Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Quantum Leap Rewatch (Episodes 55-60)

(Episodes 49-54)  --  (Episodes 61-65)

As I work my way through this series—for the first time all the way through—I am coming to the realization that I was giving it too much credit. My memory was that this show used its premise to hold a mirror up to the audience and make it uncomfortable with a lot of the inconsistencies and outright wrongs still being exercised in society. In reality, it tends more toward the obvious, already condemned issues; or to simply put Sam in a race against the clock scenario.

Episode 55: “Play Ball” 

This episode is a bit of a mess. Amongst all the dangling plot threads the seemingly important through-line is a helping a couple of minor-league ball players make it to the majors. Hardly the stuff of cosmic importance or divine intervention. Along the way sexual harassment, parental abandonment, alcoholism, and the kitchen sink are all thrown in for good measure.

Episode 56: “Hurricane” 

For an episode set in a hurricane, there is very little weather action. In trying to prevent a death, Sam faces an incredibly long list of red-herrings before we arrive at the incredibly cliché ending.

Episode 57: “Justice” 

This is one of those episodes where Quantum Leap does the brave thing and addresses an evil in society that almost everybody already sees as evil. This episode feels less effective than earlier race related episodes because it doesn’t hold subtle racism up to the light, making people see blind-spots they may still entertain. It gives us the cartoon version of racism that shouldn’t make anyone squirm. Then again, in today’s climate of fear-mongering and “politically acceptable” racism, maybe we need some more of this.

Episode 58: “Permanent Wave” 

Another action adventure story where Sam just has to figure out where to be and when, and no real societal injustice is addressed.

Episode 59: “Raped” 

This is one of the better episodes of the series, as it was addressing an issue that needed exposing and still is a big problem. In some ways there are concerns all these years later that things may have gone too far, as we have almost gotten to the point where accusations equal guilt. And you would think that men could protect themselves from false accusations by simply not having sex with anyone, but it really extends to the point of never being alone with a woman. It is sad that that is where we have arrived as a society. However, in a world where rape exists, we need still need to work on not making the victim feel guilty. And all these years later we still haven’t figured that out.

Episode 60: “The Wrong Stuff” 

I may have implied that the show has “jumped the shark” before. Now it officially has.

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