Sam (Scott Bakula) finds himself in the pilot seat in Ghost Ship, the first episode for review this week. Written by Donald P. Bellisario and Paris Qualles, it first aired on 4 March, 1992 and takes place on 13 August, 1956.
En route to Bermuda, Sam is Eddie Brackett, an inexperienced co-pilot, and finds all manner of problems with the passengers, as well as the infamous Bermuda Triangle, which somehow affects contact with the holographic presence of his friend Al (Dean Stockwell).
There are a few nods to Bellisario’s Tales of the Gold Monkey in this episode, the plane (Cutter’s Goose) for one, a reference to Gushie, who is a character in both series, and the lead character in Monkey was Captain Jake Cutter, well, there’s a Cutter (Kurt Deutsch) in this episode as well.
Cutter and his new bride, Michelle (Carla Gugino) are on their way to Bermuda for their honeymoon when a case of appendicitis flares up, and Michelle’s life is in danger. The pilot, Cooper (Scott Hoxby) is suffering some PTSD from a previous flight experience, and it may be up to Sam to save all of them… even if he has to do it without Al’s help.
It’s a fun episode, delves close to the spooky (it’s right there in the title), and Al, surprise, buys into the creepier theories about the triangle and scares himself. Of course the twist at the end of the episode is especially fun!
The series continues to be able to walk between the social commentary episodes, and the fun ones like this, and Sam and Al are always perfect.
It was nice to see Cutter’s Goose in the air one last time.
Roberto! was written by Chris Ruppenthal and first premiered on 11 March, 1992. Sam finds himself in the form of Roberto Guittierrez, a talk show host in the vein of Springer and Geraldo, on 27 January, 1982. Bakula finds himself behind the camera as he directs his second episode.
He finds himself in trouble when a wager with a fellow reporter at the television station, Jani Eisenberg (DeLane Matthews) led to some trouble in the original history. She thinks he should be covering fluff and fringe topics, but a lead at a local chemical plant lead them to a bigger story, and how will Sam get the truth out, when his talk show is more tabloid than news?
Despite opening in a fairly funny way, and the lead Sam follows up on aliens and UFOs, the story plays fairly straight, if deadly for the characters. The sightings actually tie in with what is going on at the plant, and as Sam and Janie investigate their lives are in danger, and the truth will only out if the plant manager (Jerry Hardin) can be fouled up on air.
The episode takes place in Destiny, New Mexico, which will be the location of Project Quantum Leap in the future. So that’s a bit of fun. Overall it’s a playful episode and its great to see the villain get his comeuppance, and its fun to see a bit of investigative journalism playing an important part in the storytelling.
As things work out, Sam leaps and finds himself driving a taxi cab, just as he hits someone!