Quantum Leap – Dreams [2.8]

Sam leaps into police detective Jack Stone just as he is discovering the dead body of a murdered woman. However, from that moment Sam experiences flashbacks to traumatic events from Stone’s own childhood. He visits a psychiatrist connected to the case in order to pursue his investigation, but also for advice regarding the confusion he is experiencing. The psychiatrist is the actual murderer, though, and Sam is almost killed in the process of working with him to unpack Stone’s memories–but he is able to save himself in the end.

Written by Deborah Pratt. Directed by Anita Addison.

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Comments:
There is something memorable about Dreams, thanks to the intensity of the story and the visual devices of Sam’s distorted flashbacks and nightmares. These surreal fantasy moments are well-visualized and help to bring an undeniably creepy atmosphere to everything that is going on. However, ultimately I found the episode to not be very good, and thus ultimately unsatisfying.

The biggest problem is the story itself. The episode appears to be a mystery thriller, but it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on pretty quickly. As soon as Dr. Mason Crane shows up we are made to feel super suspicious of the guy. The trouble is, even though Crane is creepy and finely performed, he’s not especially interesting–just a sort of Hannibal Lecter-lite–and there’s nothing particularly compelling about the way he “works on” Sam, or hypnotizes him, or whatever is supposed to be going on. And because the trauma being revisited is not even Sam’s–it’s his host’s, Jack Stone–we’re not even really getting the chance to explore our heroes.

So all that’s left is the chills themselves, which are to be fair adequate (and the opening sequence is certainly compelling) but it’s just not very substantial if this is what we are building our entire episode off of. Even Sam figuring out that Crane is the murderer, which is a basic thing for this sort of story and should have been interesting, happens without any cleverness on Sam’s part and without even any real explanation.

In the end, it’s a well directed episode, and well acted by the stalwart Scott Bakula, but ultimately quite hollow, and thus one of the least interesting for me.

Cast Notes:
• Alan Scarfe (Dr. Mason Crane) seems to be one of those actors who is all over science fiction TV, with appearances in Star Trek Voyager, Next Generation, Andromeda, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, The Outer Limits, SeaQuest, Highlander, Seven Days, and Babylon 5…amongst others.

• Noley Thornton (Lea DeCaro) showed up as a child on both Star Trek The Next Generation (in Imaginary Friend as the girl who was plagued by the “imaginary friend”) and Deep Space Nine (in Shadowplay as a young girl who was really part of a village of holograms).

Who and Where is Dr. Sam Beckett?
Sam is police officer Jack Stone in Malibu, California, from February 28 – March 2, 1978.

What does Sam have to do?
Ultimately Sam has to save Jack Stone from being murdered via hypnosis-induced suicide by Dr. Mason Crane. Along the way he also saves Peter Decaro from dying of the same fate.

What do we learn about Sam Beckett?
Nothing, really.

What do we know about Al?
Nothing, really.

What about the experiment?
On this leap, Sam seems to retain more of his host’s psyche than normal. It leaves Sam addled and confused for almost the entire leap. Al says they are having a hard time tracking him because his brain is scrambled. Sam theorizes that it is similar to when Sam and Al each gained a part of each other during their simultaneous leap in The Leap Back (an incident which Al apparently does not remember–presumably, he means the details of it, not the fact that it happened).

“Driven by an unknown force…” (God or Time or Something)
No references this time around.

“Oh Boy”
The catchphrase is heard at the beginning, very someber as Sam discovers the dead body, and then again after the leap at the end, when Sam is told he is present to make rain.

Sam’s Complicated Love Life
As Jack Stone, Sam goes on a date with his partner Pamela, but nothing comes of it.

The Many Loves of Al Calavicci
Nothing this time.

Other Observations
• This is a traumatically sad start to the story, with a murdered mother, an apparently crazy murderous and suicidal father, and two terrified kids.

• There is another reference to project psychiatrist Virbina Beeks.

• Sam is strangely drawn back to the bathroom which is where he is supposed to be murdered? Um, maybe he shouldn’t go there.

• The scene of PJ refusing to talk to Sam is pretty good.

• Cute moment of levity when Al sticks his head out through the door and tells he’s a cop, so jimmy the lock.

• Beethoven’s Adagio movement from his Sonata Pathetique plays in the background in one scene–I used to play that one on the piano.

• Why it takes so long for Sam to actually interrogate Crane is kind of confusing.

• It is briefly suggested that Jack is the murderer, which might have been a more interesting route for the episode to take.

• Why in the world does Al think that Peter Decaro is going to murder Sam in his house? Isn’t he under arrest? Or in under restraint in hospital?

• The scene of Sam regressing under Crane’s influence is in fact pretty good, even though I’m overall not in favor of this episode.

• The leap ends with Sam collapsing after having killed Crane, and leaping out quite unceremoniously–there’s no dialogue between Sam and Al in the sequence at all, just a little look.

Sam Leaps To
A Single Drop of Rain

Favorite Dialogue
There’s no dialogue that I think is genuinely great, but I guess I’ll pick Al’s question of Sam’s methods when he suggests talking to the child PJ again to get more information about the his mother’s murderer…

Yeah, but maybe you’ll push him over the edge. Do you think you have the right to…to take a chance like that with this little kid’s mind?

It’s a good question.

Special thanks, by the way, to this site for the episode transcriptions.

The Best Moment
The opening sequence is probably the most gripping, with Sam confronting Peter (who is acting very strange) and ultimately saving his life.

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