With NBC’s new Quantum Leap series connected to the continuity of the original series, it’s no big surprise we might run into some Easter eggs related to the original show — but did the revival’s second episode just serve as a semi-sequel to Sam Beckett’s (Scott Bakula) very first leap?
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for “Atlantis,” the second episode of the first season of NBC’s Quantum Leap**
The second episode of the new series found Ben (Raymond Lee) jumping into a space shuttle astronaut headed into orbit. But fans might have noticed a familiar name among the crew of this NASA mission in Samantha Stratton, played by Carly Pope. We’ve met the Stratton family (or at least a Stratton family) before on the original Quantum Leap series.
During Sam’s (Scott Bakula) original leap in the series premiere two-parter “Genesis,” he lands in 1956 in the body of a test pilot named USAF Capt. Tom Stratton. Sam manages to save Tom’s life when his test flight malfunctions, but it turns out there’s a second mission on that leap: he also has to save the life of Tom’s unborn daughter, as Sam uses his future medical knowledge to prevent the child from being stillborn during to a medical emergency.
The little girl’s eventual name? Samantha Stratton.
So what does all this mean? Maybe a lot; maybe just an Easter egg. We still don’t know why Ben leaped, or what mysterious time period he is trying to reach as part of his mission with Janis. But with the families of folks affected by Sam’s early leaps showing up, it could hint Ben’s mission is somehow related to Sam’s effect on the timeline. This also makes for twice the Quantum Leap project has saved Samantha Stratton’s life (though Ben’s first change is admittedly what put her in danger this time around), so maybe the Stratton family has a larger role to play further on into the future?
It might seem like Easter eggs at this point, but the original Quantum Leap series finale showed that no Easter egg was an accident, as characters and players from years past were remixed into a strange mining town that seemed to exist as a nexus of time, with Sam running into characters and side-players from past leaps, and interacting with new characters featuring familiar names. Everything meant something, even if we still don't understand it all.
So how does the Stratton family fit into all this? If nothing else, we now know that Sam’s mission bore itself out by saving the life of an eventual NASA astronaut, who would need to be among this 1998 Atlantis mission to make the tough choice to ensure the crew would make it home alive. Fate (and time) works in mysterious ways.
New episodes of Quantum Leap air Mondays on NBC and stream next-day on Peacock.