Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, May 07, 2004

OK, one problem with new comment system on my blog. I find I'm now reading my own blog about 6 times a day to see if anyone has left any comments. It's sad, really.

Actually, I'm kind of thrilled. After being stuck at a certain point since Christmas, I'm finally making headway in Pokemon: Sapphire Edition. Yeah, I'll admit. I cheated. I went searching online and found a walkthough. But I would have never thought of it. Turns out, I was strong enough now to take on the Petalburg gym leader - my father! So, I had to go back to my hometown and kick Dad's ass. Anyway, Dad turned out to be a bit of a pushover, so now I can teach my water pokemon how to surf, and then I can ride that pokemon across the bay. And according to the timer on the game, I have wasted 31 hours of my life playing Pokemon. And I have yet to catch a Pikachu.

Oh, and I forgot to mention a cool tidbit about Enterprise. It was revealed that the name of the under-construction NX-02 is the Columbia. Obviously, it's named after the ill-fated space shuttle. That's one of the things that people have been pushing for for the longest time on Star Trek: a class of starship where all the ships are named after space shuttles. Maybe that'll happen with NX class on Enterprise. Did you know the joke on the original series? All the starships were named after U.S. aircraft carriers.

Anyway, the two people who follow this blog have left one resounding message: "What happened on the final episode of Quantum Leap for it to have such a profound impact?" I'll summarize it as best I remember. I haven't seen it since the first and only time it aired 11 years ago.

Dr. Sam Beckett leaps into a bar in a coal mining town in the late-1950s. He looks down to see he's wearing his clothes from the late-1990s (when Project Quantum Leap is set). He checks his wallet to see it's a Velcro sports wallet from the late-1990s. And he looks in a mirror to see that he's lept into...himself! Naturally, he thinks that something weird's going on. The bartender, however, takes this all as normal.

Meanwhile, back in the future, Al and Gucci (the guy who runs Quantum Leap's computers) are freaking out. Sam has completely dropped off their radar and there's no one in the waiting room. Something has gone wrong. They begin a wide-spectrum search for Sam, but they need some way to narrow the search. Al has this hunch: Sam is on his birthday. They narrow the search to Sam's birthdays.

Back in the past...Sam is freaking out even more. All the customers in the bar are people that Sam has helped in his leaps. Only, their coal miners now and they don't remember their previous lives at all. Finally, a bunch of miners storm into the bar. There was a cave-in, and if it weren't for this one miner sitting in the corner warning them, they would have all died. This heroic miner gives a knowing wink to Sam, then quantum leaps out of there. The bartender offers some sage-like advice that puts this into perspective, and Sam begins formulating a theory....

Back in the future, Al and Gucci's search turned up nothing. "Unless," Gucci said, "By Sam's birthday, you literally meant the day he was born. We didn't search that day." They reset the computer to search that day, and sure enough, that's when Sam is. Al hops into the holographic imaging chamber and makes contact with Sam.

Sam and Al talk, and Sam shares his theory. You know how we've always speculated that some kind of force is guiding my leaps, making sure I'm always in the right place at the right time? says Sam. Yeah, says Al. Well, says Sam, I think the bartender is that force. Al just kind of nods and goes back to the future to start figuring out what Sam's mission is.

Now on the front steps of the bar, pondering life, the universe, and everything, Sam is soon joined by the bartender. Sams asks the bartender why he was brought here. The bartender says that coming here was a break for Sam; a sabbatical, if you will. A look of horror comes over Sam's face as he realizes the truth: the leaps will never end. The bartender then asks Sam a question: if Sam could go anywhere in time, where would he go? The first answer to escape Sam's lips: "Home. I want to go home." Sam breaks down into tears as he realizes that this goal will never be attained. After Sam regains his composure, Sam says, "Al. I would help Al." Sam leaps out of there.

(Necessary back story: Al was a soldier in Vietnam. He went MIA. His wife gave him up for dead and re-married. When Al escaped from his POW camp and returned home to his wife and saw what happened, it broke his heart and forever changed him.)

Sam leaps into the home of Al's wife in the late-1960s. Al's wife asks who Sam is and where he came from. Sam just says, "I'm a friend of Al's. And I need to tell you something. Al is alive. He's OK. He'll be home soon. Wait for him. Please, wait for him." Al's wife breaks down into tears of joy. Sam leaps out of there, and we fade to black.

Then, some "what ever happened to...?" cards pop up on screen. The first one tells us the ultimate fate of Al. He returned home to his wife. They will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary in the fall. They had six kids.

And then, the final words that haunt me to this very day: "Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home."

The end.

This final episode freaked me out so much because it raised soooooooo many questions about the history of the show, who or exactly what this force is, and I still wonder whatever happened to Sam. Did he keep leaping, helping out others? Did he just leap into oblivion? Did he acheive a higher state of existence? Quite frankly, I need to know. If he never returned home, where did he go? So many questions arose from that one episode.

And, before I go, one last tidbit. As a lasting reference to Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula actually is lobbying the creators of Enterprise to reveal that Capt. Archer's middle name is "Beckett."

Next Issue...Across the Bay

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