Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 5

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.

How the Tess Was Won

  • From boxer to pig farmer?
  • August 5, 1956
  • Sam is holding a piglet and can’t help but overhear an argument between a father and his daughter about wanting her to get married so he can leave the ranch to a grandson.
  • Tess refuses, saying that there’s not a man around who’s more of a man than she is, and that’s the only kind of many she’ll marry.
  • Chance, her father, agrees to a deal that Tess can pick a man to compete with her and if that man wins, she’ll marry him.
  • But if Tess wins, Chance has to give up on her marrying anyone.
  • She picks “Doc,” the man Sam has leaped into.
  • Chance asks if he’s up to the challenge of out-cowboying his daughter in order to have her hand in marriage as well as take over the 50,000 acre ranch.
  • So Sam’s not a pig farmer… he’s a veterinarian.
  • Sam tells Chance he’ll take the pig into quarantine, then tells him he can keep his daughter.
  • But Tess is insistent… it’s Doc or no one.
  • Sam gets back to Doc’s place where he has an assistant who seems more interested in singing and playing guitar than in veterinary medicine.
  • Unfortunately, Sam isn’t able to get the teenage assistant’s name, leading to an awkward encounter.
  • Al shows up and has a problem with his girlfriend, Tina, believing she’s cheating on him.
  • Though he seems to have no problem cheating on her… okay…
  • According to Ziggy, there’s a 72% chance Sam is there to cure the pig.
  • But when Sam mentions marrying Tess, Ziggy says that’s only a 47% chance.
  • This is where we discover that almost all animals can see Al.
  • Sam find’s Doc’s diary and starts reading to learn more about this person…
  • Apparently Doc is in love with Tess… which changes some odds.
  • Now there’s a 97% chance that someone who’s been secretly sending Tess love letters is going to marry the cowgirl.
  • Next day, Sam returns to the ranch to agree to the contest.
  • One problem: a ranch hand named Wayne isn’t too thrilled about Doc’s acceptance of the challenge, putting Sam on a horse named Widowmaker… a horse that only Tess can ride.
  • Another problem: even though Sam grew up on a farm in Indiana, that doesn’t much translate to riding and roping.
  • Wayne later gives Sam a “tip” about roping cattle, which nearly results in Sam losing a thumb.
  • But Sam has a good sense of humor about it and relies on the old thumb trick to act like he just needs to grow a new one.
  • Near the end of the day, Sam’s ready to head home to wash off the day, but Tess informs him that they’re heading into town to negotiate with a buyer who’s interested in one of the ranch’s prize bulls.
  • If he’s gonna run the ranch with her, he needs to be able to handle the business side of ranching.
  • Over a game of poker, they negotiate with the buyer.
  • Al shows up and informs Sam that Wayne is cheating… so Sam accuses him, which is serious business.
  • But when they show Wayne’s hand, it’s not what Sam claimed it would be.
  • Sam apologizes to Wayne, who says that’s not good enough… but Tess says it is and drags Wayne away to the bar to have a word.
  • Turns out Wayne gave the full house to Tess instead of himself.
  • He’s cheating for Tess to get her out of marrying Doc.
  • Naturally, Sam thinks Tess is in cahoots with Wayne.
  • The next day, Sam and Tess compete digging post holes.
  • It’s a hot day and Sam tries to get Tess to drink some water, but she refuses… even though she is clearly about to pass out from heat exhaust.
  • Sure enough, she passes out and Sam drives her back to Doc’s house to nurse her back to health.
  • Part of the treatment is to get her undressed to cool her skin… which I’m sure she’ll really appreciate once she wakes up.
  • When she comes to and realizes she’s in her underwear, she punches Sam.
  • She covers up and Doc’s assistant comes in from the storm with the animals, Tess nearly says the assistant’s name… but stops herself.
  • A little later, as the storm rages on outside, Tess admits that she’s afraid of thunder and we start to see that she has a softer side.
  • She’s feeling better and Sam asks if she’d like to dance.
  • But while they dance, Tess is clearly beginning to feel some feelings and hat scares her more than the thunder.
  • She pushes Sam away and tallies the contest points, deciding things have ended in a tie, since tomorrow is Sunday and it’s not like they can compete in praying.
  • Sam insists that they need a tiebreaker, so Tess agrees that she’ll marry him if he can ride Widowmaker.
  • Driving back to the ranch, Tess is in tears.
  • Early the next morning, Sam gets Al to keep Widowmaker calm… but he’s interrupted by a phone call from Tina, leaving Sam on his own with Widowmaker.
  • Once Al leaves the imaging chamber, Widowmaker takes off.
  • Sam manages to hang out and seemingly breaks the horse.
  • Chance tells Sam, “Welcome to the family,” but Sam just says no thanks…
  • He just wanted to see if he could ride the horse.
  • It actually hurts Tess’ feelings and Chance advises her to go after him.
  • She goes to Doc’s house and has assumed this whole time that he’s just been after the 50,000 acre ranch, not love.
  • But Sam shows her Doc’s diary, revealing Doc’s feelings to Tess all these years.
  • She’s obviously touched by what she reads, then asks him to dance again.
  • Tess admits she’s afraid that marrying him will mean that when Chance is gone, all the men on the ranch will look to Doc instead of her.
  • But Sam just asks why they don’t run the ranch together.
  • Then Wayne shows up at Doc’s house and confesses that he’s in love with Tess, too.
  • Wayne also reveals that he’s written dozens of love letters that he’s never sent to her.
  • Remember that 97% chance that Tess would marry someone who’s written her a bunch of love letters?
  • Tess takes time to read the letters, then asks Sam if it would be okay if she dances with Wayne.
  • In the end, Al shows up and Sam is pretty pissed at Al for taking off the way he did.
  • Apparently Tina only made it look like she was gonna hook up with Gooshie to make Al jealous.
  • Now Sam is still stuck and hasn’t leapt… so what does he need to do to leap if it’s not marrying Tess?
  • Doc’s assistant is on the porch picking at the guitar while Sam looks for the pig… and he starts singing about the pig…
  • Then Sam calls the kid Buddy, which turns out to be his name… and suggests singing about Peggy Sue instead of Piggy.
  • Giving Buddy Holly the idea for “Peggy Sue” is what it takes to get Sam to leap…
  • Into someone who has clearly just had a very adult encounter with a woman on what looks to be an attic floor.
  • Oh boy.

2 thoughts on “Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 5

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