Quantum Leap (1991) – 8 1/2 Months and Future Boy

Sam (Scott Bakula) leaps into a very pregnant teenager this week in the episode 8 1/2 Months. It was penned by Deborah Pratt and had an original airdate of 6 March, 1991.

It’s 15 November, 1955 and Sam is Billie Jean Crockett, 16 years old. And he’s there to not only make sure the baby is born safely, but to hopefully reunite Billie Jean with her estranged father, Bob (James Whitmore jr.).

Things didn’t go well in the original history, as Al (Dean Stockwell) informs him. Billie Jean’s boyfriend is off to college, and thought she was going to have an abortion, but she carried the baby to full term, and then put the child up for adoption. This is a decision that Billie Jean regretted for the rest of her life.

Sam is convinced he’s there to make sure Billie Jean raises the child herself, but recognises she may need help, and hopes by reuniting her with her father the two can raise the baby right.

Sam is being influenced by Billie Jean, and is connecting to the baby as well, causing him to experience and feel every moment of the pregnancy. But will he have to deliver?

The episode not only deals with teen pregnancy, but by setting it in the 1950s it also shows the beliefs and notions that were prevalent at the time about sexuality and pregnancy. It deals with some heavy subject matter, but there is a wonderful Leap lightness to it, something that Pratt’s episodes seem to do so well.

Seeing Sam pregnant, and going through all the accompanying symptoms, cravings, hot flashes and mood swings is a lot of fun!

812months

Future Boy is a classic episode, it was written by Tommy Thompson and first screened on 13 March, 1991.

Sam finds himself back on 6 October, 1957 as Future Boy, as played by Kenny Sharp, the sidekick to Moe Stein’s (Richard Herd) Captain Galaxy on the children’s television show, Time Patrol. Despite some discussion on time travel, and clever nods (including Galaxy’s gyrograph which looks a lot like Al’s handlink, and his time-o-nometer looks a lot like the time machine from the movie of the same name, and Moe has a knowledge of Sam’s string theory), there is a darker undercurrent to the episode.

Sam, as revealed by Al, is there to save Moe’s life. It seems the man is obsessed with building a time machine, and his daughter, Irene (Debra Stricklin) is so concerned, that she thinks about committing him to an institution.

As Galaxy, Moe Stein wants to spread a message of hope, anti-violence and positive outlook about the future as opposed to the messages of fear and war that the show seems to promote.

Of course, the revelation of why Moe is trying to build the time machine is heart-breaking and also serves as a catalyst for reuniting father and daughter in a very poignant moment.

It’s a great episode and we see how loss and grief is dealt with, and Herd’s final moments of the episode are truly tear-inducing.

And even as things are settling Sam leaps, and finds himself in the body of a male stripper…

…oh, boy…

futureboy

 

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