208 Jimmy


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Al's Place Bartender
Staff member
October 14, 1964

Oakland, California

Sam leaps into one of his most famous roles as Jimmy, a retarded young adult whose brother has landed him a job on the docks. Sam must keep the job and prevent Jimmy from ending up in an institution.

In this episode, we also find out about Al's sister Trudy and her fate as well as a bit of history about Al's family life.

Written by: Paul M. Belous & Robert Wolterstorff
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.

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This is probably my most favorite of all the QL shows. To me, this is where Al really becomes a strong character. His love for his sister... and her loss STILL is tearing him up inside!! And if he could only have gotten to her sooner.

So he wants to make up for that as much as possible by making Jimmy succeed!

It's what lead me to write my first Quantum Leap Story, and in my mind, it's still one of my best efforts ever!

I loved this episode and how you get to see a side of Al that(so far in the series, at this point) you never have seen before. The loss of his sister, Trudy. And I love how Don later, in the final season, made this episode the subject of the starting episode of the Evil Leaper trilogy. "Deliver Us From Evil"
I also voted "excellent"! :D

This is my favorite QL episode of all time. This episode was really special to me, as my second - best friend Jhonny has very mild down syndrome. He always used to get picked on at the high school when we were young children, but really, it is difficult to pick him out from the rest of civilisation. So when the episode authors wrote Al's lines, they knew what they were talking about. The thing I love about this episode is that it introduces several dilemmas in Al's life. When I heard the word 'retarded', I thought that the episode was going to be having a kick at retarded people, but I was glad to find that it was in fact supporting them.
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Totally loved this episode! :)

Al, wow! Totally humanized. He got kinda emotional. He's one of those military guys who don't show emotion.

I think it shows alot about Brothers as well, Al loved his sister Trudy and protected her just like Frank did with Jimmy.

Excellent episode!
It was an excellent episode but its end really ruined it for me. although i understand why the writers wrote this ending Connie had to accept Jimmy for who he is,but still...it really bothered me.
That the reason i vote it to be only "Good".
Well deserved Emmy nomination for SB here, as his portrayal of Jimmy is pitch perfect. You can never tell whether Sam is clumsy because Jimmy is uncoordinated, or because the pressure on him to be perfect is so great. I watch and rewatch all the scene where Sam breaks or ruins something (the breakfast bowl; the thermos into the wharf; the scratches on the truck; the glass platter), and the clumsiness is seamless.

As for the ending, I find it interesting that Sam is so panicked that he needs Al to prompt him to start CPR - even though he's a doctor. I'm not sure what other major thing they could have had Jimmy do to allow the dock workers to accept him.

I felt bad for Blue, though. That guy's in for a tough life.
One of my top ones. :)
i don't even know where to begin, exceptional acting (and QL actors are already better'n average), touching and meaningful story. I especially like the self-fulfiling destiny. It was expected of Jimmy/Sam to fail, so he started failing and expecting it and so forth.
And that's with Sam officially being a genius. Makes you wonder how much of people's failing and succeeding comes from society's expectations of them.

Frank was acted so engagingly, I was really drawn into the truth of the relationship he had with his brother. Al's scene about his sister was beautiful too, I think it's the first moment that Al is clearly personally invested in the success of a Leap.
jassian said:
One of my top ones. :)

And that's with Sam officially being a genius. Makes you wonder how much of people's failing and succeeding comes from society's expectations of them.

I read a great little story the other day...
In brief, it was about a group of tiny frogs who decided to climb a skyscraper (Yeah, I know, daft premise, but bear with me!)
They set off, and a crowd gathers to watch. The crowd starts yelling "They'll never make it, they'll all fall and be killed, it's impossible etc etc."

Sure enough, one by one the frogs slip off and plummet to the ground.

All except one, who keeps going and gets to the top.

When he gets there, a reporter meets him on the roof and asks how he could succeed where all the others failed.

The frog puts a hand to his ear and says "What? Can't hear you, sonny."

Because he was deaf to the negativity, he didn't give up!!!!

Proves your point exactly I think!
leaper1 said:
I read a great little story the other day...
In brief, it was about a group of tiny frogs who decided to climb a skyscraper [...]

Hey I know that story! But the version I know is about them jumping out of a deep hole. :) Actually that frog thought the others were cheering him on and *tada* leapt out.

Which in turn makes you wonder how much Jimmy would have achieved if his family had believed in him right from the start. The same counting for real down syndrome people.
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This is probably the first episode where Sam's mind merges with that of his host. I'm not surprised, therefore, that in Shock Theatre after Sam gets the shock therapy, Jimmy's persona is one that Sam takes on and the one that sticks the longest. It's also not surprising that Frank and Jimmy are two people who stick out in Sam's mind in Mirror Image (since that leap is entirely in his mind).

It's interesting though, that when Sam leaps into Jimmy for the second time, that he doesn't have any problems showing up from the mind merging. I have to agree, this time around, enough time had past for Jimmy to be accepted, which meant they were less likely to expect him to fail, and so he wasn't failing, and therefore, it wasn't coming out in Sam either...
Wow! What can I say? Yet another great and important episode that marked the history of Quantum Leap. A very inspiring and even profound story where the tone was again REALLY serious and REALLY intense, even if there were a few moments intended to make you chuckle a bit, but throughout the whole episode there's a sense of uneasiness... until the final resolution, when you can finally breathe and smile.

Episodes like this were the ones that really showed the potential this series had. Nothing ever went wrong with this installment. Three-dimensional characters (just the way it is supposed to be), classic direction and outstanding atmosphere. Great, great writing from the beginning to the very end. An emblematic episode for QL.

John DiAquino is one of my favorite persons related to QL. I don't say just "one of my favorite QL actors" because he also wrote "The Beast Within", and that episode was one of my favorites in the series as well, but I'll get to it later.

My rating: Excellent.

Hullo Leapers , First of all - I am a Newbie . And so very happy to finally be able to post . I look forward to posting with everyone here , eventually .
Uuhh , this episode hit me deep in my heart . Mr. Bakula's performance is as I rated this episode - excellent. I loved how this episode just tugged at my heart strings and all . Because of the sweetness to it .and the topic of mental illness . The ability to work in spite of his condition . I love that Al got to be so involved due to the backstory about Trudy , his sister . It made me very proud for Mr. Stockwell's performance. I wanted to cry along with him . And until now , I don't understand why they portrayed dylexia as the baddie . Why Blue, and not just some other bloke ? Anyway , very pleased to be here . And thanks for reading my post .
Another powerful episode. Not only did the characters accept Jimmy at the end, but it taught the viewers a bit about accepting people with Down Syndrome. Al's story and the way he told it was a real heartbreaker - it really showed his passion for getting this leap right, due do the pain of his past. I wonder if Blue got assistance for his dyslexia. They kinda left that bit unresolved. Even so, I still give this episode an Excellent.
Bouncing back from the lukewarm previous episode...here we have a stone cold classic. Jimmy is one of the most instantly recognisable Quantum Leap episodes. The character of Jimmy is unique in that he's the only individual who Sam ever leaped into twice. But before Sam had his first encounter with the evil leapers and returned back to Jimmy's life, he first had to set his life right in the first place.

This episode has always been difficult to watch for me. Even though it's a very good, high quality episode, I just hate seeing how Jimmy is treated by practically everyone. Connie is looked back on by Sam as a kind, warm-hearted character for some reason in Deliver Us From Evil, but I find her to be one of the least likeable characters in the entire show. She's nothing but cold towards Jimmy from the start. I hate to say it but I think the actress did a rather poor job. I think a more conflicted performance was needed here and we just didn't get it.

I find it interesting that Sam becomes ultra clumsy in this leap. I've read some theories that suggest this could be a case of mind merging, but I don't think so. I just think Sam's putting himself under such pressure that these accidents keep happening.

My favourite part of this episode has to be that small scene in the garden between Sam and Al. As Al relives a painful part of his past regarding his sister Trudy, we really see the pain in his face and the crack in his voice. Astonishing piece of acting by Dean Stockwell there.

My rating. Good. A hard to watch episode at times, but still a classic.