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Old 07-05-2016, 11:56 PM   #51
Scotophor
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Location: La Puente, CA U.S.A.
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Originally Posted by JuliaM View Post
I don't believe it was actually known when this episode was written and filmed that Quantum Leap was being cancelled. This episode was supposed to be a "cliff hanger" type ending that would lead into a 6th seaon opener and would take us to the future. Since that ended up not being the case, changes had to be made. I believe the cards at the end were put there by NBC and not Bellisario.
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Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie View Post
Don Bellisario has said that Sam is definitely not dead. It's just a coincidence that he was hired for a job usually taken by dead people.
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Originally Posted by iMonrey View Post
Basically, this episode just left me baffled. I don't really have a problem with the ending revelation that Sam never returned home, which is what I think most fans objected to. I just don't really understand what DPB was trying to say here - regardless of whether this was intended to be [the series] finale or not.
Here's my response to the "is Sam dead?" fan debate. This is a slightly edited version of a comment I wrote anonymously (date unknown; approximately May-June 2015) regarding a copy of a review of "Mirror Image" posted at The TV and Film Guy's Reviews: Worst.. Finale... Ever..., review originally posted by Josh Lasser on June 21, 2007 at The Worst TV Series Finale… Ever:

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Maybe the creators didn't intend this, or maybe they did but never made it crystal clear for the "slower" fans (who unfortunately turned out to be the majority), but here's my take on the final episode--

At the very beginning of "Mirror Image", Sam has died! How are we supposed to know this? Here's one version of Sam's "String Theory", which is repeated a few times in the series, about what happens to someone who goes through the Quantum Leap Accelerator:
"One end of this string represents your birth; the other end, your death. You tie the ends together, and your life is a loop. Ball the loop... and the days of your life touch each other out of sequence. Therefore, leaping from one point in the string to another would move you back and forth within your own lifetime."

The key concepts there are what the ends of the string represent, and that they become connected. Since, shortly after his arrival in Cokeburg, Sam discovered that it was just past the exact moment of his birth, it follows from the Theory that the moment before that was the moment of his death. Therefore, for pretty much the entire episode, Sam is already dead. But apparently Sam doesn't put two and two together from his own theory, even after seeing himself in the mirror and Al telling him that there's no one in the waiting room...
New corroborating info to add, which I just realized in July, 2016:
By production code number order, the episode which immediately precedes "Mirror Image" (68126) is not "Memphis Melody" (68123), but "Revenge of the Evil Leaper" a.k.a. "Evil Leaper III" (68125). More info from that episode and one of its preceding related mini-arc episodes also support my theory above. Near the end of "Deliver Us from Evil" a.k.a. "Evil Leaper I", Sam convinces evil leaper Alia not to shoot him, based upon his idea that "evil can not exist without good", so if she were to kill Sam, she would die too. By the logical corollary to this theory, good also can not exist without evil. Near the end of "Revenge of the Evil Leaper", we see Alia get shot in the chest and immediately leap. However, by this time Alia is apparently no longer an evil leaper but instead the target of one. But her replacement evil leaper Zoe also gets shot in the chest and immediately leaps. What if Sam's "good and evil" theory is true, and my corollary is true too? What if Zoe died as a result of the gunshot wound and her death directly and immediately caused Sam's death, at the moment we saw him leap? This would be a perfect lead-in to "Mirror Image" with Sam being deceased but not yet being aware of it.

The question in my mind now is, was Bellisario lying when he said that Sam is not dead? From a marketing standpoint, with the possibility then existing for a QL movie or for the series to be picked up and continued by another network, he had to say that Sam is still alive whether it was true or not. To me, these clues make it apparent that, as the writer of the episode, DPB originally intended that Sam is dead. However, since he isn't credited as a writer of any of the "evil leaper" episodes, he might have forgotten or been unaware that Zoe's getting shot could have resulted (and now apparently did) in Sam's death. Whether Bellisario originally intended for Sam to be dead or not, considering the episodes in production code number order and taking the "string theory" and "good and evil theory" into account, Sam must be dead during this episode.
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Last edited by Scotophor; 07-06-2016 at 12:44 AM.
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