AWESOME-tober-fest 2020: The Devil comes to Quantum Leap

Awesometoberfest 2020

Hey, let’s finish out this first full week of AWESOME-tober-fest in style!  Today I’m taking a look at an episode of one of my favorite shows, Quantum Leap!

I loved Quantum Leap. I remember seeing the initial commercials for the show before it aired.  And when they said the show was about time travel, I was all in. Then, when the first episode aired back in March of 1989, I remember *begging* my parents to let me stay up and finish the episode after having only watched the first half.

So, I love the mechanics of the show, but I also love the lore it sort of built up around the leaping. Sam actually met leapers just like him in several episodes. Well, they weren’t “just like him”, they were doing the opposite of what he was doing, they were “setting things wrong what once went right.” The “evil leapers” showed up in three episodes in Season 5 and there was rampant speculation about who was running that group. Many people said that God, or the forces of “Good”, were running Sam’s leaps, so the Devil, or the forces of “Evil”, were running the evil leapers.  I love this world building and I wish it would have come up a bit more.  Like what if during sweeps week, or towards the end of a season, the entire episode of Quantum Leap was told from the POV of the “evil leapers”?  We see an entire leap featuring only the “evil leapers”.  I would have loved that.  Maybe the leap crosses over with Sam and Al, but we only see them in passing, OR, Sam and Al are there, but we never see them and we only learn they were there at the end of the episode!  That would have been pretty awesome.

I could discuss the “evil leapers” and what we know about who may be running them.  I could maybe make a case for the Devil there.  But I’m here to talk about a few years before the “evil leapers” showed up.  We got a Halloween episode that actually had an appearance from the Devil.  It was Season 3 episode 5, “The Boogieman”.

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The leap starts out like any other. It’s Halloween Day, 1964.  Sam has leaped into B horror novel writer, Joshua Ray.  Right away things seem to be going awry.  Al is acting weird and Ziggy isn’t giving Sam any information whatsoever.

People start dying in mysterious ways, Sam is seeing things no one else is seeing, and he realizes that he’s being manipulated.

Now, I’m going to say, to talk about the Devil part I need to give out a few spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the episode, first of all, GO SEE THE EPISODE.  Second of all, read through for what happens when Sam meets The Devil.

So, at the climax of the episode when Sam is most confused about what is going on, Al reveals himself to not be Al at all.

With dramatic red lighting over his eyes, Al turns out to be the Earthly incarnation of evil.  The Devil.  And the Devil is PISSED.  He’s pissed that Sam is jumping around time undoing all his evil work.  Sam says he’s just trying to get home, and the Devil laughs maniacally and says, “And you’re never going to…”  Sam realizes that the Devil intends to kill him right then and there.  I have to admit, Dean Stockwell is playing Devil/Evil Al here and he’s doing a fantastic job.  He really is menacing in his line delivery.  We don’t get a lot of time with this Devil, so we don’t really get to know much more, but what we do get to see is pretty great.

That being said, the actual Al shows up at this point and sees himself talking to Al, which confuses him.  The Devil then tries to strangle Sam, they spin around like 100 times and all of a sudden Sam’s leap starts over and he’s able to save the person he’s supposed to save.  I was a little disappointed in the ultimate confrontation with the Devil.  It doesn’t really go anywhere or say anything else about what the encounter Sam just had means.  However, I really liked the idea of the Devil showing up here.  And it subtley sets up the “Evil Leapers”, who don’t actually show up for another season and a half.

There’s another Easter Egg in the show.  We see Sam palling around with a young friend named Stevie.


Come to find out, we hear at the end of the episode in a throwaway line that little Stevie’s name is Stevie King.  Yes, *that* Steve King.  And Sam unwittingly dropped a few references to King books throughout the episode.  In fact, the car that Joshua Ray drives is a direct reference to Stephen King.  A red Plymouth Fury.

So, this is a pretty great Halloween episode of Quantum Leap.  There’s a lot it adds to the show’s mythos with the Devil actually getting involved in Sam’s leaping.  And there’s a lot it implies about the mythos, that since he couldn’t stop Sam in this episode, that the Devil started the “Evil Leaper” program to further thwart what Sam is doing.  I love stuff like that.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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