Quantum Leap's Missed Opportunity

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Quantum Leap\'s Missed Opportunity

Several years ago, the final episode of the time-traveling Quantum Leap series aired, taking place in a bar with God as the bartender. While that was an intriguing way to end the series, I believe QL producers missed an opportunity. I believe they would have been better served to have concluded the series with their infamous Oswald episode (and with a slight modification to the way that Oswald episode ended).

In its last moments, QL's Oswald episode is short on details but, in a nutshell, it concludes with the revelation that Sam's adventure has altered the original reality of November 22, 1963. Here's the startling part: the original reality was not the history you and I know. Instead, in this QL episode (which accepts the lone gunman theory) the original reality was that Oswald had inadvertently slain Jackie Kennedy, not JFK. It seems Sam's swiss-cheese memory, a long-running feature in the QL series, was unable to recall this important detail from that original reality. And now, as a result of Sam's intervention, there is a new, altered reality in which Jackie has survived and JFK has been assassinated. This, then, becomes OUR reality (in other words, the history we've known for 37 years is actually an altered reality).

Quite fascinating. In fact, even more fascinating than the QL producers realized, for they never knew the potential lightning in a bottle they really had. The missed the opportunity to use the Oswald episode as the wrap-up for the entire series. A series finale which could have explained the entire series and provided one of the most clever, intriguing and memorable series finales in television history.

With the Oswald episode as the series finale, Quantum Leap could have ended its run with the following revelation:

Originally, JFK survived the attempt on his life in Dallas in 1963, although the First Lady was tragically killed. JFK was re-elected President in 1964 and served two full terms in the White House. While he was President, JFK's deep fascination with science went beyond that of the NASA space projects, and it was his strong commitment to scientific research which eventually made the Quantum Leap project possible by the 1990s, a couple of decades after he left office. With the existence of the Quantum Leap project and other extraordinary things, the original 1990s reality that Sam Beckett knew was, therefore, somewhat different from the 1990s you and I have known. But when Sam made his final leap into November 22, 1963, he inadvertently caused Oswald to kill JFK instead of Jackie, thus altering the original reality. With JFK killed, there now will be no Quantum Leap project as there had been in the original reality. So the moment JFK dies of his fatal head wound at Parkland Memorial Hospital, there is no longer a Quantum Leap project and no longer any means for Sam to travel through time. This means that at that very moment JFK dies, Sam instantly goes home. But his home is no longer the same home from which he'd earlier departed. Now his home is the same 1990s you and I know, for it is the altered reality of a post-assassination world in which there isn't, nor ever was, a Quantum Leap project.
End of series.

This would have been a marvelous ending. Would there have been obstacles to get around? Oh, yes. Figuring out how Jackie could have been killed but not JFK in the original reality would have required a great deal of imagination, but it could have been done. Vietnam would have been a bigger problem for some people. In order to preserve the Vietnam episodes involving Sam's brother and also involving Al, the QL producers would have had to go against the grain of conventional thought and taken the controversial view that, had he lived, JFK actually would not have pulled U.S. troops out of Vietnam. JFK hero-worshippers would have been up-in-arms over that, for sure.

Ultimately, such a series finale as this would have served as a tribute to the 35th President, who's commitment to scientific progress and his belief in Man, put Americans on the Moon. How fitting.
RE: Quantum Leap\'s Missed Opportunity

I've never seen that show but I bet it was awesome. Do you know any way to see that show today?
RE: Quantum Leap\'s Missed Opportunity

I think they still show it on Space Network up here in Canada. You might try any sci-fi channel.
RE: Quantum Leap\'s Missed Opportunity

It's on Sci-Fi in the late afternoon and at night... except on weekends.
RE: Quantum Leap\'s Missed Opportunity

They also missed the opportunity to make anticipatory jokes and gag episodes related to Scott Bakula becoming the captain on "Enterprise". "Enterprise" will undoubtedly make retrospective jokes and have cameos related to Quantum Leap.
RE: Quantum Leap\'s Missed Opportunity

Dear BradJ,

It seems to me that this wasn't the only missed opportunity from "Quantum Leap"! They should have gone on to make some more episodes! Like "Doctor Who" in England, "Quantum Leap" was a classic show that should never have ended!

Stay Cool!

Yours, in time and space

RE: Quantum Leap\'s Missed Opportunity

But without that ending, Quantum Leap wouldn't have been as moving emotionally. That ending was almost religious in nature (although I think the Bartender wasn't God and more of an "gopher.". Sam Beckett learned that he wasn't forced to keep leaping, and that he didn't have the full picture of the way the hundreds of lives he affected changed the world. That was a message to all of us. "Be your own time machine." Make sure that what you do in life affects others in ways you will never know. Try not to make choices that for years you will wish you could go back and change.