Season 1 of Quantum Leap comes to a close this week with Play It Again, Seymour. This nod the noir films of yesteryear was penned by Scott Shepard and Bellisario from a story by Shepherd, Bellisario and Tom Blomquist. It had an original airdate of 17 May, 1989.
Sam (Scott Bakula) leaps into trouble as he finds himself standing over a dead body, holding the gun that may have done the shooting. As a dead ringer for Humphrey Bogart, Nick Allen is a private investigator in New York City on 14 April, 1953.
When Sam leaps into him, he finds himself embroiled in a mystery, one that involves Allison Grimsley (Claudia Christian). He has to solve the murder of his partner, and do it before the original timeline plays out, which saw Nick getting murdered as well.
Along the way he launches a new pulp novelist in Seymour (Willie Garson), the paper boy, and has a brush with Woody Allen (Kevin Mockrin).
Through the entire leap, Sam has a feeling of deja vu and once he and Al (Dead Stockwell) find out why, it only broadens the mystery, as Sam falls harder and harder for Allison, who is in love with Nick, despite having been married to his dead partner.
There’s a wonderful character moment when Al is telling Sam something he doesn’t want to hear, but is possibly the truth, and Sam snaps at him, taking a shot at his love life and his drinking problem. It’s a nice beat as Sam realizes what he said and reacts accordingly, and Al, tries to take it in stride…
There’s also a great reference to Magnum, p.i. that made me smile.
As the episode ends, Sam apparently leaps into a woman, but that episode, What Price Gloria, comes in a little later in the season, instead, we leap to…
Honeymoon Express got the second season underway on 20 September, 1989. In an episode written by Bellisario, Sam leaps in to a bit of excitement, on 27 April, 1960, as he finds himself taking the place of a New York police officer, Tom McBride who is on his honeymoon train trip to Niagara Falls with Diane (Alice Adair) but the two end up having more than romance on their mind when her ex-husband, Roget (Mathieu Carriere) follows them, and tries to kill them.
Meanwhile, at the project, Al is called before Congress who demands that the project serve them, and make a change in history for them…stop the U2 flight that was shot down over Russia.
As a season opener, this does everything to introduce the world to new viewers by having Al explain it all to the subcommittee he is lobbying to continue financing the project (at 2.4 billion a year!).
Al keeps dropping the hint to Sam that he has to somehow stop the U2 flight, or the project may be closed once and for all, but the things going on in Tim and Diane’s life take precedence for Sam especially when things start to get violent.
In the end, it’s one little adjustment to history that allows Sam to leap, and for the project to continue, which is caused by a change that only Al notices… But I wonder if he forgets that he noticed, or if he now remembers two timelines… I’m sure one would have to fade after awhile, otherwise Al would probably lose his mind with all the timelines he remembered.
Anyway, a fun season opener that sees Sam leaping into someone cutting a rug, a la Travolta in Saturday Night Fever in a disco…