Quantum Leap Finally Confirms How Dangerous Its Time Travel Really Is

Quantum Leap Ben with a skull effect and Sam Beckett

Quantum Leap episode 11 finally confirmed just how dangerous the show’s time travel is – because it really did kill Ben Song! How did he survive?

This article contains spoilers for Quantum Leap episode 11.Quantum Leap has finally confirmed just how dangerous its time travel really is, because only a quirk of temporal mechanics meant Ben didn’t die in episode 11. The premise of Quantum Leap is breathtakingly simple; a time travel “leaps” through history, inhabiting different lives, working to correct different tragedies in people’s lives. The classic series starred Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett, and NBC’s relaunch features Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song. Until Sam, Ben entered the Quantum Leap accelerator fully aware he was destined to become lost in time. He chose it, because he’d hatched a strange plan to somehow access the future and prevent the death of his fiancée, Addison.


Quantum Leap‘s time travel has always been said to be dangerous. Both Sam and Ben have believed that, should the person whose body they are inhabiting be killed, they too will die. In narrative terms, the approach makes perfect sense; it invests Quantum Leap with a degree of drama, and it ensures there are palpable risks for both Sam and Ben. But, of course, this has only ever been a theoretical danger. Sam and Ben are the stars of the show, and there was no way Quantum Leap was going to prove this theory by killing either of them. Until, that is, NBC’s relaunch.

Related: Quantum Leap Confirms The Biggest Theory About Sam’s Body After Leaping

Quantum Leap Confirms Ben Really Can Die In A Leap

Quantum Leap Nuclear Reactor

Quantum Leap episode 11 is a shocking one, once again breaking the rules of time travel. It sees Ben caught up in a form of a time loop, a result of the interactions between the project’s time travel experiments and a nuclear explosion. The first time this happens, the project team rush to Ben’s body, which is kept in storage and sustained by life support systems while he leaps through history. They are horrified to watch as his brainwaves cease, confirming he really is dead. He’s only saved by a fluke of temporal mechanics, because according to the project’s scientists, the odds of a time loop like this are infinitesimally small. Viewers now know for sure that, if Ben’s host body ever dies, it really will be the end of the road for the time traveler.

Quantum Leap Just Confirmed How High The Stakes Are For Ben (And Sam)

Quantum Leap Ben Raises Hands

Quantum Leap episode 11 naturally raises the stakes massively, because Ben (and Sam’s) lives are on the line. But this does raise another question, though; what would happen if Ben fails a mission? Some viewers have theorized this is what happened to Sam Beckett; the classic series suggested a failure would mean Sam became stranded in the body of the person he had failed. That may not be the case, however; Quantum Leap episode 11 suggests time is more resilient than had previously been known, and can be changed multiple times. Ben doesn’t encounter any of his past selves during the time loop, meaning the original timeline is somehow sustained even when a leaper has stepped in. it’s entirely possible a failed mission would simply result in Ben leaping out, only for either Ben or another leaper to return at a later date.

Time’s surprising flexibility should really give Ben hope. The mid-season finale of Quantum Leap revealed the stakes are far higher for Ben than they ever were for Sam, because he’s trying to save Addison from an impending disaster. He doesn’t necessarily have just the one shot at this, though; if he fails, he could always try to return into the timeline, building up the necessary temporal momentum to get to the future and make a second attempt. Presumably doing so would effectively erase the first try, just as it did in Quantum Leap episode 11 – essentially forcing the same kind of time loop into existence.

Episodes of Quantum Leap release on NBC on Mondays at 10 PM ET. Episodes are available for exclusive streaming on Peacock the next day.

More: Quantum Leap Reveals The Project Is Destined To Go Bad

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