Season 1, Episode 2:
Written by Deborah Pratt
Directed by Mark Sobel.
Airdate: March 31, 1989.
June 15, 1972
Sam leaps into the shoes of Dr. Gerald Bryant, an English Literature professor who cozies up to his bottles as much as his female students. While trying to steer clear of an amorous student and her large, jealous boyfriend, Sam crosses paths with the younger version of Donna Eleese, the woman who left him at the altar.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Sam is trying to stifle laughter over Al's bit of blackmailing.
- Been There, Shaped History: Sneaking in, Sam and Donna leave a door at the hotel open. A security guard later notices this, so his superior makes a call to the police."This is the Watergate. We have a break-in here."
- Blackmail: Because he was covertly helping Sam try to change personal history, Al was promptly fired by a superior, Weitzman. He got his job back, though, when he had Tina go out with him. See, Weitzman is married, and Al threatened to tell the wife about this. As Al says, it was unscrupulous but effective.
- Daddy Issues: The root of Donna's difficulty getting close to others and her fear of people abandoning her.
- Everyone Has Standards: Downplayed. Al is disgusted by the mere suggestion that he would knowingly sleep with a superior's wife "unless it was Bartlett's wife." As he says, that is a woman worth getting fired over. This also leads to a tangent where he's critical of Bartlett for forgetting said wife's birthday.
- Foreshadowing: The security guards listening to a radio report about the upcoming Democratic convention hints at the historical twist that comes up later.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Al tells Sam that if he does manage to help Donna, there's a chance she could marry the guy she was seeing before him. Sam certainly doesn't like that idea, but he'd rather take the chance than see her be all alone.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Averted. Al mentions that Sam has six doctorates and that one of them is in medicine.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Back at Project Quantum Leap, Al is dealing with a whole committee.
- Oh, Crap!: According to Al, Ziggy had a fit over Sam inadvertently causing the Watergate break-in to be found out.
- The One That Got Away: Sam crosses paths with his former fiancée, years before he actually met her.
- Parental Abandonment: Donna avoids relationships due to her father leaving when she was a girl.
- The Power of Friendship: The committee will not allow Al to give Sam the information needed to find Donna's father and two accompany him into the chamber. While telling Sam all this, Al tries to covertly pass on the desired information and guide the conversation to that end.
- The Power of Love: Al points out that Sam changing things for Donna doesn't guarantee they'll get together and that could even cause her to marry the guy she was with before him. Sam nonetheless remains confident.
- Public Secret Message: During his talk with Sam, Al wears a sash with the information about Donna's father written in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Sam pieces together some of it, but Ziggy ultimately figures out what's going on.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Al tells Sam he made up the rule about not interfering in personal history and swore everyone on the team to it. Sam doesn't remember that and says he has the power to rescind the rule. Al says he still needs committee approval first.
- Shotgun Wedding: Al mentions that Dr. Bryant and Jamie-Lee went down this path in the original history.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "How can I write 'Colonel Wojohowitz' in hieroglyphics?"
- Teacher/Student Romance: The real Dr. Bryant regularly engages in this kind of behavior.