Wednesday, December 13, 2023

REVIEW: 'Quantum Leap' - Ben Must Contemplate What Life Could Be If He Ever Fails During a Leap in 'Nomad'

NBC's Quantum Leap - Episode 2.08 "Nomad"

When Ben leaps as far as Egypt into an undercover CIA agent caught in a dangerous game of international espionage, he must move quickly to save a woman's life.

"Nomad" was written by Dean Georgaris and directed by Chris Grismer

Love pulls Ben and Hannah together. They have only spent a few days together. Yet they are ready to make those profound proclamations. It's plainly obvious for Addison as well. She receives that clarity by watching them interact. They can't hide from one another. Sure, Hannah has spent six years walking up to strangers wondering if they are Ben after he's leapt into their bodies. She is finally correct. Ben has found her for the third time. No one is willing to say this is their final interaction either. Time is precious. They may not have much of it together. However, they are drawn to each other and what they aim to do in the world. Time moves linearly for Hannah. Ben is constantly moving around. He saves lives. He could still do that even if he fails in the mission and gets stuck someone forever. That would provide certainty. That may even be a result everyone could accept. The team spent years in ambiguity. They refuse to give up again. Ben doesn't have to make that sacrifice yet either.

In Cairo, Ben is tasked with a spy mission. He's thrilled to get to live out his James Bond fantasy in a visceral way. Every leap has provided that quality to a certain extent. It's much more explicit in this case. Ben's cover identity is a CIA agent. He has been tasked with making contact with a potential asset who can dramatically reshape intelligence of Eastern European agents. Layla reached out to him believing he was a trustworthy individual who could actually deliver what she wanted. She did all her research into who this CIA agent was during his work in London. Instead, Ben was sent to her. He presents as even more upstanding and honorable. Hannah speaks to his character. He refuses to leave Layla behind. He will always find a way to make a dramatic difference in people's lives. He has already transformed Hannah's for the better. She is forever grateful for that. She's also relieved by how open he has now become. He trusts her completely.

It's dangerous for Ben to involve Hannah in the mission. The previous time that happened she was destined to get hit in the crossfire. He trusted her because they had already met. He knew that couldn't be a coincidence. No one had any answers for why it happened. He was simply glad it did. The mission ended with a kiss. While Hannah can't recognize Ben as he doesn't present with the same face, she senses his essence. She sees him for who he truly is no matter what his appearance is. Sure, that opens questions into consent given how frequently Ben and Hannah now kiss. The body Ben is in has no control over the actions he partakes in. The universe says it all happens for a reason. It's to correct the mistakes of the past. People who should live are instead killed too soon. Ben recognizes their humanity. He trusts in their skills. Lives are changed. More possibilities arise. Injuries are left behind. Ben doesn't always have to deal with the consequences. The mission carries plenty of those for him because of the high-stakes nature of the puzzle. In the past, he was always on the path to something bigger. Now, that is seemingly Hannah. She presents as his new purpose waiting for him whenever the mission requires their paths to meet.

For a moment, it seems like Ben has failed. He didn't get Layla out of Egypt in time. Her cover was blown. He was running for his life. Barnes accepted that Layla was killed. It would have been helpful to get all the information she had. It didn't require taking any additional risks to make that happen. Ben fears the worst. He has a moment where he lets out his frustration on Barnes. He attacks him for staying out of the field. That has removed him from protecting the lives of people who matter. Layla risked everyone to expose a mole working within the embassy. Barnes was grateful for that. It meant their missions would no longer be compromised. Layla was frustrated with how Ben improvised during the meeting. Plans changed. That took on additional risks. Everyone needed to be sure the information was real. They couldn't risk more lives only to be deceived. Ben has to remind everyone that it's worth trusting people from time to time. That's deadly in this particular line of work. It takes true passion to see it through to the end. Ben has an ally in Hannah who is ready to do whatever it takes to help the mission. She does so despite that meaning Ben will leap away to somewhere else in time. That makes her noble as well.

Elsewhere, Addison discovers that Tom is preparing to propose. He's called away for classified meetings in Washington, D.C. The time they spend together is fleeting sometimes as well. They are both committed to the work. They appreciate the time they have together when they can. Addison also has doubts about her happiness. She wants that for herself. She wants it for Ben too. Magic warns her to stop living in a possible future. It's better to live in the moment and embrace what truly is. Addison sees how passionate and connected Ben and Hannah have quickly become. Things changed between her and Tom after Ben returned. Addison and Ben still can't be together. They are at peace with her once again serving as his hologram. They are willing to navigate what being friends means. Ben needs Addison by his side to succeed on these missions. Magic, Ian, Jenn and Tom are valuable members of the team too. Addison is simply the most trusted figure in this particular role. That's true despite the personal relationship and its many turmoils. Addison expects a marriage proposal. Instead, she's gifted an opportunity to potentially bring Ben home. Tom wasn't willing to play into that premise initially. But now, he offers that possibility. It's a tantalizing ending because it's unexpected. It's familiar terrain though. That's difficult for storytelling purposes especially after the show has grown more invested in what Ben and Hannah can become.