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Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap was an American sci-fi TV series about Dr. Samuel (Sam) Beckett (played by Scott Bakula) a physicist who is part of the research project Quantum Leap which is working on time travel. The experiment goes wrong and Sam gets "lost" in time, "leaping" into the bodies of different people and only leaping out when he's successfully changed history for the better. Each time he leaps, he hopes that he will make it home. The show ran for 5 series (or seasons) from 1989 to 1993.

Sam's guide through time is his friend and Project QL colleague Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) who appears as a hologram who only Sam can see and hear.* Al is linked up to the advanced computer system Ziggy. The voice of Ziggy is actress Deborah Pratt, who was also a producer on the show and the wife of series creator Donald P. Bellasario. Their daughter Troian (now best known for Pretty Little Liars) features in the episode Another Mother (see below) and her name is also used for the episode A Project for Troian. (Deborah plays a woman named Troian).  The Quantum Leap laboratory is based in the desert in New Mexico and the current time is late 90s (I think sometimes it's 1997, others 1999 but it may be based over a period of 2 years). In general Sam can only leap within his own time (although there is one exception when he goes into an ancestor) and he was born in 1953 so most of the episodes take place between the 50s and 90s.

To everyone else Sam looks like the person he leapt into, even Al. When he looks in the mirror he sees the person whose body he's in. However, he is actually there physically. To use an example in the Wikipedia article when he is in the body of a paraplegic he still has his legs and can walk but everyone else wouldn't see his legs. And when he's in the body of a blind man he can still see. One thing I noticed about this though, in the episode  Blind Faith when Sam's eyes really get injured by a camera flashbulb (he gets caught up in the frenzy of a Beatles' visit aka Beatlemania!) Al says he should get to the hospital but it would be no good him going because the doctors would only see the eyes of the man he's in, who is already blind!

His memory is patchy due to the leap, what both Sam and Al refer to as a "Swiss cheese memory" (because Swiss cheese has holes in it). He forgets details about himself and his life. When he's inside someone else a little bit of them merges with him, sometimes more than others. As he leaps into a person they jump out and they end up in the Quantum Leap waiting room where everyone sees them as Sam. (The viewers see what they really look like).

The majority of Sam's leaps are into men but a few times he leaps into women, most notabaly as a harassed secretary, a rape victim, a repressed housewife and a pregnant teenage girl. He generally leaps into the same race as himself, although occasionally he leaps into black men and was once a Native American. I don't recall that he was ever any other races, although I may be wrong. Most of the leaps take place in the US but in the episode Blood Moon (see below) he is in England and sometimes he is in planes or on boats in other countries/areas. Most of the time he's an adult but occasionally he is in the body of child or teenager.

Some episodes deal with social issues such as racism, sexism and rape.  Some are about murder. Others are more light hearted. Famous people appear in quite a few, including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Stephen King and Buddy Holly.

The series ended in 1993 with the episode Mirror Image where Sam finds himself in a mining town where many of the people are ones he has helped on previous leaps but with a different name or people he hasn't seen before but they share a name with people he knows. He meets a bartender called Al (played by Bruce McGill) who may be Time himself. After saving the miners Sam leaps out and never returns home.

Quantum  Leap was one of my favourite programmes as a little girl and I still watch repeats on the Sci Fi channel now. I don't generally like science fiction but I sometimes watch it (I also like The X-Files) and Quantum Leap was really a drama series as well.

 Here's a video of the Quantum Leap intro:

*With exceptions, see Another Mother below and Trilogy below.

And now here are my favourite episodes. :) As you'll see, most of them were from Series/Season 5. I just like that series the best for some reason. I can't find many video clips for individual episodes but I'll update if I do in future.

This post contains spoilers. :)

Trilogy  (Series 5, Episodes 8-10)

This is a series of 3 episodes (as the name implies!) where Sam leaps into Louisiana 3 times, the first time as Sheriff Clayton Fuller the father of a little girl called Abigail who is accused of murder, the second as her
fiancé Will and the third time as a lawyer defending her.

 Part 1- One Little Heart (Episode 8)

Sam leaps into Sheriff Clayton Fuller whose daughter Abigail (Kimberly Cullum) is under suspicion in the deaths of Violet Aider and her father Bart. The date is 8th August 1955 and the town is Pottersville, Louisiana. Violet disappeared a couple of years earlier and was never found. She and Abigail were enemies and Violet's mother Leta Aider (Mary Gordon Murray) accused Abigail of killing her daughter at the time. Now Bart has fallen and died after an argument with Abigail and Leta says it's also Abigail's fault. Abigail maintains her innocence but Sam starts to have doubts.

Abigail's mum Laura (played by Meg Foster) is in an asylum/mental hospital and has been there since shortly after the disappearance of Violet. Abigail is being raised by Clayton and the family housekeeper Marie (Fran Bennett). When Laura was a child her mother killed herself and all her other children after having a breakdown. Laura only escaped because she rolled under the bed. As a result her family are said to be cursed and Leta believes Abigail is also mad and a murderer.

Originally Abigail died in a fire at the Fuller home but Sam races to the house where he discovers her hiding from Leta in a closet. Leta drops a lamp which is what started the fire the first time around. Sam saves Abigail and leaps out just as  a burning beam falls on him.

Part 2- For Your Love (Episode 9)

Sam is bemused to find himself back in Louisiana. It's now 14th June 1966 and he's in the body of Deputy Sheriff Will Kinman (the son of a lawyer who he met on his last leap). Will (Travis Fine is engaged to Abigail (played by Melora Hardin) who is now in her early 20s. They are getting married the next day. But on her wedding day Abigail once again comes under suspicion because a boy who she was babysitting has gone missing. Leta has never stopped blaming Abigail and is ready to accuse her of doing something to the little boy Purvis. The wedding is put on hold and the townsfolk hunt for Purvis.

Sam is merging with Will more strongly on this leap and has picked up his stammer. He also starts developing strong feelings for Abigail. In the original history Abigail was murdered and Sam vows to save her. He also learns that Clayton died in the fire in 1955. He recalls that just before he left he saw Laura standing in the house when she shouldn't have been there.

Abigail is kidnapped as part of a witch hunt against her, led by Leta. Sam saves her by revealing the whereabouts of Purvis who is later found safe and sound and he leaps out.

Part 3- The Last Door (Episode 10)

Now it's 28th July 1978 and Sam is back in Louisiana (Baton Rouge), this time as lawyer Larry Stanton III who he also met in previous leaps. The Fuller housekeeper Marie comes to Sam and asks him to defend Abigail who is accused of the murder of Leta after she was found dead in her kitchen. The real Larry never took the case but of course Sam agrees to.

He travels back to Pottersville to meet Abigail and discovers that Abigail and Will had a daughter called Sammy Jo (full name Samantha Jo) and later divorced He realises that Sammie Jo  (played by Kimberly Cullum again) is actually his daughter because Abigail got pregnant when he was in Will's body. She has a photographic memory and high IQ like her real dad.

On this leap Sam is physically linked to Larry who has a bad heart and finds himself struggling during the trial. Violet Aider's bones have been found down a well in the town not long before. After speaking to Laura who is still living in the asylum (voluntarily now) Sam finally gets to the bottom of what happened to Violet all those years ago. (I won't ruin everything in case you want to watch it but it was an accident!). He also proves Abigail innocent of Leta's murder and then leaps out. In the future Sammy Jo is working on Project Quantum Leap although she doesn't know that Sam is her dad.

Trilogy has a melancholy, kind of gothic feel. Laura's account of the night her mother killed herself and her other children is especially haunting. She knew that Sam was not her husband and later that he wasn't Will or Larry, maybe because her brain doesn't fire the same way as the "average" person or she has extra perception. She guessed that he'd come to save Abigail. It is a bit strange that Sam was both Abigail's father and then her lover but I think it showed that they had a deep connection and it's an interesting idea.

Deliver Us From  Evil (aka Evil Leaper 1)  (Series 5, Episode 7)

Sam returns as Jimmy LaMotta, a man with Down syndrome who lives with his brother Frank (John D'Aquino),  Frank's wife Connie (Laura Harrington) and their son Corey (Ryan McWhorter). He previously helped Jimmy to get a job with Frank and persuaded them to let him stay with them rather than be put in in a home. (This was during the 60s and putting people with Down syndrome in a home was sadly commonplace. :( ).  It's now 19th March 1966 and Sam is pleased to be back but his joy quickly fades when he discovers that things aren't working out that well. Frank and Connie are having marriage problems and Frank is tempted to have an affair.

Things take a startling twist when Sam touches Connie and she morphs into a completely different woman. It turns out that she is actually Alia (played by Renee Coleman) who is a time traveller just like Sam. The difference is Alia is there to change history for the worse and make bad things happen! She's the opposite of Sam. Her orders come from a person/entity (I'm not entirely sure) called Lothos and she has a hologram named Zoey (British actress Carolyn Seymour). Can Sam persuade Alia to do the right thing, save Jimmy from being charged with a crime and also repair Frank and Connie's marriage?

Return of the Evil Leaper (S5, Ep 16)

As you can probably guess, Alia did the right thing. (Yay!). After failing to kill Sam as per orders she was pulled out back to wherever she came from. It appears to be some horrible hell like place. Sam is now in the body of Arnold Watkins in North Falls, New York and it's 8th October 1956. He's at college but Arnold is not the average student and is against the dangerous hazing activities that fraternities ask their pledges to do, such as drag racing. (I personally don't really understand the hazing that is part of fraternities or sororities due to not being American and not having been to university either but it must be nice to be part of group so I see why people would want to join). His mission in general is to defend the innocent and protect the weak from danger and he does this as a caped superhero called the Midnight Marauder! He is currently trying to stop Ki Kappa Delta from doing dangerous drag races. His roommate is a pledge and several generations of his family were also part of the fraternity so you can manage Arnold isn't too popular with him, lol. Arnold also makes an enemy of Ki Kappa Delta leader Mike (Neil Patrick Harris).

At first Sam's mission seems simple, he must stop Arnold from pulling these stunts otherwise he'll get himself killed. Part of this involves getting to the bottom of why he feels the need to be the Midnight Marauder. But things become more complicated when Sam once again comes across Alia who is in the body of Mike's girlfriend Dawn (played by Raquel Krelle first of all). Alia is sick of her life as an Evil Leaper and she and Sam hatch plan to leap out together.

Revenge of the Evil Leaper (S5, Ep 17)

Sam and Alia previously leapt together and now they have ended up in a women's prison in Mallard, Ohio on 16th September 1987. Sam is Elizabeth (Liz) Tate who is in prison for killing her husband in self defence.
Alia is in the body of Angela (Angel) Jenson who was  convicted on a drugs charge. Angel has been traumatised after being put in solitary confinement. Prison guards are trying to find out who is responsible for the recent murder of inmate Carol Benning. Of course Sam and Alia can't tell them. They are given a deadline to find out what happened or they will be in trouble.

With the help of Al, Sam hypnotises Alia to believe that she is Angel, in the hope that it will hide her from Lothos and whoever he sends after her. Meanwhile Sam sets about finding out how Carol died.

Then Zoey leaps in to prison warden Myers (played by Sam Scarber beforehand) who is already quite sadistic! She’s now taken over from Alia and had a new hologram called Thames (Hinton Battle). Her task is to find Alia. Can Sam discover the truth about Carol’s death and leap out with Alia before Zoey finds them both?

I like the idea of the Evil Leaper and Sam having a counterpart. Everything is meant to have an opposite. At the end Alia leaps out and you're unsure what happens to her but Sam tells the prison guard who helps them both that wherever she is, she's free and I like to think that she is!

Blood Moon (S5, Ep 15)

This may be the only episode set in England but I'm not entirely sure. Sam is artist Lord Nigel Corrington who lives in a spooky castle just outside of London. The date is 10th March 1975. He's married to a young woman called Lady Alexandra (Shae D'lyn) who originally died and her killer was rumoured to be a vampire! Sam scoffs at the idea of vampires but Al believes that he is in the body of one! He thinks that Nigel himself is undead.

Guests come to stay who seem more than a little strange and it becomes apparent that a sacrifice is being planned as part of a ritual during the Blood Moon. Sam is determined that his wife will not be the sacrifice and tries to keep her away from creepy couple Victor and Claudia Drake (played by Ian Buchanan and Deborah Maria Moore/Deborah Moore).

Blood Moon is a very gothic episode. There aren't any mirrors in the castle and the twist is that when Sam finally gets to see a reflection of himself, he doesn't appear to have one so maybe he really is a vampire! It also proves how some people can be very charismatic and influential.

Another Mother (S2, Ep13)

Sam is housewife and mother Linda Brucker who must save her teenage son Kevin (played Michael Stoyanov, best known to people who grew up in the 90s for teen series Blossom) from the fate of going missing one evening. It's 30th September 1981 and he has 24 hours to save him.

He also has to deal with his other kids, daughters Susan (Olivia Burnette) and Teresa (Troian Bellsario) and the realities of being a mum. It turns out that Teresa can see Al and knows that Sam is not her mother, so he has some explaining to do!

I find this one creepy because it's true to life, children and teens go missing every day and their families often don't find out what happens to them. Kevin runs away on his bike after bein humiliated by his friends and is picked up by two men in a van but this time Sam is there to save him.

That's it for now! I may do another post in the future because there are more episodes I like. Hope you enjoyed the post. :) If you're a fan of Quantum Leap check out this Top 10 post:

What was your favourite episode/s?


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