Home TV ‘Quantum Leap’ Ties Up Loose Ends in its Two-Part Season 2 Finale

‘Quantum Leap’ Ties Up Loose Ends in its Two-Part Season 2 Finale

Episodes 212, "As the World Burns, and 213, "Against Time," wrap up season arcs and mysteries. Will Ben finally come home?

Image: NBC

I’ll confess, I hadn’t been paying enough attention to realize that Season 2 of Quantum Leap would only be 13 episodes long, but started having suspicions after Episode 211. With the big Gideon Rydge reveal, things were starting to feel finale-ish. So when Episodes 212 and 213 dropped and I realized they were a two-parter to wrap up the season, I was like “Oh, no wonder!”

By now y’all know that I absolutely loathe the Hannah storyline for various reasons, one of which being that Ben ditching Addison and falling in love with her felt way too rushed. Now, I realize that this was inevitable due to the the short season and the writers’ grand plan. To their credit, they actually had one. Did it work out in the end? I have mixed feelings.

Image: NBC

Something about Season 2 of Quantum Leap felt oddly familiar, and I finally realized what it was: It reminds me of Heroes Season 2 back in the day. A truncated second season, impacted by a writers strike, given the unenviable task of following up on an excellent first season. And one where the writers seemed weirdly fixated on a romance that no one asked for.

After mostly giving us a break from Hannah in Episode 211, Episode 212, “As the World Burns” thrusts her back onto center stage. Ostensibly, Ben’s leap this time, into a veteran firefighter in Baltimore, is about saving a bunch of construction workers from a burning high rise. But in reality it is all about that Hannah. AGAIN. Because naturally, she and her son live in said high rise. Her husband has passed away despite Ben’s effort to save him via future message, leaving 11-year-old Jeffrey very angry and rather insufferable. As in, flames are literally engulfing the building around him, and he gets extremely upset when Ben and Hannah won’t let him go back to the apartment for his dad’s things. What a brat.

Image: NBC

Back home at HQ, Ian is feverishly trying to solve the mystery equation that could bring Ben back home, while Gideon is throwing his weight around. How Gideon has so much power is glossed over. They finally clarify that he’s a Silicon Valley billionaire who has pretty much the whole government in his pocket. Okay, that totally explains why he’s later able to command a bunch of armed soldiers. The writers seem determined to wave off the logistics behind that with a huge “whatever”, so I guess I won’t dwell on it either.

With Gideon boxing them out of Quantum Leap HQ, the team turns to an old ally: Janis Calavicci. After all, she has her own imaging chamber, plus her dad’s retro Quantum Leap tech. The nostalgia plug was nice, though also a reminder of everything the new show retcons without explanation (WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE WAITING ROOM???). 

At this point, most savvy viewers have probably figured out that Hannah is the reason behind the magic equation. How is it possible for her to have figured that out, or even think about figuring it out, when Quantum Leap doesn’t exist yet for her? Don’t worry about it.

Most savvy viewers will probably also take one look at bratty Jeffrey and realize he’ll grow up to be the even brattier Gideon. At this point, I was glad that the season was short, and our suspicions are confirmed right away when the next episode starts to play, rather than pretending to leave us on edge for a week or more.
Image: NBC
Which brings us to Episode 213, “Against Time,” which doesn’t even pretend to care about the leap. I mean, there are season arcs to be wrapped up! This time, Ben is a young race car driver whose father, also a driver, is destined to have a heart attack and die. And he’s here to stop that from happening. But he is also conveniently located only 20 minutes away from Hannah’s current residence. Hannah isn’t home, but Jeffrey is (did they intentionally name him basically the same thing as “Joffrey”?).


By now, Gideon has totally taken over Quantum Leap HQ and steps into the imaging chamber to tell Ben about the 50-year-old grudge powering his takeover of the program. Ben’s letter to Hannah, warning her of her husband’s heart condition and signed with “all my love,” was discovered by said husband and caused him to storm out. He drove into bad weather and died in a crash. So Jeffrey, having overheard Hannah try to explain the time traveler thing and witnessed some of Hannah’s encounters with Ben, blames Ben for his dad’s death. He built his fortune out of stock tips that Ben offhandedly rattled off hoping to help Hannah materially and has wormed his way into Quantum Leap so he can change history for his own benefit. The magic equation is actually a swap code — it won’t bring Ben home, but it’ll allow him to trade places with someone. And Gideon intends to be that someone. DUN DUN DUN.

Image: NBC

Team Quantum Leap, meanwhile, has figured out that if Ben in the past can impact Jeffrey, Gideon Rydge (an identity Jeffrey took on to keep time travelers from figuring out his connection to Hannah) will effectively never exist, and a Butterfly Effect will occur, changing the present. Their initial plan is to get Ben to destroy Jeffrey’s science project, which in the original timeline got a lot of business attention and kicked off his career. But shattering a child’s hard work and confidence doesn’t feel very Quantum Leap, so naturally Ben tries a different route. He brings Jeffrey along on his attempt to save the race car driver.

Back home, the stakes are upped when Jenn breaks into HQ to stop Gideon from entering the accelerator, and there’s a long, dramatic moment where Gideon threatens to have her shot if she doesn’t stop uploading the program that will lock him out of the accelerator. Of course she refuses, and of course they shoot. (Why don’t they just shoot her tablet? Or incapacitate her and snatch the tablet from her hand? Because we need drama!). So now Jenn is dead in this timeline, and we’d better change it!

This being Quantum Leap, Ben successfully shows Jeffrey the light when the two work together to save the race car driver (Jeffrey helps Ben build a defibrillator using a car battery). That one moment of do-gooder-ness is the Butterfly Effect needed… now, Jeffrey no longer grows up to be evil. Addison steps out of the imaging chamber and learns that the present has changed; she still remembers the old timeline because of said chamber, but no one else does. Jenn is very much alive. Gideon Rydge doesn’t exist; Jeffrey Nally grew up to become one of Quantum Leap’s biggest supporters.

As for Hannah? Well, she and Ben get one last nice moment together before he ostensibly leaps out of her life for good. While I’m glad that story line is wrapped up, and that her widowhood didn’t make her conveniently single for Ben to romance again, the whole thing felt clumsily executed. In the end, she was just a vessel to birth the season’s Big Bad and come up with the magic Bring Ben Home equation. A plot device, never really a character.

Image: NBC

But hey, at least this means Ben and Addison can get back together at last! Now that Tom is out of the picture (and thank goodness there was no villain turn for him, which means I don’t have to throw the whole season in the trash), Addison can once again explore her feelings for Ben. Overall, I didn’t mind the direction their relationship took this season, at least on Addison’s end (Her falling for a new guy years after Ben apparently vanished for good makes total sense. Ben falling for a new girl, like, a week after she broke the news was ick.).

Since Hannah’s magic equation will swap Ben for a new leaper rather than bring him back directly, they need a new volunteer. Of course, it’s Addison. She was supposed to leap originally, after all. Then they say something vague about “home” not being a place, but a person. I think we all know where this is going…

Addison steps into the accelerator and ends up in a World War 2-ish setting. But Ben doesn’t emerge — he’s there too. Because home is a person, get it? Aww, they get to leap together now!

The show hasn’t yet been officially renewed for Season 3, and the show runners have indicated that they have plans for future episodes, but if this is the end for this incarnation of Quantum Leap, at least it’s a happy one.

Was it all a bit Accelerator Ex Machina? Definitely. Did the writers wave off questions of logic (and bodily consent) in order to force their plot plans forward? For sure. But at least in the end, they set things right.

2-Part Finale Rating: 4 / 5 stars. Despite all the too-convenient plot moments, both episodes were quite enjoyable to watch.

Season Rating: 3 / 5 stars. Mostly entertaining when it wasn’t being obnoxious. And they pulled everything together at the end!

No comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Exit mobile version