Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 10: Disco Inferno

Sam Leaps Into: 
Chad Stone, a stuntman who works with his father and younger brother.

Save his brother's life.  Help his brother get out of stunt making and into music.


Burbank, California

Memorable Quote:
Al, this is worse than anything imaginable.  ~Sam

The scene at the end where Sam and the father place a bet as to whether or not President Ford will fall down the airplane stairs.  I like how they attach Chris's future to the bet (much to Chris's initial dismay), and it's funny when Al expresses some doubt as to whether his memory of Ford falling is accurate.

The stunt scene on top of the high building was odd.  Sam gets up there and doesn't seem like he knows what is about to happen or what is in the script.  Then an actress/stunt woman talks to him familiarly (i.e. off script), and then she snaps back into character, delivers her line, and pushes him off the ledge. And the building looks way too high for a stuntman to jump off of it.

Here's the video of the scene from the movie Earthquake where the footage comes from.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • We learn that Sam was a Nobel Prize winner -- I don't ever remember knowing that.
  • When Shannon comes over to watch tv with Chris, why does Sam stay there and hang out with them?  He should be giving his little bro some space.
  • The "kid who tries in vain to please his father" trope is reminiscent of a few MacGyver episodes such as Bushmaster, Hell Week, and The Wasteland.
  • In general, it must be weird after Sam leaps out for the people who he has just been interacting with.  Like in this case, Chris must be surprised by how sensitive and caring his brother has suddenly become, and then once Sam leaps out, his brother surely goes back to acting like a meathead.

Final Analysis:
This episode's decent, though I found it a little slow and uninspiring.  But I did like how they began the narrative of Sam's real-life brother.  I'm putting it at #8 out of 10 in the rankings.


  1. This one isn't on either Netflix or Hulu and I can't say I remember all that much about it.

  2. I finally rented the DVD set from my local library and was able to see this one three years after your initial writeup. It's a sentimental favorite since it was the first episode I ever watched on summer reruns (June 6, 1990) during the best summer of my life. But it was a fairly average episode overall and I can't say I cared that much for any of the characters. Chris, who we were supposed to be cheering for, just seemed immature with a chip on his shoulder throughout the hour. And you are right that the stunt on the building made absolutely no sense at any time during the scene. I must say that very rarely did "MacGyver" ever have a scene as clunky or nonsensical as this and a number of other scenes that peppered this series.

    On the upside, I like Chris's music, even though I'm guessing his voice was dubbed. I'm a bit of a conneiseur of country music from that generation (1975-1995) and I must say I'm not aware of any country songs from 1976 that had that much of a rock flavor...unless there was an alternative country scene I wasn't privy too. Anyway, I thought his girlfriend looked familiar and it turns out it was Kelli Williams who later went on to play Lindsey from "The Practice", my favorite legal drama of all time.

    I really liked the weaving of Sam's older brother's narrative into the series with this one and also liked the ending with Ford falling down the plane stairs. It was one of two scenes I remembered from 26 years ago...the other being when Sam told Chris that "this disco music would be out of style in a couple of years"....even though it was probably a good five years after 1976 until it was really on the wane. Okay episode in the bottom half but probably not the bottom third of the episodes so far.

    1. I've never seen The Practice before -- worth watching? I agree that Chris was a bit hard to root for. And I don't know, I think MacGyver had quite a few nonsensical scenes that we could come up with if we put our heads together. The ending of A Prisoner of Conscience, the beginning of Friends, and almost everything in Dalton Jack of Spies and Honest Abe just to name a few.

    2. I got in on the "The Practice" in about the middle of the run. I believe it went eight seasons and the last one was a mess, but it had some first-rate legal drama fodder in its prime. I'd say it's worth watching but I'm not sure how those early seasons were because I didn't get in until about season 4.

      As I was typing the "nonsensical scene" comment for "Quantum Leap" versus "MacGyver", I was thinking about that nightclub season from "Dalton, Jack of Spies" and you bring up another good one with the ending of "Prisoner of Conscience", but both of those seemed positively coherent compared to that awful stunt scene in "Disco Inferno" where Sam didn't seem to have a clue what was going on and his fall came about 60 seconds after his female tormenter's fall, yet she wasn't even talked about as being part of the stunt and Sam was still the first to break the glass before hitting the mat beneath it. And what was with all the people inside the building watching as he hung on to the piece of siding or whatever that was? And why was Al trying to get same to let....whoever the guy he was starstruck by....come help Sam when Sam was supposed to be pulling off a stunt? And why wasn't anybody on the set busting his chops for making such a mess of the stunt?

      Much as I trashed that nonsensical nightclub scene from "Dalton, Jack of Spies", this "Quantum Leap" stunt scene was orders of magnitude worse in terms of clunkiness and incoherence.

    3. And while I'm thinking of it, how exactly was it that Sam, knowing his prime objective was to keep an eye on Chris so he wouldn't die in the next few days, let him drift off to the movie set to do the stunt that nearly killed him in the first place?