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All our questions are answered as ‘Quantum Leap’ comes full circle in Season 1 finale
The big questions are finally answered - let's dig in.
It’s all been leading to this, as Ben makes the final leap in his season-long mission to save Addison and set things right in the time stream in NBC’s revival of Quantum Leap. So how’d it all go down?
We pick up with Ben in the far-flung future, catching up with an older Ian who set all this leaping in motion in an effort to effectively save the world and future itself. We learn that Ian has helped slingshot Ben into 2051, which seems to be a largely destroyed future where a nuclear winter is causing snowfall in Los Angeles. We learn from Ian that there are few people even left alive (to the point they had trouble finding someone for Ben to even leap into), and the government has blamed the Quantum Leap project for all the world’s problems.
To that end, Ian explains the government sent one last leaper — Martinez — back in time not just to kill Addison (who was the leaper in the original timeline, which Ben changed), but also the entire Quantum Leap team. Then they destroyed the machine, stranding Martinez to the time stream with no future to return to when his mission ends. It turns out the timeline showed that if any member of the team survived, they’d still find a way to get the program back online. So Martinez’s mission was to go back to when the project was revived and kill them all, which would be the only way to ensure time travel stays dead for good.
But as any Quantum Leap fan knows, the system wasn’t built to travel to the future, and just minutes after Ben arrives in 2051 the flow of time starts trying to yank him back to the past. But Ben sticks around just long enough to get the message from Ian, which is essentially a formula and code they tell Ben to pass along to younger Ian, who can figure out what to do with it.
With that, Ben is yanked back to where it all began: 2018, just as the Quantum Leap project is getting back online. Ben and Addison are set to go on their first date, while Magic has a meeting with Al on the books and a few cigars to boot. Ben leaps into his 2018 self to try and stop Martinez and save the program, though Martinez has a better plan, leaping into project leader Magic. Ben blows his first date with Addison to try and keep her safe, and the team thinks he’s the evil leaper for a moment. But thanks to a secret code Jenn made with herself (“Turtle Time,” a reference to Bravo’s Real Housewives reality TV series), Ben is able to convince the team he really is himself.
While Ian in 2018 and 2023 continue to try and decipher the code from future Ian, Ben and Martinez are thrown into the time stream when the accelerator goes haywire. While the duo are thrown back into the prior leaps they shared, they continue to fight, until one of Ben’s allies from his wild west adventures saves his life and shoots Martinez.
Around that time, 2018 Ian notes the code sent back resembles a video game cheat code, then Ian across all time periods realizes it effectively is a cheat code. Just for time travel. If they can execute it across the time periods simultaneously, it’ll allow Ben to essentially redo the final jump knowing what went wrong and what to do right the second time around.
Ben takes full advantage of his mulligan, grabbing Addison, kissing her and sweeping her off her feet. With Martinez off the board, that’s all it takes to set this leap right, and Ben lights up ready for his next (and possibly last) leap. Meanwhile, back in 2023, the team anxiously awaits to see if Ben makes that final leap home.
The accelerator spins and they wait… as the screen fades to black.
So does Ben make it back? We don’t know, though considering a second season is already in the works, we’d imagine Ben will still be setting right what has gone wrong across time and space for at least a little while longer.
If you’re looking to catch up on the first season of Quantum Leap, it’s streaming now on Peacock.