Color of Truth"
August 8, 1955
Episode Adopted by: Stephanie
As a black man named Jesse Tyler in the deep
south, Sam must fight racial prejudice while preventing his boss Melony Trafford from
being killed by a train.
Hints of "Driving Miss Daisy"
abound this leap as Sam tries to change "the way it is" with the elderly widow.
He also must find a way to save his
granddaughter after she is forced off the road by two "good-ol' boys" who are
trying to teach Jesse a lesson for sitting down at a whites-only lunch counter as Sam
from this episode
Name of the Person Leaped Into
Kiss with History
Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode
Guest Cast Notes
Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes
Cast members who have passed away
Say what? (things in the episode that make no sense)
Color Of Truth
Writer: Deborah Pratt
Director: Michael Vejar
Producers: John Hill (Supervising), Deborah
Pratt (Co-Producer), Harker Wade
Broadcast Date: May 3, 1989
Awards: Lillian Gish Women in Film: Best Writing in
a Drama Series - Deborah Pratt
Scott Bakula - Dr. Samuel Beckett
Dean Stockwell - Rear Admiral Albert Calavicci
Jane Abbott - Ms. Patty
Royce D. Applegate - Sheriff Blount
Kimberly Bailey - Nell Tyler
Elyse Donaldson - Nurse Ethel
Susan French - Ms. Melanie Trafford
James Ingersoll - Clayton Trafford
Howard Matthew Johnson - Jesse Tyler (Mirror)
Christopher J. Keene - Doctor Parker
Michael Kruger - Billy Joe Bob Blount
Michael D. Roberts - Willis Tyler
J. T. Solomon - Effie
Jeff Tyler - Toad
Guest Cast Notes:
Royce D. Applegate has had a notable film career, including appearances in Rain Man,
Splash, and O Brother Where Art Thou. He also provided an additional voice for the
movie Driving Miss Daisy.
James Ingersoll may look familiar, as well he should be. He's had a very extensive
television career, with appearances on many series like Emergency, Cheers, Remington
Steele, V, Airwolf, Knight Rider, MacGyver, and most recently on Enterprise (with Scott
Bakula - episode "Risan Man").
Susan French and James Ingersoll both appeared in Captain America made-for-TV movie that
was broadcasted in 1979.
Michael D. Roberts has also had an extensive television career, guest starring on Knight
Rider, Airwolf, and in the movie Rain Man. But his most memorable role had to be as
Booker Wilson on MacGyver, an individual who ran a Challengers Club for troubled youth and
Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap
Royce D. Applegate - Play Ball
Howard Johnson - Shock Theater
Michael D. Roberts - Leap Between the States
Cast members who have passed away (as
of the date the synopsis was written): None
Leap Date: August 8, 1955
Leapee: Jesse Tyler
Location: Rigada, Alabama
Brief Summary: Leaping into an African American in the heart of the
segregated deep south, Sam experiences racial hatred first hand. Although he is
there to save the life of his employer, he also struggles to change the hearts of those
who are set in their ways.
Detailed Summary With Spoilers:
Scenes from previous Leaps flash by as Sam, trapped somewhere in space and time, talks
about how he has become adjusted to Quantum Leaping. For him, it
is fun stepping into someone else's shoes. He mentions that he has saved two lives,
a pig, fought for the faith of a nun and against the mob, put together three couples, a
father and daughter, and help wrote the lyrics to Peggy Sue.
When the blue light of Quantum energy fades, Sam finds himself standing in a small
restaurant. Dining booths are lined up against a wall and by the windows near the
door. A lunch counter stretches throughout the length of
the diner with mounted stools for people to sit on. The place is packed, except for
one stool that looks very inviting . . .
Ceiling fans spin as Sam looks around, thinking to himself that, now that he's arrived, he
has to figure out who's shoes he's wearing and the path that
he's walking. He reasons that he should grab something to eat since he's at a
Sam moves to the lunch counter and sits down on a stool, grabbing a menu. Everyone
within the room, including those sitting at the booths, look on in total shock. The
place becomes instantly quiet . . . so quiet that one could literally hear a pin drop.
As he gazes into the mirror, Sam is so fascinated by the fact that he has Leaped into an
African American that he has totally forgotten about those around him. He comments
to himself, saying that it's got to be some kind of a mistake, only to be interrupted by
two people who get up from one of the booths. Billy Joe tells Sam that it is the
biggest mistake that he will ever
Sam turns around to look at them as the one who spoke grabs Sam's arm and pulls him up off
of the stool. A dark haired woman, wearing a yellow waitress outfit, tells the two
boys to stop because she doesn't want to spend the afternoon cleaning up blood. She
asks "Jesse", as if searching for
support, and Sam agrees with her.
She pulls out a small brown paper bag and hands it to Sam, telling him to take Miss
Melanie's lunch and get out of there before those boys lose what little control they
have. Sam grabs the bag, but stammers as he makes his way out of the restaurant.
Walking out of the door, Sam stops and again looks around him. The town square is of
a moderate size. Old cars are parked at various parking spots,
and a few drive by on the streets. Residents are well dressed, milling about on the
sidewalks . . . but all of them are caucasian.
Sam pulls out a hankerchief and wipes the sweat from his face. He turns around
toward the restaurant to look at the reflection of his host again, an older African
American with a gray mustache and curly gray hair. Just beyond
the reflection, one of the two who had antagonized Sam within the restaurant walks up and
glares at him menacingly.
Sam begins to walk away, musing to himself that he didn't know where he was, but it was
obviously too far south to be a black man. The sound of an old
woman's voice attracts his attention. She calls out the name of Jesse Tyler, telling
him to come over this instant. Sam turns and sees her, and then wonders if he's
there to help her cross the street, get her cat down out of a
tree . . . or deliver a lunch.
Sam puts the hat within his hand on top of his head as he crosses the street to her,
instantly calling her Miss Melanie as he walks up. She berates him for leaving her
standing there in all of the heat. She was going to Sumpter's for five minutes, and
all he had to do was pick up her lunch. She then begins to rattle on about how she
can't figure out why the egg salad was so good.
Sam walks over to the car and peers in through the passenger side window, spotting the
keys in the ignition. Sam thinks that today isn't going to be a good day until he
tests the car door and realizes that it's unlocked. He tells Ms. Melanie that he had
left the car open for her, but she promptly
berates him again. Sam opens the car door for her so she can get inside, and she
orders him to roll down the windows with how hot it is.
After closing the car door, with Ms. Melanie inside, Sam walks around to the driver's side
and gets in. He looks into the rear view mirror, and Ms. Melanie asks what he's
staring at. Sam quickly covers, asking where they
were going. Ms. Melanie replies that she's the one who is supposed to be getting old
and senile, and tells him to stop looking at her like a lost sheep and drive.
Sam again covers, this time coming up with a story about how he fell down, hit his head,
and has been having problems remembering ever since that time.
Ms. Melanie berates him for swearing in front of her, then the fact that he had never told
her about hitting his head. She starts in as if she is going to mention a third
thing, but hesitates as if the memory is lost.
Taking advantage of the momentary lapse, Sam reminds her that she was going to tell him
where they were going. She reminds him that they are going where they have gone
every Saturday afternoon for the past 7 years - to see Charles. Sam is a bit puzzled
by this, and Ms. Melanie's frustration gets the best of her as she finally gives in and
provides the directions. A knowing smile crosses Sam's lips as he starts up
the engine and drives away.
As Sam is driving, he muses about how comfortable he seems to be within this Leap . . .
within the aura of Jesse Tyler. He has accepted being Jesse, but now has the task of
trying to figure out what he is there to do. Ms. Melanie is sitting forward in the
rear of the vehicle, her arms resting on the seat back from the front seat, watching Sam
She takes her foldable fan and taps Sam's right arm, asking how long he is going to let
the turn signal blink. Sam turns it off as she notes that he had made the turn five
minutes ago. Sam apologizes, saying that his mind was wandering. Ms. Melanie
comes back, telling Sam to let his mind wander in his own car and to stop running down her
car's battery. Sam tries to correct her
about how the power is generated for the turn signal, but she promptly cuts him off.
Ms. Melanie says that Charles had told her quite a bit about cars
and how they work, so she doesn't need him telling her anything about her own car.
Sam begins to put the pieces together and realizes that Charles is her husband. Ms.
Melanie retorts, wondering if Sam has lost his mind. She reminds him to watch the
wheels on the railroad tracks, and instructs him to take a turn just past the crossing,
taking them through a pair of iron gates.
Ms. Melanie warns him to stop with his "Tom foolery" or she is going to
get flustered, and she hates to see her husband when she's flustered.
Sam pulls up along a curb as Ms. Melanie sounds downtrodden, saying that it's all gone to
seed. Sam opens up the rear door and helps Ms. Melanie out as she complains that
they never keep the weeds away.
They walk through a cemetery to a gray obelisk headstone engraved with the last name
Trafford. Ms. Melanie falls to her knees and immediately begins to
pull at the weeds, telling Sam how they had promised her that they would take good care of
the gravesite and clear the weeds.
Sam immediately moves over and kneels down beside her, asking her to allow him to clear
the weeds away. His compassion is clearly evident as he looks at her and helps her
to her feet, and then over to a bench. For a moment, a
grateful smile appears on Ms. Melanie's lips.
Sam says that she got her gloves dirty and helps to clean them off, and then sets to work
on removing the weeds. She admits that she gets flustered knowing that her husband
isn't being taken care of after how they had taken
such good care of each other for over 50 years.
In a thoughtful moment, Sam notes that it's hard to lose someone that you love. Ms.
Melanie agrees, realizing that Jesse would know just as much about it as she did because
his wife, Sally, lost four children. She goes on and states that her husband had
always thought highly of Sally, commenting that
there was never a finer Negro woman in all of Alabama when she died.
Hearing this comment brings Sam to a sudden stop in his work for a moment. It is
almost as if he's in shock from hearing that Jesse's wife had died, or that something else
touched him deep down inside . . . something with a more
personal connection that he can't fully get a grasp on due to the holes in his memory.
With a weak smile, Sam regains his composure and tells Ms. Melanie that he's going to
throw the weeds in the trash. He begins to walk away, turning back once to look at
her over his shoulder out of concern.
As he moves through the cemetery, Sam hears Al's voice as he mentions that they didn't
supply trash cans in public places in the 1950s . . . and it wasn't until the 1970s that
the Pitch In campaign was started. Sam asks Al
what he thinks, but Al tries to play dumb and has a knowing attitude about him. Sam
is excited about the Leap and the fact that he bounced into a Black man, theorizing that
the possibilities are limitless, and then asks Al if he
finds it fascinating.
Al retorts, stating that the Leap is a dangerous one, but is undecided as to whether or
not it's fascinating. He reminds Sam that he's a Black man in the south in 1955, and
again says that it's dangerous. He notes that he's seen things to curl his hair,
making it obvious that Al can only see the aura of the person that Sam has Leaped into,
not his best friend.
Al begins to recollect something from his past in Selma, Alabama, but Sam cuts him off,
asking what Ziggy projects what he needs to do in order to Leap. As Al pulls out the
handlink, Sam disposes of the weeds near a headstone, and then brushes himself off.
Punching up the data on the small device, Al reads off that Ms. Melanie Elizabeth
Charlotte Trafford was killed when her car was struck and demolished by a passenger train
on the railroad crossing by the cemetery.
The accident would happen on August 9 at 5:18pm. Sam has trouble believing it, but
Al says that Ziggy is 86.7% certain that Sam is there to save Ms. Melanie from getting
squished by a choo-choo.
Sam turns around to face his friend and asks if Jesse was killed. Al informs him
that Ziggy is having problems finding anything on Jesse . . . a birth
certificate or a death certificate. His words dripping with sarcasm, Sam comments
that he has replaced a person who doesn't exist. Al quickly covers,
explaining that it wasn't uncommon for there to be no records for southern Black men in
the 1950s, especially in small towns.
Al recalls that some of the first civil rights protests started near the area where Sam is
now at, and tells Sam about the first Black female that integrated the University of
Alabama. Sam is incredulous and asks Al how he
knows so much about it. Al replies that all of his friends are black, but Sam is
disbelieving. Al tells him that it's true. He had gone on the marches, was
arrested and beaten, and saw a lot of good people fall during
those powerful days.
Sam wonders if getting involved in the civil rights movement is what he is there to
do. Al tries to dissuade him, but Sam is more optimistic. As the sound of a
train whistle blares in the background, both men look toward the
tracks and Al reminds Sam that he is there to keep Ms. Melanie from being killed by the
Alabama and Pacific.
Ms. Melanie walks through the screen door to her home with Sam close behind her, carrying
two brown bags of groceries and holding a small plant within one hand and a box in
another. Ms. Melanie is talking about the jade tree and how it came from
California. A male is sitting within the living room, reading the paper. He
gets up from his seat and walks over to Sam and Ms.
Melanie, addressing Sam as Jesse.
Ms. Melanie instructs Sam to put the jade in some water until it gets a chance to
root. Then she turns to Clayton, her son, and tells him that he's early and dinner
isn't until 6pm. Clayton tells her that he was coming by to talk to Jesse. Ms.
Melanie tells him that he can talk to Jesse after he has
put the Jade in some water, but is curious as to what he wants to talk to Jesse
about. Clayton tells her that it's nothing for her to worry about, and then turns to
Sam telling him that they'll talk in the kitchen.
Sam gives a weak smile, and then moves toward that room, putting the paper bags on the
counter. Clayton informs Sam that he upset nearly the entire town with the business
he did today. Sam's response indicates that he isn't
sure what Clayton is talking about, but Clayton tells Sam not to act dumb. He
reminds Sam about how he sat down at Miss Patty's today.
Sam rationalized that he sat down to have some lunch because he was at a lunch
counter. Clayton doesn't believe him and asks why he would do something so stupid,
and then uses vulgar language to ask if he has another African American with a lot of
ideas staying with him. Sam doesn't believe so, and Clayton tells him that he can't
figure it out since Jesse can't read. Sam again tells him that he was hungry, but
Clayton gets angry and, in a
stern voice, advises Sam not to get that hungry.
The two look at each other for an awkward moment as the tension builds between them.
Sam moves forward and Clayton moves back, almost as if he is afraid that Sam is going to
assault him. Sam then takes the jade that he had put in water and puts it on another
counter. Instead of risking the outcome of another heated conversation, Clayton
hastily leaves the kitchen.
Walking back into the main area of the house, Ms. Melanie tells Clayton to
bring some buttermilk from Mr. Sumpter's when he comes back for supper.
Clayton walks up to her and tells her that they need to talk. Ms. Melanie continues
working on her cross stitch as she says that she doesn't care what Jesse did at Miss
Patty's. Clayton comments that she has ears like a hawk.
She points out that she's old, not dead.
Clayton removes his hat and reminds her that she is the widow of a governor of the state,
and when a servant starts to get "uppity", people take notice.
Ms. Melanie puts down her cross stitch as she turns to look at him. She addresses
him sternly, telling him that he doesn't need to lecture her as she knows who she was
married to and the responsibilities that go with it. Clayton asks her if she will be
responsible if Jesse steps out of bounds again. Ms. Melanie picks up her cross
stitch again and tells him flatly to forget the buttermilk.
As Clayton leaves, Ms. Melanie puts drops her cross stitch and puts her hands to her head
as she rises to her feet. She puts her hands on a coffee table in front of her as
she calls out for Jesse. Sam rushes into the room and
asks if she's all right, and then helps her to sit back down. Ms. Melanie looks a
little off kilter, but tells him that she's fine. She explains that Clayton gets
riled and bothered about things that aren't his concern, and it makes her head swell.
Sam asks if she's dizzy, to which she replies yes. He holds up a finger in front of
her eyes and asks her to watch it, but Ms. Melanie promptly asks him what he is
doing. Sam explains that he is just checking to see if she is okay. Ms.
Melanie wonders when he got a medical degree, forcing Sam to cover by stating that he has
done some doctoring in his time.
Ms. Melanie advises Sam to keep his colored voodoo to himself, then asks him to get her a
glass of lemonade and insists that she'll be fine. As Sam walks away, Ms. Melanie
closes her eyes and lets out a long sigh . . .
Sam is holding a glass and
tipping a pitcher within the kitchen, pouring lemonade into the glass. A knock
attracts Sam's attention and he walks over to the screen door. He sees a young
African American woman standing on the
other side. She tells him that she's proud of him. Sam opens up the screen
door and doesn't seem to believe it. She tells him that she is, with all of her
The sound of Ms. Melanie's voice can be heard asking where her lemonade is. The
young woman remarks that Ms. Melanie is going to run him ragged, and then
asks if she's going to keep him late. Sam replies that he doesn't know, but he'll
find out when he takes her the lemonade. He smiles at her and starts to move away,
going back to look at her once more and telling her that he'll
be right back.
Sam walks into the main part of the house and Ms. Melanie asks if Nell is here to take him
home. Sam hands her the glass and responds that he guesses
so. She mentions that she meant to get him to work on a leaky faucet that keeps her
awake all night, but says that he can work on it first thing tomorrow.
Once more, Sam asks if Ms. Melanie is okay and notes that he doesn't like leaving her
alone. Ms. Melanie tells him to let his granddaughter take him home and stop
worrying about her, and then adds that Clayton will be coming
over for dinner. She bids him a good night, and he returns the gesture of good
will. Sam begins to leave, but pauses for a moment and turns around to look at Ms.
A maroon car travels down a country road. Nell is behind the wheel and asks him
about what happened earlier. Sam somewhat dismisses it, but Nell presses on saying
how everyone was talking about the incident at Miss Patty's. Sam agreed that it
seemed like the talk of the town. Nell wonders what it felt like, to which Sam
simply replies that it felt like sitting down to eat. Nell notes that it's about
time that someone shook up the white folks in the town and reminded them what century they
were living in.
As Nell continues to drive, a yellow pickup truck emerges from alongside the road,
cleverly concealed by a bunch of trees. There are two individuals within the truck,
which begins to follow the car that Sam and Nell are in.
Nell continues on, saying that she will sit at the lunch counter someday, drink from the
white fountain, ride in the front of the bus, and do everything else that will make the
white folks mad. Sam catches this and asks her if she wants to do it just to make
them mad. She quickly answers
yes, and then adds that it's right.
A slight bump causes Sam to reach for the dashboard to steady himself. He asks Nell
if she always drives this fast. Nell tells him that her dad would have a fit if he
knew that she was driving over 35mph, but she has to get him home early so he can
cook. Sam knows nothing about it and parrots her last word, turning it into a
question. Nell asks if he's going senile on him and reminds him that he promised to
cook chitlins for the church picnic.
Sam muses to himself that he thought chitlins were one of those rare southern delicacies
that taste as good as they sound, but never realized that they were pig intestines.
For him, the smell was something that had hung around
too long in autopsy class.
A mass is within the sink , with Sam's hands hovering over it. The expression on his
face clearly indicates that he is not enjoying the smell and is struggling to keep himself
from upchucking. In the background, Nell and her parents sit at the table. Her
mother comments that someone would
have to certify her as crazy before she eats someone's chitlins, no matter how many times
they clean up.
Sam puts the intestines within a steaming pot, and mentions that he may have lost his
taste for them himself. Reverend Willis Tyler asks Sam if he's okay since he looks a
little pale. Sam tries to brush it off, saying he's a little tired. Al appears
next to the pot and revels once he notices what Sam is making. Although he is a
hologram, he takes a whiff as if he could smell what was cooking.
Nell finishes chopping the greens and gets up from the table, telling Sam that she's done
and then calling her mother over. Sam turns around and asks if they're going to
help. Nell's mother notes that she promised Nell that she would help her finish her
dress, followed by Willis who gets up and says that he has to work on his Sunday
sermon. Sam begins to stammer, but Willis tells him that he shouldn't have
volunteered if he didn't want to do it.
Sam is left standing there alone, and Al tells him not to worry because he has a killer
recipe for chitlins.
The concoction in the pot looks somewhat like a solid witches brew. Al looks down at
it and comments that this is when he hates being a hologram. To him,
the smell of chitlins and greens cooking is like a religious experience. Sam
retorts, saying that he feels like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Al ignores him and starts to rattle through a list of ingredients. When he gets to
hog maw, Sam cuts him off to make sure he was talking about animal stomach. Al gives
an affirmative reply, telling him that it should be chopped finely. He tries to
recall some more and rhetorically asks what he is forgetting. Sam quips about how
sick it's making him.
Al tells Sam to give him a little gratitude since he's busting his brains out to remember
a recipe, but he can't even taste it. Sam tells Al to trust him as he will be able
to taste all he wants. Al gets a brilliant idea from this, telling Sam to taste the
stock as he should be able to tell what is
missing. Sam asks Al if he's crazy.
Right at that moment, a voice is heard telling Sam that it's not as crazy as he is, or at
least that's what people will think if they find him talking to himself. The voice
belongs to Willis, who walks through the door into the kitchen. Sam tries to cover,
saying that talking to himself helps him when
he's cooking. Willis assumes that being crazy might have been behind what happened
at Miss Patty's.
Al jumps in and asks what went on, to which Sam replies that nothing happened.
Willis again assumes that Sam is talking to him, reiterating what Nell had told her about
how he had walked into Miss Patty's and sat down at
the lily white counter as bold as he pleased. Al is disbelieving, but Sam affirms
that it's true. Al tells Sam that they have to have a serious talk, while Willis
goes on and lectures him about how he can't try and change something that a bunch of
rednecks have been taught since the day they were born.
Willis begs Sam not to sit at lunch counters, and Sam gives him a smile in response.
He then taste tests the chitlins and tells Sam that it needs a little more salt. He
bids Sam goodnight, and then walks out of the room. Al is almost beside himself
about how Sam had promised that he would lay low, save Ms. Melanie, and then Leap
out. Sam tells Al that he didn't know he was Black, but he still had a right to sit
at that lunch counter either way. Al explains that wasn't the case in 1955.
Sam again insists that he is probably there to help further the civil rights cause, but Al
defeats that, telling him that Ziggy has the train wreck figured to a 96.2%
certainty. Sam suggests that maybe he can do both, to which Al tells him that he's
out of his league. Al walks away, but Sam
points out that he sat at that counter because he was hungry. People went nuts
because they saw him as a Black man and not as a hungry man, and that was wrong.
Sam is about to continue as a scream pierces the air. He runs out of the kitchen,
only to find that a cross is planted in the front lawn and is set ablaze. The two
individuals he tangled with in Miss Patty's diner laugh as the get back into the pickup
and speed away. Nell cries out that they have no right, but Willis rushes forward
and holds her back. Nell then goes up to Sam and cries in his arms.
Sam is walking down a street within the town talking to the Sheriff, asking why there is
no need to do anything. The Sheriff tries to blow it off, telling Sam to go home,
clean up his yard, and they'll forget about all of this. Sam informs him that he
could identify the two . . . Toad and Billy Joe. The Sheriff again tries to brush it
off, this time laughing that those two are boys and they are just being mischievous.
Sam argues that burning a cross on someone's lawn is being mischievous.
As they walk up the stairs to a building, the Sheriff tries to change the subject,
countering that he should have thought about that before he sat down
on a stool at Miss Patty's. With a more determined tone in his voice, Sam again asks
about Toad and Billy Joe. The Sheriff tells him to leave his son to him, and he'll
talk with him and Toad. Sam turns as if to walk away, but turns back and says that
it doesn't end with this. The Sheriff replies that
it's entirely up to him, and then disappears through the door.
Toad and Billy Joe are walking down the street and stop as they spot Sam. They watch
as he walks over to the water fountain marked for whites only and drinks out of it, and
then proceeds to cool his face by shaking his head and then wiping his brow. Toad
tells Billy Joe that Sam has gone too far and is about to cross the street to confront him
when Billy Joe holds him back,
advising him not to do it here.
Pulling out a handkerchief, Sam wipes his face dry and then walks away, oblivious to what
he has just done . . .
Water flows from a fountain in front of Ms. Melanie's house. Her voice is heard
complaining that she doesn't have a drop of water in her kitchen, unable to cook or to
wash. Sam is crouched down under the sink, trying to work on the plumbing. Ms.
Melanie is in a kneeling position next to him, watching as he tightens a fastener, and
then opens the valve.
For a moment, it looks as if Sam's repair will hold, but then a stream of water sprays
through two joints in the upper section of the pipe, getting Sam wet and startling Ms.
Melanie. He's laughing as he shuts off the valve and
retreats, saying that the pipe is broken. He pulls out the handkerchief again,
noting that they will have to get a new one as he wipes down his face. Ms. Melanie
tells him that it can wait until after tea, and then gets up to
move into the dining area. Sam then gets up and follows her.
Ms. Melanie sits at the head of the table as Sam brings over a tray with the tea and
cups. He starts to pull out settings for both of them, and a shocked Ms. Melanie
asks what he is doing. Sam said that he thought he would join her since she made tea
for both of them. Ms. Melanie points out that someone has lowered the wick in his
brain since she makes tea every afternoon and he always drinks it in the kitchen.
Sam tries to counter, saying that it seems like good manners to sit and share her company
when she was kind enough to make the tea for them. Ms. Melanie says that she can't
have tea with him. When Sam asks why, she explains that coloreds and whites don't eat
at the same table. Sam wonders if she wants to eat with her, who says that she
can't? She firmly tells him that she is the one who says that she can't. Sam
again asks why, to which she notes that it is the way things are and they way they have
always been. Sam suggests that it might be time for things to change.
A knock interrupts their discussion and Ms. Melanie asks Sam to answer the door, leaving
the conversation unfinished with a lot of things for both to think about . . . especially
Sam walks away and sees Nell at the back screen door waiting for him. He notes that
he forgot to tell her that he's going to drive Ms. Melanie's car
home tonight. Nell doesn't believe that she will let him drive it to their place,
but Sam reveals that he has to work on the engine.
Nell wonders what Sam is up to, but he denies that he's up to anything and tells her to go
ahead. Nell brushes it off and says that she's late for choir practice as it
is. She walks away and Sam goes back inside, intent on finishing his conversation
with Ms. Melanie.
Standing within the dining area,
Ms. Melanie turns around when Sam returns to the room, immediately blurting out the word
hogwash. Sam is confused and
asks for clarification, to which she tells him that what he had been talking about was
hogwash and nobody is going to change the way things are. Sam insists that they will
and Blacks . . .
Ms. Melanie interrupts Sam and asks him about that term. Sam clarifies, saying that
is what African Americans will be called instead of Negro. Ms. Melanie wonders what
is so bad about being called a Negro, but Sam points out that it is a little too close to
the vulgar term Nigger. Ms. Melanie seems offended and defends herself, saying that
she has never used that word in front of his face or behind his back.
She goes on to state that when he sat down at Miss Patty's counter, she figured that he
was getting old or it slipped his mind, but now she is beginning to think that he is
crazy. Now it's Sam's turn to feel offended, pointing out that he's not the one
who's burning crosses in front of people's homes.
Nell is singing a gospel song as she is driving along, trying to get to choir
practice. Her voice fills the vehicle with an incredible range, mainly covering the
alto range, but occasionally going up into the soprano scale.
Toad and Billy Joe are sitting in the truck, waiting for Jesse's car to drive past.
Toad sounds worried, telling Billy Joe that he isn't going to kill him, and rehashes a
story about a friend who had to move to Georgia for doing something similar. Billy
Joe tries to explain that they're just going to whack him back into place, but not kill
Oblivious as to what is about to happen, Nell continues to sing while she is
driving. She reaches the same curving stretch of road where Toad and Billy Joe had
hidden the truck the day before to follow them home.
Billy Joe starts up the truck and pulls out, blocking Nell's path. She screams and
turns the steering wheel hard to the right to avoid a collision, but it sends the car
careening off the road. The car becomes airborne and flips over before landing on
the passenger side in a ditch.
Billy Joe remarks how Nigger can't drive any better than a mule. Toad tries to get
out, wanting to check on Nell to make sure she's okay, but Billy Joe pulls him back inside
and says that they have to get out of there. They speed off, leaving the scene of
the accident and an injured and bleeding Nell
to certain death.
Sam tells Ms. Melanie that change can be bloody or peaceful. She can make a
difference since people in the town respect her. If she changes, then others might
too. Instead of addressing what he had just said, Ms. Melanie
complains that the tea is cold, and then asks if he is going to fix her leak or not.
The expression on Sam's face is clearly one of frustration at her avoidance of the issue,
but he straightens up and tells her that he will have to go into town and get a new pipe.
Ms. Melanie gets up and starts walking out of the dining room, telling Sam that she has to
get her pocketbook. Well aware of Ms. Melanie's fate, Sam goes after her and tells
her that she can't go because it's too hot today. She counters, telling him that she
isn't going to melt, and that she also has to start at Pap's pharmacy and get some
things. Sam offers to get them for her. Ms. Melanie blurts out that they're
Still desperately trying to keep Ms. Melanie from going out, Sam stammers as he tells her
that he thinks that he can fix the pipe without going out to get a new one. Ms.
Melanie picks up her purse and pulls the keys out of it,
countering that she will drive herself. Sam immediately tells her no and wrestles
the car keys out of her hands. He points out that if she is that set on going, he'll
As Sam walks off to get his coat, Ms. Melanie looks on in shock . . .
Sam again muses to himself, saying that he has a knot in his stomach the size of Ziggy's
control mouse. Even though they were driving away from the tracks, it wouldn't go
Sam is clearly uneasy as he looks out over the road while he's driving. The trees on
the passenger side parts, revealing the wreckage of a car. Ms. Melanie cries out to
Sam, asking him if that is Willis' car. Sam immediately
turns around to look, and quickly brings the vehicle to a stop. He backs up and gets
out, running down the embankment.
As he gets closer, he can see that Nell is laying on the ground, unconscious and
bleeding. Sam immediately attends to her as Ms. Melanie gets out and asks if Nell is
okay. Sam quickly examines Nell and pulls out his handkerchief, wrapping it around
her forehead. He tells Ms. Melanie that Nell has a severe laceration and he has to
stop the hemorrhaging. He then pulls her out from the wreckage and orders Ms.
Melanie to get back in the
Ms. Melanie obliges as Sam makes his way back up the embankment with Nell in his
arms. He puts Nell in the back seat with Ms. Melanie, who quickly notes that there
is a lot of blood. Sam tells her that they have to get Nell to a hospital and
quickly runs around the front of the car to the driver's seat. As he gets in, he
advises Ms. Melanie to keep pressure on Nell's wound.
Sam starts up the car and immediately turns it around, heading back the way they
came. Ms. Melanie tries to comfort Nell, telling her that she will be fine, and then
looks up and notices the direction they're traveling in. Ms.
Melanie promptly asks him where they are going, to which Sam replies that he's driving to
the hospital on the other side of the cemetery.
Ms. Melanie points out that Rigada is a white hospital and they won't take Nell as a
patient. The only colored hospital is in Vaida. Sam asks which one is closest,
and Ms. Melanie admits that Rigada is. She again insists
that they won't take her, but Sam is determined to get her to the nearest medical
The car approaches the railroad crossing that Al had warned Sam about. He stops the
car and looks in both directions, making sure the coast is clear before continuing.
Sam pulls the car to a screeching stop in the arching
driveway leading to the front doors of the hospital. He quickly gets out and runs
around to the passenger side of the car, opening the rear door. Ms. Melanie informs
him that Nell feels cold, but Sam says that they are going to fix that as he gently lifts
Nell up into his arms.
A couple of nurses are outside by the entrance to the hospital and spot all of the
commotion. They run inside and get a gurney, rolling it out to the edge of the
steps. A male doctor also comes out, but he gestures to the nursing staff to hold
their positions. Sam immediately reveals that Nell is
in shock, lost a lot of blood, possibly severed a temporal artery, and will need a
Sam is about to go on when he realizes the medical staff isn't rushing to help her.
Sam asks them what they are waiting for. The male, who is robably a doctor, tells
Sam that they don't accept colored at the hospital.
Sam retorts, saying that they're going to be even sorrier if they don't help Nell.
One nurse whispers to the doctor that she is going to call the Sheriff.
The doctor again tells Sam that it is against the law, but Sam tells him to hell with the
law. At that point, when all seems hopeless, Ms. Melanie emerges from the car and
asks the doctor if he is Judelia Parker's son. He
delivers a quick and respectful affirmative. Ms. Melanie then tells him that he
should know who she is. Dr. Parker replies yes. Ms. Melanie orders him to help
The medical staff hesitates while Dr. Parker looks at Ms. Melanie for what seems like
eternity. Sam looks back toward Ms. Melanie and smiles at her. The tension
breaks as Dr. Parker tells the staff to get Nell inside. Sam quickly walks up the
stairs and gently puts Nell on the gurney. Dr. Parker
orders an IV and a cross-match.
Sam moves with the gurney as if to go inside, but Ms. Melanie stops him, telling him that
it's best that he waits outside and she'll make sure Nell is taken care of. No
sooner do the words escape from her lips, Ms. Melanie also
disappears through the door, which closes in front of Sam, revealing the reflection of
Sam turns around, breathing a sigh of relief, and begins to walk down the stairs.
Nurse Ethel watches Sam through a window as he's seemingly talking to himself.
What she doesn't see is the holographic Al, who notes that he doesn't know how he managed
to pull it off. Sam tells him that it was Ms. Melanie who got the bigoted idiot to
do something. Al suggests that he gets Ms. Melanie,
puts her in the car, and drive away. When Sam asks why, Al tells him that he's got
23 minutes until that train will hit her.
Sam is somewhat disbelieving that putting Ms. Melanie in the car will save her from her
fate, but Al insists that he should go in the opposite direction of the train
crossing. Sam tells Al that he's getting paranoid, but Al retorts, asking how does
Sam think that he lived this long. Al goes on to
state that he has a bad feeling about this. Sam comments that Al always has a bad
At that very instant, the sound of a siren fills the air, and a police car
comes into view, pulling into the driveway by the hospital. Nurse Ethel steps out of
the hospital as Sheriff Blount gets out of his car. She tells him that Sam's the
one. Sam puts his jacket back on as the Sheriff warns him about causing any more
trouble. Sam points out that all he was doing was bringing someone to the hospital
who needed medical assistance. Nurse Ethel promptly points out that it was a Negro
girl. Sheriff Blount tells him that
he broke the segregation law, to which Sam asks if he was supposed to just let her bleed
The Sheriff says no, and Sam echos that sentiment. He starts to move away as the
Sheriff pulls out his handcuffs and slaps one on Sam's right wrist. Sam asks the
Sheriff what he's doing as the other handcuff if applied. Al urges that Sam has to
get out of this, to which Sam replies that he's trying. Nurse Ethel walks down the
stairs to the hospital, saying that Sam is crazy as a loon and talks to himself.
Sam struggles and pleads to the Sheriff, but he won't hear of it. Sheriff Blount
warns that Sam had better ease up or he'll have to get rough. Sam relents, but asks
the Sheriff for one condition. Curious, Sheriff Blount asks what it is. Sam
starts in, asking that Ms. Melanie not be allowed to leave the hospital, no matter how
much she wants to . . . and then hesitates
until Al jumps in and suggests 20 minutes. Sam then finishes his request, stating
half an hour.
Sheriff Blount asks Nurse Ethel to enforce Sam's request, no matter how crazy it
sounds. She agrees, and Sam is led away into the squad car. As Sheriff Blount
pulls away, Ms. Melanie exits out of the front door of the hospital
with good news . . . that Nell is going to be just fine. She is under the impression
that Sam is still out there until she looks around and asks where he is. Nurse Ethel
tells Ms. Melanie that the Sheriff arrested him, and Al comments that pig-butt turned him
Ms. Melanie asks what Sam was arrested for, and Nurse Ethel points out that it was because
he brought a Negro girl to the hospital. Ms. Melanie then states that Sheriff Blount
will just have to arrest her as well, and begins to walk down the stairs to her car.
Al comments that he wouldn't do that.
Nurse Ethel tells Ms. Melanie that Sheriff Blount wants her to wait at the hospital.
Defiant. Ms. Melanie tells her that he's in for a surprise. She then closes the rear
passenger door and proceeds to walk around to the driver's side. Al, at first,
encourages Ms. Melanie, and then takes it back
as he realizes what he's saying. He tries to talk to her, forgetting that he's a
hologram, and then prays that Sam has the key to the car in his pocket.
That prayer is soon dashed as the engine of the car roars to life. Al again
continues his desperate plea, telling her that they have a problem . . . and then realizes
that she can't hear him. Despite this, as Ms. Melanie puts the car in reverse, Al
rattles on, telling her not to back up and then asking
what he's going to do. Ms. Melanie backs the car up onto the curb as Al begs her to
wait for Jesse, and reminds her that the Sheriff told her to wait for 30 minutes.
Frustrated, Al moves out in front of the car and orders Ms. Melanie to stop, waving his
arms as if trying to attract her attention. She can't see or hear him, so Ms.
Melanie shifts the car into gear and drives right through the
holographic Al. Once the car has completely passed through him, Al puts his hands to
his head and says to never mind.
Al turns and watches the car
drive away, and then calls out to the air,
telling Gooshie to have Ziggy center him in on Ms. Melanie. Although the response is
not heard by others, it obviously is not satisfactory as Al orders Gooshie to do it or
he'll smash his brains off. He then proceeds to run after the car and vanishes from
view . . .
A cloud of dust kicks up behind the car as Ms. Melanie drives down a dirt road. She
is in disbelief that Sam could be arrested for caring about his
own. Ms. Melanie then wishes that Charles was there as he always knew what to
do. Al is in the passenger seat right next to her, agreeing with her
sentiment. He suggests that she stops the car, but she still can't hear him.
Instead, she wonders if she's even in the right gear.
Smoke billows out of the smokestack of the engine of the train. It speeds along the
tracks, heading for the certain doom that Ziggy projected.
Oblivious to her fate, Ms. Melanie comments that it's been so long. Al tries to tell
her that she'd be better off in reverse, but she continues on, musing that it doesn't make
any difference as long as she gets there. Al points out that she isn't going to get
Ms. Melanie continues to drive along the road, as the train also proceeds down further
down the track. The whistle is blowing wildly in an attempt to warn drivers and
pedestrians to get off the tracks.
Ms. Melanie says that it's better late than never, and Al agrees with that, commenting
that it'll be never unless she stops the car. Al's movements are getting more and
more frantic as time ticks closer to her impending death . .
. and Sam isn't there to prevent it.
The train races even closer, the black smoke from the forward stack spewing out ominously,
almost as if it is foreshadowing what is about to happen. The
train whistle begins to almost sound like the wail of a banshee, warning of the arrival of
the angel of death.
Ms. Melanie hears the whistle, but it doesn't register in her mind what it really
is. She thinks that it's a ringing noise. Al tries to counter and tell her
that it's a train whistle, his voice getting louder with each
desperate plea, almost to the point where he's on the verge of yelling. Ms. Melanie
says to herself that she should go to see Dr. Clifford, even though she never cared for
his bedside manner.
Al strictly orders Ms. Melanie to stop the car and pleads with her, saying that she has to
hear the whistle. As the car rounds the corner, approaching the crossing, Al spots
the cemetery and gets an idea. The train is practically on top of them, and drawing
closer by the second. Al begins yelling at Ms. Melanie, telling her to pull off into
The front of the train looms even closer and is just about to pass through the
crossing. Al delivers one last and final plea, yelling at the top of his lungs, for
Ms. Melanie to pull off into the cemetery. He's so worked up that he even swears.
At the last possible second, Ms. Melanie turns the steering wheel, pulling the car off the
road and barely avoiding disaster. Al removes his hands from covering his eyes as
they both look at the passing train, realizing just how
close Ms. Melanie came to certain death.
Ms. Melanie turns in the direction where she had heard the voice, which happens to be
where Al is in the car. She thanks him but calls him Charles,
her late husband, and remarks that he didn't have to swear. Al looks at her, totally
and completely dumbfounded, wondering how in the world she could have heard him.
A horse-drawn wagon travels through the streets. Two people are riding on it . . .
one at the reins, and the other sitting on a pile of hay in the back.
Al is in Sam's jail cell, ecstatic about what happened and the fact that it was like the
Twilight Zone. Sam, who is sitting on a cot, isn't so amused and tells him
half-heartedly that it's great. Al ignores him and rambles on,
theorizing that if he had been able to reach Ms. Melanie, he could maybe reach other women
. . . younger women.
Sam laughs, and Al asks him what it is. Sam wonders if sex is all that Al thinks
about, and Al admits to it, except when he's pulling Sam out of the proverbial fire.
Shaking his head, Sam gets up from the cot and tells Al that he's got him on that one.
Al tells Sam that Ziggy finally found something on Jesse. Sam asks what happened,
and Al says nothing. The guy is still alive in the time of the Project and must be 105
years old. Sam thinks that's great, but then wonders why he hasn't Leaped. Al
turns as he hears the sound of a door opening and suggests that they're about to find out.
Sheriff Blount enters the holding area and unlocks the cell that Sam is in. He tells
Sam that Ms. Melanie got him to drop the charges against him and he
talked to the hospital that morning. As Sam tries to make his disheveled clothing
somewhat presentable, he asks how Nell is. Sheriff Blount tells her that she's fine
and told others how the accident happened . . . a couple of boys ran her off the road, but
didn't mean to hurt her. Sam then asks what they really meant to do. Sheriff
Blount suggests that they assumed that Sam was in the car, and he had been acting strange
Sam can't believe that the Sheriff is still trying to put the blame on his actions.
He walks away to put on his tie, wondering if they were going to try and teach him a
lesson. Sheriff Blount gives his word that nobody is going to hurt him or his family
again. Sam says that it's not good enough.
Al advises Sam to take it easy, and the change is going to happen. Sheriff Blount
gets upset and raises his voice, informing Sam that those boys were sorry. Al states
that, four months from today, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King host the Montgomery
Boycotts. Sam ignores Al and asks the Sheriff what boys he's talking about, but
Blount decides to stop before he reveals too
much. He tells Sam to get out before he changes his mind.
Sam picks up his coat and steps into the open doorway of the cell. He pauses for a
moment and turns to look at the Sheriff, advising him that he is going to need to change
his mind about a lot of things. Sheriff Blount doesn't reply . . . he just looks at
Sam as he walks away and says a goodbye to Al.
Sheriff Blount closes the jail cell, and looks at the other cells to see if there's anyone
inside. What he can't see is the holographic Al, who begins to sing the refrain to
the song "We Shall Overcome".
The door to the jail opens and Sam emerges into the sunlight, and freedom. He closes
the door behind him, and sees that Ms. Melanie and Clayton are waiting for him. Sam
walks up to her and says that he's glad that she got home safely. Ms. Melanie says
that it was no thanks to him, going out and getting himself arrested. Sam tells her
that he won't let it happen again, but Clayton points out that Sam would still be in jail
if it was up to him.
Ms. Melanie addresses Clayton, telling him that it isn't up to him. Clayton argues
that Jesse is just using her, but she puts him in his place, pointing out that her
relationship with Mr. Tyler is her business. She tells him to mind his own business
and she'll see him for supper. Clayton obeys and walks away.
Sam thanks Ms. Melanie for what she has just done. Ms. Melanie comments that she
sometimes think that they switched babies on her. This causes Sam to laugh, and he
clarifies, thanking her for what she did at the hospital. Ms.
Melanie tells him that she was glad to do it, and she's doing fine after the move to
Sam gets upset when he hears the news since Nell was in critical condition and he knows
that a move could have killed her. Ms. Melanie says that the move didn't kill her,
she's fine, with her own people, and that's the way it's supposed to be. Ms. Melanie
then suggests that they both try to forget about the horrible business and go back to
Sam wonders how she could let things go back to normal after yesterday. He suggests
that she couldn't have done what she did without it opening up her eyes. Ms. Melanie
counters, asking to what . . . that the world isn't just?
She knows it, but her knowing it doesn't change it. Sam argues that she changed it
yesterday and she could change it today. Ms. Melanie gets firm and tells him that if
he wants to go off and change the world, he's welcome
to it, but if he still wants to continue working for her, he will close the conversation
With that said, Ms. Melanie asks Sam to go to Miss Patty's to pick up her lunch. Sam
tells Ms. Melanie that once she's seen the light, she cannot go back into the
darkness. Ms. Melanie again tells him to get his egg salad. There's something
within the sound of her voice that indicates that she's
struggling . . . perhaps unable to bring herself to fire Sam for what he had just said,
despite her warning.
Sam obeys and walks away . . .
Inside the restaurant, it seems like business as usual. People are sitting at the
counter and at tables, chatting away and enjoying their meals. The moment Sam walked
into the room, the place falls instantly quiet once more . . . just as it had a couple of
days ago when the whole Leap started. All
eyes turn to Sam, who looks on firmly.
Miss Patty is behind the counter and asks Sam if he's there to pick up Ms. Melanie's
lunch. Sam replies that he is and walks toward the counter. As he is handed
the bag, Ms. Melanie walks through the door and tells Miss Patty to never mind and she
will eat her lunch at the restaurant.
Ms. Melanie walks around to the lunch counter and, with Sam's help, sits down on one of
the stools. She asks Miss Patty how she is doing, to which Miss
Patty replies that she's doing fine and asks Ms. Melanie if she would like something to
drink with the egg salad. Ms. Melanie tells her that a lemonade will be just fine.
Sam turns around as if to leave, but Ms. Melanie calls out to him, asking if he will join
her for lunch. Again, the whole restaurant falls silent and all eyes turn to both of
them. Sam walks back and stands in front of an empty stool. At the table
behind him, Billy Joe stands as if to deal with Sam, but
Sheriff Blount grabs him and tells him to sit down.
With a smile on his face, Sam looks to Ms. Melanie, tells her that he will, and then eases
himself onto the empty stool. Sam and Ms. Melanie look at each other, while the
reflection within the mirror shows Jesse and Ms.
Melanie. Sam turns back to look at the mirror just before he is surrounded in an
aura of blue and white energy.
When the aura fades, Sam finds himself behind the steering wheel of a car. A
cigarette is hanging out of the corner of is mouth, and the vehicle he is in is traveling
at a high rate of speed. As he continues to drive, it becomes
apparent that Sam is racing another vehicle. There are concrete support pillars
either side of the cars, plus one down the middle, creating what would seem like a well
defined dual drag strip.
As he slides the vehicle to a stop, narrowly missing a collision with the other car, Sam
looks through a pair of sunglasses into the side view mirror at his new host. The
reflection he sees is that of a young male who others would probably deem as a nerd due to
the complexion and braces. All Sam can say in reaction is "Oh boy . . ."
The Color of Truth is often said to be a controversial episode, mainly
because of the topic it covered (racial segregation) and how it dealt with this
issue. It is a bold move, for a first season episode, on the part of the creative
team behind the series . . . a gamble which paid off.
Despite the controversy, the Color of Truth remains as one of the most powerful episodes
throughout the entire 5-year run. The message contained within is a simple one, yet
Segregation is the unwillingness to accept an individual based on their differences, thus
creating a situation where they are, in a way, shunned. The episode effectively
shows the emotional trauma caused as a result of segregation, as well as some of the hate
crimes committed, and indifference from those in a position of authority. Bottom
line: segregation, in any
form, is wrong.
Sam serves as the voice of reason, and the light of truth. Before Leaping through
time, he lived in a period where the principle right of the Constitution was upheld . . .
that "all men were created equal." Although he tries to manage, Sam can't
help but to try and change the minds of those who he encounters. It's a little more
problematic than it would seem, since most people have difficulty accepting such a radical
change that goes against everything that has been ingrained into their psyche since
birth. As Sam learns, he can't rush changes of that nature . . . he has to do it one
person, one heart at a time.
Although the episode deals exclusively with racism, one could expand the same message
across all boundaries - racial, gender, disability, etc.
The Color of Truth accomplishes one other important aspect. By having Sam Beckett
Leap into an African American, this opens the floodgates of creativity. It breaks
all of the preconceived boundaries that may have existed with the episodes that aired
prior to this one, thus allowing for further Earth-shattering Leaps - into people from
other races, into people with disabilities, into women, into a chimp, etc.
Had the series continued for a 6th season or beyond, I firmly believe that there would
have been some more Leaps that would have stretched the limits of our imagination.
Lives saved: 2
Number of times Sam believes he is there to do something other than what
Ziggy projected: 3
Number of times Sam's Swiss Cheese memory recalled something from his past:
2 (indirect generalizations)
1) Sam talks about how it's hard to lose someone that a person loves
2) Sam is emphatic when it comes to equality between African Americans and
Future elements Sam introduced into the past: Other terms to refer to
Outfits worn: Brown suit, bow tie, and hat
The Leap takes place on Sam's 2nd birthday.
How many times Al popped in and scared Sam: None
How many cigars Al smoked: 2
Number of sexual references Al made: None
Number of times Al leered after a woman: None
1) Purple shirt and pants, silver suspenders, silver boots, and a black
2) White shirt, metallic red vest, patterned tie, metallic gray dress slacks,
3) Orange shirt and slacks, matching boots, and a long brown coat
Project Quantum Leap:
The Imaging Chamber door is non-existent. Most of the sound effects when Al appears
and/or walks through something is hardly used, along with the handlink.
When Al appears to Sam, he can only see the Leapee. This becomes a significant
comical element for "What Price Gloria", and is rectified in later episodes.
This is the first episode which suggests that the holographic Al could be seen and heard
by others, including those on the verge of death. Again, this becomes a significant
element in future episodes, such as "Another Mother", "Shock Theater",
Kiss With History:
This episode, like a few within the entire run of the series, has no one
single Kiss. The entire episode serves as one, as it is set within the southeastern
US before the civil rights movement. The Color of Truth pays homage to the popular
Morgan Freeman/Jessica Tandy movie, Driving Miss Daisy.
Best Line: Once you've seen the light, you
cannot go back into the darkness. - Sam
Best Scene: There are a lot of powerful scenes
within the episode, but the one that stands out the most is when Ms. Melanie decides to
drive her own car, heading for her impending death. Although she cannot hear him, Al
is in the car with her, pleading for her to stop, turn around, or anything which would
spare her life. At the last possible moment, Ms. Melanie pulls into the cemetery,
avoiding the train, and thanking her dead husband Charles . . . although she remarks that
he didn't have to swear!
Worst thing about the episode:
There are actually two things that stand out as the worst thing about the episode.
While most may overlook these problems if they just watch the episode for enjoyment, a
detailed viewing of "Color of Truth" will show most
of these issues.
Granted, this is a first season episode and there are bound to be some mistakes; however,
continuity tends to be a bit of a problem. Normally, with this issue, the main
contributing factor tends to reside with props and
wardrobe . . . an object appearing in one shot, is missing in the next, and then
re-appears in the following shot. That kind of continuity isn't an issue within this
episode, but the ones with the mirror images are.
In most instances with the mirror image, either Sam or Jesse moved, smiled, or did
something before the other one, thus shattering the illusion. A perfect example of
this is when Sam is in Ms. Melanie's car and sits up, the
reflection of the brim of his hat passing through the mirror before the reflection of
Jesse is seen.
It has been said that the early use of mirror images were done simultaneously with the
Scott Bakula, so this might help to explain why some of the timing
is off . . . especially if there wasn't much rehearsal time.
The second thing, which could be considered as one of the worst things about the episode,
is the fact that Al is not by Sam's side during the Leap out. The whole series is
based around the adventures of Sam and Al, so having them together at the end becomes
almost symbolic of the friendship that they share, plus the support they give each
other. Almost all other episodes feature this, and it would have been a nice touch
for Al to have witnessed the change that Sam was trying to make . . . a change that Al
didn't believe would happen.
Say what? (AKA things in the episode that make no sense):
How in the world did Sam know the old lady that was calling out to him was Ms.
Melanie? Her name had only been mentioned once, and Al wasn't there to help him.
When Sam leans back to look at the reflection of Jesse Tyler in the rear view mirror of
the car, the reflection of Sam's hat passes through the mirror first before the image of
Jesse can be seen. When Jesse is visible, he's not wearing a hat. Hmmm . . .
Ms. Melanie reminds Sam/Jesse that they go to the cemetery every Saturday. Yet, if
you check a calendar for 1955, August 8 was actually on a Monday. Did they get their
days of the week confused?
If Charles Trafford was the governor of the state, and both Ms. Melanie and Jesse go to
the cemetery every Saturday, why was the gravesite in such a state of disrepair? Did
someone else dump weeds from a grave of a loved one onto the grave of Charles
Trafford? Where were the groundskeepers?
If a hologram is a three dimensional image, how could he cast a shadow in the kitchen when
Sam is cooking chitlins, or a reflection on Ms. Malanie's car
outside of the hospital?
Sam is supposedly a medical doctor, but why would he move Nell from where she was at after
a minimal assessment? If she had a spinal injury, moving her would have paralyzed
Al had told Sam that the railroad is the Alabama and Pacific. As the train
approaches the crossing, several good angles of the engine are given, but none of the
artwork on the train shows a star. Yet there's one on the front of the locomotive,
right above and to the left of the cowcatcher (behind the
ladder). A symbolic gesture, perhaps, or a clever reference to the StarBright
Al, as a hologram, doesn't physically exist where Sam is . . . yet how is his coat able to
brush up against the cot that Sam's sitting on?
When Sam was leaving the jail, why could we see his reflection in the door windows and not
Most of the music within the episode is instrumental. There are two exceptions:
1) An unnamed gospel song Nell sings while she is driving (right before her accident)
2) Al singing "We Shall Overcome" after Sam is released from jail
Al: I've seen things that would curl your hair - no pun intended.
Clayton: I swear you got ears like a hawk. Ms. Melanie: I'm old, not dead.
Al: Now, what am I forgetting?
Sam: How sick this is making me!
Sam: Are you crazy?
Willis: Not as crazy as you are, or at least that's what people are going to say if
they see you in here talking to yourself.
Ms. Melanie: Somebody has lowered the wick in your brain.
Sam: You're getting a little paranoid.Al: How do you think I've lived this
Nurse Ethel: He's crazy as a loon, Sheriff . . . talks to himself.
Al: Pull into the cemetery, dammit! Ms. Melanie: Thank you, Charles, but you
didn't have to swear.
Sam: Is sex all you ever think about? Al: Well, except when I'm pulling you
outta the fire, yes!
Sam: Well ya got me there Al.
Ms. Melanie: Sometimes I think they switched babies on me.