This article does contain spoilers for the premiere episode, July 13, 1985.
Ben leaps into an astronaut in 1998, launching into space on the NASA shuttle Atlantis. When an equipment malfunction risks the lives of the crew, they find themselves at odds in agreeing on a solution to escape certain death. In 2022, the team at Project Quantum Leap also find themselves in conflict as they pursue Janis Calavicci, the woman who helped Ben break into the project and prematurely leap back in time.
Showrunner Martin Gero reminded us in an interview recently that the four Hs of a good episode of Quantum Leap are Hope, Heart, Humor, and History. Atlantis has plenty to spare. Where the first episode struggled to make us feel connected to any of the people surrounding Ben in the leap story, this episode has us rooting for the shuttle crew. What the premiere may have lacked in the special effects department is more than made up for here. This is certainly the most ambitious hour ever of Quantum Leap in terms of SFX.
The show is still finding its footing in how to balance the leap and the intrigue happening back at PQL. While there is a guest appearance from a legacy character that fans of the classic series will instantly recognize and appreciate, it’s part of a subplot that leans a bit too much into the procedural/Black List-esque genre.
That quibble aside, the writers do an excellent job drawing a parallel between Ben’s pre-leap strengths working with the PQL team and how he uses those strengths on this particular leap. If the episode’s climactic moment seems a little far-fetched, remember that Quantum Leap at its best has always been a show about taking bold chances – bold leaps, if you will – and our heroes pushing themselves beyond what they think they’re capable of.
Quantum leap airs on NBC on Mondays at 10/9 central, and is available to stream on Peacock the following day.