Deborah Arakellian penned the first episode up for review this week, How the Tess Was Won, and it aired 14 April, 1989.
Sam (Scott Bakula) finds himself as a vet named Doc, in a pig pen on 5 August, 1956, and about to be roped into a competition to win a ranch, and the hand of Tess McGill (Kari Lizer), who agrees to the bet offered by her father (Lance LeGault). What follows is a roping, riding, drinking, card-playing showdown to see if Sam is man enough to run the ranch with Tess.
He thinks he’s there to help Doc win Tess over, because it seems the veterinarian is in love with her, but has never been able to tell her. Al (Dean Stockwell) supports him in his decision and belief.
But Sam is wrong about what he is there to do. While he’s competing with Tess, the lives of a little piglet, and his young assistant, Buddy (Scott Fults) hang in the balance.
Al, meanwhile, is having problems. He thinks Tina, one of the chief programmers is cheating on him, and he doesn’t see the hypocrisy there, though Sam does as he raises his eyebrows, feigning shock that Tina could cheat on Al, just as he cheats on her.
Sam learns that he may not be the only one competing for Tess’ heart, and even after he rides her horse, Widowmaker, Doc’s future is up in the air.
This one is a bit of a gentle story, and it’s fun to see Sam’s brush with history this week, something that doesn’t always happen, but always brings a smile when it does.
Double Identity was penned by Bellisario and had an airdate of 21 April, 1989. This time around Sam finds himself on 8 November, 1965. Arriving in a rather compromising position with Teresa Pacci (Terri Garber), Sam soon learns that he is a hitman, named Frankie, who may not have long to live.
It seems Teresa, who he’s been having an affair with, is the Don’s (Mike Genovese) girl, and he’s more than a little jealous.
Sam has to find an equitable ending for all parties that doesn’t see him getting killed.
Meanwhile, the project is trying to retrieve him, and gives Sam instructions that may in fact return him to his present… or cause the 1965 East Coast Blackout.
This one ends up being a lot of fun, though it’s easy to see that the series is still getting on its feet. It does, however, allow for Bakula to demonstrate his singing talents as he gets to belt out Volare.
It also features a double leap for Sam, giving the episode title a dual meaning, and it is this second leap that allows him to set things up nicely for Frankie and Teresa.
Joe Santos, from The Rockford Files, and from Magnum, p.i. makes an appearance in this episode as Frankie’s father
And finally, as the episode ends, we get a peek at what’s coming next time, as Sam finds that he is now an African-American.