Did the ending of "Quantum Leap" bother you? <Obvious Spoiler>

Some people like this guyare pretty angry about the ending. Assuming you followed the series what was your take on it?

The take in the link [spoiler] That’s it, the basic premise – Sam is time-traveling in the past and only wants to go back home, to his body and his life. The show, though sci-fi in premise, focused far more on human interactions. Sam traveled in time and gave everything he had in order to make the world a better place, to help the lives of individuals and humanity. He struggled, but never shirked his duty, always doing his best to help correct mistakes, and always wanting to somehow get back home.

Well, the finale is all about him getting one last chance to go home, and he fails. The series ends with the postscript that “Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home.” It is true that in its original conception, the episode was only intended to be a season finale, and that upon not getting renewed it was re-edited and turned into a series finale.

That, however, is no excuse.

What I didn’t like about the finale were the religious overtones. That bartender fellow (as I remember it, somewhat fuzzily), it was implied, had some power over what would happen to Sam, a la a deity, angel or some such. This was completely out of left field, as far as I was concerned, since everything up to that point was supposed to be science-based; and I found it intrusive and something of a sell-out. I don’t mind that Sam was forever stuck re-living past lives of other people, in some ways that makes sense. I just didn’t like the judgmental and religious aspect of it.

Caveat: it has been years since I saw that episode or indeed any episodes from that program, so take it for what it’s worth.

I actually like the ending a lot. I felt it was a reasonable transition for Sam, who is an unquestionably nice person, to decide that when finally given the choice between returning home or continuing to help people he chooses to continue.

Without looking it up I’m pretty sure that bartender guy was D-Day from Animal House

No, I liked it a lot. I felt fine with the ending.

No - they’d had the “evil leaper” for a while by that point. And the vampire episode.

Couldn’t be. His whereabouts are Unknown.

I’ve got a friend that looks like that asshole Scott Bakula, and goddammit, he is a chick magnet! Piece of shit! :smiley: Never shares.

I guess I missed those. So the supernatural thing was established by then? Too bad. I’d call that jumping the shark for this series.

I actually liked the religious overtone. The interpretation I like the most, all be it imperfect, is that the Bartender was God Himself. Because, c’mon, it wasn’t that science based. I have read some “scientific” arguments for a deity that hold some logical water, but time travel where you inhabit somebody else’s body? Nope.

So that’s why I liked the ending. As a semi-religous person I know that even if God loves you, things aren’t going to necessarily work out perfectly. Sam Becket used science to break the veil between God and human. He’s immortal now, but there’s a price. Sam didn’t sin. The guy just didn’t know how it worked. His hubris in creating a device he didn’t understand doomed him to an immortal existence of trying to make people’s lives better in his own imperfect way.

Like BSG, it had been established for quite some time that a “force” (Or just flat out GOD) was behind the scenes. In BSG testing humanity to see if they are worthy of helping…in QL, ‘fixing things’

I loved the finale. It was heart-breaking.

I am aware of the religious interpretation, and it’s likely that it’s what the writers intended, but I don’t think it’s strictly necessary to explain the ending. Once it’s established that someone else is leaping around, it is reasonable to assume the technology was applied more than once. At some point–possibly very, very far down the line–someone gained sufficient control of the technology to extract the various leapers trapped in the past.

However, by that point, they also knew that some portion of the history that led to their timeline depended on changes made by one or more leapers. In order for their timeline to remain intact, at least one leaper had to remain in play. (Since leapers are functionally immortal, “eventually” any given leaper would reach all the necessary loci, given unbounded leaps.) Being the sort of enlightened, far-future, altruistic type who would mount such a rescue mission, they felt the need to offer the leapers a free and informed choice, couched in terms they would understand, hence the various metaphors.

If every leaper chose to go home, the rescuer was prepared to trade places with the last one in order to preserve the timeline. Sam’s choice made that unnecessary. The sum of all the things he had fixed and will have fixed actually produced the “bartender”.

This context makes me more comfortable with the ending, because I like the idea that his choice has results greater in scope that the improvements he makes to individual lives.

It was established in the show that Sam didn’t inhabit anybody’s body. (If so, that would mean his mind leapt into a chimp that one time. Really?) No, his entire being, body and mind, changed places with the person whose life Sam was supposed to live. The person whom he displaced temporarily went forward in time to Project Quantum Leap. Whatever force was leaping Sam created an aura around him to make him appear to be that person to those around him. Al (and the TV viewer) saw Sam for what he really was.

The religious aspects weren’t new to the finale. Throughout the series Sam calls the power leaping him about “God”

I like that idea. And as long as we’re fanwanking, let me just imagine for a sec.

cochrane brings up a good point. Sam Becket never inhabits anyone’s body. They are sent to where he was, but the timeline from where he was is still moving. The “home” side of the quantum leap still moves forward. Al is seeing this every week. But what happens if that continues indefinitely? Eternally? What happens if it is still happening long after the Earth is dead?

Maybe, in the far off future it’s Sam that gets a better grasp of the tech and he starts putting those time displaced individuals not on the Earth, which is long dead, but on an un-named distant planet. And maybe some of those time displaced individuals stay. And maybe that happens for a long, long time. So long that even what it is to be human changes. The whole biology even changes over the eons, but eons don’t matter because, well, time travel. And maybe, just maybe, the descendants of those time traveling people call that planet Gallifrey.

I didn’t like it for a lot of reasons. I understand it was supposed to be a cliffhanger that would be resolved next season. But the show was cancelled. It gives the feeling that the episode is incomplete, that there’s a chunk of the story missing.

The biggest problem is changing Al’s history. His first wife never gave up hope, never had him declared dead, never remarried. This would change Al’s entire history. The whole of the Quantum Leap project would be affected.

And it contradicts in a big way the Dr Ruth story only a few episodes earlier. Sam’s controller (God, or Time, or someone) arranged the leap so that Dr Ruth could help Al resolve his issues and declare his love for Tina. Presumably, after changing Al’s past, this episode didn’t happen. Assuming that there is some guiding intelligence behind to Sam’s leaps, why do this?

The religious undertones didn’t bother me at all because there was always a notion that Sam’s leaps were being somehow guided by a greater force.

I just never understood how Sam was supposedly leaping around for all eternity with no backup. Al obviously can’t do it forever. The project itself can’t last forever, and certainly can’t remain secret forever. What happens when nobody’s on the other end to run the program? Eventually, Al can’t pop in to say, “Okay Sam, you have to prevent Mayor Schmoopy from passing the traffic ordinance which kills Princess the Wonder Poodle,” and then what?

I hated it. It basically ruined the rest of the series for me and I don’t even like watching reruns anymore.

This is exactly what I hated about the final episode. The much earlier story about Al’s wife was one of the saddest but most touching episodes in the entire series–the point of it to me being that some things, even bad things, are meant to happen because they make us who we are. An Al who came home to find his wife waiting for him would’ve been someone completely different from the Al we knew. At the very least, no longer such a cynic nor a habitual skirt-chaser who was finally trying to work things out with a girlfriend he truly cared about.

Plus, that scene of Mrs. Al dancing with holo-Al at the end made me cry.

And then the finale took that same scene and everything else about what had been one of my favorite episodes and blew it all to pieces. Thanks, guys.

I simply don’t care whether Sam ever got home or not.

If you don’t think science fiction focuses more on human interactions, you don’t properly appreciate science fiction. Science fiction of any length that focuses primarily on technology or science will be unsatisfying (I make exception for short pieces presenting on e punchy idea – but even those need to show how it relates to people, or else it’s not a story, but a science lesson).
I didn’t like the ending because, while I could buy the notion of a guy hopping around in time into other people’s bodies, the idea that it was a directed hopping was obviously only because the writers had to tell a story every week. Sam got stuck with a new problem every show, but his goal was – as stated in the opening narration – to get home.

But when he finally gets the opportunity to do so he refuses? It betrays the very premise of the show, and it has Sam act not as a human being, but as an automaton in a script. It’s as unbelievable as if Dr. Richard Kimble decided to keep on running every week, even after they found the one-armed man, and he was exonerated. And it wouldn’t make any difference if he “did good” every week with the people he encountered.

Heh. You’re arguing that achieving a higher level of understanding, becoming closer to God or becoming God makes one an automaton? Like…Angels?

Not the first time that argument has been made for sure.