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‘Quantum Leap’ goes full 'Exorcist' with a terrifyingly clever Halloween horror episode
Well, that was actually scary AF.
The original Quantum Leap series never shied away from questions of spirituality and how it might connect to Sam’s mysterious mission across time — and the revived series just took its first big swing at the supernatural. Even better? It’s actually scary as hell, too.
When last we left Ben, he was leaping into a priest about to walk into a creepy old house. He landed in the year 1934 as Father Davenport, a priest called to try and exercise a demon plaguing a seemingly faithful, innocent girl named Daisy. It has all the old school Exorcist vibes, embracing the classic horror movie tropes down to the camera angles and jump scares. Ben is clearly out of his element, and absolutely terrified when he starts seeing some of these freaky experiences he can’t clearly explain.
It’s a great reminder of the versatility of the Quantum Leap concept, which can veer from period-set drama, to the Wild West, to sci-fi, to (ahem) horror from week to week with ease. It’s a compelling leap that revels in the genre it’s inhabiting. A great episode, and one of the scariest leaps ever from across the old and new series.
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To make matters worse, Ben is pretty much isolated on this leap, with Addison no longer able to connect with him as a hologram through the imaging chamber. There are hints this could be related to the demon causing some interference, but it turns out the culprit is actually one we’ve met before: Janis Calavicci. As suspected, Janis has built her own imaging chamber and is tapping into Ziggy to contact Ben herself as a hologram. She finally breaks through to Ben at episode’s end, but before she can relay her message, Ben leaps. So close, Janis. So close.
We also get a nice nod to Sam Beckett’s theories and journey here, as the present day team mentions Sam always suspected God himself was guiding his leaps (a theory hinted at heavily in the original series’ finale), which could lend some credibility to the existence of real-life demons (and the idea they might want to cause trouble for Project Quantum Leap).
Back in the present day, Ian has to get creative to monitor the status of Ben’s leap and how he’s affecting the timeline. With no Ziggy to figure it out, they turn to Reddit, following conspiracy theory posts about the possession — until the posts themselves disappear, finally confirming Ben changed the timeline and the mysterious possession no longer made headlines at all.
Ben starts to believe a bit of the possession theory after seeing some terrifying hallucinations himself, and when the family aunt is seemingly murdered by the demon. But he finally puts the pieces together that it’s not a demon causing all this chaos. Nope, he’s just been drugged. Someone has been drugging Ben to make him see these hallucinations, and someone has been drugging Daisy for weeks to the point she’s on the verge of going mad and dying from the effects.
From there, Ben uses his intellect and detective skills to figure out the family drama that could lead to all this murder and demonic fake-out. It turns out Daisy’s mom is having an affair with Daisy’s uncle, and they faked the possession and planned to kill Daisy and their aunt to inherent her fortune. Ben enlists Daisy and the attending doctor to fake Daisy’s death, then make it seem like her body was still possessed, to scare her uncle (and surprise! her mother, as well!) to confess to the plot.
But despite almost being murdered, Daisy is a faithful person at heart, and still forgives them as they’re walked off to jail (she also donates her inheritance to start the Goodwill charity). Though we got a seemingly rational explanation to the possession, there’s still some supernatural elements at play here. Daisy says she perceived Ben as an angel, noting he looked younger and had dark hair (and, y’know, looked like Ben). Also, during her possession, the demon refers to Ben as a “traveler.” This could’ve just been from Ben’s hallucination, but still an interesting word choice.
In the episode’s closing moments, Janis breaks through to Ben as a hologram, but he leaps before she can do anything except introduce herself. So where’d he land? In a teenager’s body, in the midst of a breakout from their school (or some sort of juvenile academy or camp?) in what seems to be the 1990s. He’s also in the body of someone named “Ben,” though seemingly this isn’t a case of Ben leaping into his younger self, as the reflection we see is very much not a young Raymond Lee.
New episodes of Quantum Leap air Mondays on NBC, and can be streamed next-day on Peacock.