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
#566883
Running For Honor
Original Air Date: January 15, 1992
Written by: Bobby Duncan
Directed by: Bob Hulme
Leap Date: June 11, 1964

This time: Sam leaps into a naval cadet on the track, though he does not get the baton as much as he is plowed over. The drill sergeant/coach is not amused and sends the guys in for training while privately and politely telling Sam that things need to improve before facing their longtime rivals. Sam has leapt into Tommy York, who has a 4.0 GPA, is valedictorian and dating the admiral’s daughter.

Sam gets a ride into town for a date, but it turns out he is meeting a fellow cadet, Phillip. The two are trying to take care of a naval gang called The Chain. Al arrives and says that Phillip was kicked out of the academy due to homosexuality. There is a letter written by Tommy expressing support for Phillip, but Al says that in two days, Phillip will be found hung in his print shop.

Cadet Ronnie Chambers accuses Sam/Tommy of being homosexual. Admiral Spencer has a discussion with the two in which Sam counterclaims that Ronnie is beating up civilians. Admiral Spencer promises a full investigation but is forced to put Sam on restrictions until the investigation is concluded. That does not stop Ronnie and the other members of The Chain from creating a tribunal of their own, outright forcing Sam to leave, though not until after the track meet, of course. They have Tommy’s letter and can put together a pretty convincing argument.

Chambers presents the letter to Admiral Spencer who has no choice but to confine Sam to quarters. He is visited by the Coach who offers to let Sam confront The Chain, who felt like the locker room was a good place to meet for reasons not explained to the viewer. Sam talks the gang out of it while accusing Ronnie of being homosexual. The gang disbands but Al says that Phillip is still hung.

Sam sneaks out of his room while Al checks in on Phillip. It turns out Phillip staged the scene and will commit suicide to make the point. They both convince Phillip to not go through with it though not before the coach comes out. Ronnie drops out so as not have to deal with the situation any longer. Sam leaps …

… into reporter Dylan Powell. Cameraman Ross Taylor gives him the microphone so that he can report about the latest Chinatown murder.

Stop talking to yourself: Dressed in full naval duds, Sam is confident he is not a hippie. Also, word about his sexuality spreads fast.

Only Sam can see and hear: Ever the navy man, Al tells Sam that the naval academy is not exactly like being in the Navy itself.

Mirror images that were not his own: Decked out in full uniform, Sam sees Tommy York in the locker room mirror.

Something or someone: Sam does not leap after saving Phillip though he sticks around long enough to see Ronnie drop out and for Al to exposit at the track meet which Sam leaps out of as he gets a quick start both literally and figuratively.

Let’s up the rating: Karen Spencer, the Admiral’s daughter tells Sam/Tommy that she isn’t trying to be too forward, but he could be a little more aggressive with their relationship.

One more time: “I will not lie, cheat or steal. Unless I need to pass algebra.”
Ronnie reciting one of the rules he decides to modify.

Trivial Matters: Usually we see Al step back to exit the imaging chamber. Here, the door opens behind him, which is a neat change.

Sam’s leap into Vietnam last season is referenced after Al accuses him of never being in the military.

Put right what once went wrong: “I know about the guilt. The shame. The fear. I spent my whole life that way, wondering why I had to be different.” With this subject matter, this episode needs to set up someone for Sam to have an argument with. They cannot use a fellow cadet nor someone of higher rank, so they use Al. The same guy who is supportive of all minorities and expressed empathy for those in bad situations on multiple occasions. The writers try and cover it up with military honor, but it falls flat as does Al suggesting what Tommy’s sexuality is. At the final moment Sam says that it does not matter. Sam and Al arguing are some of the core foundations of this show and their disagreements can be profound but this one is just there for the sake of being there.

The rest of the writing is solid with the treatment of someone who is suspect. John Finn plays the admiral role well, being fair to both parties but following the guidelines. He has to impose a punishment, but you never got the sense that he was not being fair. Even when he recites the reason for the regulations it is not clear that he supports them. John Roselius is great as the Coach. He is supportive to Sam and has the authority to quiet things down as needed. He starts off as a Drill Sergeant but quickly becomes an advocate.

Phillip and Ronnie are two sides of the argument. They both show up at the start and we do even get a scene with Ronnie being friendly early on, thought that quickly turns on a dime. He is the face of The Chain, the antagonist who leaves when he is declawed. Phillip is trying to make a statement but is fighting an uphill battle. In their first meeting Phillip wonders if he will still have support and gains some advocates by the end. Unfortunately, his is given the short end of the stick since he is not in the academy anymore. His scenes are brief but are played well.

This could have been a great episode reminding us of a not too distant intolerant past and they only had to soften Al’s stance a bit toa accomplish their ultimate goal.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#567223
Temptation Eyes
Original Air Date: January 22, 1992
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Christopher Hibler
Leap Date: February 1, 1985

This time: Sam leaps into reporter Dylan Powell. Cameraman Ross Taylor gives him the microphone so that he can report about the latest Chinatown murder. Sam fumbles through the report despite being fed information from the studio. San Francisco Police Chief Collins is keeping the details quiet. The Chief’s mood is not helped by the fact that the killer keeps calling Dylan.

Ross heads out to find another way into the crime scene while Sam meets local psychic, Tamlyn Matsuda. She was invited by the police to examine the scene. While Sam and Ross are outside the window, Tamlyn tells the details of the murder: the victim was relaxing after a night out when the killer burst in.

At Tamlyn’s apartment, Al arrives and tells Sam that Tamlyn will be the next victim in two weeks. They are interrupted when Tamlyn asks Sam his preference for tea but uses his given name, not Dylan. The two bond and Tamlyn invites Sam to look at mug shots the next morning, to the chagrin of Collins. She gets a feeling from a guy named Tony Beche Though there is no way to tie him to the murder, it is apparently enough to get Collins on the case.

Sam and Tamlyn grow closer. She confides one of her first visions being that of her mother after being told she passed away. During this conversation, Tamyln see’s Sam in the mirror for who he really is. Despite Al’s protestations, Sam tells Tamlyn about Project Quantum Leap but Tamlyn has some of the information herself. The two have a night of kissing, shopping, talking and things of the more adult variety.

Al interrupts their morning to tell Sam where to find Tony. Sam catches Tony but does not leap. Tamlyn is still the next victim! Tony is a copycat, the real one is still running free. At the studio, Ross wonders what was so important that Sam missed his birthday. The killer calls saying that he will kill Tamlyn. Sam takes her to the site hoping to lure out the killer.

Tamlyn can feel the killer in the area but not pinpoint a location. Ross arrives to catch everything on tape. Sam is off to investigate leaving Tamlyn with Ross. A concerned Tamlyn is comforted by Ross while she gets visions of Ross being the killer. Sam and Al figure out that Ross is the killer and confront him on top of a building. The first murder was an accident but propelled their careers forward. Now, Tamlyn is coming between them. Ross falls to his death. Tamlyn and Sam hug. Sam leaps …

… into a ghost town. Accused of murdering three brothers, a lone gunman challenges Sam to a showdown.

Fact check: There was no string of Chinatown murders and the police generally do not ask for help from psychic consultants, though that last bit was the premise for a show.

Stop talking to yourself: If you are a fan of Bakula doing a voiceover you will not like this. Sam does all his dialogue on camera.

Only Sam can see and hear: Ever the skeptic, Al doubts Tamlyn’s psychic abilities. Also, he does not want Sam to get involved with her.

Mirror images that were not his own: After Ross goes off on his own to find out more but before meeting Tamlyn, Sam sees the beleaguered and close to retirement Dylan Powell in a mirror.

Something or someone: Telling someone about his true nature might prevent Sam from ever leaping again for reasons not entirely explained to the viewer.

It’s a science project: Sam and Ross are parked outside the apartment recording Tamlyn as she exposits about the murder. For some reason, Collins does not notice despite the red light on the camera and a good view of the window. The window is closed but not only can Sam hear, the camera can pick up everything.

Let’s up the rating: Sam and Tamlyn are totally hitting on each other from the moment they meet. Their dialogue is laced with innuendo even before they go to her place.

One more time: “You sure I’m all right?” “I’ve got a good feeling about it.”
Sam and Tamlyn not even trying to hide their flirting.

The Rainbow Treknection: Tamlyn Tomita plays a psychic who can see visions of murder and will go on to play Commodore Oh, a Romulan with visions of a murderous future in Star Trek: Picard. This is the first major actor in both Quantum Leap and the modern Trek shows.

Trivial Matters: Usually when Al goes away, he steps through the imaging chamber door. Here he vanishes leaving us to wonder where exactly he went. Later he uses one hand to appear since the other is clearly in frame and is not near the handlink.

Put right what once went wrong: “What do you do, some kind of psychic or something?” “Yes. You must be one, too.” Let’s start off with the good. Tamlyn Tomita owns this. She has a huge range of emotions in this episode and is more than just a damsel in distress. While there is a cringing scene early on where she relives the murder, she has great chemistry with Bakula. You could cut the romantic tension with a knife. As great as those scenes are there is real emotion when she talks about her first vision.

The directing by Christopher Hibler is strong as well. There is stuff in the script he just had to film, and he did that well. The camera zooms in on Dylan in the mirror and then pulls back to reveal Sam all without a hand moving in the frame. This being a murder story there are reenactments in black and white along with some action scenes accompanied by an eighties era soundtrack.

The writing moves things along but does not really do well. There is a two week gap that we go through in a montage which works for other shows but not Quantum leap. More than a couple of days is pushing it and here it exists only for Sam and Tamlyn to have a fling. Ziggy cannot figure out who the murderer is in that time for some reason. The way it is presented that time jump could easily be glossed over. There are way too many plot holes for this to work and some are just there for the sake of being there. It is nice to let Sam have a break every now and then, but this is pushing it.

Kent Williams and James Handy are workable as Collins and Ross respectively, though the later takes on an entirely different personality in the end. Also, the ending does not really work as Al does not let us know what happens. We know Tamlyn lives but are Dylan and Tamlyn together? It would be nice to know especially since they can add in a line but no such luck.

There is a great performance and neat tricks, but this is not recommended.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#567613
The Last Gunfighter
Original Air Date: February 5, 1992
Story by : Sam Rolfe
Teleplay by : Sam Rolfe & Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: November 28, 1957

This time: Sam leaps into a ghost town. Accused of murdering three brothers, a lone gunman challenges Sam to a showdown. Sam shoots the other guy … and the barkeep announces that the show is over, and another will happen later that day. Sam is the main star of an old west attraction as Tyler Means, retired gunslinger. Also on the ranch are Tyler’s daughter, Lucy and grandson, Stevie. Stevie idolizes Tyler though Lucy tries to temper expectations.

Al arrives to fill in the story. The town was a robbers’ haven until Tyler and an accomplice came in to clean things up. Time passed and the hero’s tales became more outlandish to the point where he is not taken seriously until he meets with a magazine writer for Readers Digest. The town is popular again and people are happy with their reinvigorated success.

At the local tavern, Lucy introduces Sam to Ben Steiner who wants to make a TV series out of Tyler’s life. There are some procedural (legal) steps that have to be taken but it promises to be lucrative. Things take a turn when Pat Knight, the former partner comes into town pouring water on Sam. There is general confusion, but Sam tries to keep things going with the contract. Per Al, Pat kills Sam the next day and the family generally goes to hell.

Sam tries to talk things through with Pat. Things go well until Sam has to give up the contract. Sam tries to get out of the shootout with a drinking contest but that does not work, nor does it impair Pat’s aim. After a talk, it turns out that Pat embellished some of the story as well, but Tyler did play a not insignificant part in it.

The next morning, Stevie tries to confront Pat with Tyler’s gun. Sam has no choice but to confront Pat one on one. Amazingly, Sam outdraws Pat (though there is an implication that Pat faked it) and signs the deal with everything working out. They talk to Steiner about giving Pat a consulting job, and cameo, on the series. Sam leaps …

… into a doo-wop group. They have finished a number to Sam’s relief. Unfortunately, they practically drag him back onstage for an encore.

Fact check: Ben Steiner represents NBC looking for a hit western. They would find one decades later with Bonanza, a show that would get a name check. They were probably jealous of CBS’s long running Gunsmoke, among others.

Stop talking to yourself: For the second time is as many weeks, there is no monologue voiceover, although there is definitely come ADR work done.

Only Sam can see and hear: Recall in Back to the Future Part III where Doc mocked Marty for the outfit? Al gives Sam the same treatment, with a few extra helpings for good measure.

Mirror images that were not his own: Just after telling Stevie to be more realistic with expectations, Sam sees Tyler in a mirror.

Brush with history: Al points out a guy who played Hoss on Bonanza. IMBD disagrees as no one is credited for the appearance. It would be a neat trick too since Dan Blocker died before this episode was shot.

Something or someone: Sam does not leap until Pat not only gets in on the juicy series deal but gets a cameo out of it.

It’s a science project: Al gives Sam a lesson on gunslinging.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: In Sam’s body, Tyler is spinning yarns that even Ziggy cannot make sense out of. Alas we do not see any of it.

Let’s up the rating: There is a heavy implication that when Pat went to comfort the survivors of the family he killed, he raised a family with them. Also, Lucy’s work attire is racy for an environment where there are kids around in the fifties.

One more time: “But he wasn’t pretending. He really was one. You’re the one who’s a liar.” "Now Stevie, is that the way your granddaddy told you to speak to me?”
Stevie and the Sherriff both acting childish.

The Rainbow Treknection: If Pat Knight is familiar, it is because John Anderson also played Kevin Uxbridge. Kenneth Tigar would follow his appearance as Stein in Voyager’s Displaced as the lead Nyrian.

Trivial Matters: Readers Digest bought and published Tyler’s story that attracted the attention of Steiner. Readers Digest is a popular magazine with various stories and regular features with a few joke compilations thrown in there. Your humble rewatcher was very familiar with them back in his high school days.

Put right what once went wrong: “It doesn’t matter what people say, it matters in here.” Star Trek went into the spaghetti western barrel several times. The Original Series was partially sold on finding ways to make use of the backlot, but The Next Generation and Enterprise followed suit. It is only a matter of time before Quantum Leap did as well.

All the trappings of the old west are here. A saloon, a wild tale, a drinking contest, a shooting lesson, a climactic gunfight. If you are going to do it once you might as well throw it all in. Sam Rolfe and Chris Ruppenthal tell a good tale getting a lot of the plot elements and characters out early so that we can have some good character moments. Not to be outdone, Joe Napolitano brings the clichés on the screen too. We have a close up of the spurs on the saloon deck, the tense shots required for a gunfight.

With the right actors this can shine and shine it does. Kenneth Tigar is great as Ben Steiner. As the corporate suit, he needs to negotiate the contract but takes the time to get to know Tyler. He is a friendly guy who makes sure to check around with the other townspeople. Susan Isaacs has relatively little to do as Lucy but is supportive of her father and son. She wants to make sure Stevie stays on the straight and narrow while not entirely believing what Tyler says herself.

The two standouts are Pat and Stevie. Sean Baca plays Stevie’s hero worship well. When you combine a grandfather and a cowboy, you have hit the jackpot. Stevie talks early on about the stories he was told and the two bond regularly. When Stevie tries to engage in a shootout for the climax, it feels earned. Sam tries to tell Stevie that he can be a little skeptical, but Stevie does not hear it. To him, his grandfather is a hero. The two have a good nighttime talk where Sam tells him about being true to yourself. Veteran actor John Anderson is fantastic as Pat Knight. Perhaps the most tropey character, he can turn from drunk to a sharpshooter on a dime. A grumpy old man, he will not just let Tyler get away with telling tall tales. Even if it comes to a shootout, he will have his story heard. It is telling that a key conversation between him and Sam reveals that both were embellishing though Sam did more. He has the gestures down and is a great pleasure to watch.

Of course, Tyler Means is front and center as well. We never truly know what actually happened, but this is the greatest picture of a leapee we have seen in a long time. Too often we forget about the person Sam leaped into but here he is very much fleshed out.

If there is a weak link, it is the sheriff. Jerry Potter plays him well, do not get me wrong, but how does he not stop a child confronting an adult with a loaded weapon? How does he not arrest him? For that matter, how does Pat get away with pointing a loaded gun and challenging Tyler to a shootout? The sheriff is not a fan of Tyler but at some point, enough is enough.

Spaghetti westerns are not always a slam dunk, but this one pulls it off very well.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#568114
A Song for the Soul
Original air date: February 26, 1992
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap date: April 7, 1963

This time: Sam leaps into a doo-wop group. They have finished a number to Sam’s relief. Unfortunately, they practically drag him back onstage for an encore. That proves to be a horrible idea as the crowd goes from being enthusiastic to nearly clearing the room.

Sam is Cheree Watkins and the three leave to go home but are accosted by a couple of creepy guys. One of them takes an interest in Paula and later Sam. Fortunately, Sam is able to spin kick them off. Paula and Lynelle are impressed, but Sam shoes them off back home.

Lynelle’s father, Reverend Walters, is right furious at the three being out so late. He admonishes Lynelle for not sticking with the church choir. He walks Paula home and, since Cheree’s parents are out, ‘she’ will spend the night. Al fills in some blanks. Lynell’s mother passed away some years ago leaving Lynelle feeling smothered by her father. Unable to take it, Lynelle runs away in a couple days and gets into an exploitive contract. She never speaks to her father again and gets caught up in drugs. The reverend’s church burns down, and he passes away.

At church service the next day, Lynelle’s voice brings the spirit of the Lord to the congregation. Reverend Walters has a sermon about yielding to temptation which does not go well with Lynelle. Al has some ideas for music and choreography. One montage later, they have an act to perform at a big local club.

Local agent (and creep) Bobby Lee hears the girls singing and uses that as an excuse to walk into the presumably unlocked house and talk to three teenagers alone in one of their bedrooms (!). He offers them a sweet exclusive deal though omits being a pimp. Reverend Walters comes in and it is all Sam can do to stop him from pummeling Bobby Lee. Lynelle is ready to follow Bobby Lee but gives Sam time to figure something out. Sam has Al look up all local clubs to get an opportunity.

Sam’s plan is to perform at a local club but have Reverend Walters listen in. That way she gets the contract but with Reverend Walters’ love. Bobby Lee has other plans. He has a flunky go over the music with Sam while he shows Lynelle a pretty dress. By the time Sam figures out the situation, Bobby Lee is all over Lynelle. Sam intervenes but Bobby Lee demands an apology or else the three do not perform. Sam is resolute but Lynelle is ready to go on solo.

Sam walks in on Reverend Walters in the pews talking to his deceased wife. Sam tries to convince him to support his daughter, but he wants her to finish school before going into music full force.

Paula tries to talk some sense into Lynelle, and Sam comes in later to smooth things over. Reverend Walters tries to talk Bobby Lee into not encouraging Lynelle, at least not now. Bobby Lee lets them come back on the condition that after they win, they sign a seven-year contract. Reverend Walters offers his support. He is a proud papa as the three perform though not at the prospect of them signing a contract into their twenties. The three are a hit though Reverend Walters walks off.

At the church, Reverend Walters wonders when he lost his daughter right before Lynelle walks in. The two embrace. Sam leaps …

… into a cockpit. A cigarette falls into his lap which upon reaching down to grab, puts the plane on a downward trajectory.

Fact check: A lot of the songs in this episode were released in 1963. Unfortunately, they were released after the April of that year.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam’s first meeting with Reverend Walters is a talking down to about the dangers of going out. The reverend is gruff and harsh with his language. Sam loves every minute of it and agrees.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al has an instant dislike to Bobby Lee, though it is not too hard to see. Some things really do not require Ziggy’s confirmation.

Mirror images that were not his own: Offstage, Sam sees a young girl staring back at him. In the Walters residence, we see Cheree in several mirrors.

Brush with history: Not as much a person, but the Chicago version of the Apollo, The Regal, gets a name check.

Something or someone: Sam sticks around long enough for Lynelle to do an A Capella piece.

It’s a science project: Sam is not confident at his ability to sign and dance. Al tries to get the right songs to offset Sam’s inabilities.

Let’s up the rating: Some guys can pull off a sexy girl group dress. Scott Bakula is not one of those guys.

One more time: “God gave me a voice to do what I want.” “Not as long as you are under my roof.”
Lynelle and Reverend Walters having an age-old argument

Put right what once went wrong: “Maybe the three of you should come in and do some serious explaining as to why my daughter is out at two o’clock in the morning.” The late eighties and early nineties were a treasure trove for suburban African American comedies. This episode takes that and makes it more of an hourlong drama. The Peacock network is doing something similar in developing a more somber reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

The characters are spot on and absolutely perfect. Harrison Page is the beleaguered father just looking out for his daughter and wanting the best for her. He has a stern talking down at the top of the episode endearing him to Sam and we are right there with him. He realizes that he has to find some way to support Lynelle and that means going to creepy man-of-ill-repute Bobby Lee to do so. He takes his humble pie well. Eriq LaSalle does a masterful job of being a bad guy. He extrudes a creepy vibe and has done this several times since. After assaulting a minor, he makes her apologize before generously letting them come back and work for him in a very lopsided contract. This was early enough in LaSalle’s career that you could see the great actor he would become.

T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh is perfectly cast as sassy Paula. As much as Sam is the focus of this series it says a lot that Paula talks some sense into Lynelle as well. She also has some great lines in there with attitude both to her peers and to the guys trying to pick them up. Speaking of Lynelle, Tammy Townsend is absolutely amazing. You can see her wounds as she tries to get along with her father. There is a lot of sadness in the loss of her mother. She plays the emotional beats well and her voice is amazing. Doo-wop, rock or choral, she has it down. It is fantastic to hear her sing, and this would not have worked with an actress or singer of lesser caliber.

The script is not great. Deborah Pratt is one of the stronger writers on the series, but this could have used another draft or two. Bobby Lee just comes into the bedroom because of plot, and it seems as though Reverend Walters comes around more because time is running out than the efforts of Sam or Lynelle. This is a promising start but needs more refinement. Michael Watkins does a great job directing what are essentially music videos but captures a good church service and gives you the feel of being in an urban setting in the time-period.

There are some really great performances in this hour, please just tolerate the workable writing.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#568430
Ghost Ship
Original air date: March 4, 1992
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario & Paris Qualles
Directed by: Anita W. Addison
Leap date: August 13, 1956

This time: Sam leaps into a cockpit. A cigarette falls into his lap which upon reaching down to grab, puts the plane on a downward trajectory. Thankfully, Sam has leapt into Eddie, the co-pilot. Captain Cooper comes by to right the ship, literally and figuratively. We find out that Cooper has military training and experience. This will probably be important later.

The passengers on the flight are Grant Cutter Junior, son of the man who owns the plane, and his newlywed Michelle. They are flying to Bermuda for their honeymoon. She reveals to Sam that she has some cramps but does not want Grant to know. This will probably be important later as well.

After Sam sees to the passengers, Al arrives. Originally, they wound up flying back to Virginia, their point of origin, due to Michelle having appendicitis. They do not know why a closer hospital was not used but before they can figure that out, they feel the plane turning. Cooper is heading back due to navigational issues and will not be convinced otherwise even though a passenger is in danger. Why they do not consider other hospitals is an exercise for the viewer.

As Al and Sam debate the effects of the Bermuda Triangle, which appears to be messing with the handlink, Al finds out that Michelle does not make it, meaning that they need to land in Bermuda. Sam relays the coordinates to Cooper, but Cooper does not trust someone with limited experience. Al privately confides to Sam that Cooper has experience in the Bermuda Triangle, part of which was escorting three freighters, all of which disappeared. He was found six days later with no memory of what happened. While this happens, we see Cooper having flashbacks to that event.

In the cockpit, Sam sees an old ship in the water, a Liberty vessel made during the war. Oddly enough when Cooper looks over the ship has disappeared. This triggers another flashback for Cooper after Sam goes back to check on Michelle. Her appendix bursts and Sam is able to MacGyver, er improvise a way to keep her around. That good news is quickly dismayed by them never being found and Al disappears entirely.

Sam walks in on Cooper having a flashback, but he pulls himself out of it. Things go bad as they head into a storm, but Sam, along with Cooper’s wife (and flight attendant) Wendy, are able to get him back. They are out of the rough part but need to lighten the load. Grant does not like tossing the expensive stuff he bought for the honeymoon but decides it is better than the alternative. They right their course and get to Bermuda. Sam tries to rationalize the oddities to Cooper and Al. Cooper mentions the craft that initially rescued him, but Al finds out that the specific craft mentioned disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 1918. Sam leaps …

… into the talk show, ‘Roberto’ as the host, Roberto. A biker makes/yells a point which antagonizes a small guy in a suit. This leads to a tussle.

Fact check: The area between Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda has had issues with magnetism but have been the victim of bad press. Surrounded by high coral, many early vessels were torn apart and rumors spread.

Stop talking to yourself: Headed into a nosedive, Sam finds dark humor in sage advice.

Only Sam can see and hear: Finding Sam while he is moving was a huge challenge for Ziggy. As it is, Al appears coming up from outside the plane before walking in. The shadows are better in another shot.

Mirror images that were not his own: Because the show is contractually obligated for Sam to see his face in the mirror, Sam opens a medicine cabinet to see Eddie Brackett.

Something or someone: After they land, Sam is able to justify the oddities he and Cooper experienced and for Al to throw some water on it.

It’s a science project: Having absolutely no idea how to operate much of anything in the cockpit, Sam gets a crash course in elementary basic flight operations, pun intended.

Let’s up the rating: Blonds, brunettes. Of both genders. This is probably the hottest guest cast we have ever had.

One more time: “Tell them we hit an air pocket.” “There’s no such thing as an air pocket.” “Well we know that but they don’t.”
Cooper and Sam hopefully not replaying dialogue someone overheard.

Trivial Matters: To pull off a flight with minimal sets, stock footage is liberally used. Too bad they could not match the colors on the plane. There are also problems with matching the clouds when they should be stormy but appear calm.

Put right what once went wrong: “How come we never hit air pockets when my dad’s on board?” Four guest actors, three sets, stock footage. This is a bottle episode. Star Trek has had some great ones from The Next Generation’s “The Next Phase” to Deep Space Nine’s “Duet” to Enterprise’s “Shuttlepod One.” How does this one compare?

The acting is top notch. Kurt Deutsch has some room to elevate the rich asshole trope as he has a relationship with the pilots and even has a moment when he thanks Sam. There is a nice moment where he promises to throw lavish praise to his father for the job well done. He also sees the light when he has to start throwing stuff off the plane. As Michelle, Carla Gugino (yes, that Carla Gugino) does not have all that much to do beyond get sick. She does have a moment with Sam as well when she makes him promise not to tell Grant for as long as he can. Kimberly Foster’s Wendy Cooper does not have much to do and is there as a supporting role but does pull through in the end when Cooper needs to be brought to his senses. She is also a good foil for Sam.

Scott Hoxby owns the role of Cooper. His skepticism to Sam’s knowledge is well played. The writing helps with dry wit thrown in there. With the mistakes Sam is making, it is enough to blow as gasket. He does a good job reacting to the voiceovers and reliving the trauma he endured in the war. He slips in and out not letting others know until it is too late. He does a good job with the balance and is a treat to watch.

Qualles and Bellisario have some good moments in the script. When Cooper is not skeptical, Al is. Very superstitious about the triangle, Al plays the Mulder to Sam’s Scully in an interesting reversal. After reappearing, Gushie claims that there was a power issue, but Al does not buy into that explanation. Sam knows a little about everything to keep Michelle alive and get Cooper back around but not in depth enough to fly the plane alone.

The story does fall apart with there being other hospitals to go to. They are close enough to Florida and the east coast in general that there surely has to be some hospital that can treat appendicitis. Also, the science is not all that great. Director Anita Addison did her best putting the pieces together, but it clear she used scissors at times to make them fit. It distracts from an otherwise excellent performance.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#568769
Roberto!
Original Air Date: March 11, 1992
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Scott Bakula
Leap date: January 27, 1982

This time: Sam leaps into the talk show, ‘Roberto’ as the host, Roberto. A biker makes/yells a point which antagonizes a small guy in a suit. This leads to a tussle. Production assistants help Sam close the show while security carries the small guy in a suit off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A pretty decent bit of storytelling bogged down by the details and throwing in some good old fashioned vegetable fornication to keep you interested. Not one of the better outings.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#569255
Temptation Eyes
Original Air Date: January 22, 1992
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Christopher Hibler
Leap Date: February 1, 1985

This time: Sam leaps into a cab driver. Someone runs into the road suddenly and Sam runs her over. Realizing that this will probably not be good for leapee Max Greenman, he goes over to help her. She has no marks on her and wakes up, introducing herself as Angelita Carmen Guadalupe Cecelia Jimenez, Angela for short. She did not want to meet Sam in this manner but is in good condition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear lord Liz Torres is amazing. Her personality as Angela shines through. She knows who she is, and it is a testament that she was able to show off her skills. She has a great chemistry with Stockell as Angela and Al argue over geography, how to handle the leap, etc. She is not what comes to your mind when you think of an angel but plays it straight. The juxtaposition as solid and in the end, there is enough evidence to believe her. The character is in good hands, as is the episode.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#569936
Moments to Live
Original Air Date: April 8, 1992
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: May 4, 1985

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The acting is well done all around. The waitress, Sam’s agent, the director, all strongly performed helping to establish the situation. Our two leads are pulling off their roles as well. Pruitt Taylor Vince gives Hank a lot to think about but not much to say verbally. He loves his wife and is trying to not let the situation get out of control. The hardest thing to do is talk about his feelings and deep down he knows something is going on with Norma Jean. Kathleen Wilhoite pulls off a masterful performance in that role. There is a clear division when she slips into mania but can be talked off the ledge. Her drawl does not get in the way, and she is a nice southern girl who orchestrates a kidnapping. While the two are convicted, they wind up together and you get the feeling that they were made for each other and can patch things up in the long term. What more can you ask for?
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#570446
"The Curse of Ptah-Hotep"
Original Air Date: April 22, 1992
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: March 2, 1957

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When we finally do see the mummy (or more accurately the mummy’s hand) as the hour draws to a close, it is not enough to save the episode. This is from one of the regular writers and directors and they should (and have!) be able to do better.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#570844
"Stand Up"
Original Air Date: May 13, 1992
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap Date: April 30, 1959

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… into Lee Harvey Oswald posing for the infamous picture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, Sam can leap into a dream?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite stop talking to yourself: From The Wrong Stuff: Accompanied by stock footage of disastrous space flights, Sam gives a lesson in early American space flight that you probably did not get in history class.

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

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

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

Favorite something or someone: From Running for Honor: Sam does not leap after saving Phillip though he sticks around long enough to see Ronnie drop out and for Al to exposit at the track meet sometime alter in which Sam leaps out of as he gets a quick start both literally and figuratively.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lot of this works but there are some kinks in there to bring it down a few notches.
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