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dalovindj
08-31-2001, 08:53 AM
The final episode to this brilliant show was a bit cryptic. I picked up the following things:

It seems to me that the bartender was God(read force of good) himself. The bar was just a metaphor god provided, they were really just in Sam Becketts mind. He had been controlling his leaps the whole time, without letting himself know that. He is at heart such a good person, that his soul could not bear to let suffering go on when he could do something about it. So God gave Sam the Power to leap as he chose. The evil leapers were the agents of the Devil(read force of evil). They were not allowed to jump as they pleased, but were required to do as commanded.

I haven't seen it for a while, but it has stuck with me. I do so wish they would do a QL movie. Anyone got any thoughts on the finale?

DaLovin' Dj

Yankee Blue
08-31-2001, 10:08 AM
Sam wii eventually get to go home regardless of who is or is not controlling the leaps.

dalovindj
08-31-2001, 10:39 AM
As I understood the ending, he can now jump wherever he wants, whenever he wants. God keyed him in to this fact and let him know he always could.

Incidentally, the actor who played God also played on Macguyver as one of my favorite charachters.

DaLovin'Dj

KneadToKnow
08-31-2001, 10:58 AM
We batted this around a little bit back on the Worst TV Series Ending (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=67384) thread.

Yankee Blue, I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree with you. The last line of the closing text states flatly: "Sam never went home."

I watched this again last week on the SciFi Channel and, as dictated by long experience, cried my eyes out. That episode just pulls every string I have.

Munch
08-31-2001, 11:04 AM
I thought that episode was wonderful. I realize that it was a suprise ending, and went against everything fans were hoping for, but I absolutely loved it. And my impression was that he wasn't going home, and he couldn't consiously control where he was going to leap.

My question is if he didn't go home, how long he lives, and if he gets support from Ziggy for the rest of his life.

dalovindj
08-31-2001, 11:36 AM
munch:

And my impression was that he wasn't going home, and he couldn't consiously control where he was going to leap.

No. He made an intentional leap to help Al have a happy life. God the bartender told him he could, and that he always could. This sent Sam into tears.

DaLovin' Dj

rushtopher
08-31-2001, 12:11 PM
dalovindj:

munch:


And my impression was that he wasn't going home, and he couldn't consiously control where he was going to leap.


No. He made an intentional leap to help Al have a happy life. God the bartender told him he could, and that he always could. This sent Sam into tears.


I only vaguely remember the last episode of QL, but I'm am 100% positive the message says Sam never returned home, since I almost cried. If he could control his leaps, why couldn't he? IIRC, I remember getting the impression that while he could control the leaps, he never figured out how. I had an image of Sam being stuck leaping in and out, with no Ziggy or Al, and no way home. Really depressing.

dalovindj
08-31-2001, 12:27 PM
rushtopher:

What I inferred was that he could control them. After he figured it out he did it once to help Al, and then faced with the choice of going home, or going out and continuing to leap, he accepted it as his mission in life to leap and fix things for as long as he could. He never went home because he couldn't bear the idea of not helping.

And he can leap into any one he wants, so he can leap into his family and friends to see how things are going. At least that's how I took it.

I found it to be kind of inspiring AND kind of depressing. He sacrificed his family and any kind of real life to help people. What a terrible price, and what a noble decision.

DaLovin' Dj

Yankee Blue
08-31-2001, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by KneadToKnow
We batted this around a little bit back on the Worst TV Series Ending (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=67384) thread.

Yankee Blue, I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree with you. The last line of the closing text states flatly: "Sam never went home."



I know. I hated that and thought it was in effect an unnecessary torture for both the character who was supposed to have done so much good as well as the fans. Therefore my comment must be that regardless all other considerations, Sam must be allowed to go home one day. Never is a bloody long time.

dalovindj: The actor who was the bartender/guy in charge was also the man who played D Day in Animal House. My favorite in that film.

Lionors
08-31-2001, 01:09 PM
I love QL but I truly did not care for the final episode. Was Sam's decision heroic? Sure was. Was it selfless? Absolutely. But it utterly sucked to realize that after all Sam had been through (and I always thought that while he initially just tried to correct matters so that he could go home, by the end his interest in helping those he leaped into was equal to his wish to return), all he was going to get for it was leaping forever without end.

I dunno. Maybe I need to see the final episode again. I'm working on restoring my collection of taped episodes, so if the Sci-Fi channel continues to cooperate, I should get there eventually. :)

KneadToKnow
08-31-2001, 01:31 PM
Lionors, with all due respect, you're missing the point. What he "gets" out of it is to be able to help people and set right what once went wrong for as long as he wants. Since that was the object of creating Project Quantum Leap, the culmination of his life's work, I can't imagine how he could possibly be happier.

Obviously, I'm in the camp that reads "Sam never went home" as a joyous thing ... he never went home because he found his calling, what Al the bartender called his next "difficult assignment."

Aw, jeez, now I'm gettin' all misty again.

Daniel
08-31-2001, 01:32 PM
here's my interpretation:

-Sam is told he controls the leaps, and did all along, but he refused to believe that. So just because he's been told he can control them doesn't mean he knows how.

-With Time/Fate/God there next to him, Sam controlled one leap: the leap to help Al. Kind of like having T/F/G there "holding his hand through it all", even though it may not have made a difference.

-After Sam helps Al, Al's photograph "leaps". I took this to mean that Al's life is so drastically changed that he is no longer "in the picture" so to speak. It doesn't mean Sam is alone in his future leaps, but it does mean that Al won't be there to help him. This is WHY the future leaps are going to get harder.

-The line at the end that he never returns home is no different from Al telling Sam "Ziggy says X is going to die in two days" in any other episode. It can be changed, but as things are now he won't get home.

xizor
08-31-2001, 02:05 PM
Maybe I am being too simplistic, but I always thought that it meant Sam discovered he had the power to go home, but choose not to.

dalovindj
08-31-2001, 02:06 PM
Daniel:

Sam is told he controls the leaps, and did all along, but he refused to believe that. So just because he's been told he can control them doesn't mean he knows how.

I think that when he started crying, it was because inside he knew it to be true. Like he was thinking "I could have gone back anytime, why didn't I? Oh shit. It's because I don't want to. I'm so sorry family and friends, I'm sorry I have to give you up, but this is just too important. But I can at least make it right for Al. I have to. If I can control this, dammit, I'm going to!" I'm pretty sure starting with the leap to help Al he is in the driver seat concerning his leaps.

That's the way it seemed to me. Maybe he can either do it himself now, or just let it happen randomly. I think that at the very least he can take some vacation leaps from time to time now.

DaLovin' Dj

LordVor
08-31-2001, 02:13 PM
Originally posted by Daniel
here's my interpretation:
-After Sam helps Al, Al's photograph "leaps". I took this to mean that Al's life is so drastically changed that he is no longer "in the picture" so to speak. It doesn't mean Sam is alone in his future leaps, but it does mean that Al won't be there to help him. This is WHY the future leaps are going to get harder.

-The line at the end that he never returns home is no different from Al telling Sam "Ziggy says X is going to die in two days" in any other episode. It can be changed, but as things are now he won't get home.

No, no, no. The first point I quoted is dead on. But Al being there is part of Sam's "home". Sam could still go back to his time, but Al won't be there, because Al is living a happier life. Sam gave up his future relationship with his friend, and, therefore, returning to the life he left, to make his friend happier. He can still return, but it won't be the same as when he left because he made a drastic change in the timeline.

LV

WPL
08-31-2001, 02:44 PM
I haven't seen this episode for a while. But I remember getting the impression that Sam had in effect been serving an apprenticeship, and that now that his apprenticeship was over God was moving him on to something more important.
This is going to sound a bit corny, but I sort of thought that Sam then became an angel.

Swede Hollow
08-31-2001, 05:17 PM
Here's another thread based about Quantum Leap's final episode: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=73288

Lionors
08-31-2001, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by KneadToKnow
What he "gets" out of it is to be able to help people and set right what once went wrong for as long as he wants. Since that was the object of creating Project Quantum Leap, the culmination of his life's work, I can't imagine how he could possibly be happier.

Er...correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there an episode where Sam actually got to go back and see his wife, but the only way he could stay was if Al got stuck in his place? If my recollection of this episode is correct, Sam seemed truly heartbroken at having to leave her and they parted on a "someday" type of note.

My take on it is simply that yes, QL was the culmination of his life's work, which he was now going to do at the expense of never seeing those he loved again. Help the world, but abandon those who mean the most to you? Yuck. NOT my type of happy ending. Okay, I love happy endings. Slam me in the jello for the hopeless romantic I am.

Now, if Sam didn't have that to go back to, that would be a lot more fine and dandy, but the whole premise of the series was that Sam was solving these problems "hoping each time that the next leap would be the leap home." If he wants to go home, how wonderful is the news that you never really can again? Just didn't cut it for me.

Lionors
08-31-2001, 06:32 PM
Grrr. Meant to add this on the end of the last post.

However, as I haven't seen the final episode since it originally ran on the air, I'm willing to see it again and see if it still hits me with the same reaction. I seem to recall I wasn't alone in disliking the way they wrapped it up, though.

dwtno
08-31-2001, 08:21 PM
Sam saves Al from a life of emotional pain and misery by convincing his first wife to wait out the war for him. But this means Al's life must then take a different direction. He never meets Sam. They never initiate Project Quantum Leap. Al never becomes Sam's only link with reality.

So time travel paradox and causality aside, Sam is now leaping by himself. He has no support. No confidant. No friends. In fact, no one even knows that this Sam Beckett ever existed. He sacrificed himself for Al's happiness. But he's still out there, righting wrongs and fixing history, one person at a time.

"Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home."

It was the perfect way to end that show. Much better than the warm, sloppy hug that many of the fans wanted.

Menocchio
09-01-2001, 12:37 AM
I'm going with the above "apprenticeship" theory. The old miner who leaps away strongly suggested that ghosts and angels where "Leapers", in one sense or another. Sam's been connected to guardian angel imagery on more than one occasion, I believe.

As for why he didn't return, if God were to suddenly appear to you and hand you an assignment, would you say no?

I do think Sam could leap at will now. I don't know if he still had access to Al, Ziggy, or a reasonable facsimile thereof (the fact that the evil leapers had analogs would suggest as much), but he exists on a higher plane, and is conciously serving a higher power. If the series continued, I think we'd see Sam altering world-shattering events and travelling outside his own lifetime.

Protesilaus
09-01-2001, 12:44 AM
Wasn't there an episode when Sam lept back to when Al was in the Naval Academy? IIRC, at one point Sam screws up and changes history that will lead to Al never becoming involved with Project Quantum Leap. Until Sam fixes things, Al's place as his assistant is taken by this proper British guy. This suggests that the project will continue even without Al, and Sam will still have a guide to help him.

WPL
09-01-2001, 04:53 AM
Wasn't the British hologram guy Roddy McDowell?a

Lionors
09-01-2001, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by Menocchio
As for why he didn't return, if God were to suddenly appear to you and hand you an assignment, would you say no?

Actually, one of my favorite Heinlein books is JOB, A Comedy of Justice...and I fully agreed with Alexander Hergensheimer's final choice. If given the choice between having to leave my better half forever so I could fix the lives of others or leaving said lives unfixed but being able to stay with my better half -- no choice. Whatever higher power showed up to give me said job would have to pick someone else, because I wouldn't take it.

I dislike 'angel' programs or stories in general, so the thought of Sam's becoming an angel, 'serving a higher power' or anything else along those lines leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth. (No offense to those who do like them -- just my personal preference.) I didn't want a big sloppy hug. I just wanted something more than "Congratulations for doing a great job; now you never get to return, which is supposedly what you wanted to do all along."

The underlying principle of the series (to me) was the concept that a single choice of action could substantially shift everything else in that person's life. It didn't take some supernatural intervention to cure these problems, just the application of some common sense by an admittedly uncommonly bright guy. I think that's one reason the series appealed to me so much, and why the ending did not appeal to me -- it just seemed one big, badly applied deux ex machina, in the original sense of the term.

In the interests of fairness, though, I will re-watch the ending when it shows, though, just in case it does hit me differently this time.

Crunchy Frog
09-01-2001, 07:09 PM
Originally posted by Yankee Blue
The actor who was the bartender/guy in charge was also the man who played D Day in Animal House. My favorite in that film.
Not much to add to the discussion, but the actor's name is Bruce McGill, who also played "Weird Ernie" in the pilot episode (http://www.jungworld.com/quantum-leap/qlsea01.htm) of Quantum Leap, titled Genisis (http://us.imdb.com/Title?0098151).

casdave
09-02-2001, 04:43 AM
My question is if he didn't go home, how long he lives, and if he gets support from Ziggy for the rest of his life.


Sam's last leap was without Al and Ziggy.

When Sam talks to the barman he works a few things out for himself, like the leaps are going to be into more difficult problems, that Al and Ziggy will not be there to support him, he will keep returning to the same situation until he accomplishes the task-just like the old miner and last he will leap to situations outside of his (or Al's in one episode) lifetime.

The barman flatly denies he is God but I go the impression that the answer to his real identity and role was beyond Sam's understanding for the time being, maybe this would become clearer to him in a rites of passage realisation.
I also got the impression that Sam would live forever partly in the results of the wrongs he righted and also in a more literal sense.

I thought the ending was a good one if you used your imagination, you could think of all the things that have happened in history and put a 'what if Sam leaped into so-and so?' scenario in there.

The whole series showed that life is not always simple cause and effect in isolation since every event leads on to the next, they turned up some real surprises and took a few chances, for instance in the Kennedy assassination episode, or the deep south racism where the evil of racism was not just attacked by the dramatic political leaders but also by the little mundane actions such as inviting the black chauffeur into a whites only coffee bar.

Koxinga
09-02-2001, 08:32 AM
I haven't seen the final episode since its original airing date, but a few things have stuck with me.

First, when Sam leaped (lept?) back in time to talk to Al's wife, whom did he leap into? It seemed significant to me that in all of the other episodes, he was using someone else's body and personality to change history. Does this mark his transition into a discorporate spirit? (Unless this transition comes at the very beginning of the episode, when Sam sees himself in the mirror for the first time in however many years.)

Second, I think it was strongly implied that the bartender was indeed God, but Sam had to figure it out for himself. I think he approached this knowledge in the following stages:

Sam says, "You're more than just a bartender", and after a pregnant pause, Al says, "That's right. I'm also the owner."

Sam confirms that Al is God by kidding around with him about all the coincidences he's seeing (Al's bar, a guy in the bar named Ziggy, etc.) Al acknowledges that he always had fun with making up coincidences--i.e., he is indeed the author.

Finally, Al explains what's going on and what Sam will be facing in the future, though still using analogies to do so for the most part. And he ends by putting his arm around Sam and saying, "God bless"

I also thought that Sam's sacrifice in helping (the original) Al was all the more poignant because not only would he never see his friend again, but his friend would never have any memory of Sam at all. That seems the most utter way possible to lose somebody you love.

DocCathode
09-02-2001, 12:25 PM
The barman sees Sam looking at him and wondering if he's
being served by the Prime Monad. The bartender laughs and says "I'm not God, Sam.". I figgered that the bartender might be an angel, a leaper continuing Sam's work in the far future, or some one from Project QL transformed by their leaping.

FWIW I've heard from a few hardcore QL fans that this was not supposed to be the series finale, only the season finale. The next season was to feature Sam controlling his leaps. Instead, the series was cancelled and the final sequence with the photo added.

Sparteye
09-02-2001, 03:23 PM
this was not supposed to be the series finale, only the season finale

DocCathode ~ I read an interview of Scott Bakula recently in which he discussed the surprise cancellation of the series, and the disappointment of the principles. He said that he and Dean Stockwell would both like to make a QL movie, but that creator Don Bellisario is not interested.

Santos L Halper
09-02-2001, 05:02 PM
Yes, when the final episode was filmed, it wasn't planned to be the series finale. I've read a detailed write-up on a QL fan site, but looking around I can't find it now.

The episode was the same as what was actually televised, but there was a final scene that was removed. Al and his wife Beth (who he has now been married to all along due to Sam changing the past). He tells her that they are no longer able to track Sam, and he thinks Sam may now be leaping beyond his own lifetime.

Apparently in the next season Al was going to leap himself to find Sam. They would travel through time continuing to help people, but without the help of anyone from their own time.

Eric

Koxinga
09-02-2001, 06:09 PM
I liked it better this way. I would hate to think that QL would have turned into some kind of period costume drama. I think the series ended on the right note.

Santos L Halper
09-23-2001, 04:05 PM
The final episode of Quantum Leap is running on the Sci-Fi channel right now. Hurry turn on your tvs! :)

Eric

middleman
09-23-2001, 06:55 PM
Originally posted by Yankee Blue
dalovindj: The actor who was the bartender/guy in charge was also the man who played D Day in Animal House. My favorite in that film.
A nice character actor. Did a great turn as a Mississippi Attorney General in the movie the Insider.

dragongirl
09-24-2001, 08:18 AM
I saw the last episode of QL on sci-fi last night, but I still don't understand it. Here are some of the things that I don't understand. Could someone please shed some light on them ?

1. Is there a reason that a lot of the people in the bar had the same names of the people on the QL project ?

2. What is the reason that some of the people in the bar were people Sam had met on previous leaps ?

3. Is there any significance to having Al's dead uncle also being a leaper ? And does this mean that Sam is dead or that he never existed at all ?

4. After Sam lept in and talked to Beth, Why is it that the picture of Al appeared to leap ?

5. Does the ending imply that the QL project never even exised ?

Thanks.

Cliffy
09-24-2001, 01:40 PM
The text that says Sam never made it home was added at the last minute, I don't think by Bellisario. (In fact, I seem to recall reading an interview with him that said he was pretty upset about it.) Choosing to ignore it, I think that in the last episode Sam learned to control his leaps. (Or rather, learned he always could.) He didn't leap immediately home because he wants to continue what he's been doing. OTOH, he probably could come home for vacations from time to time.

--Cliffy

meecepeece
01-10-2014, 10:37 PM
The way I understand it to be was God the bartender,told Sam he could have one final leap home if he so chose,OR he could leap around forever. His next choice was so return back to a previous leap in which he regretted following protocol,and not telling Als former wife that Al had in fact not died&would be coming home. He gave up his leap home to save his best friend Al a life of lonliness because Al had helped him so long. This was his selfless act for a friend. Because of this he could not leap home in present day again. But could keep leaping and keep helping people in the past. The reason so many in the bar were former people hed leaped into was,that the bar was inside Sams mind as much as it was Gods place. The bar was also called Als place because a spin off was in the works that never came to reality. The end message "Beth never remarried,she and Al have four daughters and will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary in June. Dr.Sam Beckett never returned home." This episode also has an alternate ending that is obscure and almost impossible to locate.

Great Antibob
01-10-2014, 11:13 PM
This is a 12 year old thread.

I don't think too many people are debating the ending of Quantum Leap anymore.

Mahaloth
01-11-2014, 08:16 AM
This is a 12 year old thread.

I don't think too many people are debating the ending of Quantum Leap anymore.

Well, we still wonder but It might warrant a new thread at this point.

John Mace
01-11-2014, 08:41 AM
This is a 12 year old thread.

I don't think too many people are debating the ending of Quantum Leap anymore.

I feel like I just Quantum Leaped 12 years into the past. Iggy, what am I supposed to do?

KneadToKnow
01-11-2014, 10:30 AM
I feel like I just Quantum Leaped 12 years into the past. Iggy, what am I supposed to do?

"Start calling me by my proper name, Dr. Beckett."

Pushkin
01-11-2014, 12:02 PM
Obviously, I'm in the camp that reads "Sam never went home" as a joyous thing ... he never went home because he found his calling, what Al the bartender called his next "difficult assignment."

Exactly, I always looked on the ending not as Sam never getting to come home, but that he got to keep on leaping.

Bryan Ekers
01-11-2014, 12:41 PM
I was too distracted by the episode's what-the-fuck factor to form an emotional response.

cochrane
01-11-2014, 12:46 PM
This is a 12 year old thread.

I don't think too many people are debating the ending of Quantum Leap anymore.

"Oh, Boy!"

E-DUB
01-11-2014, 01:24 PM
Having already leaped into the body of an ancestor, he leaped into the body of a descendant, the captain of the Enterprise NX-01.

TBG
01-11-2014, 06:53 PM
Having already leaped into the body of an ancestor, he leaped into the body of a descendant, the captain of the Enterprise NX-01.

Does that mean the shadowy temporal cold war guy we never got any answers about was an evil leaper?

DocCathode
01-12-2014, 03:47 PM
The way I understand it to be was God the bartender,told Sam

Again, the bartender says

"I'm not God, Sam"

Bit of an odd thing for him to say if he was God, dontcha think?

Jamicat
01-12-2014, 11:55 PM
All this talk about quantum leap, I noticed the dates and how it kept getting closer to...I felt like leaping back before 9/11/01 and...yea, Oh Boy! :(

weirdal
03-17-2016, 04:55 PM
Do you really think casting Bill McGill in the very first episode and then the last episode as the bartender of pure coincidence? :)

-ogotsraeyeerht

cochrane
03-17-2016, 05:53 PM
Do you really think casting Bill McGill in the very first episode and then the last episode as the bartender of pure coincidence? :)

-ogotsraeyeerht

No, not a coincidence at all since other actors from previous episodes also appeared in the finale as different characters.

E-DUB
03-17-2016, 07:13 PM
I would have liked to have seen an additional season. The "harder leaps", Al as a happily married man, perhaps Tina married to Gooshi.