear noises coming from it. That turns out to be a ruse allowing the duo to make another escape.
On their way, Joseph has pains, preventing him from riding by himself and slowing them down. Eventually Suzanne catches up with them and they see Taggert not too far behind. Suzanne takes Joseph while Sam confronts Taggert. Sam wins the ensuing tussle, but Taggert fatally shoots Joseph.
Sam/George carries Joseph across the river so that he can be in his home. Joseph Washaki, proud member of the Shoshone tribe, grandfather of George and Suzanne, dies.
Sam leaps …
… into a mortician’s lab.
Stop talking to yourself: Sam quotes Robert Lovelace’s “To Althea: From Prison.” He does not really buy it. He also reflects on the saying that to know a man, you have to walk a mile in his moccasins.
Only Sam can see and hear: Al really takes a liking to Joseph, rolling on the floor in laughter at one point.
Mirror images that were not his own: In the holding cell, Sam splashes some water on his face and looks up to see George Washaki.
It’s a science project: Joseph Washaki has an ancient technique to light a fire. It involves a lighter.
One more time: “Sherriff, I would like to come with you.” “Sure. You’re a sworn deputy of the state of Nevada, aren’t you?”
Suzanne being entirely reasonable and Sherriff Taggert being entirely unreasonable.
The Rainbow Treknection: Leon Rippy would play Sonny Clemons who time travelled the long way in The Neutral Zone and played against a time traveler in this episode as Sherriff Taggert.
Put right what once went wrong: “I turned him into a raven. He fleeeew away.” Frank Salsedo is beyond absolutely charming as Joseph. He knows his time is almost over but is charismatic as hell. He is the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind sitting with at a bar for hours on end. He would talk your ear off, but you would not mind. He makes friends with almost everyone be it a proprietor or a holographic observer. The casting is great all around with this episode.
The writing is strong as well. There are a lot of conversations between Sam and Joseph and the scene at the end with the family is great. The plot is constructed well enough and holds together which is surprising with such a small number of people involved. Taggert is adversarial with pretty much everyone, including his deputy. There are even woodwinds in the soundtrack helping to get you into the mood. We get to go into the mountains, across a river in fantastic cinematic fashion.
It is such a shame that there is so little going on. There’s not enough plot for a half hour let along an hour. This episode crawls along at a snail’s pace. There are so many conversations that go nowhere and while watching Salsedo is a treat, he is not that good.
This show has most of the elements in the right place, but while Good Morning Peoria was able to be more than the sum of its parts, Freedom cannot quite clear that hurdle, which is a real pity.