the original quantum leap The series has become a fan favorite due to its slice-of-life approach to storytelling, following Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) as he walks a day in the life of someone else – in the purpose of righting a wrong and putting it on a better path.
It jumped into dozens and dozens of eras and stories over five seasons and 97 episodes – and while the basic concept was easy to follow – the series had its own sci-fi canon to follow, including some key leaps (including some key leaps related to Sam’s life) and the series finale that asked as many questions as it answered.
So, with the early 1990s original series airing start-to-finish Fridays on SYFY as part of SYFY Rewind, we’re taking a look back at key new (and old) episodes fans need to catch up on before the next revival series. . at NBC this fall. The upcoming new series on NBC is set 30 years after the original series and picks up with a new team led by Dr. Ben Seong (Raymond Lee) as the new jumper, supported by a future team with Herbert “Magic” Williams from Ernie Hudson. and Caitlin Bassett’s Addison. The new show is set in the same canon as the original series, so it stands to reason that Sam Beckett could still be there – somewhere – always jumping.
But in the meantime, here are the key episodes to dig into while waiting for new adventures.
“Genesis” – Season 1, Episode 1
If you want to know the nuts and bolts of quantum leap, there’s no better place to start than the beginning. The two-episode extended premiere “Genesis” introduces viewers to the core concept and cast that will propel the series forward over the next five years. After testing his time machine in the future, Sam wakes up with a fuzzy memory in the body of a man from the 1950s. He is soon greeted by Al (Dean Stockwell), a friend who is a holographic projection of the future that helps guide him in his weekly jumps. The bones of the show are there from the jump, and the pilot remains the perfect primer.
“MIA” – Season 2, Episode 22
It’s one of the first episodes that really connects to Sam and Al’s lives – and this one also returns to star in the series finale, which makes it doubly important. The episode sees Sam jump into a man in 1969, who happens to be in the same town as Al’s ex-wife, who was left alone while Al was a POW overseas, presumed dead. . While Al was missing, the love of his life, Beth (Susan Diol), left and remarried someone else. The moment of the jump gives Sam a chance to turn his life around and tell him that Al is alive – and although Al is trying to guide him on this personal mission – that’s not the real reason they are. there (Sam is really in the late-1960s to save a detective’s life). Sam decides not to interfere in Beth’s life for fear of changing his own timeline.
The episode ends with the hologram Al slowly dancing with Beth as she dreams of her missing husband, in one of the most heartbreaking moments of the entire series, before Sam embarks on a new adventure.
“The Jump Home (Parts 1 & 2) – Season 3, Episodes 1-2
In this first installment of the season, Sam jumps on himself at the age of 16 and meets his late father and brother when he is still a teenager. Much like Al in “MIA”, Sam is also tempted to alter his own timeline to make changes he considers for the best. He tries to get his father to eat better and quit smoking to save him from a future heart attack, but only gets them to argue. He also tries to warn his brother that he will die in Vietnam a year later after leaving, but everyone thinks he has lost his mind. Sam’s mission is to win a basketball game he originally lost, putting some of his teammates on a better life path. As he hits the winning hook shot, he jumps…
… and jump right into the Vietnam War, embedded in the same unit as his brother Tom (David Newsom). Sam picks up a soldier named Herbert “Magic” Williams and tries to figure out how to walk a tightrope to ensure their mysterious mission is a success, while saving his brother. This comes at the expense of an embedded photographer joining the mission, but Sam is able to save his brother’s life and help him survive the day. The two parts is one of the best stories of the quantum leap canon, and one of the most personal for Sam, digging into his personal life and family.
“The Jump Back” – Season 4, Episode 1
The fourth season kicked off with a wild twist – Sam and Al swap places, thanks to a well-timed crush. Sam is sent back to a soldier returning home to try and find his lost love (a very personal story for Al), while Sam is sent back to the hologram’s imaging chamber in the future. Yes, he finally made it home to the Quantum Leap Control Center in the far future of (ahem) 1999. When Sam returns home, his memory returns as well (the jumping process causes a “Swiss cheese” effect on memories) , and he reunites with his wife Donna whom he had left behind – someone he had forgotten about while jumping, and who Al never told him about.
Sam spends the day in his old life, spending time with his wife and working at the control center to support Al. But he is forced to jump on Al when his life hangs in the balance, as Al is seconds away from being killed. as he attempted to carry out his mission. It’s a short reprieve, but it further lifts the curtain on the Quantum Leap project and the life Sam walked away from.
“Mirror Image” – Season 5, Episode 22
The end, even though technically it wasn’t meant to be. The episode “Mirror Image” is a slow affair, with Sam somehow leaping into his own body at the time of his birth. He finds himself in a bar in Pennsylvania in 1953, interacting with a bartender who knows far too much and meeting customers familiar from his old hops. It’s implied that the bartender might be the one pulling the strings behind these jumps (God? Another being?), though he tells Sam that Sat is actually behind it all. He could jump home if he wanted to, but he’s more determined to right the wrongs throughout the story, so he subconsciously continues.
With the realization that he can control his jumps, Sam decides to go back and fix his only impending regret: never telling Beth that Al was still alive in “MIA”. The episode ends with Sam going back to 1969 to see Beth – in her own body, jumping as himself this time around – and telling her that Al is there and will be back. We learn in a closing title card that Al and Beth reunite and live happily ever after. The series finale message reveals that Sam never returns home, apparently choosing to keep jumping and improving the timeline for the rest of his life.