Friday, November 25, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 73: A Leap For Lisa

Sam Leaps Into:

Clear his name after being accused of raping and murdering the commanding officer's wife.


San Diego, California

Memorable Quote:
Bingo, to quote you, you're in deep caca. ~Sam

Awesome moment when Sam looks in the mirror and learns that he is Al.  I don't know if I ever saw this episode (since I don't remember a single thing about it), and I didn't see this coming at all (at least not until Al told Sam to look in the mirror).

When Sam is outside talking to Al and then his British replacement, he's not even trying to hide the fact that he's talking to himself, and it's a little ridiculous that the people watching (including the "shadow" from a few feet away) aren't more alarmed.

Despite my critique, it's a fantastic scene where Al disappears and is replaced by a stuffy British guy as part of an alternate timeline.  Very Back To The Future-ish -- I love it.

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

  • Do we see some nudity in the opening shot?!  Call the FCC!
  • Interesting comment from Sam to Al after Lisa dies: "Success has nothing to do with leaping, now you know that."  Up to this point we were led to believe that Sam only leaped if he successfully completed the job.  For example, in Catch a Falling Star he considers not saving the drunken lead so that he can stay and be with his piano teacher.  I think it's better when he doesn't leap unless he's successful because it raises the stakes even higher for his missions.
  • The commanding officer who is accusing Sam/Al is played by the same actor who was the lead in A Little Miracle.
  • When Sam is brushing his teeth, at one point you can see what looks like an arm move into the shot behind his right shoulder (the lower left corner of the screen).
  • The ending feels a bit fudged in that they are able to leap young Al back into young Al before the officer's wife dies.  If they are able to leap people anywhere at any time, that would seem to solve a lot of their problems.  And somehow Sam is not affected by young Al leaping back into himself.  Nevertheless, it makes for a moving and happy ending so I'm not too bothered by it.

Final Analysis:
Fantastic episode.  Creative plot, excellent pacing and drama, great writing, and more character development and another significant chapter in Sam and Al's relationship.  Ranking it 7 out of 73.

And with that we've come to the end of Season 4.  Only one more season to go!


  1. I've seen some discussion on an old QL board about the nudity at the beginning of this episode. They concluded that Lisa was wearing pasties in the distance shots and a bikini top in the close-up shots. :)

  2. The ending of season 4 snuck up on me so I only last night got around to ordering season 5 and will thus fall a few episodes behind. Anyway, good ending to season 4. The opening scene kicked it off memorably with the "naked" (???) girl approaching Sam on the beach. I kept wondering why Al didn't show up to fill Sam in on the mission as he was struggling through those questions from the military defense attorney, but in retrospect it was obviously to build the mystery and intensify the surprise when Sam learned he had in fact leaped into Al's body.

    I still didn't fully get the entire deal with Lisa the nurse and, as you said, the whole "success has nothing to do with leaping" quote which runs contrary to the formula of the series' previous 72 episodes. The story still flowed nicely though and replacing Al with his stuffy British alternative was a fun and nice touch. The commanding officer actor's name was Charles Rocket, who was actually a (widely panned) "Saturday Night Live" cast member back in the 1980s who went on to have more success in TV and movies in the decade to come.

    Like you I was less impressed with the ending, as that gimmick with the "person being contained in the chamber while Sam leaps into their body" gimmick has been used twice now (previously in the rape testimony episode) and if project Quantum Leap had this technology at their disposal, it's impossible to believe they wouldn't deploy it for every single one of Sam's missions if they were serious about the mission's success, as opposed to twice in the course of the series as a means of maximalist storytelling convenience. I also knew right away that Chip was the real "rapist", so when confronted and Chip said that "he'd never let Bingo take the fall for what he did", it rang hollow since....that was exactly what Chip was planning to do until the moment he got busted.

    A good hour of TV, nonetheless, and some creative and fun little wrinkles in the formula that kept things interesting. I'll rate it between "Rebel Without a Clue" and "The Curse of Ptah-Hotep".