Thursday, 13 October 2011

A Very Rocky Sister Act

Quantum Leap
The Right Hand Of God
Season One, Episode Three

In most TV shows there are some episodes you love, some episodes you hate, and a whole wodge of stuff in between that summons up little more than a ‘meh’.

The Right Hand Of God is Quantum Leap’s first meh.  Like an episode of The A-Team featuring a plucky family business, an evil gang of hillbillies, a sinister businessman and a montage, this one is strictly by the numbers.

Sam leaps into a boxer, Kid Cody, who’s hoping to raise enough money to build a chapel for some nuns.  Unfortunately, like 75% of all fictional boxers, Cody takes dives.  Sam tries to reverse his fortunes, coaxing a stubborn ex-trainer out of retirement and montage-ing his way to victory.

‘Seen it all before’ is an understatement; this plot’s so old it’s eligible for a bus pass.  There’s very little threat involved, as the shady businessman who orders Cody’s dives hardly seems bothered when Sam crosses him.  It’s quite fun that even after a couple of training montages Sam still has to cheat to win the day, and then has to play by the rules anyway after his opponent gets back up.  (Strictly speaking, he still cheats, with Al offering hologram-themed help.  But we like this, as it means Al gets to offer more than just moral support.)

Cheating.  Or something.
There are some nice touches.  We laughed when God, or whoever is leaping Sam around, deliberately leapt him into the path of a knockout punch for what he did in Star-Crossed.  (Comeuppance at last!)  We like Cody’s girlfriend Dixie’s dream of retiring the stripper business to open a doughnut shop.  And Al’s subplot involving a noisy neighbour is a good source of laughs, although it goes absolutely nowhere. 

Sadly we rolled our eyes when Al boasted of his youthful boxing career; call us picky, but if someone’s going to suddenly come up with a hitherto unmentioned talent just when it’s needed, we’d rather it was the guy with amnesia.  And giving a nun back her faith?  Seriously?  Could you get any sappier?  In an episode about boxers taking dives and disillusioned trainers hoping to find a champ, it’s like a cliché explosion.

But, if there’s one thing this episode teaches us, it’s that even if something is clichéd and dumb, just add Scott Bakula and wham: watchable telly.  That’ll do, for now.

The Albert Calavicci Sleazy Files
  • Cheating on Tina with Denise.  (Al's 'biographer', whom he met at a party.)

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