This article contains spoilers for Quantum Leap episode 2.The Quantum Leap revival is telling a story that will only succeed if Scott Bakula returns as Dr. Sam Beckett. Set 30 years after the end of the original series in 1993, the new Quantum Leap finds a new team resurrecting the project. One member of the team, Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee), has entered the Quantum Leap accelerator for an unknown reason that increasingly appears to be tied into the ending of the original series.
As Ben leaps through time, his friends back home have been investigating why he entered the accelerator. Their investigations have led them to Janice Calavicci (Georgina Reilly), the daughter of the original Quantum Leap’s Al, and a temporal map that suggests a pattern to Ben’s leaps through time. All of which appears to set up a return for Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett at some point in the revival’s future. However, Bakula stated that he’s not involved in the new show prior to the 2022 pilot being broadcast. Without Scott Bakula’s Beckett, the story of the new Quantum Leap show will struggle to reach a satisfying conclusion.
The absence of Bakula in the revival may have contributed to Quantum Leap’s 20% ratings dip between episode 1 and 2. If the show continues to struggle in the ratings, it may be canceled before showrunner Martin Gero can convince Bakula to return. That would certainly be a disappointing development for Quantum Leap fans who want to see Sam Beckett again. The lack of Scott Bakula’s character in the revival also makes it a harder sell to a more general audience, as if it’s a revival then surely Beckett should be involved, otherwise it’s just a modern remake. This audience ambivalence and potential cancelation would doom the show to never conclude the story it has set out to tell.
In Quantum Leap season 1, episode 1, it was revealed that Ben Song was working with Janice Calavicci. In a recorded message left for his fiancée Adison (Caitlin Bassett), Ben said that his secret mission was about something bigger than all of them. Quantum Leap episode 2 suggests that Ben’s mission is to save Dr. Sam Beckett, reintroducing Al’s wife Beth (Susan Diol) and revealing that Ben actually hired Janice, rather than the other way round as the team back home originally surmised. Janice’s fascination with her father and Sam’s work at the Quantum Leap project became an obsession, so it would make sense for Ben to seek her out to help him find Sam.
Quite why Ben has been inspired to track down Sam Beckett is currently unclear, but the temporal map he and Janice created is clearly leading him somewhere, and Sam Beckett’s whereabouts are an obvious destination. Given Scott Bakula’s reluctance to return to the role of Sam, it’s possible that Ben’s route may become longer and more winding as Quantum Leap’s writers play for time. Without the former show’s lead, there can be no mission to rescue Sam Beckett and that presents a huge problem for the 2022 revival, one which may prove insurmountable.
Episodes of Quantum Leap release on NBC on Mondays at 10 PM ET. Episodes are available for exclusive streaming on Peacock the next day.
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