Watching “Atlantis” a detail from the original Quantum Leap reared its head and wouldn’t let go. Where exactly does the person that Ben is displacing in time go? The original had an area where the person would leap to and could then interact with Al in the future, but so far, we’ve not seen or heard it mentioned.
And while it doesn’t solve the question of when and how the astronaut that Ben replaces died earlier in the story, it does provide some better insight into the person Ben is replacing. We certainly got the impression that Al was interacting with the person first before coming to see Sam to help Sam “pass” as the person he had leapt into.
This was a better episode than the pilot last week, probably because that one did most of the heavy lifting in terms of exposition. Now that we have the team in place and a thumbnail view of who each person is, we can start digging in a bit to the future.
I did find the conflict between what the team in the future wants Ben to know versus what the person contacting Ben wants him to know intriguing. An early original episode saw Al sending messages to Sam via an ancient language Sam knew, written out on a sash Al was wearing. I did find it interesting to see Addison pushing Ben to recall things and jog his memory over the express orders of Magic in the future.
We also get a cameo from Beth, who puts Magic on the trail of Janice, Al’s daughter who has some type of connection to why Ben decided he had to go. I’m glad we got this cosmic map that the previews leaned heavily into on the radar now instead of making us wait a few more episodes to bring things into focus. The easy answer to where Ben is going is to somehow find Sam. I imagine that Janice could feel that given how much Sam gave up to save Al (one of the few through lines of the original series), maybe she owes it to Sam to bring him home when her father couldn’t do it. If that’s where this all leads (and assuming that Scott Bakula is hedging when he says he’s not involved), I will be all for it.
As for the main plot of “Atlantis,” it felt like a page out of the original. The original series was very imitative, taking pieces of successful films of its era and telling its own kind of story around them. In many ways, it felt like this was a Quantum Leap take on Gravity, with our characters in there.
I did like that we actually hear about and see Ben being the glue that can hold a team together – we hear about it in the future and see him doing it on the shuttle. His wonder about being in space and then his recklessness to solve the problem also worked well.
I do, however, feel like the moments with hidden meaning for Madison when Ben says something about coming home or the nature of their relationship, could become strained quickly. So far, they are achieving a good balance, but it could go ka-ka quickly if they aren’t careful.