A Portrait for Troian is the 11th episode of Season 2 of Quantum Leap, also the 20th overall series episode. Written as a teleplay by series creator Donald P. Bellisario, and Scott Shepherd from an original story written by John Hill and Shepherd, the episode, which was directed by Michael Zinberg, originally aired on NBC-TV on December 13, 1989.
Sam leaps into parapsychologist Dr. Timothy Mintz (the leapee is played by series creator Donald P. Bellisario), currently employed by a woman named Troian Claridge (played by Deborah Pratt, who also voices Ziggy on the series). She claims to have heard the voice of her husband, Julian Claridge (the corpse is played by series co-producer Paul Brown), even though he died three years eariler. Complicating the investigation is Troian's skeptical brother, Jimmy Giovanni (Robert Torti). If that wasn't enough, Ziggy says that in three days, Troian will drown in the same lake that took her husband - unless Sam can save her.
February 7, 1971: In one of the creepiest scenarios to end up in, Sam has leapt into the middle of a cemetery, in the middle of the night, holding a torch, with dogs howling, just as a huge thunderstorm is about to start. He is summoned by a beautiful woman into the Claridge mausoleum, she claims to be hearing her husband, who has been dead for three years, calling her name “Troian” over and over again. She tells Sam to look at a piece of machinery, believing that its output shows his voice prints.
It's 1971, and Sam has leapt into Dr. Timothy Mintz, a parapsychologist whom Troian Claridge has hired to help prove that her husband, Julian, is haunting her. When Sam and Troian return to Claridge Manor, which Troian had inherited from her husband, they are soaking wet from the storm. Sam receive a cold welcome from Troian's housekeeper, Ms. Patricia Stoltz (Carolyn Seymour), and Troian's brother, Jimmy. Jimmy tells Troian that she's wasting her time and money, Julian is dead and not coming back. But Troian is adamant that she has been hearing him and now has proof. When Troian leaves to warm up with a hot bath, Jimmy then rips into Sam, believing his host to be a quack, only in it for the money and not caring about Troian's mental state – she had a nervous breakdown after Julian died, which is why he has power of attorney over her.
Ms. Stoltz returns with drinks for Sam and Troian. Jimmy takes Troian's drink to her, and Ms Stoltz tells Sam that he is expected in town the next day to pick up newspaper clippings he'd requested from Mrs Little, who works at the local newspaper. Sam assumes Ms Stoltz changed the arrangements because of the storm, but Ms Stoltz completely freaks out Al, who has just arrived, when she looks directly at him and says that it wasn't because of the storm, but because strangers aren't welcome. Al believes Ms Stoltz can see him, and tells Sam to be careful around her. He also informs Sam that he is there to prevent Troian, a successful artist and illustrator of the novels her husband had written, from drowning in the same lake her husband did, two days from now. Sam tells Al that he thinks Timothy's “work” might be sending Troian over the edge, but Al, who wholeheartedly believes in ghosts, tells Sam that Timothy's work is legitimate, and also that Timothy wouldn't do anything to hurt Troian since he is crazy about her.
In her room, Troian is woken from her sleep from hearing Julian's voice calling to her again. She is startled when she sees wet footprints leading from her bed, and she follows them to Julian's study. A blood-curdling scream from Troian prompts Sam and Jimmy to run to her aide. She is in tears when they arrive, because a painting of hers, which she had destroyed three years earlier by throwing into the lake after Julian died, has returned, completely intact.
The next day, Troian is reminiscing about Julian with Sam. On the day of his death, Julian had been posing on a rowboat in the lake for Troian to paint. He'd gotten bored and started messing around, falling into the lake. By the time Troian realized that Julian was drowning, it was too late, and being unable to swim herself, there was nothing she could do to help. She says she only ever hears Julian's voice in and around the Claridge estate, and wishes that she could see him, to tell him how much she loves him and misses him, and to apologize for breaking her promise that they would grow old together. Sam comforts Troian, but being unable to bear the thought of Julian down there in the cold, she nearly passes out. Sam takes her back to the house.
Sam revisits the mausoleum, trying to make sense of everything that is going on. Al reluctantly joins him, even though he is spooked out by the dead bodies and “ghosts”, he believes that the entire Claridge estate has been haunted since Nathanial Claridge found out that his wife Priscilla and their butler had been having an affair, and as revenge, drowned them in the same lake Julian had drowned in over a hundred years later. Sam, however, insists there must be a logical explanation behind everything that is going on, such as somebody, probably Ms Stoltz or Jimmy, trying to drive Troian insane. They are joined by Jimmy, who again insults Timothy's work, and everyone is shocked to find out that he can hear Al, prompting Al to leave.
Later, Troian again hears Julian calling to her, so she rushes to the mausoleum and tries desperately to find out what he wants. The mausoleum starts to violently shake, making her think that they want to kill her, but it is really just an earthquake. Sam saves Troian and they laugh it off. Back at the house, Jimmy is trying to fix an old television set. When asked if it had been working before the earthquake, Ms Stoltz reveals she doesn't know, as she doesn't watch television. Some teasing from Sam prompts her to leave, and Sam asks Troian where she found her. It turns out that when Troian had advertised for a housekeeper after Julian's death, Ms Stoltz was the only applicant, having worked there previously. Happy that someone was willing to stay there, Troian hired her, and reveals that Ms Stoltz is a good woman once you get past her melodramatic attitude. Jimmy fixes the TV, and Troian praises him and how much of a genius he has always been with electronics, joking that he should invent a machine that detects earthquakes. Sam realizes that Timothy's machinery, detecting shifts in electromagnetic energy, had actually already done this, the output from the previous night being the detection of the earthquake.
Now realizing how sophisticated Timothy's equipment is, Sam returns to the mausoleum to use the equipment to try to help find out the truth. When Al reappears, he realizes that the machinery picks up brainwave transmissions, and so was picking up Al, making it possible for others to hear him. It also picked up Sam's leap the night before. At the same time, Troian is in Julian's study, crying and trying to make sense of everything (she'd been upset by the revelation that the machinery hadn't picked up Julian's voice, as they’d already predicted). Sam and Al modify Tim's machine so that it can pick up low voltage battery emissions, and use it to locate a tape-recorder that had been hidden in a crypt. Playing it, they are unable to hear anything, but dogs start howling. They realize it must be playing a voice that was recorded in such a high frequency that only dogs and some people – mainly women – would be able to hear. Realizing that it would take an electronic genius to pull this off, it had to be Jimmy who was trying to drive Troian insane. They also realize that since it is on a remote control, when they played it, it would have started playing any other tape recorders that were left lying around. As a result, Troian, hearing Julian's voice again, has another look at the painting and realizes that she has been added to it, dead at the bottom of the lake with Julian.
Troian rushes to the lake to find out what Julian wants, and Al centers in on her. Since another of Tim's machines that can pick up his voice was there, Al talks to Troian, pretending to be Julian, and tries to tell her to live and to go back home. She is confused, because from the painting it appeared that Julian wanted her to join him, and at the same time, Jimmy arrives and tells Troian that was because it's what he needed her to do. He'd been trying to drive her insane to get power of attorney, by making her hear voices and haunt her with the painting, but now that she was getting better, he needed to kill her so he'd inherit all her money – he had a lot of gambling debts to pay off. Al stalls him by pretending to be Julian's ghost, but Jimmy sees through it, and throws the machinery into the lake, followed by Troian. Sam runs onto the pier, grabs Jimmy and jumps in the lake with him. Jimmy doesn't come back up, and Al helps Sam find Troian and bring her to the surface, saving her life.
After they have reported Jimmy's death, the lake is surrounded by police and reporters. Troian doesn't think she can handle the fact that her brother had been trying to drive her insane and kill her, but Sam tells her that Jimmy was sick and that she's a survivor. The police had been unable to find Jimmy's body, but did find three others, believing that the earthquake must have shaken them loose. Due to the freezing cold temperature of the lake, they are perfectly preserved. Troian identifies one of them as her husband, and Mrs Little, from the newspaper, guesses that from their clothing, which looked to be over 100 years old, that the other two were Priscilla Claridge and her butler. When Troian suggests having Ms Stoltz bring them some hot drinks, Mrs Little says it's quite a coincidence that Troin's housekeeper's name is Stoltz, as Priscilla Claridge's maiden name was also Stoltz. Sam and Troian look at the other two bodies, and Priscilla's dead body is the spitting image of the housekeeper. From an upstairs window, where she'd been watching, Ms Stoltz fades away. As Mrs Little comments that Sam looks like he'd just seen a ghost, Sam leaps...
This episode features appearances from multiple producers and writers. When we see Dr. Mintz's reflection, he is played by show creator Donald P. Bellisario. Troian is played by writer and co-producer Deborah Pratt. Her character is named after Bellisario and Pratt's daughter, Troian Bellisario. Julian Claridge is played by writer and co-producer Paul Brown.
After saving Troian from the collapsing tomb, Sam jokes that he was acting like Indiana Jones.
This episode ends, oddly, with Sam leaping into Cam Wilson from the season one episode "Camikazi Kid". This is due to the fact that NBC re-ran "Camikazi Kid" during the holiday break. Similarly, the next original episode, "Animal Frat", originally aired with a recap of "Camikazi Kid".
|Quantum Leap Season Two|
|● Honeymoon Express ● Disco Inferno ● The Americanization of Machiko ● What Price Gloria? ● Blind Faith ● Good Morning, Peoria ● Thou Shalt Not... ● Jimmy ● So Help Me God ● Catch A Falling Star ● A Portrait For Troian ● Animal Frat ● Another Mother ● All Americans ● Her Charm ● Freedom ● Good Night, Dear Heart ● Pool Hall Blues ● Leaping In Without A Net ● Maybe Baby ● Sea Bride ● M.I.A. ●.|