The Leap Between The States was the 20th episode in Season 5 of Quantum Leap, also the 95th episode in the series. Written by Richard C. Okie, the episode, which was directed by David Hemmings, made its world premiere on NBC-TV on March 30, 1993.
Sam leaps along his genetic line and finds himself in the American Civil War as his great-grandfather, Captain John Beckett of the Union Army. While helping the underground railroad smuggle a family to freedom, Sam must also win the heart of his great-grandmother, or he may be erased from existence.
Breaking all the rules of Quantum Leaping, Sam leaps along his genetic line and finds himself in the American Civil War as his great-grandfather, Captain John Beckett (leapee played in cameo mirror image appearance by Rob Hyland), of the Union Army. While helping the underground railroad smuggle a family to freedom, Sam must also win the heart of his great-grandmother Olivia Barrett Covington (played by Kate McNeil), or he could be erased from existence.
Sam, as John, also has to protect her and John from the wrath of a Conferderate officer, the lecherous Lieutenant Montgomery (Geoffrey Lower) who, in pursuit of John, a Union officer, wounds him in battle, as well as Covington servant slave Issac King (Michael D. Roberts), who was secretly, without Olivia's knowledge, was harboring escaped slaves and aiding them in a trek to the North via The Underground Railroad.
Yet, Olivia secretly sympathizes with the cause of escaped slaves who are trying to venture north via The Underground Railroad. Sam, as John, his grandfather, must try to keep intact the relationship which develops between John and Olivia, who, in the original storyline, was to fall in love with John and move North, marry, with Olivia eventually becoming Sam's great grandmother, which is what he is exactly able to do.
Sam meets Montgomery, who had wounded his great-grandfather John, and introduces himself as Aubrey Covington, Olivia's cousin, saying that he was with the Mississippi 6th Infantry Battalion, and that he was wounded, and almost died as a result of a corpsman applying a mustard poultice on his wound as he says "Damn thing nearly killed me!", as he tells Montgomery that he had an authorized leave of absence by his CO for Olivia to nurse him back to health.
Later, in the Barrett mansion, Sam, as John treats the Confederate officer and Olivia to a genuine Southern dinner, and some vintage 1821 Armangac Brandy, as they take turns dancing the minuet with Olivia to the music on the player piano. On the false pretense of checking to see if they had anymore brandy, Sam excuses himself, to check up on Issac and the escaped slaves hiding in the barnyard.
After discovering Issac and some slaves which he was hiding with Sam in the Covington barn, Montgomery tries to use the situation to make an unwanted sexual advances upon Olivia, as he offers a proposal of marriage as a means of extortion:
- Scene excerpt:
- Lt. Montgomery: A woman like you should be loved and cared for and fussed over.
- Olivia: I agree completely.
- Lt. Montgomery: By a husband.
- Olivia: Oh, is that a proposal of marriage? Lieutenant.
- Lt. Montgomery: I might even choose to overlook the sins and indiscretions of my intended. Indiscretions I might otherwise punish very severely.
- Olivia: What are you talking about?
- Lt. Montgomery: I'm talking about your dear cousin and that Yankee uniform I found folded up in your shed! The one with the bullet hole in the sleeve. You surprise me, Miss Olivia! I took you for a woman of substance. You know, we hang sympathizers.
- Lt. Montgomery: Perhaps you'd like to swing alongside your beloved Isaac.
After getting some soldiers of Montgomery who were supposed to be guarding Issac, whom they planned to hang in the morning, drunk on some 1821 vintage Brandy, and knocking them unconscious, Sam (who the soldiers believed to be their POW) and Issac are able to subdue the lecherous Montgomery, save each other as well as Olivia, and flee the plantation.
- Sam mentions the Battle of Fredericksburg as an imminent battle that the escaped slaves should avoid, but that was fought in December 1862, three months after the leap date, and the two armies were still recovering from the Battle of Antietam at this time with Union forces largely in Maryland.
- Montgomery refers to a battle of "Bull Run". However, there were two separate battles that took place along the Bull Run river in Northern Virginia roughly a year apart, the second of which had been fought in August 1862, a few weeks before the leap date, so he would have specified which battle.
- Furthermore, as a Confederate officer, Montgomery would have used the Confederate Army's names for these battles, the First and Second Battles of Manassas, in reference to the nearby Manassas Junction railroad crossing. Though he could have chosen to use the Union Army's names when addressing a suspected Union officer.