Review of Quantum Leap Ep5: “Salvation or Bust”

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QUANTUM LEAP — “Salvation or Bust” Episode 105 — Pictured: (l-r) Yaani King Mondschein as Frankie, Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song, Nicole Alvarez as Valentina — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

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This week, Ben Song takes his biggest leap ever, back to 1879 in the old west. specifically to a town called Salvation. He finds himself as an old Mexican gunslinger named Diego De La Cruz (Alberto Manquero) whose granddaughter Valentina (Natalia del Riego) has called him out of his retirement in San Francisco to come back and defend their town.

Diego had left Salvation after his wife and son (who was the first mayor of Salvation) were killed. Salvation is a unique town in the west relative to the 21st century because it’s more progressive and inclusive than most cities in the first world are today. But, in this case, true to many western TV and film tropes, the evil railroad company wants to drive the population out and take their land. Actually, the episode is loaded with old western tropes. Oddly though, although the bad guys are all white, they don’t hurl even a single racist or sexist insult to the townspeople, which is pretty strange.

The railroad has hired wanted gunman Josiah McDonough (William Mark McCullough) and his gang of violent miscreants to “convince” the inhabitants to clear out. Ben has leapt into the body of the aging and alcoholic Diego his granddaughter believes can defend the town. The only problem is that Ben is a total pacifist and hates guns and violence (which didn’t seem to bother him in the episode Somebody Up There Likes Ben when he had to beat a boxer to unconsciousness, but never mind that…character traits and personal histories appear out of nowhere in this episode).

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