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Quantum Leap Producer Explains That Game-Changing Twist To Kick Off Season 2
The Season 2 premiere of Quantum Leap just blew things wide open with one of the biggest TV twists of the fall.
Spoilers ahead for the Season 2 premiere of NBC's Quantum Leap!
The Season 2 premiere of NBC's Quantum Leap blew the show's entire set-up and narrative on its head this week — so lets dig into the fallout of that game-changing reveal and what it means for Ben and the gang in the weeks ahead.
As the producing director on Quantum Leap, Chris Grismer does double duty on NBC's time-jumping drama as both a director of individual episodes and producer helping keep the show cohesive from episode-to-episode. For Season 2, his job got even more complicated because showrunner Martin Gero put a twist in the season premiere that impacts everything we know about Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) and the Quantum Leap Project team.
As the director of the Season 1 finale, "Judgment Day," Grismer got to cover the gamut of scenes from Ben shutting down Leaper X (Walter Perez) in an action-packed fight to that romantic kiss between Ben and Addison (Caitlin Bassett). Not to mention that cliffhanger.
"Yeah, we know Ben saved Addison but he's not coming home just yet," Grismer confirmed to NBC Insider.
Quantum Leap's Season 2 time jump explained
In "This Took Too Long," the Season 2 premiere written by Gero and directed by John Terlesky, that point is strongly reinforced as Ben leaps into 1978 as a member of a secret ops teams that crashes inside Russian territory. Ben assumed he was finally leaping home, so he's especially confused about why he's still out of time. He's also desperate for some assistance in figuring out the mission from his team, most notably his fiancee Addison.
Instead, he's left to mine his own resources for the the majority of the leap until Ian appears (Mason Alexander Park) and spills the shocking news that Ben's been missing for three years. And in that time, the Quantum Leap project has been dissolved. It's a twist that resets the board for the entire series, as the team in the present day (or near-future now) have to grapple with how they've moved on in their lives and figure out how the heck they're going to get things running again to try and support Ben — and eventually bring him home.
The twist also has some narrative connection to the original early-1990s Quantum Leap series (streaming in full on Peacock), as that series ended with Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) still lost in the time stream (and he remains lost to this point, in the revival series' canon). With the established precedent of leapers getting lost in time, it seems the team assumed Ben had suffered the same fate.
Grismer said getting to play out the repercussions of that twist this season has deepened the storytelling of the whole mythology. "We wanted to tell that story and not just start the next day," he said. "We leap a little bit further into the future by years and it's just exciting because you can see a lot of story and characters just by how they're living now. It was an interesting way to tell a story, and I found it exciting to be a part of that."
Working in his production support role for the premiere episode, Grismer said Gero was a bigger part of the production team than normal because he wrote the episode. "He had a lot of things in his head that he wanted to do with the director."
Hoping to start the season big, Grismer said they featured a lot of big action set pieces like the plane explosion. Those kinds of scenes can be expensive and hard to pull off in a television schedule, but Grismer said they got really creative to pull it off. "They used miniatures in a way that I haven't seen used since '80s and '90s action movies," he said enthusiastically. "They used a lot of miniatures back then, and we did some really cool miniature shots that are spectacular. I love being on set when it makes you feel like you're that 14-year-old kid watching movies, and it's the reason you got into the business. We definitely had a few nights like that on the plane crash episode."