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SYFY WIRE Quantum Leap

‘Quantum Leap’ channels ‘E.R.’ and ‘Scrubs’ as Ben leaps into life-saving mode in latest episode

Ben's latest leap leads him to the grunge capital of the world. 

By Trent Moore
Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 10

This week on NBC's new Quantum Leap revival, Ben leaps to Seattle in the mid-1990s. No, he didn’t jump into a grunge rock garage band, but instead landed in the body of a doctor about to have one of the busiest days of her life.

**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for “Paging Dr. Song,” the latest episode of NBC’s Quantum Leap!**

As suspected by the tease last week, Ben has taken over a doctor by the name of Alexandra Tomlinson. According to Ziggy, he has three goals this week: save the lives of three different patients coming in due to a train crash. That might be hard enough, but Ben is butting heads with a senior doctor who refuses to stop using an experimental drug that will prove to be dangerous in the future, and also grappling with the fact he’s (y’know) not actually a medical doctor. Luckily, Addison and Ziggy are around to help. 

Ben has to tap into some of his personal skill set to keep his patients alive, including calming down a man with a head wound, and convincing a fellow doctor to reconnect with her father, who is diagnosed with cancer. In a tragic twist, he also has to convince one of his patient’s to donate his wife’s heart (she was rendered brain dead during the train crash) to save one of his other charges. More than anything, it gives Ben a chance to do what he does best and connect with people on a human level to get to the heart of how to solve a problem. Even when it’s hard, and especially when it’s hard.

One thing we get to see this week that we haven’t seen happen a ton? Ben actually gets… pretty overwhelmed and worried about this week’s leap. He’s in over his head, he knows it, and he’s genuinely frightened at the idea of holding all these lives in his hands. Yes, that’s kinda the MO of Quantum Leap in general, but rarely is it so literal as being the doctor standing over a patient.

This story also played into some of the tropes and formulas TV fans will certainly recognize from shows like E.R. and Scrubs. It’s a testament to the types of stories you can tell within the framework of Quantum Leap, and is a great example of how to update that classic formula and play with more modern concepts. 

Janis’ plan becomes more clear

Georgina Reilly as Janis

One of the first season’s big mysteries has revolved around why Ben went to Al Calavicci’s daughter, Janis, in the first place, as well as why she opted to even help him (she’s certainly still bitter about being excluded from Project Quantum Leap).

With Janis now captured and being held at the project HQ, we finally get a few answers. Or at least, the beginning of some answers. She tells Magic she won’t talk to anyone except Ben, or Addison. So she gets Addison. Her main message is an interesting one, as she notes she never really wanted to help Ben in the first place, and only did so because it was important. Even more, she doubles down on the fact that something is rotten in the Quantum Leap project (or perhaps will be), and Ben can’t trust anyone, and needs to keep his memories to himself. Even telling Addison could be dangerous.

She also catches herself when she’s talking to Addison about the mystery leaper, Martinez, who knew Ben’s name back in the Wild West episode. Janis says, "There’s an order..." and then stops herself. An order to what? Is Ben following a path he doesn’t remember setting in place? Can telling Addison, or the team, something he remembers jeopardize it without him even realizing it? Is Janis worried about Ben remembering something, putting it in a report, then it surfacing for some future troublemakers who might’ve sent Martinez? We still have so many questions.

But one thing seems clear: there’s a reason Ben kept this plan to himself, and revealing details without remembering his motivation could prove dangerous for everyone.

Up next: Ben leaps into a solider heading underground in an elevator, apparently headed to see a nuclear reactor. Oh, and who’s that beside him? Guest star and Star Trek and Stargate icon Robert Picardo!

New episodes of Quantum Leap air Mondays on NBC and stream next-day on Peacock!