I originally thought I would only write one episode review for the first season of Quantum Leap. After all, most of them are just "feel good" family features. They have a sci-fi James Bond vibe, which is good for entertainment purposes but has no apparent deeper meaning other than "saving the girl/day." "The Color of Truth" was the first episode that changed my opinion about the show. I didn't expect another episode in season one to top it. Imagine my surprise when the very next episode did just that (and even improved in quality).
"Camikazi Kid" is the first time Sam leaps into a teenager's body, which offers a slew of surprises. First off, the kid is a complete nerd with a very bad acne problem. Second, he is a drag racer. Third., he has the adoration of another local nerd--a female one! The episode actually reminded me of Grease but with the focus on the invisible outcasts as opposed to their popular counterparts.
This episode stood out because of the subject matter. Sam, Scott Bakula, has to save his sister from making a horrible mistake. She is about to marry an abusive man. The situation is even more poignant because in his past Sam let down his real life sister who faced a similar problem. This leap was fortuitous because it gives him a second chance to fix the wrong in this present and in his own past.
As usual, all the roles were impeccable. Scott Bakula is incomparable for the lead. He feels the emotions and really lives the life of the characters he leaps into. Dean Stockwell proved invaluable with his knowledge of racing and usual sexual quips. Plus, he sports a really cool outfit in this episode: the silver suit with the bright red shirt. He was quite the "trend setter" in Quantum Leap. One of the aspects I continually look forward to is what he will be wearing in future episodes. Keep the fashion coming, Al! Cheryl Wilson, played by Romy Windsor, is Sam's sister. She is likable and believable in her role of an abused girlfriend who feels trapped in her negative relationship. The second lead female role is Jill, a girl who crushes on Sam, played by Holly Fields. Jason Priestly (Pencil) guest stars as a crony of Cheryl's fiance. And, don't forget the appearance of a young Michael Jackson!
The main character who stood out to me was Cheryl. She had big dreams-- to make a difference in the Peace Corps. So, why is she letting her future husband take that away from her? The show inadvertently explores the mind of an abuse victim: Cheryl feels helpless and alone with her problems. She needs to be reminded by her brother that she is strong enough to leave her captor, and that she is an inspiring sibling role model. I appreciated the manner in which Sam accomplishes this feat. He is not the white knight in shining armor who rescues the maiden from the evil villain. Instead, he becomes a mirror in which Cheryl sees the truth of her situation. She stops rationalizing her abuse and finds the courage to say goodbye. Likewise, Sam becomes a hero by achieving his own dream: Winning the drag race against his nemesis.
Another positive aspect about Quantum Leap, and specifically this episode, is the balance of comedy and serious topics. This episode tackled a difficult subject matter: the abuse of women. Rather than let the entire one hour show be a depressing episode until the triumph at the end, writer Paul Brown mixes humorous situations to lighten the mood. These include the trash canning at the beginning, Sam's teenage body, his new family, and, of course, Al's jokes. What amazes me is that Brown does all this without taking away from the serious main storyline. Not only that, he creates appropriate transitions between scenes and emotions so the viewer isn't left wondering what the hell happened.
The setting is also a compelling factor to this episode. It is beautiful. The year Sam leaps to is June 16, 1961. He is in Los Angeles, California. I really enjoy the episodes with California settings because it's a thrill when I recognize landmarks from my own travels, such as Union Station in LA.
Overall, the final scene of the episode left me smiling from ear to ear. As I've already spoiled enough of this episode in my review, I recommend interested readers watch it for free at Hulu. The episode will have you crying out in frustration and laughing in pure pleasure. It does all of this while reminding you that good can conquer evil in all its modern and constant forms.
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Adrianna Simone (Adrianna)
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Sam leaps into Cameron "Cam" Wilson, a high school nerd who must prevent his sister from marrying an abusive man - an incident that reminds Sam of the fate of his own sister. The subject of domestic abuse pervades the episode. There are occasional screwball moments, such as a "brush with history" with a toddler Michael Jackson. Jason Priestly guest stars as a popular kid who has little respect for Sam's host. The final scene was filmed at Union Station (Los Angeles, California).