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alsplacebartender 02-18-2003 01:18 PM

319 Last Dance Before an Execution
 
Last Dance Before an Execution
May 12, 1971


Tallahassee, Florida


As he leaps in, Sam finds himself strapped in an electric chair for a murder his host may not have committed. But as he is granted a sudden forty-eight-hour stay of execution, he must quickly dig through legal papers and barriers to find the truth before he goes back to the chair again.


Teleplay by: Deborah Pratt
Story by: Bill Bigelow, Donald P. Bellisario & Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Michael Watkins


Rate and comment on this episode!

Vince Beckett 10-05-2005 11:04 PM

This was a great episode. This was one where Sam is in prison and can't do much, so Al ends up doing most of the work.

Sam Beckett Fan 02-23-2006 03:54 PM

i like this episode mostly for the adorable scene where Al gets the little girl
to talk to Tersa, but also for it being one of Sam's hardest leaps.

cookiemom6067 05-25-2007 09:26 PM

I recognize the quality of the episode, but I find it almost unbearable to watch, even though I know [
Spoiler Alert! (highlight to read)
SAM isn't going to be executed.

bluedana 05-26-2007 06:08 PM

For me, the excellence of this episode is that it defies expectation and doesn't turn into a polemic against the death penalty. I have read a lot of comments about the show, and people insist that QL was a left wing, liberal mindset example of Hollywood. The often cite Dance, and I think to myself, Did you even watch the episode to the end??? It's not anti-death penalty; it's anti rush-to-judgement-and-execute-the-wrong-person-because-he's-a-poor-minority-who-didn't-get-a-fair-trial-anyway. As law and order as I am, I can get behind that completely.

This is one that my hubby will stop and watch even if he's just wandering through the room when it's on, it's that compelling. I love Tearsa, and the scene where she slaps Sam out of frustration. The whole episode is totally intense, with the escalating sense of panic, but it has one of the funniest lines from Al: Sam asks him What took you so long? And Al replies, exasperated, It's not like you're lost at the mall, Sam. You're lost in time!

cookiemom6067 05-27-2007 11:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluedana
... I have read a lot of comments about the show, and people insist that QL was a left wing, liberal mindset example of Hollywood. The often cite Dance, and I think to myself, Did you even watch the episode to the end??? ...

Gotta wonder if they ever watched the show at ALL if they think that !!!!!

isz 08-01-2007 04:55 PM

An unforgetable episode without o doubt,but not enough to be Excellent.
It was a very tense and strong episode,but...Well the second time i've seen this episode(the first time was like 15 years ago so i didn't remember it in the second time i've seen it - 4 years ago) I thought it was an amazing and an excellent episode. the third time i've seen it(a year ago) i thought it was an excellent episode,something i'll put on my top 5 list of QL. but the last time i've seen it(yesterday) i realized that this episode will have huge effect on any viewer in the first time(and maybe in the second time) he'll watch it,but each time you'll see it again,this effect slowly disappeared,'Couse the "magic's gone"... And that the Difference between this episode,in my opinion,to episode like "MIA","Good night ,dear heart","The leap home 1&2" and above all those "the B**gieman" that no matter how many times you've seen it they will still have a great effect on you.
In the Bottom line - the script just wasn't good enough,but it still has a great effect on the viewer.

Bexter 08-01-2007 08:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluedana
people insist that QL was a left wing, liberal mindset example of Hollywood. The often cite Dance, and I think to myself, Did you even watch the episode to the end???



Oh Pleeeeaaaassee!!! When I watched this, to me it was JUST a presentation of someones story who was on death row. In fact, now reading this posts, it makes me realise that present such a story WITHOUT having an underlying opinion coming through is actually very clever. It would be so easy with such a controversial topic. We don't have the death penalty in Australia in any states so its not something I really think about often, whether I agree or disagree and not once during or after this episode did I even start to think whether I agree or disagree, it wasn't part of the agenda of the episode at all. Personally, I think it was a good episode, not the best but certainly one that you watch from beginning to end without once thinking, "Oh Good Grief, when is this going to end!!!!"

Actually thinking about it a bit more... (always dangerous) maybe because it doesn't have an obvious opinion, People who already have a strong opinion one way or another, just read into it what they want. It would be really easy to do.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluedana
but it has one of the funniest lines from Al: Sam asks him What took you so long? And Al replies, exasperated, It's not like you're lost at the mall, Sam. You're lost in time!

:lol I just love Al :dreaming

isz 08-02-2007 04:17 AM

I forgot to add it,but... Is it just me or the actress played Tersa in this episode really reminds Deborah Pratt in her look?!

bluedana 08-02-2007 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bexter

Actually thinking about it a bit more... (always dangerous) maybe because it doesn't have an obvious opinion, People who already have a strong opinion one way or another, just read into it what they want. It would be really easy to do.

This is one of my top five episodes; I can watch it over and over, and find something new. It's that compelling.

The last time I put on that episode, my husband pointed out how interesting it was to him that GTFW didn't think that Jesus' execution was a "wrong" that needed to be made right.

Snish 08-03-2007 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluedana
This is one of my top five episodes; I can watch it over and over, and find something new. It's that compelling.

The last time I put on that episode, my husband pointed out how interesting it was to him that GTFW didn't think that Jesus' execution was a "wrong" that needed to be made right.

Yes--anybody who says this episode demonstrates a liberal mindset just isn't paying attention. With a liberal agenda, the execution definitely would have been stopped.

And notice how many QL episodes are about the military, the Vietnam War, and so forth. Not about the murky politics behind the war, and very little about the protests against it, but just about the plight of the soldiers who had to fight it. Liberals would concentrate on the protests.

The episode did have its biggest impact on me the first time I watched it, but it remains well worth watching again. That moment when Al appears and says "Tell them you want to confess" just makes my hair stand on end. And I love the shopping mall line. And the way Sam says, "Where the hell have you been?" He's never sounded that desperate.

sonea 08-19-2009 07:56 AM

Just finished watching this episode again yesterday. It has to be one of my favourites. It is truly intense and the acting just great. I love the scene where Tersa slaps Sam which has been mentioned already. I also love the scene where Sam has just been asked if he's going to dance before the execution and his realization that this just might happen. My daughter on the other hand, who shares my love of QL, does not like this episode at all. Too dark for her I think.

Lightning McQueenie 01-31-2012 11:40 AM

I had a thought. If the leap-out had occurred a split-second later, would there have been enough electricity running through Sam's body to incur a simo-leap, like what we saw a few episodes later?

Al's the Best 03-08-2012 02:35 PM

I've got more of a conservative mindset and was always afraid to watch this episode thinking it was going to be a very left leaning story but was surprised that politics were never brought into it! I tend to think it had more to do with Don Bellisario's influence on the scripts! Nice to know there are other conservative's here as well! Sorry if I'm repeating myself!

blue enigma 10-24-2012 11:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Al's the Best (Post 59118)
I've got more of a conservative mindset and was always afraid to watch this episode thinking it was going to be a very left leaning story but was surprised that politics were never brought into it! I tend to think it had more to do with Don Bellisario's influence on the scripts! Nice to know there are other conservative's here as well! Sorry if I'm repeating myself!

I actually think they did a good job across the board in the show dealing with the various social issues without bringing politics into it, not just this episode. I never saw the show as being either conservative or liberal.

This is a terrific episode.

MichelleD 12-11-2012 12:26 AM

Hard to watch, but it is a well done, intense, moving episode in many ways. The acting is great. This must have been a difficult episode for Scott and Dean both to do. There were usually funny bits in even the more serious episodes but this is one of the few QL episodes where I didn't laugh or smile at least once. The idea of Sam coming so close to dying kind of freaked me out.

iMonrey 09-04-2013 02:51 PM

This one was intense all right. Probably one of the most dramatic, if not the most dramatic, I've seen. From start to finish - Sam leaps in and immediately realizes what's going on - the panic is palpable. The ending was a complete surprise - we are assuming all through the episode Sam is there to prove Jesus is innocent. Al yelling at Sam to leap as the executioner is throwing the switch - what an edge of your seat moment in the series.

The thing about this one that kind of gets me is that apparently Jesus leapt into the Waiting Room in some kind of comatose state - Al says Jesus must think he's already dead and his mind just shut down, apparently. So he isn't given false hope, spending the next 48 hours in the waiting room thinking he'll get a reprieve. He's sort of in a state of suspended animation, and presumably completely unaware. I wonder if he regained consciousness when he leapt back in during the electrocution.

Donofrio_QLTD 12-23-2014 02:18 AM

One of the best episodes from Season 3, it is. Minor details here and there that I didn't care for, like the telephone ringing at the exact moment when he's going to get fried and the call saves him (that one has been overused in movies since the day they were invented) and some of the scenes on the church with the picture of the Madonna (now I can't help to see that whole scene as some sort of irony, considering what happens next).

Other than that, this was, as many have said before me, a pretty intense episode. This one was proof that Deborah Pratt could be pretty dark and engaging whenever she felt like it and in this season she not only showed that, but she also demonstrated that she could write pretty mature and interesting characters.

I loved Tersa as much as I did all the other bad and good guys. Raul was pretty three dimensional. Even though he's not considered as a known actor, I think Julio Oscar Mechoso is outstanding (I saw him in The Big Bang Theory once playing a minor role, a cop I believe, but he was outstanding there as well). The main bad guy, don't remember his name now, the one Tersa was supposed to work for, was pretty menacing and also very three dimensional. Even all the other couple of cops were three dimensional, in my opinion. I have to be honest: The first time I saw this installment I thought the bad guy was gonna win, and when he has that last scene with Sam where he tells him about "the last dance before death" and that little music played out (some kind of bells), I thought for a moment that maybe he was again The Devil from "The B**gieman" that had somehow come back. That was a very creepy experience and then comes the whole ending. One of the few QL episodes that truly kept me on the edge of my seat.

My favorite moments: When Raul and Sam talk to each other from cell to cell seeing each other on the mirrors they're holding and Raul tells him their story with the priest that was murdered (so touching), when the father visits Sam in his cell and tells him he has to ask for forgiveness and Sam tells him he knows God isn't gonna leave him there hanging and that he doesn't have to ask for anything because he hasn't done anything wrong, that moment was pretty hilarious but crafted in a way that it's still pretty unsettling, great stuff, and the church scene with the light from Ziggy's metal detector and the interaction between Tersa and the little girl, very well acted and directed. I feel like whenever Michael Watkins was in the director's chair, he never disappointed, he was quite good.

An episode to remember. Every time someone mentions Season 3 to me, this is one of the first 3 episodes that come to mind, the others are Future Boy and The B**gieman.

My rating: Excellent.

Lightning McQueenie 09-21-2018 10:25 AM

I'm surprised that people think this episode did not bring politics into it. There is a whole scene with the politician arguing with one of his advisers. The adviser suggests delaying the execution to temporarily appease the liberals, but he refuses because there are far more conservatives in that region. Politics definitely was in this episode. It was also clear that while the episode did not take an explicit stance on the death penalty issue, it is implied that the episode takes a stance is against it, due to the fact that in the original history an innocent person died.

chris-oates 08-17-2019 12:35 AM

One of the best episodes of Quantum Leap, in my opinion. In fact, this is very, VERY close to making my top 10 episodes of all time. The whole episode is just thrilling and relentless. It is unusual for me to put an episode like this so high up there, because it does lack any real kind of light relief (except maybe for Al on a few occasions).

From the very start, we're right in the thick of it. We're right there with Sam in the chair. The fact he even mutters, "Oh God", instead of "Oh boy", goes to show that the stakes are gonna be much higher throughout. We don't really get a break, even when the phone rings. We know it's only going to be a temporary reprieve.

Tearsa is one of my favourite Quantum Leap characters of all time. She has this fire to her, this hidden drive to do the right thing. That's why one of my least favourite moments is when she realises that she's being believing in the wrong man, when she finds out that Jesus is guilty after all. But the reason why I love this character is present in the final scene. Even when she knows Jesus is guilty, she still forgives him. The sorrow in her eyes in that final goodbye through the glass is really moving. Some beautiful acting there.

The DA, Theodore Moody, is one of the best antagonists we ever get in QL. His little speech to Sam about the last dance before death is really chilling. The music in the background is what really sells it. I also love that scathing last look he gives Sam as well in the execution chamber. But there's a tiny, ever so tiny hint of awe and admiration in his eyes. Sam/Jesus hasn't done a final dance in his last moments, he's brought him down. He's ruined him and his position as DA is done and he knows it deep down. And in that moment, I do sense a tiny hint of subdued respect towards Jesus. It's a tiny, easy to miss moment, but I actually think it's one of the best moments in the whole 3rd season. In fact, that whole final scene is. The leap out is one of the very best. Talk about leaving it late! Phew. That was close. I'm glad that Jesus didn't suffer, though. He would literally have leaped back just in time to die. It would have been worse if he'd had a couple of minutes to realise what was happening. It's better he leaped back seconds before dying instead of a few minutes before.

Best scene. The actual best scene of this episode, though, is the one in the church. Al's at his best here and the little girl is adorable. A great scene.

My rating. Excellent. A nail-biting episode. A little too dark to make my top 10, but it's still a remarkable episode.


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