Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 34: The Boogieman

Sam Leaps Into: 
Joshua Rey, a horror novelist.

Stop his fiancee from getting killed in a spook house.


Coventry, Maine

Memorable Quote:
Oh, Sam, this is not good.  ~Al
No, it isn't.  ~Sam

Normally the "I woke up and it was all a dream" trope is a letdown, but in this case it was a good thing because it wiped clean all the craziness that occurred in the episode.  Although I suppose it's debatable whether or not it was just a dream...

The scene at the end where Al turned into the Devil and then he and Sam grabbed each other by the throat and spun in a circle at a high speed.  I'm not making this up.  That might have been the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen -- I wasn't sure whether I should be scared or start laughing.

I will admit to being curious to see who the guilty party was, and I must say that I most definitely did not see demon Al coming.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:

  • I didn't remember this episode at all, and when they first mentioned "Stevie" I thought of Stephen King.  I've seen him interviewed a few times and he seems much less gregarious than the kid in this episode (though I suppose we're all more energetic when we're younger).
  • If demon Al can look and talk like hologram Al, why can't he also open the blue door and use the handheld device like hologram Al?

Final Analysis:
Yikes.  As the episode was unfolding I was prepared to say this was one of the worst hours of television I had ever seen, but the revelation of the "dream" at the end redeemed it slightly. Nevertheless, this episode was still a train wreck.  I've never been a fan of spooky or horror related things, and I also don't care for plot lines where magical things happen out of the blue. So once I saw the goat and the snake and the black cat and the dancing skull I was checked out, and then demon Al pushed everything to a new low for the series.

I was curious to see what others thought of this one, and so I went to the Al's Place forum (which is kind of like the MacGyver Online of Quantum Leap).  This episode got 25 Excellent ratings, 4 Good, 5 Average, 0 Fair, and 1 Poor.  So clearly I'm in the minority on this one, but to each their own I suppose.   


  1. Pretty sure this one was billed as the 'Halloween' episode. The only part I remember from first run is evil!Al. And, the convos w/ 'Stevie' and evil!Al are all I remember from the most recent viewing. I don't remember the episode being bad, but not memorable... apparently.

  2. This episode was by no means great but I liked it better than you and it was light years better than the incoherent and dumb-as-dirt "Portrait for Troian". Most of the episode unfolded like a conventional Halloween-themed TV story and held my attention even though everything seemed paint by numbers. The last several minutes were anything but, however, with the genuinely shocking revelation that the real bad guy was "Demon Al" (or at least it would have been shocking had I not been privy to the spoiler at the outset). As stupid as the spinning, red-eyed "Demon Al" scene was, I have to give them points for creativity with that curveball. I can't imagine too many people saw it coming. And I'm very impressed you thought of Stephen King right away based on the reference to "Stevie" because I sure didn't....even with the episode being set in King's home state of Maine.

    The goofy factor was too through the roof here to give it a firm recommendation but as TV Halloween specials go, it was above-average. It wasn't as good as "The Secret of Parker House" on "MacGyver" though as that was much spookier, better produced, and less supernatural. Given your dislike for spooky Halloween-themed shows, I'm still surprised you enjoyed "Ghost Ship" because that was far and away the creepiest episode of "MacGyver" for my money. Also interesting that we differ generally on creepy shows. I still have a bit of a soft spot for them but really got excited for the "Halloween special" concept as a boy. In 1984, my then favorite series "The Fall Guy" had a Halloween special with a very mild spook factor that was perfect for its young audience. But their follow-up Halloween special in 1985 was super intense and scared the bejeezus out of me at age 8. I rewatched it as an adult in 2009 and it was fine, but I could still see why I found it too much when I was 8.

    So would you rate this worse than "Honest Abe" and "Mountain of Youth"? For me, I'll rate this one between "Disco Inferno" and "Thou Shalt Not...".

    1. Yeah, I have to concede that this episode really isn't objectively all that bad or poorly done, I just don't like it (and I would put it below Honest Abe and Mountain of Youth). I'd also put Troian below those two also (not sure what I was thinking a few weeks ago when I said otherwise). Speaking of "Youth," I watched the MacGyver ComicCon panel yesterday and Lenkov listed The "Fountain" of Youth as one of his favorite episodes, but hopefully he's not using that one as his model for the new pilot!

      It is true that in general I'm not a fan of creepy -- I remember seeing the movie Ghost as a 9 year old when it came out and being disturbed by it, and there's an upcoming episode of QL that I alluded to before that had probably the scariest image that young Nick had ever seen on tv. I'm not sure what to say about Ghost Ship -- probably because it's so firmly in my wheelhouse of outdoor wilderness adventure and also so well done that I dig everything about it.

    2. Wow! I bet that sent a chill down your spine when Lenkov said the "fountain of youth" episode was one of his favorites. What else was said at that panel that might be interesting to me? My best friend is actually there at Comicon and was planning to attend the "MacGyver" panel but said it was very poorly organized (I guess this is the typical treatment CBS gives its shows at Comicon) and he didn't stay long to search for greener pastures.

      I've never seen "Ghost" and didn't realize it was even really "creepy". I'm looking forward to the "Quantum Leap" scene that terrified you so much. As a boy, I generally loved the principle of "creepy" but in practice I couldn't handle it. At age 9, I went into a haunted house at the Minnesota State Fair, expecting it to be like typical carnival haunted houses but instead encountering live actors wielding chainsaws and sticking their hands out of jail cells. Needless to say it was way more than I bargained for!

      I'll be taking off till Sunday night and thus falling even further behind on the "Quantum Leap" reviews. I should be able to watch one tomorrow night when I get back to the folks' place. I'm heading to west-central Minnesota to visit my old college roommate. With wave upon wave of heavy rain forecast, it's a typical "Mark Hagen vacation day", but it's only 3 1/2 hour drive today. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice and that's the important one for me as I always drive around west-central Minnesota for several hours.

    3. Looks like Dashboard has a MacGyver update post planned in the next day or two so I'll save my thoughts until then, but generally I liked what they had to say. Have a nice trip -- if you're going through Ames you can pick up Season 3!

    4. The ComicCon panel for MacGyver is up over here: http://www.cbs.com/shows/macgyver/video/fBjaNeP4w_aAhTmZNLh6XQRXlXLAa6f5/watch-the-entire-comic-con-2016-macgyver-panel/?ftag=EOS-05-10aaa8f

      if you wanted to watch.

    5. I like the twist regarding Al and think it has more relevance when you consider the mythology of the show. Al and Sam are pretty convinced that God or some other benevolent force is guiding the leaps. It's not hard to imagine that the "Devil" is this episode is the same opposing force behind the Evil Leapers in later episodes. In this case, he just showed up to confront Sam himself.