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Recap / Quantum Leap S 4 E 22 A Leap For Lisa

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Quantum Leap
Season 4, Episode 22:

A Leap for Lisa

Al: Ain’t that a kick in the butt? You leaped into me as a kid.

Written by Donald P. Bellisario

Directed by James Whitmore Jr.

Airdate: May 20, 1992.

June 25, 1957

Sam leaps into Al as a young Navy pilot and accidentally puts his friend’s very existence in jeopardy when the younger Al is suspected of the murder of a superior officer’s wife.



  • Accident, Not Murder: Riker's wife wasn't raped, nor murdered. What was going on between her and Chip on the beach was completely consensual, and she had died because, as she was getting up, she slipped and fell, smashing her head on a rock.
  • Cliffhanger: After the leap, Sam finds himself as none other than Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Had Al not wasted time talking to his younger self, he could've told Sam what he needed to do.
  • Courtroom Episode: Unlike other instances in the series, Sam is not arguing the case, but is the one on trial.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Even after saving Lisa’s life, the younger Al did not end up with her. note 
  • Embarrassing Nickname: As a young man, Al’s wingmen called him “Bingo”.
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  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: A positive example: when explaining to Al how his plan to leap Bingo into himself prior to Marci's death should be able to fix the timeline, Sam abruptly pauses... and goes and checks outside his room. The officer that was supposed to keep watch on him is now missing.
  • Fridge Horror: In the new timeline created when Sam hit the quantum reset button, Marci Riker was never killed. Unfortunately, she’s still a self-destructive alcoholic married to a violent and abusive sociopath. One wonders how long she will stay alive.
  • From Bad to Worse: Due to Sam’s initial failure to save Lisa (and preventing her from providing Al’s alibi), Al ends up on trial.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Despite the danger it puts him in, Al is somewhat glad that Sam bungled the alibi by telling Lisa to keep quiet. This way, he says, there won't be any gossiping and snickering over Lisa's grave.
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    • As Dobbs observes after the below Wham Line, Riker is completely willing to destroy his own credibility and career to make his wife's murderer pay.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: In a particularly dark example, Riker thinks his wife deserved to be raped for sleeping around, but he wants the prime suspect roasted for murdering her.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As Chip finishes recounting what happened between him and Riker's wife, and the flashback being shown reveals she died by hitting her head on a rock on the beach, he mentions how it was like it came out of a black-and-white film... when the flashback itself was in black-and-white.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: For completely understandable reasons, Al had no idea that he was briefly replaced by a different observer due to having been killed in the gas chamber.
  • Naked First Impression: When Sam first sees Lisa, she is naked on a beach (although this turns out to be a dream Al had that Sam leaped into).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sam talking Lisa out of being his alibi leaves all suspicion of wrongdoing on the younger Al. Al himself also admits to some fault here, saying he should've gotten to Sam sooner instead of wasting time talking to his younger self in the waiting room.
  • Open Secret: Everyone on the base seems to know the truth about Al and Lisa’s affair. Marci Riker’s affairs with the men in her husband’s unit is also common knowledge.
  • Reset Button: After painting themselves into a corner, Sam and Al use time travel to hit the reset button.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Sam recognizes that Edward has replaced Al. He struggles to keep reminding himself of Al so that he doesn't forget the original history.
  • Skinny Dipping: The episode opens with Sam waking up on a beach confused. Then to his shock, Lisa Sherman emerges from the ocean naked and makes out with him. It turns out to be an Erotic Dream.
  • Snap Back: When circumstances with the leap ultimately result in the timeline changing to the extent that Al is sentenced to death, it takes Sam discovering a cigar in Al's car for the original timeline to reassert itself, with Al none the wiser.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Sam's plan of having Bingo leap into himself prior to the death of Riker's wife worked better than anyone expected; not only did they wind up saving her, but as a result, Lisa never got into that fatal car crash. And Sam's reward for all of this once he leaps out? He leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • Wham Line:
    • Cdr. Riker delivers a powerful one on the witness stand.
      Cdr. Dobbs: You watched a man rape your wife for a minute or two, and didn't even yell “Stop”?
      Cdr. Riker: No, sir.
      Cdr. Dobbs: For God's sake, Commander, why not?
      Cdr. Riker: Because she deserved it.
    • After Sam manages to bring Al's chances of being found guilty down to 20%, he bemusedly remarks that he did so by finding one of Al's cigars in his car.
      Al: That's not my cigar. I didn't start smoking cigars until I went to Vietnam. ...that's gotta be Chip's.
    • "Lee? Look! Smile!"
  • Wham Shot:
    • When the probability of Al’s execution reaches 100%, Sam turns around to see someone else in Al’s place, holding the handlink.
    • The Cliffhanger leap out scene. Sam finds himself in a backyard, holding a rifle and newspaper. And if it wasn't clear who Sam had leapt into, he suddenly hears a woman telling him to smile for a picture. And the picture in question?
  • You Look Familiar: Charles Rocket (Commander Riker) previously appeared as Michael Blake in Season 3’s A Little Miracle.

Young Al: You're gonna put me into a nuclear accelerator chamber and send my body back into time?
Al: Right.
Young Al: Now, even if I believed you, would you do this if you were me?
Al: I am you.

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