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"The Americanization of Machiko"
Quantum Leap
Episode No.   Season
12 2x03 Two
Episode Information
Original Broadcast Date October 11, 1989
Network: NBC-TV
IMDB: IMDb logo.png The Americanization of Machiko
Written by: Charlie Coffey
Directed by: Gilbert Shilton
Leap Information
Leap Date: August 4, 1953
Place: Oak Creek, Ohio
Leapee: Charlie MacKenzie
Chronological Information
Preceded by: "Disco Inferno"
Followed by: "What Price Gloria?"


August 4, 1953: Sam leaps into Charlie MacKenzie, a Korean War era vet and sailor returning home from being stationed at a U.S Navy base in Japan with his Japanese wife, Machiko. Sam must ensure that Charlie's mother accepts his new bride, as well as warding off the affections of Charlie's conniving ex-girlfriend and protecting Machiko from the racial prejudices of an embittered WW2 veteran.


Sam leaps in, while stepping off a bus and wearing a sailor's outfit. Sam discovers that he has leaped into a young Navy veteran named Charlie MacKenzie (Charlie the leapee is played by Bill Arnold) and deduces that he has just returned home to his hometown, Oak Creek, Ohio, after serving in the Far East. Charlie's father, Henry MacKenzie (played by Wayne Tippit), appears to welcome him home and give him a hug. The two get into Henry's truck and drive off. As they do so, a young Japanese woman named Machiko (Leila Lee Olsen), who happens to be Charlie's new wife, steps off the bus and calls after them, but neither hear or see her.

As Sam and Henry return to their farm house, they are greeted by Charlie's mother, Lenore MacKenzie (played by K Callan), and Charlie's former sweetheart, Naomi (played by Elena Wohl). Naomi says she has waited two years for Charlie to come home, though Lanore points out that Naomi didn't exactly wait. Naomi believes that the two of them will get married. However, Al appears to tell Sam that he is here to stop Charlie and Naomi's marriage, as they have a miserable life together.

Sam's mission soon becomes complicated as the local policeman, Deputy Herman (Cary J. Pitts), arrives with Machiko, having been approached by her in the street. He says that Machiko is Charlie's new bride. Lanore, Henry and Naomi are shocked, while Sam simply tells everyone "Surprise!"

Sam and Machiko are in the living room with Henry and Lenore, becoming acquainted. Though Henry is open-minded and friendly toward Machiko, Lenore remains hostile and uninviting toward her. Al says that Lenore never accepted Machiko and, as a result, Machiko was forced to return to Japan alone and heartbroken and never remarried. Subsequently, this led to the failed marriage between Charlie and Naomi.

The next morning, Machiko attempts to please Lenore by cleaning the floor and cooking rice for breakfast. However, Lanore rudely dismisses her efforts and insults her Japanese customs. Machiko leaves the room, upset. Sam goes out to comfort her. He says that Lenore will eventually accept her in time. He also tells Machiko that in America, men and women have equal rights and that, as his wife, she is his partner, not his servant. With that, Machiko tells Sam she would like to have American clothes. Sam teaches her to drive his car. Though Sam is keen to teach Machiko American customs and values, he also hopes Machiko will retain her unique Japanese heritage at the same time.

As they arrive in town, a bitter, World War II veteran named Rusty (Patrick Massett), deliberately bumps into Sam on the street and verbally harasses the two of them. Sam ignores him and takes Machiko into the local clothing store. After they leave, with Machiko now wearing new clothes, they find Sam's truck has been graffited with the words "Jap, go home". Sam eyes Rusty suspiciously and drives back home with Machiko.

While Henry and Lanore are returning home from church along with the Reverend Earl Felcher (Chuck Walling), and his wife, Betty (Marjorie Stapp), Sam and Machiko are back on the farm performing chores. Machiko is out in the yard, putting clothes on the line, topless, while Sam is sorting through bails of hay in the barn. Naomi approaches him flirtatiously and makes a pass at him. Despite trying to ward her off, the two fall from the pile of hay, on to the ground. Machiko arrives to see if they are okay. At the same time, Henry, Lanore, Earl and Betty arrive at the farm. Machiko turns around to face them, exposing her naked chest, prompting Betty to faint and Lanore to respond with outrage and humiliation.

Sam explains that Japanese women often perform chores topless in hot weather and tells them she did not mean to offend anyone. Earl says they are not offended, and leaves with Betty, encouraging everyone to attend the church picnic the following day. Lenore is not so forgiving. She is so humiliated that she refuses to go to the church picnic where she will be gawked at, just like her late daughter, Eileen, was ostracized before she died.

Naomi explains that she was the only one of Eileen's friends who stood by her when she was ostracized by the town for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Nonetheless, Eileen committed suicide by driving her car off a cliff. Sam thanks Naomi for being supportive of Eileen, but tells her that he is married now and what they had is over.

A hardened Naomi enacts revenge upon Machiko. At the church picnic the next day, she tricks Machiko into calling the town Mayor, Maryor Lionel Ellis (Keith Mills) and his wife "Fat". Realizing that her comments have offended them, Machiko tells Naomi she is not a nice person, and runs off upset.

Machiko approaches Sam and tearfully says she has shamed him. Sam tells her she could never shame him, and invites her to watch a game of baseball to cheer her up. As Sam steps up to bat, Rusty, who is an expert baseball player, throws two difficult pitches, one of which nearly hits Sam in the head. The Ref tells Rusty to play fair. Sam manages to hit the ball on the third swing while Rusty, intent on revenge, attempts to tackle Sam while he is running to third base. Sam asks what's his problem, Rusty responds that he hates Japs. The two prepare to lunge at each other but are held back by the surrounding townsfolk.

As Sam, Henry and Machiko return home, a windy storm gathers overhead. Sam and Henry go to clear the animals into the barn, while Machiko joins Lanore in the storm cellar. Lanore receives a phone call from a townswoman, informing her of Machiko's insult to the Mayor. Lanore is outraged and tells Machiko she never wants to see her again. Hurt, Machiko runs off and soon finds herself alone on an isolated road where Rusty, who happens to be driving by, offers her a ride.

Upon realising that Machiko has run off, Sam sets out to look for her. Al tells him she is with Rusty and Sam drives to Rusty's home. Rusty has stopped the car outside his house and bitterly recalls how his career as a baseball player was destroyed after he was injured in the war by the Japanese. Rusty produces a knife and prepares to cut off Machiko's arm as a form of vengeance. Sam arrives and pushes Rusty away from Machiko. Rusty throws a rock in Sam's direction which hits Machiko through the front windscreen of the car and knocks her unconscious. Sam and Rusty end up in a violent confrontation, with Sam ultimately beating Rusty until he collapses.

Sam, Henry and Lenore wait outside while Machiko remains in critical condition at the hospital. Sam tells Lenore to go in to the room and offer Machiko support. However, Lenore cannot bring herself to do so; Eileen was brought into the same room the night she died. She tried to reach out to Eileen, but she did not hear her, and died soon after. Since she was unable to reach her own daughter, Lenore cannot reach out to Machiko. Henry reveals that Lenore is not so much angry at Machiko, but angry at herself for failing to prevent Eileen's suicide.

Days later, Machiko is fully recovered, and Sam is awaiting her arrival at the church, where the two of them are to be remarried in America. Sam is nervous that he will be forced to make a vow of marriage to Machiko before leaping, but Al tells him he will leap as soon as Lenore finally accepts Machiko. As Machiko arrives at the altar, with the Reverand about to commence the wedding ceremony, Lenore suddenly enters the church, dressed in Japanese garb in an attempt to show acceptance toward Machiko. Lenore gives Machiko a bow of respect, which Machiko reciprocates, while Sam smiles and leaps...


This episode occurs four days before Sam's birthday of August 8, 1953, as revealed in "Mirror Image". Since nothing was mentioned about this date being outside of his life, it is assumed this was just a mistake by the show's creators (although Donald Bellisario has since stated that Sam's lifetime actually dates back to his conception and not his birth, therefore avoiding the mistake).

When Charlie is being embraced by his father in front of the signage at the bus station, a woman is seen in the foreground out of focus passing from right to left. Just after that, Machiko approaches them to within a couple of feet, as seen through the windows of the truck.

In an anachronism, Rusty mentions the Baltimore Orioles, a baseball team which will not exist until 1954.

At the end of the episode, Sam leaps into Jesse Tyler, the black chauffeur from season 1 episode 6, suggesting that the episodes do not occur in chronological order from Sam and Al's point of view. The episodes were likely re-ordered, to avoid having two sequencial episodes with racial themes.☀(The reason this episode ends with a leap-in to "The Color of Truth" is because that installment was originally scheduled to air (as a rerun) a week later on Wednesday, October 18, 1989.  However, the screening was pre-empted to due NBC's coverage of the Loma Prieta Earthquake which occurred on October 17th.  Since that rerun of "Color" never aired, recap scenes from "Machiko" were subsequently edited on to the beginning of the October 25th premiere of "What Price Gloria?" )

The title of this episode is similar to a 1982 "Facts of Life" episode, "The Americanization of Miko." Both episodes may have gotten their titles from the 1963 James Garner/Julie Andrews film "The Americanization of Emily."

The opposing baseball team has "Toledo" on their uniforms. When things nearly come to blows, the Toledo Mud Hens minor league team logo can be clearly seen on Rusty's hat.



Fate's Wide Wheel: A Quantum Leap Podcast with Sam and Dennis- The Americanization of Machiko - August 4, 1953