Sunday, March 05, 2023

Quantum Leap: S.O.S.

In The Final Countdown, the entire U.S.S. Nimitz is sent through a time warp. In this case, it is just Dr. Ben Song time-traveling. This Naval-themed leap will be extremely personal for Addison Augustine, his fiancĂ© and holographic guide—not just because she is a veteran. She was actually Army, but her estranged father is the Executive Officer on the American battleship Song leaps aboard in “S.O.S.,” this week’s episode of Quantum Leap premiering Monday on NBC.

Awkwardly, Augustine knows exactly what went wrong during these 1989 war game exercises. Her father ignored a garbled distress call from an American sub, resulting in the loss of all souls aboard her—except he doesn’t. It is XO Alexander Augustine’s mentor and legendary commanding officer, who is convinced the S.O.S. is a Chinese ruse (not completely without cause). Unfortunately, there is a bit of a
Caine Mutiny situation going on, but in this case the captain is a little too decisive.

After a bit of a rough patch, the new
Quantum Leap continuation series returns to its early form. There is a lot of smart writing this time around, especially when the holographic Addison explains the cold hard truth about military chain of command to Song. He might not like his commanding officer’s decision, but he has to accept it, at least in the short term.

The truth about the incident turns out to involve questionable Chinese tactics that spiraled out of control. Even though Quantum Leap project director Admiral “Magic” Williams has a friendly “reach out” to his Chinese contact, the implications of this episode will likely get it banned by the CCP. It also applies finally time travel complications to big macro events, like a potential war that never originally happened. As a result, the stakes in this episode are considerably greater than mere family melodrama.

It also features a great guest-shot from Brandon Routh (Superman) as XO Augustine. Thanks to his humanizing performance, “S.O.S.” radically alters Augustine’s perception of her father—and gives Song (and viewers) a crash course in the demands placed on officers and the baggage they often carry as a result.

Despite the issues of Augustine’s commanding officer’s competency, “S.O.S.” is highly sympathetic to the military. For established fans of the series, there is also a heck of kicker involving the continuing storyline. It combines some great time travel science fiction and some nifty Naval techno-thriller elements. Highly recommended, “S.O.S.” airs tomorrow night (3/6) on NBC and streams on Peacock the next day.