Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 15 Review: Ben Song For The Defense
There’s a new plot formula settling into Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 15 wherein the solution for a mission’s success requires Ben to pull together the strings of different problems.
It’s a nice knock-on effect that suggests that small successes often build to something greater. This may also be the key to the season’s long-arc mystery: What motivated Ben to leap in the first place?
Additionally, there’s a message embedded here that “good enough” shouldn’t be, especially when it means a life-changing decision like pleading guilty to causing a death when you didn’t.
The harsh reality of working as a public defender is depressing and disheartening when presented without a laugh track à la Night Court.
It’s a perspective few see as the defendants get their seven minutes with their free attorney. Whatever justice they get is balanced against the judge’s mood, the prosecutor’s ambition, and the number of other cases on the docket that day.
While Ben’s leap is specifically about Camilo and how taking a plea deal will affect his brother and grandmother, it’s worth noting that Ben’s presence also makes a significant difference to Tyler and Stuart.
To be fair, if Aleda had been present to defend Tyler, he might not have been slapped with the $50,000 bail, although his history of not appearing for his court date to face charges of theft might be a valid reason behind the bail.
Jenn’s very efficacious approach to solving the bail money issue is the first clue that she and Addison will be very different hologram guides.
Ben: I really wish there was something I could do.
Jenn: There is. We got Marty McFly’s almanac.
Jenn: Just give her the fifty bucks in your pocket and write this down.
Her resistance to acting as Ben’s legal counsel isn’t totally clear when Addison proposes the temporary swap in duties.
Addison: Ben needs you.
Jenn: Yeah, that’s not my job description. Besides, I’m terrible at all that emotional support and positive reinforcement stuff.
It comes across as slightly curmudgeonly initially. Her insistence that she can’t take the task on seems very out of character.
However, her emotional investment in the outcomes of Camilo and Aleda’s lives is evident by the time she runs through their exposition.
Mind you, since she’s in HQ when she does the run-through, it seems a little contrived since it’s all displayed on the screen for everyone to read at their own pace. But that’s okay; we like the closure.
We still only know tidbits of Jenn’s history and personal life.
In brief, she has a boyfriend she brought to Ben and Addison’s engagement party on Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 1, who she lied to about her work.
She has a challenging relationship with her father, who has Magic’s phone number for some reason, and she spent time in prison for hacking, where she earned her law degree.
She recognizes her own worth but is also aware of her insecurities. She feels failure deeply and shoulders the responsibility of securing the Quantum Leap project seriously.
While I’m interested in knowing what she does to unwind, I suspect we won’t get much more intel on her this season as we race toward the season finale.
Addison: Jenn, you are the only person here that has experience in a courtroom.
Jenn: When I was on trial!
Once Magic orders Jenn into the imaging chamber to assist Ben, Addison’s reaction to being left out of that contact becomes a consideration.
Ben’s leaps have landed him in relationships before. It’s interesting that this time, Aleda’s relationship with Vicky seems more intimate than previous ones. Is it the secret nature of their partnership, or is it because Addison isn’t on-hand to implicitly grant permission?
Ben’s involvement in Camilo’s case also sends Vicky’s life in a new direction.
While we know what might’ve happened if they hadn’t reconciled, we don’t know what history originally had on the books for Aleda and Vicky.
Could they have kept their relationship going if Vicky had made First Chair with the DA’s office?
Would they have broken up eventually for similar reasons to what happened here? A conflict of interest combined with the stress of their jobs?
Stand strong in there. Juries are quick to judge women, especially young ones like us. So you really have to own that space.
Vicky’s commitment to real justice means that Ben’s mission speaks to her. Knowing that both she and Aleda end up working with the Innocence Project (which won’t form in the USA until 1992) feels like a profoundly suitable place for them.
Let’s not forget Stuart and his bike.
It seems like such a sidenote to Ben’s mission. Stuart’s case has already been ruled on. His fixation on getting his motorbike back seems frivolous and unnecessary to the plot except to add more to Aleda’s overflowing plate of obligations.
But Ben follows through on his promise, and that, in turn, provides Camilo with new hope.
We all feel a deep responsibility to those we love. I know I do. I would travel to the end of time for the people I love. I strive to see them succeed, and when they hurt, I hurt.
Stuart’s reason for needing his bike back is sentimental while reminding viewers that 1985 was the year HIV was identified and recognized as the cause of AIDS but that the epidemic had already claimed lives and deeply impacted gay communities.
Big cheers for big-hearted bikers!
I’ll leave it to better legal minds than mine to debate the admissibility of evidence found through a database in the future and documented with a Polaroid camera. Still, if they’re willing to test it for a ballistics match, it should be enough to throw Camilo’s case out altogether.
Ben: Leo, I know how hard it can be to have hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that you’ll get a fair shot at life, but it is helpful to have hope, even if you can’t see it.
Leo: I don’t believe in anything I can’t see.
Leo’s a more challenging character to get a bead on. He is obviously scared and jaded by life, but there’s enough of his brother in there to keep him from entirely buying into the gang lifestyle.
Ben: Have you ever heard how plants grow more if you play them music?
Ben: It’s true. The sound waves stimulate the plant cells which allow for the nutrients to move around the plant, promoting more growth. Can’t see the music, but you can feel it. And allowing yourself to feel hope helps. It helps you to see that things can change and sometimes that change is for the better.
Ben’s scientific explanation for believing in more than just what you can see is way more eloquent than Jenn’s drowning bunny story, but both parables achieve their purpose.
And the sciency-y nature of Ben’s probably appealed at some level to Leo’s intelligence.
Consider as you watch Quantum Leap online how they manage to touch on Martinez’s reappearance on Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 14 without really digging into what he said or how his presence as Walker helped Ben as much as Ben’s helped him.
Furthermore, does anyone else wonder why Ian didn’t write the code to track Leaper X after their FIRST encounter rather than waiting for a second?
How long do you think Martinez has been leaping? Will we have answers by the finale? What new questions will that lead to?
There were several hard choices made here by both leap-related characters and team members. Would you have made the same choices? Hit our comments below with your thoughts and theories!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond ’til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.