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Quantum Leap Just Did Something the Original Series Never Could - Here's What Happened
In "A Kind of Magic," the Quantum Leap revival made a dramatic leap in time that could changes the rules of Ben's time traveling parameters.
The magic of time travel was the big theme in this week's Quantum Leap, "A Kind of Magic," that had Ben Song (Raymond Lee) leaping into the body of Elizabeth, a Puritan woman living in Middle Town, Massachusetts in 1692. Yup, that's a big leap back in time, centuries before Dr. Ben Song's birth date and actual lifetime.
Even if you're just a casual fan of the series, that's a stunning departure from the typical leaps that Ben has made so far. And if you're an OG Quantum Leap fan, going back to the time leaping of Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), then this leap should spark a classic memory of one of his own very out of the ordinary leaps.
How the new Quantum Leap just changed the canon
Going back to the original mythology established around Dr. Sam Beckett's leaping, there were a few hard rules regarding the parameters of his time travel. One, Beckett was born in 1953 so Sam's leaps remained within his life span. No leap exceeded his time footprint in either direction. Two, Sam could only see himself in a mirror when he leapt into another body, which has remained the same for his successor, Dr. Ben Song. And three, when Sam leapt in time, the only way he could figure out his mission was via the data crunched by Ziggy, the super hybrid computer Beckett created, and his hologram guide, Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell). In the present, Ziggy is still going strong with the assistance of AI architect Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park), prognosticating the likelihood of Ben's missions with the assistance of any one of his hologram helpers.
In "A Kind of Magic," it's proven that Rule One of the Quantum Leap Project does not apply to Ben and his leaps. The year 1692 is so far beyond the parameters of any leap he's done before that it stymies the HQ heroes of Addison (Caitlin Bassett), Ian and Jenn (Nanrisa Lee) with how to even research the nitty gritty of the time period to help Ben narrow down his goal. It's worth noting Ben also leapt into the Wild West in Season 1, which is obviously beyond his own lifespan. So, that tweak was established in Season 1, that Ben is not beholden to the "lifespan" rule, anyway, thanks to the 2.0 version of the Quantum Leap tech. But this is by a magnitude of centuries further than the series has ever pushed its time travel premise.
However, viewers of the original Quantum Leap series will remember the one time that Rule One didn't apply to Sam either. In the Season 5 episode, "The Leap Between the States," Sam goes back to the American Civil War and leaps into the body of his ancestor, great-grandfather John Beckett. In arguably the most dire leap of Sam's tenure, he had to make sure that his great-grandmother Olivia Barrett Covington (Kate McNeill) met and married John, or Sam would not exist.
What does this major blast from the past mean for Ben's future leaps?
While this leap's mission created quite the tizzy in HQ, prompting Ian, Jenn and Addison to all have to perform hologram duty to lend their individual expertise towards Ben's succeed, we don't know why Ben was sent so far back in time.
The only known change is that Rachel (Alice Kremelberg) went into the super processor chip to stop the data tracking installed by her boss. Maybe her tinkering caused the system to shift its own guide rails? Or perhaps these kinds of dramatic jumps were always in the cards? We know Ben jumped into the future in the Season 1 episode "The Friendly Skies" where he sees an older Ian in a nuclear winter scenario.
Now, we'll have to wait to see if Ben gets blasted to the distant past again to put together our serious theories.
Catch up on all of Season 2 Quantum Leap now streaming on Peacock in prep for the midseason finale next week!