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I just finished watching the current Quantum Leap show, episode 3, Somebody Up There Likes Ben. It’s October 2, 1977 in Las Vegas and Ben has leapt into a boxer named Danny Hill (Jermaine Alverez Martin). Danny’s got a complicated life. He’s been trained by the old brother who raised him Daryl (Bayardo De Murguia). He’s also seeing a woman named Angela (Danielle Larracuente) who is his boxing opponent’s girlfriend. Confused, Ben gets almost knocked cold by his sparing partner.
Oh, Spoiler Alert!
Long story short, Daryl missed his shot at a boxing career because he served in Vietnam. He’s married, no kids yet, and suffers from PTSD, which was a lot less well understood in the 1970s. Addison is having a hard time pulling data from Ziggy for some reason but eventually figures out that Daryl is in hock up to his eyes and if Danny loses the championship fight the next evening, they’ll lose the gym and Daryl will commit suicide.
At this point, Addison doesn’t mention that Ben has leapt back before his lifetime, but we’ll get there.
Addison has 24 hours to not only teach Ben how to box but to win. She’s fighting her own battle, constantly being in the imaging chamber trying to help Ben and totally stressed out over everything. Ian is becoming quite the nurturer, the person she goes to when she needs an ear. Fortunately, Ian isn’t too much the stereotypic computer nerd. He has also noticed a problem with Ziggy.
Meanwhile, Magic is getting hassled by the Pentagon over their power consumption and he doesn’t know how long his lies will keep them off of the Project’s back. In going over the code Ben uploaded into Ziggy, Ian figures it might be a while before Ben leaps home.
Ben himself is worried since he expected to leap back into his life by now.
Addison apparently does know how to box, plus she pulls up the fight and projects it as a life-size hologram, coaching Ben through each move he’ll need to make so he can knock out the champ in the second round.
Ian finally confirms that Ben is leaping along some sort of path to a destination but he can’t figure out the path or where he’s going at first. Then he realizes that the path is like one taken by spacecraft when they need gravity assist by flying by other planets on their way to the outer solar system and beyond. Ben is doing that but with time.
He explains that Ben is able to leap back before his lifetime because the new code took out most of the safety protocols. As I recall, the “in your own lifetime” limit was the base theory upon which Sam Beckett created Project Quantum Leap in the first place. It wasn’t a “safety feature.” Whatever. It does mean Ben can leap back as far as he wants to go.
This supports one of my theories from my last blog post that the destination could be “Al’s Place” in 1953 where Sam met “God.”
At the weigh-in, Daryl beats on some of the champ’s guys when they call him a “baby-killer.” The champ also threatens to take Danny apart for stealing his girlfriend.
Frantic, Addison uses hologram technology and “shadow boxing” to teach Ben but in the middle of it all, she passes out and collapses on the imaging chamber floor, “disappearing” from Ben’s perspective.
In the present, Ian finds that the reason Ziggy has been so slow and initially missed Daryl’s suicide is because Janice has a backdoor built into Ziggy. She can’t issue any commands, but she can collect data. They could lock her out if they rebooted Ziggy but that would take a week or more and the Project would lose contact with Ben.
It’s probably a trojan introduced last episode when they uploaded a hard drive they had retrieved from Janice’s place (I told you they found it way too easily). Janice knew what they would do, but her plan is still mysterious.
Jenn’s been digging into Ben’s past. He’s been working on the new code for six months. Apparently, whenever he took a trip, he’d cut it short and disappear, probably to meet up with Janice. Addison’s going to be pissed when she finds out the level of secrets he was keeping from her.
Janice visits Beth bringing a bottle of wine. She’s furious because she knows it was Beth, not Magic, who kept her from joining the project. Beth said Al died having failed to retrieve Sam and she didn’t want Janice to suffer the same failure. Janice is very confident that he’s intelligent enough to succeed where her Dad failed. She demands that Beth give her all of her Dad’s material and equipment from the Project. Beth refuses and then passes out from the drug Janice put in her wine.
Daryl is hanging on by an emotional thread when the cops come to the gym to arress Daryl for assaulting the champ’s cronies, even though it was self-defense. A recovered Addison tells Ben he’ll be in jail for three days missing the fight. Ben calls the cops “pigs” (did I tell you he’s black and this is 1977?) and they arrest him, too.
This has the effect of getting them out of jail (Angela puts up the bail money) early. While in their cell, with Addison coaching him, Ben convinces Daryl not to give up and to keep going.
One of the hard problems in training Ben in boxing is that Ben’s right handed, but Danny’s a lefty. That will eventually work to his advantage.
The training and advanced knowledge (and Ben’s photographic memory which we suddenly find out about) work. He sees the opening and clocks the champ. The only problem is that the champ recovers before the count of ten. Now Ben has no guidelines except that being right handed, maybe the champ won’t expect him to fight that way.
One more round and Ben gets lucky (of course he was going to win).
But while Ben was almost knocked out himself, he had a memory. The images were hazy but he heard a woman’s voice telling him to wake up. Did he realize it was Addison’s?
The future resolves. Daryl pays his debts and keeps the gym and after his therapy helps him, he starts one of the first veterans’ recovery groups for PTSD. He also has a couple of kids, and Danny gets to be the middle-weight champion of the world.
He starts to tell Addison about what he dreamed but then leaps in mid-sentence.
At home, Addison is watching some cheesy romantic comedy TV show alone…one she used to watch with Ben. She’d told that to Ian earlier and so the gang from the office show up with pizza and beer to watch it with her. During the show, Magic gets a phone call from Beth. All these years, Al had equipment from the Project he wasn’t supposed to keep including the original hand link to Ziggy.
We see Janice in some lab complex, the link, highly recognizable from the original show, hooked into Ziggy.
I can’t believe locking her out is so hard. First of all, sever all external communications links. Without an internet connection or other network to the outside, she’d be stopped cold.
At the episode’s end, Ben is in a bar with some sleezy guy hitting on him…or should I say her since Ben has leapt into a woman for the first time.
Yes, it’s abundantly clear that Janice has sent Ben into the past to retrieve Sam Beckett. We know he’s on a trajectory that will take him ten or twenty or however many leaps to eventually reach Sam. His memory is getting a little better since he remembers being an only child. The real mystery is why Janice thinks she has to do this alone. Once Ben leapt, Ziggy’s programming should have pre-set him to jump so many times and then find Sam. Does she think the government would kill the Project stranding both men in the past forever?
My three-minute-of-less review of the episode: