Monday, February 27, 2023

Quantum Leap: Family Style

Usually, it takes Dr. Ben Song a few beats to figure out the relationship dynamics of a new leap, but he catches on almost immediately when he finds himself amid an immigrant Indian restaurant-owning family. His host’s mother reminds him a lot of his own late mother, so he is determined to prevent their restaurant from burning down in “Family Style,” tonight’s episode of Quantum Leap.

Fortunately, Song has watched enough cooking shows to avoid embarrassing himself in Sonali Prasad’s kitchen. However, he knows the matriarch will potentially die from a heart attack in a few weeks, after the loss of the family restaurant. It is not hard to identify potential causes, starting with their landlady, Kathy Tanner, whose thugs pull a gun on Song, demanding their back rent with interest.

This is probably Song’s most recent year yet, going all the back to the distant year of 2009. Way back then, Song hatches a plan to generate business and buzz using Groupon. Wow, remember them? At least there is some high stakes tension supplied by Tanner’s thugs. However, like the previous episode, “Family Style” leans heavily into dysfunctional family drama.

This episode is still a vast improvement over the previous installment, because it forgoes the preachy messaging. However, the writers’ room would be well advised to add in more genre elements going forward, be they science fiction, capers, or general criminal shenanigans of some sort. Frankly, time travel fans deserve another “Leap, Die, Repeat” or “Salvation or Bust,” which really explored the sub-genre’s potential.

Be that as it may, Nandini Minocha and Anisha Jagannathan are both very credible and compelling as Song’s Leap-mother and Leap-sister. This episode celebrates family values and it makes you hungry for Indian cuisine, both of which should definitely have a greater place in prime-time television.

As a result, “Family Style” is a very pleasant rebound episode, but it probably will not define the series for fans. Viewers who resent being lectured to can safely leap again. Recommended for fans of the franchise and culinary entertainment, “Family Style” premieres tonight (2/27) on NBC and streams tomorrow on Peacock.