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Quantum Leap: Season Two

“Hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.”

The second season of the remake/reboot/sequel to Quantum Leap finds our hero Ben facing new challenges with a changed backup team and a suddenly estranged Addison, when he encounters Hannah, a brilliant woman who changes everything he thought he knew about leaping.

(This review contains full spoilers for season two.)

It’s hard to say if this was a stronger season than the first. Instead of a big problem to solve, there was another kind of mystery. The inciting incident in this case was Ben leaping in and discovering that while it has only been seconds for him, three years had passed at home, the Quantum Leap Project has been shut down, and Addison was dating some guy who wasn't all that relevant.

That may sound like a negative, but Tom (Peter Gadiot) was this perfectly nice, almost too supportive man that fit with Addison pretty well and was good enough for us to believe that she would fall for him. But he felt a bit like a safe choice because he was the man she could touch, and Addison was too good to simply dump him when Ben came back into the picture.

So we got almost an entire season of angst dealing with the emotional fallout of Addison breaking up with Ben. Tom was kind of framed as a small mystery himself, and I kept waiting to find out he was the secret villain, but ultimately he was just a good guy that ended up getting hurt when Addison broke up with him in the end, anyway. But Addison’s relationship with Tom ended up being something of a blessing when Ben encountered Hannah (Eliza Taylor from The 100).

At first Hannah seemed like just a bright young waitress. But there was clearly something more to her, and so Ben took the time to encourage her to pursue a career in science. A nice little one-off character, except he crossed paths with her again on a subsequent leap. That’s when she discovered that he was a time traveler. They crossed paths repeatedly and he kept getting drawn back into her life, and it oddly worked that Hannah and Ben fell in love. She ended up being nearly as instrumental to Ben’s success in leaps as his hologram, who wasn’t Addison for most of the season.

Actually, I really liked the various characters acting as Ben’s hologram, because it added some interesting dynamics. Tom even took a turn, and it was fun to see the conflict between the two men resolve as they came to terms with the fact that they were both good for Addison. I think it helped Ben move on from Addison to start things with Hannah. So while Tom was kind of a non-entity, Hannah was really a bright spot in the season. I was looking forward to her appearances, and I wanted to know why she kept showing up.

There were ups and downs throughout the season, from bank robberies to a very ill-conceived and poorly written treasure hunt. But the mystery of Hannah and why Ben kept leaping into her life was the core of this season. At one point, Ben leaped into Hannah’s life again after they had finally consummated their relationship, and ten years had passed for her; she was married, and had a child. Ben helped the best he could, but discovered just as he was leaping out that Hannah's husband was going to die. So he threw caution to the wind and wrote a letter, telling her how to save her husband.

The net result was she got another year with her husband, before he died in a car crash. Lots of drama, but oh, there's more. Because of that letter, the circumstances of her husband’s death were twisted and ended up warping her son’s path. He witnessed the argument that caused his father to run out and then die, so he blamed the contents of that letter for causing his father’s death. So when it was eventually revealed that Ben, a time traveler, was the one that sent that letter, it set the boy on a path of revenge.

Cut to the present. Ian made a rather big mistake: he stole proprietary hardware to help recover Ben and became indebted to a crazy tech billionaire named Gideon (James Frain) who wanted in on Quantum Leap. We don’t know what Gideon’s motivations are, but he seems scary. Built up all season, we finally got his reveal in the last episode, as he forced Magic to fire one of the team. Ian was too important so Magic himself left Quantum Leap. Things seemed dire until the plot came to a head and it was revealed that Gideon is actually Hannah’s son. He wanted to use Quantum Leap to go back and save his father, and then take over the world.

Meanwhile Hannah had been influenced to the point where her entire career led up to a discovery that would potentially bring Ben home. She wrote out a recall equation that was eventually intercepted by Gideon, who was planning to use it to send himself back to his time. He was not only going to save his father, but he wanted to influence major events, literally turning time travel into a weapon. So Ben, who had leapt into a race car driver, spent the episode driving and teaching a still angry but relatively uncorrupted young Gideon the value of helping people. Which worked, altered time and suddenly Gideon was a benefactor of Quantum Leap instead of someone trying to take it over.

Sounds like a lot? Well, they decided to use Hannah’s formula, but there was a catch. It had to be a trade, so Addison stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished, leaping into the same place and time as Ben. The two of them were tied together at the quantum level and were leaping partners. Ben and Addison never returned home... because the show was freaking canceled! That’s right, the show was axed by NBC. All that potential is now just left to our imaginations.


They went a bit bigger with the case of the week formula this season, as Ben leapt into everything from an alien conspiracy, to an espionage thriller in Egypt, to a witch trial in the 1600's. Most were fun and there were a couple of standouts. But for the most part, the season was sort of just good. I did like the bank robbery episode, and the one where Ben and Hannah were searching for a secret formula created by Albert Einstein while being chased by Nazis.

I think some of the storytelling risks were good choices, but the writing just wasn't there. Making a witch trial into anything but contrived stereotypes is hard (look to Outlander for the best example of how to do it right). The worst episode by far, though, was the very poorly written treasure hunt episode. While it did have some lovely messaging about what it means to be non-binary, the rest was just awful.


At one point Gideon showed up as Ben’s hologram. It was one of the big reasons I liked making the hologram interchangeable with whoever was in the imaging chamber.

In the final episode Janis Calavicci, who was kind of an antagonist in season one, revealed to the team that her entire existence was created when Sam changed history for Al in the original Quantum Leap series finale. While this was heavily implied previously, it was nice to have direct confirmation. It also explained why Beth and Janis were so committed to helping Quantum Leap.

In the final episode, Addison had to use Al’s old handlink, and it was just lovely.

Overall, a good season arc and a good season. I wish some of the individual episodes had been better. That might have contributed to the fall in ratings, which caused the show's eventual cancellation.

2.5 out of 4 failed attempts to bring Ben home.

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. Samantha, thanks so much for your review closing out the reboot.

    I so agree that they were trying to do something interesting and new with Hannah, but while Eliza Taylor was a great casting choice, the writing just wasn't there. *Something* wasn't there. I watched the entire season, but found it disappointing.

  2. Beth is way too young. She would be at least 80 now. It bothers me. Also, it’s very lazy and predictable to have “Jeffrey” be the villain because he thinks it’s Ben’s fault that his dad died. Because of this, be becomes a James Bond villain?


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