Go Back   Al's Place Quantum Leap Online Community >
Main Quantum Leap Discussions
> Episode Guide Ratings and Reviews > Quantum Leap: Season Five

View Poll Results: Mirror Image
Excellent 34 60.71%
Good 14 25.00%
Average 4 7.14%
Fair 2 3.57%
Poor 2 3.57%
Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-06-2016, 12:56 AM   #51
Scotophor
Waiting Room Visitor
 
Scotophor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: La Puente, CA U.S.A.
Posts: 44
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuliaM View Post
I don't believe it was actually known when this episode was written and filmed that Quantum Leap was being cancelled. This episode was supposed to be a "cliff hanger" type ending that would lead into a 6th seaon opener and would take us to the future. Since that ended up not being the case, changes had to be made. I believe the cards at the end were put there by NBC and not Bellisario.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie View Post
Don Bellisario has said that Sam is definitely not dead. It's just a coincidence that he was hired for a job usually taken by dead people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMonrey View Post
Basically, this episode just left me baffled. I don't really have a problem with the ending revelation that Sam never returned home, which is what I think most fans objected to. I just don't really understand what DPB was trying to say here - regardless of whether this was intended to be [the series] finale or not.
Here's my response to the "is Sam dead?" fan debate. This is a slightly edited version of a comment I wrote anonymously (date unknown; approximately May-June 2015) regarding a copy of a review of "Mirror Image" posted at The TV and Film Guy's Reviews: Worst.. Finale... Ever..., review originally posted by Josh Lasser on June 21, 2007 at The Worst TV Series Finale… Ever:

Quote:
Maybe the creators didn't intend this, or maybe they did but never made it crystal clear for the "slower" fans (who unfortunately turned out to be the majority), but here's my take on the final episode--

At the very beginning of "Mirror Image", Sam has died! How are we supposed to know this? Here's one version of Sam's "String Theory", which is repeated a few times in the series, about what happens to someone who goes through the Quantum Leap Accelerator:
"One end of this string represents your birth; the other end, your death. You tie the ends together, and your life is a loop. Ball the loop... and the days of your life touch each other out of sequence. Therefore, leaping from one point in the string to another would move you back and forth within your own lifetime."

The key concepts there are what the ends of the string represent, and that they become connected. Since, shortly after his arrival in Cokeburg, Sam discovered that it was just past the exact moment of his birth, it follows from the Theory that the moment before that was the moment of his death. Therefore, for pretty much the entire episode, Sam is already dead. But apparently Sam doesn't put two and two together from his own theory, even after seeing himself in the mirror and Al telling him that there's no one in the waiting room...
New corroborating info to add, which I just realized in July, 2016:
By production code number order, the episode which immediately precedes "Mirror Image" (68126) is not "Memphis Melody" (68123), but "Revenge of the Evil Leaper" a.k.a. "Evil Leaper III" (68125). More info from that episode and one of its preceding related mini-arc episodes also support my theory above. Near the end of "Deliver Us from Evil" a.k.a. "Evil Leaper I", Sam convinces evil leaper Alia not to shoot him, based upon his idea that "evil can not exist without good", so if she were to kill Sam, she would die too. By the logical corollary to this theory, good also can not exist without evil. Near the end of "Revenge of the Evil Leaper", we see Alia get shot in the chest and immediately leap. However, by this time Alia is apparently no longer an evil leaper but instead the target of one. But her replacement evil leaper Zoe also gets shot in the chest and immediately leaps. What if Sam's "good and evil" theory is true, and my corollary is true too? What if Zoe died as a result of the gunshot wound and her death directly and immediately caused Sam's death, at the moment we saw him leap? This would be a perfect lead-in to "Mirror Image" with Sam being deceased but not yet being aware of it.

The question in my mind now is, was Bellisario lying when he said that Sam is not dead? From a marketing standpoint, with the possibility then existing for a QL movie or for the series to be picked up and continued by another network, he had to say that Sam is still alive whether it was true or not. To me, these clues make it apparent that, as the writer of the episode, DPB originally intended that Sam is dead. However, since he isn't credited as a writer of any of the "evil leaper" episodes, he might have forgotten or been unaware that Zoe's getting shot could have resulted (and now apparently did) in Sam's death. Whether Bellisario originally intended for Sam to be dead or not, considering the episodes in production code number order and taking the "string theory" and "good and evil theory" into account, Sam must be dead during this episode.
__________________

Last edited by Scotophor; 07-06-2016 at 01:44 AM.
Scotophor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2016, 07:03 PM   #52
blue enigma
Accelerator Technician
 
blue enigma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 252
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotophor View Post
The question in my mind now is, was Bellisario lying when he said that Sam is not dead? From a marketing standpoint, with the possibility then existing for a QL movie or for the series to be picked up and continued by another network, he had to say that Sam is still alive whether it was true or not. To me, these clues make it apparent that, as the writer of the episode, DPB originally intended that Sam is dead. However, since he isn't credited as a writer of any of the "evil leaper" episodes, he might have forgotten or been unaware that Zoe's getting shot could have resulted (and now apparently did) in Sam's death. Whether Bellisario originally intended for Sam to be dead or not, considering the episodes in production code number order and taking the "string theory" and "good and evil theory" into account, Sam must be dead during this episode.
I don't see why DPB would lie. You've made some interesting points and connections to argue this theory, and it's entirely possible that we can interpret it this way, since Sam is wearing his own clothes rather than the Fermi suit he was wearing both times when he stepped into the QL Accelerator, has his wallet with him with his own ID, etc. (although the dream theory can explain those things too). If per the string theory Sam's moment of birth and death are touching the moment he walked into Al's Place, is he really dead? Or is he being reborn? Is he now in an endless loop in and between those moments?

But I personally don't think DPB was lying/changed his mind when he said Sam's not dead -- I think he meant it and I think the point he wanted to make is that it was ultimately always up to Sam whether he continued on his mission or stopped and went home (I'm also not sure how involved he was with the evil leapers or if that's a direction he would've even gone in if he'd been more involved with the show at that point). As far as production code versus final airing order I tend to go with final airing order. Also, and I could be remembering this completely wrong, wasn't 'Mirror Image' originally intended for the end of Season 4, with at least a script already written then? I could be completely off on that but I have a vague recollection of reading it somewhere (and Sam's hair in 'Mirror Image' is Season 4 hair). If that was the case DPB may have had something entirely different in mind at that point.
__________________
Avatar by icons_of_isis
blue enigma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2016, 08:56 PM   #53
feldon30
Forum Technician
 
feldon30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 869
Default

The more we try to pull at the strings that tie together the backstory of Quantum Leap, the more things unravel. The fact is, it was never an anthology show. The continuing history of the main characters never transcended or became more important than the "monster of the week" or in this case "leap of the week".

With modern TV, the continuing anthology story is the "A" story while the action in the episode is the "B" story. In the 1980's and 90's, it was the other way around where we got just a taste of what was going on behind the scenes but it never took precedence over the guest stars of each self-contained episode. Remember, to be sold into syndication, 80's and 90's shows were required to be non-linear, with each episode pressing the "reset button" at the end so that episodes could be aired out-of-order. This restriction was eventually lifted, but this is why the characters on Star Trek TNG didn't really grow or change, while they did in later series. Now just about every show has a big chunky ongoing story or drama while the weekly action is just something for the characters to chew through while they're progressing bigger multi-episode plots.

Sorry for all the food-related euphemisms.
__________________
feldon30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2016, 10:01 PM   #54
blue enigma
Accelerator Technician
 
blue enigma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 252
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by feldon30 View Post
Remember, to be sold into syndication, 80's and 90's shows were required to be non-linear, with each episode pressing the "reset button" at the end so that episodes could be aired out-of-order.
I didn't know that was required to be sold into syndication. Thanks for the info.

Of course the "reset button" worked for QL canonically anyway.
__________________
Avatar by icons_of_isis
blue enigma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2016, 09:47 AM   #55
TheLeaper
Waiting Room Visitor
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 44
Default

With all the things Sam and Al have encountered in the years (UFOs, Big Foot, Angels, etc), the fact that the bartender might be GTFW is such a stretch to Al?
__________________
TheLeaper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2016, 11:39 AM   #56
blue enigma
Accelerator Technician
 
blue enigma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 252
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLeaper View Post
With all the things Sam and Al have encountered in the years (UFOs, Big Foot, Angels, etc), the fact that the bartender might be GTFW is such a stretch to Al?
Al's behavior once he finally located Sam in this episode was pretty strange. Granted at this point Sam was pretty hysterical after everything that has been going on and it makes sense that Al was reacting to that, not just about what Sam was saying. But I think this is one thing in the episode that is explained well with the "the leap is happening in Sam's head" theory -- in which case, Al was reacting in the way Sam was imagining he would react.
__________________
Avatar by icons_of_isis
blue enigma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2016, 11:51 AM   #57
Lightning McQueenie
Project Observer
 
Lightning McQueenie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 979
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue enigma View Post
Al's behavior once he finally located Sam in this episode was pretty strange. Granted at this point Sam was pretty hysterical after everything that has been going on and it makes sense that Al was reacting to that, not just about what Sam was saying. But I think this is one thing in the episode that is explained well with the "the leap is happening in Sam's head" theory -- in which case, Al was reacting in the way Sam was imagining he would react.
Actually I disagree with this, as Sam and Al are neurally linked, it makes sense that the real Al would be able to connect with Sam's subconscious through the Imaging Chamber. It was definitely the real Al, and his behaviour is perfectly reasonable - can you imagine leaping into someone else's hallucination?
__________________
Lightning McQueenie is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2016, 12:07 PM   #58
feldon30
Forum Technician
 
feldon30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 869
Default

The whole episode just drives me mad. Al's behavior was completely off-kilter. It's like DPB hadn't even watched every episode or familiarized himself with everything that had gone on. He just had this story he wanted to tell that brushed on his father's experiences after the war and in a coal mining town in Pennsylvania and if it confused the heck out of us, so be it.
__________________
feldon30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2016, 12:30 PM   #59
blue enigma
Accelerator Technician
 
blue enigma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 252
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by feldon30 View Post
The whole episode just drives me mad. Al's behavior was completely off-kilter. It's like DPB hadn't even watched every episode or familiarized himself with everything that had gone on. He just had this story he wanted to tell that brushed on his father's experiences after the war and in a coal mining town in Pennsylvania and if it confused the heck out of us, so be it.
I agree with you completely about Al's behavior in this episode (which is why I've begun to favor the "it was all Sam's dream" theory as an explanation -- although to be fair I think Al's behavior was off in several episodes in Season 5, which I chalk up to Al spending too much time in the imaging chamber).

Also DPB did tend to put his own stuff into stories a little too much (not just QL). In this case he was definitely indulging that tendency. On the other hand he also wrote some of the best episodes in the series (The Leap Home and The Leap Home Vietnam) and I always favored the dynamic at play between them in the specific episodes that he wrote (except LHO which I won't watch ever again, lol). Too bad he didn't carry that over into this episode. I was also disappointed with how little of Al was in the episode, even if we felt his presence by way of his absence.
__________________
Avatar by icons_of_isis
blue enigma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2016, 12:36 PM   #60
TheLeaper
Waiting Room Visitor
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 44
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue enigma View Post
Too bad he didn't carry that over into this episode. I was also disappointed with how little of Al was in the episode, even if we felt his presence by way of his absence.
I agree. Even going by the original "season finale cliffhanger" intention, Al was used so little in this episode.
__________________
TheLeaper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2016, 01:59 PM   #61
blue enigma
Accelerator Technician
 
blue enigma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 252
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie View Post
Actually I disagree with this, as Sam and Al are neurally linked, it makes sense that the real Al would be able to connect with Sam's subconscious through the Imaging Chamber. It was definitely the real Al, and his behaviour is perfectly reasonable - can you imagine leaping into someone else's hallucination?
As feldon pointed out (and I agree) Al's behavior is totally off-kilter in this episode, and I don't think it's just his 'leaping into Sam's hallucination'. There is something completely off and unreal about him here.
__________________
Avatar by icons_of_isis
blue enigma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2016, 02:35 PM   #62
TheLeaper
Waiting Room Visitor
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 44
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue enigma View Post
As feldon pointed out (and I agree) Al's behavior is totally off-kilter in this episode, and I don't think it's just his 'leaping into Sam's hallucination'. There is something completely off and unreal about him here.
Exactly. His reactions would be normal if this was the first leap. But after everything they have encountered (including a dead person claiming to be an angel), the fact a bartender could be more than he claims to be isn't that far out.
__________________
TheLeaper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2017, 02:26 PM   #63
chifan7
PQL Visitor
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 2
Default A Bit confused at the Ending

Hi Folks, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Quantum Leap series for Many years! As much as I enjoyed watching this innovative series I am confused(from what I have been reading many of you are as well) at the ending.
I have just watched last night( on Cozitv) , Mirror Image again, I can not count how many times. I just can remember the story line involving Beth and Al. Seeing the ending scene to the series perplexes more. Can someone Please refresh my memory of this and connect the dots as it where, to to the ending where Sam goes back to tell Beth that Al is alive. Every time I watch this ending I keep Hoping i will remember the connection.....but Don't. Thanks so much for your help. Harold.
__________________
chifan7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2017, 12:16 AM   #64
Lightning McQueenie
Project Observer
 
Lightning McQueenie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 979
Default

Here's an essay I wrote for the Quantum Leap Podcast about Mirror Image. Let me know your thoughts...

“Mirror Image” is the infamous final episode of Quantum Leap. On the first few viewings, it makes very little sense, and takes a great number of viewings to understand and to accept the ending, that “Dr Samuel Becket [sic] never returned home”. The following is a compilation of analyses by myself and my friends on “Al’s Place Forum”, which is hoped will help anyone watching or re-watching the final episode who is still scratching their heads…

First, some behind the scenes information. When this episode was written, it was not known whether Quantum Leap would be renewed for a sixth season, so Don Bellisario wrote this episode so that it could be used either as a series final or as a cliffhanger for the next season. There are at least three known alternate endings (one of which was filmed) and the episode is purposely ambiguous, providing enough answers to finish the show, but leaving enough unanswered questions to justify having the series continue. Also, apart from the fact that the series as a whole is brilliant, one reason why the fans are still talking about Quantum Leap is because there are still so many unanswered questions which we love speculating over, and it leaves open the possibility for the series to be continued in some way, shape or form in the future, such as a Quantum Leap movie…

Getting onto the episode itself, nobody will understand this episode until they realise that this particular leap is different to any other. He has not leapt into another person with future knowledge to put right what went wrong in the original history. This time, the leap occurs entirely within his own subconscious, and the purpose is to help Sam come to terms with his own life and to accept his life’s path. I see a lot of parallels between “Mirror Image” and the much-loved classic film “The Wizard of Oz”. Both stories are implied to occur entirely within the main character’s head. Both have a mysterious guide – Dorothy has Glinda, Sam has Al the Bartender. Everyone they meet reminds them of someone they already know – the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Wicked Witch of the West remind Dorothy of the farm hands and Miss Gulch; while Tonchi and Pete remind Sam of Frank and Jimmy, the two boys outside the pub remind Sam of the Elroy sons, Ziggy (the man) reminds Sam of Moe Stein/Captain Galaxy, Al the Bartender reminds Sam of Weird Ernie, and everyone else he meets has a name of someone that he knows, such as Al, Gooshie, Ziggy. And finally, both Dorothy and Sam both use this experience to come to terms with something – Dorothy realising that to find happiness she just needs her family and that there’s no place like home, while Sam had to realise that he created Project Quantum Leap to make the world a better place, and that even though he misses his old life, he would never forgive himself if he allowed people to suffer when he could prevent or change it.

I realise it is a stretch to assume that the leap is entirely within Sam’s subconscious, but it is the only conclusion that makes any sense. After all, Sam has his own reflection, and there is not anybody in the Waiting Room at the project. Also, it is the only way to explain how everything around Sam is centred about himself, like leaping in at the exact moment of his birth, and everyone either taking the name or image of someone he knows. We also need to remember that in the beginning of the series, in Genesis, we are told that a certain amount of time passes while Sam is leaping. We don’t know what happens to Sam in this time, but one could guess that he ends up in a comatose state, which would explain why his only experience of the leap is simply an instantaneous blink from one situation to the next, and also why any injuries he obtains during a leap are healed by the leap – for example, when he leapt out after having been badly beaten in “Black on White on Fire” to being fully healed in “The Great Spontini” – he must be in a coma long enough to heal. If the leap puts him in a comatose state, then it’s not difficult to believe that “Mirror Image” might be a dream, or an out-of-body experience between the usual leaps.

Since the leap occurs in Sam’s own mind, it would make sense that everything we see in this leap is a manifestation of his own. In Freudian Psychology, there are three parts to the psyche, the id, the ego and the superego. I see the three parts to Sam’s psyche being materialised in this leap. The first is Sam’s “id”, his true self, his wants and hopes. This is what we are all seeing as Sam, and the consciousness that Sam has taken in his mind. This is the part of Sam that wants to help people but also wants to go home, and the part which carries the pride over his triumphs and guilt over his failures. Sam’s “ego” takes on the form of Al the Bartender. The ego is the voice of reason, the one who knows what needs to be done and what is and isn’t acceptable. Sam mistakenly thinks that this mysterious bartender is God, and in a way, he is, since at this point in time, Sam’s entire world is inside his own mind and the bartender is the puppetmaster controlling everything he sees, but outside of this leap, this bartender would not exist, as he is just a figment of Sam’s imagination to give Sam a tangible way for him to come to terms with his path. So that leaves Sam’s “superego”, this is the one who not only knows what needs to be done, but also, how to do it. For reasons I will explain later, I believe that Sam’s superego took on the form of Stawpah – Al the Observer’s uncle who had died twenty years earlier, now leaping to put wrongs right, who had been stuck in a time loop.

The reason that Sam’s superego took on the form of Hologram-Al’s uncle is important. There is a great deal of subtext that needs a few viewings of the episode to appreciate. Apart from the more obvious events which make you think this leap has something to do with Sam, which I mentioned above, there is a more subtle common denominator to much of what Sam experiences in this leap, that is, Al the Observer. Why did Sam see the two Elroy boys from “A Tale of Two Sweeties”? Because they symbolise the children Al should have had, because he would have been an amazing father, even though he’d had multiple marriages. Why did Sam create two characters in the image of Frank and Jimmy LaMotta? Because they symbolise Al and his connection to his sister, Trudy. Why did Moe Stein appear to Sam? Because it was Captain Galaxy who taught Sam his string theory which would eventually be utilised to create Project Quantum Leap – this was necessary so that Sam would have a reminder of why he created the project in the first place, to make people’s lives better. And who was the only person who Sam had not yet helped (which he felt very guilty about)? Al.

So, why then did Sam’s superego take the form of Stawpah? Because Stawpah symbolises Al. Emotionally, Al was as crippled as Stawpah was physically, having suffered a great deal of abandonment in his life, especially from Beth, but also from his mother, who ran off with the Encyclopaedia salesman (ironically, since Stawpah was Russian, that means he had to have been from Al’s mother’s side). Also, Stawpah talks about having had to live through the pain of losing Tonchi and Pete over and over, not being able to do anything until Sam intervened. This is really Sam’s superego saying “Al can’t get through this himself, you have to help him”. Sam is incredibly intelligent, and with all these signs saying to help Al, how could he not? There’s a second reason also. Stawpah had been dead for a long time. Sam might not have any conscious memory of being helped by an angel (Angelita), but he would at least have a feeling that there is something out there looking over him, and more importantly, doing what he is doing, so he is not alone. Stawpah, also being an angel (or the manifestation of one) was there to remind him of that.

So this leap was threefold, the first part being that Sam needed to learn that he had chosen the path to help others, and in the end, he was ok with it. And the second being that Sam doesn’t need to blindly follow rules, he needs to do what he thinks is right at the time and learn from his mistakes, and the third is to fix his mistake, namely to make sure that Beth doesn’t remarry and that Al can finally have his happiness. Once he has done this, he could leap home any time he wanted to, because it is he who controls how long he will stay on his life path. The reason that we get the heartbreaking result of Sam never returning home is because he felt there was always some other wrong that needed putting right, and so made the CHOICE to continue leaping and to continue helping people. He is still out there, still putting right what once went wrong, and will continue to do so for the rest of his life (and even beyond), and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
__________________
Lightning McQueenie is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2000 - 2016 Al's Place Quantum Leap Fan Site | 4.8.15.16.23.42