Tuesday, February 13, 2024

REVIEW: 'Quantum Leap' - Ben Reignites the Passion of a Journalist While Ian Faces Gideon's Wrath in 'The Outsider'

NBC's Quantum Leap - Episode 2.11 "The Outsider"

An anonymous source sends Ben and an experienced local Denver TV journalist on the trail of a dangerous conspiracy as they pursue the scoop of a lifetime in the early '80s. There's trouble at HQ when Ian's past decisions come back to haunt the team.

"The Outsider" was directed by Deborah Pratt with story by Rammy Park and teleplay by Rammy Park & Margarita Matthews

Ben's message through time worked. He warned Hannah about her husband Josh's death due to a heart defect. And yet, Josh still died. Instead, he was killed in a car accident. Ben's purpose through leaping is to save lives. He has helped guide countless people towards their true purposes. Several members of the team believe they have lost that themselves. They need saving too. They have to remember what's important and why they were inspired to do this work. It's more than simply fighting to get Ben home. That's not the reason they joined the project in the first place. They want to make a difference. The mission carries more significance with Hannah because Ben loves her. He has met her on several occasions in her life. A leap to the early 1980s doesn't provide another interaction. Ben still receives the news. His gambit worked. It still wasn't enough. Hannah was seemingly destined to lose her husband tragically. Ben couldn't prevent that outcome. He desperately wanted to. Meanwhile, his life continues to be threatened. He can't even check in to see how she's doing. Instead, her fate remains unknown. That's only one piece of this story. It's crucial but it's not the entirety of the narrative.

Ben is tasked with helping famed journalist Connie Davis ignite her passion for the profession once more. A tragedy happened in New York that destroyed her career. A source died by suicide because she pushed him too hard. He wasn't ready to come forward with the details of a story she desperately needed to report. And now, covering the largest pumpkin in Colorado is the most exciting story she gets to do. It's safe. It isn't groundbreaking. It provides comfort. It's not what she is meant to be doing. She shouldn't settle. Right now, her life is dictated by fear. She doesn't want to lose anyone on this job again. She has to be willing to walk away. It's important to know when that is the necessary response. She encourages Ben and Addison to do the work. They can't rely on Ziggy to provide all the information they need. They have to dig for the truth. They put the pieces together. Even then, it takes convincing for others to believe. That's the delicate touch this job requires. Ben is responsible for saving thousands of lives. It's urgent. People have to respond accordingly. In this moment, it's personal. That's the way Connie connects with the people already impacted by the decision of a domineering company.

The co-founder of the agricultural business reaches out to clear his conscience. He hates having signed a memo approving the release of a weed killer known to cause cancer. Other executives determined it would cost less to settle the many cases later then pull the product from launch now. It's so completely cynical. That's the way these businesses operate. It's all about the bottom line. Robbie's brother, Chet, puts on a show to convey appreciation for farmers in the community. In reality, he's nothing more than a greedy CEO who threatens anyone who stands in his way. He outsources that task as well. He hires others to threaten and intimidate those who jeopardize his financial prospects with the truth. He's caught in a lie. He's desensitized to the potential harm. He doesn't recognize humanity in others. He just sees a product that can do a lot of business for his company. Ben and Connie are successful in obtaining the damning memo. They don't wait to use it either. The story is all about knowing the proper moment to strike. Connie is a professional. This is what she was meant to be doing. Encouraging her to stay with the story was Ben's purpose. He completes that job here.

Meanwhile, Ben and Addison are still capable of learning new things about each other. Addison once thought about a career in journalism. She ultimately decided to change the world elsewhere. However, the core instincts still remain. This long ago dream now informs the present. She also tells Ben about her recent relationship developments with Tom. It's a lot that needs to be recapped. They got engaged. And then, Addison asked for space. That leads to a full on breakup. Tom rationalizes it as what was always suppose to happen. That became true the moment Addison returned to Quantum Leap. He had access to the program. He was never kept in the dark about the emotional nature of this job. He understood what Addison was going through. He was supportive throughout. His presence was only needed for a short time in her life. He provided comfort when Addison thought Ben was dead. She was adrift when she was no longer Ben's hologram. But now, she's confident in her purpose. This is who she is meant to be. It just no longer includes Tom. She doesn't want to believe Ben is the reason why she is holding herself back. It absolutely has a role. She also celebrates it as her decision. She is no longer reacting to a situation. She is living for herself.

And finally, Magic had nothing to do with the theft of Gideon's quantum processing chip. Ian saw it as the only solution to rescue Ben. They failed to give up on their friend. Even when the project ended, they kept working. Jenn was involved too. Magic and Addison were kept out of the conversation. Gideon is willing to forget all of it so long as someone on the team is fired. That doesn't immediately present as the worst damage he could inflict on the project. It's incredibly personal. Every member of the team is essential. They have clearly defined roles. They thrive in this environment. None of them can easily be replaced. Ian is needed to break the code that may finally bring Ben home. Magic ultimately decides to take full responsibility. He views the team as a family. They all supported him when he was struggling. He has guided them through many difficult times too. He was personally inspired to join Quantum Leap. He was touched by Sam Beckett's life. He has to be willing to walk away from all of this now. It's not fair. The team backs him into a corner. The work must continue. He can't allow the project to end again. It's just an action that doesn't immediately come across with much gravitas. It's personal because the show has developed these characters to make them feel as if they can't be replaced. As a result, it's hard to see Magic walking away for good given all that he has endured. That would simply invite the wrath of Gideon who was teased as more dangerous than his current actions ultimately produced.