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Who Is Eliza Taylor's Hannah Carson on Quantum Leap?
Former The 100 actress Eliza Taylor joined Quantum Leap this week, but who is the enigmatic Hannah Carson?
Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of NBC's Quantum Leap Season 2!
In the latest Quantum Leap episode, "Closure Encounters," the title is a play on Steven Spielberg's 1977 classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which posed what would happen if aliens came to Earth to communicate with humans. But fans of the show will also have sussed out that the title perhaps also alludes to Ben (Raymond Lee) and his former fiancée Addison (Caitlin Bassett) working together on their first leap mission in three years.
As revealed in the second season premiere, Ben just disappeared after his 18th leap much like Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula). With every recourse exhausted to find him, eventually Ben was officially determined "lost" and Project Quantum Leap was shuttered. Now that he's been found, those three years away feel like eons when he's told by Addison that she's now in a committed relationship with Tom Westfall (Peter Gadiot). In this episode, the former duo awkwardly figure out how to work together to serve the mission and move on from one another...thus the beginning of some closure.
With Addison very happy with Tom back in the near-future, it's all a bit tragic for poor Ben...until he meets diner waitress Hannah Carson, played by series regular Eliza Taylor. Initially, she's an empathetic stranger that Ben can connect with during the leap. But she soon proves to be a kindred spirit when it comes to a shared openness when it comes to learning about the unknown.
The sparks are real between Ben Song and Hannah Carson
Episode director Chris Grismer told NBC Insider that if the audience is detecting an underlying spark between the two, they're reading it right. In fact, in an episode full of old school alien imagery and lore, he said that his favorite scenes were the ones where Hannah and Ben just talk in the diner.
"Introducing her relationship with Ben, I just felt so excited," Grismer said. "I loved how they brought out the best in each other and they saw something in each other that no one else had seen. They had a connection that he hadn't felt in a long time. And right when he was feeling so disconnected from his past world, he had someone who he shared a connection with even though they don't come from his time. And he helped point her in the right [career] direction."
At the end of the episode, Ben goes back to speak with Hannah and asks about her high level knowledge about physics and mathematical concepts. She confides that she studied them both, and got a programmer job during the war. But her dream profession dissolved with the end of the war, and she's stuck waitressing. Impressed by her intelligence, Ben alerts her to Professor Yates opening his physics program at Princeton to women, and tells her to "go live the life you want to live."
For science geeks, this is as romantic as a Prince Charming moment in any fairy tale. And it certainly leaves an intriguing door open when she tells Ben not to say goodbye, but "see you later" right before he exits for his next leap.
Who is Hannah Carson on Quantum Leap?
We don't know! At least, not yet. Though she was introduced seemingly as a one-off character with whom Ben has a connection, we know Taylor will be a recurring character this season, so she will be returning for more appearances somehow as Season 2 goes on. Which begs the question — who is she, if she'll be returning in different time periods? Is she a fellow leaper, or at least another time traveler? Or will Ben perhaps leap into other time periods close enough to where Hannah is still alive and around on the time stream? The rest of Season 2 will certainly bring some answers, but we'll have to wait to get them.
Where have you seen Eliza Taylor before?
If you're wondering where you've seen actress Eliza Taylor before, genre fans will recognize her as Clarke Griffin in the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi drama, The 100. As Clarke, she had played out a dramatic character arc starting out as a naive, space ship raised teen sent down to Earth to try and repopulate it many decades after nuclear devastation ruined the planet. In the course of seven seasons, Clarke evolved into a fierce leader, a non-traditional mother and ultimately a martyr for the ascension of what's left of the human race.
Taylor also appeared as Doctor Villka in The Orville, and was a regular in 2005 on the popular Australian soap opera, Neighbours.