Monday, October 17, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 63: Running for Honor

Sam Leaps Into:
Commander Thomas York, a senior officer at a naval academy.

Save the life of a homosexual former cadet and unmask the hate group that is targeting him.


Lakeside, Michigan

Memorable Quote:
What about the Boston Tea Party, was that like some kind of a gay boat festival?  ~Sam

The interplay between Sam and Al is amusing when Sam gets annoyed after Al wonders if Sam's tendencies (e.g. crossing legs, hands on hips, drinking tea) are a sign of gayness. Also I like how Sam and Al are on opposite sides of the issue and how Al evolves by the end of the show.

It doesn't make sense why Sam doesn't leap right after saving Phillip.  Al tells him that he's also there to help his academy win the track meet, but then he leaps immediately after the race begins. But I understand that for narrative purposes it gives us time to learn from Al what happens in the future to all of the characters. 

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Ronnie is a great antagonist and has the right look of a 1960's Middle American tough guy.  Reminds me a little of Biff Tannen.
  • The actor playing Phillip appeared as the hyper-superstitious Cousin Willie in MacGyver's The 'Hood.  It's only too bad that Mama Lorraine couldn't make an appearance here also.

Final Analysis:
Excellent episode with strong characters, setting, plot, acting, and interplay between Sam and Al. Ranking it 15 out of 63.


  1. I was really into most of this episode but felt let down by the last quadrant. The characters were all interesting and the context of being a gay man in the Navy in the mid-60s was fascinating terrain to mine. I also thought it was a nice healthy difference of opinion between Sam and the usually liberal Al on the "gays in the military" issue which was a big deal in the early 90s and definitely seemed like something that would break down generational lines. Great performance by the Cousin Will actor too as Philip. Nice to see he can act when he's not busy playing the role of a buffoonish hit man who can't figure out a fast food salt packet.

    As for the final quadrant, it seemed a little cliched to infer that Ronnie was secretly gay himself and masking it through his leading of the anti-gay lynch mob, but the scene where Sam calls him out was so excellent that it made it worthwhile. But I was less willing to forgive that Philip went from this aggressive gay rights crusader to being on the verge of suicide all in the same day...and for the coach to out himself as the fourth gay soldier in the same unit--in 1964(!)--strained credibility. I also didn't like that Al had changed positions so rapidly by the's a gradual process of acceptance for most people and no matter how "persuasive" Sam was, he wasn't gonna dispel Al of his firm position on the issue that quickly! And the bit you mentioned with the race that the provably poor runner Sam delayed leaping for was also nonsensical.

    Unfortunately I have to put this episode in the "Slow Death"/"Gunz 'N' Boyz" category where a great first half kind of falls apart. I'll still rate it in the top half of my rankings but this one would have been top-10 worthy with a better closing act. I'll put it between "The Great Spontini" and "Hurricane".

    1. I agree on the inferring of Ronnie being gay was a bit "amateur psychologist" on Sam's part, and I can see how the coach coming out too was over the top.