Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 12

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.

The Americanization of Machiko

  • August 4, 1953
  • Sam leaps into a sailor stepping off a bus.
  • In his time leaping around time, Sam has gotten pretty good at picking up on small clues that help him figure out who he is, where he is, and when he is.
  • Judging by the Japanese money in his pocket and the name on his bag, he’s Charles McKenzie who’s just been shipped home from Japan.
  • Charlie’s father arrives at the bus stop to take him home.
  • But as soon as they drive away, a young Japanese woman gets off the bus calling for Charlie…
  • On the ride home, Sam thinks about how Henry, Charlie’s father, reminds him of his own father in Indiana.
  • Back in town, the Japanese woman, who we learn is Machiko, is very nearly harassed by a World War II vet, but is quickly rescued by a kind sheriff’s deputy who helps her communicate who she’s looking for.
  • She tells him that she’s looking for her husband, Charlie McKenzie.
  • On the farm, Charlie’s mom, Lenore, and Charlie’s old girlfriend, Naomi, discuss their plans for Charlie now that he’s returning home.
  • Naomi has picked some wildflowers for the occasion and Lenore fusses at her for not shaking the bugs off of them first.
  • Naomi is a little overzealous in her greeting.
  • Lenore clearly wears the pants, ordering Henry around.
  • Conveniently, they all leave Sam alone on the front porch to relax when Al arrives to let him know what Ziggy thinks he’s here to do.
  • According to the computer, Sam needs to make sure that Charlie does not get hooked into a miserable marriage to Naomi.
  • When Sam asks if Al is sure that’s what he’s here to do, Al gives him a 97% probability.
  • Then the deputy pulls up the driveway honking his horn.
  • Time to consider the other 3%.
  • The deputy delivers Mrs. Charlie McKenzie to the farm and she is excited to greet her husband’s family.
  • Now that all the information is available, Al reveals that Charlie’s family never accepted Machiko and she was forced to return to Japan, heartbroken.
  • Lenore won’t allow Charlie and Machiko to stay in the same room.
  • Henry tacks on that it’s just until they have a proper wedding here in the States.
  • Lenore doesn’t want Machiko to stay in the spare room, which belonged to Charlie’s dead sister, Eileen.
  • But Henry insists that it’s not a shrine before taking Machiko to look at some old photos of Charlie as a baby.
  • Sure seems like Henry is on board with Machiko as a daughter-in-law… it’s Lenore that will be the tough sell.
  • The next morning, Machiko is scrubbing the kitchen floor in her attempt to help out.
  • She was also kind enough to make rice for breakfast.
  • But Lenore just complains that her floor was already clean enough for anyone who wears shoes before dumping all the rice into the garbage.
  • Upset, Machiko goes outside to cry.
  • Sam goes to check on her while Lenore complains to Henry that Charlie is different and that it’s all Machiko’s fault.
  • Sam tries to explain that Lenore isn’t angry at Machiko and that this is all a big change for her that she needs to get used to.
  • He then tells Machiko she’ll have to make some changes, too… that she doesn’t have to feel like a servant just because she is his wife.
  • Sam’s kickstarting a little feminism in Machiko.
  • So then Machiko asks him, if men and women are equal, does that mean the husband’s money is also the wife’s money?
  • She wants to go shopping for some American clothes.
  • On the way into town, Sam teaches Machiko how to drive.
  • They stop when Machiko spots some wildflowers on the side of the road that she wants to pick for Lenore.
  • It’s worth pointing out that Machiko takes time to shake the bugs off the flowers.
  • In town, the World War II vet from earlier blatantly bumps into Sam and asks him what his problem is, clearly trying to pick a fight.
  • Sam doesn’t take the bait and takes Machiko to a clothing store, where the owner tells him not to worry about Rusty… he’s still fighting WWII.
  • When they come back out of the store, Machiko is excited about her new pink dress.
  • Until they get to the truck and see that someone has painted “Jap go home” on the driver’s door.
  • Sam sees Rusty staring at them with a smirk on his face.
  • Clearly he did this… In broad daylight… With people all around walking by.
  • And we’re all just okay with it?
  • Henry and Lenore are riding home with the reverend and his wife, who asks if Charlie and Machiko will be joining them for the church picnic tomorrow.
  • Lenore claims that the food they brought back from Japan has them both sick.
  • Back at home, Machiko is hanging some laundry to dry and Sam is working in the barn.
  • Naomi shows up in the barn and tries to seduce Sam.
  • No… not seduce… she’s basically assaulting him.
  • Elsewhere, as Machiko continues working outside, she takes her top off, then hears Sam shout from the barn.
  • Concerned, she runs toward the barn, just as the reverend’s car pulls up.
  • Everyone is in the barn to find Naomi on top of Sam.
  • Explanations are given and all is well… Even Machiko working topless outside.
  • Well… Lenore doesn’t accept it all and claims she won’t be going to the picnic tomorrow to have everyone gawking at her… the way they gawked at Eileen.
  • Henry asks her if that’s what this is really about.
  • Something else is there that they’re not revealing yet, but Lenore just puts her foot down about not going and storms inside.
  • Naomi confronts Sam again about his real feelings for Machiko and Sam makes it clear that Charlie loves Machiko.
  • Then she plays the Eileen card, as if Charlie owes her for standing by Eileen when she got pregnant… and if it hadn’t been for her, Eileen would have driven off that bridge a lot sooner than she did.
  • Naomi, hurt, claims that all that’s left is for her to be Charlie’s friend.
  • The next day, at the picnic, Naomi has offered to put make up on Machiko and has given her a few pointers on American culture, which lead to Machiko calling the mayor and his wife fat.
  • But Machiko isn’t stupid and quickly picks up on the fact that what she said was offensive, so she confronts Naomi about it and tells her she’s not a very nice person.
  • Machiko finds Sam and asks to be taken home.
  • She expresses her concern that no one likes her… but Sam insists that she’s got him and Henry, and it won’t take long to win everyone else over, too… even Lenore.
  • During the baseball game, Rusty plays a little too rough when it comes to Sam… again trying to pick a fight.
  • When Sam gets a hit off of Rusty’s pitch, Rusty decides to just try and tackle him.
  • Al warns Sam, giving him a chance to stop short and let Rusty hit the ground.
  • That evening, a bad storm is blowing in and while Sam and Henry get everything on the farm secured, Machiko and Lenore head down to the storm cellar.
  • But Lenore gets a phone call before she joins Machiko.
  • This is where Lenore finds out what Machiko said to the mayor and his wife.
  • So when she gets to the cellar, she lays into Machiko, causing her upset daughter-in-law to run off into the storm.
  • On the road, she’s picked up by Rusty…
  • Henry and Sam arrive in the cellar Lenore can’t be bothered about where Machiko could have run off to, but she desperately tries to keep them from going after her.
  • But they both go anyway, leaving Lenore alone.
  • Machiko is nervous to be in the truck with Rusty, who is drinking and driving.
  • Sam is driving around, looking for Machiko, but has no idea where to go until Al arrives to tell him that Rusty has her at his place.
  • Rusty reveals to Machiko that he spent 4 years rotting in the Pacific when he should have been home playing baseball.
  • He brags about how the pros all wanted him, but when it came back from the war, he’d lost his ability to throw like he used to.
  • So he blames the Japanese for that… and decides to threaten Machiko with losing an arm.
  • Sam arrives and fights Rusty, but Machiko gets hurt after Rusty threw a rock at her.
  • Sam is able to get Machiko to the hospital and she’s going to be okay.
  • In the waiting room, Henry says they’ve been praying for her… and Sam looks at Lenore and asks if that’s true.
  • Lenore says she has been… So Sam tells her to go into Machiko’s room and let her know she cares whether she lives or dies.
  • But Lenore says she can’t do that because she can’t do for Machiko what she couldn’t do for Eileen.
  • After Eileen’s accident, they brought her to this hospital room and Lenore told her she loved her no matter what, but it was already too late and Eileen never heard her.
  • Sam tells her that Machiko can hear her, but Lenore still says she can’t do for her what she couldn’t do for Eileen, then takes off.
  • Henry tells Sam it’s hard for some people to forgive, even if it’s themselves that need the forgiveness.
  • Next, we jump to the wedding day and everyone is in attendance… except Lenore.
  • Sam’s concern is that he won’t be able to leap if Lenore doesn’t accept Machiko, which means he’ll get married to Machiko… meaning that, in the eyes of God, Sam will be married to Machiko instead of Charlie.
  • But at the last second, Lenore enters the back of the church wearing the kimono that Machiko gave her when she first arrived.
  • Machiko and Lenore bow to each other and Sam leaps.
  • Into a black man who sits down at the counter of an all-white diner in the deep south.
  • Oh boy.
  • Wait… haven’t we seen this before? Yeah… must be rerun season.

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