It’s fascinating that Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 13 accomplishes two very different narrative missions simultaneously.
At HQ, it addresses the fall-out of Dottie’s revelation that Ian will leap into them at some future point in time. The brilliance is that any one of the team could’ve been the future leaper, and their reaction would’ve probably been the same. More on that later.
In the leap, the difference between Drs. Ben Song and Sam Beckett is spotlighted in the authenticity Ben brings to explaining the tensions at play in the intergenerational immigrant experience.
Whether from supporters or critics, the diversity of the new Quantum Leap team has drawn attention and commentary since Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 1 aired.
Like it or lump it, the team is a far more representative collection of individuals and, in contrast to the Sam and Al show that was the O.G., provides a welcome variety of insights and perspectives.
First and foremost has been Dr. Ben Song. Like Sam Beckett, he’s a brilliant mind with a good heart.
The difference lies in their upbringing. Where Sam had the all-American poster family growing up in the farmland of Indiana, Ben was raised by a single Korean immigrant mom.
As we saw on Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 6, Ben’s mother died suddenly while Ben was out, having left angrily after an argument.
Leaping into Kamani Prasad puts Ben in a host in a similar family situation. It ends up being a do-over of sorts, providing him with the opportunity for closure he never got with his mother.
The things I said to Sonali, those were things I wanted to say to my mom. I hadn’t even realized it myself. But now, I’m not carrying that anger around the same way anymore.
Ziggy’s never a 100% accurate predictor for Ben’s purpose in a leap, and it’s interesting to note that even if Ben had prevented the fire, it might not have saved the family.
With Firebug Kathy — determined to collect the insurance money on the building — pushing them out of their space, and the specter of Sonali’s heart attack and the family’s disintegration populating a bleak future, that moment of despair with the three of them sitting on the bench captures an incredibly honest reaction.
I’ll admit the idea of Groupon and a random wedding party of Good Samaritans combining to save the restaurant is pretty far-fetched, but wow, does it ever hit me in the feels.
Yeah, it’s a fairy-tale solution, but we’re here for happy endings.
And seeing the extended family pull together to produce and serve the meal is a heartwarming solution worthy of the most wholesome movie of the week.
However, it’s Ben’s conversation with Sonali that makes the difference that he wishes he could’ve made for his mother.
It’s a sad but believable fact that it takes seriously cutting her hand and passing out cold before Sonali is open to listening and considering a way other than the path she’s decided on.
Sonali: What do you want us to do?
Manisha: I thought you said I couldn’t…
Sonali: I know. But I changed my mind. I can do that, right?
Manisha: I don’t know. I’ve never seen it before.
Ben gives voice to many things that drive immigrant parents and families when making a new life in America.
Coming from him, the pressure put on the younger generation and the bastion of pride built to defend against all perceived threats — even family — is described with an authenticity that wouldn’t have translated to Sam Beckett’s life experience.
Do you really want pride to get in the way of family?
It’s a leap and a lesson that only Dr. Ben Song could use to set right what once went wrong.
Balancing out the very specific circumstances of the leap is Ian’s crisis of confidence.
As I said, Dottie could’ve drawn anyone on the team, and this crisis would’ve played out similarly.
That’s because we’ve gotten to know the team members, and every one of them is genuinely invested in bringing Ben home.
If Dottie had drawn Jenn or Magic or Addison’s faces, each of them would have suffered as Ian did, questioning their choices and personal values.
It might’ve been a slightly different scenario if it had been Janis, but I guess she’d already ruled that out.
What I love is that Ian is the central character in this storm of questions, but not because of their role as the genius programmer or a non-binary-identifying person.
They are central because they care for Ben and Addison. They fear they will make a decision that will harm their best friends.
No one here believes you’re a risk. But having you spun out like this is not helping you or us.
Magic sees that Ian’s fear is causing them to spiral and knows he isn’t the person Ian needs to see themself clearly.
He can only force Ian out of HQ and hope they have someone to turn to.
Magic: Take some time for yourself.
Ian: And go where?
Magic: I find when I need centering, the answer isn’t usually a place, it’s a person.
I am intensely interested in learning more about Rachel. I suspect we may not see her again this season, but I can hold out hope that there will be a social gathering in the epilogue of Ben’s misadventure that might see her invited.
As you watch Quantum Leap online, what are your thoughts on what could possibly force Ian to tell Ben to leap before the accelerator is ready?
Considering the sketches showed Ian looking older than they are now, will this be a question we are left with for multiple seasons?
Or will we never learn the truth since Ian has effectively created a new timeline by sending Ben into the accelerator?
Hit our comments with your thoughts and theories! Let’s discuss all the options!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.