Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 28

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.

Leaping in Without a Net

  • Sam leaps into a precarious situation, hanging upside-down by his legs, swinging from a circus trapeze.
  • Standing on the platform across from him, high in the air, is a young woman who warns Sam not to mess up this time.
  • She swings out, builds up some steam, then lets go, performing an array of twists and somersaults.
  • Sam tries to catch her, but misses… and she falls to the safety net waiting below.
  • November 18, 1958
  • Sam has quickly realized that he forgot he has a serious fear of heights.
  • He has leapt into Victor Panzini and the woman he didn’t catch is his sister Eva.
  • They, along with their father, Laszlo, are a family of Hungarian trapeze artists traveling with a small carnival that is currently in Iowa.
  • Eva wants to try the move again, telling Sam that she dreamed of their mother last night and is convinced that she will be the first to do the triple since their mother did it.
  • Their father comes storming in and shouts that Eva will not do the triple as long as he is in charge of their act.
  • Laszlo then demands that Sam get down from the trapeze, but Sam is too afraid to get down, even to fall into the net.
  • Eva insists she can do the triple and tries to tell her father that they could be headliners again.
  • Laszlo claims that they are still headliners, but Eva then says they headline a mud show… and she hates it.
  • Then their father commands Sam to tighten the rigging and makes it clear he is forbidden from flying.
  • Later, Sam walks around the grounds and discovers that most of the others aren’t too friendly toward him.
  • He runs into the ringmaster, Big Moe, who asks if it’s true that Eva is going to do the triple… which could lead to them playing bigger cities instead of rural communities.
  • Once Sam finishes talking to Big Moe, Al arrives and explains that the Flying Panzinis were once the most famous trapeze artists in the world.
  • Sam sees the Panzinis’ trailers and realizes why the rest of the carnival folks give them the cold shoulder.
  • With Al there, Laszlo bangs on Victor’s door, asking if he tightened the rigging… but Sam didn’t know how to.
  • Laszlo just screams that he’ll do it himself… like he does everything!
  • As he leaves, Laszlo tells him that they’re on in 20 minutes, so Sam gets dressed in his tights and joins his father and sister under the big top.
  • But then Laszlo fusses at him for being in tights… meaning that Sam is not performing, much to his relief.
  • Before they go on, it’s clear that Laszlo’s arm is bothering him, but when Eva mentions something, he denies that anything is wrong.
  • During the performance, Al comes back and tells Sam that he will have to perform because in two days, Eva will attempt the triple without a net and Laszlo is going to drop her, causing her death.
  • The next morning, Eva wakes Sam before dawn so they can practice again.
  • Sensing Sam’s hesitance, she tries to comfort him by telling him that he wasn’t responsible for their mother’s death.
  • Victor was meant to catch their mother the night of that performance and Laszlo blames Victor.
  • Eva says he can’t blame their mother… he loved her too much.
  • But Maria, their mother, was performing even though she was sick and probably had an inner ear infection.
  • She insists that Sam come and practice, or else she’ll get up there and practice the triple alone.
  • Sam follows her to the trapeze and sees her practicing and Al points out that it’s dangerous for Eva to practice alone.
  • He tells Sam that he has everything it takes to be a trapeze artist, he just needs to get over his fear of heights.
  • Once Eva comes down and Sam agrees to practice catching her, they hear Laszlo excitedly calling them.
  • He’s received a telegram from Circus Vargas, promising them top billing if they can be in Denver for the show.
  • Of course, Laszlo is reading this in front of everyone, who all just have looks of disgust on their faces.
  • Not just because he’s bragging about being too good for their little mudshow… but because if the Panzinis leave, they take the most popular act with them.
  • This causes a fight with Big Moe and several of the others.
  • But it doesn’t stop Eva from wanting to practice.
  • Al comes back with some basic instructions for flying on the trapeze.
  • Once Sam gets going, Eva climbs up and gets ready to fly with him.
  • He asks to try something easy to start with and Al tells him to ask for just a straight catch… nothing fancy.
  • She swings out to him and catches her awkwardly, but when he lets her go, she bounces off the net and hits the ground.
  • Eva just has the wind knocked out of her, but it scares Sam enough to not want to try anymore.
  • Sam tells her that their father is going to drop her tomorrow night when she attempts the triple and she’s going to die.
  • She tells him he can’t see the future, then takes him to see Sybil, the fortune teller.
  • Al has Gushy center him wherever Eva is taking Sam and he shows up in Sybil’s tent before Sam and Eva get there and Sybil can sense Al’s presence.
  • He’s a little freaked out by Sybil’s apparent perception and leaves.
  • Eva has Sybil read her, asking if she’s going to die on the trapeze and Sybil says she could, but not for a long time… because she sees children in Eva’s eyes.
  • Excited, Eva leaves to pack… Then Sam asks Sybil why she told Eva what she did.
  • And it’s because she knows Eva will be just fine as long as Sam catches her… then Sybil looks into Sam’s eyes and says she never realized how many past lives he had.
  • Sam decides to go back to the tent to practice flying alone in his attempt to beat his fear of heights.
  • Elsewhere, Laszlo is in his trailer talking to Maria, saying how proud he was of Victor when he fought today.
  • He thinks that maybe it’s time to give him a chance to fly again… he would like to be able to smile at his son once more.
  • Eva joins Sam in practicing and they nail the double.
  • Then when Eva tries to do the triple, Sam drops her… just as Laszlo walks in.
  • He screams at his son, asking if he’s trying to kill his sister, too.
  • Later, they’re driving and Al tells Sam he’s noticed that Laszlo is having difficulty with his right arm.
  • Sam says it’s a torn rotator cuff, which will be the reason he drops Eva.
  • When they arrive at the circus, they’re shown their new poster, which advertises that Eva will be performing the death-defying triple…
  • Laszlo says they don’t do the triple, but Eva says she’s the one who let Circus Vargas know that she would perform the triple and signed her father’s name to the letter.
  • Sam and Laszlo then get into it, with Sam insisting that he will catch Eva because if Laszlo tries with his bad arm, he will drop her.
  • Laszlo again accuses him of killing Maria, but Sam just tells him it was pride that killed her… just like Laszlo’s pride is going to fly but it won’t kill him… it’ll kill Eva.
  • Laszlo goes to slap Sam, with his right hand, but Sam catches his arm and pushes ever so slightly.
  • The look on Laszlo’s face makes it clear how much pain he is in.
  • That night, the ringmaster introduces Victor and Eva and announces that Eva will attempt to perform the triple without the safety of a net.
  • In glorious slow motion, Eva performs the triple and Sam catches her with no trouble.
  • Also, because it’s in glorious slow motion, we can clearly see that these are stunt doubles performing the triple.
  • Can you blame them?
  • Laszlo proudly joins his children in the center ring.
  • Sam tells Al he doesn’t think he could do that again, wondering why he hasn’t leapt yet.
  • Laszlo walks over to Sam with Eva and fusses at him for not waving to the crowd, telling him not to forget that again.
  • Sam tells him he won’t forget, then the two of them hug.
  • The crowd continues to cheer as Sam leaps…
  • …Into a cowboy-hat-and-denim-jacket wearing man apparently named Buster who seems to be involved in a kidnapping.
  • Oh boy.

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