Visit the Mirror Imaging page of Al's Place for even more info on the series finale!
August 8, 1953
Episode Adopted by: TVNewsCam
In the final episode of Quantum Leap, Sam leaps into a bar in Cokeburg, Pennsylvania on the date of his birth at the exact time he was born. He drinks a beer and looks in the mirror. He sees his own reflection. This begins a rollercoaster ride of strange occurrences as people from the past appear to him, but with different names. Al the Bartender seems to know everything and may be able to offer some insight to the reason Sam has been leaping in time for the past 5 years. And back in the future, Al and Gooshie are troubled to discover that there is no one in the waiting room. While they feverishly search for a lock on the lost Dr. Beckett, Sam tries to unravel the mysteries of his own life's work, save a pair of miners from a collapsed mine shaft, and finally takes the opportunity to right a major wrong in Al's life.
See our special page dedicated to Richard Herd ('Ziggy' Ziganovich) featuring photos with Al's Place Bartender and a signed photo from this episode!
Associate Producers: Julie Bellisario and Scott Ejercito
Coordinating Producer: David Bellisaro
Supervising Producers: Richard C. Okie and Harker Wade
Co-Executive Producers: Deborah Pratt and Chas. Floyd Johnson
Executive Producer: Donald P. Bellisaro
Broadcast Date: May 5, 1993
Gooshie (Project Quantum Leap) Dennis
James Whitmore Jr. is a very familiar face. He has appeared in numerous TV shows (often several times as different characters), and has also directed various episodes. He reunited with Scott Bakula when directing two episodes of Enterprise.
Bruce McGill is another very recognizable actor who can be seen in numerous TV shows and movies. His most recognizable recurring role, which also served as his big break leading to other projects, was the mischievous, fun-loving, light-hearted Jack Dalton in the series MacGyver.
William Morgan Sheppard has also had numerous roles, including the infamous Dr. Zito from MacGyver, plus has lended his voice to numerous cartoon series and video games.
Richard Herd has been appearing in movies and TV shows since 1970. His most recognizable role is John, the alien visitor from the V mini-series, and Admiral Owen Paris on Star Trek Voyager.
Since his appearance in Mirror Image, Michael Genovese has had a recurring role within the series ER, and on the soap opera Port Charles.
Another soap opera alert! Susan Diol has had appearances on General Hospital, One Life to Live, and Days of Our Lives
John DAquino is a familiar face to Quantum Leap convention attendees. But, hes also had recurring roles on Third Rock from the Sun and JAG.
Sitcom fans might recognize Dan Butler. Hes had a recurring role on the long-running sitcom Frasier
Young actor J.D. Daniels has kept pretty busy for a child actor (although hes over 21 now). Hes voiced numerous characters in various cartoons and movies, including The Little Mermaid and Gargoyles.
The son of Donald Bellisario and Deborah Pratt has been busy working with his father on JAG. He has a recurring role of P. O. Mikey Roberts on that popular series.
Stephen McHattie is one of the few actors appearing in Mirror Image who did not have a role within an earlier Quantum Leap episode. However, like Whitmore, McHattie reunited with Scott Bakula when he had a guest role on Enterprise.
Guests who appeared in
other Quantum Leap episodes:
Bruce McGill Weird Ernie, "Genesis"
John DAquino Frank LaMotta, "Jimmy", "Deliver Us From Evil"
Brad Silverman Jimmy LaMotta, "Jimmy", "Deliver Us From Evil"
Richard Herd Moe Stein, "Future Boy"
Susan Diol Beth Calavicci, "MIA"
James Whitmore Jr. Bob Crockett, "8 ½ Months", Clayton Fuller (mirror), "One Little Heart Trilogy, Pt 1"
Donald P. Bellisario Dr. Mintz (mirror), "A Portrait for Troian"
Michael Genovese Don Geno, "Double Identity"
J.D. Daniels Josh Elroy, "Tale of Two Sweeties"
Dan Butler Jake Dorleac, "Southern Comforts"
Michael Bellisario Little boy, "Camakazi Kid", Billy the bat boy, "Play Ball", Martin Jr, "Tale of Two Sweeties"
Dennis Wolfberg October 3, 1994
Leap Date: August 8, 1953 and April, 1969
Leapee: Dr. Samuel Beckett (himself)
Location: Cokesburg, Pennsylvania
Sam finds himself in the strangest
Leap yet, with a mystery that seems worthy of Sherlock Holmes! Not only does he Leap into
himself, it happens right at the exact moment of his birth, and the people that he
encounters bear familiar faces from his previous Leaps. To make matters worse, the Project
has lost contact with Sam and are forced to search for him in time. Who exactly is the
bartender, who seems to know everything about Dr. Beckett? What clue does he hold to
Quantum Leaping? Can Sam figure it out, without Als help?
Detailed Summary With Spoilers:
Orange light spills through the windows as the blue Quantum light fades from Sam. A floor fan oscellates, blowing cooler air on Sam, who removes his hat and wipes his face and brow from the sweat. It apparently is a very hot and humid day. A old song can be heard playing over a radio.
Sam looks over and notices a man standing behind the bar, wiping a glass in his hand with a towel. His hair is slicked back and he has a mustache. He has a white apron on over his portly belly, and is looking right at Sam.
Sam walks over and puts his hat on the bar counter. He asks the bartender what he has on tap. The bartender tells him "Schlitz". Sam repeats the name, almost as if inquiring if he heard right. The bartender tells him that he has Iron City, Duquesne or Fort Pitt in bottles.
Sam tells the bartender that Schlitz will be fine, and the bartender asks if Sam wants regular or schooner, holding up the glass that he is wiping first, and then a bigger glass. Sam answers schooner, and the bartender goes over to the tap and fills up the taller glass.
The bartender brings the glass over as Sam digs through his pockets and asks how much he owes. The bartender informs him that its 15 cents. He seems kind of surprised, but hands the bartender the change. The bartender takes the money and rings it into a cash register. He deposits the coins into the cash drawer, and then gives the drawer a thrust closed with his belly.
Sam picks up the glass and begins to walk around the bar counter, and notices that the bartender is looking at him as well. As he gets to the center of the bar, he looks over to a mirror which is just behind where all of the bottles are stored, most with spouts commonly used by bartenders when mixing drinks. As Sam gazes into the mirror, he looks absolutely stunned.
The reflection looking back at him, for the first time in five years, is his own!
Sam looks in awe at his reflection
while the bartender asks if something's wrong. Sam, still dumbfounded, manages to mutter
that it's him in the mirror.
At Project Quantum Leap, Gooshie
points out the obvious to Al . . . that there is nobody in the Waiting Room. Al mentions
that it's impossible, unless Sam had to Leap into himself. Gooshie informs Al that there
is a 99.2% probability. Al is stunned, realizing that Sam is somewhere in time as himself,
and asks how Ziggy is going to find him. Gooshie informs Al that they aren't sure that
Al's place is now filled customers, miners who were
relaxing and having fun after a long day of work. Sam muses to himself about how it was
the day he was born, and instead of nursing as his mother's breast, he was nursing a beer,
trying to make sense of the strange Leap. What was even stranger was that the reflection
in the mirror was his own, and those at the bar had names and faces familiar to him. He
wondered what wrong he was there to put right, and where Al was. He was so desperate for
answers that he was looking for them on TV.
Sam then asks him if his name is Mo Stein, but he replies that its Ziggy. At first, Sam smiles, but then his expression changes as he realizes what the response was. He then asks if his name was Ziggy, to which Ziggy asks if hes heard of him. Sam notes that he has a friend named Ziggy. Ziggy says that he never knew anyone else with that name and asked what she does. Sam replies that she figures things out. Ziggy seems kind of surprised and asks if shes a girl, to which Sam tells him yes. Ziggy then remarks that shes probably not much of a looker, and Sam adds that hed better not let her hear him say that.
Stawpah comes over and laughs, and Ziggy asks if Stawpah wants him to straighten his back for him. He then admits to Sam that Stawpah makes fun of him because Ziggy failed the written tests and didnt qualify on the machine gun. He then asks Sam if hes ever fired a machine gun, to which Sam replies that he isnt sure.
Ziggy explains that he would
remember if he did and provided a technical explanation, complete with sound effects. He
also indicated that empty cabbages fly around everywhere. Sam again corrects him with the
word cartridges, and Ziggy says "Them too."
At the bar, Stawpah tells Al that Sam isnt who he is pretending to be. Al asks for clarification, and Stawpah replies that when he figures that out, hell know why Sams there. Al suggests that maybe Sams there for the same reason Stawpah is . . . to have a beer. Stawpah quickly counters that he doesnt drink beer and Al knows that. Al covers, claiming that he forgot, but Stawpah is quick to point out that Al never forgets anything. Stawpah then asks what would happen around the bar if Al were to forget, to which Al replies that things might go a little . . . ca-ca.
From where he is sitting, Sam overhears the bartender say those words and looks over in shock. Again, his mind flashes back to a memory of Al . . . his Al, saying the exact same thing. Ziggy tells Sam not to let Stawpah get his coat, and that Stawpah forgets that he isnt in Russia where everyone works for the BVD. Sam again corrects Ziggy with KGB, and both Ziggy and Sam say in unison, "Them too."
Sam gets up and walks over to Al, mentioning that he knows another Al who says ca-ca. Al is quick to point out that its a common expression, but Sam notes that its not where he comes from. Al reminds him that hes not where he comes from, and Sam asks if its just another coincidence. Al points out that its a common expression in Cokeburg where nearly everybody is from the old country.
Sam then suggests that Al knows why hes there. Al asks if Sams watched any of the old Bogart movies. The first rule of good bartending is not to give out information for nothing. Al reaches over and grabs a punchboard, asking if Sam wants to take a chance. It would cost him a nickel, but he could hit the jackpot.
Sam asks what the jackpot is, to which Al says that its $10 and the answer to his question. Sam asks if Al means that, and Al says yes. Sam hands Al the nickel and takes the punchboard, using the key to punch out a location. He takes the roll of paper and slowly begins to unravel it while asking why hes here. Al asks if Sams hit the jackpot, but Sam looks at the paper and tells him no. Al then tells Sam that he will have to figure it out for himself.
Al asks Gooshie how long the nano-search to find Sam is going to take, and Gooshie tells him one month. Al practically goes ballistic at the thought, to which Gooshie points out that there is a chance that Ziggy could get a lock in as little as 2 and a half weeks, give or take a day or two. Al sighs and then walks up the ramp to the Imaging Chamber, which closes behind him.
Al puts on his hat and punches a button on the handlink, asking Gooshie if hes ready. Gooshie answers affirmative, and a swirling vortex of images surrounds Al. He looks at the images, and comments that he knows Sam is out there somewhere, urging Sam to lock onto him.
Laughing can be heard throughout the bar. The miners are still there, some sitting at a table and playing cards. Stawpah is reading a paper, commenting on how Russia now has an H-bomb. Another miner doesnt see the big deal, but Stawpah asks what if they drop it on Pittsburgh?
Sam, who is standing by the table with the card game, jumps into the conversation and says that the Russians wont drop the bomb. Stawpah asks Sam how he knows, to which Sam jokes that hes a spy, and spies know everything. Stawpah is very sarcastic as he joins in on the laughter, saying that it was funny.
Ziggy then points out that if the Russians do drop a bomb, they could hide in the mine until the radiator blows away. Yet another miner corrects Ziggy, telling him radiation, and Ziggy says "That too."
Stawpah mocks him, telling Ziggy that hes so dumb that he doesnt even know his own name. Ziggy tells him that its Simo Servonovich, and then asks if Stawpah wants him to spell it. Stawpah tells him yes in Russian. Ziggy begins to spell it, getting through only two letters before he stops.
Sam sits down next to one of the miners and notes that Ziggy is just a nickname, to which Ziggy tells him yes. Stawpah laughs that Ziggy cant spell it. Sam asks how he got it, and one of the miners tells Sam that a donkey threw Ziggy into a steam radiator. Everyone laughs, but Sam is confused.
Another miner explains that they were donkey basketball in the school gym to raise money for the towns widows. Sam asks if that tore up the gym floor, but Ziggy replied that they wore tennis shoes. The one miner explained that after Ziggy got tossed into the radiator, he zigged and zagged for a week. Ziggy then added that Al called him Ziggy ever since.
The miners continue to joke around, but Sam gets up from his chair and looks over at the bartender, asking if Al does all of the nicknaming around there. The miners then begin to rattle off all of the other nicknames that have been given out.
Stawpah then asks why Sam cares what Al calls them, to which Sam replies that he needs it for his BVD report. Another roar of laughter erupts from the table, but Sam continues with his questions, asking if Al nicknamed Gooshie. Ziggy points out that Al must have, since Al nicknames everybody. Stawpah clarifies that Gooshie had his name since the day he was born, and Al only nicknames dummies like Ziggy.
Sam hangs his head in frustration, and then tells Stawpah that hes getting tired of him calling Ziggy dummy. Stawpah asks why, to which Sam counters with another question, asking Stawpah what he would think if someone called him a cripple. Stawpah tells Sam that he is a cripple, but Sam doesnt relent. He asks if physically disabled would be a more humane way to describe his condition. Stawpah claims that it wont change anything, but Sam points out that it might change attitudes towards Stawpah.
Ziggy then jokes that the only way attitudes about Stawpah would change would be if he shut his mouth. Again, laughter erupts from the table, only to be interrupted by the sound of short blasts from the mine work whistle. Sam asks what it is, and Ziggy tells him that its trouble in the mine.
Without further questions, everyone rushes out of the bar, including Sam, as Al looks on in concern . . .
Smoke billows from a pipe in the rolling Pennsylvania countryside. The sound of the whistle seems to echo through the mountains. Men pour out of the elevator shaft leading to the mine, making their way through the smoke and the dust.
A worker falls to his knees in front of another gentleman who has a white shirt on, suspenders, and a hat. The miner says that there was an explosion in Butt 18. The gentleman asks how bad, to which the miner replies that the fire blew itself out, but they lost about 100 feet of tunnel and two men are trapped.
The gentleman asks who they are, and the miner tells him Tonchi and Pete.
Sam is standing nearby and overhears this. As he turns, his face is clearly etched with concern.
As men begin to gather equipment, one of the miners tells the well-dressed gentleman that the bottom of the mine is filling with gas, and they will need to ventilate before sending anyone down for a rescue. One miner suggested that they use air tanks, but the one who collapsed to his knees earlier mentioned that one spark could cause the whole mine to explode.
Ziggy asks about Tonchi and Pete, to which the well-dressed gentleman says that they will have to wait. Sam then jumps into the situation, asking what if they cant wait, or if theyre injured. The gentleman asks Sam who he is, and Stawpah quickly replies that Sam is the state safety inspector.
The gentleman turns to face Sam and
almost looks pale. He asks if Sam is from the Bureau of Mines. Sam ignores his question
and asks how long it will take to ventilate the mine. The gentleman exchanges glances with
a miner, who answers that it would take 48 hours. One of the miners from the bar is
animate, saying that in 48 hours Tonchi and Pete would be dead. The miner who answered the
gentleman suggests that Tonchi and Pete could already be dead.
Sam is looking out the window as Al tells Sam that
he's not here to save Tonchi and Pete. Sam turns around and asks how Al knew what he was
thinking, but Al tells him that a good bartender has to be part philosopher, part
psychiatrist, and part psychic.
Miners are gathered in the mine by the shaft, with
Sam at the forefront. A guard stands by the cage, reminding everyone that Mr. Collins said
taht the mine was closed until it's ventilated. Sam tells the guard that Mr. Collins
changed his mind, but the guard points out that Mr. Collins doesn't change his mind.
The swirling vortex of images still
surrounds Al, who isn't looking too good. He tells Gooshie that he's getting dizzy, but
Gooshie tells him that they've hardly begun and wonders if they could narrow the search.
Stawpah is sitting at a table by the window,
drinking a soda out of a bottle. Sam is sitting at the bar, mentioning how if he is Don
Quixote, then Al is his Sancho, and there isn't anything Al wouldn't do for Sam. The
bartender jumps in and muses that there probably isn't anything that Sam wouldn't do for
Sam is stunned at what he had witnessed, but the miners in the bar seem to be oblivious as to what just happened. Sam asked where he went, and the miners ask who Sam was talking about. He tells them that it was Stawpah, but Ziggy asks if he means someone named Steve. Sam again clarifies that the name was Stawpah, but Ziggy tells him that Stawpah means Steve in Russian.
Sam points out that he was sitting at a table a moment ago, and again asked where Stawpah went. Sam begins to walk over to the table, and some of the miners follow him as Sam goes on about how Stawpah was right there, turned blue, electricity ran through him, and he disappeared.
Thinking that its a joke, Mutta comments that whatever Sam is drinking, hell have one. A couple of miners echo that sentiment as they turn back toward the bar. Sam, however, remains transfixed on the table as he begins to figure it out, realizing that what happened to Stawpah was probably what it looked like to Leap. He then exclaims that Stawpah was a Leaper!
A voice interrupts, correcting Sam by telling him that Stawpah was a Ukranian. Standing in the doorway is Gooshie, who enters the bar and walks over to the counter, grabbing a drink and quickly downing it. He tells Sam that he came over on the boat with Stawpah. Sam asks again, just to be sure, if he knew Stawpah. Gooshie explains that he worked the Mariana mine with Stawpah until Gooshie moved to Cokeburg.
Gooshie indicates to Sam that Stawpah was the best loader he had ever seen. Sam reiterates what he had heard earlier that Stawpah told him that he could load 24 tons in a day. Gooshie quickly points out that nobody could load 24 tons, not even Stawpah, but he came close. He continues by telling Sam that the Mariana mine blew up and Stawpah was the only miner who came out alive, and everyone started looking funny at Stawpah after that because slate stooped him over.
Sam agrees that Stawpah was all stooped over, and then medically clarifies that it wasnt slate that caused that, but arthritis from loading coal in water. Gooshie is bewildered and asks Sam how he knows Stawpah, and Sam tells him that he had just met him there that very day. Gooshie tells him that Stawpah died in 1933, twenty years prior.
The miners turn back to their drinks and their conversations, leaving Sam to stand there, wondering what is really going on.
The swirling vortex of images continues to surround Al, who doesnt look that good. He tells Gooshie that he is going to ralph. Gooshie parrots him, turning it into a question, and Al replies with a bunch of slang and colorful euphamisms for vomiting. Gooshie retorts with a technical phrase, and Al replies affirmatively, telling Gooshie that hes out of there.
Dizzy and off balance, Al stumbles out of the Imaging Chamber and over to the control console. He leans down upon the colorful cubes, using them as a support. Gooshie tells Al that he was about to suggest a break anyways, and then notes that he had scanned all of Sams birthdays from 1954 to the end of the 21st century, and wherever Sam was, it wasnt his birthday. Before he could continue, Gooshie asks if Al had literally meant Sams first birthday.
Al looks at Gooshie and asks what he means by that. Almost sheepishly, Gooshie points out that the search was started with Sams first birthday, not the actual day that he was born. Al looks dumbfounded , sighs "Oh my God," and turns back to the Imaging Chamber.
Sam is again at the bar, staring at himself in the mirror as Al goes about his business of cleaning glasses. Sams voice can be heard as he thinks to himself about how this Leap had taken a quantum twist, and he no longer knew what was real and what was imagined, or if what he imagined was from his mind or someone elses.
Sam asks Al if he created all of this, but Al shrugs it off and turns to Sam, telling him that he built it, if that is what Sam means. Sam persists, telling Al that it is more than just a bar. Al looks around and tells Sam that there is something special about the place, but Sam doesnt let up. He continues on about how dead men save miners and then vanish in an aura of blue light, noting that there would be something special about the place.
Al tells Sam that books are full of stories of the dead saving the living, but Sam presses on, asking if Stawpah really was there. Al replies that he remembers Stawpah. Sam asks why the other miners dont, but Al cryptically responds that its the way it is. Sam doesnt believe that, asking how Stawpah could be with them one moment, gone the next, the miners have no memory of Stawpah, and how he can accept "thats the way it is" as an explanation. Al retorts, telling Sam that it is sometimes the best explanation.
Sam looks frustrated, and tells Al that it isnt enough for him. Al counters, telling Sam that he doesnt think that Sam is ready for more. Sam dares him to try. As Al walks away, the reflection in the mirror shows a person with a clean face. Its Gooshie, the bearded man sitting beside him. Also, reflected images of Ziggy, Tonchi and Pete cannot be seen.
After Gooshie finishes his shot of liquor, he walks away and Al moves back over, asking Sam if he can accept what he sees as reality. Sam asks him which reality he should accept, and then indicates the miners behind him, and then to the mirror. Al asks him if hes accepted both, looking at all of those mirrors.
Sam realizes that Al is the one who has been Leaping Sam around through time, but Al denies it. Sam asks what he means, and Al points to Sams reflection in the mirror, telling Sam that Sam is the one who has been Leaping himself through time. Sam is in utter denial, telling Al that there is no way he will buy that explanation.
Al moves back over to Sam and asks him why he created Project Quantum Leap. Sam replies that he wanted to travel in time, to which Al asks Sam why he wanted to do so. Sam begins, but stumbles over his words. Al asks if Sam wanted to make the world a better place, to which Sam replies of course. Al continues, asking if Sam wanted to put right what once went wrong, but Sam clarifies that he never intended it to happen one life at a time.
Al comments that Sam is "Mother Teresa", and then asks him if he believes that all he has done is change a few lives. Sam tells him yes, and Al points out, at the risk of over inflating Sams ego, that Sam has done much more. Al goes on to explain how the lives he has touched, touched others, and those lives others.
Al notes that Sam has done a lot of good, and could do a lot more. Sam counters, telling Al that he doesnt want continue, only to go home. Al asks why he hasnt, but Sam still claims that he doesnt control his own future, but the bartender does.
Al looks at Sam and tells him that he will only do this for as long as he wants to, and Sam asks if he can Leap home anytime that he wants. Al replies technically yes, and Sam asks him what the catch is. Al explains that Sam has to accept that Sam is the one controlling his own destiny.
The swirling vortex of images surrounds Al as Gooshies voice informs him that theyre getting a lock. As the hologram stabilizes, Al looks around and spots Sam Beckett, calling out to him. Sam immediately turns when he hears the familiar voice call his name and calls out Als name. Sam gets up and follows Al outside, although Al walks through the window and Sam opens the door.
Al tells Sam that its good to see him, and Sam mentions that he thought that Al would never get there. Al asks Sam where they are, and Sam points to the window of the bar, pointing out the name. Al laughs, saying that he had always wanted his own bar.
Sam continues, telling Al that the place is more than a bar, and then mentions that the place is where it all started. Al asks him where what started, and Sam tells him Quantum Leap. Al looks around and tells Sam that they arent in New Mexico, but Sam persists, reminding Al about the theory that something or someone grabbed Sam when he had first Leaped. Al is cautious as to where this is leading, and Sam points back into the bar, telling Al that someone inside has been responsible for Leaping Sam around in time.
Al looks through the window and spots the bartender, asking Sam if that is who he had meant, and Sam tells him yes. Sam points out that the bartender wants Sam to believe that hes the one who has been Leaping himself around through time, but Sam thinks that its the bartender. As Sam is revealing this, Al looks to Sam with a look on his face that suggests that he thinks Sam has gone crazy.
Sam continues to explain how the miners all have different names in this Leap, but look like people Sam has encountered before . . . Moe Stein, Frank and Jimmy LaMotta . . . plus other coincidences like the same bad breath between the Gooshie there and the Gooshie at Quantum Leap. Sam is getting worked up over all of this, and Al looks more convinced than ever that Sam is losing it.
Al suggests that they had better get Sam out of there, but Sam tells Al that everything hes said is the truth. Al is still disbelieving that Sam hasnt been Leaped around by God, but by some bartender. Sam insists that the guy is more than just a bartender . . . that he could be God, or Fate, or Time, or something else that they hadnt even thought of.
At this point, Als expression suggests that he really thinks that Sam has lost his marbles, and he calls out to Gooshie. Not letting up, Sam asks Al if he turns blue and tingles with electrical energy when he Leaps. Al tells him that he doesnt know since he goes back into the Imaging Chamber. Sam insists that the same probably happens to him as he had seen it happen to another person, although nobody Leaped back in probably because the guy was dead.
Just hearing the word dead makes Al turn pale, and he tries to get out of the conversation, but Sam still rambles on. He reminds Al about all of the stores of the souls of the dead who have come back to warn the living, wondering if they are all Leapers like Stawpah. Al looks confused, but Sam explains that Stawpah was the name of the guy he was referring to, telling Al that Stawpah means Steve in Russian.
Al tells Sam that he knows what the name means, since he has an uncle named Stawpah. Sam sits down on a bench as he asks if Als uncle suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. Al responds, telling Sam that its got him twisted up like a pretzel. Sam begins to laugh as the irony of everything has just sunk in, but Al tells Sam that its not funny. Sam tells him that it is, but Al asks why. Sam tells Al that he doesnt know.
Al looks heartbroken and tells Sam to take it easy until he can figure things out with Ziggy. As Al presses a button on the handlink, opening the Imaging Chamber door, he tells Sam that he is going to get Sam out of this, whatever it takes.
The Imaging Chamber door closes just as bartender Al walks through the front door of the bar. Sam looks up at him and chuckles, saying Als uncle. Al laughs himself, admitting that hes always found coincidences to be amusing. He sits down on the bench next to Sam, even though Sam still asks if Al wants him to believe that Sam is Leaping himself.
Al sighs and points out that if he had been a priest, but Sam interrupts indicating that he had been one. Al corrects himself and states that if the priesthood had been Sams chosen life, even though the Church would move him from parish to parish, wouldnt he still have to accept responsibility for the life that he leads. Sam notes that even priests can quit.
Al points out thats true, but then notes that priests can take sabbaticals, especially before embarking on a difficult new assignment. Sam asks if the Leaps are going to get tougher. Al asks where Sam would like to go, to which Sam tells him that he wants to go home, but he cant because hes got a wrong to put right for Al.
Sam turns to Al and asks if he knew. Al smiles and puts his arm around the Leaper, saying "God bless, Sam."
With that, the aura of blue electrical energy surrounds Dr. Beckett and he Leaps . . .
When the light fades, Sam is standing in a darkened room. In the background, "Georgia" by Ray Charles can be heard, although very softly. Sams gaze rests upon a young woman with dark hair, dancing with an invisible partner to the music. He whispers out her name . . . Beth.
Beth turns and faces him, startled by the appearance of a stranger in her house. She asks who he is and how he got in. Sam tells Beth that she isnt going to harm her, but is there to help her and Al. She asks if hes a friend of Als, and he tells her yes, asking if they could sit down.
She seems somewhat hesitant, but agrees to Sams request. They move over to the living room, where the light is brighter. As they both sit down, Sam looks at Beth and tells her that he is going to tell her a story. It will have a happy ending, but only if she believes him.
Beth asks about if she doesnt believe him, but Sam gently swears that she will. Sam explains that, instead of starting at the beginning of the story, hell go right to the happy ending. He smiles at her and reveals that Al is alive and is coming home.
Sam smiles as she breaks into tears of joy. The music swells as a black and white picture of a youthful Al can be seen . . . but then his image is suddenly surrounded by the blue aura of electrical energy, just as Sams was! Instead of a new Leap, there is nothing but an ominous darkness . . .
As a result of Sams revelation, Beth never remarried. She and Al have four daughters, and would celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary in June. Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home . . .
Mirror Image is an incredibly powerful episode, where Sam has to face the toughest question of all . . . who is really Leaping him around in time. He is so set in his way of thinking that he refuses to see the truth that is in front of his face the entire time, or rather looking back at him from the mirror.
The holes in Sams swiss-cheese memory doesnt seem to be as prominent as in certain episodes, as Sam seems to easily recall names, faces, and events that he has encountered during his various Leaps. Also, like any regular Leap, there are lives to save, and it seems to pain Sam that he cannot play a direct part in the rescue. All he can do is settle for an indirect role and pray for the best.
The scenes at Project Quantum Leap were immensely enjoyable, especially the first images of the interior of the Imaging Chamber, as well as the banter between Al and Gooshie. Its just a shame that more of the Project and its staff could not be shown.
The episode hits a few snags in the road when it starts to get into the heavy-duty coincidences and tries to explain what is going on. For the casual viewer, they will probably become easily confused and lose interest. Die-hard Quantum Leap fans, however, will easily pick up on the underlying message.
Donald Bellisario knew that, when he wrote the episode, there was a chance that the show could be canceled or renewed for another season. That final call was up to the networks, but he cleverly hid some hope into the show itself. Even the hastily created, simple graphics at the end of the episode are a testament to that fact.
He wanted to give viewers a message. No matter what happened, Sam would always be out there, Leaping and putting right what once went wrong in his quest to find a way home.
Lives saved: 2
Number of times Sam believes he is there to do something other than what Ziggy projected: None
Number of times Sams Swiss Cheese memory recalled something from his past: 18
Future elements Sam
introduced into the past:
How many times Al popped in and scared Sam: None
How many cigars Al smoked: None
Number of sexual references Al made: None
Number of times Al leered after a woman: None
Outfits worn: Naval 2-star Rear Admiral uniform
The prominently than most episodes (with the exception of The Leap Back, Lee Harvey Oswald, Killin Time, etc). Control Room images are very limited, as is the Waiting Room, plus we do not get to see Ziggy. We also do not get to see any other members of the Project staff, outside of Gooshie.
The interior of the Imaging Chamber, and what Al sees/experiences when they are attempting to get a lock, is shown for the first time. The last time the Imaging Chamber was shown, it was in The Leap Back. That view was from the ramp leading to the control room, and after a lock had already been established and the Observer (in that case Sam) was in contact with the Leaper (Al).
The fact that alarms Al and Gooshie is the fact that there is nobody in the Waiting Room. In the past, there had always been someone in there when Sam had Leaped into someone.
Theres actually two which I think falls into the category of best line. I just couldnt decide between them. The first is funny, and the second is an extremely powerful allusion that Sam is still out there, Leaping around in time, setting right what once went wrong.
Al: Gooshie, Im gonna ralph.
Al: Barf. Upchuck. Spew. Make like Mount Saint Helens. Im . . . Im gonna blow chunks.
Gooshie: Oh, regurgitate.
Al: You got it, Im out of here.
Al the bartender: ...the lives you touched, touched others, and those, others. You've done a lot of good Sam Beckett, and you can do a lot more.
Again, I found it difficult to select just one for the honor of best scene.
Any scene that featured the interior of the Imaging Chamber were superbly done. Typically, most hologram scenes were filmed in front of a blue or green screen, depending on what the individual was wearing. That screen was edited out and replaced electronically by the scene that had already been filmed. In this case, the blue screen was a perfect compliment for the previously seen Waiting Room, and still allowed the swirling special effects to be integrated.
Another scene, which also fits that category, comes at the end when Sam finds himself in Beths living room and tells her that Al is alive and coming home. The emotion is so powerful that you can practically feel it radiating through the television screen! The Leap effect on Als picture is perfect symbolism of what was possibly to come in future episodes, had the network not canceled the series.
Worst thing about the episode:
Sam Beckett did not return home and the series was canceled! There was so much potential for the show to continue, especially if the alternate ending is any indication. Who wouldnt want to see the normally womanizing Al Calavicci get a bit of payback by Leaping into a woman?
Say what? (AKA things in the episode that make no sense):
Throughout most of the 5th season, the more upbeat"rock" theme had been used for the introduction. Why wasnt it used for Mirror Image? Well, fans asked Don Bellisario in a QL Convention to change it back to the original theme song for the final episode, so he did!
If Sam really did Leap into himself, why wasnt he wearing the Fermi suit? All the other visitors in the Quantum Leap Waiting Room were seen in a Fermi suit. Where did the clothing and wallet come from?
Camp Edwards could this be a clever reference to Edwards Air Force Base, the location mentioned in Genesis?
Since Bruce McGill had previously appeared as Weird Ernie in Genesis, and then was the bartender in Mirror Image, why didnt they get W.K. Stratton to make a final appearance as well? It would have been very fitting, considering the symbolism . . . the bartender could have been God, and Stratton could have been the equivilant of St. Michael, the guardian angel.
When the bearded Gooshie is talking about how Stawpah was the only miner who came out alive, he mentions something about slate on his back, but if you watch closely, his mouth doesnt actually match the word slate. It looks as if hes saying "stone." The same thing happens when Sam is talking as well!
Another audio dub flub! As Sam is realizing that he cant go home because he has a wrong to put right, the words that we hear is "for Al," but again the mouth doesnt quite match the words. It looks as if hes saying "first."
Most of the music within the episode is instrumental. There are two exceptions:
I was born roughly the same time I came through that door.
-- Sam, "Mirror Image"
Gooshie, this isn't working, I'm getting dizzy!
-- Al, in the Imaging Chamber, "Mirror Image"
Whatever Sam's drinking, I'll have one!
-- Voice in the bar crowd, in response to Sam describing a leap, "Mirror Image"
Beth never remarried.
She and Al have four daughters
and will celebrate their 39th
wedding anniversary in June.
-- The End, "Mirror Image"
Suppose you were a priest.
I WAS a priest.
So you were. If the priesthood had been your *chosen* life ...
-- Bartender Al and Sam, "Mirror Image"
Sometimes, that's the way it is.
-- Bartender Al, "Mirror Image"
-- Ziggy, "Mirror Image"
Not much of a looker, huh?
I wouldnt let her hear you say that.
-- Ziggy and Sam (about the computerized Ziggy), "Mirror Image"
-- Gooshie and Al, getting a lock in the Imaging Chamber, "Mirror Image"
Stawpah was a leaper!
Stawpah was Ukrainian.
-- Sam and Gooshie, "Mirror Image"
Where would you like to go, Sam?
-- Bartender Al and Sam, "Mirror Image"
God Bless, Sam.
-- Bartender Al, "Mirror Image"
You let too much time go by and you could lose touch with reality.
-- Al the Bartender, "Mirror Image"
I know an Al who says ca-ca.
-- Sam, "Mirror Image"
Sometimes 'that's the way it is' is the best explanation.
-- Al the bartender, "Mirror Image"
...the lives you touched, touched others, and those, others. You've done a lot of good Sam Beckett, and you can do a lot more.
-- Al the bartender, "Mirror Image"
Sam, you will only do this as long as you want to.
-- Al the bartender, "Mirror Image"
Whatever it takes, I'll get you out of this.
-- Al, "Mirror Image"
You're not just a bartender.
That's true--I own the place too.
--Sam and bartender Al, "Mirror Image"
Read the official script for "Mirror Image" with two alternate endings!
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