Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 23

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.

  • Sam’s thrown right into the action when he leaps into a high school quarterback in the middle of a football game.
  • The defense has his number and Sam gets tackled almost as soon as the ball is snapped.
  • Luck is on Sam’s side as the ball flies out of his hands, moving high into the air and behind him as he’s thrown to the ground.
  • A running back from Sam’s team catches the football and takes off down the field.
  • But when he gets in trouble, he throws the ball back to Sam.
  • He catches the ball, but is frozen in fear as he watches the defense heading his way.
  • November 6, 1962
  • Sam manages to throw the ball back down the field to his receiver who manages to score the winning touchdown.
  • Al’s already there and compliments him on an ugly throw.
  • Sam asks if he was there to help the team win the game and Al tells him to get ready to leap.
  • Except he doesn’t…
  • The audience is pointedly shown a couple of sketchy figures in the stands exchanging money, clearly having placed a friendly wager on the outcome of the game.
  • Then Sam is introduced to the team’s winning ritual… a roar and a hard hit on the shoulders from some of the strongest guys on the team.
  • Sam has leapt into the life of Eddie Vega, high school quarterback.
  • Eddie’s widowed father, Manuel, runs a food truck in their neighborhood.
  • Eddie’s best friend, Chuey, is the running back that scored that winning touchdown.
  • He lives next door to Eddie with his single mother, Celia.
  • They discuss college plans and have made a pact that unless a school offers them both a scholarship, they won’t go.
  • Al returns and Sam volunteers to get something for Eddie’s mom so they can get caught up on what’s going on.
  • Sam has already noticed that Eddie’s father seems pretty taken with Chuey’s mother and Al notes that they’ve been close ever since Rosa, Eddie’s mother, died after the birth of Eddie’s little sister.
  • According to Al, Chuey has always believed that his father was killed in an accident in Mexico before he was born.
  • Truth is, Celia was never married and snuck across the border from Mexico three days before Chuey was born, wanting her son to be born in the United States.
  • Sam talks about the opportunities that risk has afforded Chuey and his plans to go to college and eventually become a doctor.
  • But Al rains on this parade…
  • In the original history, Chuey throws next week’s game against the Bulldogs, ruining his future before he has a chance to give it a shot.
  • Chuey leaves the block party to find Sam, who is deep in thought about what could happen.
  • Sam asks if he really thinks they can win the game and the championship.
  • Chuey is confident that they can win… so he has no plans to throw the game at this point.
  • Elsewhere, Chuey and Celia talk about his dream of opening his own restaurant and not just running the food truck.
  • It’s clear that these two have feelings for each other but neither of them is willing to admit it.
  • Sam talks with Al again, saying there’s no way Chuey could ever throw that game, but Al insists it will happen.
  • When Sam asks why, Al just says that kind of data is only found in the human heart.
  • Celia is working on cleaning up in her kitchen when one of those sketchy guys from the stands at the game wanders into her house, startling her.
  • She addresses him as Ruben, who is apparently her sleazebag landlord.
  • Celia owes Ruben $800, but she doesn’t have it.
  • He tells her that she can pay him in other ways, heavily implying sexual favors.
  • When she refuses, he demands payment by noon tomorrow.
  • Celia begs him to reconsider, promising to pay by the end of the week.
  • They’re interrupted when Sam and Chuey walk in and Ruben says they won him $1,000 with that touchdown play this afternoon.
  • Ruben then asks how he should bet when they play against the Bulldogs, but Sam interjects that no scout will even consider them for college if they give tips to a gambler.
  • As Ruben leaves, he reminds Celia that she has until Friday and he’ll collect… one way or another.
  • Sam follows Ruben outside and has a bad feeling about him.
  • He confronts the sleazebag, figuring out that there’s something going on between him and Chuey’s mother.
  • Something that will make Chuey do something he will regret.
  • Sam tells Ruben to stay away from Chuey and his mom.
  • Ruben doesn’t take too kindly to Sam’s warning…
  • At football practice, the coach puts Sam in charge of leading calisthenics and Al gives him the idea of leading the team in aerobics.
  • The coach isn’t thrilled with that one, so Sam is forced to run 15 laps.
  • While Sam runs laps, Al gives him info about Ruben…
  • He’s a slum lord who rents houses to illegal immigrants who have no other options.
  • Ruben pays Chuey to throw the game, but Sam still doesn’t think that’s possible.
  • After practice, Ruben corners Chuey in the locker room and drops the bombshell that Celia hasn’t been paid by her employers what she’s owed and hasn’t paid rent for three months.
  • Chuey says he’ll go and force them to pay what they owe her, but Ruben reminds him that Celia is illegal.
  • If Chuey tries to threaten them, all they have to do is make one call to immigration and Celia will be deported.
  • Then Chuey remembers that Ruben made $1,000 betting on the last game and suggests he can make more than that this week, guaranteeing another win.
  • Ruben points out that it’ll be easier to guarantee a loss.
  • If Chuey throws the game, Ruben will call things even… he’ll even thrown in another few months rent for free.
  • Sam limps in after running all of his laps and reminds Ruben that he warned him to stay away from Chuey.
  • Ruben throws the first punch, starting a fight with Sam that goes on until the coach runs in to break it up.
  • Once Sam is left alone with Chuey, he tells him he can’t throw the game.
  • Chuey tries to play dumb, but Sam knows why Ruben was there.
  • Sam pushes him against the locker and says he knows what he’s gonna do, so Chuey tells him not to throw the ball to him.
  • Gameday arrives and it’s clear Chuey’s heart isn’t in the game.
  • During the first play, Sam throws a completed pass to Chuey, who then fakes an injury, removing himself from the game.
  • Without Chuey, things move into the Bulldogs’ favor.
  • None of the other Jaguars’ players can catch or run like Chuey can.
  • Fun fact: this episode accurately predicted the Steelers would lose Super Bowl XXX.
  • Al shows up during a down time in the game and tells Sam he’s been watching Super Bowl XXX and the Steelers are down by 3.
  • This episode first aired in January of 1990… Super Bowl XXX was played in January of 1996 and, at one point, the Steelers were losing to the Cowboys 20-17, ultimately losing the game 27-17.
  • Anyway… there are only 23 seconds left on the game clock, the score is 14-9 in favor of the Bulldogs, and Sam just doesn’t know what to do.
  • Al tells him to quit… to bench himself.
  • Sam questions this… Chuey has already thrown away his future, now he should throw away Eddie’s future, too?
  • Al says yes, making Sam realize that Eddie and Chuey are that close.
  • When Chuey realizes that Sam is taking himself out of the game, he tells him he can’t quit because all the scouts need to see how good he is.
  • Chuey then decides to put himself back in, telling Sam not to throw him the ball.
  • But Al tells him that’s exactly what he needs to do.
  • They both inform the coach that they’re back in, much to Ruben’s dismay.
  • Sam passes the ball to Chuey just as the timer hits zero, but it’s just out of reach, falling incomplete.
  • What’s this? A flag on the play!
  • Pass interference against the Bulldogs… giving the Jaguars another shot at the final play.
  • This time the pass is complete and Chuey scores the winning touchdown.
  • Judging by the look on Ruben’s face in the bleachers, he must have lost a truckload of cash.
  • At the after party, Sam asks Al why he’s still there.
  • Then here comes Ruben with a bunch of thugs who enter Celia’s house to start moving things out.
  • Manuel steps in and says he’ll pay what Celia owes, but she tells him not to, since that money is for his restaurant.
  • He says she never liked the idea of his restaurant anyway…
  • But she just tells him she thinks it would be better to use the money toward more taco trucks.
  • Al runs the numbers and tells Sam that their catering trucks could be a million dollar business if Sam can finish this job.
  • Sam then tells Ruben’s muscle to move Celia and Chuey’s things into his house, saying Chuey can stay in Eddie’s room and Celia can stay with his dad.
  • At first, Chuey is offended, telling Sam he can’t talk about his mother that way…
  • Then Sam just says he can if she’s his mother, too.
  • Manuel agrees, telling Celia it would solve all her problems.
  • But she tells him she doesn’t want to marry him to solve her problems… she wants to marry Manuel for love.
  • Chuey points out that Ruben has lost a bundle, but he says he’ll get even as soon as he calls immigration.
  • But Sam just points out to Chuey that Manuel is an American citizen and, as soon as they get married, Celia will be, too.
  • Then Sam roars and slams his fists down on Ruben’s shoulders just as he leaps…
  • Back in to that diner in the deep south where Sam finds out he’s a black man sitting at a white man’s counter.
  • Pretty sure this is the third time Sam has leapt into Jesse’s life… meaning that episode got the rerun treatment a couple of times in Season 2…
  • Oh boy.

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