Saturday, December 10, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 79: Deliver Us From Evil


Sam Leaps Into:
Jimmy LaMotta, a man with special needs who is living with his brother's family (and someone whom Sam has leaped into before). 

Objective:
Repair the relationship between Frank (Jimmy's brother) and Connie (Frank's wife).

Date:
3-19-66

Location:
Oakland, California

Memorable Quote:
Where's Alia?  ~Sam
She's gone. ~Al
She's not gone, Al.  Alia is not gone.  ~Sam

Highlight:
Everything from the time when Sam first meets Alia to the moment when she scratches herself. Captivating, edge-of-your-seat type stuff.

Lowlight:
For a guy with six PhDs, Sam wasn't too bright here after discovering Alia.  Maybe he was blinded by attraction, but he still should have suspected her nefarious motives long before she scratched herself considering life in the LaMotta household had just gone south after "Connie" started doing things like picking fights, keeping an empty fridge, and serving tv dinners.

Speaking of "the scratch," that was one heck of a scratch!  Not sure exactly how they filmed that but it was well done.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Nice opening when Sam leaps into Jimmy and is overjoyed at recognizing Frank and his familiar surroundings.
  • When Sam and Alia were kissing on the bed, I was expecting Frank or Corey to walk in at any minute and see Jimmy and Connie.  In fact my anticipation of that moment made this scene hard to watch.
  • Creative idea to have a corresponding "Evil Leaper" complete with her own hologram and supercomputer.  And even more compelling to place this cosmic good vs. evil confrontation in a small, simple home and in a place where Sam has been before.
                                                    
    Final Analysis:
    Whoa!  Epic episode here and one that is masterfully crafted.  I vaguely remember the Evil Leaper and knew what was happening once I saw Zoey the hologram, but I can imagine that seeing the story unfold for the first time would be even more impactful.  Much of this episode (such as when people are fighting and everything is going wrong) is not exactly fun to watch -- in fact, it's downright painful. But it's such a gripping and well done episode that I give it a high ranking of 9 out of 79 -- plus it has a happy ending for the LaMotta family which is nice.

    2 comments:

    1. Seeing the story unfold for the first time was indeed impactful. It was a well-put-together hour but I did have one grievance I'll get too later. It was great to see Jimmy and all again. That was one of my favorite episodes thus far and it was just cool generally to have Sam leaping into a familiar setting with familiar characters for the first time. Right away I was curious of the relevance of the middle-aged woman heckling Connie as she hung up her laundry but certainly never made the connection that she was a female Al. It was odd for Sam to have such great memories of Connie because I remember her as a cold fish, and it seemed off that she had now warmed up to Jimmy but was now indifferent towards her husband and son. There were a number of ways the story could have unfolded with Shirley the secretary in the mix but the way the story did unfold certainly caught me off guard and I give them serious points for creativity even if it screamed the kind of gimmick that a long-running show uses to try to stay fresh. At least for me, it worked here though.

      Agreed that Sam was a little slow on the draw in putting together that Zoey's intentions were dark and that she was the "evil inverse" of him, but it helped play out the seduction temptress bit and the wild scene where she accused Jimmy of raping her with that wacky scratch. You wouldn't need scissors ever again if you were with a gal with that sharp of fingernails. The ending was amusing but a bit odd that Zoey would choose to "quantum leap" to hell rather than shoot Sam....if she was used to being pure evil for this long why would shooting Sam be the line that she couldn't cross?

      My grumble here is that both "Jimmy" the episode and the character were iconic--one of this show's finest creations--and choosing Jimmy and his family as the catalysts for this gimmicky endeavor kind of cheapened the Jimmy franchise. That's not to say this episode wasn't fun or well done, but it seemed like another set of characters from a lesser episode could have been revived for this story. Probably a fairly small grievance for an episode that did successfully mess with the viewers' head, but I had hope for a more sincere Jimmy sequel given my positive memories of the first one. I'll still rate this one similarly to you though....between "What Price Gloria?" and "Raped". Some of the gimmicks employed within this show's narrative work and others crash and burn, and this one mostly fit the former category.

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      Replies
      1. Yeah I figured you'd like this one based on your fondness for some of the darker Season 4 MacGyver fare. I agree on your point that while this could have the appearance of being gimmicky, it was very creative and worked for me.

        Zoey was the hologram (Alia was the leaper), but I agree that it was probably a stretch to think that she wouldn't shoot Sam after all she had done up to that point, but I guess Sam had the magic touch that finally got to her. I don't have the same affection for the first Jimmy episode that you do so I didn't even think of the Jimmy legacy/franchise angle, but I see where you're coming from. Plus I can only handle one franchise at a time being cheapened if you get my drift.

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