This week I went into the second episode of the 2022 “reboot” of Quantum Leap with some expectations. I was expecting the writing to be a bit better, I was expecting them to get over their first episode problems. I was expecting them to be comfortable with the world they’ve built and let the characters be themselves. And mostly I was let down. Except for the characters.
Episode 2, titled “Atlantis”, features our Quantum Leaper Ben as an astronaut on the ship Atlantis, in 1998. The crew featuring Commander Reynolds, Stratton who is second in command, and a dude named Max who does…something. Ben has leaped into the body of David Tamara, a Korean man who made his way into NASA, which Ben remembered was a big inspiration for him to go into science. The thing that Ben needs to fix is that David get killed doing a spacewalk when space debris flies by. The crews mission is to deliver a part that’s going to help build the International Space Station and while on this mission, something goes wrong on the ship and the “payload” (the thing they were delivering) gets stuck. So David had to go outside to manually eject the payload and this is how he got killed.
But Ben, as David, manages to LITERALLY duck the space debris which makes me wonder why the original David didn’t think to do that and this saves him. But then there’s ANOTHER problem. The debris ripped a hole into a part of the ship and when they go to reenter earth, it causes the ship to explode. On board the ship, the Commander gets knocked out so the second in command is in charge. There’s a bunch of stuff about how Stratton fought her way onto the ship and the Commander picked her and they sort of subtlety hinted at they might be into each other romantically but this is never really resolved or goes anywhere.
Meanwhile, back in 2022, Addison is trying to figure out why Ben leapt without telling her and tears up their apartment looking for some other clue. Ian shows up with coffee and they both discover a flash drive that Ben hid somewhere. They plug it into a computer but find it encrypted and Ian isn’t able to break the encryption. Ian suggests they take it to Jenn, the head of security at Quantum Leap but Addison, worried that Ben is up to no good, doesn’t wanna get anyone else involved so she asks Ian if they can break into it and they say they’ll try.
Magic, meanwhile, is trying to find information on Janice Calavicci, Al’s daughter. They discovered at the end of episode 1 that Janice was at the Project when Ben leaped and want to know what her involvement is. Magic goes to talk to Al’s wife Beth. Now some Quantum Leap lore if you’re not familiar.
In the original series, Al was married to Beth when he went to Vietnam. Al became a POW and was missing for several years. Beth, thinking Al was dead, went and got remarried. When Al returned home, he was distraught and went down a pretty destructive path, marrying any hot young woman that gave him attention. It’s known among Quantum Leap fans that Al has several ex-wives and as the show was running, he was dating a woman named Tina who was, to put it nicely, a bit ditzy. Anyway, in the last episode of the show, Sam showed up in Beth’s living room, as himself, and told her that Al wasn’t dead and to wait for him. This caused Beth to not remarry and when Al came back home, they had several daughters, one of them named Janice. There’s an interesting bit of trivia that all the daughters share the name of Al’s ex-wives which I’m not sure what that’s suppose to mean in the long run but whatever. Anyway, that’s who Janice is.
So Magic talks to Beth, who was played by the same actress that was on the original show, and doesn’t get any answers about Janice. There’s some weird subplot about trust among the Quantum Leap crew. Jenn sees Ian with the flash drive and somehow knew Addison gave it to them. This whole trust thing also kind of goes nowhere.
Back on the ship Atlantis, Ben convinces Stratton about the hole in the ship that’ll burn the ship up during reentry and comes up with a plan that involves going to the Mir space station and getting help from the Russians. They’re about to do this when the Commander wakes up, says it’s a dumb idea, and wants to reenter Earth. After 2 minutes of some tension, Ben convinces Stratton to convince the Commander it’s a death sentence and agrees to go to the Russians for help.
But they’re out of range of the Mir space station so Ben has to put his suit back on and go out and hold a receiver aimed for the Mir and call for help. It’s at this point Ben realizes Russians are on Russia time and they’re asleep. So he LITERALLY leaps off the Atlantis and floats to the Mir, bouncing off of it but grabbing onto something at the last minute. He then bangs on the door and a Russian guy peeks through and sort of nods that he’ll help. This works and everyone is saved. He leaps out…
And we jump back to 2022 where Magic and Jenn goes to Janice’s house to talk to her, find that she left the house, and find her secret basement full of computer equipment and equations that Ben wrote. Janice calls and tells Magic she’s gonna blow her basement up but not before Jenn steals a hard drive from the basement.
Back at Quantum Leap, the team decides not to lie to each other anymore which I didn’t even think was a major issue in this episode, and Addison gives up the flash drive when Jenn tries to access Janice’s hard drive and sees that it needs a flash drive to activate. When this happens, they find a 3D map of, in their words, “all of time”. And notice a blinking dot and realize it’s a destination and figure this is where Ben is trying to leap to. But no one knows what date or year it is.
We see Ben leap into a boxer and the episode ends with him getting a punch. This is interesting because I’m doing a rewatch of Season 1 of the original series for this Transmission and the THIRD EPISODE of season 1 Sam leapt into a boxer. So…that must be a thing now. Every third episode of Season 1 of any Quantum Leap version the leaper must become a boxer.
Anyway, that’s episode 2. And now here’s the part where I complain.
This episode was so god damn boring. There was just no tense moments, no moments where I thought Ben was in danger. Like danger was mentioned, he did a thing for 2 minutes, and then he wasn’t in danger. They’d try to present a new danger but even that would get resolved quickly. Like this leap was boring. And that’s disappointing because he went TO SPACE! Sam Beckett never went to space in any of his leaps. And he totally could’ve! He could’ve leapt into Neil Armstrong or something. That would’ve been cool. But no, it was just boring.
And the 2022 plot happening at Quantum Leap also wasn’t interesting. In this aspect, they’re trying to make a season long mystery happen so we can get hooked but they’re going about it all wrong. OK Ben went back in time for a reason that only he knows and now his memory is bad because he’s quantum leaping. That’s fine. But here’s the thing: I’m 98% positive that they’re just trying to get Sam back. They found Sam and they know what date and year he’s at. And Ben is trying to get to him. The inclusion of Al’s daughter really proves that.
Speaking of Al’s daughter, I will say one positive thing: Al’s daughter seems fun. She was only on screen for I think literally a minute and her character seems fun. She was toying with Magic on the phone and the actress looked like she was enjoying herself. But again, she threatened to blow up the basement and there was no tension. Magic simply said “oh no the basement is going to blow” and they simply walk out of the house.
While I was thinking about what to write for this episode, something occurred to me. I think whoever the writers are for this show is nervous. It’s been 30 years since the original went off the air. The fans of Quantum Leap has been begging for a reboot or follow up for a long time. So now we got our reboot. And they don’t wanna mess this up. So they’re playing it safe. Well I think they’re playing it TOO safe! Again, there was hardly any tense moments, I never felt like Ben was in any real danger. I felt like the 2022 stuff didn’t lead anywhere, Magic didn’t get mad at Addison nor was there any real fighting or anything. Just “oh hey I hid this from you, sorry.” “Oh it’s ok. Let’s get back to work.”
Also, two episodes in and the chemistry between the two main leads (Addison and Ben) feel…weird. Like Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell really felt like friends and were chummy with each other. Al did a lot to help his friend and you can tell they really care. Addison, on the other hand, is just only kinda there. She pops in to tell Ben how to do astronaut things (I must’ve missed the part where Addison being an astronaut was mentioned but whatever) and is just kinda hanging out the rest of the time. And, I dunno, she seems kinda stiff. Like she just reports facts, taps on a thing once, and then doesn’t do much else. Also they don’t really do anything with the hologram thing in this one.
In the original series, Al was able to pop all around, even places Sam wasn’t at, to look at things and report back to Sam. During the Mir part, Addison easily could’ve popped over and came back and said “hey they’re over there but they’re asleep” and maybe been a bit more useful. Again, this could be that it’s early in the new series but they need to fix this whole thing.
One thing I didn’t really comment on was how cheap, I guess, everything felt. Like it really felt like they were just on a set, not on a space shuttle. And when Ben had to do a space walk, it just felt like two actors on a green screen. I never felt like they were actually in space.
Overall, I’m starting to get disappointed in this show. I tried to give it a chance after episode 1 because every show gets episode 1 jitters. And yes, this could be episode 2 jitters. It may need time to find it’s footing and it’s place before it gets up and running. And I hope that happens soon cause I feel like they’re gonna slowly lose all the Quantum Leap fans and this show won’t get a season 2.
Or even finish season 1.
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