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Old 09-10-2007, 12:25 PM   #16
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 265

I'm too lazy to rewrite an explanation of this episode, so, if you'll forgive me, I'll cut and paste from another thread (the Evil Leaper/Bad Fanfic discussion). I'm including jmoniz's comment, which is what I was responding to, in order for it to make sense.

"The Leap Between the States" is a fifth season episode and it never gives any clear indication of the purpose of Sam's leap. It can't be to make sure his great grandparents get together. If that hadn't happened originally he would never existed. The only other thing we're led to believe is that the purpose was to either make sure MLK's ancestor escaped to freedom or that he took the name "King". Again, though, it's already established in the first season that both of these things must have happened since Martin Luther King exists and both Sam and Al know of him.
I'm fine with the third possibility, that the slave family (who was not, I think, related to Isaac) was discovered by the Confederate patrol and returned to their owners in the original history. I think John Beckett did everything Sam did (got shot, went to Livvy's farm, saw the slaves, kept quiet about it), but it was Sam who devised the scheme of getting the watchmen drunk, and it was Al who figured out the route they should take to freedom (avoiding Confederate troops based on where the next couple of battles would occur). That is, I think, the point of diversion from the original history. Isaac was always going to be freed by Lincoln's Proclamation. I would imagine he would still feel like a "King" about that, without Sam's pep talk about how things were going to change in the future. I think the subtlety comes in because normally, Al has a wrap up regarding the people Sam is there to save, not some other character. But the point of the Underground Railroad (and the slave family was simply the last "passengers" to go through this particular "station," Livvy's farm) was that the slaves literally disappeared into the North. Ziggy would have no record to access to give an update. So if we're focused on the characters who get the update, we might think that Isaac is the focus of the Leap, or John and Livvy. But they're not. The family is. And we'll never know how they went on to change our history, or why GTFW wanted that particular wrong made right, because we don't know who they are.
Perhaps an ancestor of that family went on to become a senator, or an astronaut, or a doctor. Because of the nature of slavery in this country (with close to a million people never having a birth record and having their family names changed at the whim of their owners), we will never know.
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