Welcome back to my episode-by-episode recap of and reaction to Quantum Leap. The spoilers ahead are only through this episode. I provide a short summary at the top, a long and much more thorough recap below that, and a reaction section at the bottom.
My previous episode recaps can be found HERE.
THE QUICK AND CLEAN SUMMARY:
Sam leaps into Buster, a strip club bouncer in Texas in the 1960s. Sam arrives in the middle of a baby kidnapping that is underway – and he is the kidnapper. His co-kidnapper is a stripper named Bunny. They have just taken a baby girl named Christy from her father Reed’s second story window.
As Sam travels with Bunny toward New Mexico, her story regarding the baby changes a few times. Initially she tells him the baby is hers. Then she tells him that Reed, the father of the baby, stole the baby from its real mother and that she found out while working as the child’s nanny. Ultimately we learn that Bunny learned that Reed stole the baby while she was dating him. Sam and Bunny evade Texas police and eventually arrive in New Mexico. After a showdown with Reed, Sam and Bunny return Christy to her mother.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
Sam, wearing a cowboy hat and a jean jacket, climbs down from the second story window of a house, encouraged by a woman below to both hurry and to be careful with the basket he is carrying. The woman is encouraging Sam to hurry “before Reed catches us.”
Sam puts the basket in the back of the truck and starts it up. The woman grabs the basket from the bed of the pickup and puts it in the cab shouting “what are you thinking about?” at him. Just then, we see a man peer out of the second story window from which Sam just climbed and shout at them.
Reed: Bunny are you crazy?! GET BACK HERE!
As Sam is driving away, she calls him Buster and tells him that she loves him for doing this. As Bunny is kissing Sam while he tries to drive, he hears a small cry. Sam suddenly realizes that he committed a kidnapping because there was a baby inside the basket he just took from the house.
Sam: Ooh boy!
Bunny: No, I told you, it’s a girl!
Sam/Buster, Bunny, and a baby ride down the highway listening to “My Boyfriend’s Back.” Sam tells Bunny that the baby is cute and Bunny replies that of course she’s cute – even if her daddy is a lawyer that probably has half the police in the state looking for them by now.
Bunny gets out a large paper map and tells Sam that she hopes he does not miss their turn. He tries to help her read it while also driving. [Yes, kids, this is how it was done before GPS.] Sam manages to learn from the map that they are in Texas, are travelling to Clayton, New Mexico, and that he/Buster has only known Bunny for two weeks. Sam thinks to himself that as crazy as it seems, getting Bunny and the baby to safety must be the reason for his mission.
In the next scene, we see Reed talking to police. From Reed we learn that Bunny is not the baby’s mother and that the baby’s real mother died in child birth a year earlier. Reed says that he dated Bunny briefly after his wife died and that Bunny started thinking of the girl as her own. We also learn from Reed that Bunny cannot have children. Reed convinces the Sheriff to pursue Bunny and Sam.
Sam and Bunny stop at a motel for the night. They realize that neither of them have milk for the baby so Bunny goes out to get some. Sam is not happy to be left alone with the baby. Once Bunny leaves, the baby girl really starts to cry and Sam struggles to calm her. While he’s holding her against his chest, she, un, goes potty on his shirt. In the next scene, Same is now shirtless but the baby is calmer.
Al appears. Babies and small children can see Al. Al tells Sam that Bunny’s name is “Bunny O’Hare” but that this is a stripper name. Her real name is Thelma Lou Dickey. Sam/Buster is a bouncer where Bunny works. Suddenly the baby requires… a diaper. Sam uses a pillow case to serve as a diaper after cleaning her up while Al sings to her for entertainment. Just then, Al lets Sam know that there is a 75% chance that his mission is to return the baby to her father.
Al: You two are kidnappers.
Sam refuses to believe that Bunny would have lied to him and Al replies that she is a stripper and her whole act is a lie.
Al: I’ve got a lot of experience in this area.
Sam continues to insist that Bunny is telling the truth and that he can tell by the look in her eyes. After a minute of leering at Bunny, Al suggests that it was perhaps not her eyes that he was looking at. Bunny makes fun of Sam’s pillowcase diaper and then proceeds to get milk for her.
Sam: See Al? She knows what Christy [the baby] likes!
Al: She probably knows what I like too but that doesn’t make her a mother.
While she gets the milk, Al tells Sam the version of history that happens without his leap. In the original history, Bunny and Buster and picked up by the Texas police, the baby is returned to her father, and the two of them get twenty years in prison. Sam sees this as proof that his mission is not to return the baby. He is convinced he would not make a leap to help two people get a reduced sentence. As a result, he declares that he will be sticking with Bunny’s plan. When Al asks what that plan is, Sam tells him that the plan is to get Bunny and the baby to Clayton, New Mexico. Sam does not have an answer, though, when Al asks him, “then what?” Sam sends Al to go do more research.
Alone with Bunny, Sam asks her who the real mother is. At first she says that she is. Quickly, though, she crouches onto the bed and begs him not to hit her. Sam gently kneels beside the bed and tells her he won’t hit her and he asks again who the mother is. Bunny apologizes to Sam saying that she thought that if she told him the truth he would not help her. When he asks what the truth is, she says that she wants to get the baby to her real mother.
Bunny tells Sam that when she used to watch the baby for Reed, she found a package at his home with a lot of letters from a woman begging Reed to bring back her daughter. The address was from Clayton, New Mexico. Bunny says she called the woman and they had barely began talking when Reed caught her on the phone. She tells Sam that he beat her severely and threatened even more terrible deeds if she told anyone. Bunny says that she subsequently forgot the phone number but that she remembers the address.
Bunny wants to get the baby to her real mother before she becomes old enough to be beaten herself. She tells Sam that her own father used to beat her mother and when she and her sister were older, he beat them, too. She says she cannot let that happen to Christy.
The next day, we see that Reed and the Sheriff are in pursuit of Buster and Bunny. Reed has told the police officer that Bunny is most likely going to New Mexico because she had always talked about going back to her family there.
Sam and Bunny are flying down the highway. Sam tells Bunny that the baby needs to be in a carseat as opposed to the current arrangement of Bunny just holding her. They decide to stop in Abilene to buy a carseat. Bunny stipulates that it has to be a cute one.
Inside the store, the cashier recognizes Bunny. She complains to Sam that sometimes she hates being a celebrity. She also gets distracted from the carseat purchase by a display of Barbi Dolls. While making the argument for why she should purchase a doll for the baby, she tells Sam that she was an only child and that is why she knows the importance of dolls for a young girl. When Sam asks her about the fact she said the night before that she had a sister, Bunny says that she had a half-sister and that she was mostly on her own.
Al: Still believe her, Sam?
Sam tells Bunny that he is going to get the carseat and he has a conversation quietly with Al while he is in the other part of the store alone. Al tells Sam that the baby’s real mother died in childbirth. Sam tells Al what Bunny told him the night before and has him check into it and Al’s handheld computer continues to confirm that the baby’s mother is dead. The woman Bunny describes as living in Clayton, New Mexico, does not exist according to Al. Sam continues not believing and Al tells him that Bunny bent his mind like a spoon.
Just then, Sam sees the police outside looking at his parked truck. He walks back over to Bunny and points it out to her. He and Bunny leave through the back of the store. Al warns him again that he needs to turn himself in and Sam tells him that he is trusting his instincts.
Outside, despite his misgivings, Al helps Sam and Bunny evade the police. Sam takes a wad of cash from Bunny and approaches a young man on the street. He offers the kids $200 for his car. He is talked up to offering $210 before the seller parts with his car.
We see the police talking with townsfolk after narrowing missing Sam and Bunny at the store. The boy who just sold Sam his truck overhears the police officer describe Sam. He looks abashed when he hears the officer say that they will not get far without a car.
On the road again, we see that Sam’s new truck has fire painted on its sides. Bunny has a Barbi doll and is describing how unrealistic she looks when Bunny and Sam/Buster’s song comes onto the radio. “Maybe Baby.” While Sam and Bunny sing the song, the baby laughs, and then we see a police car coming toward them from the opposite direction. It goes by without incident.
Sam notices that the baby seems to be having trouble breathing. Bunny doubts that this is true and Sam asks Bunny to bring her up next to him so he can hear her breath. He tells Bunny that it sounds like Christy is asthmatic. Bunny doesn’t think so. Sam insists that they need to take the baby to a doctor. Bunny insists that they cannot go back to Abilene.
Sam: People live out here. There’s got to be a doctor.
In the next scene, Sam, Bunny, and the baby are at the veterinarian’s office. The local vet tells Sam that the baby is having trouble breathing but she does not have the equipment to help. Sam pulls the vet aside to talk to her while Bunny plays with the baby. Sam asks the veterinarian for epinephrine for the baby. She tells him that she cannot prescribe the drugs for humans and he tells her that he is a doctor and knows what dose to give her. She then tells Sam that she gave her last dose earlier in the day. She advises him to drive to Abilene where there is a hospital. As she walks away, Sam sees coffee and a thought seems to occur to him.
In the truck, Sam explains to Bunny that the doctor advised him to give the baby coffee because it is a bronchodilator. He tells Bunny that the doctor told him that he should only give it to the baby once because more than that would not be good for her. Bunny asks if she also advised giving the baby whisky and a cigarette but she goes ahead and gives Christy the coffee. The baby guzzles down the coffee once given the opportunity.
We see a police officer describing through his radio Sam’s hot rod truck and its license plate. The officer tells Reed, the baby’s father who is still with him, that there is no way the APB they put out will miss Sam’s truck before it gets across the state line.
It’s now nighttime and Sam, Bunny, and the baby drive past a saloon. Bunny says it would be nice to go inside and get a beer. Sam asks her how much father until they get to the state line. Through an examination of their large paper map, the two of them figure out they are roughly thirty miles away. Sam tells Bunny that they will need more gasoline to make it into New Mexico. When she opens the glove box, she tells him that they are now out of cash.
Sam: Well, there’s no way we can make it now.
Bunny: [smiling] Yes we can.
Bunny is now at a strip club making some money. Her act appears to involve being clothed in balloons at the beginning. [I suspect those balloons begin to pop.] Sam and the baby are in the back of the strip club, both smiling, while Bunny works. Sure enough… the balloons begin to pop. She exits the stage just after they are all gone.
Al: Did I miss something?
Sam: Bunny just stripped for gas money.
Al: [furious] She stripped?! She stripped and I missed it! Sam, I’m supposed to be the observer on this project. I should have been here to observe.
Bunny ends up making $50. As she celebrates with Sam, the Texas police arrive. After the baby is returned to Reed, Sam explains Bunny’s story to the police. Reed disputes the story. He even disputes that she ever worked for him.
Al tells Sam that Ziggy has figured out that Bunny has been telling the truth about the real mother all along. He asks Al what they should do and Al says they should take the police officer’s gun. When Sam repeats aloud, “his gun,” Bunny hears him and takes the police officer’s gun. Reed charges at Sam and Sam punches him out. Bunny holds the police hostage while Sam cuffs them and they escape out the back with the baby and drive away in a police car.
Reed gets up, grabs a gun, and begins firing at Sam, Bunny, and the baby. The police officer is horrified that he is shooting in the direction of his baby and Reed tells him to get out of the way and he continues firing (and missing.) He then hijacks a corvette to begin pursuing.
Al appears in the police car with Sam, Bunny, and the baby and tells Sam that Reed is chasing the in a corvette. He also gives the rest of the backstory for Reed. It turns out that Reed Dalton is an alias for Reed Cole. He changed his name and moved from New Mexico to Texas after bilking investors out of millions of dollars. His wife Margaret divorced him, won sole custody, but Reed kidnapped their baby and has been keeping her since.
Sam drives them into Clayton, New Mexico. Al gives him the correct address because Bunny has been misremembering the address this entire time. They are not sure what to do about Reed because he obviously knows where Margaret lives, too. Without thinking, Bunny gets on the police car radio and announces where they are and that they are kidnappers from Texas. Sam gets her off the radio telling her that the police will arrest them, too. As they park the car, Reed walks up to Sam and points a gun at him through the window. Sam uses the police car’s lights to blind Reed for a moment, giving himself a chance to knock the man down using the car door. He draws his own gun and tells Reed that this is over.
Just then, New Mexico police arrive. The officer recognizes Reed Cole lying on the ground.
A little while later, Sam tells Bunny that everything is okay. He tells her they will have to go downtown for a while but that the police have a dozen outstanding warrants against Reed. Bunny begins crying and wants to keep Christy for one more night. Sam tells her that they have to give her to her mother. Bunny finally gives Christy back to her mother.
Sam leaps away.
This might just be a personal preference on my part, but one of my favorite types of fictional character is one who doesn’t care much about the small (or even medium) rules of life but moves heaven and earth to do the right thing when it matters.
Al is that kind of character. So is Bunny.
Bunny is a habitual liar. She’s a stripper. She is not particularly good on the details (money, milk for a baby, etc.) But backdrop of this story is that she finds out a guy stole a baby… so she risks her life, steals it right back, and bends whatever rules she needs to bend to get the baby home. It’s nice to see stories where people like that, with their heart in the right place, get to succeed.
I liked that both Sam and Al got a chance to be correct regarding their instincts. Al was definitely correct that Bunny was lying. Sam was correct that there was a kernel of truth in what she was saying if he could stick with her long enough to figure that out.
My only big gripe with this episode was that I did not buy the mother’s reaction to being reunited with her daughter. Bunny – who apparently did not know Christy all that well herself – was a lot more emotional about giving Christy up than the baby’s mother was about getting her back. It was odd.
I think one of the writers for this show must be from western Texas. They had an episode in Lubbock in season 1 and now they another episode in that deceptively gigantic empty Texas plains region between Abilene and New Mexico. Is God, picker of the QL destinations, a Texas Tech Red Raiders fan?
The best moment in this episode was Al’s absolute fury at missing out on Bunny’s striptease. While I think Al needs some therapy in this area of his life (and many others), this reaction was genuinely funny.
Overall this was a really solid episode. I continue to be glad I stuck with this show beyond Season 1.