Original Air Date: October 20, 1992
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap Date: June 18, 1958
This time: Sam leaps into a man holding a gun while staring out the window. A local news report talks about an escaped criminal whose picture Sam recognizes in the mirror. A woman, Carol Pruitt, offers him some jewelry while her daughter, Becky, is shaken up.
In the Waiting Room, Leon Stiles has a gun (!) pointed at Al. Stiles takes Al hostage and walks out to also take Gooshie hostage. A lone marine on duty takes aim but Al prevents him from damaging Sam’s body. Stiles takes Gooshie’s car plus coat and goes off. Al cannot involve other agencies and goes after Stiles alone.
The police have surrounded the Pruitt residence. Sherriff Holt issues a warning while an officer named Grimes is informed that Collins did not make it. Hoyt asks for his rifle. Sam cannot let the hostages go as they are the only thing keeping him alive. Al breaks the news about Stiles but Gooshie will let Sam know of any problems while Al is away.
Al grabs a weapon, a profile of Stiles and a spare handlink with a tracker on Gooshie’s car.
The Pruitt’s plead for their safety but Sam must keep them at bay. Sam explains the basis of leaping, but it is a bit too much for them to swallow. Outside, Hoyt flat out tells Grimes he will kill Stiles as Collins was Hoyt’s daughter.
Sam unties Carol, who will not abandon her daughter. It seems that Carol is studying medicine after her husband ran off. Sam asks Carol to quiz him. She is shocked when the supposedly illiterate man knows medicine, adding to his credibility. Gooshie arrives and says that not only will the Sheriff storm the house, but Becky will also be caught in the crossfire.
Al drives out on Stiles’ trail with the CD profile. Ziggy believes Stiles will go after a street walker.
Sam lets Becky go as a s show of good faith; to keep her alive and to buy more time. Per Gooshie, this should be enough for Sam to leap but Stiles being outside the Waiting Room prevents that. Also, Sam still gets shot by Hoyt.
Stiles picks up a woman right before Al arrives. Al gets a visit from an invisible Gooshie (brain waves are not perfectly aligned) who says that Stiles must get into the waiting room before Hoyt storms the house. More amazed at the technology than the woman’s edible body paint, Stiles holds her at gunpoint when Al bursts in for a standoff. A mirror breaks the tension and Stiles lets off several rounds. Al is struck by ricochet long enough for Stiles to run off, though Al is in pursuit.
Becky tells Hoyt and Grimes the truth convincing them that Stiles has gone off the deep end. While Carol and Sam bond, Stiles makes his way back to the Project, holding Gooshie at gunpoint to travel back. Al hits Stiles with a tranquilizer, though why he could not have done so earlier is an exercise for the viewer.
Everything is in place, but Sam does not leap. Hoyt bursts in and asks Carol to leave. She will not let Hoyt kill Sam. Carol talks him off that ledge and Sam is taken into custody. Sam leaps …
… into a man clothed in a bathrobe and bathed in lights from a flying saucer.
Fact check: Sam names a handful of the dozens of bones in the foot but gets full credit. Where was Carol Pruitt when I was in school?
Stop talking to yourself: Ever the scientist, Sam likes to take a moment before reaching a conclusion. This leap makes that a bit challenging.
Only Sam can see and hear: A gun, handlink, and bulletproof vest. Al sure is ready to go all Rambo to retrieve Stiles.
Mirror images that were not his own: For the second week in a row, we get a mirror image in the teaser. This time after Sam sees a mug shot on TV. Returning the favor, Sam appears in the mirror while Stiles holds the street walker hostage.
It’s a science project: Ziggy alters Gooshie’s brain so that he can communicate with Sam in the waiting room. It mostly works, aside from some fading, static and vocal distortions.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: Project Quantum Leap is an A1 classification meaning that they are not allowed to involve other agencies. I am sure that will go over well if Stiles starts shooting people randomly.
Let’s up the rating: The street walker gets no cash from Stiles or Al. Her room is very much in shambles when all is said and done.
One more time: “His name is Sam Beckett. Mr. Stiles is in the future.” “What do you mean?” “Mister Beckett travels through time. Now he’s here and Mister Stiles is there.” Did he tell you that?”
Becky being honest and Hoyt being confused.
Trivial Matter: We have a rare instance of punctuation in the title with “Killin’ Time.”
Put right what once went wrong: “When was the last time you met an illiterate speed reader?” It took just over four seasons, but we finally found out what happens to people in the Waiting Room. Sam has leapt into bad guys before but here we see how things can very quickly go wrong.
There are a lot of things that happens for this plot to work. For one, there must not be a whole lot of people on duty. We see three people staffing the project, one of whom is an extra. There is talk of other staff but where is everyone else? Is it a weekend or something? Where is Dr. Beeks? Why is Al meeting Stiles and not her? Was she on a break or something? Plus, they cannot involve other agencies which will not be comforting in Stiles goes on a rampage.
We rarely get a look at 1999, certainly not outside the project. Here, we go downtown and see more of the world, something we have really not done since the pilot, a courtroom nonwithstanding. Stiles is fortunate enough to run into the only prostitute without a pimp or sex hotel without security. So much of this happens for the sake of happening that makes it hard to believe, which is saying something for a series based around leaping into other peoples bodies. Stiles comes back to the project to leap back but it is more for plot convenience than anything else.
We have not seen Al in the driver’s seat since the season four premiere and he handles himself pretty well. The plot handwaves him not being able to involve another agency and he does a good job tracking Stiles. He is at the forefront, leaving Gooshie to minister to Sam. Why he could not have taken someone along is a mystery. Still, it is good to see Stockwell take change and he is up to the challenge. Cameron Dye gives Stiles an edge and has fun in the killer role while also being overwhelmed by the future technology.
We also get to see more of Gooshie as a result. He has been pretty bland up until this point but takes on the lab geek role well. We see him both with Sam and Al. He is as surprised as everyone else, but you get a sense that he has worked with both Sam and Al. Dennis Wolfberg does great things with the material.
The leap itself does not really present Sam with all that much to do. Jim Haynie’s Hoyt is there to kill Stiles out of revenge and Joseph Malone is there to listen as Grimes. Yes, Sam not doing all that much is kind of the point but while he does have some good talks with Carol, played excellently by Connie Ray, it goes nowhere. OK, she bonds enough to convince Hoyt not to kill Sam, but while the medical quiz scene is fun this could have been excised.
There are so many contrivances to get this plot to work. With apologies to Red Dwarf, the two biggest are that Stiles leaps in with a gun and Stiles leaps in with a gun; those are the same, but it is so huge it is worth mentioning twice. There is almost no one in the building, security or otherwise. They wave their hands about not being able to get any other agencies involved and this cold-blooded killer does not kill anyone in 1999. The chase to get Stiles is rushed. In the end, Stiles just waltzes back in so that the episode can end.
There is a good idea in here and while it does answer a long-standing question this could have been so much better. This could have been knocked out of the park after a few more drafts.