Quantum Leap Spoiler FAQL

with spoilers, as the name suggests

Supplement to the QL FAQL

Created by: Robin C. Kwong (rck1@midway.uchicago.edu)  5/1994
Based upon the original Quantum Leap FAQL, which was created by:
Quantum Buc (buc@world.std.com) and
Debbie Brown (dmb7229@ultb.isc.rit.edu)
Also listed here are questions from email conversations and messageboards on Al's Place. You can find this page here for even more updated info!

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This is an occasional file that is meant to answer those questions most frequently asked about the US television program, Quantum Leap. It also attempts to catalog the information viewers have been able to glean from individual stories and other, official and non-official sources. Permission is granted to distribute this file UNMODIFIED to other networks and BBSs. Rights to modifications to this file is reserved by the updater(s).

Note: you may freely copy and distribute this guide for personal use provided that it be distributed in its entirety, with all original author and copyright information intact. Any sales of this document or use of it in a for-profit project are expressly forbidden, without the specific consent of the authors.

Passages borrowed from the original FAQL are credited by paragraph.


Table of contents:

    General Knowledge:

  1. Why this FAQL?
  2. Who controls the leaps?
  3. When Al looks at Sam, what does he see?
  4. Can anyone else at the project go into the Imaging Chamber and see Sam?
  5. What would happen if Sam failed to do what he was there to do?
  6. There is still no number 6.
  7. Why could Sam see when he "replaced" a blind man? Would he be able to hear as a deaf person? In other words, is it Sam's mind that's leaping, or his body?
  8. Can Sam hear the Imaging Chamber door, or the handlink?

    Esoteric Knowledge:

  9. What about "8 1/2 Months"? Doesn't that sound like it's Sam's mind that's leaping?
  10. What happened to Zoey and Alia at the end of "Revenge"?
  11. I notice that the ending of "MIA" is very similar to a certain scene from the movie "Ghost"...
  12. In "Killin' Time," where did Stiles get the gun from in the IC?
  13. Is "Stand Up" the leap mentioned at the end of "The Leap Back"?
  14. Could Dr. Beeks see the images in the IC in "Shock Theater"?
  15. Does Al's marriage at the end of "Mirror Image" mean that he's no longer on the Project?
  16. Whatever became of the handlink left in 1945 in "The Leap Back"? What about Sam's taped confession in "Starlight, Starbright"?
  17. Did two different actresses play Donna?
  18. What glitches/unexplained phenomena--in the episodes, that is-- exist?
  19. How come in "Mirror Image," Al states that he has never seen Sam leap out?

General Knowledge:

1. Why this FAQL?

This list is intended as a supplement to the FAQL.blue. The amount of explanation necessary to answer a specific question frequently can require much more evidence than can be given without spoilers. Therefore, this list was created--for those who have either seen the episodes or don't mind seeing spoilers--and who would like a little more detail in the answers.

Not all of the questions from the original FAQL are repeated here; merely the relevant ones.

2. Who controls the leaps?

Nobody knows. Sam and Al know that it's not Ziggy or anyone at Project Quantum Leap. Al told Sam in the pilot that Sam's leaps were out of the project's control, so Sam and Al hypothesize that it's Him who is controlling things. [original FAQL]

In "Mirror Image," we get an ambiguous glimpse of the supposed controller, but the exact nature of this controller (and in fact of this entire episode) is still under heavy debate. Sam is told that he controls his own leaps, but it's been pointed out that ("The Leap Back" being the one exception) he can't be actively choosing his own destinations, since he cannot possibly know of all these various people/situations ahead of time. One theory is that Sam "controls" his leaps only in the sense that he will leap for as long as he's willing to take on the responsibilities that come with it; and that once he decides he wants to quit (thereby making him unqualified for the job of putting right what once went wrong, so to speak), he'll get sent home.

3. When Al looks at Sam, what does he see?

Al sees the leapee. In the episode entitled "What Price, Gloria", Al was out of control at seeing Sam as the gorgeous secretary. Al probably recognizes Sam because they are linked through their brainwave trans- missions, which is what is used by the project to locate Sam in time. [original FAQL]

This changes through the seasons.

In the second-season episode, "What Price Gloria," it is shown fairly explicitly that Al sees Sam as the leapee. An earlier mention of this in "Genesis" consists of an open-ended statement which can be interpreted both ways (i.e., Al only states that he sees the leapee in the Waiting Room as Sam, but does not say who he sees Sam as while in the Imaging Chamber).

Later episodes begin to hint that Al sees Sam as Sam, and the leapee in the Waiting Room as the leapee. Note Al's changed reactions to seeing Sam when Sam leaps into a beauty contestant ("Miss Deep South")--Al is completely unaffected by her looks, indicating that he sees only Sam. This is further supported by his comments ("Don't tell me, let me guess--Scarlett O'Hara on steroids"). In "Pool Hall Blues," Al states that he saw the leapee in the Waiting Room.

Al does not react to the leapee's battered image in "Raped" when he looks at Sam, implying that he sees only Sam's (uninjured) image. Similarly, Al has no problems conversing with Sam in "The Wrong Stuff."

By the fifth season there is no question that Al sees Sam as Sam. In "Nowhere to Run," Al states this fact explicitly. The fact that Al sees the leapee in the Waiting Room is again hinted at by Al's reactions (or lack thereof) in "Killin' Time" (could you be held at gunpoint twice by someone in your best friend's image, and then shoot him back with a tranquilizer dart in the neck, all without batting an eye?). At the end of "Dr. Ruth," Al readily accepts a kiss on the cheek from Dr. Ruth in the Waiting Room--an unlikely occurrence if he sees her as Sam. In "Blood Moon," Al describes Corrington's appearance based on what he saw of the leapee in the WR ("I know it sounds strange, but you should see the guy in the Waiting Room. He looks like a cross between Bela Lugosi and a sick corpse").

A possible theory is that, after the whole mess in "What Price Gloria," Al had Gooshie re-configure the IC to show him Sam's image only.

4. Can anyone else at the project go into the Imaging Chamber and see Sam?

Depends. In one episode, (Star-Crossed), several committee members entered the chamber with Al, but for them, they were in an empty room with Al talking to thin air. The others were not visible to Sam (or us). It becomes obvious in this episode that contact with Al's skin is necessary for Sam to see the object in question. [original FAQL]

In "Shock Theater," Sam is able to see (but not hear) Dr. Beeks when she takes Al's hand in the IC. Whether or not she can see him is another question see SP#14).

In "Raped," the IC is modified to allow Sam to hear the leapee. It is unknown whether or not he could see her, although it can be assumed since she appeared to be able to see as well as hear the courtroom. (Then again she could have been looking around at the Imaging Chamber--no doubt she's never seen anything like it before, either.) Since this procedure has never been used since, despite the tremendous benefits it offers, it is possible that the procedure only works with Katy McBain, in which case they were extremely lucky. It's true the procedure takes an enormous amount of energy, but the life-or-death situations that crop up in later leaps would seem to warrant its use despite the energy cost.

In one other episode (Killin' Time), a quick jury-rigging job by Ziggy enabled Gooshie to contact Sam via the hologram/brain-wave process, but the image broke up a lot. Gooshie was also able to contact Al in that episode, since if he is linked to Sam, then he should also to some extent be linked to Al as well. However, the connection seemed to be weaker in that case, as Al could only hear Gooshie, but not see him. [origional FAQL]

5. What would happen if Sam failed to do what he was there to do?

Again, nobody knows. One theory that we have was that he would be trapped in the past forever, replacing the host. This, however, is doubtful. Another theory that we have had was that he would leap into another's life to attempt again to fix "that which has gone wrong". [original FAQL]

In "Genesis," the working theory is that Sam must accomplish his mission or else he will not leap out. Al suggests to Sam that he could very well do nothing and simply live as Tom Stratton and "barring accidental death, you'll be back in forty years." When Sam leaps again, into Fox, Al gives him Fox's future history and then tells him "but you won't have to be around for all that" if he does what Ziggy predicts.

In "Double Identity", Sam was pulled from the leapee without resolving the problem he was there to fix. He leaped immediately to replace another body in the same room and in that SECOND body completed his mission. [original FAQL]

In "Catch a Falling Star," Al acknowledges the possibility that Sam may leap out anyway even if he does nothing, but also suggests that Sam "go for the sure thing" by saving John anyway, implying that Sam may still wind up being stuck as Ray Hutton indefinitely.

In "Play Ball," when Sam balks at Al's method of pitching baseballs, Al asks him, "You want to stay here forever?" implying that Sam may not leap out if he doesn't accomplish his mission. In "The Wrong Stuff," Al asks a similar question.

Then, in "A Leap for Lisa," Sam states flat-out that success isn't a necessary factor in leaping. Qui sais?

At any rate, these statements only reflect the fact that PQL can merely *theorize* on the leaping process. It is possible that this question will not be answered satisfactorily simply because GTF will not leap Sam into situations which he cannot handle.

6. There is still no number 6.


7. Why could Sam see when he "replaced" a blind man? Would he be able to hear as a deaf person? In other words, is it Sam's mind that's leaping, or his body?

Sam is physically leaping through time, his mass being exchanged with that of the leapee. Sam, not sharing the handicap, will not exhibit it. Sam's entire body and soul trades places with the leapee, although the physical aura stays around. [original FAQL]

To quote The Source Himself (Don Bellisario): [original FAQL]

"...when Sam leaps in and bounces somebody out, I like to think of it this way: ... if that person was hit by a car and they broke their leg and hit the street and _then_ Sam leaped in, Sam would not have a broken leg. But if Sam leaped in and was crossing the street and was hit by the car, then Sam would have the broken leg." [original FAQL]

In other words: [original FAQL]

He does not share handicaps or injuries suffered by the leapee before his leap in, but will sustain injuries suffered while he is there. [original FAQL]

Also, it is stated that Sam and Al are linked via their mesons and neurons, which are physical entities. If Sam does not leap physically, then this link would be lost. Further evidence of the physical nature of leaping is given in "Lee Harvey Oswald" when individual mesons and neurons are leaped via the Accelerator.

"What Price, Gloria": Sam was able to single-handedly rescue Gloria from the ledge, as well as demonstrate to Buddy that he "walked like a man" and threw a baseball--and a punch--the same way. However, the amount of physical strength necessary to save Gloria and KO Buddy, and the existence of Sam's masculine mannerisms, is debatable.

"The Wrong Stuff": Chimps aren't able to swim, but Sam can.

"Nowhere to Run": Sam very obviously has legs, whereas the leapee doesn't.

"Blind Faith": Unlike the pianist, Sam is not blind.

"Runaway": Sam is strong enough to resist the leapee's father and to suspend the leapee's older sister over an open well.

"Trilogy part 3": Sam fathers a child, Sammy Jo, who is quite apparently his--as opposed to that of his leapee's.

"Pool Hall Blues": Black Magic's eyesight is failing, while Sam's is, as Al points out, 20/20.

"The Color of Truth" & "Shock Theater": Jesse Tyler is revealed to suffer from rheumatism in "Shock Theater," which Sam gave no indication of being affected by in "Color."

"Shock Theater": Sam Bederman had, according to Al, "chemical problems." Since these "problems" were evident in the Waiting Room, this chemical imbalance obviously stayed with Bederman and not with Beckett.

"Lee Harvey Oswald": Individual mesons and neurons are leaped via the Accelerator.

"The Last Gunfighter": Sam's quick reflexes are unaffected by the leapee's advanced age.

"Miss Deep South": Sam suspends the photographer out the window with apparently little effort. As usual, disclaimer about amount of strength necessary and presence of particular mannerisms applies.

"Another Mother": Sam manages to take out two assailants. Disclaimer applies here. Also, Troian can see Sam.

"Dr. Ruth": Sam executes a sprint over cartops. Disclaimer applies here.

"Raped": Sam takes Kevin out, no contest. Disclaimer applies here. Also, Sam appears unaffected by Katie's injuries at leap-in.

"A Song for the Soul": Sam is able to get rid of the men who badger them in the beginning. Disclaimer applies here.

8. Can Sam hear the Imaging Chamber door, or the handlink?

Sam apparently can't hear the Chamber door opening/closing. In "The Great Spontini," Sam is startled enough by Al's voice to fumble the bottle of aftershave (although we hear the sound of the Chamber door just before Al speaks). In "Piano Man," Sam nearly spills his coffee in the diner when Al arrives (same situation as "Spontini").

Sam can hear the handlink; in "Play Ball" when Al insists he can't find the info on Chucky's father, the handlink throws a fit, which starts to make Sam suspicious.

Esoteric Knowledge:

9. What about "8 1/2 Months"? Doesn't that sound like it's Sam's mind that's leaping?

In fact, this episode is a strong supporter of the notion that it's Sam's body that leaps.

Note that Sam does not immediately feel the effects of the pregnancy. Only very gradually does he begin to acquire the symptoms. Leaping into the body of a woman with a full-term pregnancy would be immediately noticeable.

Sam and Al discuss the body-vs.-mind question and explicitly state that it's Sam's body that leaps, and that he is surrounded by the leapee's aura. The sensation of the baby kicking, felt by Dottie, is also part of this aura.

Al tells Sam that in the Waiting Room, the medical staff had to work to halt Bille Jean's delivery. The baby, in the WR, is also connecting with Sam's mood swings.

Sam's symptoms are nothing more than a manifestation of the "brainwave-crossing" phenomena seen in later episodes (particularly in the fifth season). However, since this is the first time that Sam and Al have encountered this, they (and the viewers :-) are naturally confused by it.

Near the end of the episode, Al reports that the baby has disappeared from Billie Jean's womb--in the Waiting Room. This clearly indicates that Billie Jean's body, and the baby, are in the WR. The baby, about to become a separate entity of its own via its birth, appears to be on its way back to its proper time.

10. What happened to Zoey and Alia at the end of "Revenge"?

The episode leaves it ambiguous as to whether or not Alia is shot. Individuals who have done frame-by-frame analysis say that the bullet passes through the space just after Alia leaps out, while there is no one there. This assumes that there is a moment during leaping in which a corporal body, either the leapee's or the leaper's, does not exist in that space. The leapee returns with no visible injury nor mark on her shirt.

Alia is surrounded by a blue leap effect, corroborating Al's statements that she is now "free" of Lothos. Whether she subsequently dies, continues to leap, winds up at PQL, or any number of things is unknown.

Zoey is most definitely struck by the bullet, but she is not dead at the time of her leap-out and it is possible that Thames and Lothos are able to pull her back in time and save her life.

11. I notice that the ending of "MIA" is very similar to a certain scene from the movie "Ghost"...

Yes, there are similarities, such as the song "Unchained Melody" and the nature of the whole situation, but lest you worry, "MIA" was aired before "Ghost" was released.

12. In "Killin' Time," where did Stiles get the gun from in the WR?

If you look carefully in the first scene with Stiles and Al in the Waiting Room, you can see an unconscious guard on the floor as Stiles and Al leave the WR. Apparently, the scene with Stiles knocking out the guard and taking his gun was filmed, and actually used in the NBC promos, but was cut from the airing for reasons of time. The gun did not leap with Stiles.

Side note: Sam has a gun in his hand when he leaps in; it is highly unlikely that Stiles was holding two guns when the leap occurred.

13. Is "Stand Up" the leap mentioned at the end of "The Leap Back"?

No. "SU" takes place long after "TLB." At the end of "TLB," Al mentions that Sam's mission in that leap is to get a woman to fall in love with him...certainly not the case in "SU." That leap has never been seen.

14. Could Dr. Beeks see the images in the IC in "Shock Theater"?

It seems unlikely that she could. Otherwise, the main difficulty with getting funding for the Project--to wit, trying to convince the government that Sam is actually in the past--would become trivial. You could just take anyone into the IC and show them. Beeks possibly merely watches Al to determine where she should look to "see" Sam. Note that she only seems to look wherever Al focuses on, and not at the rest of the surroundings (other beds, other patients, state of the hospital, etc.).

15. Does Al's marriage at the end of "Mirror Image" mean that he's no longer on the Project?

This certainly seems like not an unreasonable consequence, since we know that Sam and Al met on StarBright and grew so close to each other largely on account of Al's state of mind at the time of their meeting ("You were the only person who believed in me when I gave up believing in myself" ("Shock Theater")) and it would seem that with Beth around, Al wouldn't have wound up like he did on StarBright. The experience of having one stable marriage and four daughters obviously produces radically different after-effects than going through five failed marriages and a drinking problem.

Bellisario has in fact mentioned that Al would still be on PQL. However, since the after-effects of "MI" were never actually employed on the air, the relevance of his statements is debatable when it comes to speculating about the post-"Mirror Image" QL.

We do know that PQL would exist without Al--this is shown in "A Leap for Lisa," where, even though Al is executed as an ensign long before he ever meets Sam, we see that the Project is still there, albeit rather altered.

Questions like how a married Al would still be able to help Sam on those particular leaps where the helpful knowledge came from one of his other four marriages, etc. still remain.

16. Whatever became of the handlink left in 1945 in "The Leap Back"? What about Sam's taped confession in "Starlight, Starbright"?

We're never told what happened. Speculation has it that they were used by someone to create the Evil Project.

17. Did two different actresses play Donna?

Yes, In "Star-Crossed" it was Teri Hatcher (also seen on Lois and Clark) and in "The Leap Back" it was Mimi Kuzyk. [supplied by Mark D. Baushke]

18. What glitches/unexplained phenomena--in the episodes, that is-- exist?

These are probably glitches (in the script, not in the leaping process!)

In "How the Tess was Won," Sam does not have Doc's glasses, although his mirror image does.

In "Camikazi Kid," Sam doesn't have his mirror image's braces. Possibly they are considered part of the leapee's body since they are surrounded by organic matter (i.e. saliva) and so they go with the leapee to the Waiting Room.

In "8 1/2 Months," Sam's mirror image has her hair in a ponytail while eating radishes in the living room...and yet Sam clearly doesn't have anything in his hair. Beats me on this one.

Massive clothing glitches occur in "The Leap Back." I'm not even going to attempt to list them all here (unless requested). It is also questionable as to who is occupying whose aura at various points in the episode.

How Sam has his own clothes and wallet in "Mirror Image," with nothing remaining in the Waiting Room, is also unexplained.

Al is able to move up and down steps in "Catch a Falling Star" and "Last Dance Before an Execution," despite the fact that Al shouldn't be climbing steps while in the IC.

In "Nowhere to Run," Sam gets up from his wheelchair (just before slugging the orderly). We see the leapee's reflection in the mirror, floating above the floor, cut off at the knees. The pants Sam is wearing, though, are full-length, which *should* appear as such in the reflection, but don't.

Should we be seeing the smoke from Al's cigar?

Bloopers: Some cases are very obviously bloopers, as in "Genesis" when, during the baseball leap, Dean's hand comes into contact with the baseball glove in Scott's back pocket. A similar incident occurs in "Ghost Ship" when, as they're conversing in the galley, Dean accidentally bumps Scott's shoulder with his elbow. In "Another Mother," the second kidnapper (after Sam knocks him out) falls directly into Dean's path, causing Dean to stumble slightly as he steps over him. Undoubtedly it costs too much to reshoot the scene for quick, minor accidents like these.

19. How come in "Mirror Image," Al states that he has never seen Sam leap out?

This does appear to conflict with Al's statements in at least two other episodes. In "Animal Frat," Al describes a leap-out, complete with sound effects. In "Good Morning Peoria," when Al steps too close to the antenna, his image begins to glow blue--causing him to exclaim, "I'm gonna leap!" Apparently Al has both seen and heard the leap effect before. Why he says he hasn't in "MI" is anyone's guess (there is a theory this is a tip-off that perhaps the events of "MI" only existed in Sam's mind).

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