Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 34

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.

Leap of Faith

  • Sam leaps into a priest performing a wedding ceremony.
  • The groom impatiently asks if he can kiss her.
  • Apparently we’re at the end of the ceremony and Sam leapt in before the priest he replaced could tell the groom he could kiss the bride.
  • August 19, 1963
  • After the wedding, Sam sees Al waiting outside.
  • As the attendees leave, Sam is met by a pair of older women giving their critique of his first wedding ceremony.
  • Sam is saved by the church’s senior minister, Father Mac, who pulls him into his office to get him away from the judgmental crowd.
  • Father Mac pulls out a bottle of whiskey and offers some to Sam, who declines.
  • He says he needs some liquid courage for the funeral he has to perform this afternoon.
  • It’s for a 12-year-old boy named Sonny, whom Father Mac baptized and watched grow up.
  • Sonny was hit by a train, a death which was ruled an accident, but Father Mac is certain it was no accident.
  • At the cemetery that afternoon, a kid named Tony breaks into a car to steal a necklace hanging from the rear view mirror while his little brother, Joey, tries to talk him out of being here.
  • They then go to Sonny’s graveside service, causing Father Mac to pause during his scripture reading.
  • At the end of the service, Tony expresses his condolences to Sonny’s mother.
  • She spits in his face and calls him a murderer.
  • Father Mac and Sam step in, telling him he needs to leave.
  • Tony tells Father Mac he’ll see him around… which sounds more threatening than it should be coming from a teenager speaking to a priest.
  • When Sam and Father Mac get back to the church, Sam decides to stay outside for a while, seeing that Al is still standing outside waiting for him.
  • Al tells him his name is Frank and he’s there to prevent a murder, which Sam already assumed.
  • Sam says he thinks the kid they buried today was murdered, so if he’s here to stop that, he’s a little late.
  • But Al says that Ziggy shows it’s Father Mac… that he will be murdered at some point in the next 36 hours.
  • A month prior, Father Mac was one of two witnesses to a robbery where a store clerk was killed.
  • It’s believed that Tony will kill Father Mac to keep him from testifying to what he saw in the robbery.
  • The other witness was Sonny, the kid that was just buried.
  • Sam goes inside to find Father Mac praying in the sanctuary.
  • As they walk out, Sam saves him from a large wooden cross that falls from the balcony above them.
  • When a police officer comes investigate, Sam insists that it was Tony.
  • But since he didn’t make a positive identification, there’s nothing the police can do… no matter how badly they would like to get that kid off the streets.
  • Sam takes a cab to a bar where Tony is known to hang out.
  • He confronts Tony, telling him he needs to talk to him, but Tony acts like he can’t hear him.
  • So Sam pulls the plug on the jukebox.
  • Tony is really antagonistic toward Sam and makes it obvious that he was behind the falling cross at the church without explicitly admitting that it was him.
  • He tells Sam not to push him…
  • And Father Mac appears behind Sam and asks, “Like you pushed that 12-year-old boy beneath the train?”
  • Then a nice little fight breaks out and the two priests kick some serious butt.
  • Joey, a little scared, checks on his brother who’s knocked out on the floor.
  • Walking back via the railroad tracks, Sam asks how Joey could continue hanging out with trash like Tony.
  • Father Mac explains that Tony is the only family Joey has left… which is a shame.
  • They come to the spot where Sonny died and Father Mac says he needs a drink.
  • It’s becoming more and more clear that Mac has an alcohol problem.
  • While drinking, he digs through a trunk and Sam sees that he’s a war hero.
  • Mac says he’s lost track of how many men he killed in the war, and he swore that if he survived, he would spend the rest of his life making up for it.
  • Sam tries to talk to him about plans for tomorrow, but looks back and sees that Mac has passed out in his chair.
  • Sam makes his way to the church’s gym, which has a boxing ring.
  • Al asks Sam if it’s past his bedtime… but Sam doesn’t know where his bed is.
  • Sam finally asks Al what’s going on with him… because ever since they started this leap, Al has acted like he hates being here.
  • Al reminds Sam of the time he and his sister spent in the orphanage because his father put him there while he went off to try and make some money.
  • Eventually his father came back and had come back from the oil fields of Saudi Arabia and everything was great.
  • Until Al’s father got cancer… and his father told him that everything would be fine as long as Al prayed for him.
  • And Al prayed… every day… until the day his father died.
  • Sam apologizes for forgetting that piece of Al’s history… but Al tells him he never forgot because Al never told him about it before.
  • Al leaves abruptly, then Sam finds Joey hiding out in the dark of the gym.
  • Joey says he’s there because he wants to talk to him.
  • He wants Sam to talk to Father Mac and convince him not to rat on Tony… because if he takes the stand, Tony’s gonna hang.
  • Sam says that Tony is young, and if he confesses, the jury may take it easy on him.
  • Joey paints a more sympathetic view of Tony… who seemed to be mad at the world after their mother died.
  • The next day, Father Mac is giving boxing lessons to some of the local kids.
  • And it’s clear he’s passionate about teaching these kids.
  • One of the older teenagers tells Mac he won’t be able to come to practice later in the afternoon because he’s taken a part-time job at the butcher shop to make some extra money.
  • This reminds Sam of the movie Rocky, and he mentions how the guy in a movie he saw would practice punching sides of beef instead of a heavy bag.
  • The kid puts on a hat that looks very familiar to anyone who’s seen Rocky, and says, “Yo!” to Sam.
  • When he closes his locker, Sam sees the name written on it: S. Stallone.
  • Mac challenges Sam to a round in the ring.
  • He tries to decline and have a conversation with him instead… but Mac says if he’s gonna get preached it, they could at least throw some punches at the same time.
  • Sam wants Mac to take a few days off and lie low… even leave town… until the trial.
  • Mac says he’s not gonna run… but Sam says it’s not about running.
  • Angry, Mac knocks Sam down and tells him he’s never run or backed down from a fight in his life.
  • Then Sam knocks Mac down, saying, “If I didn’t know any better I’d think you want to die.”
  • Mac says the sermon’s over since he needs to get to confession, but Sam volunteers to take over for him.
  • Elsewhere, Tony is loading a gun while Joey tries to convince him that there’s got to be another way.
  • He argues with Joey about how their father died, revealing that he hanged himself and Tony’s the one who found him.
  • Explains a lot about his rage.
  • Then Tony storms out with the gun he’s just loaded.
  • Sam’s first confessor just happens to be Tony… who admits that he has killed two people…
  • “Make that three.”
  • Tony fires through the screen at Sam, thinking it’s Mac who’s listening to people’s confessions.
  • Sam, however, recognized Tony’s voice and tried to duck out of the way.
  • Tony runs off and Sam collapses, falling out of the confessional.
  • Al returns and decides to pray… saying he promised he’d never talk to God again… but that Sam has helped too many people.
  • Father Mac comes in and Sam wakes up, the bullet having only grazed his forehead.
  • Mac runs off when witnesses say they saw Tony running out after the gunshots.
  • Al then says that Sam wasn’t there to stop Tony from killing Father Mac… it’s the other way around.
  • Sam needs to get to the railroad tracks quick because Mac has a gun and he’s gonna kill Tony.
  • He borrows a car from the Monticelli sisters and floors it to the tracks.
  • Father Mac holds Tony at gunpoint, forcing him to his knees on the tracks as a train approaches.
  • Mac tells him if he moves from the track, he’ll shoot him.
  • Tony tries to appeal to Father Mac, reminding him he’s a priest.
  • Mac tells him he was a man first and removes his collar.
  • Sam arrives, putting himself between Mac and Tony.
  • Mac tells him that Tony’s not worth saving… but Sam says he’s not doing this for Tony, he’s doing it for Father Mac.
  • Some time later, Mac is getting an early workout and Sam comes into the gym to check on him.
  • He wanted to get some exercise before mass.
  • Sam notices he’s shaking from his avoidance of alcohol and Sam reminds him to take things one day at a time.
  • Al arrives to let Sam know that Mac is going to be just fine, and that he remains in that church for another 20 years.
  • Tony doesn’t hang, but he does some pretty serious time and then makes something of his life once he’s free.
  • And Joey’s in good hands, already looking to Father Mac as a mentor.
  • Al tells Sam he did a good job here and Sam turns it around, thanking Al for praying for him… just before Sam leaps…
  • Into a photography who is uncomfortably close to a lion on a photo shoot.
  • Oh boy.
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