Nowhere to Run – August 10, 1968

We have a special treat – David Anthony Marshall, the Hippie in the bar scene, joins us to chat about his time working on Quantum Leap and more!

This week we cover season 5’s “Nowhere to Run”. Sam leaps into Captain Ronald Miller, recuperating after the loss of his legs in a San Diego veteran’s hospital. In addition to keeping his paralyzed roommate from taking his own life, Sam also has to ensure Miller will have a son who saves his unit in Desert Storm 25 years later.

At times a very heavy episode, it could well be one of the strongest we’ve seen in a while. This is in no little thanks to guest stars Micheal Boatman, Judith Hoag, and, of course, none other than Jennifer Anniston in one of her earliest roles.

We cover the effects of Vietnam on the show itself as well as the characters and pose questions about Al’s emotional connections to this story as well as the necessity of the orderly character, Holt.

Join us for another deep dive into our favorite show as we seek to contextualize Quantum Leap in the era it’s set, the era it aired, and the present.

NOTE: This episode includes a frank discussion of suicide and PTSD.

Special thanks to David Anthony Marshall!

Leaping of the Shrew – September 27, 1956

We talk about one of the fluffiest of fluff episodes following the dramatic season opener. Along the way, we discuss Shield’s previous movies, the wild parties at Project Quantum Leap, and how this episode gives us an Al that is just the right mix of sexist.

Sam leaps into young Nikos Stahatos, a Greek sailor working aboard a luxury yacht. Sam finds himself in the Aegean Sea with one of the passengers, Vanessa Foster (Brooke Shields), just as the ship explodes. Vanessa is a spoiled rich girl who seems to despise Nikos, but of course, there’s more to the story. As they make their way to land, and hope for eventual rescue, Sam finds himself falling for Vanessa despite himself. He’s there to rescue himself and Vanessa, but what does rescue mean for the couple?

Note: Sam incorrectly identifies the “Metmorphosis” episode of the Incredible Hulk when chatting about director Alan J. Levi’s previous credits. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. The episode he was thinking of is “Prometheus”.

Lee Harvey Oswald – November 22, 1963

We kick off our coverage of the final season of our beloved show.

Season 5 of “Quantum Leap” premiered with the episode fans were told would never happen: Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald.

Stuck leaping into the alleged assassin at various points in his adulthood from 1957 to 1963, Sam takes on more and more of his leapee’s personality, raising the dangerous possibility that history will repeat itself. Meanwhile, Al interrogates the real Oswald back at PQL, trying to uncover the conspiracy of who was really responsible for killing Kennedy.

We pick apart and put back together a fan favorite – an episode Bellisario wrote as a direct rebuttal to Oliver Stone’s “JFK”. We also talk about some of the real-life conspiracies surrounding the assassination.

It’s a long twisting discussion with emotional highs and lows and an exploration of what works, what doesn’t, and what may have in a different world. Ultimately, the human cost of this real-life, world-shattering event cannot be done justice, but we try to make sense of it all in some way – striving to contextualize the episode – and the real life event it leads to- in the time in which we live.

A Leap For Lisa – June 25, 1957

A handful of Quantum Leap episodes certainly need no introduction for hard-core fans, and this is one of them. Sam leaps into Al, a.k.a. Bingo, as a young Navy pilot. Ensign Calavicci has been accused of the rape and murder of Marci Riker, the wife of a Commander. When Sam inadvertently changes history, he drastically increases the odds that Al will be executed.

We pick apart one of our faves, talk about some of the episodes’s seriously problematic tropes, and how we might have re-written it as a two-parter. Previous guest Larry Ganni returns to give his thoughts.

Stand Up – April 30th, 1959

Listen to the episode here.

You are about to witness the strength of Bob Saget.

Leapers! We’re back this week to talk about Season 4, episode 21, Stand Up – April 30th, 1959. Sam leaps into Davey Parker – one half of the comedy duo Parker and MacKay (Saget). Despite a rough start with Sam leaping in mid-routine, the duo get a shot doing their act in Vegas, thanks in no small part to their third, Frankie Washarskie (Amy Yasback). Sam has to get Mack and Frankie to admit their love for each other, but also prevent MacKay from being offed by a mob boss who has his own eyes on Frankie.

We talk about how this episode is a return to form after a few off-kilter stories, and how – Thank Ziggy – we finally have a well-written Al for the first time in a while. 

Stick around till the end for a special song featuring Mr. Saget, or watch here:

As always, we frequently reference Al’s Place, the Quantum Leap Wiki, The MacGyver Project, and Beyond the Mirror Image: The Observer’s Guide to Quantum Leap.

The Curse of Ptah-Hotep – March 2, 1957

Listen to the episode here.

On April 22, 1992, the most consequential episode of Quantum Leap, nay, the most consequential episode of TV ever, aired on NBC: “The Curse of Ptah Hotep”.

Sam leaps into Dale Conway, an archeologist who, along with his partner, Dr. Ginny Wills, has just discovered the tomb of King Ptah-Hotep. The hieroglyphics on the wall tell them whoever disturbs the tomb will be swallowed by death, and it appears he starts making good on his promise as members of the crew start dropping as quick Al’s one liners. 

We discuss an episode that is easily the love child of “A Potrait for Troian” and “The B**gieman”. We talk about the practice of “white-washing” in TV and movies, and we do some deep, deep fan-wank tying this episode to the the Evil Leaper project.

Hope you enjoy!

Moments to Live – May 4, 1985

Listen to our episode here.

Oh, boy, has it been two months since our last episode? The time flies. But we’re back, talking about Season 4’s “Moments to Live”. Sam is Kyle Hart, 1985’s hottest U.S. soap opera star. When Sam is kidnapped by a mentally-ill fan determined to have a child with Kyle, he must prevent Kyle’s original fate of being shot in the head with a shotgun. (Seriously!) Frequent guest host, Chris Steward returns to take on some thorny issues in this darkly comedic episode – including sexual assault, mental illness, and classist stereotypes, and their depiction in entertainment. Oh, yes, and how David Hasselhoff is HUGE in Germany. Shake off the jet lag in the modem of your floppy disk and strap in for an interesting discussion!

***As always, we frequently reference Al’s Place, the Quantum Leap Wiki, and Beyond the Mirror Image: The Observer’s Guide to Quantum Leap.

It’s a Wonderful Leap – May 10, 1958

Image courtesy of “The MacGyver Project”
Listen to the episode here.

Hop in, Leapers. We’re going to the Big Apple, 1958, in a Yellow Cab driven by none other than Dr. Sam Beckett. Al’s by his side, of course, plus a guardian angel (Whose guardian angel is she anyway?) named Angelita who can dish out the barbs as good as she gets. Sam’s there to help a cabbie win a contest – a coveted NYC taxi medallion is the prize – without getting mugged and shot like in the original history. We dig into an episode that is for all intents and purposes the Liz Torres Hour, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Plus, we can’t talk about this episode without talking its now infamous Kiss with History.

***

As always, we frequently reference Al’s Place, the Quantum Leap Wiki, and Beyond the Mirror Image: The Observer’s Guide to Quantum Leap.

Roberto! – July 27, 1982

We are back with a new episode talking about Season 4’s “Roberto!” Sam is Roberto Guttierrez, a tabloid talk show host in small-time Destiny, New Mexico. To talk about “Roberto!”, we have to talk about Dr. Laura Schlessinger (who appears as herself), Geraldo Rivera (yes, Sam Fain, we really, really have to), and how this episode tips its hat to Rivera’s infamous, live “Al Capone” TV special. We also talk about Scott Bakula’s direction of the episode, pay tribute to Skeletor, and “fan-wank’ our way through making the latter half of the episode’s plot to force it make sense.

Ghost Ship – August 13, 1956

Things are getting spooky and wet, but we’re flying high in the Goose! This week we take a look at the 16th episode of season 4, “Ghost Ship”. Sam is in the pilot seat again, but this time he’s not the only one. Al gets spooked by the Bermuda Triangle, an appendix bursts, a WW2 vet is seeing a long-vanished ship, a feminine hygiene product is put to innovative use, and we’re experiencing glitches in the matrix. Join us for another adventure along with Sam and Al as things get a little weird and we go up and down and all over the place to find meaning in the paranormal experiences in the Devil’s Triangle… Hurricane Alley… roughly 1 million square miles of ocean… The Bermuda Triangle!