Wednesday, February 21, 2024

REVIEW: 'Quantum Leap' - The Team Works to Alter Their Own History in the Name of Rescuing Ben in 'Against Time'

NBC's Quantum Leap - Episode 2.13 "Against Time"

Ben finds himself behind the wheel of a speeding stock car in 1976, but a terrifying threat from the future could sabotage the leap. Racing against the clock, Ben, Addison and the team must risk everything to complete the mission and save Quantum Leap itself.

"Against Time" was written by Drew Lindo and directed by Chris Grismer

For fifty years, Gideon has seethed with rage under the belief Ben killed his father. At the time, it was nonsensical to believe a time-traveler warned his mother about his pending death. Instead, it was easier to believe she was cheating on their family. And then, he experienced it himself. Gideon is Hannah's son, Jeffrey. She was completely devoted to him. She offered complete compassion and love. Jeffrey's brilliant mind came to understand the presence Ben had on his family. He was angry that Ben did nothing to prevent his father's death. Quantum Leap is meant to save lives. That has been central to Ben's heroism. And yet, the accelerator determines whose lives are worth saving. When Ben strays from that mission, time has a way of ensuring the same outcome still occurs. Josh's death was inevitable. After Ben's intervention, it was brought about by a car accident after Josh stormed out of the house in rage over Hannah's secret. Ben would find Hannah no matter where she was. Yet that always invited danger. He brings hope too. That's the message he delivers to Jeffrey to ensure the future isn't as dire as it currently is.

When Jeffrey steps into the imaging chamber for the first time, he demeans Ben as not being very good at the job. He isn't worthy of this role. Someone better should become the leaper. Jeffrey has complete trust in his mother's brilliance. Her algorithm will allow someone to trade places with Ben. That means Jeffrey can exert his influence on the timeline instead of Ben. He will shape the past in his own image. His life was informed by Quantum Leap. Now, he looks to take complete control over the project. The people in charge are wasting its potential. They aren't doing enough good with the creation of time travel. He wants to dramatically alter events no matter what effects that will have downstream. It's the appropriate response. But Jeffrey is also a vindictive and narcissistic billionaire. He only cares about how Quantum Leap can benefit him. He was tipped off to good stock purchases by Ben. Jeffrey was closely watching his mother's behavior. He learned so much from her. He saw what was possible in the world. Now, he takes ahold of it himself.

The team can't let that happen. They hope to intervene before it's too late. They do so even with the knowledge that this will personally change their lives. In success, they won't remember the sacrifices they made. Jenn dies while trying to delay Jeffrey's mission. She initiates a lockdown of the accelerator that is only possible onsite. She gains access to the facility through Tom's key card. He was the only member of the team who hadn't yet given it back. The team is her family. They have shown their devotion to this project. It has offered redemption. Jenn didn't know if she should be handed control of the project. Magic trusted her completely. She shares that loyalty to the rest of the team. In the end, only Ben and Addison remember that she was killed. It's an action the rest of the team doesn't recall. It highlights the deep connections amongst them. It proves how they will sacrifice everything in the name of good. That's what this mission is. Quantum Leap is changing lives for the better. It prevents families from enduring painful tragedies. It didn't save James. However, another father is spared from certain death thanks to Ben and Jeffrey's actions.

Ben must choose the best path to influence Jeffrey's past. Ziggy predicts a sizable influence if Ben simply destroys the computer Jeffrey is building. That will set back his research and derail his confidence. That does nothing to address the underlying issues. In fact, it may only damage Quantum Leap because it could delay the creation and implementation of the quantum processing chip Ian needed to find Ben. That's what started this dynamic with Jeffrey. He was brought in as the only person who could make this technology work. Even then, it wasn't a perfect solution. It restored the mission as it was. The team was still in the dark about how to bring Ben home. The connections that bind the world together have a plan. That's why the accelerator always paired Ben with Hannah. Her knowledge provided hope. In return, her son was compromised. Ben doesn't want to set him on that path of pain and resentment. He can make a difference right now. Jeffrey can become a benevolent billionaire. Sure, one can argue just how feasible that actually is. It's a perfect thought that provides a concise conclusion to the story. Ben shows Jeffrey what it means to change lives for good. One simple action is enough to cast a profound effect on a family who will never forget that sacrifice.

The timeline changes. The threat from Jeffrey is neutralized. It's time to bring Ben home. Addison steps up as the leaper she was always meant to be. She was suppose to step into the chamber and begin this journey with Ben as her hologram. Ben has done his service. It's time for him to land home amongst his friends once more. Hannah loves him. However, she knows he's a man out of place in time. He deserves to be restored to his original placement. Everyone believed her algorithm was perfect. And yet, it doesn't work as intended. Ian knew some complications could arise. It's untested until it's actually implemented. Instead of taking Ben's place, Addison begins to leap alongside him. That allows them to physically interact with one another once more. It doesn't stop this adventure. The mission continues. The two of them are thrown into a chaotic scene. They find each other immediately. After being pulled apart for two seasons, the forces of the universe unite them once more. That's a happy celebration. It's not the perfect ending. It's not what they wanted. They aren't lost to time though. Their friends have a lock on their location. The project continues. Those who were lost have found their way even when it has pulled them in surprising and challenging directions.