Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 33

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 Leap Home, Part 2 – Vietnam

  • After winning his high school basketball game, Sam leaps into a Navy SEAL in Vietnam as he is calling Tom’s name from leap to leap…
  • Shouting Tom’s name alerts their platoon to an ambush.
  • Tom, Sam’s older brother, calls Sam “Magic” and asks him how he knew they were there.
  • April 7, 1970
  • Sam is astonished that he managed to leap from his younger self into the life of a SEAL in his brother Tom’s platoon in Vietnam.
  • Upon returning to base, Tom is informed that Maggie Dawson, a well-known photojournalist, will be accompanying them for the next few days.
  • Al arrives and Sam expresses his obvious excitement at having another chance to save his brother’s life, only this time he can do so directly instead of trying to get him to promise to hide away on April 8.
  • But Al tells Sam that he’s technically not there to save Tom.
  • Everyone in the platoon calls him Magic because before he joined them, everything had been going wrong.
  • The rest of the SEALs see Magic as their good luck charm… not taking a single casualty since he came on board.
  • Ziggy says Sam is there to see that the mission succeeds… but there’s no information about what the mission objective is because it’s classified and too difficult to access in the future.
  • Meanwhile, Tom’s not thrilled about having Maggie tag along, telling her that his platoon is so in tune that her coming along would just be a distraction.
  • Tom has Sam set up a cot for Maggie in the communications bunker, giving Al a chance to eavesdrop while Tom receives orders for the mission ahead.
  • They have a Viet Cong spy on their side who is helping out with the planning of the mission.
  • Later, at the nearby bar, Al clues Sam into an attack that’s going to happen tonight… but if Sam is there to stop that attack, then he’ll leap out and he won’t be there tomorrow to keep Tom from getting killed.
  • Sam decides to share what he knows about the ambush, even though it could cause him to leap out.
  • Believing in Magic’s sixth sense, everyone prepares for battle.
  • Maggie is told to hide out in the communications bunker with their spy friend, but she sneaks out anyway.
  • When Tom catches her, he returns her to the bunker and tells the spy to shoot her if she tries to leave again… so she decides to stay when the spy girl pulls a gun.
  • Al keeps telling Sam that the ambush will happen any second… but the night passes and nothing happens.
  • The ambush didn’t happen but Sam didn’t leap…
  • Sam is sent to the communications bunker to call in that all is secure.
  • But Sam notices that the radio is set to the wrong frequency…
  • Maggie wants Sam to convince Tom that he has a “magic” feeling about her coming along on the mission because she knows what’s happening, even though it’s classified, and knows it’ll be worth a Pulitzer for her.
  • Sam agrees to go along with it, but Al isn’t sure why he would agree…
  • Until Sam points out that Al had information about the ambush because Maggie filed a story about it, which Ziggy was able to find in the computer files.
  • So if Maggie goes with the SEALs on tomorrow’s mission, she’ll be able to write her story and Al will be able to let Sam know how to make sure the mission succeeds.
  • In the chopper the next morning, the mission is revealed to potentially free two or three POWs.
  • And Maggie looks to Sam and says she told him it was Pulitzer material.
  • Then Al shows up to say it won’t be for her… because Maggie didn’t survive this mission.
  • Tom orders Maggie to stay on the chopper, but once the platoon jumps out for the mission, she convinces the pilot to set down so she can use the bushes…
  • And, of course, she doesn’t return to the chopper.
  • The SEALs take down a canoe with three people in it and Sam picks up a radio that they had… noticing that the frequency is the same one that the communications bunker radio was set to last night.
  • Maggie is extremely separated from the platoon now, telling herself that this is really stupid… and she barely avoids a trip wire that she never even sees is there.
  • Al arrives and tells Sam that he knows where the POWs are and they’re only being led down a trail by two guards… meaning that Sam and one other SEAL could take them down and free those men.
  • But Sam is more concerned with showing Al the radio and the frequency.
  • Al realizes that the spy has been communicating with the Viet Cong the whole time and is leading the platoon into a trap.
  • In hiding, Maggie catches photos of the POWs being marched up the trail.
  • Al leads Sam and Doc to a location where they can ambush the Viet Cong who were lying in wait for the SEAL team.
  • Sam manages to kill the spy before she has a chance to shoot Tom, saving his brother’s life.
  • The SEALs begin heading back to the chopper and Al warns Sam of the trip wire and they all jump over it…
  • But Maggie catches it, causing an explosion that kills her.
  • She gives her camera to Sam and her last word is, “Pulitzer.”
  • Later, at the bar, Sam is drunk while Tom tries to tell him that Maggie’s death wasn’t his fault.
  • But he tells him she sure didn’t die the first time… which obviously confuses Tom.
  • The colonel joins the SEALs in the bar, handing them Maggie’s final photos.
  • Sam says that Maggie told him she’d have sold her soul for a Pulitzer and Tom says he wishes she’d gotten it.
  • Then Al tells Sam that she did… Maggie received the Pulitzer posthumously… for the last photos she took before dying.
  • Sam grabs the photos from Tom’s hands and sees the final photo.
  • It’s a picture of the POWs being marched up the trail… and the POW looking back is a young Al.
  • Sam just looks at his friend and says he could have been free…
  • Once again, Sam sacrificed Al’s future for his own personal gain.
  • But I guess he feels really bad about it…
  • Tom points out that it’s after midnight, meaning it’s April 9 and he’s still alive.
  • He puts his arm around Sam and says, “Thanks to you, little brother…” just as Sam leaps.
  • …Into a priest at the tail end of a wedding ceremony.
  • Oh boy.

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