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Old 09-27-2014, 04:48 AM   #9
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5) "Play It Again, Seymour" - To be fair, this was still shot at a time where the fate of the series was uncertain. I could be completely wrong on that. But if memory serves, I do believe it would have been written more like a finale if other Season 2 episodes that were produced for Season 1 didn't air afterward. The film noir murder-mystery aspect was interesting, as was the drama between Al and Sam. But the fact still remains that I really have trouble even counting this as a finale at all.

4) "Mirror Image" - Ah, yes. Controversial. Series finale. Non-sensical (even by QL's standards). Emotional. Well, the non-sensical/metaphysical aspect is what always bothered me most about this finale, I think. I've said many times in the past that I never liked how this episode basically undermined the entire series' technology-based premise. Looking back on it all nowadays, the series had religious/spiritual undertones all along, which we all know. But it's now clearer to me than ever before to think of "Mirror Image" as science and spirituality confronting each other, along with the themes of transcendence and the metaphysical. If you look at the episode on those terms, it's truly relevant now more than ever before with anyone familiar with politics, science and religious debates. We all saw these things in plain sight, but its relevance seems more prevalent now than ever.

Even still, I could never relate to doppelgangers of people Sam previously helped (most of them weren't ghosts!) and I felt the episode was just Don Bellisario re-creating aspects of his own childhood and pulling a Stanley Kubrick 2001: A Space Odyssey (only in terms of controversial ambiguity). In other words, it felt like he was going to worry about figuring it all out later on, if there was a Season 6.

3) "A Leap For Lisa" - Now there is a lot going on in this finale. Al is actually "erased" from existence and is executed!!! We see who would have been in Al's place had he never existed. And Sam's leap-in is a dream, which was a unique spin on the traditional leap-in, which could have possibly been related to he and Al's neuron-mason crossover from "The Leap Back." Even the fate of Project Quantum Leap itself was in limbo. But, beyond all of that, I distinctly remember viewing this episode for the first time and actually wondered whether Al raped a woman in his youth and questioned his innocence! That's right, I said it. This episode struck me in a way that it put me in as much doubt as the jury in Al's own trial, briefly. Thing is, despite all of these major things going on, it still came off as 'just another episode' to a casual viewer unfamiliar with the series.

2) "Shock Theater" - What an episode. I have to say this was arguably the most exciting episode of QL. It was great nostalgia having Sam 'tap in' to the traces of past leapees. On a deeper level, yes, the overall reason for Sam being there in the first place was relatively weak (compared to most other leaps). I said in another thread that I don't believe there are trivial leaps. And this was one of the episodes I defended with the reason being more of a "butterfly effect" and/or "ripple effect" in which even the slightest change made the biggest difference later on. We know that surely Sam Bederman's life most likely did not improve. We can only hope from the context of the show that it was Bederman's fate to always be in a mental institution as he was apparently legitimately disturbed in the first place (at least, according to Al and likely Dr. Beeks). This only goes to show as another example that the person Sam has leapt into is not always the person that needs to be saved in any given way.

I always had a theory that THIS was where the TRUE mind-merging occurred for the first time. Well, why would GFTW place Sam in the helpless position to have his brain scrambled by a bogus shock therapy session in the first place? Looking on from a spiritual level, this leap was possibly a test. If GFTW was in control, "it" could have leaped Sam in whenever "it" wanted. And as "Mirror Image" implies, Sam was the one leaping himself, so was this just another targetless leap-in from his own subconscious? No one knows.

1) "M.I.A." - In the end, this episode, in my opinion, was the most poignant in the series. In the beginning we're to belive this is a 'typical' leap to save a cop from being murdered. We might normally not think much of Al's emotions toward the specifics of the leap, especially with his own deception when explaining it to Sam. (By the way, Al must never have been fond of the name Dirk. One ended up marrying the love of his life and the other saw to it that he was executed.) Ironically, the one saving grace of the finale I dislike, "Mirror Image," is that it rights the wrong of this episode. In a strange way it coexists and makes up for the sad ending.
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