Sam (Scott Bakula) may have his hands full with this week’s pair of episodes!
Up first is Disco Inferno, penned by Paul Brown, this episode aired 27 September, 1989. Sam finds himself in the body of Chad, a bit of a charmer and stunt person, on 1 April, 1976, working on a terrible disaster film. While avoiding falling sets and squibs, he learns from Al (Dean Stockwell) that he is there to help Chad’s younger brother Chris (Kris Kamm) from following in the family business, stunt artists, which will lead to his death in two days, and become a musician, a move that their father, Ray Stone (Micheal Greene) is against.
Chris has the beginning of a new relationship blossoming with the lovely, Shannon (Kelli Williams), who, to Chris’ surprise is the first girl not to fall for Chad and falls for him.
Sam also recalls that he has an older brother, Tom, but he can’t remember anything about him. And when he does remember more about Tom, it’s a heartbreaking moment. He also gets a brush with fame as he’s supposed to do a stunt on Earthquake, and Al, who seems to be loving the 70s all over again, gets starstruck when he sees Lorne Greene on the set.
Through it all the only thing Chris wants is for his father to accept, love and support him like Ray does Chad, even if he has to take on a death-defying stunt to win it. But what if it costs him his life?
There are lots of pop culture moments in the episode, and Sam even hangs Chris’ fate on one, all while pushing Ray to take a more supportive stance towards Chris’ music.
The Americanization of Machiko, which aired 11 October, 1989, is a beautiful episode written by Charlie Coffey.
Sam finds himself a homeward bound navy man, Charlie Mackenzie, on 4 August, 1953. He’s returning to the small town where he grew up, with Machiko (Leila Lee Olsen) as his Japanese bride – I adore her character! This causes problems with Charlie’s mother, Lenore (K Callan), who is more than a little prejudiced and can’t believe her son did such a thing.
His father, Henry (Wayne Tippit), is a little more understanding, and seems to quite like Machiko, but is completely brow-beaten by his wife. And then, there’s the home town girlfriend, Naomi (Elena Wohl), who doesn’t believe it’s over between them.
Sam has to battle the prejudice of his mother, as well as the entire small town, before he loses Machiko once and for all. There are family secrets, and there is danger amongst the picket fences and farms, in the form of Rusty (Patrick Massett), a WWII vet, who hates the Japanese.
While Sam is delighted to be there, it reminds him of his family home in Indiana, Al hates it there, but takes a shine to Machiko and wants to make sure everything works out well for the wonderful young woman.
On a character note, we learn that Sam knows seven modern languages, and four dead ones, so he converses easily with Machiko.
As the episode ends, the episode leads into a repeat of Color of Truth, but in actuality, it will be the first time that Sam leaps into a woman, which was first shown at the end of the season one episode, Play It Again, Seymour. It finally happens next time!