Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 14

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.

Blind Faith

  • Sam has leapt into the life of a blind concert pianist and he is in the middle of performing a concert in front of a large audience.
  • They are leaping to their feet, applauding and crying out for an encore.
  • Sam is wearing sunglasses, but doesn’t realize he’s supposed to be blind until he notices his guide dog, Chopin, who leads him off stage.
  • Chopin is a little apprehensive, since he can see Sam for who he is and not the man he replaced.
  • The pianist has a girlfriend waiting in the wings who is confused about Chopin’s behavior and asks Sam why he’s not going back out for an encore.
  • Sam hesitates, but Chopin pulls him back to the piano, where Sam proceeds to play “Chopsticks,” much to the amusement of the crowd in attendance.
  • As he leaves the stage again, the girlfriend says that he never ceases to amaze her and can’t wait to find out what he’ll be playing tomorrow night.
  • That’s when the panic sets into Sam’s face.
  • February 6, 1964
  • Sam and the girl (and Chopin) walk away from the concert venue.
  • It’s New York City and Sam notices the date on a newspaper as they pass by a newsstand.
  • As they keep walking, they step over a discarded front page headline warning that there’s been a third strangling victim.
  • I’m guessing that will come into play later.
  • His girlfriend asks why he chose to play “Chopsticks” and Sam says it’s the only thing that came to mind.
  • They stop in front of Sam’s building and discuss why she hasn’t introduced him to her mom yet.
  • After his girlfriend leaves, a neighbor familiar with Andrew and Chopin is taking her two dogs for a late night walk.
  • Sam is able to figure out where the pianist lives and Chopin leads the way.
  • He gets into his apartment and finds a mirror to see his new reflection.
  • Question… why does a blind man have a mirror next to his apartment door? So he can get one last look before he leaves for the day?
  • Sam’s neighbor across the hall, Pete, is a police officer who hears Sam saying, “yeah, yeah, yeah,” to Chopin and starts ranting about the Beatles and how they’re playing the Ed Sullivan show soon.
  • And he brings up the killer in Central Park.
  • The girlfriend, Michelle, retrieves some hidden textbooks from a fire hose in the hallway then quietly enters her mother’s apartment.
  • Michelle’s mother is beyond controlling…
  • She checked up on her daughter’s whereabouts, knowing she wasn’t studying with her friends at the library.
  • Michelle admits she was at a piano recital at Carnegie Hall, but claims she got a free ticket at the last minute.
  • Her mother goes on a tirade about how Michelle’s father left when she was two, leaving her unsure of how to support herself and the baby and now that it’s 20 years later, Michelle is obviously ungrateful for everything her mother has done to raise her and put her through nursing school.
  • We’re just all about the toxic parenting, aren’t we?
  • Back at Sam’s place, he looks through the piano bench for sheet music but can’t find any.
  • As with the mirror, I would have to question why a blind man would have sheet music that he wouldn’t be able to read while playing.
  • Al arrives, giving Chopin quite the shock.
  • Al tells Sam that Andrew Ross is the Ray Charles of classical music.
  • When Al learns the date, he gets excited when he realizes the Beatles are playing Sullivan in three days.
  • Then he gets to why Sam is here…
  • After the concert, Michelle is found strangled in Central Park.
  • Told you that would come into play later…
  • Sam decides it shouldn’t be too difficult to save Michelle, since he’ll be able to see any coming threats.
  • His real fear is that he won’t be able to play the concert.
  • Al assures him that he’ll help, to which Sam excitedly asks if Al is a concert pianist.
  • “I couldn’t play ‘Chopsticks’ in Chinatown.”
  • But he has a plan.
  • Meanwhile, in Central Park, Andrews dog-walking neighbor becomes the latest strangling victim.
  • The next day, Sam runs into Pete the cop who again complains about having to babysit the Beatles, who have just arrived in the city.
  • The teenage girls are going nuts.
  • Sam meets Michelle for lunch and claims he has stage fright when she asks what’s wrong.
  • Sam really isn’t being very careful with his alleged blindness.
  • He keeps making mistakes that only someone with sight would make… reminding the waitress that she forgot the mustard… telling Michelle that she has a pretty smile…
  • Again, Sam asks why she won’t let him meet her mother, and she explains a little about the controlling aspect.
  • Before she leaves for class, Sam asks her to have dinner with him after the concert, to keep her from being in the park.
  • She agrees, reluctantly, after nearly making the excuse that she would have to ask her mom.
  • As she leaves, we see Michelle’s mother watching from a distance.
  • Back at Andrew’s apartment, Sam listens to concert music, hoping some of it will sink in, though he’s not sure he can play by ear like Andrew can.
  • Chopin alerts Sam that it’s time for him to eat.
  • Sam is reading the packages of dog food without realizing Michelle’s mother was watching.
  • She tells Sam that he can carry on this charade of being blind all he wants as long as it doesn’t hurt her daughter.
  • She gives him an ultimatum: stop seeing Michelle or she will expose him as a fraud.
  • That night in his dressing room, Sam looks in the mirror and tells Andrew he’s sorry.
  • When Michelle arrives, he confronts her about her mother, who visited him today and revealed that she had no idea Andrew existed.
  • Michelle breaks down… she’s broken because of the way her mother has treated her and berated her throughout her life.
  • She doesn’t believe she deserves to be loved by someone like Andrew.
  • Michelle makes the statement, “She’s been stuck with me since my dad left…”
  • Kid, your mother wasn’t stuck with you. She’s your mother. Being your parent is her job.
  • If she resents you for it, that’s on her, not you.
  • This is reminding me of a viral video I saw recently that I kind of want to share here, if you’ll excuse me for a moment… Also, excuse the language…
  • I think she is spot on.
  • Sam tells Michelle that she owes her mother her love, not her life.
  • Concert time… and Sam has no clue what to do.
  • When a stagehand asks if there’s a problem, Sam claims that Chopin is reluctant to take him on stage tonight.
  • So Chopin pulls him to the stage right away.
  • All arrives with a music stand and a complicated piece of sheet music.
  • Sam’s still worried he can’t play something that complicated… but Al assures him that he can play it if he’ll just try.
  • Sam’s excited that he’s actually playing piano at Carnegie Hall, but Al says it’s not a big deal because he’s done it before.
  • So Sam Beckett played a concert at Carnegie Hall… huh.
  • He nails it and receives a standing ovation.
  • Michelle’s mother shows up and confronts Michelle backstage.
  • She’s smoking, because she always smokes, and the stagehand asks her to put it out but she refuses.
  • Michelle begs her to put it out, so she rolls her eyes and stomps it out.
  • After this, Michelle asks her why she treats people that way… “because that’s the way people treat me.”
  • Because two wrongs make a right.
  • Michelle’s mother is a miserable human being who cannot be happy unless she knows that everyone else is as miserable as her.
  • She also sort of reminds me of Mother Gothel from Tangled, doing all she can to tear down her daughter’s confidence.
  • She points out that Andrew is a star… how long does Michelle really think he’ll remain interested in a nobody like her.
  • Michelle drops the bomb that her mother is just jealous because Michelle has the kind of life that her mother never could.
  • Which receives Michelle a literal slap in the face.
  • At that, her mother tells her that Andrew isn’t blind… it’s just an act.
  • Once Sam finishes performing, he receives a standing ovation and Chopin leads him off stage.
  • He immediately recognizes that Michelle’s mother is there, and Michelle realizes that she was telling the truth… that Andrew isn’t blind.
  • But Andrew is blind… Sam’s the one who can see.
  • Michelle runs out sobbing and Sam chases after her.
  • But they run through a crowd of Beatle-maniacs and photographers and Sam takes a camera’s flashbulb directly to the face.
  • The flash is too bright and too close, blinding Sam for real.
  • In spite of this turn of events, Sam, Al, and Chopin chase Michelle into the park, afraid that she’ll become the strangler’s next victim.
  • Michelle slows to a walk, afraid she’s being followed.
  • She spots the strangler dressed all in black and wearing a ski mask.
  • He easily catches up to her and begins strangling her.
  • Michelle manages to get a nail file out of her purse and stabs the strangler and can get away.
  • Chopin leads Sam down the right path to find Michelle.
  • Al spots her purse, but not Michelle.
  • Michelle is still running and finds Pete, the cop.
  • She’s relieved and moves in to hug him… then she feels the blood from where she stabbed him.
  • Pete’s the strangler.
  • Chopin takes down Pete and Sam is able to feel around the ground for Pete’s handcuffs, incapacitating him.
  • Pete is arrested.
  • Sam and Michelle sit on a park bench while her mother berates Sam saying this wouldn’t have happened if he’d stayed away from Michelle.
  • Michelle tells her the explanation for why he knew she was backstage at the concert… he smelled her perfume.
  • She still doesn’t buy it and tries to prove, again, that Andrew is faking it, so she lights a match and suddenly holds it up to Sam’s eyes, expecting him to flinch.
  • But since he’s really blind, he doesn’t even twitch.
  • The shock on the mother’s face is priceless.
  • She turns and walks away and Sam tells Michelle to go after her.
  • Al arrives again and Sam is starting to get his sight back.
  • Sam points out that they saved Michelle’s life, so why is he still here?
  • Al says that he saved her physical life… her emotional life is another matter.
  • Sam confronts Michelle’s mother with some difficult truths.
  • And they all lived happily ever after.
  • And Sam leaps into a radio DJ trying to decide what record to throw on next until the mom from Home Improvement orders him to read the commercial.
  • Oh boy.

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