One of the hallmarks of Quantum Leap, both the original and new series, is the leaper impacting different lives across time. Rarely did Sam (Scott Bakula) or Ben (Raymond Lee) encounter the same characters across multiple leaps but that’s all about to change in a big way.
In this exclusive clip from season 2 episode 6 of the new Quantum Leap, “Secret History,” Ben runs into Hannah Carson (Eliza Taylor), a diner waitress he’d previously met in 1949, but it’s now 1955 on a completely different leap!
As Jenn (Nanrisa Lee) summarizes to Ben, the odds are “crazy slim” that he’d run into the same person on two different leaps. She’s right and the history of Quantum Leap backs her up. In the original series, which mostly consisted of stand-alone episodes, Sam hardly ever ran across the same people on different leaps. The biggest exceptions to these would be when he leapt into the LaMotta family twice, in the episodes “Jimmy” and “Deliver Us From Evil.” The other was when he leapt across the lifetime of Lee Harvey Oswald in the season 5 premiere.
This makes it seem like what the new Quantum Leap is doing in this clip isn’t all that special. However, those episodes weren’t fully committed to exploring the implications of running across the same people in different time periods. In “Deliver Us From Evil” the plot was more centered around how an Evil Leaper was destroying the LaMotta family, not just how Sam had impacted them. The episode that centered on Lee Harvey Oswald was mostly focused on Sam simply reliving the life of Oswald.
Even the new Quantum Leap, with a far more serialized storyline, has done little with the concept of leapers’ long-term impacts on people’s lives. Ben did briefly leap back into several past leaps in the season 1 finale but those didn’t involve much exploration of character.
This clip gives us a tantalizing look at the new Quantum Leap committing to a storyline that even the original series didn’t touch. Seeing the long term impacts of how leapers impact people’s lives. The above clip makes it seem like Ben will be helping Hannah, but is he only doing that because the two shared a conversation about science back season 2 episode 3, “Closure Encounters”? Did Ben indirectly cause whatever problem he’s helping her with on this leap? It opens up all kinds of questions about the impacts of leapers on those they help.
If he isn’t helping Hannah, why has he crossed paths with her again? Jenn states she isn’t picking up any “quantum anomaly” around Hannah, which seems to indicate she isn’t a leaper. Jenn theorizes, “maybe the accelerator just decided you needed a friend.” With all that the new Quantum Leap has been playing around with the very concept of leaping, this isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
We’re fascinated to see where this goes and how Hannah might figure into this episode and beyond for the new Quantum Leap.
(Also, Jenn commenting on the fact she doesn’t need to whisper as a hologram is a fantastic joke. It beautifully plays with the fact that next to no one besides the leaper can see or hear the hologram, yet the hologram can’t help but whisper when the situation would normally demand it.)
New episodes of Quantum Leap season 2 premiere Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The upcoming episode, “Secret History,” airs Wednesday, November 15.