Since the orderly can only see Sam as the man he leaped into, it looks to him like Sam is floating on air. Fold the Page, Fold the Space : Sam uses the term "string theory" to explain his leaping. Imagine your life as a piece of string, with birth as one end and death as the other. If you ball the string up, every day of your life touches every other day out of order, so you can jump from one to another, therefore time travelling within your own lifetime.
He saves Jackie instead. Foreshadowing : In "Sea Bride," Al casually mentions his one true love. The very next episode is "M. Forgotten Framing Device : The show spent its entire run utilizing a Narrating the Present framing device, as if we're seeing Sam Beckett's memoirs acted out. But in the final episode it's revealed that he "never returned home. For Want of a Nail : Usually played straight.
Sam is constantly changing history in relatively small ways, all things considered. While the people he encounters are certainly affected, the future itself isn't radically changed. This was true even when he interacted with real-life people, largely thanks to Rubber-Band History. Invoked by the Bartender in the final episode. When Sam complains that he invented time travel to make the world better, the Bartender informs him that all the lives he improved affected all the lives they touched.
Fratbro : Sam leaps into a Fratbro in an episode, and has trouble getting the Girl of the Week to listen to him because she knows him to be a jockish ass.
His fratty mates keep appearing and trying to embroil him in wacky high jinks, including raiding the office of " Dean Stockwell ". Freudian Excuse : "Dr.
Ruth" hints that part of Al's relationship difficulties stems from his growing up in an orphanage. Gaslighting : In "A Portrait for Troian," Sam jumps into the body of a parapsychologist working with a young widow who insists the ghost of her late husband is haunting her. It turns out to be a plot by her brother to gaslight her.
Gay Aesop : Notably one of the first on television. One of Sam's leaps sees him try to stop a recently outed military academy student from killing himself in the face of bullying by his fellow students. Glamour Failure : Sam's true form can be seen by little children, animals and psychics "Temptation Eyes". Likewise, they also can see Al as a hologram. When Sam leaps into the body of a Vietnam veteran who lost both his legs, he causes an orderly to freak out when he stands up and appears to be floating in mid-air.
When he comes into physical contact with another leaper, such as Alia and later Zoe, this causes them to see each other's true forms.
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Indeed, when that episode's love interest is seen punching buttons on the dead handlink, Al comments that the device probably won't work again until God Was My Copilot : Hinted at strongly. Good Colors, Evil Colors : Sam's leaps are blue. Leapers from the evil project leap in orange.
Good-Guy Bar : The bar Sam finds himself in during the final episode. Granola Guy : Al is shown to be ecologically-minded in several episodes, probably because so is Dean Stockwell. Problem is, other people die in the meantime and increasingly spooky incidents occur. Turns out to be All Just a Dream , though.
Or Was It a Dream?
Happily Adopted : According to "Pool Hall Blues," a ten-year-old Al ran away from the orphanage and was reduced to picking pockets. The one person he tried it on was Charlie "Black Magic" Walters, who sympathized with Al and took him in. The intent was to find Al a family as they traveled, but it turned out to be Walters himself.
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A few months later, Walters was arrested for playing in a "Whites Only" bar and Al was sent back to the orphanage. Regardless, Al considers that the time the bright spot of his childhood and Walters as the first good person he ever met out in the real world. Haunted House : "A Portrait for Troian" is set at an estate where the former owners died horrible deaths and Troian the current owner believes her husband's ghost is trying to contact her. Sam thinks someone is just trying to drive Troian insane , but Al thinks the house really is haunted.
Turns out they're both right. Troian's brother was trying to drive her crazy for her money, but housekeeper Priscilla is revealed to be a ghost. Heroic Sacrifice : Of the non-dying variety, but still sacrifices. In "The Leap Home, Part 2: Vietnam," Al helps Sam save his brother's life, giving up the chance to prevent his last three years of imprisonment in the process.
In "The Leap Back" and "Mirror Image," meanwhile, Sam sacrifices chances at being home to help Al — saving his life in the former and his marriage with Beth in the latter.
Sam Becket Series
The leapee's brother, Lonnie, takes the leapee's white girlfriend hostage in desperation. Sam manages to talk him down, ending the stand-off peacefully, but unfortunately Lonnie is then killed by police sniper-fire. Al: solemnly Sam Sam : cradling Lonnie's body Was it enough, Al? Was it enough? Sam leaps before Al can answer.
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Sam: They're that close? Al: Yeah. Just like you and me. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap Al: I'd give anything to see my father and my sister for a few days. Be able to talk with them again, laugh with them, tell 'em how much I love them. I'd give anything to have what you have, Sam. Little Boy : There's a ghost! Little Girl : It's not a ghost.
It's an angel! Little Boy : No way! Not with those clothes.
Sam: Who are you? Al: I'm Al. I'm your buddy. I gave you your first break. And you're the only person that believed in me when I gave up believing in myself. You brought me on this project. Al: This isn't fair! A beautiful body like that, and I'm just thinkin' pure thoughts?! Lab Pet : In "The Wrong Stuff," Sam leaps into a lab chimp in the space exploration lab, being prepared to go into space. His experimenter gets attached to him, and complains when he's transferred to helmet testing - which is basically "put a helmet on a chimp and bash its head with a giant hammer.
It's heavily implied the reason he was married several times and why his relationships never lasted long was that he was trying to fill the void left by Beth.
Related Hell (Sam Becket Mysteries)
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