Quantum Commentary

Finally got around to posting my 5th place entry from the fan fiction contest at Leap Back 2009 to the extras section of the main site.

“Just Like Starting Over”

It’s called “Just Like Starting Over” (you knew I’d go with a song title…) and serves as a bridge between the beginning and the end of the series. I haven’t done the commentary thing in quite awhile, so here we go…

  • Fans tend to have a love/hate relationship with the final episode of QL. Some are disappointed that Sam never made it home. Many dislike the esoteric nature of any answers the finale provides. I’ve always considered it to be brilliant, and probably the only way they could have ended the show. But one day I decided the only other way to end it would be to send Sam back to right where he started. Sort of a Twilight Zone-ish “Did it happen or not?” type of ending. That was the inspiration for this story.
  • With the concept in hand, playing with the old saga cell narration for the opening sentence was quite obvious. “Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator…and nothing happened.”
  • “Around a hundred by his best count, maybe a few less” is a nod to the final episode count of 96. (Though technically there are a few episodes containing multiple leaps, which would put the count just over 100.)
  • It was fun including Gooshie and Beeks as main characters here since they were oft-mentioned but seldom seen on the show.
  • Sam not remembering if the events of “The Leap Back” took place in 1998 or 1999 is an acknowledgment of a minor continuity gaffe. In this episode they say the date at the project is 9/18/99, but then in the following season during the “Lee Harvey Oswald” episode the date is referenced as 2/14/99 — pre-dating “The Leap Back.”
  • The reader is supposed to think Sam leapt in as himself a split second after his initial leap, but this would mean that Tom Stratton should be in the waiting room at the project. His absence here is a clue that the timing of the leap in this story is not exactly as it seems. Verbena’s question to Sam about why there isn’t anyone in the waiting room serves as a hint.
  • Including a reunion scene with Donna & Sam was something I considered, but in the end I felt that I didn’t really know her character enough to do it justice. Instead she just gets a minor cameo reference here to up the “is this real or not” ante.
  • Seeds for the ending are planted when Al relays this message from Ziggy: “She also says she’s sorry she called you crazy, and forgives you for triggering her override function.”
  • A big speculative Internet question regarding the ending of QL asks whether or not Al would still be a part of the project after Sam kept him together with Beth. I try to tie up that loose end here.
  • It still shocks me that nobody has made an iPhone App that emulates the QL handlink.
  • This story was written prior to the debut of the “Leap to Di For” fan-film, but the parallels to how Sammy Jo restarts the project and how Al has trouble maintaining the connection are pretty neat.  Great minds…
  • I loved referencing the words of Al the Bartender here in a prophetic, foreshadowy sort of way.
  • For the grand finale the story switches to the present tense, recounting a prequel of the minutes just before our first look at the accelerator chamber in the QL pilot episode. We end with Gooshie’s famous “he’s leaping” speech that kicked off the main premise of the show.

3 Replies to “Quantum Commentary”

  1. I like the idea but too many problems. A machine specifically designed for leaping should have detected a leap in. Also the finale implies Sam would be leaping as himself. So Gooshie and Beeks should notice Sam is a few years older. Sam couldn’t have had a theory about Swiss cheese memory because everyone was shocked about it in the pilot. Al tells Sam he’s been leaping for 14 years but then claims it was the 10 years for Al has been instantaneous. So Al was wrong, Sam’s been leaping for 4 years. also that isn’t how leaping usually works in the tv show. 10 years for Al should have been 10 for Sam. Why does “vacation Al” call Gooshie at the end? He’s away on vacation and wouldn’t notice the unusual activity at the project.

  2. Thanks for reading and for the feedback! I definitely took some liberties to fit the premise of a 15 year anniversary story — and made the decision that Sam would go back to the “normal” way of leaping post “Mirror Image” which may or may not have proven true had the show continued.

    Great catch on the swiss cheese theory origin not coming from Sam. I also agree “vacation” was probably a lazy way to explain Al’s absence in the main story and makes the phone call recreating Gooshie’s side of the opening scene from the pilot not quite make sense.

    I wish I could leap into myself 7 years ago and incorporate your edits. With you as the fact-checker we might have won the contest! 😉

    Thanks again for giving it a read.

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