The Time 'Quantum Leap' Battled The Literal Devil
Back in November 2021, the world sadly lost Dean Stockwell. An actor of over 70 years, he basically did it all throughout his career but was primarily known for his roles in sci-fi productions like Dune, the story of a rich kid becoming Jesus of Space Adderall Planet, or Battlestar Galactica, which asked the daring question of “What if sentient toasters nuked most of humanity?” But his most famous role was arguably Al Calavicci, the character who, in hologram form, helps guide Dr. Samuel Beckett in Quantum Leap.
Most remember it as the feel-good sci-fi series about a lovable scientist played by Scott Bakula “leaping” (quantum style) into the bodies of ordinary people in the past and helping them sort out their problems. Except that the whole “feel-good” part is a total quantum load. Quantum Leap was a DARK series, with its most messed-up moments weirdly being centered on Al, like how the character had a sister with Down’s Syndrome who died of pneumonia due to neglect in a mental institution. Then there was the time when Dr. Beckett had to fight an Al imposter, played by Stockwell, who turned out to be the Devil. Like … the literal, Biblical, fallen angel Devil.
In the Season 3 Halloween episode “The Boogieman,” Sam jumps into the body of horror novelist Joshua Ray, who has a young assistant named Stevie King (still not the most impressive “King” that Dr. Beckett ended up running into.) The whole story was super weird from the get-go, dropping bodies like a gaggle of drunk pallbearers throughout the episode without Sam being able to save anyone until he finally figured out why.
The “Al” that he had been communicating with was not his friend from the future but Satan himself punishing Sam for meddling in his unholy work, putting things right after the Devil went to all that trouble to put them wrong. Satan Al (Satal?) then tried strangling Sam, causing him to fall down some stairs, lose consciousness, and reveal that the entire thing was just a dream/hallucination/time travel psychosis.
First of all, I’m not letting the episode get away with reducing Dean Stockwell’s amazing acting in that scene to some in-universe hallucination. The man is genuinely terrifying as the Devil, with a short but excellent evil laughter, which everyone thinks they can do but continuously prove that they can freaking not. Yeah, looking right at you, Jared Leto. Staring straight into your very soul. Don’t you dare look away. You know what you did.
Anyway, the other reason why that character was 100% Satan is because Quantum Leap established that God exists in its universe. And if not God, then a sentient Universe or the personification of Time or something like that. So if there’s like a positive metaphysical force operating in the Leap-verse, it stands to reason that its evil counterpart could exist out there. Lots of things/people have their exact opposites. Still not sure who’s mine, but we’re looking for a skinny, successful person who hates Justified and thinks that the episode of Quantum Leap where Sam leaps into a chimpanzee named Bobo WASN’T a masterpiece.
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Top Image: NBC