Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 8: Play It Again, Seymour

Sam Leaps Into: 
Nick Allen, a private detective whose partner was murdered.

Find the killer without being killed himself.  Inspire Seymour, his nerdy admirer, to become a novelist.


Brooklyn, New York

Memorable Quote:
I was so afraid they'd find out about us.  ~Allison
Oh boy.  ~Sam

I'm a big fan of the Blue Island Club -- what an awesome place to spend an evening.  It reminds me of the South Seas Club from The Rocketeer.  It's too bad they don't have these types of dimly-lit, big band clubs around today -- they're much cooler and classier than pulsating techno.

I'm a little surprised that Sam falls so hard for Allison.  Granted she's an attractive gal, but she doesn't seem like his type.  And I had thought that Sam generally doesn't get too emotionally involved with the ladies -- like in the Vietnam episode when he's being propositioned Al says something like, "Lady, you've got the wrong guy."  Though maybe it's my memory which has been swiss-cheesed.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I love the old-school gumshoe setting, but it feels more like the 1930s than the 1950s, and the sets look way too nice to be in New York City.
  • Seems a little rash for Allison to be dancing with Sam in public so soon after her husband's death.
  • So if part of Sam's mission was to help Seymour become a writer (meaning that in the old reality he did not become one), who are we supposed to believe finished the book that Al brings back from the future about the death of Sam and his partner?
  • Although our MacGyver guest star streak has sadly come to an end (though 7 out of the first 8 episodes isn't bad!), there are a few familiar faces in this one.
    • Willie Garson (Seymour) recently appeared in Hawaii Five-0 as Hirsch the semi-reformed art thief.  I didn't recognize him at all until I checked the credits after watching the episode.
    • Richard Riehle (the Lt. who bails Sam out of jail) was in Office Space as Tom Smykowski who came up with the patented "Jump to Conclusions" mat. 
    • Josh Saviano (the kid who stops Sam at the airport) was Paul from The Wonder Years. At least I'm pretty sure it's him - the IMDB credits for this episode don't list the part. UPDATE -- Josh replied to my tweet and said that it's not him.  I stand corrected!  

Final Analysis:
Another really good episode -- great acting, a creative script, and a compelling mystery.  It's really close between this one and How The Tess Was Won -- I'll put this one notch ahead in the rankings.

And with that, we're done with Season 1!  It feels like I just started, probably because Season 1 only has 8 episodes and so I did just start.  It was a pretty strong debut season and one that didn't have any stinkers.  I was surprised how little memory I had of these episodes -- there are some later that I remember reasonably well, but for all of these it felt like I was seeing them for the first time.  I love that every episode is in a totally different time and place, and despite the fact that the series is often classified as sci-fi (e.g. they used to show reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel), it's really not sci-fi at all (it's more of a historical 1950's/60's drama) which is probably why I like it because I'm not into sci-fi (other than Star Wars).


  1. Is this the one that starts off with the woman all but sitting in Sam's lap laying a kiss on him? (I think it ends up in the credits at some point too.)

    Willie Garson has a MacGyver connection tho! He was on SG-1 w/ RDA, so, you can play a little Six Degrees to keep the streak alive-ish. =)

    1. No, this one starts off with Sam holding a gun over his dead partner (and he wonders if he was the killer). Thanks for the SG-1 tidbit! Despite having seen him on Five-0 quite a few times lately I had no clue it was him when watching this one.

    2. Ah yes - I remember that opening too. I think I'd be a little concerned if I leapt into a guy who might've just killed his partner.

      The time travel element keeps QL in SciFi land, though this is definitely not in the 'hard' SciFi section of the genre.

  2. This one didn't do a lot for me. Like you, I dig the atmosphere of these "Casablanca" Bogie-and-Bacall throwback stories but not many have been my cup of tea story-wise. I liked the beginning when Sam instinctively knew who everyone was and what they were gonna do and then realized it was because they were all characters from a book he later read. From there though the story just kind of plodded along for me and the resolution left me cold. From my few memories of this show in the early 90s--and at least three of the episodes we've seen in season 1--I walked away with a complete different impression than you....that Sam seems to fall for the girl quite easily.

    Good catch on Seymour being Hirsch the art thief on "Hawaii Five-O". I knew he looked familiar but didn't place him. And I concur that the kid in the airport looked a lot like Josh Saviano! It wasn't a 100% comparison but it was well over 90% and I could easily see why you'd think it was him. "The Wonder Years" was going strong in 1989 so I wouldn't have figured Saviano would have a bit role on a drama on a rival network at that time. I assume you're aware of the very widespread urban legend that Josh Saviano later grew up to be Marilyn Manson. Very false but the mythology on that one took on a life of its own. Did you reach out to Saviano on Twitter to confirm it wasn't him?

    Perhaps you've mentioned it before but I didn't realize you were into "Star Wars". On a scale of 1-10, where would you rate your "Star Wars" fanboy status? Anyway, I'd rank this episode seventh of the eight.

    1. Damn, son, you're catching up! I actually hadn't heard the Josh Saviano/Marilyn Manson thing before -- it's that type of stupid conspiracy that gives more believable conspiracies a bad name. I had included him on a tweet with the episode post (I didn't specifically ask if it was him), and he responded to the tweet and said "nope not me but I did love the show!" It really does look like him though, and while I believe him, is it even a tiny bit possible that maybe he was in the show and just forgot? Or since it's an uncredited part, and since he was on a rival network like you said, maybe the whole thing is a cover-up -- now that's the real Josh Saviano conspiracy!

      I guess I'd rate myself a 3 on the Star Wars fan scale. I'm not even close to a superfan -- I didn't even see the new movie until a few months after it was already out. For me the high point was "Return of the Jedi" -- that's one of my favorite movies of all time. And Star Wars and Empire are excellent too. Like most people, I didn't care for the next set of 3 movies. And I'm not at all knowledgable on the characters/planets/books etc. in the Star Wars universe at large other than what is in Return of the Jedi. Now Indiana Jones, on the other hand, I'd rate myself a 9 on the scale.

    2. Also it seems like our rankings so far are a lot more different than they were on Legend.

    3. I watched the "Camikaze Kid" episode on Tuesday night but didn't have time to write the review until Wednesday afternoon so I wasn't watching them as quickly as it seemed last night. It's a tiny bit possible I suppose that Saviano guest-starred on "Quantum Leap" and forgot in 1989 but for my money Saviano had just a touch more ethnic flair to his look than did the kid from "QL". I wonder if Saviano had a younger brother. I'm sure Saviano welcomes an alternative conspiracy theory to the Marilyn Manson one which I bet he hears about almost every day.

      I kind of liked "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" as well but will admit the entire "Star Wars" franchise moved me the way the franchise does to its fans. I didn't like the original movie at all and haven't seen any of the next three. I definitely liked "Indiana Jones" better as well. "Temple of Doom" and "Last Crusade" were definitely my favorite. "Crystal Skull" should never have happened and I hope the idea of a fifth film never happens.

  3. Well, I really have a different opinion than Nick. There is not much I liked about this episode. The 'gumshoe' jargon was way too much and got very tiresome.
    I have only two comments:
    1: In the show's jargon, Sam [Nick Allen] used the word, semaphore. He meant to'signal' me. In Italian the word for traffic signal is 'semaforo."
    2: The band in the Blue Island was playing the "Blue Moon," lyrics by Lorenz Hart and Music by Richard Rogers. It was written in 1934. It was a favorite of Nick's paternal grandfather. In 1949, it was re-released with swing artist, Billy Eckstine. And in 1961, a doo-wop group, called The Marcels, recorded it. Every time, Nick's father played the 1961 version on his stereo, his father would tell him to 'turn it off.' He thought that he favorite song was ruined.
    I am looking forward to Season Two, Episode One, where Sam has his first role as a woman.

    1. I remember hearing the story about Grandpa and Blue Moon. I didn't realize though that the song was written by Richard Rodgers (from Rodgers and Hammerstein) - that's interesting.