Quantum Leap – Sea Bride [2.21]

Sam leaps into Philip Dumont, a man who had been missing for years when lost at sea, who returned only to find that his ex-wife was about to marry someone else.  Together with her on a cruise, he must convince his wife that he is still in love with her and prevent her from marrying a notorious gangster.  At the same time, he must save his own life from the gangster’s wrath.

Written by Deborah Pratt. Directed by Joe Napolitano

Previous Episode: Maybe BabyNext Episode:  M.I.A.

For much of its run-time, Sea Bride is more of a straight-up comical than most of the episodes of Quantum Leap that we’ve had.  The action is entirely on the cruise ship Queen Mary, and is full of enough slapstick, misadventures, and romantic shenanigans to make it feel a bit like a screwball comedy from the 1940’s (especially in the early scenes, when he is back to back kissed and then punched by the same person).  There’s still action and drama, of course, but it never gets heavy or overly sentimental.  I enjoyed the approach–it was nice to just kick back and smile through the story.

There is also a bit of a half-hearted effort at some social commentary, with Al complaining about the garbage that the ships dump into the ocean.  It’s a legitimate thing to talk about, and it’s justified by the context, but it does sort of feel a bit forced in there.  Sam even says as much, sympathizing with Al but having more pressing matters to be concerned about, including being dumped at sea along with the trash.  Actually, Sam’s desperation to survive that fate becomes on the episode’s highlights.  It’s sort of classic Quantum Leap when Sam is in a perilous situation that Al has no practical way of helping with.  The writing makes good use of the set-up and even finds a way for Al to help, though he cannot physically intervene.

The episode’s guest cast is all good.  It was interesting to John Hertzler, who is better known to be as J.G. Hertzler of Star Trek fame.  And I liked both James Harper as the gangster and Beverly Leech as Catherine, the bride-to-be.  I also enjoyed Juliet Sorci as Catherine’s precocious younger sister, Jennifer. Her character is exactly the sort that would often be tremendously annoying to a story, but both the writing and performance are charming and natural enough to make it an asset rather than a drawback.  ‘

Overall, the episode strikes a good tone, dealing with all sorts of material which might be easy to wince at, but doing it in a way that make the episode into light, easy-viewing–nothing too deep but completely satisfying.

Cast Notes:
• Beverly Leech plays Catherine Farrington.  She is known to me as Sgt. Kate Monday on Mathnet, a segment from the educational program Square One.  She also played Sheridan’s sister in an episode of Babylon 5, and appeared in an episode of Star Trek Voyager.

• John Hertzler (Weathers Farrington) is also known as J.G. Hertzler, who is well known in the Star Trek franchise, mostly Deep Space Nine, mostly as the Klingon Martok.

Who and Where is Dr. Sam Beckett?
Sam is Philip Dumont on the Queen Mary, from June 3-4, 1954.  They start in New York Harbor (the Statue of Liberty is visible) and head into the Atlantic Ocean.

What does Sam have to do?
Sam has to prevent Catherine Farrington from marrying gangster Vincent Loggia, and convince her to re-marry her former husband Philip Dumont instead.  Sam also has to prevent Dumont from being killed by Loggia in the process.

What do we learn about Sam Beckett?
Sam can dance the tango.

What do we know about Al?
Al is incensed at the water pollution that the Queen Mary is taking part in (dumping trash into the ocean).  He talks about falling in love once, and marrying the one that he loved, but he brushed off the question of what happened to her after that.

What about the experiment?
Nothing new here.

God or Time or Something
Not applicable.

“Oh Boy”
The catchphrase is mentioned twice–once at the start when Sam arrives, and once at the end when he realizes he’s wearing women’s clothing, but has the face of a man.

Sam’s Complicated Love Life
Sam is the ex-husband of Catherine Farrington, and must spend the episode trying to convince her to remarry his host, Philip.

The Many Loves of Al Calavicci
Al leers after Catherine, but speaks of a woman that he once loved truly, but lost, for some reason.

Other Observations
• Sam pushing the woman into the closest, and then forgetting she is there, is pretty funny.  So is him getting punched by Catherine’s father in the middle of all that.

• Also funny is Jennifer dressed up as a spy.

• Al is very cagey about talking about his one true love.  I know this will become relevant soon.

• I like it that though Weather, Catherine’s father, is obviously deeply flawed, he still loves her.

• Sam’s Tango is pretty funny.

• Margaret Thatcher is paged at one point.  If its the famous Margaret Thatcher, she’s 33 years old at this point and not yet an elected politician.

• I like Sam’s exchange with Vincent.  Vincent says, “I’m going to marry Catherine tomorrow, and I don’t what you getting her all confused with a lot of stuff from the past.”  Sam replies to that, “I can appreciate that.  And I’m sure you can appreciate that I’m just want to make sure that she’s not confused about the present.

• Also, there’s a neat Godfather reference in there with Sam talking about an offer you can’t refuse.

• Cool fight scene at the end, with Sam and Weather teaming up to beat up the bad guys.

• The end credits feature some quite long recaps of various scenes from the episode, including the Tango.

Sam Leaps To

Favorite Dialogue
There’s a cute line from the band leader Sam speaks to:

I don’t speak French.  I just speak with a French accent.

The Best Moment
I think I liked best the scene where Sam is trapped with the garbage, trying to survive.  Al is trying to help, but mostly can just cheerlead.  But he is able to help in the end.  The sequence dragged on just long enough–I was feeling tense but not bored.

Previous Episode: Maybe BabyNext Episode:  M.I.A.



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