Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 71: The Curse of Ptah-Hotep

Sam Leaps Into:
Dale Conway, an archaeologist.

Find the remains of an ancient king without getting killed or going missing.



Memorable Quote:
This is bigger than King Tut!  We can't walk away from this now.  I did a thesis on this guy.  This is a chance of a lifetime!  ~Sam

I like how Sam had a personal knowledge and interest in Ptah-Hotep, and it was interesting to see a different side of him, a bit more vain and overeager in his quest for "fortune and glory" as Indiana Jones would say.

The ending didn't work for me where Ptah-Hotep rose from the grave and attacked Razul to death.  Also Sam's leap out was much more abrupt than usual (i.e. there was no denouement or time to wrap up the scene).

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Turns out Ptah-Hotep was a real person, at least according to wikipedia, though instead of a king he was a "vizier" or an adviser to the king.  Ancient Egyptian was never my strong suit, although I can namedrop Anubis since he appears in a few MacGyver episodes.

Final Analysis:
Not bad, and a creative storyline for this series, but overall it didn't do much for me and wasn't one that I would be all that excited to rewatch.  And after saying in a recent episode comment how I never found Al annoying, I actually found him kind of annoying here and thought his constant "heebie-jeebies" and fear of the tomb was unnecessarily overplayed.  Ranking it 51 out of 71.


  1. Anubis shows up in RDA's other show too. Several instances of Egyptian gods on Stargate.

  2. I kind of enjoyed this one, which was not surprising as I tend to like treasure hunt stories and ancient Egyptian legends, complete with curses and secret rooms with traps. It obviously didn't have the magnitude of high adventure-fueled storytelling that the similar "MacGyver" episodes or "Indiana Jones" but it was still a pretty ambitious undertaking for this series. Like you, I'd never heard of Ptah-Hotep but I figured given all the name-dropping that he must of been a real Egyptian legend. Al behaved foolishly over the Bermuda Triangle as well so it was not surprising that he got equally silly about the curse and the dangers of the tomb....another reminder of my love-hate relationship with this character and the writers' frequent need for him to have an oversized fingerprint on the narrative of an episode rather than just let the story tell itself.

    While I thought the setting was largely believable as Ancient Egypt, it didn't feel like the 1950s. This series usually effectively captures the era it's set in but this episode seemed entirely contemporary, including the way everybody carried themselves, including the female lead. This episode paralleled "Eye of Osiris" quite closely at points, as there was an inferred lingering effect of Alexander the Great in that episode just as there was with the much sillier revenge of Ptah-Hotep against Razul at this episode's end. And just like "Osiris", I'm not surprised you found a reason to dislike this one generally. I'm no psychologist, but allow me to speculate here and let me know if you think I'm onto something....

    Your love for the "Indiana Jones" franchise was such that you instinctively recoil at perceived "imitators" even on your favorite shows. Do you think this is a correct perception? I mean, has there ever been an Indiana Jones-style treasure hunt story on any non-Indiana Jones series or film that you've unequivocally enjoyed? I'll rate it reasonably high between "Rebel Without a Clue" and "The Color of Truth".

    1. Interesting theory but I don't think that's the case. As far as treasure hunt stories I've enjoyed, I liked the National Treasure movies, and of course there's Mask of the Wolf. I also liked the movie Sahara and the Dan Brown books. And as a kid there were several treasure hunt type books that I liked. And there's probably more out there that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

      And I don't love everything Indiana Jones -- I didn't care for Crystal Skull, and some of the young Indiana Jones when he's a 9 year old are pretty slow and boring. This particular episode wasn't bad but just didn't do much to excite me, and of course Osiris has the cheesy/campy factor which makes your blood boil every time I bring it up!

    2. I've never seen "Sahara" and haven't even heard of Dan Brown. A real head-scratcher indeed that you consider "Osiris" cheesy/campy.

      Did you actually watch "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" when it came out? Hard to imagine too many series in the medium's history that were as big of disappointments to viewers as that series. Despite rough season 1 ratings, it still got renewed and performed disastrously in "MacGyver's" old Monday time slot, getting pulled after four weeks and then slumbering to a slow, painful Saturday night death.

    3. Dan Brown is the "Da Vinci Code" author -- you should read it when you get the chance. I remember watching some of the young Indiana Jones Chronicles when it first aired but didn't watch it faithfully. I got a DVD of Season 1 when he's a 9 year-old and it's practically unwatchable because of its painful slowness -- it would be interesting to rewatch the 17 year-old Indy season to see if that's any better.