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"The Wrong Stuff"
Sam leaps into a chimpanzee which NASA plans to sacrifice in an experiment in "The Wrong Stuff" in Season 4.

Sam leaps into a chimpanzee which NASA plans to sacrifice in an experiment in "The Wrong Stuff" in Season 4.

Episode No.   Season
60 4x07 Four
Episode Information
Original Broadcast Date November 6, 1991
Network: NBC-TV
IMDB: IMDb logo.png The Wrong Stuff
Written by: Paul Brown
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Information
Leap Date: January 24, 1961
Place: Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S.
Leapee: Bobo
Chronological Information
Preceded by: Raped
Followed by: Dreams

The Wrong Stuff was the 7th episode of Season 4 of the Quantum Leap TV series, also the 60th overall episode. Directed by Joe Napolitano, the episode, which was written by Paul Brown, originally aired on NBC-TV on November 6, 1991.


Sam leaps into a chimpanzee used in the early days of the space program and has to save a fellow chimp from testing that will result in his death.


January 24, 1961 - Sam leaps into a chimp named Bobo who is being trained for the space mission. He initially doesn't realize that he isn't human and so talks to the doctor, Dr. Leslie Ashton (Caroline Goodall), like he would anyone else. When she takes off his space suit and he finds himself in a diaper, he catches sight of himself in the mirror and panics. Al is little help when he arrives and just laughs at Sam's predicament in between staring at Leslie. He tells Sam that he has to qualify for the space mission or else he is going to disappear. Sam panics and writes out that his name is Sam to try to communicate with the doctors but they believe someone is joking. Leslie meets a new doctor, Dr. Frank Winger (Gary Swanson), and agrees to go out with him after the space launch.

Unfortunately, Sam is not good at being a chimp and worse at being an astronaut. He resists having his diaper removed and getting in a cage and spits out his food once he hears there are caterpillars in it. He has never seen any of the training equipment before and so has difficulty making the times that the well-trained chimps are able to make. He fails out of the program. A fellow chimp, Cory, has a crush on Bobo and fails because he distracted her. They are both set to move on to different research projects.

The information is all classified and so it takes awhile to get the results, but Al eventually discovers that Bobo's autopsy reveals he died from massive head trauma and Cory's revealed the same. Two antagonistic workers take Cory to Dr. Winger's instead of the chimp he asked for because Cory spits on one of them when he torments her. Leslie comes back and immediately notices that Cory is gone. Through elaborate hand gestures, Sam is able to make her understand that the workers took Cory to Dr. Winger's lab where he does experiments with head trauma when he tests helmets for human astronauts.

Dr. Winger promises to return Cory and use a different chimp but insists his research is valid and saves human lives. Leslie disagrees that the results are applicable because chimps have stronger heads than humans so while the tests could show that a helmet would definitely kill a human, they cannot show if it will let the human live. Winger asks for another chimp and the workers decide to bring them Sam. Sam gets out of his cage and shocks everyone by using martial arts to defend himself but they are armed and he is not and eventually they shoot him with a tranquilizer.

Now, with Sam strapped into his seat and seconds away from having 5,000 lbs. applied to his head, Al desperately tries to wake Sam up. At the last second, Sam unbuckles the restraints and tumbles out of the chair. He grabs a tranquilizer gun and frees Cory and takes her on the run. With Al's help, they make it out across a lake by walking across a pipe. Sam is having difficulty getting Cory beyond the barbed wire standing between them and freedom when Winger spots them and tries chase after them. He goes too fast, though, and loses his balance.

Sam can't just let him drown so (despite the fact that chimps can't swim because they have too little body fat) he jumps in and pulls the doctor to safety. Leslie and the workers arrive then and Winger is grateful for his life. He decides to end his experimentations on chimps but still ends up developing a helmet that saves lives and is still in use in 1999. Cory gets ahold of a tranquilizer gun and shoots the worker that had been harassing her earlier. Leslie opens up her own vet practice and starts a sanctuary for ex-research and abandoned chimps and Bobo and Cory have a baby.