Thursday, February 4, 2016

Quantum Leap Rewatch (Episodes 7-12)

(1-6) -- (12)

It is early in the exercise, but somehow “Quantum Leap” is maintaining my kids’ interest longer than other shows I’ve tried to take them through. They tend to get excited about the more mindless, comedy-based, sitcom fare. After all, who wants TV to make them wrestle with complicated thoughts and conundrums? But, QL has the right ingredients to suck them into drama. Maybe it is the way that it tricks you into thinking you are watching a science fiction show. But it really is straight-up human drama every episode…

“The Color of Truth” 

This is the episode where Quantum Leap fully recognized its potential. It is an obvious choice, but needed to be done. When Sam experiences the Deep South on the cusp of the civil rights movement, the show goes into full-on preachy-mode, but it works. We will get a lot more of this sort of thing, and not always a slam-dunk, easily moralized issue as we see here.

“Camikazi Kid” 

The show is clever having Sam rescue a woman from an abusive husband by forcing Sam to do so as her underage brother. It is a clear cut situation, but complicated. How does he get her to see the truth without simply alienating her?

“Play It Again, Seymour” 

Things take a bit of a strange twist when Sam starts to live the plot of a novel he had read. Turns out, he is a private eye living the real life that inspired a pulp.

“Honeymoon Express” 

Here season two starts out with a threat to the Quantum Leap project. Sam may be left on his own if they can’t prove that they can change big, historical events. But then, how would the future where Al is know if something had been changed? But the show also makes explicit in this episode that Al and Sam think that God is the one controlling the leaps and having Sam set things right. If so, then it is God who saves the QL prject as well…

“Disco Inferno” 

The plot in this episode is a simple save-someone-else-from-dying one. But the real impact of the show is that Sam has to save his host’s younger brother. That reminds Sam that he had an older brother. I had forgotten—or simply hadn’t realized—that Sam’s memory is still spotty. It is quite touching for him to realize that his older brother has died.

“The Americanization of Machico” 

With a return to social commentary and racism, the show again is top notch. In an interesting side note, this episode takes place days before Sam’s birth. That is interesting because according to the show’s lore, Sam can only leap within his own lifetime. Instead of being a mistake, the show’s creators have stated that Sam’s life started at conception, not birth. Logical.

Another interesting aspect of these episodes is the high ethical standard that Sam holds himself to. His respect isn’t just for life and individuals, but also for marriage and relationships in general. He won’t sleep with a woman on her honeymoon, even as he inhabits the husband’s body. He doesn’t even want to make a vow in their place. That is a refreshingly stringent attitude. I can hardly see something like that happening today.

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