Tuesday, February 6, 2024

REVIEW: 'Quantum Leap' - Ben's Mission Requires a Family to Lean on Each Other and Share Their Secrets in 'The Family Treasure'

NBC's Quantum Leap - Episode 2.10 "The Family Treasure"

A cursed treasure hunt draws Ben to Mexico in 1953, putting him between two estranged siblings struggling with their late father's legacy. As they navigate a series of lethal obstacles, Ben finds the real challenge lies in repairing this broken family's bond.

"The Family Treasure" was written by Shakina and directed by Jude Weng

No one on the Quantum Leap team has any control over when the leaps happen. It can't be predicted. It only occurs once the mission is complete. Ben understands the confines of the job. However, he wanted more too. He needed to warn Hannah about Josh's future death. He wanted to prevent that tragedy. He saves countless lives through his adventures. And yet, he can't prevent heartbreak for the woman he loves. He leapt after Addison gave him that update. She didn't know that was going to happen. She isn't to blame. Ben is eventually given the time to process the news and put a plan into motion to warn Hannah. Sure, it requires people waiting years before mailing a letter. That's the only way to deliver the message. He no longer abides by the rules of time. He knows how time functions for others. That linear reality can help deliver his point. He is optimistic that it works. He doesn't want others to question it. It simply needs it to happen. He won't know if it's successful until he runs into Hannah again. The team has no clarity on her life. That reunion will happen at some point. Only time will tell if Ben's efforts were successful.

Instead, Ben has to focus on the next mission. He's pulled to a time and location where Hannah isn't. He's dropped into a family in mourning following the death of their father. The estranged siblings have different feelings about his life of adventure. It always came at the expense of taking care of them. He wasn't a good father. He has the power to give them a gift in death that he could never express while he was alive. The siblings speculate on why he could never support them previously. He makes profound realizations. He sets his family up for success. The purpose of the mission is more than finding a long hidden treasure. It's about mending the bonds of this family. Ben leaps into the body of the youngest sister who doesn't have enough of a life or struggle to play a role in the tension. Instead, the dysfunction comes from the older siblings who see the world differently. That requires a delicate touch from Ben. However, he too is excited by the prospect of a treasure hunt. He believes in the power of adventure. That's what Quantum Leap is all about. That's not what's asked of him though. Instead, he must extend empathy to who Dean and Sarah truly are.

Dean is trans masculine. Ben offers clarity on what it means to be non-binary and use they/them pronouns. It showcases how these forms of identity didn't just enter the world in recent years. People have felt this way about themselves for a long time. They didn't always have the words to explain it. They weren't always accepted by the people they love. This family grows stronger because they share their truths. They can no longer keep hiding parts of themselves. Sure, Jenn notes that it's potentially dangerous how Dean uses a binder. However, that's the best option available at this time. It's not the perfect solution for how they view themselves. It helps them feel more whole. At first, Sarah worries her sibling is injured. A cave just collapsed on them after all. The bandages render treatment in a different way. They provide gender-affirming care. Ian is proud of Ben for helping this family understand these concepts. They aren't easy to grasp or immediately accept. Because Ben offers his support, it's easy for that to be the overwhelming sentiment. It provides Sarah with the courage to leave her husband too. She knew it was the right decision. She just needed the strength to do so. That only comes from being able to lean on family.

Plus, the mission in Mexico is full of adventure. The prized treasure was actually protected by a trap. Ben's quick thinking allows the family to survive. He isn't the only one who needs to be brave. The trio all step up to emerge victorious in the end. They understand what their father saw in the pursuit. They also see the greater importance of being there for each other. They may have their differences. They remain family. That bond can't be broken. The insight also passes a lesson onto Addison. An episode after getting engaged, she tells Tom that she needs time and space to figure out what exactly she wants. She jumped into the engagement believing it was the way to embrace the future. She couldn't spend her life waiting for something to happen. She underestimated how emotional it would be returning to the project. Ben still knows her so well. Tom's solution may not bring Ben home anytime soon. In fact, it seems the team has a much more immediate problem. However, it still leads Addison to make this realization. She continues to settle. She makes decisions based on what she believes she should do. She no longer trusts herself. She is gaining that confidence again because of Ben. It's still devastating to Tom even though he know how reluctant and closed off she has been because of the job.

And finally, Rachel's boss makes his grand debut. He has often been mentioned as this looming presence over what Ian did to find Ben. Gideon was the only person capable of building the quantum processing chip for the task. He then started transferring data from every single leap. He had complete control over the project for a little while. Ian and Rachel locked him out of the system. He's back. He's actually in the Quantum Leap headquarters. Ian never came clean to Magic. Instead, they continued trying to handle the situation the best they could. Jenn and Rachel got involved. The consequences may be vast. However, the effectiveness of this moment only carries gravitas because of James Frain's casting. It's a typical role for him. He often plays imposing and menacing figures. As a result, the audience immediately believes that's the energy he offers in this moment. So much has been spoken about Gideon. He hasn't been seen until now. As such, the information is inferred instead of the audience understanding it firsthand. That's a problem given that the imbalance still remains between the present day stories and Ben's leaps. The mission is always more compelling. The characters aiding Ben are interesting too. Their stories suffer from being in a more limiting space. This move is made to change that. It was simply delayed until the closing arc of the season instead of letting things be more precarious earlier.