410 Unchained


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Al's Place Bartender
Staff member
November 2, 1956

Talawaga County, Alabama

Working on a chain gang in 1956, Sam and a wrongly-accused black man named Jasper escape together in Alabama only to be recaptured again. Sam must find a way to prove Jasper's innocence to the corrupt warden as the string of robberies continue.

Written by: Paris Qualles
Directed by: Michael Watkins

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I rather enjoyed this episode. I liked that in the end up, Jasper said 'bye' to Al because he heard Sam talking to him. Overall, I remember that I enjoyed this episode, but I've forgotten a lot of scenes from this episode.
Yeah possibly the best thing about this ep is Boone getting to know about Al and probably what makes this ep so watchable for me because other than that its not that great an ep.
A good episode. I like Boone, and it kind of tickles me that he has no problem that Sam has an invisible friend. A nice reminder that there are other belief systems out there.

For a slightly darker version of this story, I recommend renting The Defiant Ones, with Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis (clearly the inspiration for this episode). Good stuff.
I love the look on Al's face when Boone says goodbye to him and thanks him. He looks so happy to be acknowledged.
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A strong, energetic and often thrilling episode this one. Unchained does, without a doubt in my mind, represent one of Sam's toughest leaps. When you think about it, his situation here is just dire throughout. Chain gang stuff isn't usually my kind of thing, but here in QL it really works...and it's largely down to this week's main guest character, Boone.

Boone is one of my favourite guest characters in the whole of Quantum Leap. There's a pureness to him and we, the viewers, just feel so desperately sorry for him throughout. In fact, this is one of the few episodes where I actually care about what's happening to the guest character more than I do what's happening to Sam, because Boone just seems so vulnerable and completely trapped in this horrifying position.

One of the neatest things about this episode is that Boone just completely accepts the existence of Al. Most people would just think Sam was crazy, but Boone's total belief in Al is just so touching and pure. Because that's what it is, really, pure faith. Faith in something better, in something good, something that Boone has no real reason to believe in anymore considering how the system and life in general has failed him.

The rest of the episode is mostly straightforward, thriller type fare, but I must say that this week's villain, Cooley, is of the same vein as Dr. Crane from the episode Dreams, in the way that they're both very strong antagonists and compelling and commanding when their on screen. His death was super satisfying, it has to be said... And that leads me to another great thing about this episode. Al! He really delivers the goods here. His distraction for the dog's and constant moral support and advice were really invaluable here. Which leads me to the best scene.

Best scene? The final scene. Al gets two strong thank yous from Sam and Boone, and he really deserves them both. Without Al, they wouldn't have made it. No chance at all. And that final wave from Boone to Al never fails to touch me. A beautiful scene.

My rating. Good. A very strong episode that just misses out on an Excellent rating.