Leaping in, Sam finds himself in a small mining bar in Cokeburg, Pennsylvania - as himself, in the exact moment he was born. He encounters bartender Albert, who claims Sam was the one controlling the leaps ...
Episode Number: #5.22 / #96
German Title: Das Spiegelbild
Italian Title: Dove Vuoi Andare Sam?
French Title: Le grand voyage
Dr. Samuel Beckett leaps into a bar, puts his hat on the counter, orders a beer and looks into the mirror ...
... the obligatory "Oh boy" that comes after this quite common opening is more heartfelt than ever, on the viewer's part as well as on Sam's. For the first time in many years, the mirror shows Sam's own face, and what follows is a thoroughly cryptic episode that would have made any illusionist proud. MI is so enigmatic that it offers the ultimate "answer a question with a question"-feeling to die-hard fans and utter confusion to anyone else.
Don't get me wrong, I love this episode. It's a wonderful mixture of impressively atmospheric sets, deep and powerful - even though highly confusing - dialogues and neat script that combines amazingly comic moments with deeply philosophic approaches.
Individually, MI is a brilliant episode that provides a positively enjoyable watching experience. As it is, though, it proves a little dissatisfying as a last episode. It leaves the viewer quite discontented as we now know even less than we did before. MI brought up many new questions and answered very few of the old ones.
Especially the infamous last words "Dr. Sam Becket never returned home" have been cause for antagonism among fans. I'd say, though, we shouldn't take that "never" so seriously and remember that it is, to quote Bellisario, a very flexible word where timetravel is concerned.
After all, we have to take into account that it wasn't clear whether QL was going into a sixth season or not as MI was produced and that these final words were, in that respect, probably put together in somewhat of a haste. Sam's wrongly spelled surname is quite enough evidence of that.
Though it tends to be a little too ambiguous at times, in my opinion MI doesn't deserve the aversion it has received from many fans. It's a wonderful episode about the friendship between Sam and Al and works out Sam's feelings for the task he has stranded himself with.
Therefore, my opinion is a little torn here. On the one hand, I like the episode a lot. On the other hand, I think it sucks. But, as they say, a writer has been successful when the critics disagree. I think they have accomplished that with a vengeance.
Original Air Date: Wednesday, May 5, 1993
Writer: Donald P. Bellisario
Director: James Whitmore, Jr.
Producer: Robin Jill Bernheim
Chas. Floyd Johnson
Executive Producer: Donald P. Bellisario
Richard C. Okie
Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett
Dean Stockwell as Al Calavicci
Bruce McGill as bartender Al
John DiAquino as Tonchi
Richard Herd as Simo Servanovich (aka Ziggy)
W. Morgan Shappard as miner Gooshie
Stephen McHattie as Stawpah
Michael Genovese as Mr. Collins
Susan Diol as Beth Calavicci
Dan Butler as Mutta
Dennis Wolfberg as Gooshie
James Whitmore, Jr. as Police Captain
Kevin McDermott as Kruger
Ferdinand Carangelo as Ghee
Brad Silverman as Pete
J.D. Daniels as kid #1
Michael Bellisario as kid #2
Donald P. Bellisario as miner
Guest Cast Notes:
Dennis Wolfberg was born March 29, 1946 and died of cancer on October 3, 1994.
Bruce McGill portrayed Jack Dalton in MacGyver. He was born July 11, 1950 in San Antonio, Texas as Bruce Travis McGill.
John DiAquino was born April 14, 1958 in Brooklyn, New York.
Richard Herd had recurring roles as Admiral Paris on Star Trek: Voyager, Noyce on SeaQuest DSV and Wilhelm on Seinfeld. He was born September 26, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts.
W. Morgan Shappard was born in London, England as William Morgan Shappard.
Susan Diol was born May 25, 1964 in Columbus, Ohio as Susan Vanita Diol.
Dan Butler had a recurring role as Robert Briscoe on Fraiser. He was born December 2, 1954 in Fort Wayne, Indiana as Daniel E. Butler.
James Whitmore, Jr. directed a number of QL episodes and of various other series that starred Scott Bakula, which includes Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Star Trek: Enterprise. As well as in Bellisario's J.A.G. He was born October 24, 1948 in New York.
Michael Bellisario, Don Bellisario's son, was born April 7, 1980.
Guest Cast who appeared in other Belisarius productions:
John DiAquino had a recurring role as Stuard Dunston on J.A.G.
Michael Bellisario had a recurring role as Mike Roberts on J.A.G.
Ferdinand Carangelo played Luigi in the J.A.G. episode A New Life.
Guest Cast who appeared in other QL episodes:
Dennis Wolfberg played Gooshie in Genesis (#1.01), Lee Harvey Oswald (#5.01/#5.02), The Leap Back (#4.01), and Killin' Time (#5.05), too.
Bruce McGill also played Dr. Ernst in Genesis (#1.01 / #1.02)
Susan Diol played Beth Calavicci in M.I.A., too (#2.22)
Richard Herd also played Moe Stine in Future Boy (#3.13)
John DiAquino also played Frank LaMotta in Jimmy (#2.08) and Deliver us from Evil (#5.07)
Michael Genovese also played Don Geno Frascati in Double Identity (#1.06)
Michael Bellisario also played some boy in Camikazi kid (#1.08), Billy (the bat boy) in Play Ball (#4.02) and Martin Elroy, Jr. in A Tale of Two Sweeties (#5.12)
J.D. Daniels also played Josh Elroy in A Tale of Two Sweeties (#5.12)
Dan Butler also played Jake Dorleac in Southern Comforts (#3.16)
James Whitmore, Jr. also played Bob Crockett in 8 ½ Month (#3.12) and could be seen as Clayton Fuller's mirror image in Trilogy, pt. I (#5.08)
Brad Silverman could be seen as Jimmy LaMotta's mirror image in Jimmy (#2.08), Shock Theatre (#3.22) and Deliver us from Evil (#5.07).
Donald P. Bellisario could be seen as Dr. Mintz' mirror image in A Portrait for Troian (#2.11)
Place: Cokeburg, Pennsylvania
Leap-date: Saturday, August 8, 1953; 12:30 p.m.
Leapee's Name: Sam leaped as himself
Date at the Project: 2000 (sometime before June)
Gooshie suffers from halitosis.
They do a nano search with the Imaging Chamber in order to find Sam. Ziggy thought it might take a month to get a lock. When doing a nano search, Al must be in the Waiting Room and a multicolored tornado of past images whirls around him.
The Imaging Chamber is all neon blue inside, just like the Waiting Room.
The Project is located in New Mexico.
Ziggy is addressed as 'she'.
Sam was born on Saturday, August 8, 1953 in Elk Ridge, Indiana at 12:30 p.m.
He has a New Mexico driver's license - with a holographic photograph - that says that his hair color is brown, his eyes are green and that he is 6 feet tall. He has a P.O. Box in Stallion Springs, NM rather than an address.
He created Project Quantum Leap because he wanted to make the world a better place by putting right what once went wrong.
Sam is a medical doctor.
Al married Beth in June.
Al had an uncle named Stawpah, who suffered from rheumatic arthritis.
He wore his watch on his right wrist, where usually he wears it on his left.
He says he always wanted his own bar.
He was a timetraveler like Sam and was most likely there to save Tonchi and Pete.
Stawpah means Steve in Russian.
He became 40 in March, but he didn't say what year.
At the age of 12 he already worked as a miner and he claims having been the best loader in the Mariana mine. He could load 24 tons in one day.
When the Mariana mine blew up Stawpah was the only survivor.
He suffers from rheumatic arthritis because of working in the water too much.
Stawpah was Ukrainian. He came over to America on a boat, together with miner Gooshie. According to Gooshie, Stawpah died in 1933.
Sam thought that bartender Albert was controlling his leaps; that he was God, Time, Fate or maybe something they hadn't even considered.
On the other hand, Albert tried to convince Sam that he was controlling the leaps himself. He said Sam would only do this as long as he wanted to and that he could go home.
Read the beginning of season six at Seth Aragbright's homepage: www.sethargabright.com/qleap/mialtend.htm
They created Al's place to match the bar Don Bellisario's father owned in Cokeburg, Pennsylvania when Don was growing up.
- Accentuate the Positive -- Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
- Georgia -- Ray Charles
Al isn't able to get to Sam for most of the leap, so he can't tell him what he's supposed to do.
Sam helps Stawpah saving some miners by pretending to be safety inspector and thereby triggering a rescue mission.
Kiss With History:
Sam introduces words like: mentally disabled, Down-Syndrome, physically disabled.
His wallet has a hook and loop fastener, which didn't yet exist in the 1950s.
Al's Outfits: his dress white
Sam's Outfits: white short-sleeved shirt; brown belt; light brown slacks
Al's Women: Beth, his 1st wife
"Also wenn Sam nichts trinken will, ich nehm einen zur Brust." =/= "Whatever Sam's drinking, I'll have one."
Albert: "Something wrong?"
Sam: "That's, uh, me in the mirror!"
Albert: "When was the last time you took a really good look at yourself?"
Sam: "It's been a while."
Albert: "You let too much time go by you could lose touch with reality. - I shouldn't talk. I looked in this mirror every day for years and still thought of myself as the skinny kid. It took this picture to wake me up."
"So I was born roughly the same time I came through this door." (Sam)
Stawpah: "I'm lucky if I live to see 50."
Albert: "I thought it was 40."
Stawpah: "I was 40 in March."
"Yeah, that too." (miner Ziggy)
Sam: "I have a friend named Ziggy."
miner Ziggy: "I never knew anyone named Ziggy. What's he do?"
Sam: "She figures things out."
miner Ziggy: "She? This Ziggy is a girl?"
Sam: "Sort of. Yeah."
miner Ziggy: "Not much of a looker, huh?"
Sam: "I wouldn't let her hear you say that."
Stawpah: "He's not who he pretends to be, Al."
Albert: "Who's he pretending to be, Stawpah?"
Stawpah: "I don't know. When I figure that out, then I know why he here."
Albert: "Maybe he's here for the same reason you are - to have a beer."
Stawpah: "I never drink beer, Al. You know that."
Albert: "I forgot."
Stawpah: "You no forgetting nothing. I wonder what happened around here if you did."
Albert: "Things might go a little ca-ca."
"I've been there too many times." (Stawpah)
"A good bartender has to be part philosopher, part psychiatrist, part psychic." (Albert)
"Who knows what DonQuixote can accomplish." (Albert)
Sam: "You're not just a bartender."
Albert: "No, that's true. I own this place, too."
"If I'm DonQuixote, then Al is my Sancho. There isn't anything he wouldn't do for me." (Sam)
"Whatever Sam's drinking, I'll have one." (some miner)
Gooshie: "Hang on!"
Al: "To what?"
"And if imagined, who's mind was imagining it. Mine, or someone else's." (Sam)
Albert: "Sometimes 'that's the way it is' is the best explanation."
Sam: "Not for me."
Albert: "I'm not sure you're ready for more."
Albert: "Can you accept what you see as reality?"
Sam: "Which reality do accept? That one, or that one?"
Albert: "Haven't you accepted both looking into all those mirrors?"
"I've got Mother Teresa here. Do you really think that all you've done is change a few lives?" (Albert)
"The lives you've touched, touched others. And those lives, others. You've done a lot of good, Sam Beckett." (Albert)
"You haven't been leaped around by God or Fate or Time. You've been leaped by a bartender." (Al)
"I'm going to get you out of this. Whatever it takes, I'll get you out of this." (Al)
Sam: "I'm here to help you. Help you, and help Al."
Beth: "Al? You're a friend of Al's?"
Sam: "Yeah, I'm a friend of Al's."
Sam: "I'm going to tell you a story, Beth. A story with a happy ending. But only if you believe me."
Beth: "And if I don't?"
Sam: "You will. I swear you will. But instead of starting with 'once upon a time...' let's start with the happy ending. Al is alive. He's coming home."
Beth never remarried. She and Al have four daughters and will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary in June.
Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home.
Worst thing about the episode:
They canceled QL after this one.
"Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home."
Open Questions and Logic Flaws:
How could Sam wear his own clothes - especially his wallet with that holographic picture - when leaping as himself straight from the Waiting Room? What happened to the Fermi suit? Where did all that come from?
Sam recognized everybody else whom he'd met on previous leaps. Why didn't he recognize bartender Albert to look like Weird Ernie?
Why didn't Sam leap home after altering Al's past? He said he wanted to go home, but there was something he had to do for Al. After he'd done that, why didn't he leap back to the present?
They used Al's dance with Beth as a memory flashback. How could Sam remember that? He wasn't even there.
Why wouldn't Al know how it looks when Sam leaps? As we've seen, he was always around until Sam had completely leaped out. He even thought he was gonna leap when he began to glow blue in Good Morning, Peoria.
When Al went into the IC, he wore his watch on his right wrist, but when he came out again, he didn't. He also usually wears it on his left wrist.
In the end credits they spelled Beckett with one t, while on Sam's drivers license it was spelled with two.
Who was bartender Albert? Is he the one leaping Sam around in time or is Sam really leaping himself like Albert suggested?
What exactly was Al's Place?
Does Sam really never return home? Why not?
If he doesn't leap home, what happens to him? Is he still leaping? If so, is Al still with him, has he got another observer or none at all?
How did altering Al's past affect the future as we know it?
What about Donna?
Stawpah leaped as himself into the future. Will this happen to Sam, too?
--> I strongly hope that we will get all these answers and then some in a QL film or new series.