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alsplacebartender 02-18-2003 03:02 PM

501 Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
October 5, 1957 ? November 22, 1963

Atsugi & Negashaia-Yamato, Japan / Tustin, California / Moscow, Russia / New Orleans, Louisiana / Dallas, Texas

For the first time ever, Sam leaps into a notable figure in history! He has leaped into the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who supposedly murdered President John F. Kennedy. As Sam leaps back and forth several times throughout Oswald's life, his and Oswald's minds become intertwined to the point that Sam finds himself about to pull the trigger from the Texas Schoolbook Depository window.

Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.

Rate and comment on the feature-length fifth season premiere!

Vince Beckett 10-06-2005 07:22 PM

Yes, this is the perfect way to open the fifth season. Sam leaps into a real person. This episode was based on data gathered since the assassination. Coincidentally, I was writing a report about the JFK assassination at the time for school. This was the first time that Sam actually became his host and almost lost control, which makes it harder for him to accomplish his mission.

bluedana 03-30-2006 11:08 AM

I must have rewound the first scene with Marina three times before watching the rest of the episode. I had actually forgotten how amazing the characterization is. The brilliant and effortless shifting between Sam and Oswald, conveyed only by voice and expression; the confusion over whether he's speaking Russian or English; the lightning fast rage and then remorse - THIS is why the dude was nominated for an Emmy.

Adam 04-02-2006 04:40 PM

So... I hate to sound stupid but I don't think I really understand what happened in this episode. Or rather, I hope I'm wrong about what I do understand. Basically, we know that Jackie O didn't die right, both in "real life" and, since sam saves her, in quantum leap. But that's the problem, she didn't die! So I tried to justify this by with the fact that she only didnt die because Sam saved her (haha this is getting confusing!) but...if this is the case, wouldnt that mean that in Al's present, Jackie would be dead? Up until the end of the episode, of course, when Sam saves her. Does this make sense? Basically, if Jackie would have died in real life then this episode would make sense, because in "quantum leap world" we could see that sam has changed history by saving her. But sam hasnt changed history, because she didnt die in real life. Also, if Jackie was dead...why did it not occur to sam and al at any point that they might have been there to save her? They only ever talked about saving JFK.

I hope this makes sense to someone, because I'm really confused!

JuliaM 04-02-2006 07:58 PM


Also, if Jackie was dead...why did it not occur to sam and al at any point that they might have been there to save her? They only ever talked about saving JFK.
Most of your answers lie right there. Sam and Al both are making the assumption that his mission is to save JFK. Since the only history we know is the assination of JFK as viewers it's a logical conclusion for us as well. The twist is finding out at the end that in the original history that Sam came from Jackie had also died. One can assume that Al did know this but never gave it considerations since saving the life of the President would most likely be considered the more important thing to do. There could have also been the assumption of a domino effect - if the life of JFK is saved then so would the life of Jackie.

Dman176 04-02-2006 08:12 PM


Basically, think of it this way: the world as we know it today exists because of all of the good that Sam has done. We are living in an altered timeline, not the original one. So, in the case with "Lee Harvey Oswald," John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Onassis were both shot and killed by Oswald. Al obviously remembered because this is the history he lived through the first time around, whereas Sam didn't remember due to the Swiss-cheese effect. There are probably two reasons why it never occurred to Al that Sam was there to save Jackie. One: JFK was the main target; his assassination had a huge impact on the world at a time when we were at war. Plus, stopping Oswald would have automatically saved both of them. Two: revealing that Jackie was still alive in Al's time would have spoiled the "surprise ending," which had been advertised in the NBC promos. Up until that point in the series, we as the viewers didn't know that the time travel theory of the series worked that way.

That's why then in later episodes, like "Goodbye Norma Jean," for example, they started off by saying that Marilyn Monroe had died of a drug/alcohol overdose in 1960, when anyone who knows a lot about her knows that she actually died on August 5, 1962. Once Sam changed history, she was able to complete her last film, The Misfits, before she then died later in 1962. That was how the producers of the show were able to get around the "no changing real-life history" rule.


Adam 04-03-2006 07:00 AM

Ah thanks for your replies, I think I did actually understand it after all, was just looking at it the wrong way. I just thought it was a little bit disappointing for an episode which, by it's own admission, was based around facts (as it says right at the beginning of the episode) to go and just make something up for the ending (i.e. that Jackie had originally died) but I guess that it is still fiction after all. I suppose this is why "real-life" leaps would have been a bit more problematic than fictional ones, since we actually know the original story. But yeah, thanks for the different perspectives, am not disappointed with the ending now, there was not much else they could do, it would have been even more silly for them to save JFK's life. Still a brilliant episdoe.

Samantha Beckett 04-03-2006 12:15 PM

I had always been scared of this episode, lol. I saw it for the first time when I was 8 years old, and it freaked the crap out of me. I had to change the channel, and I literally avoided watching the ep when it was on TV until the most recent sci-fi marathon a few weeks ago....11 years, lol.

It still freaked me out, but for a different reason. Stuff like the music, the suicide scene, Sam hitting Marina was what scared me then. Now, it was more along the lines of how Sam was out of control and how Oswald had taken over. The music, suicide scene, and all still scared me but still. Despite it all, I loved it. It really was a brilliant episode. I know Don Bellisario was reluctant to having to resort to leaping Sam into real life people because of his original rules/ideas for the show, but it really was one of the best episodes that was done.

Samantha Beckett

SamBeckett94 01-23-2007 02:42 PM

Lee Harvey Oswald
I've only seen this episode once, and I didn't enjoy it. It had me confused, and it seemed to go on longer than any other episode (other than 'Genesis of course). I have to admit, there was hell of a lot of good acting in this episode. Maybe after I watch it again I will enjoy it more, but for now, I am left complaining about the length and quality of the script, like Father Jack complains when he runs out of drink.

Al The Observer 01-25-2007 01:09 AM

This was a "feature length" episode, meaning it the fifth season was opened with a two-hour episode.

jmellissa 01-25-2007 02:33 AM

I only seen this one once on T.V. But from what I can remember I enjoyed this one a lot it had a lot of unforseen things that I didn't seen coming. Sam/Scott did a wonderful job!

SamBeckett94 01-29-2007 12:26 PM

I just re - watched this episode on DVD, and seeing it a second time, I've enjoyed it alot more.

samnal 02-09-2007 07:51 PM

I will never be able to watch this episode. I have never even been able to get through it since it's first run. I hate the music they changed to 5th season and I think that it is a terrible TERRIBLE mistake to fool around with anything like this--LHO was a pawn. He was a victim, and as LHO said himself in the news footage you can watch any time--and I offer anyone a challenge that sees this to even believe ONE second of LHO/QL--when a reporter told LHO that he was the only suspect in the Kennedy assasination take a really good look at his face, see the surprise the horror and then the disgust. Then hear his words, "I was a patsy," at another time. I'm sorry if the writer of LHO (I know who it was, I just refuse to discuss him) has some hard feelings about a guy he knew for 5 minutes several decades ago, and really just wanted to show the world that LOOK I KNEW THIS GUY!!! I KNEW HE WOULD DO THIS BECAUSE I SAW HIM GETTIN' DRESSED IN A LOCKER ROOM IN 1959!!!!!!! Right. I am not one to mince words about this or anything QL that hurt--this hurt. This made me sick. To think it could have been Sam leaping into bad as that might have been I would have rather had that.

redanime 03-15-2007 08:40 PM

Sam strugling?
In the scene where Al comes in between Marina and Sam/Oswald.When Marina left and Al is telling Sam that he leaped in after Oswald shot General Walker.
when the camera shows Sam.It looked if Sam was struging to regain control over his body,like he was fighting Oswald.
What do you think?

bluedana 03-16-2007 12:56 PM

I think you're right. This scene has a very chilling moment (at least for me), when Al is yelling at Sam to get his attention, and Sam (as LHO) is totally fixated on why he missed the General since it was such an easy shot. Al yells, Can you hear me, and Sam snarls, I hear you, Al, you don't have to yell. But he does it in LHO's voice and inflection, so you don't know who exactly is in control at that moment. I think they conveyed that struggle so well both in voice and mannerism, and, as you point out, in showing Sam's physical struggle with his own body.

Aging Boomer 03-23-2007 10:07 PM

This was a freaky episode. I really missed the gentle Sam I'd come to know and love when Oswald took over his personality! Why did this man never receive an Emmy?

cookiemom6067 05-21-2007 12:23 PM

My husband and I both felt that this episode was a cop-out. We don't believe for one second that LHO was the lone assassin.

After I saw this for the first time on DVD a couple of weeks ago, I watched it again and again. I was never so shocked by QL in my life as when Sam slaps Marina in the first scene. It was one of those things I just couldn't look away from. I was so impressed by Scott's acting and the writing in this episode that I can actually put aside my absolute opposition to the position it takes. That is a very rare quality for any work of fiction to achieve.

isz 08-25-2007 09:19 AM

From the first time i've seen this epiosode - I never liked it -It was much too long,the subject itself is very problematic,and the was much too surreal and unbelivable - Yeah right... in the original History Jackie died too. DPB should have came up with a much better idea to ends this episode.
And Last but not least... I found this episode quite boring. The acting was great,but this episode was too hmm...wierd.
This episode is without a doubt my least favourite episode of the series.

margarita_salt 11-07-2007 04:02 PM


Originally Posted by Aging Boomer
This was a freaky episode. I really missed the gentle Sam I'd come to know and love when Oswald took over his personality! Why did this man never receive an Emmy?

:hurray: Thank you for finally saying that. Why did Scott Bakula never receive an emmy. Especially in the 5th season. His acting in "Lee Harvey Oswald" and "Nowhere to Run" was extraordinary.

ohboy 09-28-2008 07:52 PM

I just watched this episdode, and it personally did not do it for me. It was a great episode, but I didn't really like the "feel" of it in the sense that Sam leapt around too much. My favorite part of the show was where it deals with social issues. I know that gets old and boring after a while, but this just seemed a little over the top. I was surprised by the ending though. Overall, this wasn't a bad episode, but I didn't really enjoy it.

julieannboo 08-03-2009 07:55 AM

i found this 90 minute episode a bit too much.

maybe they were trying to be too clever?

i know they were setting the scene for november 22nd 1963 but i found it hard to follow.

sonea 04-14-2010 02:24 PM

I've just gone over everyone's posts here.

Had I posted my feelings here after the first time I watched LOH it would have been negative. I remember commenting to myself how dark it seemed. I immediately felt the acting was incredible but the story and how it was presented was very dark. It didn't leave me with a good feeling.

But since then I have seen this episode several more times. I have to say that as I watch it over again I am more drawn to the way the whole thing was presented and acted than how dark it is. Really, the emotions and feelings Sam goes through as he switches between himself and LOH were amazing to watch. Seeing Sam angry is so rare and interesting to see how he reacts to that. The scene with Marina and how he reacts to his slapping her comes to mind. Or even seeing Sam switch over to Oswald such as when he gets angry with the sergeant when he was shooting.

I don't really hold any position on how JFK was assassinated and I don't feel it reflects on QL that this particular point of view was taken. And, I thought the idea that Sam leaped in to save Jackie and not JFK was fabulous, not weak.

Overall, I now find this episode quite captivating.

Stakker 08-03-2011 06:42 AM

I thought this episode rather disappointing in the unquestioning nature of the subject. Lee Oswald being a bad tempered wife-beater seemed to be artistic license.

Anyway, aside from that, I noticed that Willie Garson, who played Lee Oswald in the Imaging Chamber, is only the 2nd actor who has starred in QL twice. (the other being Charlie Rocket in 'Leap for Lisa' and 'A little miracle'.

Willie Garson also played Seymour in 'Play it again, Seymour'.

This means he has starred in two eponymous episodes. (Where the name of the episode includes the name of his character)

blue enigma 10-25-2012 12:11 AM

I'm probably in the minority but I never liked this episode, although I do acknowledge that it was well-written, the acting was absolutely superb and the way they did the work-around so that Sam changed something around a real event was inspired.

This episode inspired one of the most chilling QL fanfics I've ever read (and it's actually a short one-shot), in which Sam leaps into Jack the Ripper and the same thing happens where the Ripper's personality over-powers Sam - only the Ripper is much stronger than LHO.

MichelleD 12-10-2012 11:58 PM

This was hard for me to watch, but Scott did a great job with what must have been a difficult part. It was interesting to see Sam leap into a real historical event, but the idea that Sam could come so close to murdering anyone and have such a struggle controlling Oswald's personality was creepy.

He did kill several people throughout the series, but it was always to keep them from killing him or the people he was supposed to be helping, and Al usually had to yell at him before he did anything.

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