Quantum Leap featured scientist Sam Beckett discovering a way to time travel by leaping into other lives, but there’s a reason why he never went home.
There’s a reason why Sam Beckett, the main character of the unique and beloved sci-fi show Quantum Leap, never leaped home at the end of the series. The late 1980s and 90s sci-fi show that left television after its fifth season was released in 1993. The series was generally well received in its early seasons, balancing out well-thought-out stories about people and providing a fascinating twist on the science fiction genre.
The show followed Scott Bakula’s Sam Beckett, a scientist who had a goal to time travel with his “Quantum Leap” project. Once he decided to test his project out himself, he discovered that he was able to travel in time, but only by landing in someone else’s body. Guided by a hologram of his friend Admiral Al Calavicci, he believed that in order to leap back home he had to right a wrong of the past in the person whose body he occupied. Even though he was always able to set things right, he always ended up leaping into another body again and again. In a fun narrative device, Sam was able to leap into different types of people, making for an interesting spin. In the ending of Quantum Leap, however, Sam was never able to leap back home.
Sam, unfortunately, never got a chance to go home like he wanted to at the beginning of the series. In the finale, Sam comes to the realization that he was the one in control of his own leaps all along. This meant that he could have leaped home at any given point but was simply subconsciously choosing not to as he believed that people needed help in other places and that helping was more important than his own happiness. Instead of choosing to go home like he initially wanted, he decided to help out his friend Al by telling his wife Beth that he was still alive in the future, unlike what she believed.
Why Quantum Leap’s Ending Was So Disappointing
The show’s ending was disappointing to many fans of Quantum Leap because it ended on a cliffhanger instead of offering a satisfactory finish. The final title card, infamous for misspelling Sam’s name, states that he never went home. As it turns out, the last episode wasn’t meant to be the ending of the series, but instead a season finale. There was a huge set-up at the beginning of the episode – Sam leaps into himself for the first time. It felt like viewers would finally learn why everything was happening the way that it was, but the answers that were revealed weren’t what was expected. The show’s creator, Donald P. Bellisario, had to find a way for it to make sense as the final episode of the series altogether when it was suddenly canceled, creating an odd and rushed ending. Many questions about Sam’s adventures were left unanswered by the Quantum Leap finale.
Sam Beckett was never able to go home, much to the chagrin of viewers who believed he deserved to. Quantum Leap came to a messy and confusing end, but it doesn’t take away from the incredible sci-fi action it offered, especially for its time. Hopefully, NBC will finally do the show justice with its reboot of the series set to release on September 19th.