Monday, October 24, 2022

Quantum Leap: What a Disaster

Apparently, Generation X is now just barely old enough for significant events from our teen years to appear in time travel shows. In fact, the Quantum Leap continuation series is appealing to those memories quite effectively. During the premiere episode, it was Live Aid. Now, Dr. Ben Song leaps right into the middle of the 1989 earthquake. We don’t have much nostalgia for that one, but the shock of how it disrupted the Bay Area World Series comes back vividly. Given the circumstances, Song has plenty of people to help in tonight’s Quantum Leap episode, “What a Disaster.”

If you missed “Salvation or Bust” last week, “Disaster” starts with the cliffhanger ending to the previous episode, which was a game-changer. Apparently, there is another leaper, who recognized Song and wasn’t too happy about it. Addison Augustine, Song’s holographic guide also saw him, so she will get Magic Williams’ team in the present-day working on an ID. Song has to concentrate on finishing his leap, presumably by saving John Harvey’s son. To do so, he and Harvey’s wife, Naomi Harvey, must travel from their current home in San Francisco to their old apartment building in Oakland, where their homesick son ran off to at the mother of inopportune times. Ironically, it is probably more dangerous to make this trip in broad daylight today than the night of the 1989 earthquake.

This episode clearly leans into family themes, in ways that stir memories of the amnesiac Song’s childhood that he never confided to Augustine before. “Disaster” does a nice job addressing the Harvey family’s issues, without glossing over messy complications. Song won’t fix everything, but maybe getting them back on a workable track.

“Disaster” also gives viewers an inkling of some of the mind-bending time-travel issues that might be coming down the road. Although it is not clear, there is reason to suspect the other leaper is from the future—relative to the present Williams and company operate in. As of now, “Leaper X” seems pretty cool and his record is faultless, so how and why is he leaping?

Jewel Staite (who was ill-served by her abrasive character in
Family Law) believably portrays all of Dr. Harvey’s human flaws as well as her motherly fierceness. Walter Perez is also intriguingly earnest as “Leaper X.” Right now, he and the writers have us guessing how his present self relates to what he might be doing as Leaper X. Of course, Ernie Hudson is as cool as always playing the unflappable Williams (again, delivering the best lines).

The pseudo-sequel-not-reboot series continues to dribble out clues for the season-long mystery with disciplined restraint—enough to tease and baffle, but not to the extent they overshadow the time-travel leaps. So far, it is a good balance. Still highly recommended,
Quantum Leap’s “What a Disaster” episode premieres tonight (10/24) on NBC and streams tomorrow on Peacock.