A Leap For Lisa is the final episode of Season 4 of Quantum Leap, also the 75th episode in the series. Written by series creator Donald P. Bellisario, the episode, which was directed by James Whitmore, Jr., originally aired on NBC-TV on May 20, 1992.
Full plot summary
June 25, 1957: In A Leap For Lisa, the final episode of Season 4, Sam leaps in to find himself on a beach with a beautiful naked woman emerging from the ocean kissing him. He quickly realizes this is a dream when he wakes up. Sam's host is a Navy ensign nicknamed "Bingo" (played by Jamie Walters). Bingo is currently under guard as a suspect in the rape & murder of Marci Riker (Debbie James), a superior officer's wife. He has an alibi though; on the night of the murder, he was with his girlfriend, Lieutenant Lisa Sherman (guest star Terry Farrell), a nurse also stationed on the naval base.
Lisa is eager to prove Bingo's innocence, but doing so could ruin their careers, as she is married. Sam assumes that he is there to prevent that, and discourages Lisa from telling anyone about the alibi. He is confident he will find some other way to prove his innocence. After an unusually extended absence, Al finally arrives, and reveals that "Bingo" is actually a younger version of himself; Al accounts for his delayed appearance by explaining that he had been thrilled to encounter his younger self in the Waiting Room.
At first, Al and Sam are both highly amused by the synchronicity of the leap, but when Al learns of the date, he is too late to prevent Lisa from dying in a car accident. She was distraught over Al's predicament and lost control while drying away tears. Al tells Sam that in the original timeline, Lisa told Sam's appointed lawyer, Commander Hugh Dobbs (Larry Brandenburg) about being with Al at the time of Mrs. Riker's death, confirming his alibi. Dobbs planned to use it only as a last resort and when Lisa died, he convinced the Navy to drop the charges and not prosecute Al for his personal conduct; Sam has changed this accidentally as now he has no alibi for the night of the murder. Older Al isn't mad at Sam for the mistake though, because now nobody will be gossiping about Lisa over her grave.
Commander Dirk Riker (Charles Rocket), Marci's husband, and also Al's commanding officer, comes to see Sam and says that he understands that his wife loved sleeping around with the men under his command. Al's best friend, Ensign Chip Ferguson (Jeff Corbett), even informed Dobbs about this, saying that Al was the only one who ever refused her advances, because of Lisa. Riker says it didn't bother him as they both had their perversions and that left only pleasure in the marriage. He then claims that he saw Al rape and kill his wife from a cliff above the beach and promises to testify to that. Riker says that he will make it "his mission" to see Bingo - i.e. Sam - die in the gas chamber.
At the trial, Riker repeats his accounts of all that he saw of his wife's death at the beach. Dobbs questions Riker's ability to clearly identify a man of similar build and uniform from 200 feet away in the dark, but Riker is adamant. He followed Al's car after he saw his wife enter it at the officer's club. When questioned about why he did nothing to stop the attack, Riker bitterly replies "Because she deserved it". Sam thinks he's free and clear because that testimony will ruin Riker's career, likely as a coverup to him being the true killer. Dobbs doubts this saying he is certain Riker believes what he testified too, and the judges will believe it too.
At that moment, Al appears in a panic. The odds of him being executed are rising by the second! Just as it reaches 100%, Al is suddenly replaced by a more formal project observer named Edward St. John V (Roddy McDowall), an original Project Quantum Leap Head Programmer. Edward, in his upper-crust British accent, tells Sam that according to 'Alpha' (as Ziggy is now known in the changed 1999 timeline) Al was convicted and executed after 3 years in prison. Now Sam remains the only person left who knows the original timeline before young Al's, or "Bingo's" Courts Martial conviction; however, his memories of Al are quickly fading away. Edward, with "Alpha", is able to run calculations and determines the key to Al's innocence lies somewhere in his car. Sam convinces his guard to let him search it, where he finds a cigar. The moment he does, Al returns, replacing St. John with no memory of the brief discrepancy in time or of his brief absence. Sam tells him that he didn't find anything but his cigar, but Al says he didn't begin smoking cigars until he served in Vietnam. The cigar matches those smoked by Al's best friend and wing man, "Chip" Ferguson.
Sam asks Chip to meet him in his quarters. Chip tells Sam that he dropped Al and Lisa off at a motel the night of the murder, then drove to the officer's club in Al's car. He saw Riker abusing Marci in the parking lot and gave her a ride. She was drunk and wanted someplace where she could run naked. They had slept together before, and he said he was in love with her. While Marci was undressing he came on to her, but she rebuked him. Chip tried to force himself on her, but he didn't rape her and she fell, striking her head on a rock and dying instantly. Chip is truly sorry and says he was going to turn himself in had Al been convicted. He asks what Sam plans to do and Sam says he has an idea.
Sam tells Al to talk to his younger self again, and reveal his true identity. He directs the older Al to send his younger self into the quantum leap accelerator. It will only be possible for Bingo to leap into himself, so they should calibrate the accelerator to put him as close to the night of the murder as possible. Although they are sure that most events he will not remember, old Al gives Bingo simple instructions; "Do not let Chip out of your sight on the date of the murder!". Young Al, or "Bingo", is sent back in time, but they aren't sure what date he lands at.
Sam & Al wait in Bingo's quarters, waiting for something to change. Sam gets the idea to look outside his room. The marine guard has left. They realize that a marine would never leave his post, and there must have been no death! At that moment Chip arrives with a surprise guest for Al. It is Lisa, who has gotten off work early and wants Al to buy her a drink. As he was never under suspicion of murder, she was never distraught enough to lose her control of her car. With both Marci & Lisa alive, and older Al marveling at the new timeline that's been created, Sam leaps away smiling!
Sam begins his next leap holding a rifle as a photograph is being taken, revealing that he has leapt into Lee Harvey Oswald.
Al and Lisa's relationship: Why wasn't it explored?
Now that Lisa did not die in an automobile accident in 1957, what does this mean for Al's future relationships? Bingo, the young Al was possibly in love enough with Lisa to for her to forego his womanizing which continued up until at least the time he met his future wife Beth some years later. Although Lisa's survival still does not prevent Al from meeting, courting and then marrying Beth, or the already married Lisa from remaining with her spouse, it's still somewhat surprising that the potential for a relationship was never explored, or never crosses Al's or Lisa's minds. Perhaps it was just what it was: a close friendship between the two young officers, which probably reflected some of the illicit relationships and/or fleeting liaisons which went on among the servicemen and women on the base.
The Science of Leaping
In this episode we see the waiting room on-screen for the first time, including a leapee whose reflection is that of Sam's in his fermi suit (as has been established since the beginning of the series, that the leapees in the waiting room all appear to others as Sam). In this case the leapee in the waiting room is 'Bingo", aka young Al.
From information we get in this and a previous episode, we discover Al's exact date of birth. In S04E01 "The Leap Back" we learn from Al that his birthday is on June 15th, but because of his memory gaps in that episode (due to the leaping swiss-cheese effect) he can't remember the year he was born in. In this episode, Al (having his memory intact) says that Sam leaped in at a time when Al's age was 23. Since the date Sam leaps into in this episode is June 25th 1957 (ten days after Al's birthday), at which point he's 23 years old, we can extrapolate that Al was born on June 15th in the year 1934.
Young Al (Ensign Calavicci), played by Jamie Walters, is dubbed over with the voice of Dean Stockwell, who plays current-day Al (Admiral Calavicci). This was clearly done to add to the illusion that both actors are playing the same character at different points in his life.
Up until this point, Ziggy was referred to as 'he' or 'him' despite having a female voice and attitude. In this episode, probably in order to emphasize the differences between the two possible timelines (a timeline where Al dies young vs. the regular timeline), Sam refers to Ziggy as 'her' and 'she' (as a female) while Alpha (what Ziggy would have been named without Al's influence) is referred to as a male. Although, this apparent lack of continuity could be explained by Sam being confused by his memories being gradually affected by the changes in the timeline - that he remembers Ziggy having a female voice and so assumes (incorrectly) that they refer to Ziggy as female. Or possibly that the changes in the timeline in this episode also changed Ziggy's pronouns in general, since in later episodes Ziggy is referred to as female.
Cast (in credits order)
Guest starring/Recurring cast
- Charles Rocket as CDR Dirk Riker
- Jeff Corbett as Chip Ferguson
- Larry Brandenburg as CDR Hugh Dobbs
- Jamie Walters as Young Al or "Bingo" Calavicci (leapee)
- Terry Farrell as Lisa Sherman
- Wil Albert as Charlie
- Anthony Peck as Courts Martial Trial Judge
- Roddy McDowall as Edward St. John V
- Steve Carslisle as Pollack
- Gregory James as Stacker (as Jeff Nowinski)
- Debbie James as Marci Riker (as Debbie L. James)
- Ivan Gueron as Plumber
- Jack Stauffer as Flight Surgeon
- Rich Whiteside as Marine Guard
- Mia Drake Inderbitzin as Marina Oswald (uncredited)
- Deborah Pratt as Narrator (uncredited)
|Quantum Leap Season Four|
|● The Leap Back ● Play Ball ● Hurricane ● Justice ● Permanent Wave ● Raped ● The Wrong Stuff ● Dreams ● A Single Drop of Rain ● Unchained ● The Play's The Thing ● Running For Honor ● Temptation Eyes ● The Last Gunfighter ● A Song For The Soul ● Ghost Ship ● Roberto! ● It's A Wonderful Leap ● Moments To Live ● The Curse of Ptah-Hotep ● Stand Up ● A Leap For Lisa ●.|