Quantum Leap (1991) – Southern Comforts and Glitter Rock

It’s 4 August, 1961 and Sam (Scott Bakula) has leapt into the owner of a brothel in Southern Comforts. Written by Tommy Thompson this episode aired on 3 April, 1991.

As Gilbert LaBonte, the proprietor of the long family-owned New Orleans-based business, Sam is there to help a young woman named Gina (Georgia Emelin). She’s a young college student who very much doesn’t belong in the brothel, but has her own reasons for being there, and is protecting someone.

Al (Dean Stockwell) reveals that if Sam can’t get her out of the business, sometime within the next 24 hours she disappears and is discovered beaten to death.

Sam and Al’s suspicion falls on Jake Dorleac (Dan Butler) who is searching for Gina, and the revelation of why is troubling, as is the way he treats her.

Al, of course, wants to just hang out and check out the girls, before Sam banishes him until he has something to actually pass on. When he does come back, Al shows with the bad news about Gina’s disappearance.

Fun complications are added with the impending nuptials of Gilbert and his business’ madam, Marsha (Rita Taggart). So, once again the story balances a nice turn of drama and humour, and more importantly, Sam and the show doesn’t make any judgements on these women or their occupation.

As the revelations unfurl about what is really going on, you can’t wait to see Sam take Jake down a peg or two, and hopefully make sure that Gina finds a better life.

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Glitter Rock finds Sam on 12 April, 1974, and in the form of Jeffrey Mole aka Tonic, the lead singer of a 70s British rock band in a KISS vein. Written by Chris Ruppenthal this episode first aired 10 April, 1991. The episode features the song Fate’s Wide Wheel as showcased on the Quantum Leap soundtrack as performed by Bakula.

As the lead singer of King Thunder, Sam gets a lot of focus, not all of it good, and Al informs him that in two night’s time, he is going to be stabbed to death. Unfortunately, the list of possible suspects is large and Sam is running out of time.

In the interim Sam has to deal with band infighting, groupies, a possible stalker, Philip (Christian Hoff), and the reality that the band’s manager, Dwayne (Herman’s Hermits Peter Noone) who may be cooking the books.

While Al trails Philip, Sam tries to deal with his jealous bandmate Flash McGrath (Jon Gries) who wants some of his own songs added to the line-up.

The performances are suitably loud and typical superficial glitter rock, and Al seems to enjoy running about the stage as the band plays. But as the episode progresses things become increasingly serious as Tonic’s death seems to draw closer and Sam is no closer to to figuring out who is to blame.

This is one of the episodes that doesn’t really have a lot going on in terms of social commentary, but that doesn’t detract it from being a fun episode. They don’t always have to pass on a strong message, sometimes they just have to entertain.

The episode ends with Sam leaping, and handcuffed to a woman who says he’s going to kill her…

Oh, boy.

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