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

I liked the ending. Lots of very good SF has used religion as a springboard for stories (e.g., James Blish, Gene Wolfe, Cliff Simak, Michael O’Brien, Cordwainer Smith, C.S. Lewis, Walker Percy, Anthony Boucher, Richard Matheson, R.A. Lafferty, Michael Bishop, Ted Chiang, Phillip K. Dick, Michael Flynn, Tim Powers, Walter Miller, etc.) It’s a huge part of the human experience, why shouldn’t it be used?)

Most SF involves supernatural or fantastic elements and tropes which include things that our modern understanding of science doesn’t recognize as likely, anyway - ESP, time travel, FTL drives, psionic powers, “quantum leaping” etc. - why quibble at religious elements? As is often said, what most people think of as SF is really just fantasy. There are probably only a handful of real “science” fiction stories out there, where plausible science and the scientific method are plot elements - “The Andromeda Strain” and “The Martian” come to mind.

On Quantum Leap, it was previously recognized that Al, an MIT-trained scientist, was religious and believes in both God and the Devil, and was also a little spooked by things like the Bermuda Triangle. When Sam jumped into a priest’s body and was dying, Al broke a long-standing enmity he felt towards the Church and prayed for Sam, which was portrayed as probably efficacious.

Series creator Donald Bellisario is Catholic, if memory serves (like Al), so religious themes weren’t uncommon on the series.,

The premise of the show was that Sam leapt within his own lifetime, which means that his life would eventually come to an end, and presumably, so would the Leaping. Sam never returned home, but I never got the impression from the finale that Sam became immortal.

I watched it out of curiosity and with sharply lowered expectations (which were not exceeded) since whatever tenuous respect I’d had for the show evaporated after that Oswald/Kennedy thing at the start of the final season.

Plus the show couldn’t seem to get a handle on its basic premise. Is Sam just possessing the mind of whomever he leaps into or is he physically there in some sense?

Lucky that it was the final episode then. :slight_smile:

Sam physically leaps in body and mind. A couple of episodes illustrate this. Sam leapt into a blind pianist, but he was not afflicted with the man’s blindness. He leapt into a vet whose legs were amputated, but Sam could stand up and walk. Sam leapt into a chimpanzee, but could talk to Al and write a note. The physical differences between a chimpanzee’s brain and a human brain would have made any compatibility between Sam’s mind and the chimp’s mind impossible.

He once leaped into his ancestor – Captain John Beckett, of the Union Army – because the guy was a close enough match; I’m not saying there’s a Captain John Something in the future who has crazy adventures involving time travel, but there’s totally a lookalike Captain John Something in the future who has crazy adventures involving time travel.

OK, lol. In fact, I made a tongue-in-cheek post myself not long ago about Sam leaping into a Captain Jonathan Somebody-or-other. And Sam did have a daughter to carry on his DNA. :smiley:

This was a time travel show. It ruined it retroactively backwards in time.

What about the episode where he leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald’s body, then Oswald takes over again?

Not just Al, but also children (if they were young enough), animals, the insane, and at least one psychic.

At the time I thought the end of the series was a preamble to a movie. That didn’t happen.

But Sam’s xtianity was always important to his character. In, the death row episode, he as much as calls on God for help and specifically says he refuses to believe that his God will let him die without reason or justice. It is entirely within the series’ premise that Sam was on s mission from God, and entirely within Sam’s character to one day give his life on a leap.

He didn’t leap into Oswald’s body, but there was a strong mental connection between he and Oswald that caused his personality to start merging with Oswald’s. When Sam leaps, there’s some crossover with the other person’s personality so that Sam can convincingly appear to be the other person. This was established as canon by series creator and producer Donald Bellisario. Oswald’s personality was so strong that he leapt back to 1963 and Sam leapt into the Secret Service agent guarding Jackie Kennedy and saved her life, which was his real mission. JFK was always fated to die.

I own all of QL on DVD, and did a complete rewatch last year. I say complete, but that’s not strictly true. I watched everything up to the final season, and then skipped Lee Harvey Oswald, Marilyn Monroe, the two evil leaper episodes and the finale. It’s a great show, and even knowing how it ended I don’t think it was ruined, but I don’t think these episodes add anything for me. The finale, in addition to being incredibly confusing, is very boring. I’ve tried to come up with a better alternative, but I’m not sure what it would be other than to have Sam leap back to his wife and his life. So I just enjoy the rest of the series for what it was, and then watch NCIS: New Orleans to see where Sam is now. :wink:

Didn’t like it but didn’t hate it, either. Somebody linked to the original script some years ago; I’d have preferred that to what we got.

I remember reading an interview with Bellisario at the time this came out - he had served with Oswald in the Marines and knew him, which obviously had an impact on him. Kind of an interesting side-light.

Yes the ending bothered me, but not enough that I can’t enjoy the show anymore. I was kind of hoping for one more season. Would have been nice to see what “The leaps are going to get harder” would have meant.