Friday, January 6, 2017

Quantum Leap -- Episode 89: The Beast Within

Sam Leaps Into:
Henry Adams, a Vietnam War veteran living in the woods with his friend Roy, a fellow veteran who suffers from seizures.

Get Roy the necessary medication to save his life. 



Memorable Quote:
We got trouble, Sam, we got big trouble.  ~Al
Oh, no kidding we got trouble.  ~Sam

I liked how Sam was able to understand Henry and the other characters through reading Henry's journal, and the history that the characters had with each other was compelling and well crafted.

It's unclear how at the end Luke finds everyone (since unlike Sam, he doesn't have his own hologram to help him) or how he gets to them (we never see his car and they never consider using it to transport Daniel).

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • This episode was written by John D'Aquino who played Frank in Jimmy and Deliver Us From Evil.
  • This leap takes place exactly 10 years after All Americans.
  • The Vietnam flashbacks remind me a bit of The Spoilers
  • 42:05 mark: the mom looks down at her lifeless son and says, "he's in shock but his vital signs are good" with the passion and urgency of a tin can.
  • The ending with Big Foot is predictable but I enjoyed it anyway.  And haven't we seen another tv episode that makes a case for Big Foot's existence at the very end?

Final Analysis:
Really well written episode with interesting and complex characters.  The plot moves along at a good clip, and it has a nice ending.  Ranking it of 16 out of 89.

1 comment:

  1. This episode was a roller coaster ride for me, mostly positive but unfortunately stepping on itself a little too much to be the classic that it had the potential to be. I was prepared for a Category 10 trainwreck when the episode appeared to be positioning Sam to literally be "Bigfoot", another new float in the gimmick parade. But it soon became clear the episode was going to be substantially more mature than early indications suggested and I was completely engrossed a few minutes in, with a number of endearing characters with very complex motivations and personal histories. I was hoping for at least one more "great" episode of "Quantum Leap" before it ended and through the first half this one seemed well-positioned to be "great".

    Unfortunately, the second half, while still having its moments, disappointed. With the continued presence of "Bigfoot" through the narrative, I was hoping for some great symbolic and overarching tie-in to arise comparable to "Carol" and "the Madonna statue" on the MacGyver Christmas episode. I didn't know what specifically to expect coming, but based on the quality of the script so far I anticipated something really good. Instead, we got another dose of Al's silly and Scooby Doo-worthy paranoia about the "monster of the week" (vampires, Bigfoots, Bermuda Triangle...."like, let's get out of here, Scoob!"), followed by a very cliched and disappointing actual Bigfoot sighting that seriously undermined the weight of a serious story with serious subject matter. Beyond that, I had lesser problems with Roy and the boy, including the poor acting by the mother than you cited (Roy's acting was excellent throughout the hour). Having Roy overcome some of his PTSD by crawling into a confined space to save the boy was a pretty solid idea generally, but the logistics of that fall sending the kid into that tiny crawl space completely out of sight was pretty far-fetched. It reminded me of the scene at the end of "Live and Learn" on "MacGyver" when our hero had to employ Archimedes' lever to rescue Nick Milani from the construction site wreck, although I thought the execution of the scene was far more credible.

    I didn't realize John D'Aquino played Frank in the two "Jimmy" episodes. He had two-thirds of a great script here, and I'll give him credit for a compelling story and cast of characters, even though I wish the final third of the episode could have been tighter and sans the out-of-place Bigfoot gimmick. I'll rank it similarly to you and put it in between my rankings of "Pool Hall Blues" and "Black and White and on Fire", but this one would have been poised for the top-5 based on the first 30 minutes.