Friday, July 22, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 37: The Great Spontini

Sam Leaps Into: 
Harry Spontini, a magician.

Keep his family together.


Oakland, California

Memorable Quote:
Smile and enjoy it, Jamie.  'Cause when I finish with him in court, it'll be a cold day in Hell before you and your mother ever lay eyes on him again.   ~Steve

I like the part where Sam is in court and he hears from Al that Jamie's in danger and then he just gets up and runs out of the courtroom.

Regarding the "table of death," there's no way to stop it once it starts?!  That is one poorly designed magic apparatus.  And the daughter is not too bright, first locking Sam's hand in and starting the machine without telling him, and then later she straps herself to the table when there's no one else around.  And isn't there another trick they can do to get enough money for their magic shop that doesn't involve the possibility of anyone getting killed (especially considering they perform for about 10 people)?

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • When Sam first meets Steve (his wife's love interest and lawyer), I actually thought, "Wow, he's a surprisingly nice guy.  I would have thought he'd be portrayed as a sleaze."  Well, it didn't take long for him to turn into Mr. Sleaze personified.  I feel dirty for having any kind of positive thought about him.
  • How can the judge let Mr. Sleaze change the case from a divorce to a custody battle right in the middle of the proceedings and without Sam's prior knowledge?  Speaking of the judge, the actor appeared in a deleted scene of the MacGyver Pilot as "General Relkwin."  And yes, the deleted scene is only available in Czech. 
  • "Why is it you always know what to do?" ~Maggie after she burns her finger and then he takes her hand and sticks it in some water.  Sam really had to be a quantum physicist to figure that one out.
  • Wouldn't Maggie be curious as to how Sam suddenly knew in the middle of the court session that Jamie was in danger?

Final Analysis:
Decent middle-of-the-road episode here.  It's a bit slow and lacked oomph, but I still enjoyed it and Mr. Sleaze made for a good villain.  I'll put it at #24 out of #37 in the rankings.


  1. Yeah - this isn't one of the better episodes. I remember when this one ran first-airing. I was underwhelmed then too.

    I don't know if family court works like criminal court, but lawyers can introduce new pleadings in session.

    I'm actually surprised Sam's character had custody - though it may have just been partial. But the chance of him getting full custody would've been slim-to-none in the 70's. Custody battles almost always favored the mother until fairly recently (w/in the last 20 yrs or so).

  2. I have similar thoughts to you on this episode. It's a decent hour with a feel-good ending but it seems like more could have been done with it. The blond in the magic club who came on to Sam showed up and then just disappeared for the rest of the episode, despite what appeared to be the introduction of a more substantive character. Steve was definitely introduced as a benign guy but it didn't take long to turn him into an epic sleazebag....and it was ridiculous to believe the future adopted father would be allowed to represent the mother as counsel in this custody proceeding. Jamie wasn't too bad and had just the right level of spunk without appearing to be a complete brat. I didn't see it coming that she would run away and try to master the ridiculous "table of death" herself, but largely because doing so made absolutely no sense. Interesting that the lost doll she was reunited with ended up nearly causing her demise. They had some suspenseful music leading up to her rescue and I noticed the last episode had better music than I've heard yet from a "Quantum Leap" episode too. It didn't seem consistent with the guidelines of Project Quantum Leap for Sam to take it upon himself to put the moves on Maggie to make sure history changed in a way that would get them back together but it made for a happy ending. I guess I'd rate this one between "Catch a Falling Star" and "Freedom" not too far from you did in the pecking order.

    Thanks for solving the mystery of Michael Fairman for me. I've seen that actor in many shows but never associated the name in the credits from the "MacGyver" pilot with the face until you cited him as the Judge in this episode. I had always assumed "Michael Fairman" was either Dr. Steubens or Dr. Marlowe. It brings up an interesting anomaly in that actors portraying characters from deleted scenes of shows are still apparently required to get full credit recognition.

    1. Yeah it took me a few minutes of scanning through the Pilot before it dawned on me that he was from the deleted scene.