I’ll be honest. I can’t help but feel that I’ve failed my readers.
While I’ve never claimed to be a foremost authority on the original Quantum Leap series, I think I’m pretty well-versed.
So when Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 4 plays out its “In Plain Sight” theme with Magic being a former leapee from the OG QL Season 3 Episode 2, a connection I could’ve made if I’d just Googled, “Herbert ‘Magic’ Williams” WEEKS ago — say, when I interviewed Ernie Hudson — I can only hang my head and admit mea culpa.
It’s a helluva solid narrative theme. I give the writers kudos for that. With Tammy Jean being El Serpiente, Addison being Ben’s mystery memory woman, and Jake admitting that the thought of Eva being hurt or killed while bounty hunting is driving his move to Illinois, they drive that message home.
Another thing they handle well is the “gender-creative” situation Ben finds himself in when his leap lands him in the body of Eva Sandoval, bounty hunter.
Rather than taking the Some Like It Hot cross-dressing shenanigan humor of the Sam Beckett days, Ben takes stock of the strangeness of the situation in a clinical manner and then moves on.
With Addison there to sign off on the novel experiences that he is subjected to in rapid succession, it’s a subtle but effective reminder of societal sexism.
Even with amnesia, Ben realizes that men and women are treated differently.
Thirty seconds in a woman’s body and you’ve already been harassed, assaulted, and insulted. Sounds about right.
However, literally being a man in a woman’s body has some advantages. Especially since, having lived a leap in Danny Hill, Golden Gloves boxer, on Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 3, he throws a punch better than he did on Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 1.
So when Sleazy Stuart figures the pretty lady is the easier opponent to get past, Ben’s recent training kicks in, and Stuart hits the floor.
Jake: What, you been boxing on the side or something?
Ben: [shrugs] Yes, actually.
The hunt for Tammy Jean, the Ziggy-suggested reason Ben is here, is complicated by Jake’s proposal and Ben’s newly uncovered memories of being in love and in a relationship with someone.
Again, kudos to the writers for creating a character in Tammy Jean who is too ridiculous to be real, only to reveal she’s playing the role of cartel cutie to cover her true nefarious self.
I was a little confused why the goons came after her in the apartment, but I think she called them while she was out of the room getting the cash to pay off her bail bond in order to avoid going to her court date with Eva and Jake.
Trust me, Eva, girlfriend, love… love is not something you walk away from. When you find someone special, you hold onto them. You don’t put up walls. You can keep no secrets, and you never make them wonder if you really care.
While Danny’s blossoming and forbidden relationship with Angela in Vegas served to spark some of Ben’s memories of Angela, a relationship like Eva and Jake’s should open the floodgates.
Lovers working side-by-side, fearing for each other’s safety and worrying about planning too far ahead, it’s a near-perfect parallel.
I’m sorry. Look, I know we said we’d talk about this after the job but bullets are flying now, right? And if I’m being shot at, I wanna make sure it’s for a woman that loves me as much as I love her.
Both relationships require a high level of trust to move forward. Jake has to trust Eva will take care of herself, while (we assume) Eva has to trust that Jake supports her in doing the thing she loves most.
Ben’s unknown reasons for leaping and lying about his meetings with Janis have tested Addison’s trust in him and his fidelity to their relationship. However, it appears she’s come to terms with some of that dilemma.
If Ben’s the man I think he is, then everything he did was for a good reason and I can forgive him. And if he’s not the man I think he is, then I won’t need to forgive him.
It’s pretty basic binary reasoning.
If Ben’s intentions and motivation for leaping turn out to be in the interests of scientific discovery or to set a great wrong right, Addison’s faith in him is justified, and they get their happily ever after.
If not, she hunts him down with no blight on her conscience since he was never the man she fell in love with and to whom she’s committed herself.
Speaking of conscience, let’s talk about Magic.
Quick recap beyond what he reveals to Ian:
Sam Becket leaped into Herbert “Magic” Williams on April 7, 1970, after failing to prevent his brother Tom from leaving for Vietnam on his previous leap, which had landed him in his own 16-year-old body on November 25, 1969.
Williams is in Tom’s platoon. Working with Al, Sam saves Tom and his platoon by failing to complete the platoon’s mission of rescuing a group of POWs. After the platoon is safe, Sam realizes Al was one of the men in that POW camp.
It can be assumed that all this was kept in the records that our Magic uncovered.
The implications are MASSIVE.
Magic restarted the Quantum Leap Project with the sole goal of bringing Sam home. In doing so, he had to work closely with Al, knowing that his own survival meant that Al endured years of incarceration and torture as a POW.
Did Al know this? Did Janis know? Based on her interactions with Magic, it doesn’t seem like Beth knows, but she did lie once, so maybe this is a whole family issue.
In any case, it’s a fantastic bond to the original series. A real golden thread that grounds the new series and fosters a sense of legacy.
Not only that, but it provides an even greater driving motivation for the team.
As much as Magic wants to bring Sam back, Ian and Jen are determined that Ben will not suffer the same fate.
After you’ve watched Quantum Leap online, you might want to check out the classic QL episode, “The Leap Home, Part 2” (S3E2), also available on Peacock.
What did you think, Fanatics? Are you still scraping your jaw off the ground?
Hit our comments with your takeaways, including what you think Ben’s up to in the Wild West!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.