Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episodes 1 & 2

Welcome to Rewatching Quantum Leap! After I finished going through Buffy and Angel, I wasn’t sure what show I’d like to get back into, having several in mind. I thought about Smallville and Lost, but landed on Quantum Leap because it’s one of those shows that I feel would be super easy to reboot in this era of so many remakes, yet it’s still been left untouched. I’m not saying my little blog will draw attention to this cult classic sci-fi/anthology series, but maybe it’ll convince a few of my readers to take a chance on the show if you’ve never seen it before. This first post will cover the two-hour pilot episode. For the rest of the series, I’ll do one post per episode, even if there are two-parters. I hope you’ll join me each week as I explore history through this series that was canceled far too soon.

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the quantum leap accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.

Genesis, Part 1 & 2

  • In the distant future of 1995, a man in a futuristic tuxedo speeds down a desert highway in a futuristic car.
  • How do I know the tux is futuristic?
  • Because it has a light-up design that looks like a neon star.
  • He pulls over to help a futuristic damsel in distress with a flat tire.
  • Yeah, we still have to deal with flat tires in the far off year of 1995.
  • Quantum Leap successfully predicted the light-up shoe craze that the kids would be into.
  • Except this lady is wearing heels that light up… not sure that craze ever took off.
  • Neither did light-up earrings.
  • But the futuristic tux guy gives her a ride in his futuristic car.
  • She notices some unexplained lights off in the distance where people talk about a top secret project.
  • Then the guy in the tux gets a call telling him that Sam is leaping.
  • The tux guy is Al and the guy on the other end of the line asks what he should do.
  • “Any interference could kill him!”
  • So Al speeds toward the lights in the night sky.
  • September 13, 1956
  • The man we know as Sam wakes up confused.
  • At first he’s excited because we did it!
  • Did what?
  • He wakes up next to a pregnant woman who calls him Tom.
  • And in the mirror… that’s not Sam.
  • His wife, Peg, comes in and sees Tom in the mirror… not Sam.
  • And that’s how everyone sees Sam… he’s Tom.
  • Sam remembers the phone number for his office, but when he tries to call there are way too many numbers.
  • He decides he’s having some kind of super realistic dream that he has no choice but to ride out until the boogeyman shows up.
  • Sam discovers that Tom is a test pilot…
  • But Sam can’t remember who he is.
  • He certainly can’t fly the experimental X-2 airplane.
  • While Sam’s team is being briefed on the day’s assignments, Al shows up and even talks to Sam a bit.
  • But, like everything else, Sam has no idea who he is.
  • Up in the air, Sam is getting comfortable being the co-pilot who doesn’t actually have to fly… until his friend decides to take a quick bathroom break.
  • Sam panics and veers off course, but the other pilot comes back and levels things out.
  • When Sam notices Al in the back of the plane, he begins to realize that Al isn’t all he seems.
  • They release the X-2 with another pilot looking to reach Mach 3.
  • He doesn’t hit Mach 3 when a fire warning light comes on, but he’s still going too fast before trying to turn around and winds up in a flat spin.
  • The X-2 explodes, but the pilot was able eject in time.
  • Al shows up again that evening at a nearby hangout while Sam dances with Tom’s wife.
  • Peg notices that Tom can suddenly dance a lot better than he used to.
  • And Sam asks Peg who the guy in the tux is… but she doesn’t see anyone in a tux.
  • Al still doesn’t realize that Sam doesn’t know who he is.
  • And Sam is even more confused when Al calls him by his real name.
  • Now it’s Al’s turn to freak out…
  • He says Ziggy was right and Sam says he remembers a Ziggy… short guy with bad breath…
  • Then Sam watches as Al vanishes into thin air.
  • That night, while Sam sleeps, he seems to be taken out of Tom’s body… but then is snapped back.
  • He wakes up and remembers that he was raised on a dairy farm in Indiana with his sister, Kate.
  • He remembers his dad died in 1974 and, since this is 1956, his dad is still alive.
  • Sam calls the operator to make a long distance call to Elk Ridge, Indiana… but he can’t remember the number.
  • The operator tries to help by asking for the name of the party he’s calling, but he can’t even remember his own last name.
  • Since it’s Saturday, Tom’s son comes in to remind him that they had planned a fishing trip for the day.
  • Al shows up while Sam is alone in the river and basically tells him that most of the things Sam will want to know is restricted information that he’s not allowed to tell him.
  • He is able to explain that he appears as a hologram that only Sam can see or hear.
  • Ziggy is a hybrid computer and Gooshie is the short guy with bad breath that Sam remembered.
  • Al explains that Sam is part of a time travel experiment that went a little wrong.
  • They tried to retrieve him this morning, explaining the out of body experience, but they’re having some technical difficulties.
  • Meanwhile, Sam’s memory has turned into swiss cheese.
  • Oh, and Tom Stratton, the man Sam replaced in the past, has taken Sam’s place in the future.
  • Al says if it’s any consolation, Tom’s memory is swiss cheesed, too.
  • During a barbecue, Sam goes inside to help Peg and she tells him to go spend more time with Mikey because he hasn’t spent this much time with him since he was hit by the bus.
  • Pretty sure that was some kind of test… How much you wanna bet Mikey was never hit by any bus?
  • Sam learns that he’ll be the next pilot to fly the X-2.
  • While he’s looking over the plane, Al reappears to give an explanation of how Project Quantum Leap works.
  • Take a string with one end representing birth and the other end representing death.
  • Tie the ends together and your life becomes a loop.
  • Ball the loop up and the days of your life touch each other out of sequence, making it possible to move back and forth in time within your own lifetime.
  • Sam gets freaked out when Al walks through things, so he has to go on to explain that, to him, everything around Sam is the hologram.
  • And Sam remembers that Al is in the imaging chamber… and that the project is located in New Mexico.
  • The current theory at the project is that God or fate or time was waiting for Sam to quantum leap to correct a mistake that happened in history.
  • In the original history, Tom is killed when he tries to break Mach 3…
  • So Sam needs to break Mach 3 and survive and he should leap back to the future.
  • There’s still the problem of Sam not knowing how to fly…
  • But Al is not just an observer from the future… he’s also a former astronaut who can walk Sam through piloting the X-2.
  • The next day, Sam heads up and gets strapped into the X-2 and starts to panic because Al hasn’t shown up yet.
  • Al shows up just after the X-2 is dropped and tells Sam to match his movements.
  • Just as Sam approaches Mach 3, the fire light comes on and Al warns him that it’s too hot… the fuel is boiling.
  • Al warns Sam to eject just before the X-2 explodes.
  • Sam lands safely but is disappointed that he did not leap.
  • Al’s not sure why Sam is still in the past, but suggests that he could leap back at any moment… maybe while he’s sleeping tonight.
  • Sam gets to the hospital and finds out that Peg went into premature labor when she heard the explosion.
  • She’s relieved to see him still alive and he teaches her Lamaze breathing when she has a contraction.
  • Sam’s memory of being a medical doctor kicks in and he realizes that Peg’s labor can be stopped without a risk to Peg or the baby.
  • His idea works and both mother and child are saved when labor is stopped.
  • As soon as things are calm at the hospital, Sam looks out the window to give Tom’s son a thumbs up.
  • In celebration, Mikey tosses his baseball up to Sam…
  • Who is suddenly in the middle of a baseball game…
  • Summer 1968
  • Sam is in Waco, Texas playing for the minor league Bombers.
  • Whoever Sam leapt into has his dog at the game and the dog can see Sam.
  • And the dog is not happy.
  • Al shows up and Sam finds a private place to talk.
  • Sam wants to know how he found him so quickly.
  • But Al reveals that Sam leapt a week ago… even if it’s only been a few minutes for Sam.
  • Sam leapt into the life of Tim Fox, a minor league ball player who got his shot at the majors but broke his leg sliding into second.
  • That was five years ago.
  • Ziggy won’t reveal what Sam has to put right in Fox’s life to leap this time.
  • Al says that Ziggy is depressed, which leads Sam to ask who created this super computer named Ziggy.
  • And Al reveals that Sam did… All of Project Quantum Leap is Sam’s baby.
  • If there’s one man who can figure out how to get Sam back to his own time, it’s Sam.
  • But Sam can’t even remember his own name.
  • So Al tells him that his last name is Beckett, giving Sam the opportunity to finally call his father in Indiana.
  • When Sam gets off the phone, he heads back out to the game in time to step up to the plate.
  • Sam watches the first two pitches go by for two strikes.
  • He swings at a wild pitch and misses for strike three… but since the catcher loses the ball, Sam makes a break for first.
  • The ball is way overthrown and Sam heads on to second.
  • It’s overthrown again at third and Sam makes it all the way to home, sliding to score the winning run.
  • His team celebrates as Sam leaps…
  • Into a classroom… where he’s apparently the teacher…
  • Oh boy.

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