Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 6 Review: What A Disaster!Diana Keng at . Updated at .
Time travel, amirite?
On Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 6, Janis's shenanigans may still be on the back burner, but they aren't wasting any time addressing the mystery leaper encountered at the end of Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 5.
Meanwhile, some familiar faces and a deep dive into Ben's memories provide unexpected depth as to how and why he found his way to Quantum Leap.
It occurs to me -- and not for the first time -- that leapers need to be more than just smart; they need to be active puzzle-solvers who not only think deeply about a situation but quickly.
Leaping into someone at the moment their spouse demands a divorce is probably pretty high on the pivot-skills scale.
Ben: We’re in San Francisco, right?
Naomi: I get it. You didn’t want to move here. You’ve made that very clear. I tried, John. I went to therapy. I changed my hours to better suit your… I’m killing myself trying to make this work but I can’t do it anymore. I want a divorce.
Ben: Oh… from me?
When that spouse is [portrayed by] Family Law's Jewel Staite, I'd assume it would be even more of a gut punch.
It's interesting to watch how Ben has developed a system to deduce information about his surroundings. Compared to the little frontier town room he arrives at in Salvation, the San Fran sports bar has a lot more to help him figure out where and when he is.
People's clothes, the technology present, the music on the radio, the news on the TV, and even (potentially) whether people are smoking or vaping, or masked. It all serves to build a picture of the setting and narrow down potential dangers and complications.
In fact, each of Ben's leaps and landings reminds me of Sissy Spacek's Ruth Deaver on Castle Rock when her dementia shifts her back and forth in time in her mind.
Ben knowing his own identity and situation notwithstanding, his leaps require a reorientation. Much like someone dealing with memory loss or cognitive misfiring, it takes considerable effort to figure things out while trying to jump into the flow of the situation.
If, as in this case, he leaps into a conversation in progress, the sudden confusion could be (and is) interpreted as apathy, distraction, or flippancy.
Ben: We need to go. We need to go. Now.
Naomi: No, no, we need to talk. You can’t keep running…
Ben: Everything is about to collapse around us.
Naomi: It already has. I’m done, John. And if you’re not going to fight for us…
The fact he remembers the date and time of the San Francisco earthquake feels a bit esoteric, but that might just be the perspective of someone who lives in a country that doesn't have large earthquakes.
A quick Internet dive reveals that over sixty people died, but thousands were injured. The Internet also informs me that it takes the BART sixteen minutes to travel from San Francisco to Oakland. Naomi's disbelief at John's suggestion of running to Oakland via the parallel access tunnel is well-founded.
While learning about Ben's mother and the events that drove him to become a part of the Quantum Leap team may seem like a narrative detour, I wonder if these initial leaps are driven by Ben's need to rediscover himself.
His first leap on Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 1 took him into a man pretending to be someone else. His next (Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 2) jogged his memory of his childhood admiration of the very person he leaped into.
In Vegas on Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 3, he remembered he'd always wanted a brother, and on Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 4, being in a loving partnership jumpstarted his memories of Addison and their relationship.
Salvation gave him (and the team) a potential key for unlocking why he leaped in the first place, with Martinez outing himself as a leaper.
And then, here, we see Ben as a child and teen, behaving as a typical kid and teenager does despite his incredible IQ.
When his mission extends beyond saving Jason's life to improving it by facilitating his reconciliation with Naomi, my theory about these leaps being linked to his psychological needs starts to flesh out.
His connection to Jason's situation is deep. Jason also has a brilliant mind and will put it to use as a civil engineer. Jason also resents his mother for her efforts to improve their lives.
Jason also runs when things get tough. Where Ben's mother dies while he's off sulking, Jason would've died on his trip down memory lane if Ben hadn't leaped into his father.
My last moments with my mom were full of anger. I never got to tell her I was sorry or thank her for everything she did for me. But that night changed my life. No wonder I got obsessed with physics and time travel. No wonder I wanted to join this program. You can draw a straight line from that moment to this.Ben
Ben's attempt to contact his mother before he leaps isn't as well thought-out as his other strategies. What exactly was he planning to say? How old was he in 1989? Wasn't he worried he'd cause his mother an early aneurism with the shock of talking with her time-traveling son?
Maybe he's still suffering head trauma from the building falling on him?
The team's semi-theoretical, partly metaphysical investigation of Leaper X is a messy bit of plot ambiguity.
Evil Leapers was the first theory the fanbase entertained. That would encompass the competing foreign government and outside private citizen options Jenn postulates.
Jenn: We don’t know who’s controlling the program five years from now, ten years from now, fifty years from now? The person you ran into may not have jumped yet but will in the future.
Magic: This makes my head hurt.
A future leaper isn't as popular a theory as the idea that Martinez was a Salvation resident housing Sam Beckett.
But yeah, it has been bandied about, likened to the Doctor Who/River Song relationship where he meets her for the first time on the last adventure of her life, effectively after she's spent a lifetime with his future selves.
Martinez in 2022 is almost a little too good to be true.
Actor Walter Perez has excellent recognition value for fans of Queen Sugar and Friday Night Lights. As Martinez, he's the squeaky-cleanest Marine ever.
Enthusiastic about leaping into danger on any orders too. Talk about foreshadowing.
Magic: Admiral Herbert Williams. I hope it’s okay, your CO gave me your home address.
Martinez: I’m in, sir.
Magic: In for what, son?
Magic: I don’t understand.
Martinez: Sir, an admiral just showed up at my doorstep unannounced in plain clothes with a real serious vibe. This is about some special ops or secret mission. You had me at hello. I’m in, sir.
Magic: Well. I appreciate that.
There's social commentary at work in Martinez's backstory, of course.
Whether his dream of citizenship becomes the pressure point that pits him against the QL team is something we'll have to watch unfold in time.
Martinez: Money is not my main motivation.
Jenn: Then what is?
Martinez: My parents came here from Mérida when I was nine. My brothers were six and seven. The risk we took just to get here. This country gave us stability, gave us safety, gave us a good living. I’m sorry, I still get emotional just thinking about it.
Jenn: That’s why you joined?
Martinez: Ma’am, I joined for the one thing America didn’t give me. Citizenship. I love this country. I wanna stay. I wanna vote. I wanna protect it from enemies, both foreign and domestic. So, there’s a mission that needs me, I’m in, sir. No questions asked. Just point me in the right direction.
Will Magic and Jenn recruit him to the team to try to head him off on future shenanigans?
There's a lot to process, so be sure to watch Quantum Leap online and try to spot the clues they've seeded for future on-ramps.
I like the Leaper X moniker, even if Magic's resistant. I only wonder how they know if Martinez is the only other leaper out there. Shouldn't they maybe start at A?
Addison: What do you have on the new leaper?
Ian: Well, we are calling them, ‘Leaper X’
Magic: No, we are not.
Ian: It was worth a shot.
Halloween's up next! With Ben leaping into a priest and entering a house with a spooky address, are we in for hauntings and exorcisms?
Will we get more Martinez, or will Janis finally return?
Scare up your best theories and hit our comments below!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond 'til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.