Big questions loomed heading into Quantum Leap‘s Season 1 finale on Monday as Ben once again found himself leaping into the unknown.
This time, he landed at the L.A. headquarters in the year 2051, which was left in ruins — along with Ziggy — after an apocalyptic event. Future Ian explained why exactly Martinez had gone after Addison in the first place.
Martinez was working for the U.S. government, who sent him to kill Addison because they blamed Quantum Leap for society’s collapse and looked to stop her before she could leap. In Ian’s future, they were the last survivor of the program — everyone else had died.
Future Ian had been working on a fail-safe code, which Ben only had seconds to memorize before being pulled back into the past. He landed in 2018… in his own body. That was the day that Martinez was supposed to kill Addison, and it happened to coincide with her first date with Ben.
The reason Ben contacted Al’s daughter Janice was because he needed her help programming the Quantum Leap accelerator to this exact date, allowing the scientist to leap into himself in the past. He had to tread carefully, though, because if he altered his own timeline in any way, he risked creating a paradox, erasing someone from history or even making it so he and Addison never fell in love.
Despite all of that, Ben still told Past Addison that he was a time-traveler to save her life now that Martinez, aka Leaper X, had popped up across town. There was no telling how this reveal would impact their futures, and Ben braced for a showdown with Martinez at HQ. There, he ran into Past Addison, who held him at gunpoint because she suspected him to be the leaper sent to kill her. Ben escaped, and Past Jenn ordered a complete lockdown of the building, which trapped the team inside with Martinez.
By the time Ben realized Martinez leaped into Magic’s body, Martinez was already several steps ahead of him. Ben, still dealing with memory loss, failed to answer the team’s questions about things he should know, while Martinez rattled off the right answers without breaking a sweat. This convinced everyone that Ben was lying about who he was, and he was detained.
In his cell, Ben tried to warn Martinez that the government didn’t care about him and planned to leave him stranded in the past. But Martinez already knew that and had suggested destroying Ziggy to ensure that the Quantum Leap project was never resurrected again. Besides, he wasn’t going after just Addison, he was targeting the whole team.
As Past Ian deciphered the code created by their future self, Present Day Jenn had Ben relay a secret code to her past self — “Turtle Time,” a phrase created by RHONY’s Ramona Singer — which convinced the others that Ben was telling the truth.
Ben and Martinez’s long-awaited fight spilled into the accelerator, the pair were sent back to the mental asylum in the year 1954 (from Episode 16), their last crossing point. As they exchanged blows, they were then transported back aboard the U.S.S. Montana in 1989 (featured in Episode 14).
Ben relied on the boxing knowledge he picked up in Episode 3 to fend off Martinez just as they were both sent back to Salvation, the western town featured in Episode 5. After another scuffle, Ben wound up on his knees with Martinez holding a gun to his head. Before he could finish the job, Martinez was shot dead by Frankie, the friendly saloon proprietor.
Using the idea of Quantum Entanglement — which states that two particles that share the same experience can’t be described independently of each other — Past, Present and Future Ian united to enter the cheat code at the same time. This code allowed Ben to jump to any point during that day, giving him a chance at a do-over. With Martinez dead, Ben leapt back to 2018 to get his date with Addison right. But instead of taking her out, he kissed her in front of everyone.
Immediately after that, Ben made his next leap. The team braced for Ben to show up in the Quantum Leap accelerator, but the episode cut off because we could see his anticipated arrival. Did he make it home? That’s a question to be answered in Season 2, which is already filming.
What did you make of Quantum Leap’s Season 1 finale? Grade the episode below, and then share your thoughts and predictions in the comments. And don’t forget to read our interview with showrunner Martin Gero about that big finale twist.