Monday, February 06, 2023

Quantum Leap: Let Them Play

Star Trek was remarkably clever in the ways it addressed current social issues of its time in a science fiction context, without seeming to. That was almost sixty years ago, but a lot of TV writers working today can clearly still learn lessons from that show. In contrast, almost every line of dialogue blatantly tries to teach viewers a lesson in “Let Them Play,” this week’s episode of Quantum Leap, which airs tonight on NBC.

This is the most recent leap yet for Dr. Ben Song, who finds himself in the year 2012 and the body of a high school girls basketball coach. Coach Mendez’s daughter is also on the team—his trans daughter. Obviously, the subject matter of this episode makes it almost unreviewable. It also puts itself squarely on one side of the debate regarding the future of women’s athletics at the prep and collegiate level.

As a result, “Let Them Play” comes across as ultra-preachy. The only saving grace are the scenes with the always cool Ernie Hudson as Quantum Leap project director Magic Williams, who uncovers a potentially shocking revelation that is also bizarrely ironic, given the details of this episode.

This is definitely a case where the story-telling gets lost in the message-making. It is especially disappointing, given how strong
Quantum Leap has been up to this point. “Let Them Play” airs tonight (2/6) and streams tomorrow on Peacock.