The New Quantum Leap Just Tackled an Old Sam Beckett Debate

The season 2 premiere of Quantum Leap addresses a lingering question from the original series’ finale.

Quantum Leap Season 2 addresses a key part of the lore of the original series.
Photo: NBC

This article contains spoilers for Quantum Leap season 1 and the premiere of season 2.

Does a Leaper control their leaps? It’s a question that Quantum Leap, both old and new series, seemingly have answers for. In the original show, Sam (Scott Bakula) was leaping because he was conducting a time travel experiment that went, to quote the original narration for the series, “a little caca.” He couldn’t control his leaps and hoped his next leap would be the one that would finally bring him home.

In the first season of the new series, Ben (Raymond Lee) had somewhat planned his leaps in order to get to a place in time where he could save the love of his life, Addison (Caitlin Bassett.) Now though in season 2 Ben is lost in time much like Sam was in the original series… Or was he? And is Ben really lost as well? Leaping always seemed random in the original series until the final episode, “Mirror Image” supposedly tossed everything out the window. 

In that episode, Sam, after five years of leaping, comes face to face with an entity simply known as Al the Bartender (Bruce McGill.) The Bartender is elusive with Sam over the whole episode until Sam finally manages to get a huge piece of information out of him. That Sam has, potentially, been controlling his leaps this whole time. The Bartender couches this in some vague language but he does finally give a more solid answer when Sam questions,


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