Old 08-16-2014, 04:15 PM   #1
TylerMeans
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Default Did Quantum Leap Ever Jump the Shark?

Jump the Shark
A term used in TV and sometimes movies. Nowadays the term most used is "Fly off the Rails" or "Nuke the Fridge". Whatever term you choose, but it seems that many of our favorite (and not so favorite ) shows are guilty of this cardinal sin.

Some series, (Star Trek TNG, Babylon 5) never jumped while many shows (Star Trek TOS, Sliders, Lost just to name a few) really did the dirty deed.

I really liked Quantum Leap but I cannot think of a point where the show actually jumped. If I were tied down and tortured and forced to give up an episode I would probably pick on "The Leap Between the States" or 'Lee Harvey Oswald". I found the fifth season lacking in some aspects but I doubt I would say the show ever really jumped the shark.

Your thoughts?
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:30 PM   #2
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Season five. This is practically an inarguable fact given that a lot of it's story lines (namely the Evil Leapers and the episodes involving celebrities) were ratings ploys to the point where all the rules were broken.
When NBC took over the series was placed in a time slot which had rivaled it with Full House and ultimately it's undoing.

Lee Harvey Oswald while a--historical figure (since celebrity is not appropriate) actually falls into a different category of deviation from Quantum Leap's original themes. This episode was Bellisario's desire due to a personal connection with the events, his need to argue with a certain documentary which he did not agree with. This is why it was a series of several leaps spanning over a period of I believe a couple of years and why the task isn't clear (except that it wasn't to save JFK), the guess being to solve the conspiracy/save Jackie Kennedy.
He once met LHO himself, in fact the encounter is featured in the episode. Remember the scene where Sam had an exchange with a solider about the authenticity of certain media sources? It seems like an unnecessary scene as it's not vital to the story but look carefully at the name on the breast of his suit, that's Bellisario (well clearly an actor portraying his younger self).

The Leap Between the States is somewhat gimmicky but I found it to be one of the better episodes. Despite being way outside his lifetime it was explained well enough to be believable and the task was well within their typical field.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:55 PM   #3
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Season five. This is practically an inarguable fact given that a lot of it's story lines (namely the Evil Leapers and the episodes involving celebrities) were ratings ploys to the point where all the rules were broken.
It definitely went downhill in Season 5 but I don't think it actually completely jumped the shark, and there are still some excellent episodes in the season (I love Killin' Time and Promised Land, I love Mirror Image despite the last black screen, and I even like the hokey UFO episode). Yes, they did break many of their own rules as they went along, they did stuff that Bellisario said he'd never do (like the celebrity leaps and leaping Sam into the Civil War), some of the scripts went down in quality with new writers who came in, and some of the characterizations got kind of off once in a while in this season's scripts too in my opinion (and people seem to either love or hate the evil leapers - I personally didn't like the introduction of the concept). But I think at least most of the core ethos of the show remained, even in Season 5. It was still Sam and Al working together and bantering and being great friends, Sam leaping to help others and put right what once went wrong, etc. So I don't think it completely went off the rails and into shark-jumping territory, but I agree it was on its way there. Had it gone on for another season and if the script for the alternate ending to the finale/cliffhanger for another season was anything to go by then yes, I think that likely would've happened in Season 6 had there been a Season 6.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:48 PM   #4
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There were several Season 5 episodes that I enjoyed as well. "Killing Time" is outstanding and so is "Nowhere to Run". Both are well written and smart episodes. "Mirror Image" I found to be a more than adequate finale. I liked the way they revisited one of the series' best episodes in" M.I.A." and Sam deciding to set Al's past right. I found the card explaining what happened to Al and Beth very touching and moving. Pity Sam never returned home, but I found "Mirror Image" satisfying.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:48 PM   #5
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It definitely went downhill in Season 5 but I don't think it actually completely jumped the shark, and there are still some excellent episodes in the season (I love Killin' Time and Promised Land, I love Mirror Image despite the last black screen, and I even like the hokey UFO episode). Yes, they did break many of their own rules as they went along, they did stuff that Bellisario said he'd never do (like the celebrity leaps and leaping Sam into the Civil War), some of the scripts went down in quality with new writers who came in, and some of the characterizations got kind of off once in a while in this season's scripts too in my opinion (and people seem to either love or hate the evil leapers - I personally didn't like the introduction of the concept). But I think at least most of the core ethos of the show remained, even in Season 5. It was still Sam and Al working together and bantering and being great friends, Sam leaping to help others and put right what once went wrong, etc. So I don't think it completely went off the rails and into shark-jumping territory, but I agree it was on its way there. Had it gone on for another season and if the script for the alternate ending to the finale/cliffhanger for another season was anything to go by then yes, I think that likely would've happened in Season 6 had there been a Season 6.
Agreed wholeheartedly with all points made here. Their deviation from their own rules and characterizations is why when discussing certain concepts I sometimes take hints from Season 5 with a grain of salt. For example that Sam leaping from Oswald to the Secret Service Agent in all logic should have allowed Al to see the leap effect.

My apologies for lacking clarity before if I had but there are several episodes in season five which I enjoy and believe it or not the Evil Leapers, the first two mostly are among them.
Starlight Starbright (the UFO episode) and The Beast Within which suggests the existence of Bigfoot are two very well done episodes with simply distasteful endings when the UFOs and Bigfoot actually appear. :/
What I liked most about Starlight, StarBright aside from the edge-of-your-seat truth serum scene was the fact that this was one of only two elderly leapees throughout the entire series.
One of my favorites in season five is Nowhere to Run, the episode in which Sam leaped into an amputee who'd lost both legs in Vietnam.
Believe it or not despite being a celebrity episode I also happen to love Dr. Ruth. The Annie story was very well portrayed and exactly the type of thing Sam typically deals with. Not to mention there was plenty of humor on the side.

Mirror Image while confusing in some ways was very eye opening and interesting and it thrills me to the bone that Sam ended up seeing the error of not trying to convince Beth to wait for Al and was able to take what he'd learned from Al the Bartender to get it right.

You're right Blue, from what I'd heard of the intention for the sixth season that would have been the true point where it jumped the shark. The concept was hardly appealing. So it's actually a blessing in disguise that it didn't work out.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:05 AM   #6
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"Jumping the shark' is defined as being a noticeable moment where a show starts to decline and it's obvious the show will be cancelled. There are many possibilities that cause this moment, often it's a gimmick as an attempt to get ratings.

Even though in Season 5, they did do some things to try to boost their ratings, in my opinion the show's quality did not decline. Season 5 had some of the best episodes in he entire series. All shows do go through change, so it's not unreasonable to think that Quantum Leap shouldn't grow and evolve.

So since the show in my opinion did not decline in quality, I therefore believe that the show did not jump the shark.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:02 PM   #7
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The concept of Sam leaping into historical figures was an interesting one, and the acting in LHO was great. Promised Land with Sam getting to go back to Indiana was touching in a lot of ways. And Sam leaping into Dr. Ruth? There were some really hilarious moments there. Memphis Melody to me is worth watching just to hear Scott sing, although the story itself isn't one of my all time favorites. And I liked the Trilogy and Evil Leaper story lines. Yes, I do realize not everyone will care for them and there are valid reasons for that, but I'm among those who do like them. So I would say the quality of the show didn't diminish.

That being said, the folks putting the show together (i.e. producer and writers) probably did the best they could to deal with a network that was looking at ratings and threatening to cancel the show. I can't really fault them for attempting to do what they could to cooperate with the network and do what they could to save the show. So no, I don't think they jumped the shark. They did what they had to, and I think they still managed to keep the show entertaining in the process.

I think all the blame should be on NBC.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie
Season 5 had some of the best episodes in he entire series.
Though I'll give you that the quality isn't at 'Jumping the shark' level, I respectfully disagree that it contained some of the best episodes in the series.

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Originally Posted by MichelleD
Promised Land with Sam getting to go back to Indiana was touching in a lot of ways.
Ah Promised Land, another well done episode in season five, where we get some very raw core emotions from Sam being back in his hometown of Elk Ridge. There's a scene in which the eldest brother delivers a monologue to Sam that one could swear is Tom speaking to him!
Bestie and I also love the what we call 'almost-high five' between Sam and Al. XD

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Memphis Melody to me is worth watching just to hear Scott sing, although the story itself isn't one of my all time favorites.
My opinion exactly. From the beginning until the end of the 'Amazing Grace' performance is all I really prefer to watch of Memphis Melody. And as a tidbit, during Scott's singing there is a cameo of his daughter Chelsy, the young girl in a green dress who's bent in prayer. Even from that angle I can see how at least at the time she looked a lot like him.
Though I'll say that Scott does a great Elvis singing voice.

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And I liked the Trilogy and Evil Leaper story lines. Yes, I do realize not everyone will care for them and there are valid reasons for that, but I'm among those who do like them.
As am I. Recently I've come to be able to tolerate the Trilogy more though I'm still not a fan of the child Abigail nor the fact that Sam slept with her as an adult.
The evil leapers while no doubt purely a ratings ploy, I happen to find fascinating. I'd have liked to learn more about their project and character backgrounds.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:49 PM   #9
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I donít condone Sam sleeping with Abagail when he was married to Donna; I can understand why that would bother people. If he had actually remembered he was married to Donna it would have bothered me a lot more than it did. I can understand why people would consider the Trilogy out of character for him; he didn't normally take advantage of/get involved with the people he was helping. There is the idea that Sam and Willís personalities merged. It was the whole idea of Sam wanting to stay in one place and not being able to do so that I found moving. I do think it was a mistake to have him be married, and as some have pointed out, this may have been Deborahís way of erasing Donna. The concept of an evil leaper was an interesting one; I would have liked to see them do more with that storyline and find out more about their project background too.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:03 AM   #10
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I don’t condone Sam sleeping with Abagail when he was married to Donna; I can understand why that would bother people. If he had actually remembered he was married to Donna it would have bothered me a lot more than it did. I can understand why people would consider the Trilogy out of character for him; he didn't normally take advantage of/get involved with the people he was helping. There is the idea that Sam and Will’s personalities merged. It was the whole idea of Sam wanting to stay in one place and not being able to do so that I found moving. I do think it was a mistake to have him be married, and as some have pointed out, this may have been Deborah’s way of erasing Donna. The concept of an evil leaper was an interesting one; I would have liked to see them do more with that storyline and find out more about their project background too.
Nor do I condone it but I've come to understand it better than when I'd first watched it.

1.) Will's mindset had been on the verge of Oswald kind of control, however once he begun to make love to Abigail he'd outwardly admitted to Al that Will disappeared and it was all himself. Still it is my personal belief that Will led him there first. Plus I must point out that her 'like a magic flash we fit' comment, total garbage! Normally that sorta thing makes putty out of me but this I just did not buy.

2.) Not remembering Donna is a perfectly acceptable excuse to be unfaithful to her, it's Donna's logic to not remind him as well as Al's decision not to break that promise to her that is at fault here. The expression on Al's face when Sam Beckett of all people was talking about how badly he wanted to hold and touch Abigail was clearly filled with concern and in my recent head canon he was thinking of Donna. Not that those thoughts coming out of Sam Beckett's mouth isn't shocking enough on it's own of course.
Personally I felt there were other instances which would have been condonable for Al to mention Donna. So it's from a different angle than most but I too have issues with the Donna factor. And this despite that I might be beginning to ship Sam with Tamlyn a bit more than Donna because Donna isn't the most believable relationship either but that's another topic. I can elaborate later if you'd like.

3.) It's pretty evident that Pratt deleted Donna when writing Trilogy. She'd been unhappy with the entire The Leap Back episode and Donna was among the reasons. She wanted to explore Sam becoming involved with a woman in a leap. That's what I heard anyway. Which actually kind of cancels out ANY opinion, including my own of Sam's unfaithfulness to her in Trilogy but they are still valid in my book.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:55 AM   #11
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Ah, The Leap Back is worth watching just for the scene in the Diner... There were a number of really funny scenes in that episode.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:14 PM   #12
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Personally I enjoy the entire episode but indeed the scene in the diner and even the previous scene were hilarious. Sam shoving his newly holographic head through a tree and Al thinking his last name is Beckett! The Al Beckett thing cracked me up so hard.

Returning to the Donna factor for a moment, Temptation Eyes was another episode according to Another Time, Another Place in which fans had issues with Sam being unfaithful to her. Again I fault her and Al for not revealing her to him.
At the same time however the fact that she herself requested that he not be reminded while the logic behind it is arguable has a positive angle to it that never seems to be considered; it's an acknowledgement that he can't be faulted for his actions as a result.
The novel Knights of the Morningstar offers a portrayal of Donna which extends what is only scratched at the surface in The Leap Back as we are given a glance at her reactions to both Temptation Eyes and Trilogy. There is an understanding and acceptance presented which matches how Scott feels about it.
Another argument of Scott's is that as long as Sam was aware that he wasn't hurting Donna he would not have trouble acting as needed.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:41 PM   #13
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Knights of the Morning Star is a good book.

I have problems with the "as long as it's not hurting anyone, it's okay" mindset...I don't think it gives license. However, that is the way many people think. People are pretty much going to do what they want.

In Sam's case, he wasn't even aware he was married, and if that hadn't been the case I don't think he would have gotten involved with these other women. It may not be an excuse, but it's hard to take responsibility for something when your memory is faulty like Sam's was, and it may have been a way for the writers to get around Sam becoming involved with other women too as some have pointed out. The entertainment industry doesn't exactly have an atmosphere that encourages being faithful to the person you're married to.

And Donna did say something to the effect that he'd never done anything to betray their love...Which would probably either make her very forgiving or totally unrealistic.

Part of the ongoing theme of the show though was that Sam wanted to get home, settle down and stay in one place.
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:05 PM   #14
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And Donna did say something to the effect that he'd never done anything to betray their love...Which would probably either make her very forgiving or totally unrealistic.
I tend to go with totally unrealistic. Unless we assume Donna is a saint. Or polyamorous -- but then Sam would have to be also (or at least okay with it) if their relationship were to work and the show never specifically gave any indication of that.

But especially since it's Donna, a woman who already has serious trust issues with men, this is a totally unrealistic mindset in my opinion. Sam's actions likely hurt her very much, despite the fact that she said they didn't. She may not blame him, or feel that he deliberately betrayed her, since she understood that he didn't remember so maybe he couldn't help it. In the Leap Back it's been 4 years since Sam's been home with her, 4 years since they've made love. Maybe she made the decision that she was just going to enjoy that, without dwelling on something that she thought was now over and done with, and without making him feel worse. The realization that he may have hurt her was very painful to him and I'm sure she could see that.

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Part of the ongoing theme of the show though was that Sam wanted to get home, settle down and stay in one place.
True, but at the same time Sam always wanted to travel in time more than anything, which is kind of antithesis to wanting to stay in one place. He may have wanted to have his cake and eat it too.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:00 PM   #15
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Wanting to have his cake and eat it too...That's a good point. Of course, he started time traveling before it was really safe for him to do so, and there were consequences for that. He found out later he couldn't just go home when he wanted to. It could be a case of wanting the best of both worlds.
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:02 PM   #16
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And Donna did say something to the effect that he'd never done anything to betray their love...Which would probably either make her very forgiving or totally unrealistic.
Exactly and my viewpoint is the unrealistic one considering her abandonment issues with men which Sam made hypocrisy off when he stepped into that accelerator regardless of the fact that it was unintentional as he wasn't expecting to end up stuck. One reunion with her father couldn't have done the full 180 on those feelings. Just look at Al. He'd married five times yet the scarring from Beth remained as strong as ever.

As I discuss relating factors with you folks, my eyes are opening more to the fact that their relationship in general is not believable. There aren't any references or backstories which that tell us that Donna is the love of Sam's life and that he'd considered her above all else as we get with Al's feelings for Beth. Even in the span of ONE episode (MIA), we get a stronger sense of that relationship than of Sam and Donna's in the span of two.

Consider Good Morning Peoria for a moment.
"It's like I've been given a license to play!"
We're given the impression that this is Sam learning for the very first time to allow himself to be silly and have some fun. Which is heavily suggestive of a focused, workaholic ethic in his pre-leap life both in marriage and not since this takes place after he'd made the change which resulted in his being married.
Then looking at two other episodes:
1.) In Future Boy we learn that he'd been wanting to time travel since the age of four.
2.) In Promised Land we find out that Sam couldn't tear himself away from M.I.T for his own father's funeral and the there is emotion in Future Boy which also suggests this. For ages I'd somehow thought that was the episode it was revealed in.

Given these points, despite that he's clearly also a romantic, one must wonder how much he'd really satisfied Donna.
So when he asks her in The Leap Back if he'd ever made her feel betrayed and Catch a Falling Star instantly jumps out at the viewer (or at least at me) which was personal not in any way related to the leap, one must lift an eyebrow at her response. The probability that she knew better than to fault him for his memory loss and her own role in that as well as a possibility that she didn't want to put that guilt on him doesn't make much of a difference. The line still doesn't come across believably anymore than their relationship in general does.
If there was another criticism I've got about The Leap Back, it's her line "I don't care" in regards to Al's peril. That gave her a contradicting selfishness that is understandably maddening to some folks, even myself. The same could be said of "It isn't fair Sam".
If I could go back and get involved with the writing of that script I'd have that scene re-thought out.

The portrayals we see in both the novels Mirror's Edge and Prelude are very well thought out in this respect.
Prelude's author Ashley McConnell never uses Donna in her novels so here we are in the original timeline before he'd changed the circumstances under which she'd left him and Tom is still killed in Vietnam but we still get a very raw and heart wrenching portrayal of how estranged he'd become from his sister and mother. There is a small reference to Sam having spoken to them over the phone where you can feel that it has an atmosphere if one of those stranger in a phone booth calls.

In Mirror's Edge both Donna and Tom are in the equation but we still have a Sam who's head was always at the project even when he was physically in a room with his family. There'd be no interaction or engagement from him. There is then a flashback where he'd refused a direct request from Donna for sex in favor of working though not for a lack of interest or so he claimed.
What's more is that Carol Davis did something extremely smart here with the hypocrisy of the marriage. Upon remembering her Sam does have guilt over the fact that he'd left her and even expresses to her that she deserved better, someone who'd actually be there for her. This was excellent!

There was clearly a lack of interesting in developing Donna which as I'd explained before is reflected in Pratt's dislike of her.
For once I'm seeing past my mush factor which can tend to cloud my vision, something that isn't easy if I'm a fan of the characters, to the unrealistic nature of the relationship. In English terms, I'm not buying it so much anymore. I've always loved Tamlyn but now I think she's ascending above Donna.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:57 PM   #17
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So when he asks her in The Leap Back if he'd ever made her feel betrayed and Catch a Falling Star instantly jumps out at the viewer (or at least at me) which was personal not in any way related to the leap, one must lift an eyebrow at her response. The probability that she knew better than to fault him for his memory loss and her own role in that as well as a possibility that she didn't want to put that guilt on him doesn't make much of a difference. The line still doesn't come across believably anymore than their relationship in general does.
Yeah, I don't think she really meant it. I think she just said that with the idea that it was over and done with and she wanted to move on and enjoy having her husband back. Why bring up or dwell on painful stuff when you can be making love under the stars? But I don't buy it that she didn't feel hurt by his actions, even if he couldn't help it because of his memory loss. She just chose not to dwell on it or burden him.

On the other hand, this episode was written by Bellisario himself, and it may have been wishful thinking on his part.

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If there was another criticism I've got about The Leap Back, it's her line "I don't care" in regards to Al's peril. That gave her a contradicting selfishness that is understandably maddening to some folks, even myself. The same could be said of "It isn't fair Sam".
Two things about the "I don't care" line: first, I think that once again this is a case where Bellisario brought his own stuff into the writing; but second, taking the line itself at face value, I don't think Donna literally meant that she didn't care about Al and I don't think she was willing to allow him to die either. She was reacting in the moment. She was extremely upset, and she had every right to be. Her husband was lost to her, for all intents and purposes, for four years, and then when she finally got him back it wasn't even twenty-four hours and he had to leave her again, possibly (and as we know, definitely) to never return - and as was pointed out in the specific thread for the episode, Sam treated her pretty badly as he was about to leave, completely ignoring her until she made him tell her what he was doing.

As for the "It isn't fair, Sam" line: she's absolutely right. It isn't fair. Sam has been unfair. He is a good, caring man for the most part, but he's been unfair to the people closest to him, especially Donna.

Sam is selfish too, but people don't define the character by his selfishness; it's just one facet of a complex, well-realized character. Because Donna was so badly developed as a character I think a lot of people end up defining her by this one scene (and in fact she almost reads to me as nothing more than another trophy for Sam, like his Nobel prize, rather than a fully fleshed-out human character; I don't dislike the character, but I very much disliked the way the character was handled by the two writers of the episodes where she appears).
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:07 PM   #18
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Two things about the "I don't care" line: first, I think that once again this is a case where Bellisario brought his own stuff into the writing; but second, taking the line itself at face value, I don't think Donna literally meant that she didn't care about Al and I don't think she was willing to allow him to die either. She was reacting in the moment. She was extremely upset, and she had every right to be. Her husband was lost to her, for all intents and purposes, for four years, and then when she finally got him back it wasn't even twenty-four hours and he had to leave her again, possibly (and as we know, definitely) to never return - and as was pointed out in the specific thread for the episode, Sam treated her pretty badly as he was about to leave, completely ignoring her until she made him tell her what he was doing.
It never crossed my mind that there had been sincerity in the "I don't care" line and sure there was upset in that moment but then she'd gone on to beg him to stay. So she did have some intention whether consciously or not to leave Al to die as did Sam. He'd just stood there considering it until she told him to go. On an unrelated note, I'm almost certain Al would have sided with Donna if he'd been able to have a say, that he would have sacrificed himself to keep Sam home.
I'm in agreement with her, it wasn't fair, it sucked! After all he's done Sam makes it home but at a price that cannot be paid and the wife that had waited for him for four years has him back but can not hold onto him.

As for Sam ignoring her while preparing to leap again until she'd asked, consider this set of lines:
"How will you get back?"
"Use the retrieval program."
"It didn't work the first time you leaped."
"I've updated it."

He thought the retrieval program would work this time, that it would be in and out. Still it's true that it was crappy behavior and goes back to my little essay about how their relationship is not believable because Sam is ultimately married to the project first.
Though if you look at the scene under the stars, he may have learned from his time leaping that he needed to give more to his loved ones. Even in the first two seasons you get a sense of guilt from him towards things like being unable to help Katie get away from Chuck and not appreciating Tom enough until he'd died (Camakazi Kid and Disco Inferno). This goes with another theory of mine that part of the reason for his leaping is to learn from the experiences. Al as well.
I've wondered if he'd thought to phone his family in Hawaii while home.

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Originally Posted by blue_enigma
possibly (and as we know, definitely) to never return
No not definitely, I don't care what that screen said, I don't buy it. Once he learned to accept that he was able to control his leaping there is no reason why he couldn't return home in between leaps. Why wouldn't he want that?
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:31 PM   #19
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It never crossed my mind that there had been sincerity in the "I don't care" line and sure there was upset in that moment but then she'd gone on to beg him to stay. So she did have some intention whether consciously or not to leave Al to die as did Sam. He'd just stood there considering it until she told him to go.
Yeah, I still chalk it up to her being extremely distraught and hurt, even past the initial moment, which she had every right to be. But after she got through that initial emotion she did still tell him to go (and again, I stand by my theory that this entire exchange was Bellisario's own baggage coming through).

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On an unrelated note, I'm almost certain Al would have sided with Donna if he'd been able to have a say, that he would have sacrificed himself to keep Sam home.
Agreed. I also don't think Al would've held it against her that she at first tried to stop Sam from going, even though it meant he would die. I think he would've understood, I think he would've been willing to allow Sam his happiness. Also, she's only human, and Al would've accepted that too.

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He thought the retrieval program would work this time, that it would be in and out. Still it's true that it was crappy behavior and goes back to my little essay about how their relationship is not believable because Sam is ultimately married to the project first.
I'm not convinced he thought that. Maybe he wanted to believe it, but I don't think he ever checked. It was Donna who asked Ziggy what the odds were that the updated program would work, and the odds Ziggy gave were very, very low. If he believed it would work it was because he chose to ignore reality and never asked.

And he still initially ignores her and brushes her off (though to be fair this is very much caused by the episode being too rushed to be well-executed, as was also pointed out in the 'Leap Back' thread).

I also feel that Sam was somewhat unfair with his initial leap. Yes, he was being pressured to prove his theories. But leaping wasn't his only choice (of course there wouldn't have been a show if he'd made a different choice, but I digress). From what background we're given, PQL was Sam's invention but Al was very much his partner in the building of it. But Sam went ahead and tested it on his own, without Al and behind his back. Which is not really nice to do to your partner and friend. And in the changed history he was leaving Donna behind too, and I'm not convinced that he spoke to her before he went. It very likely could've been a unilateral decision on Sam's part.

I won't get into Sam's unfairness in changing his history with Donna when he knew he was already trapped in time. I've already vented my 'Star Crossed' hate enough.

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No not definitely, I don't care what that screen said, I don't buy it. Once he learned to accept that he was able to control his leaping there is no reason why he couldn't return home in between leaps. Why wouldn't he want that?


Fair enough. I also view that ending as changeable, since this is a show about traveling in time to change the past.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:10 AM   #20
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I'm not convinced he thought that. Maybe he wanted to believe it, but I don't think he ever checked. It was Donna who asked Ziggy what the odds were that the updated program would work, and the odds Ziggy gave were very, very low. If he believed it would work it was because he chose to ignore reality and never asked.
This is probably true since he obviously hadn't checked the numbers the first time he leaped since all that was on his mind was the committee threatening to shut him down. More evidence of the project coming before his loved ones as I've been highlighting.

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And he still initially ignores her and brushes her off (though to be fair this is very much caused by the episode being too rushed to be well-executed, as was also pointed out in the 'Leap Back' thread).
Right, I do believe that that scene was largely what it was due to a time crunch. Another thing myself and another member had been discussing over in the other thread as well as this was how this should have been a two partner episode so that it could have been drawn out more and in a tasteful manner.

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I won't get into Sam's unfairness in changing his history with Donna when he knew he was already trapped in time. I've already vented my 'Star Crossed' hate enough.
It's pretty evident that that thought hadn't even occurred to him. Remember this was only his third leap, his memory was far from re-developed and he wasn't even accepting of the fact that he wrote his own rules.
I'll stop there out of respect for you're not wanting to discuss this further. Believe me I understand the feeling, I've made quite the broken record around here of my feelings towards the Billy Jean leap. I repeated myself on that subject more times than I wish. That's just one of a few concepts I've vented to death. XD

One more thing I'll say however is that it is my belief that they'd accidentally trapped themselves with the Donna character as they'd probably only written her in Star Crossed to introduce the rule that the time traveler shall not affect his own timeline. Oops.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:50 AM   #21
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I won't get into Sam's unfairness in changing his history with Donna when he knew he was already trapped in time. I've already vented my 'Star Crossed' hate enough.
To be fair, "Star-Crossed" establishes that Donna would most likely end up with the other guy that she tried to marry before Sam, and writer Deborah Pratt said that this is how she saw the episode as ending. It's really was "The Leap Back" that changed Donna's story -- arguably not for the better, as you pointed out.
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:48 AM   #22
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To be fair, "Star-Crossed" establishes that Donna would most likely end up with the other guy that she tried to marry before Sam, and writer Deborah Pratt said that this is how she saw the episode as ending. It's really was "The Leap Back" that changed Donna's story -- arguably not for the better, as you pointed out.
Yeah, that's how she might've intended it and I think that would've been a good resolution. But even Deborah Pratt left it open in 'Star-Crossed' -- Al points out to Sam that she might marry the other guy (who she'd also stood up first) now that Sam changed things but Sam says he doesn't think so and that he has connections (looking up toward heaven). And that's it -- Al doesn't definitively tell Sam that she did marry the first guy, the way he told him the outcome of Tom Stratton's life in Genesis, etc. So it's really left open here.
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Old 04-14-2015, 07:35 AM   #23
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Fair enough!
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:52 PM   #24
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I reckon Sam would get the chance in future to go back and change Donna's life so that she didn't end up with Sam. But I loved the ending - there's no more beautiful idea than Sam devoted his life to helping people throughout history and the world to have better lives.

But back to the original topic, I think the "gimmicks" in season five were really all pretty successful, I thought they reinvigorated the show, and season five is probably my favourite. So I don't think it ever jumped the shark.
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:52 PM   #25
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Jump the Shark
A term used in TV and sometimes movies. Nowadays the term most used is "Fly off the Rails" or "Nuke the Fridge". Whatever term you choose, but it seems that many of our favorite (and not so favorite ) shows are guilty of this cardinal sin.

Some series, (Star Trek TNG, Babylon 5) never jumped while many shows (Star Trek TOS, Sliders, Lost just to name a few) really did the dirty deed.

I really liked Quantum Leap but I cannot think of a point where the show actually jumped. If I were tied down and tortured and forced to give up an episode I would probably pick on "The Leap Between the States" or 'Lee Harvey Oswald". I found the fifth season lacking in some aspects but I doubt I would say the show ever really jumped the shark.

Your thoughts?
Maybe the Lee Harvey Oswald one but I tend to forgive anything and everything in the last season as they were desperately trying to get ratings and stay on the air.
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