Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 16

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.

Thou Shalt Not…

  • Sam leaps into the life of a rabbi in the middle of a Bat Mitzvah ceremony.
  • It’s one thing not to know the words of the Hebrew hymn that’s being sung in the moment he leaps in, but it’s gonna be hard to cover when he’s up to lead a prayer.
  • February 2, 1974
  • Unfortunately, we really don’t get to see Sam squirm anymore during the ceremony as we jump ahead to the reception.
  • But we do see him squirm here when he’s called up on stage to lead the blessing over the bread.
  • Luckily Al shows up and has Sam repeat after him…
  • Al just happens to know some prayers in Hebrew.
  • That seems awfully convenient.
  • Turns out Al’s third wife was Jewish and taught him the basics.
  • Al even has to have Sam copy his movements as he joins in on the traditional dance.
  • And you’ll have to forgive me… I’m not Jewish, so I’m not familiar with the names of everything like I once was.
  • Sam is Rabbi David Basch and the girl at the center of today’s festivities is his niece, Karen.
  • Right away, it’s clear that there are issues between his brother, Joe, and his sister-in-law, Irene.
  • At the punch bowl, Irene tries to get Joe to dance with her, but he refuses.
  • She winds up having a dance with a friend named Bert.
  • Bert is the topic of conversation among some of the single ladies at the party, as they discuss how sad it is that he’s had such a hard time getting over the death of his wife.
  • Al comes back to let Sam know that he’s there to stop his sister-in-law from having a one-night stand.
  • In the original history, Joe finds out about Irene’s infidelity and it absolutely destroys their family.
  • Sam can’t understand how someone like Irene would find herself in a situation where she would be unfaithful.
  • Back at home, Karen tries to talk to her dad about the presents she received, but he brushes her off and makes an excuse about needing to go fill up the car, otherwise he’ll have to wait in line on Monday morning.
  • For those unfamiliar, this is a time in history when there was a severe gas shortage.
  • When Karen asks to go with him, he tells her no and brings Sam instead.
  • Sam and Joe talk about basketball and Joe laments not going to any games with his son.
  • Sam suggests taking Karen, but he doesn’t think it would be the same with a girl.
  • Then Joe says he’s been thinking about having an affair.
  • Later, Al suggests that it might be good for both Joe and Irene to get it out of their systems.
  • He suggests that maybe Sam isn’t there to stop the affairs but to keep both parties from finding out about each other.
  • Irene walks into the kitchen and catches Sam talking to Al, so Sam pretends to be practicing his next sermon.
  • She’s getting ready to set the table for dinner and insists that Sam go into the living room to relax.
  • Sam plays Scrabble with Karen and she talks about wanting to marry someone cute… someone who never yells…
  • Then Sam notices a guitar sitting behind him and he picks it up, which upsets Karen because it was Danny’s guitar.
  • When the topic is brought up at dinner, Irene mentions that it’s been a year… it’s time to set the headstone.
  • Joe refuses to talk about it.
  • So now we know what’s at the center of the family falling apart.
  • The family is heading toward self-destruction even without the possibility of Irene’s one-night stand.
  • Sam asks to spend the night, making the excuse that his place is being fumigated… covering for the fact that Sam has no clue where David lives.
  • Irene makes up the bed in Danny’s old room.
  • She talks with David about Danny’s laughter.
  • Soon it becomes clear that she blames herself for his death, as she was the one who talked Joe into letting Danny go with a friend to Europe for a backpacking trip.
  • The plane crashed and Irene blames herself… and she believes Joe blames her, too.
  • Sam tries to comfort her and they come a little too close to a kiss for comfort and Sam assumes the one-night stand that Irene is involved with is with David.
  • Discussing it with Al, it seems Sam wouldn’t be able to leap until there’s a way to prevent the affair from happening even when David leaps back into his own life.
  • Irene and Karen set up at a bake sale and Irene is approached by Bert.
  • He talks to her about how he’s tried focusing on his writing ever since his wife died.
  • The book is about dealing with the loss of a loved one, so Bert invites Irene to come and talk to him about her loss sometime as a contribution to his book.
  • Sam talks to Karen about how her mother just needs some support, but they’re interrupted.
  • Someone at the bake sale begins to choke…
  • Sam rushes over and performs the Heimlich Maneuver, saving the man’s life.
  • As the man is led away, a woman asks, “Are you okay, Dr. Heimlich?”
  • Soon after, Sam is approached by a woman who is desperate to get something off her chest.
  • She confesses that she had an affair with Bert…
  • He was just doing research for his book and wanted to talk to her about how she was grieving the loss of her father.
  • Then she said things just got out of hand.
  • Sounds to me like Bert is a sexual predator who is manipulating vulnerable and grieving women into giving him what he wants.
  • Sam suggests to Irene that she surprise Joe with a surprise trip to their beach house, just the two of them, while Sam stays with Karen.
  • Of course, Joe squashes the idea, making excuses about having work that he brought home.
  • Sam tries to step in and when Irene tells Joe that David understands…
  • So Joe just asks her, “If David’s so smart, why didn’t you marry him?”
  • Irene’s response: “Maybe I should have…” before grabbing her suitcase and walking out the door.
  • Karen was listening the whole time and tells Sam she wishes her mother had married him, too.
  • Then she says she hates Danny for dying.
  • When Sam is alone, Al arrives with news on this Bert character.
  • Turns out Bert isn’t a widower… he’s never even been married.
  • He does eventually publish a book, but it’s just about grieving women and Irene is chapter six.
  • So Sam decides to drive to the beach house in an attempt to intercept Bert.
  • Karen tells Joe that David asked for directions to the beach house.
  • Hopefully that’ll light a jealous fire under Joe.
  • At the beach house, Bert is already there putting the moves on Irene.
  • She’s telling him no… but Bert doesn’t take no for an answer.
  • Sam arrives just in time to keep anything from happening.
  • Come on… Bert smokes a pipe like it’s a normal thing to do…
  • If that’s not a red flag…
  • Sam drops the truth bomb about Bert’s status as a widower.
  • Bert tries to excuse himself by saying it’s research and Irene screams she will not be researched before slapping Bert a couple times.
  • Bert rushes off and Irene cries in David’s arms, saying she just wants someone to talk to.
  • That someone should be Joe, but he has made himself emotionally unavailable.
  • And then in walks Joe, just in time to see his brother holding his weeping wife.
  • Sam chases Joe outside and Joe begins throwing punches.
  • Al says this is great because it means Joe still loves Irene.
  • Irene tries to break up the fight and Joe tells her he’ll never forgive her for this.
  • Sam asks… for this or for Danny?
  • He points out that Joe keeps punishing Irene for something she had no control over.
  • But then he confesses that he gets angry because she keeps vacuuming Danny’s room like he’s still there.
  • Irene says it’s because when she’s in his room it’s as if he’s just away at college or on vacation… but he’s still there.
  • They finally have the conversation they’ve needed to have.
  • Al says that Bert’s book never hit’s the bestseller list.
  • In fact, by the time word gets around about his tactics and after a handful of lawsuits, his publisher keeps the book from ever seeing the light of day.
  • Joe and Irene go on to write a book of their own, which helps parents dealing with the loss of a child.
  • But Sam’s still not leaping…
  • Because he needs to help them set the headstone for Danny’s grave.
  • And he needs to convince Joe that Karen desperately needs her father’s love.
  • “You lost a son, Joe, don’t lose your daughter, too.”
  • As Joe embraces his daughter, Sam leaps…
  • And he’s upside down in a Bullwinkle t-shirt and Bullwinkle slippers.
  • He’s Jimmy, and his brother tells him to hurry up and get dressed because he had to pull a lot of strings for this job interview.
  • And he reminds him that if the supervisor asks, he’s not retarded, he’s just slow.
  • Sam looks in the mirror and sees the image of Jimmy, a young man with Down Syndrome.
  • Oh boy.

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