Monday, June 13, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 13: Blind Faith

Sam Leaps Into: 
Andrew Ross, a blind concert pianist.

Prevent Michelle, his adoring assistant, from falling victim to a serial strangler.  Give Michelle confidence to live her own life in spite of her overprotective mother.


New York, New York

Memorable Quote:
According to Ziggy, Andrew's concert was a huge success.  ~Al
It won't be now.  ~Sam

Despite the fact that I'm more of a cat guy than a dog guy, I'm still a fan of dogs (you'll remember my love for a certain bulldog), and Chopin is an awesome dog.  

I don't care for the story line where Sam thinks he can't play the piano, but then Al puts some music in front of him and suddenly he's a virtuoso.  If he knew how to play all along, why didn't he remember that beforehand?  Or why couldn't Al have given him the music earlier so that he could practice?  It would have been more compelling if he had to improvise his way through the concert like he did in the beginning with "Chopsticks."

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Our first of two Quantum Leap episodes that share a title with a MacGyver episode.
  • His mirror image looks a bit like world chess champion Magnus Carlsen.
  • Oh no, it's another crazy lady!  I thought that no one could be more unlikable than the mother in Machiko, but the mother in this episode takes it to another level.  Time for another induction into the Rachel Bradley Hall of Fame.
  • Not much of a police presence in Central Park, especially considering that a serial strangler is on the loose.
  • Al's really not helping much in this episode.  In other episodes he's able to center himself on whoever Sam is looking for, but here Sam has to rely on the dog.

Final Analysis:
I wasn't a big fan of this one.  The story was slow to unfold, and while I liked the plot device of Sam playing the role of a blind man while actually being able to see, the sudden piano playing ability (mentioned in the lowlight) was hard to overcome.  I'm putting it at 4th from the bottom in the rankings.


  1. I told you there were way worse moms!

    I can buy Sam not being so good playing piano w/o music, then doing pretty well with it. I play that way. If I know how something is supposed to sound and I have the music, I can usually pull it off. But just playing by ear? Nope. Sight reading? Nope. I need to know how it sounds or I'll screw it up every time - forever. So, I can see Sam knowing how to read music and knowing the piece he's supposed to play, but still needing the music to get through it.

    The part I like about this episode is when the flashbulb goes off in Sam's face and he is temporarily blinded and reliant on Al and other sounds to save the woman from the strangler.

    1. Yeah it's not unusual for people to need music in order to play, but I was reacting to Sam thinking that he had no ability whatsoever but in reality he's a virtuoso. You'd think if that was the case that in his apartment in the middle of the episode he would have sat down with some music at his piano and realized that he knew how to at least play a little bit. And hopefully we're done with the crazy moms!

  2. We're pretty close to simpatico on this one. I got into the story for the most part--and Sam having to pretend to be blind and quickly adjust when he got busted--so I wouldn't rate it in the bottom tier but it would definitely be in the bottom half so far as there were a lot of cliches. Sam's ability to parrot a professional pianist simply because Al put a piece of sheet music in front of him was silly. And the episode shared more than the title with a "MacGyver" episode, it shared the MacGyver episode's silly plot twist of a freak "flash" blinding the character at the single most convenient time for the sake of the story. I will say that the context of Sam's temporarily going blind--fighting paparazzi intended for the Beatles--was quite clever. I also liked that "Pete" was the strangler....I didn't see that coming. It was about the only thing about that Central Park attack that didn't seem straight out of a clunky straight-to-video horror movie.

    I preferred the angry mother when she seemed to be legitimately concerned about the daughter--because at least then she seemed sincere with her wicked witch of the west routine--but her stock dropped at the end when she made it all about her even at the moment she was "giving her daughter away". Also pretty sure that nobody would have cared that she was smoking backstage back in 1964. Michelle was okay I guess but I didn't connect with her personally the way I have with some of his previous female interests. As for his mirror image, I thought he looked exactly like a young Josh Brolin. At first I thought it was Josh Brolin except I knew in the fall of 1989 Brolin had long hair and was on "The Young Riders".

    And one more anecdote, speaking of "The Young Riders", I see this episode was written by Scott Shepherd, a popular TV writer in the 80s and early 90s who, in addition to "Quantum Leap", worked on "The Equalizer", "Miami Vice", and yes, "The Young Riders". I believe he might have been the showrunner on the latter series for one or two of the later seasons.

    1. Good call on the Blind Faith/MacGyver parallels. And I also didn't see it coming that Pete was the strangler -- and you're right, that scene did have a horror B movie feel to it.

  3. Blind Faith has my vote for being predictable. The plot develops exactly how I would expect it to go. As soon as I saw Sam’s/Andrew’s apartment neighbor, I knew he was the killer. Who else could it be? There were no other characters introduced into the story.
    Three comments about Nick’s entry: First, I agree with another commentator that Sam’s lack of knowledge about is piano ability can be written off to his ‘Swiss cheese’ memory. Second, the mother, Mrs. Stevens, is so one dimensional. She is very overbearing and hard. She is trying to protect her daughter from her own past. Not a very likable person. Third, there are no policemen in Central Park because of the Beetles in NYC for the Ed Sullivan Show.
    My favorite lines are:
    • From Sam to Michelle. “You owe her your love, not your life.” From a mother’s point of view, children should be raised to make good decisions and go off and follow their own dreams.
    • From Sam to Al: “You are a sight for sore eyes.” I know, but I like corny.
    My final thoughts are about the flashbulb going off in Sam’s face and causing temporary blindness. Freshman chemistry labs include a Magnesium (Mg) burning experiment. Magnesium is an element that when lit and exposed to oxygen, it forms MgO (magnesium oxide). The other product is a release of heat and light. Students are cautioned not to look directly into the flaming Mg. Those that do not follow directions see bright flashes for many minutes. Mg was used by the photographic industry to provide artificial light. The Mg was encapsulated in a small glass bulb. When the picture was taken, an electrical current ignited the Mg. Those people, who were getting their picture taken, were often left "seeing stars." The bulbs were used once and thrown away. For many people of a more recent generation, carrying around flash bulbs in your pocket would seem ridiculous.