Sometimes it’s the simplest stories that work the best, and are the most poignant, the first episode up this week, Jimmy, is just that.Penned by Paul M. Belous and Robert Wolterstorff, the episode aired 22 November, 1989, it sees Sam (Scott Bakula) leaping into an intellectually challenged man, Jimmy, on 14 October, 1964.
He is there to help Jimmy get, and hold down a job, to mainstream him, as well as smooth things out at home between his brother, Frank (John D’Aquino) and his brother’s wife, Connie (Laura Harrington) and their son, Corey (Ryan McWhorter). In the original history, Jimmy was sent to an institution, and never got out.
This leap proves to be a bit of a personal one for Al (Dean Stockwell) – following up on the mention of his sister last episode, we get more backstory, and learn that her name was Trudy, and like Jimmy, she was intellectually challenged, and when she and Al were put up for adoption, they were separated, she was institutionalized, and died there – supposedly of pneumonia, but that is something Al has never believed.
Sam has bit of a tough leap, with everyone expecting him to make mistakes, he starts to make some, which causes some problems between him and the family. Despite these issues, both at home and at work, in the end, Sam helps Jimmy get acclimated and breaks through some of the hatred and judgment that people held.
Michael Madsen guests as one of Frank’s co-workers who hates, and honestly, feels threatened by Jimmy.
This is a fantastic episode, and shows the depth of the writing, and the willingness to tackle a variety of subject matter. This is one of my personal favorites, and I loved revisiting it.
In So Help Me God, Sam finds himself as a young defense lawyer in Louisiana, on 29 July, 1957. The episode aired on 29 November, 1989, and was written by Deborah Pratt.
Sam is Leonard Dancey, and he is representing Lila Berry (Tyra Ferrell), who has been charged with murder, but Sam enters a plea of not guilty which causes secrets to come to light. Being tried by an all-white jury doesn’t help either, or that the murder victim was a high profile member of the town, and the change in please doesn’t sit well with the locals and Captain Cotter (Byrne Piven).
Racist attitudes prevail, but Sam stands by his client, and begins to discover the truth of what really happened and it’s connection to the Captain’s wife, Sadie (Kathleen Noone), with Lila’s life hanging in the balance.
On the homefront, while Sam is trying to update himself on the case, he has to deal with Leonard’s social climbing wife, Sugee (Stacy Ray).
Sam seeks a way to prove his client innocent and bring the truth to light. Lila is protecting someone, and finally everything comes out in court, much to the Captain’s upset. There was abuse, lies, a cover-up, and even love, of a sort.
Familiar face, William Schallert, guests as the judge.
Pratt, as always, turns in a strong script, one filled with strong characters, themes, and it’s so very easy to see why she was such an integral part, of the behind the scenes world of Quantum Leap.
Next week, is one of my favorite episodes, when Sam leaps into a stage production of Man of La Mancha.