Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 42

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 leaps into someone eating a cheeseburger…
  • And suddenly he’s being picked on by an older sister in the back seat of the family car, which causes him to spill a milkshake all over himself.
  • Sam’s a teenage boy… Oh boy.
  • July 4, 1964
  • Sam is Butchie and his obnoxious older sister is named Alexandra.
  • His dad is the tough guy kind of dad who thinks that it’s good that the older daughter beats the crap out of the younger Butchie so he can toughen up for football in the fall.
  • The mom tries to get her husband, Hank, to lay off, but he just has to be hard on the boy.
  • Sam notices that the mother, Emma, is reading The Feminine Mystique and remarks about how it kicked off the feminist revolution in the ’60s.
  • Emma points out that the book was just released…
  • Sam tries to say he’s not feeling well so they can make a pit stop, but Hank insists that they need to stick to the schedule.
  • When Emma tries to pull out the map to see where they’re at, Hank gives her a hard time, telling her she should stick to working the radio.
  • Then he fusses at her when she doesn’t fold the map right.
  • There’s a lot of passive aggressive tension between Hank and Emma.
  • The family’s next stop is Wild Willy’s, where Sam is bullied into getting to a cage with trained chimps.
  • Alexandra starts to beat up on Sam again and he begins to fight back, but Al arrives in time to remind him that he’s just Butchie and has to take it from the girl for the sake of being the little brother.
  • Once Sam is alone, Al reveals that he’s there because when the fireworks go off that night, Emma runs off and they never see or hear from her again.
  • Ziggy has no data to back up what could have happened, but an old friend of Emma’s just happens to run into her at Wild Willy’s.
  • She introduces Sam to Billy, who she hasn’t seen in 15 years… and he’s awfully flirty.
  • Billy introduces Sam to his daughter, Beth.
  • Emma went to high school with Billy… they were on the speech team together.
  • Is that a thing?
  • She mentions how Billy got his Ph.D. from Northwestern and he tells her she could have gotten hers, too.
  • But then Emma says some things were more important… like how she’s a housewife… and a mom…
  • Is that a note of regret I’m hearing in her voice.
  • Enter: Hank…
  • Hank is the kind of tough guy dad who likes to yell, “Think fast!” at his kid while the kid is looking the other way and by the time he throws the thing he wants the kid to catch, it’s already hitting him in the head before the phrase, “Think fast!” is completely out of his mouth.
  • Then he’s disappointed when his kid doesn’t move fast enough to catch the thing that was thrown.
  • I’m really glad my father wasn’t that kind of father.
  • Hank recognizes Billy, too… I guess they all went to high school together.
  • Hank shares that he broke his hip in college and lost his scholarship at Florida State, wound up working delivering poultry, now he owns his own factory.
  • Emma brags that Billy got his doctorate and is a college professor now, so Hank asks where he’s teaching.
  • Northwestern for seven years… Yale, Cornell, Berkley, etc.
  • Leading Hank to joke that it sounds like he can’t hold down a job.
  • Hilarious, Hank.
  • Before they hit the road again, Billy invites them to have dinner with them at their home near San Francisco when they finally reach the coast.
  • Back in the car, Emma says it’ll be fun visiting Billy and Beth… Hank says if they have the time.
  • Emma insists that they should make the time.
  • Al arrives and says that Sam needs to make sure Emma never sees or calls Billy again, telling him he needs to get Billy’s business card and “accidentally” toss it out the window.
  • Emma’s upset and tries to get Hank to stop so they can try and find the card.
  • But what a coincidence… Billy’s car is broken down on the side of the road and Emma insists that they should stop and help him, even if it throws the schedule off by 10 minutes.
  • Hank is able to get Billy’s car working again and Emma gets another card from Billy.
  • Once they’re back on the road, Hank complains that they’re off schedule by an hour thanks to Dr. Billy.
  • This leads to the argument that if it’s “our” schedule, why does Hank make all the decisions.
  • Well, that’s easy… It’s because he’s the dad, so he’s in charge.
  • Then he says that if she wants to be so spontaneous, maybe she should ride with Billy from now on.
  • Emma says that if they had more room maybe she would.
  • So then Hank pulls over and Emma gets out of the car.
  • When Sam asks if Hank is going after her, he just confidently declares that she’ll be back.
  • Sam goes after her instead, and gets her to open up about what’s bothering her…
  • She wants something more… she wants more fulfillment in life.
  • She wants to be her own person instead of just being someone’s daughter or wife or mother.
  • Not that she doesn’t love her kids or her husband, but she needs to find her own identity.
  • Sam suggests that Emma take some college classes at the local junior college.
  • She doesn’t think Hank will stand for it, but Sam tells her she doesn’t know until she talks to him about it.
  • Of course he wants to shut it down.
  • When he says it’s too expensive, she suggests she could get a part-time job to pay for classes.
  • He doesn’t like that, either.
  • When they arrive at the campground where they’re staying for the night, guess who happens to be there…
  • Sam talks to Al and begins to wonder if it’s fate, seeing as how they keep on running into each other.
  • But Al says that Emma leaving destroys the family.
  • In two years Alex gets pregnant and Butchie never finishes high school.
  • Sam realizes that Al is taking this personally because his own mother left.
  • He could understand his mom leaving his dad… but for her to leave him and his sister, too?
  • Sam gets back to Hank and Emma just as Hank is about to challenge Billy to a fight because he saw him put his hand on Emma’s knee.
  • He stops them from fighting but Hank winds up on the ground and yells at Billy to stay away from his wife.
  • Then Emma tells Hank to stay away from her.
  • Later, Sam and Hank are running along the trails and Sam has a good talk with his “dad.”
  • Sam points out that Hank had been saying, in reference to the Civil Rights Act, that everyone deserves a fair chance… shouldn’t that include Emma?
  • Hank doesn’t understand why she would want to take college courses when he gives her all she needs, then starts listing all the stuff he buys for her, including a diamond for their upcoming 15th anniversary.
  • Sam starts to point out that she doesn’t want stuff… then realizes that Alex is only 14 and a half…
  • Emma was pregnant, which is why she never went to Northwestern.
  • Sam figures out that Hank was afraid that if she went off to college with Billy, she’d never come back to be with him.
  • Hank says she’s the only woman he ever loved and Sam makes a good point… he’s going to lose her if he doesn’t listen to what she needs.
  • Back at camp, Hank finally talks to his wife… but is he really listening?
  • When she says she wants to do something for herself, he just accuses her of being selfish.
  • Then Hank gets really angry when she refers to The Feminine Mystique and grabs the book out of her hands and tosses it.
  • Later, Sam confronts Hank about where Emma could be and he just angrily tells him that she’s been running away since the 9th grade and she always comes back.
  • But she won’t this time unless they find her.
  • Sam flags down Billy and his daughter as they’re driving away, thinking that Emma might be with them.
  • Billy tells him that she came by their cabin, upset, but after talking things out they said their good-byes.
  • He tells Sam that he dropped Emma off at the end of the fire road because she wanted to go for a walk.
  • Al, talking over Billy, says that Ziggy was finally able to find something about Emma…
  • In 1993 some hikers came across human remains that turn out to be Emma.
  • Al tells Sam and then Sam tells Hank they’ve got to get to Devil’s Backbone now.
  • In the dark, Emma must have fallen off the path and is hanging onto a very steep cliff.
  • Hank gets rope and throws it down to her, but she’s frozen scared… can’t grab it.
  • Hank asks Billy for help, but he thinks they should go get a ranger.
  • So it’s up to Hank and Sam.
  • Sam ties the rope around his waste and tells Hank to lower him down while he gets to Emma.
  • Sam manages to grab Emma before she falls and Hank starts to pull them back up.
  • And just to add a little extra suspense, the rope begins to unravel.
  • But Sam and Emma get back to the top and Hank holds her, admitting to how afraid he was that he’d lost her.
  • Later, there’s a dance at the pavilion and Hank requests their special song.
  • When Emma points out that her leg is hurt and she can’t dance, he just picks her up and carries her in his arms on the dance floor.
  • Al tells Sam that Emma goes to college and they even move to Miami so she could get her Ph.D. and she and Hank eventually switch rolls so she can teach.
  • But Sam still hasn’t leapt…
  • It’s so he can teach his big sister a lesson.
  • He hangs her upside down over a well and forces her to promise never to pick on her little brother again.
  • Sam gets the promise from her and then he leaps…
  • Into another rerun?!
  • This time it’s the one where he’s a single mom and has to save the teenage son from being kidnapped.
  • Oh boy.

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