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Quantum Leap Season 2 Finale Makes Huge Callback to Biggest Moment From the Original Series

The new Quantum Leap series has always paved its own path, but the Season 2 finale brought plenty of callbacks to one of the original series.

By Trent Moore

Spoilers ahead for the Season 2 finale of NBC's Quantum Leap

Much of Quantum Leap's second season on NBC has been a rousing adventure through time, as we've followed Ben (Raymond Lee) on his whirlwind romance with Hannah (Eliza Taylor) as he's tried to set right what has gone wrong in history. But with all these new adventures, it can be easy to forget the 2022 revival is still a sequel series to the beloved, early 1990s original Quantum Leap — and that OG history came to play in a huge way in the new show's second season finale.

How to Watch

Watch Quantum Leap on NBC and Peacock

The season finale found Ben and his team in the present working to alter the future in real time, essentially, as Ben reached out to the young man in the past who would grow up to effectively take over the Quantum Leap program and use it for nefarious purposes. This might be a show about time travel, but it's not often we see the team changing things that touch so closely to their own lives and reality, a concern established all the way back in the original series when Scott Bakula's Sam Beckett was the leaper, as changing too much around the lives of the folks involved in the project could have the adverse effect of erasing the project — or themselves — from existence. 

RELATED: The Quantum Leap Season 2 Finale Explained

But those stakes take on a new meaning when the fate of the project itself is in the balance, so the team takes on the mission anyway. It's only then they learn that Sam Beckett did something quite similar back in the events of the original series — making a change to the timeline that still reverberates to this day. The reveal comes when Magic and the rest of the team have linked up with Beth and Janis Calavicci, two characters with a direct connection to the original series. Beth (played in the original series, and new series, by Susan Diol) and her daughter Janis (Georgina Reilly) reveal to the team how Sam went off-mission in one of his last leaps, which is what led to their family existing in the first place.

Original Quantum Leap actors standing next to each other

How Sam's Last Leap Connects to Quantum Leap Season 2 Finale 

Beth and Janis tell the current team the story of how Sam leapt back to visit a young Beth (an event that played out in the original show's series finale) to reveal to her that Al (Dean Stockwell) was still alive when she was younger, just taken as a prisoner of war. In the original timeline, Beth thought Al (who was Sam's hologram helper in the future) was killed in action and moved on with her life. By the time Al eventually made it back to the United States, Beth had remarried and he'd lost the love of his life. Al had always wanted Sam to tell Beth to wait for him, but Sam feared he could damage the timeline by letting Beth know that Al was alive, as if she did wait, it would alter their direct future.

But in the finale he finally uses his power to help his friend, and we learn in a title card at the episode's end that Beth did wait for Al, and in the altered timeline they were happily married and had several daughters — Janis included — before Al's passing shortly before the events of the new series began (Stockwell sadly passed away in 2021). But had Sam not changed the timeline all those years ago, Beth would've never been involved or aware of the Quantum Leap project, and Janis would have never been born.

The new team is understandably shocked by the story, as it is only known to the Calaviccis themselves (and Sam), since the timeline where Beth and Al weren't together was erased and replaced by the current timeline. Much like the changes in the Season 2 finale will likely only be remembered by Ben and Addison this time around.

Dive back into the excitement of Quantum Leap Season 2 with a binge of the whole season, now available on Peacock!