Can I just start this off by saying I want an episode of this show written by Donald P. Bellisario and/or Deborah Platt ASAP?
With that out of the way, we can move onto the third installment, which shows further steps toward the show finding its own voice.
Ben leaps into the body of a young boxer, who is about to go lose the title fight of his career due to being distracted. Is it because he’s seeing the girlfriend of his rival boxer or that his brother is suffering PTSD from his tours in Nam?
“Someone Up There Likes Ben” leans heavily into the relationship between the brothers, giving us an emotional hook to root for. This includes up to and including the fight, when Ben has memorized the original fight and found a moment he can score a knock-out, thanks to Addison’s help (more on this later). Of course, this being Quantum Leap, what should have knocked out the opponent doesn’t work and Ben has to improvise.
Luckily, he does and wins the fight, thus putting history onto a new and better course.
As with the first two installments, the storyline in the past works on just about every level. While Ben isn’t Sam (again, who could be?!?), it feels like they’re working to make him a likable hero that we can root for and one who is driven to do the right thing, as Sam was at times. I would like to see a story where we get an unexpected twist or cameo like the original did, but it’s only the third episode and I don’t think we got the Buddy Holly twist until five or six episodes into the original.
Meanwhile, back in the present, I do like the series looking at the toll physically and emotionally Ben’s leaping is taking on Addison. Her driving herself to exhaustion to link with Ben and keep him from getting lost in time is nicely done. Again, the original often felt like there was a lag time between Sam leaping and Al finding him where Al could rest/date Tina/do whatever. The ending made it feel a bit like they are trying to help Addison find that here with the new crew.
The plotline that really didn’t engage as much (and it should) was Janice. I keep asking myself if Janice weren’t somehow connected to Al, would I be as annoyed about her storyline and I can’t quite decide. Janice is obsessed with the project, though we haven’t yet really discovered any good motivation for this. Was it that she missed her dad, who was obsessed with finding Sam? Did Al’s death send her down this path? Why is she building what appears to be an imaging chamber? And what is the connection she and Ben share?
I have a feeling we are going to find out Janice wrote the new code Ben put into Ziggy and she knows more than she’s telling about his endpoint.
And while last week, I felt the endpoint had to be Sam, perhaps the endpoint is the bar where Sam leapt to in the finale. Or is it something else entirely that is connected to the original’s emphasis of Sam and Al’s friendship?
Part of me also wonders if this somehow ties into the whole evil leaper thread from season five.
2 responses to “TV Round-Up: Quantum Leap, Somebody Up There Likes Ben”
I’m surprised that I’ve been liking this new Quantum Leap as much as I have. They have been doing a good job.
It’s growing on me. You can’t replace the original chemistry Bakula and Stockwell had, but they’re doing some good stuff here.