Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Quantum Leap: This Took Too Long (Season Premiere)

History got the end of the Cold War right, but that was not necessarily the case with every battle and maybe one of the related wars. Fortunately, Dr. Ben Song can help fix a clandestine Air Force mission that went wrong in 1978. Not so fortunately for him, though. He thought his leap in the season one finale would be his last, but his show was renewed for a second season, so here he is. For reasons not yet clear to him or viewers, Song must take this leap solo, without the help of his holographic support team in “This Took Too Long,” the season premiere of showrunner Martin Gero’s Quantum Leap continuation series, which premieres tomorrow on NBC.

Apparently, a lot of embargoed stuff happened since the previous episode, but the upshot is Song must navigate this leap on his own. He finds himself part of a team of Air Force foul-ups and their commander, Lt. Ellen Grier, who is trying to prove herself to her sexist superior officers. Their orders are to escort a crate (which looks like it could hold the Ark of the Covenant) through Soviet airspace, to India. (India was closer to the USSR during the Cold War, but whatever.)

Indeed, theirs is not to wonder why, but a little context might be helpful when they are shot down. Song has leaped into their comms specialist, so they are probably getting a serious upgrade in skills. He also remembers a lot of the military insights he gleaned from his fiancĂ©e, Addison Augustine, a veteran, whose words he frequently revisits via flashbacks. Although he previously self-described as a “pacifist,” to survive this leap Dr. Song will have to fight Commies, which makes up for sulky Sgt. Curtis Bailey’s “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” backstory.

This episode raises all kinds of questions, but provides very few answers—more like none. Yet, this is still one of the better written self-contained leaps. There is a good deal of old school Cold War action to which Song constructively applies his brainy problem-solving skills. Fans who remember when the original series was new will most likely appreciate Song’s results.

Melissa Roxburgh is also a great guest-star to help anchor the season premiere. She is convincingly tough and commanding as Lt. Grier, a surprisingly smartly written character. She has a lot to say about sexism in the advanced ranks, but her patriotic drive to serve is an even greater motivation. While P.J. Byrn and Aaron Abram bicker a lot as the two Sgt. Abrams, they never sound completely out of military character.

In this episode, Dr. Song fights a good fight. As for the continuing story arc, next episode will probably explain more. Regardless, there is some worthy time-travel business going on in “This Took Too Long,” which is highly recommended when it airs tomorrow (10/4) on NBC and streams the next day on Peacock.