Welcome back to our journey through the lifetime of one Sam Beckett, as we follow him through lifetime after lifetime of righting the mistakes of the past. This week: Sam leaps into a formerly lost at sea sailor and an undercover cop. Let’s fire up the accelerator and hope that this leap is the leap that brings us home.
1. Why must every non-Al Italian in this show be a gangster?
2. The singer is the most interesting part of the episode, and not for good reasons
Look, “Sea Bride” is a fine episode of Quantum Leap: Sam and Al have playful banter, Sam almost gets swept out to see in a pile of garbage, there’s a plucky little sister who is great. But there’s not a ton to discuss in this episode, sadly.
When I watch these, I have a notebook with me that I jot down observations and thoughts to write about. I only had two notes about this episode:
1 – Anti-Italian Discrimination meme
2 – This fucking singer
The ‘fucking singer’ in question is named Rick Buche, and this is one of his only IMDB credits, with the other being that he wrote a song for Necromancer. The dude flails about like he’s auditioning for the lowest rent community theater in the most podunk town in the world. He’s supposed to be cruise ship entertainment, but even the hokiest company in the world would think this guy is too over the top.
3. A solid fake out
Thankfully, for our purposes, “M.I.A.” is one of the most interesting episodes of the series we’ve had so far. That starts with the open, where Sam finds himself in high heels and fishnet stockings, and is lamenting another leap in which he has to wear uncomfortable clothing. But syke! He’s actually an undercover cop playing a prostitute in an alley to catch a couple of crooks. He fucks up and almost costs his partner his life, but everything works out in the moment.
There’s a big twist, which I’ll get to shortly, but Sam is there to save his partner’s life. When Sam locked up, Skaggs, his partner, recounts a time when he was in war and he locked up when he saw a baby that was laid out as a trap for him. At first, this story seems like a character piece, allowing the audience to see what a good guy Skaggs is, and how he couldn’t bring himself to look away from a child being used as a pawn.
That would come into play again in a scene that is absolutely ridiculous, but beneath the absurdity is the same heart of Skaggs and, leaving aside all the unanswered questions (did the mother opt to put her child in danger? How did Sam know where to go?), the emotions worked.
4. Shades of “Star Crossed”
In season 1, episode 2, “Star Crossed,” Sam attempts to save a relationship: his own. Sam’s fiancé stood him up at the altar, and he basically hijacks his own leap to connect her with her father, and undo the damage that will lead her to stand up Sam or, more likely, her first fiancé. Sam decides that her happiness is the most important part, and so is fine with the idea that they may never even meet, so long as she’s ok.
In this episode, Al hijacks the leap, only looking up the data for one possible reason that Sam is in that time: to save the marriage of a Missing in Action naval officer whose wife will meet someone new while he’s a Prisoner of War. It becomes clear early on that this is Al’s wife, the one who was just referenced recently as the ‘only woman Al really loved.’ But Sam is not let onto this for a long time, and so doesn’t understand fully what his mission really is here.
This is a nice role-reversal of “Star Crossed,” and a solid episode in general, because there really isn’t a bad guy in this part of the story. In some ways, Al is the villain, as he’s trying to prevent Beth, his wife, from finding happiness when she believes he’s dead. This is 1969, and he won’t be released until 1973, and so Al is basically asking her to spend 4 more years grieving and not moving on. On the other hand, if this is the fated ‘true love’ that makes the world go ’round, you can understand why Al is so adamant. Maybe he knows that this marriage will fail, too?Continued below
5. A beautiful season finale
The final moments of this season involve Beth dancing, “alone” in her house, with Al’s hologram dancing along with her. It’s a heartbreaking scene, full of longing on both sides. Al knows that if she can just hold off, this scene can go from fantasy to reality. But she’s dancing with a ghost, literally and figuratively, and this appears to, perhaps, be her final goodbye to Al. When she says his name after he leaps away, it can be read as either the final breath of their marriage (as I read it) or a recognition of his presence and, perhaps, a shot in the arm for Al’s hopes.
I think it’s the former, I hope it’s the latter.
There’s no “Oh Boy” teaser in this episode, or this week, as this is the finale of both season 2 and my Summer TV Binge. See ya in May for seasons 3 and 4!