Sam’s (Scott Bakuka) leaps really get under way this week with Star-Crossed. Penned by Deborah Pratt with an air date of 31 March, 1989, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping into an English Lit professor, Gerald Bryant, in an Ohio college on 15 June, 1972.
The professor has a drinking problem, and is involved amorously with a student, Jamie Lee (Leslie S. Sachs) that originally ended badly, but all of that takes a backseat when Sam realizes his ex-fiancée, Donna Elesee (Teri Hatcher) is there.
Given the chance to sort his own feelings for her as well as reconnect her with her father (Micheal Gregory) who is about to leave for Vietnam, Sam goes all out.
I love that the series shows from the beginning how far Sam and Al (Dean Stockwell) will go for one another as well as constantly fleshing out the characters. It also, very quickly, shows that it can balance humor, drama and strong emotions.
Seeing Sam’s reaction to his appearance is hilarious, and then seeing Donna realize Sam is trying to get her back in touch with her father is simply heartbreaking. This show has been masterfully written from the beginning, and is not afraid to play the emotions that the characters feel, no matter how strongly.
It also never plays down to the audience. Quantum Leap is smart, fun, and even three episodes in, I am treasuring every moment of it.
The series now has an opening introduction by Bakula to catch up new viewers, who may be confused by all the going-ons , which dovetails nicely into Sam’s inner monologues.
From there, Sam leaps into Kid Cody, a boxer, in The Right Hand of God. This episode originally aired 7 April, 1989 and was penned by John Hill.
Sam finds himself on 24 October, 1974 getting pummeled in the boxing ring. After the fight, he learns that Kid Cody’s contract is now owned by a convent, who is betting big on his ability to win. Unfortunately, Kid Cody was paid to take a dive and lose in the original timeline.
With Al and Sister Angela (Michelle Joyner) coaching him, the sisters put their faith in him and God believing that their hoped for winnings they can finance a new chapel. It seems, however, a bookie is adamant about making him take a dive, but Sam offers him a sure-win, a bet on a fight involving Ali.
Meanwhile, Cody’s girlfriend, an exotic dancer (Al can’t get enough of that!) named Dixie (Teri Copley) is trying to win enough money so that she and Cody can open a doughnut shop…
The episode is filled with faith, betting, streaking, training and fighting, but with everything that is going on will Sam be able to win?
There are little nods to Rocky, and On the Waterfront which are fun, but there is also some friction between Sam and Al – not everything is easy for these two – and Sam not only has to work on his footwork and timing, but also his friendship.
I love seeing the relationship between the two of them. No matter where, or when Sam goes, and no matter the story, their relationship is central to everything, and I love to see it play out.
As the episode ends, Sam leaps out and then finds himself in a muddy pig pen, with a squealing piglet in his hands…